I finally finished my hex paludarium that I have been working on on and off for about a year. I just planted it this weekend, so apologies that it doesn't look particularly lush.
The idea is a terrestrial island in the middle of about 5 inches of water.
(For full resolution images, go here: )
The aquarium portion has eco complete black for substrate. The filter is integral-- It is actually just a pump that draws water in through the walls of the island support. The island support is a double wall of egg crate. The outermost layer is a wrap of weed-stop fabric, then the outer egg crate, then a sheet of trimmable filter floss material, then about 1.5 inches of biological filter media. I used a combination of ceramic rings and LECA. Then another layer of weed stop fabric around the inner wall keeps the substrate out of the center-most area, which is just big enough for 2 pumps. One pump runs continuously, bringing water in through the filter and sending it back out into the water. The other runs only several minutes a day, sending water up through the tree to water the terrestrial portion.
The water does pick up tannins from the coir, so it is a bit tea-colored, but it is clear. It will take many water changes before the tannins improve, so I am not really sweating it. The planted portion is decidedly low-light, so there is java moss and other lower light plants only.
Currently there are tetras, which like the current, a panda mollie that is not so crazy about it, and an albino cory cat.
The island has artificial rocks which rim a terrestrial substrate, and the center trunk is coir and binder around a pvc tube. Water can flow up the PVC to saturate and water the land portion. I will still have to mist it by hand about once a week.
There is air circulation by an internal fan. Run at 12v it keeps it mostly clear of condensation.
The lights are DIY LED. I think I should add lenses to 6 of the lights so the penetration of light is better.
The top has a living DIY silicone hinge.
It has to mature a bit more before I can add frogs. Because of chytrid, any fish-store fish need quarantine for minimum 6 weeks before you can have dart frogs around them. There are rocks on the side and back so frogs can get out of the water, but a few more exit points will be added. Because of the very small land foot print, I think only 2 leucs will be living in it. Also needs leaf litter.