My green tree python paludarium
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:54 PM   #1
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My green tree python paludarium

Hey guys, saw a few people on here are into their paludariums/vivariums and thought I'd make a thread to show you my paludarium which houses a Sorong green tree python and various fish/invertebrates It ONLY (lol) took about a year and a half to make! (after changing my mind about 12 times and several 'disasters').

Everything including the glass tank itself, rock structure, stand and lid were constructed by myself, so will try and give some insight as to how some things were made, as I couldnt even count the hours I have spent on here researching how to make various things! I did have many more pictures of the build process but unfortunately some lowlife stole my phone with all the pictures whilst on holiday.

Firstly, to save searching through this thread, heres a pic of the finished viv:

It is 36"x36"x24". I still want to get one more piece of redwood for the left hand side to cover the water heater, but apart from that I'm quite happy with how its all turned out. I would now like a bit of advice as to what plants would work well in the aquatic part of this setup?

As it started out about a year and a half ago:

When all the goodies arrived (sorry about some of the rubbish pics). Including a Fluval 205 external filter and Reptile Radiator:

This was my first idea when I was contemplating day geckos as the inhabitants of the vivarium. The 'Temple' has a hole in the eye symbol at the top, which the filter tubing was connected to. The water flowed down the staircase and into the water bowl section at the bottom, which also housed the filter intake. I was really pleased with this design, however as it was one of my first attempts at something like this it unfortunately eventually leaked in the bottom water section (Disaster #1 of about 20, haha!), and so I stripped the tank, during which I decided to go a different direction...

If anyone is interested I still have the 'Temple' apart from the bottom water/food bowl section (Which I can easily tell you how to make again.) If you want to make me an offer.

I've always loved paludariums, vivariums with large water features, and so decided this was the route I wanted to go down.

Test fill:

How it initially looked. I really liked the look of this 'Island' design, and intend to attempt this look again in the future, however in my naivety, I used real rocks which weighed a bloody ton, and due to the polystyrene underneath the whole tank being in two pieces and becoming slightly dislodged when we placed the tank on top, a crack formed in the bottom (Disaster #2!), cue 100 litres of water all over my living room floor at 3am!

As I said, unfortunately I dont have any of the pics of the making of the lower 'Rock' part of the final vivarium, however I'll try to explain it anyway for anyone wanting to attempt something similar. I used insulation polystyrene bought quite cheap from places like Homebase/B&Q, glued it together and carved it to shape, similar to this which is a vivarium I made for my brothers bearded dragon:

The polystyrene was then covered in concrete, left to dry, then painted with acrylic paints. I used a very dark grey as the base colour, then used a drybrushing method each time using lighter and lighter greys until the final coat was pretty much white. This method makes the 'Rock' look much more detailed and realistic.

One of the things I spent the most time researching, was how to seal the structure, as concrete leaches lime into water, and so could have been potentially harmful to any fish. After many, MANY hours researching I came across this, which is brilliant stuff (just dont get it on your hands!):

After about 4 clear coats of this, this was the result:

Various pieces of wood I had acquired were then screwed onto the wooden panel which was glued onto the top of the 'Rock' structure. Holes were drilled into the side of this panel to make 'planting' and removing the artificial plants for cleaning easier:

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Old 10-09-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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It was around this time I also got the little guy who was going to live in this enclosure, if I ever managed to get it finished! For the time being (and as he was still far too little!) his home was a RUB, lol.


I then installed the Reptile Radiator, thermostat, hygrometer, lights and misting system to the lid which I had constructed, and lowered it onto the tank.

A look into the cabinet, which includes Fluval 205 canister filter, Exo terra RS400 misting system, air stone (on the towel so it doesnt buzz and annoy the hell out of me!) and equipment for water changes:

The tank was planted with artificial plants (I did consider live plants but felt this easier in terms of maintenance). And once he was big enough, Diego was let out into his new home:

For anyone wondering, I incorporated a side door into the tank design for easy access for cleaning/maintenance:

How the tank looks as a whole in my living room:

A side view:

One thing I love about this setup is seeing the gtp hanging out over the water, although it does mean I have to be extra vigilant when he defecates! Luckily it hasnt happened and hopefully wont as he has a favourite spot which he usually uses for that which is easy enough to clean! The water is also great for keeping up humidity levels:

Some of the aquatic inhabitans, nothing too fancy or difficult, including Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Red Platys, Fancy Tailed Guppies, Loaches, a Rock Shrimp, Golden Apple Snail and Green x Leopard Discus:

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Old 10-09-2012, 06:00 PM   #3
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A quick photoshoot with Diego, cant wait till His blue dorsal stripe comes through fully!:

Exploring his viv:

Has been great fun making this and I've learned a hell of a lot (and made a few mistakes which I've learned from too!). I'll be much more confident now though thankfully at attempting my next projects, which will also be in paludarium form, including another attempt at an island themed viv, and a 10ft burmese python enclosure involving a LOT of water

Thanks for looking

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Old 10-09-2012, 06:03 PM   #4
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This is an awesome setup! At first I thought the plants were real. That snake is beautiful, I've never seen one like that. However, I think that you should give live plants a try. They're not near as much maintenence as you would think, Just put them in planters and you're done, and they look wonderful when they grow in.

You did a great job on all of this. Everything looks really good and well put together.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:08 PM   #5
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Totally admire you work ... its definitely something to aspire to!
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:02 PM   #6
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Thats Great. Great work.

I love GTP. I used to have a pair of Biak. They were just enlongated tubular piranha, biting every darn thing that was within striking range.

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Old 10-09-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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this is really awesome! quick and strange question, how do these snakes... poo? how can you find it to clean it up?
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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Really cool and awesome. Just a few questions for you. Whats the dimensions to the water filled section? Seems like a lot of inhabitants for that area. I wouldn't recommend keeping just one Discus and this doesn't sound like the perfect environment for one.

You could do some terrestrial plants and plant accordingly to allow yourself easier clean up. PM hyrdrophyte and he could help you out if you wanted. He sells terarium planter kits and would be a good person to ask questions about planting the top portion.

Depending on your lighting is what you could plant aquatic wise. It seems like with the current lighting you could only do low light plants. I would do some anubias sp. and you could even attach them to your rock wall (unless you wouldn't it mangled with plants that is). Could do mosses on your wall and driftwood. Maybe even a crypt or two. I would definitely do some anubias though.

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Old 10-09-2012, 08:59 PM   #9
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Haha luckily he poos in roughly the same place every time, its just a case of inspecting the viv every other day and all the plants are removeable/washable.

Yeah the Discus was given to me by a friend who's tank had been broken down, hes in the process of setting up a new one so it will be in a more suitable home in the next few weeks thankfully The angelfish will be removed when they get too big, as again they were from the same tank. The water area is roughly 150 litres.
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tree python paludarium

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