Paludarium? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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This is my very first post, and I reckon I am about to find out how this forum takes to very inexperienced questions. I have done some hunting about, and y'all seem here it goes.

I believe that what I want to set up is a paludarium, but I had no idea all these names for environments existed. I know that I am way too involved in building happy habitats for my creatures to not be a part of a forum like this.

What I am wanting to keep in a habitat together are land dwelling hermit crabs, apple snails and a beta…possibly some frogs, other fish as well. I envision this as a very long and narrow tank, with a deep divider in the middle for soil on one side and water on the other. I want the crabs to have enough depth to feel safe to burrow and molt, and the fish and snails to have enough depth to swim about. It would need a slope from the land side so the clumsy crabs don't tubule off the edge and drown. I assume the crabs will likely eat the snail eggs, and the snails will learn to lay their eggs above the water and out of reach of the crabs. Ideally, I would like for the water filtration to run under the soil, and emerge on the land side as a very gentle waterfall and stream. Ultimately, I want to manage water filtration in a natural manner, through the sediment and vegetation inside the tank. I understand that this will be a very long process and I am not trying to jump right in to anything.

Mostly what I am looking for is to be pointed in the right direction and I am open to any and all advice.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 09:07 PM
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I'm not sure the set up you are thinking of would work without either having a ridiculously large tank, or pretty extensive daily maintenance.

I'd also advise against any sort of undergravel type filtration for a paludarium. If there is ever any problem with it, you would have to rip up your whole tank.

I think something like a partial mattenfilter in a corner or up against one wall or something would probably be better. Make it just big enough to fit the heater and a powerhead/pump in there, and then route the tubing to the waterfall. If you use something like pvc and build it properly, you could probably build your hardscape around the pvc, or just use the krylon fusion (let it cure for at least 7 days) to paint it black or grey or something that won't stand out.

Vegetation grows pretty quickly in paludariums, so ferns, mosses, whatever should obscure the tubing/piping easily.

I haven't had a hermit crab since I was a kid, but I think they tend to climb a lot, and may possibly tear things up. You would definitely need a fairly shallow slope so they could crawl out of the water, and it might be better if it wasn't very deep as well. Maybe just do a shallow stream through part of the enclosure. I also think it might be hard to have loose sand, as I imagine they will track that all over the place.

It's very dart-frog-centric, but dendroboard has a lot of people who have built some beautiful vivariums and paludariums. the site tends to run a bit slower then this one, but it's probably the go-to site for those kinds of setups.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Super helpful info…thanks!

I am well schooled in the ways of hermit crabs. I have never seen anyone build a better habitat than I do. I would be a part of those forums, but they all keep their critters in big empty tubs and it makes me sad. Yes, hermit crabs love to climb. King of the mountain is their favorite game, and they get to the top and chirp. It's pretty neat, and no one knows how they make the noise. They don't like sand, and need a soft , dense soil, so they can burrow underground and make a cave. When they molt, they stay underground for up to 8 weeks. I have had crabs live for several years and grow ten times their original size, which is not common for most crab owners. If they don't have a safe place to molt and hide while the new shell hardens, they either die, or rip themselves apart, limb by limb. So yes, it will have to be a very large tank so I have enough space for several crabs to molt at once. The crabs are fond of tearing some stuff apart, seemingly just for entertainment value, but over the years I have discovered several things they won't destroy, golden pathos being one that's easy to grow anywhere.

The two critters I want to keep in the water require very little. You CAN keep them both in a tank without filtration, as we all see betta owners do, but I think that is cruel as well. The ability to breathe air doesn't mean they should get crappy water. Bettas don't prefer open space, and will cram themselves in the corner as much as possible. I had one that forced me to remove any rough surfaced rocks because he would squeeze himself between them. So I plan to have the water area the about 1/3 of the tank. Apple snails can breathe above and below the water, and will travel about on land. This is my main reason for wanting to combine the tanks. I want to see what these guys do on land. In the water, they are the most fascinating thing I have ever watched in a tank. I had one that would climb to the top of the tank and leap off in to the water, opening himself up and gliding to the bottom like a ray. Another would float himself to the top of the water, waiting until the current carried him to the filter outlet, and he would open himself and glide to the bottom. He would immediately close himself and float back up, doing it over and again for an hour or so. Their shells are fairly boring, but the snails themselves are pretty spectacular. Most importantly, the only reproduce sexually, and I have never had a mating pair succeed in laying fertilized eggs, though I have waited patiently for many a clutch to hatch.

You are completely right about not putting the filtration under ground, and there is no reason to. As long as I protect the tubing, anything going through the land area can be stuff for the crabs to climb on.
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