65g paludarium (converted aquaplantarium) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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65g paludarium (converted aquaplantarium)

Hello TPTers

About three years ago I bought and set up a 65g aquaplantarium and have recently gotten the itch to try something new. After a year plus of research on terrariums and paludariums I gained enough ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. Although I love the design of the tank it does provide some unique challenges to overcome.

It will be a paludarium with about 7-8 inches of water. It will have a false bottom that will be filled with lava rock for added biological filtration as well as for support. This will house the heater airstones and a pump to power a river running through the land section. On either side of the river will be 2 planters that will house some terrarium plants. Along the sides of the false bottom will be Hamberg matten filter.

Then lava rocks and driftwood will be piled along the sides of the false bottom to give the impression of a cliff face. I am making a custom background as well out of clay. This will have additional plants and mosses growing in it. The water portion will have a sand portion and a portion with ADA soil.

Over all I want to give the impression of an eroded riverbank in a tropical forest. It will house vampire crabs for sure. Some kind of shrimp or maybe cpo's and most likely clown killies and kuhli loaches.

I will up load photos to track my progress.

Bump: Here are some shots of the old tank.





Here is the background it came with, I have tore this out. Hopefully the new one looks better.





Bump: Video of old tankhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOu3_pyeIog
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post #2 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the base of the false bottom, the two right sections will have lava rock rubble the far left one will remain empty to house the pump a heater and air stones to increase humidity.



Here is the top with the 2 planters in between will be a small river fed by a pump.





Bump: For the river I decided to use pond foam as I have never used it except to patch holes in my goldfish pond. I also foamed the front of the top and secured lave rock to hide the front of the first planter. This turned out great, the foam looks so much like the lava rock once you peel outer layer away. I read about a guy pressing sand into the foam while it is curing to give it a more textured look so I tried it out, worked pretty good. All and all I was very satisfied with the overall look.








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post #3 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Next I carved out the river and removed excess foam. I peeled this using my fingers and carved with a sharp knife. Peeling away the foam gives a better texture and make it look alot like the lava rock.





Here is the pond area with the tube that feeds the river.



Bump: While the foam was curing I mixed up my clay using a electric drill with a paint mixer. It is a mixture of redart clay, calcium and sodium bentonite, argonite sand, calcium carbonate, peat moss and milled sphagnum moss. If anyone want the ratio let me know.


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post #4 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Ok finished the initial build, hopefully now I can get more than 0 comments lol.

Here is the base with a access hole for the pump and heater (here's to hoping I never have to use it). Extra support was given in between sections holding the lava rock to prevent buckling. Here is the base in the tank with lava rock added.





Here it is with the top on and the HMF in place. Also you can see the top access panel in the left corner, this is mainly to run airline and power chords, any maintenance to the heater and pump will be done thru the hole in the side of the base.





Bump: Next I chose placement of the lava rock and driftwood.







Bump: The lava rock is sitting on extra HMF I was left with to give extra support / height.

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post #5 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Next came applying the clay wall I have to say this was some of the most fun I have had ever in the hobby.

This method was popular in the dart frog community several years ago but has fallen out of favor in place of GS coco fiber backgrounds. I think mainly due to people not using the right clay mixture. So far so good although I need to monitor water quality to make sure its not affecting pH too much.





Next I put some seed pods filled with sphagnum moss as well additional lava rock and cork bark into the wall. To do so I just pressed them right in and added additional clay around them, I chose very light lava rocks to do this. Some of lava rock and cork bark I used had moss slurry on it that I had started about a month before I added them to the clay.

Seed pods



Moss slurry on cork bark / lava rocks





In clay wall



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post #6 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 07:40 AM
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I have not constructive feedback other than saying that this is probably one of the most interesting and exciting builds to watch on here! I love seeing it come together!


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post #7 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 10:12 AM
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65g paludarium (converted aquaplantarium)

Woah just found this thread. Really good job on the DIY stuff it looks great, especially with those driftwood brances. Can't wait to see this planted. Not familar with viv/paludarium techniques so can't really give feedback either. For the next update could you put a full tank shot please?


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post #8 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the kind words. Ha yeah when I was doing the build I had so much stuff on the floor I could not back up far enough to get a full tank shot and the tank is only 3' long lol. Sorry about the annoying 2 part shots. I plan on putting a video up on youtube showing the entire tank as well.

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post #9 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 01:39 PM
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I never thought of using modeling clay. I'll have to look into using that for when I redo my 60g.


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post #10 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toadpher View Post
I never thought of using modeling clay. I'll have to look into using that for when I redo my 60g.
If you do I suggest researching thoroughly. Since you seem to be a amphibian guy I would recommend joining dendroboard if you haven't done so already. A wealth of knowledge over there for vivs and paludariums.

After researching (or ask me I can tell you what I know) I say go for it. It was one of the most oddly satisfying moments I have had in the hobby.

Bump: Oh disclaimer about dendroboard, it will make you want to own Darts. That is my next project ha ha.

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post #11 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
Bump: Oh disclaimer about dendroboard, it will make you want to own Darts. That is my next project ha ha.
Yeah I was paroosing on there one day because I have had an interest in darts from really young, but the forum amplified them by a million. Especially when you see some of the amazing vivariums. Oh well something to aspire to do when I have the time and space.




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post #12 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opare View Post
Yeah I was paroosing on there one day because I have had an interest in darts from really young, but the forum amplified them by a million. Especially when you see some of the amazing vivariums. Oh well something to aspire to do when I have the time and space.




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Yeah I had some darts about 15 years ago and now realize I had no clue what I was doing. It is amazing how much has changed in that hobby.

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post #13 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 10:51 AM
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Nice start! I have a new exo terra 18x18x24 and I've been toying around with using just a cork mosaic and filling the gaps with clay.

Dendroboard for sure will make you own darts haha. I set up my current azureus tank November of 14 but started searching the board about a 2 months ago. Ended up upgrading my lighting to 2 current satellite plus pros and installing a mist king system.

I have a killer piece of wood for my next build.

Looking forward to updates here. Do you have a journal on Dendroboard?

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post #14 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I thought about the cork mosaic too. It seems that alot of people now using clay are doing just that.

No journal on there yet was planning on it shortly.

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post #15 of 148 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
If you do I suggest researching thoroughly. Since you seem to be a amphibian guy I would recommend joining dendroboard if you haven't done so already. A wealth of knowledge over there for vivs and paludariums.

After researching (or ask me I can tell you what I know) I say go for it. It was one of the most oddly satisfying moments I have had in the hobby.

Bump: Oh disclaimer about dendroboard, it will make you want to own Darts. That is my next project ha ha.
I'm a member, but never really go on there. Definitely some amazing tanks on there! I definitely am trying to improve my tank and scapes, with every iteration. I love making stuff, so I think it will definitely be satisfying!

I like darts, but I don't think I'll ever own any. I like my fatty Bufo and Lithobates.


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