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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have decided to start my journal for the remake of my 65 gallon paludarium hoping it will motivate me to complete things faster than a snails pace. Here is a link to my old paludarium in case anyone wants to take a gander:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/1040617-65g-paludarium-converted-aquaplantarium.html

I loved the old tank and had a lot of fun building it and sharing it with the forum. However, the tank had several issues that I hope to alleviate this time around.

1. There was always surface scum and I still had duckweed in this tank. The duckweed was the main problem I had with the tank in my first build (this current one is the 3rd rebuild)

2. The heater failed quickly after I installed it. While I can't say for certain my guess is that a fluctuating water level is to blame for the malfunction. It was difficult to remove the heater and I never bothered to since I would have to dismantle a large part of the scape to do so.

3. While the water feature worked and looked cool at first, it was quickly obstructed from view by plants.

4. The humidity levels in the tank were not what I thought they would be. This dried out the clay wall and I did not get any decent moss growth other than close to the water line.

5. Clay fell into the water a good bit. (I wouldn't want to know what the TDS of the tank was)

6. The inhabitants could get behind the hardscape and many times I could not see a single inhabitant due to them being hidden.

7. I want the scape to have more impact and want to lower the water level too. With more focus on the land portion with a water feature that starts higher in the tank for more of a waterfall effect.

The main thing I want to change is to employ a sump in this design. This will help to have easy access to equipment and will help with surface skimming and a constant water level. I wanted to make a sump with the previous build but the way this tank is set up I need to drill the tank to do it and at the time was too afraid that I would crack the glass. I plan on the outflow of the sump feeding into a waterfall feature which I hope will increase the humidity to the higher reaches of the tank. I will also be adding a misting system to help with this.

I am also going to change the hardscape and drop the water level as well as making improvements to ensure inhabitants are front row and center. This includes improvements to the claywall.

I am also going to be adding a lot of other bells and whistles to make it cooler overall.

I am currently in the middle of tearing the old tank apart. This included tearing down each chunk of the clay wall and removing any isopods I found (which was a lot). As I said this has been painstakingly slow and I hope I can increase my pace overall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I love paludariums and will be following with interest!
Awesome! Yeah paludariums are fun and create all kinds of new challenges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So one thing I got right the previous build was that the lavarock inside island would provide a lot of habitat for the clean up crew. When I removed the top of the island that lava rock inside was crawling with springtails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nothing too exciting to report been pretty busy lately and it has been a slow process breaking down the old one. A few things I noticed when breaking it down.

There was a good bit of mulm in the lava rock but less than I expected. Also there was a ton of silt from the clay in there. While the water never got cloudy a ton had settled in the substrate and behind the island. I am going to try and prevent clay from entering the water the next go round.

Here is a picture of the silt with MTS trails throughout



Also isopods were climbing up the cords and getting stuck on the duct tape quite a bit.



Like I said nothing too exciting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just read through your previous build. Can't wait to see how this one turns out!
Awesome I appreciate you taking the time. Hopefully the jumbled up ball of ideas in my head come to fruition and I can pull off my vision. Only time will tell.

Bump:
I think one of your MTS had been drinking!
Ha! In it's defense I did tear apart probably the only home it's ever known. That'll drive any snail to drinking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok quick update. I have had a little bit of free time over the holidays and finished some other nagging projects and had a few minutes to work on this one.

So the idea for this scape is to incorporate concepts of Iwagumi and apply it to a paludarium. Basically I will use the main stones in the iwagumi to divide the land and water portions. Here are the three stones I am using for this build:



Oyaishi:



Fukuishi:



Soeishi:



I started messing around with them and how to stabilize them, I set them on some spare matten filter I have to add height and used it to stabilize as well. I am thinking I wont go that route since in areas where the matten is doubled up there is 4" of material and this would take up a lot of substrate to cover up. Any way here are some arrangements I came up with that I liked (sorry for the dirty glass)







Need to play around more to see how I want to arrange and stabilize these rocks. Any suggestions I am all ears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No one has any Iwagumi advise? Oh well I guess I'm on my own then ha ha.

People who followed my previous build might know I am a big fan of isopods. Wondering if I should put some of these in there:



I am only halfway serious as they are pretty expensive and prefer it on the drier side (probably would have done better in the old tank) but it would be pretty cool to have isopods that were more than twice the size of the fish I am planning on.
 

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Can't help with Iwagumi arrangements other than shooting for the generic "rule of thirds" focal point design... As far as stabilizing, what about making the clay as used in your previous build to make a custom foundation to keep the rocks in place? I really hesitate to give advice because you're pretty far beyond me creatively, but I look forward to see what you come up with! I'm sure whatever you do will really "tie the room together" :icon_wink
 

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I can only assume this is an aquarium with only fish that swim forwards the same way they do backwards?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Can't help with Iwagumi arrangements other than shooting for the generic "rule of thirds" focal point design... As far as stabilizing, what about making the clay as used in your previous build to make a custom foundation to keep the rocks in place? I really hesitate to give advice because you're pretty far beyond me creatively, but I look forward to see what you come up with! I'm sure whatever you do will really "tie the room together" :icon_wink
Yeah trying to incorporate the rule of thirds as much as I can. It gets a little more tricky with this tank since the front pane is 18" and the back 28". I have concluded I will use the front pane as far as measuring and the rule of thirds. This is mainly due to what water depth I want and the size of the rocks. As far as stabilization the clay can't be under the water or it get all mushy. I started playing with making a cradle out of eggcrate, I am thinking I could cover that in pond foam to further secure it. Hopefully it will be a valued tank by the time I'm done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I can only assume this is an aquarium with only fish that swim forwards the same way they do backwards?
Ha took me a minute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not too much to update since it's been too cold around here to drill the tank. Got the last of my supplies needed but now am thinking of doing an auto top off as well. Went to a local green house and had a couple cool finds.



This is selaginella kraussiana brownii a clubmoss that only gets 1-2" high. Hopefully they will have more in stock as this was the only pot.



This pitcher plant is Nepenthes ventrata I might just put this in the room to catch fruit flies and find Nepenthes ampullaria as it stays smaller and is good for terrariums. Then again this will probably be slow enough growing that I may use it. Geosesarma are known to hang out in pitcher plants and eat the bugs that fall in, I am going for trying to recreate that in the terrarium.
 

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Just joined this forum. My wife and I are about to take on a DIY paludarium. Got a used 125 gallon tank and hope to learn enough to avoid some major problems. Just reading your thread has been very educational. Looking forward to following you along. Any suggestions of where I should look for info would be appreciated. At this point we know very little so please bear with us if we ask what might be a silly question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just joined this forum. My wife and I are about to take on a DIY paludarium. Got a used 125 gallon tank and hope to learn enough to avoid some major problems. Just reading your thread has been very educational. Looking forward to following you along. Any suggestions of where I should look for info would be appreciated. At this point we know very little so please bear with us if we ask what might be a silly question.
Thanks! A 125 paludarium will look awesome. As far as info dendroboard has some tank journals of paludariums that I found helpful as they are quite detailed. There's always youtube. Also looking for inspiration the annual AGA contest has a paludarium category that many times will have the aquascaping materials and plants they used laid out. It's pretty cool to see how the paludarium has evolved throughout the years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So I am still at a stand still with drilling the hole in the glass but decided I would test my sump / plumbing design and also see if the pump I selected would work for this application. The thing that makes the selection of the pump difficult is that I needed to have a pump strong enough to clear the 5'+ head but also not too strong for such a small volume of water. I was pretty nervous it wouldn't work out. The pump I am using is a danner 350. I was trying to keep it as simple as possible since this is my first dive into sumps and diy plumbing.

Anyway here is a picture of the sump. I has 3 chambers divided by poret foam. The first is where water returns then it goes through 10ppl foam to the main chamber, this will possibly be for quarantine or raising shrimp and scuds or maybe just for additional filter media (or both). Next water passes through 20ppl foam and to where the pump is located.





The idea for the plumbing was basically hashed out through this thread https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-general-planted-tank-discussion/1228226-paludarium-plumbing-questions.html as well as one on dendroboard. The idea is to be able to control the flow through 2 valves going off a tee. One goes back into the sump the other powers the waterfall in the main tank.





I ended the section of plumbing that goes directly back into the sump to end in a tee and then embedded that into the poret foam. The idea is that it will act as a makeshift wet/dry filter.





Here are pictures of the valve on the line that goes to the waterfall.





I turned on the pump and........it couldn't have gone any better! I had a respectable flow but nothing too crazy coming out with both valves completely open. This means I could probably went with a smaller pump but oh well. If it is too much flow I can adjust it with the valve going to the waterfall but this will cause the pump to operate with some back pressure (which I have been told is not a big deal).



I chose to go with reinforced vinyl as my tubing for increased flexibility and also with it being in general easier to work with. I used this tool to cut the tubing and it went through it like butter.



Setting this up has gotten me really excited to get this project moving. Hopefully I can get some free time and a nice enough day to do the drilling this weekend. Although if this phase made me this nervous I can't imagine what drilling into the glass will do. Not to mention once I have and seeing if the bulkhead is large enough. If anyone has any insight as far as the plumbing for this system I would be interested to hear it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So I finally took the plunge and drilled my tank! I have wanted to do this for a very long time but was always hesitant thinking I may crack the glass.

I had a unseasonably warm day and had the wife help me move it outside. I figured with it being my first time I would use a guide. It helped for the initial grinding but I would probably only use it at the very start of the drilling in the future.



Here is the diamond tipped drill bit I used.



I ran water from a hose over the hole continuously to cool the bit which helps reduce the risk of cracking.



This picture shows the tiny shards of glass created by grinding the hole.



The drilling didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. I wish I went slower because as you can see I had significant chip out.







As said I wish I went slower and maybe practiced on another tank first. The glass on the back is painted black so I was having trouble seeing how far down I was. I also read that drilling from the opposite side when almost all the way through will help but with the shape of the tank this was not an option. Also the glass on this tank is pretty thick so not sure if that played a role in the chip out. I was told that even with as much chipping as there is I should be fine if I seal the bulkhead with silicone.

Although not the most pretty hole in the world I still can say I have a hole in my tank and no cracked glass so all and all a good day.
 
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