I've been keeping planted tanks and terrariums
both for a couple of years now, and have been planning a desktop paludarium. This morning I finally got around to starting construction. The plan was to build an acrylic box, with an aquarium are in front, terrarium area in back, and a small pump that fills a stream running between the two. I've been suffering from major analysis paralysis for months on this project, so this is a prototype to get me off my butt and learn what I can.
Here's the beginning of the box. I glued with the thin acrylic cement, then backfilled the joints with Weld-On 16. It's not the best looking work I've ever done, but it should hold water (fingers crossed).
The internal structures for water piping and separating land from water. The water will be drawn in through the pipe at the bottom of the aquarium area and up the large tube to run down a "stream" back into the aquarium.
A close-up of the pump. I liberated this 5V pump from a USB aquarium. Then I cut a circle of styrene just smaller than the large tube, hot glued it to the front of the pump and cut out an opening for the inflow. Finally I superglued an 0-ring to the styrene circle to further seal the inflow area from the outflow area.
Here's the pump assembly. The pump should stay below the natural water level and draw water from the bottom of the tube to the top, where it will overflow down the stream. That is, it will if this minuscule pump has enough head to lift the water that high.
The "stream." I heated a piece of black styrene to get the trough shape, then covered it in silicone and gravel/sand.
Leak test. Everything is glued and mostly dry (I'm impatient). I found one leak that I doused with Weld-On and so far, so good. I plan to build an acrylic top that should give me another few inches of height for the terrestrial plants and will keep the humidity in.
I checked again for leaks and tested the pump. So far so good. Tomorrow I'll throw some gravel, charcoal and soil in the terrarium side and some Amazonia in the aquarium side. I plan to try dwarf hairgrass and a tiny anubias in the water, but I haven't decided on the terrestrial plants yet.
Any suggestions for an inhabitant in something this small? I was thinking RCS, but I'd like something that used both areas.