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Current interest is in paludaria.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings All,
I'd like to begin by saying how impressed I am with this encouraging, friendly, and knowledgable community. I've enjoyed reading many engaging threads, and have found answers to numerous questions. I've become a premium member to help support this fabulous resource.
It has been quite sometime since I've had an aquarium, and did not really plan on setting one up but my imagination was sparked when I happened across a youtube video on how overflow siphons work. I thought that it would be fun to have an aquarium with a terrestrial part and shallow water and maybe a cave and perhaps some fish. With an overflow siphon and a return pump there would be plenty of water to protect against sudden changes in water chemistry and there would be so much more biological room for my little inhabitants. All of this well known to the experts around here, of course, but my amateur engineering mind likes a good challenge.
My siphons weren't very good. Too slow, too cumbersome, too awkward for this guy to make work well. So then I thought I'd drill a hole in the side of a glass tank and install a bulkhead. Tank attempt #1: success! But when I was tightening the bulkhead it cracked, I'm not sure why. Tank #2: success! But when I started experimenting with the dynamic system with the sump tank, the flow was too slow AND the pump was too loud AND it gurgled and belched obnoxiously. With my insane work schedule, each step has been separated by a week or more but I wasn't too discouraged. I enjoy the trial and error.
So then I ordered a really large diamond studded bit and a much larger bulkhead. I also bought yet another tank, this one a little larger, a fifteen gallon cheapie. It's funny to me that the drill bit was almost twice the cost of the tank. But I got a good clean hole in it and fit the bulkhead at just the right height.
For the reserve tank, I wanted as much water volume as possible while fitting in a specific space in my office. I found a company that makes water tanks of all sizes and ordered a 25 gallon tank with a lid. These tanks are marketed for RV's and agriculture and are food safe.
I am also really into audio and need this system to work as quietly as possible. I listen to a lot of music at my desk and have spent way too much money on my speakers and such. Pump #1 was loud. So I ordered soundproofing material and covered the entire tank and fired it back up. Still way too loud. Bought another pump and it was way too loud. Then I tried a DC pump and it runs nice and quiet.
My idea is for a medium-tech tank. I'm running C02, with a decent bubble count, but with the way the water is dropped through all of the gravel I imagine a lot of it gets dissipated. I have been adding liquid trace elements after water changes, but not very scientifically. The lights are mis-matched from 48" tanks I've had in years past. And I would have to look up the species names of the plants. But the one tropical house plant with the tall stems and pretty leaves is special to me because they are direct descendants of the ones I had growing immersed in a big 65 gallon tank in 1989 or 1990. I've had them ever since though my life has so dramatically changed since then. For fish I'm keeping it simple: a single species of little schooling cuties. They seem to be quite happy. I cycled the tank for five or six weeks before adding them.
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Visible is a nozzle that flows over a ceramic CO2 diffuser.

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The shelf is framed with oak that supports a black under-gravel filter.
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View from the side, but not very visible except by iPhone cam.
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The drain is somewhat protected from plant roots, but will likely be the reason that this tank will need overhauled in the future. I've designed it so it will not get clogged and cause disaster.... but I'm sure it will slow down gradually. I hope it lasts for a few years. I did have a disaster, though. When I added fish, after weeks of the plants getting established, they got sucked down the drain and into the sump! They all survived, but I had to disrupt the entire thing to redo the intake.

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I built a water-proof RGB led lamp. It's not on a timer, it's just for the occasional fun night view. From the front the "cave" glows nice. My grand-kids will love it.
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Twenty-five gallon tank with large home-made bio-filter. It's made from a plastic 5 gallon tank with various sponges and bio-balls and floss. I just used whatever I had in my collection of aquarium stuff. There is also a fixed-thermostat heater inside.
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The blue valve controls that water fall flow, two of the red ones are tied to nozzles in the tank (one of which flows over the CO2 diffuser.)
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Thank you for enjoying my paludarium post. I'll be adding more pics soon! Of course I'd love comments or advice.
 

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I absolutely love your setup. Everything you've read and practiced really shows in the build. Welcome to the community btw, always good to have another member lurking about.

  • Have you heard of a bell siphon? Pretty interesting how they work.
  • Got any plans for brightly colored amphibians?

Other than that, keep doing what you're doing, it looks great.
 

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Current interest is in paludaria.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the kind compliment! I'll look up a bell siphon. I have plans to use the same sump for another tank too. There are two unused outlets in the sump and the pump seems to have plenty of excess capacity. Algae or not, I was thinking about putting a small paludarium style tank right up against the south facing window in the office. I'm only concerned about the potential for the water to get too heated by sunlight; but It would be so interesting to me to see what happens.

One thing I noticed. The Hygger DC pump, while performing as advertised, came with an undersized power supply. I've replaced it with a much better one:




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And when I was moving the brick-style power supply of that expensive Hagen 48" LED lamp it was almost too hot to touch. Terrible. I'll be ordering another robust 24v regulated power supply for that too.
 

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Very impressive, thanks for sharing!
Interesting shelf with the oak. Have you noticed if it leeches any tannins?
 

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Current interest is in paludaria.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, Griznatch.... No, there doesn't seem to be any pronounced staining of the water from the raw oak. I wouldn't mind if there was, actually, many of the fish that I like are native to water that is quite high in tannins.
 
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