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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been a while since I started a new project. Decided to get working on something new now. Going to try my hand at building a paludarium out of a 75g drilled tank I picked up last week. Decided to take out the 3d foam rock wall I built about 3 yrs ago where I use to have an in wall 75g tank. I'm removing that wall and then framing in a new area that will recess back and create a new area of space that will be around 25-30sqft.

Planning on doing a very tropical style paludarium with at least one/two waterfalls, about 6" of water, ultrasonic fogger, lots of plants and also plan to use a couple of my tropical bonsai trees in the build and have them stick up over the rim of the tank. The tank I got is a drilled 75g that is in "ok" shape so I plan to reseal that so it looks better as well as remove the upper and lower trim so it will be trim-less.

Got a little done today. Thank God for the new hammer drill, that thing is a life saver for drilling into concrete.



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·



Got a little more time to work on this project today. Got all the framing in done, so picked up some drywall and got that all roughed in. Still have to do the ceiling, tape&mud then sand and paint then I can do the floor and the new area will be done so then I can start working on the actual paludarium tank itself then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
New area for the Paludarium project is done now. Finished up the framing & drywall a couple weeks ago, so spent the past few days doing the sanding, painting, flooring and lighting. Went with a color called Sandy Sage which I thought would have a real natural / earthy look to it which should go well with the heavily planted tank. Wanted a contrast for the floor so went with a white/cream pattern to help designate the area better so it didn't just run all together with the rest of the shop/office. Now I can start working on the tank itself soon.


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·



Thanks Deeda. I wasn't sure if making it look so separate was going to be the right choice at first, but now that it's done I think I like it like this. Been doing some work on the tank this morning. Paludariums always look much nicer rimless so just got done removing the tip trim. Next will be cleaning it up and resealing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not 100% sure yet. Some sort of small fish like tetra's and maybe guppies or something like that. Also been looking at fire bellied newts which I have never had before but they really caught my interest so been doing a little reading up on them lately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·



A lot of the nicer looking paludariums usually have a custom front panel that is cut much lower than the rest to give unobstructed view of the plants and land area above the water line. So my plans are to take this bottom panel from an old 55g that I have and get it cut down to 8" height. I've already gave it to ol' polarized glasses/LCD screen test to see if it was tempered and it does not seem to be so should be cut-able. Took quite a while to clean it up though. Part of it was painted and spent a couple hours with vinegar & razors to get it as clean as I possibly could so it cuts without issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Took the 12" x 4*" piece today to the harware. Not only lucked out that its not tempered, but the cost for them cutting it down to 8x48? $2.00.....BOOM! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·


Been workin on the paludarium tank a bit more lately. Got the top and bottom trim removed so it will be rimless, removed the front glass and replaced it with a piece of glass I had cut down to 8". Scraped out all the old silicone and cleaned it all up and just resealed the tank so just curing up now. Slowly but surely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Deeda. I lucked out on that piece of glass. I looked online and most places wanted $75 for a 48x8 piece new. Thankfully that bottom panel of the 55g was not tempered so that really saved me a lot of cash there. Gonna wait till morning and then leak test it and then I can start the actual in tank work then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nice and dry. Left water in it for 3 days and no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Took some time today to get back to work on the paludarium. I decided to airbrush a sky with clouds onto the back glass, then back lit it with a full spectrum LED light to give it a more realistic pop. really happy with the way that came out. Built a stand for it now but still have the skin and finish the stand. Starting to plant some of the bonsai trees and plants to form islands. Just mocking up rocks right now to get some ideas, still have a lot more to do till it is finished but starting to get into the fun part now at least.



 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
The rocks are actually siliconed together to secure them. The way I did it was the silicone about 5-10 rocks per pile together. That way they fit together like a jig saw puzzle lol. I figure that way I can rearrange them when/if I want and just refit them together in different configurations without worrying that they will fall and hit the glass.

Just picked up 100lbs of PFS about 10 mins ago so gonna play around with building up the islands some more now today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·



Put about 8 more hours into the paludarium today. It's enjoyable, yet so frustrating. Trying to get rocks just right so the waterfall runs down correctly and get the flow adjusted right. Then making sure certain plants are above water and other with roots in water. Definitely a lot more goes into one of these than I first anticipated. About halfway done now, starting to shape up nicely.

Video-
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Originally I thought about doing some water/wave paint work on the wall but decided against it, just seemed like it might be a bit too much. So this way I think the tank background pops more. Decided against newts. Did some more reading on them and found they actually are climbers so with the low front panel they may escape. So probably going with some guppies and or neons and CAE and maybe some shrimp, but not sure on the shrimp yet. Using a 404b for filtration. Figure there's probably only 20g of water in it so even with 404b it is pretty well over filtered for whatever I put in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Basically finished it today. Other than moving over a group of about 25 bloody mary shrimp I just got for it, and add a shoal of cardinal tetras to it as well.

First here's a vid of it-

And pics









 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Here's a brief list of the equipment Deeda-

75g tank cut down to 8" front
PFS & pebble substrate
Rock islands built up with brick underlayments
Sunsun 404b filtration (also powers the main waterfall on the left of tank)
two 70gph pumps for the two waterfalls on the right of tank
200w heater
4ft LED light behind tank for back lighting of the airbrushed sky
Two full spectrum LEd grow lights
4ft LEd shop light
Two LED flood lights
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Fog is rolling in on the paludarium tonight. Can even hear the spring peppers singing away (sound on) :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thanks Ken. It's doing really well, much better than expected. Most research I did before building this said that you'll lose plants for a short period of time as they acclimate to being planted in the new environment. So far though only thing that has changed is my one ficus bonsai on the left dropped its leaves and died back a tad. Which is normal for replanting/moving a bonsai tree, that happens to me every spring when I take all my trees out of the overwintering spots and put them outside. But it already has some new buds popping. And a few spots of the moss on the back rock have browned, but other than that so far so good which is a bit surprising to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Palurdarium is fully cycled now so added some life to it today in the form of four giant danios, 2 doz bloody mary shrimp, few guppies and few snails.

 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·


Added four male fancy guppies today. Hard to believe because guppies are such a common fish, but these are actually the first time I have ever owned guppies.
 
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