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Low Tech Tank Paludariums build to be


Community Member
Jan 23, 2023
This is the start of a build thread for Paludarium being designed. The tank will be 4ftx4ftx48 inches with the water portion 30inchx4ftx16. The tank will have a sump with the overflow and returns in the back panel that are tunneled under the dry portion to the wet portion (there is a divider set at 30 inch mark that sep the two portion). The water portion will have chemistry of around kh 0 gh 0-1 tds 20-40 ph 5.5 to 6.5 and the planned stocking will be 6 to 8 a. bitaeniata, 15 to 20 Nannostomus rubrocaudatus or Nannostomus mortenthaleri, 5 or so pygmy cory and maybe a pair of nannacara aureocephalus. The water portion will have a lot of leaf litter, rocks and driftwood a bit dependent on if i can find the right pieces. Plants for the water portion will consist of primarily various anubia and crypts and echinodorus depending on what i can find that will grow in this sort of environment. Also some floaters - probably red root and frogbit.

The substrate will be either stoney river (black) or hth pool filter sand - the dry part will have stoney river base with some sort of black aquarium soil (not sure which brand). The stoney river is used to raise the height and then probably 2 to 4 inches of aquairum soil. The reason for aquarium soil is the belief it is 'fish' safe if it gets into the water.

The plants for the dry portion is not well thought out but the general thought is again species of crypts (but i have to admit i've been unhappy with their emersed look in my terrarium but maybe other species are more interesting), echinodorus (again i have to research into species that look interesting emersed - i'm thinking purple aflame will be one of them), H. pinnatifida (because i have it), staurogyne sp. porto velho (because I have it), couple of not too tall orchid (not sure of species).

In the water portion I might try moving one of my larger Franz Stoffels in the middle if it is taller than 16 inches to see if it will convert to emersed form in the middle of the water section. Like wise for one of my rubins (i have a couple that are over 20 inches tall) so I can have some plants growing emersed in the wet portion.

For the dry portion i need some sort of background for the pothos to climb - from my readings the options are cork or foam so I'm looking into those options.

These are the thoughts which will change between now and when i set the thing up in late April/Early may. Suggestions welcome.
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This will be interesting to see. I have never done a paludarium but from what I've seen, they are a very natural-looking addition to any home.

If you're going to use aquatic plants for the land portion, such as crypts, what is your method for keeping high humidity in the setup?
I'm still working on the exact solution for humidity - most are recommending 'mistking' but i want to at least research a few alternatives. For the 5 gallon test 'terrarium' i have setup with crypts i've been using one of those cheap misters i picked up on amazon intended for reptiles. It works well enough - i have it hooked up to a smart switch and have it come on now and then during the day. As i noted i just don't like how the species of crypts i'm growing look emersed but i'm fairly happy with the other stuff including anubia. Haven't tested any species of echinodorus yet just don't have the space but i will at least try purple aflame and queen marble.
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Whatever you decide on misting, the design of the aquarium needs to provide sufficient cover so that humidity remains relatively high even after misting is done. For many, this means a top and sides that extend down. What's open is a portion of the front glass.
I'm using a box like this one - so all four sides are sealed and it has a glass top. Mine won't look exactly like this - also my sliding door is on the side not the front so the front is clear. Also i wont' have a canopy et all - but the box itself is somewhat similar - also different dimensions....

also i learned the lesson around misting from my test terrarrium - which i posted a picture of in my the intro thread. The purpose of that thing was to learn some lessons before setting up this box.


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