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75 gallon paludarium queries

2998 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Paludist
I got my land/water divider from Canus plastics a couple days ago, and it's getting to be close until I can move my firebellied toad and newt in. What I have so far:

75 gallon Oceanic aquarium
Oak stand
Oak canopy

Fluval 304 canister
DIY yeast CO2 (3x2L bottles, may go for 6x2L bottles)
Hagen CO2 ladder
50W submersible heater
4x32W T8 6500K


10" deep pool of water 48" long.

The shoplights will be suspended over it at about 14" above the water's surface.

The water will be something like 2(12"x18"widex10"deep) + (24"x9"widex10"deep) after the C-shaped divider box adheres to the back wall in the exact middle rear.(24"x9"widex10"deep). This gives me a nominal value of 28 gallons.

Here is a drawing:

Because the water is going to be much lower than what I have the fluval outputting at right now, anyone have any ideas how to get it to be lower? I could put the canister on a stand so it is higher and thus a longer output tube, but how is the suction when all parts aren't completely covered by water?

What can I use to attach the plexiglass divider to the glass to ensure proper adhesion? Any tips?

Should I put the hagen CO2 ladder on the left where the intake is, or on the right where the output of the filter is? It would get dispersed more quickly on the right, but it would also be exchanged by the surface disruption.

What kind of lighting will I have? The light isn't refracted by the water going down, but it will be spread out over a larger area. I'm going to say medium lighting as a rough estimate.

Substrate: Still haven't decided. May break the bank and go for fluorite, eco-complete, one of those...anyone have any preferences? I use neutral gravel in my planted tank as it is, and I couldn't complain one bit. I pulled out a plant 1 metre long a couple days ago...

I also have a 14 gallon planted whose plants and inhabitants are going in the water area. It includes:

2 WC A. agassizzi (1m/1f)
7 T. heteromorpha (rasboras)
3 C. chuna (dwarf fire gouramis)

Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
Cryptocoryne wendtii x willisii, wendtii 'tropica', unknown cryptocoryne
Red lotus
Unknown cabomba type
Water sprite
Red ludwigia
Brasilian swords
Java Fern

I don't have any worries for the plants...they grow like weeds where they are now...except the swords. They were the ones I was worried about most outgrowing everything, but apart from staying a brilliant, healthy green, they haven't grown much/at all vertically...just some new leaf sprouts. I have had all these plants for 4 months or so. As for new plants, I would need some that would not grow very tall (read 10" and below) or plants that can easily be trimmed...anyone have any ideas or cuttings that I could purchase later?

As for the terrestrial plants, I haven't decided. What soil is best for amphibians, or does it matter? Inside the divider, there will be a layer of 2.5 cm diameter rocks, a fine mesh screen, charcoal, and then the soil layer. Because of height limitations, I can't have the plants grow to be taller than a foot. What are some small, amphibian friendly plants? Anything like a dwarf fern? Could I have a venus fly trap? I am aware I would have to feed them separately.

What about the compatibility with my toad and newt with these fish? The apistos, apart from an incident during the early stages of the 14 gallon that resulted in a gourami feeler being ripped off, they have all cohabited fine. The gouramis even share the same territories as the apistos and they don't mind.

I was thinking of adding a few plants and fish once things have settled down. Probably something like:

6 cories
10 neons
3 rasboras
2 german rams

Sorry for the long post. Hope it's all clear.

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On the topic of your fluval, I'm not wholly familiar with its construction, but I imagine you could easily buy 6' of silicone tubing (of the same inside diameter as that used on your filter) at any hardware store for only 1-2$ (or the Canadian equivelant thereof). That way, you can simply extend the lines to wherever you might want them.

For your divider, use silicone for the initial watertight barrier, then use handifoam to create a second, more sturdy structure to help hold up the walls of your plastic. this way, the plastic won't have to take all of the pressure exerted on it.

As to the Hagen ladder... this part is up for grabs...:icon_roll You're right that if you put it on the side near your output, the disturbance would likely greatly inhibit the retention of the CO2, but if you put it on the side of the intake, the newly carbonated water will just get pulled into your filter... So on this, someone who has actual experience with canister filters may have better advice for you.

Ok, on to substrates... This, again, is a point of contention for many people here. The values and faults of the many commercial substrates are commonly debated by the users that frequent this forum, so your best bet is to look up one of the many polls extolling the greatness of each faction's chosen substrate and choose for yourself. Personally, I just use washed playground sand with a peat base (poor college student here.)

As for plants, I think it would be really cool if you got plants that grow from a submersed form to emersed. This tends to help soften the barriers between the land and water sections, and allows your animals more terrestrial space to explore. I love aluminum plant for this, but amny swords and aponogetons work great. For easy to trim plants, ludwigias, rotalas, (pretty much any medium light stem plant) work great. I love to use mosses too, and java ferns work great if you initially plant them on driftwood beneath the water and let them grow out. For a great reference, look up for a (rather extensive) great reference. For foreground plants, I love microsowrd, hm, hc, and dwarf hairgrass.

For soil, I use a mixture of coconut husk fiber, milled peat moss, sphagnum moss, orchid bark, and leaf litter on all of my terraria. For plants, bromeliads, tilandsia, fittonia, pothos, philodendron, creeping fig, various types of ferns, and many other plants work amazingly. If you're up for more of a challengs, african violets and orchids can be spectacular additions. As for the venus flytrap, unfortunately, it's a temperate plant and needs a dormancy period. It is possible for you to simulate the progressive shortening photoperiods, but it also needs a temperature drop. It might live for a year or two, but after that, it won't do to well; however, if you want a carnivorous plant, nepenthese species are beautiful and very well suited for terraria. For more references, visit Dendroboard - Your source for dart frog information. for a great array of terrarium information.

As for the cohabitation question, I don't think it will be an issue.

Well, sorry for the lengthy post, but always happy to share my information with others. Keep us updated, as I always love large terraria.
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Thanks a lot. That's exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Not too many people are informed about these setups...

As for immersed/emmersed plants, I have the option to buy red mangroves. I think it would give the setup a lot of character, and I would put them in the widest water parts. But they grow to be very tall. I was told they can be trimmed like bonsai, but when they can grow 20 feet, I don't know how much trimming I can do. What can I do?

As for the temperature drop for the venus flytrap, I live in Canada and it gets cold for 5 months of the year. The temperature in my apartment is enough to allow my toad to hibernate for a few months (19-20 C vs 30+), and the ambient lighting decreases, but I don't want to risk the health of my other plants by shortening the photocycle for just a small plant.

Hey Adam,

Thanks for the post, I'm working on a 75 gallon setup myself. If you do mangroves, do you think you'd do a brackish tank? I'm considering that path so I can keep puffers!

I have a Magnum 350 and have adjusted it to many levels with no problem. Maybe with a spraybar so you get broad and steady current?

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