90g Cliffside Paludarium Build (Let's try this again)

By: lonesomeshark
May 8th, 2013
2:09 am

90g Cliffside Paludarium Build (Let's try this again)

OK. Sorry for the trouble with the last post attempt. Hopefully, this post will not create a problem.

This is my first post though I have been lurking for a while and have really enjoyed the creativity and inspiration provided by all of you. I'm looking forward to learning more!

Here is my new paludarium build and my first attempt at a build such as this. My hope is to create the appearance of a cliff with land mass jutting out above and beach area below. The water section will be sparsely planted. My thought was to create a bonsai forest on top of the cliff. I am not sure of options for species that can interact with the land section and would love your input on this...


Tank dimensions- 47" x 22" D x 19.5" H
Light- Medium-high LEDs though I have not measured PAR levels- about 12" above water level
Substrate- Medium Sand on the bottom with some Microbe-Lift Aquatic Plant Media. I used some spare Fluval Stratum and top soil for the land area
CO2 injection
Filtration is via a 45g diy sump with biomedia and separate refugium
I am also using a MistKing misting system for the emersed plants/bonsai

Background- These are real rocks that are foamed together with black expanding foam to create a nice stable cliff-like appearance (no worry of falling rocks here)

Rocks were chosen to fit together and then foamed. Sand is piled up initially and pressed into foam before it fully cures/sets to give a more natural appearance. I like the way this has turned out so far. Will let you know how it stands up over time.

I used styrofoam to support the rocks while the foam cured and then removed it. The styrofoam was replaced with a PVC and egg crate false bottom to support the land area.

View from behind showing the foam 'seams' that will completely separate the land section.

Plumbing is hidden behind the cliff and enters the water area through a couple of small supply holes built into the cliff wall. Detail view below.

I used some weed barrier fabric over the egg crate to allow water to travel under the front gravel section in the area of the submersed cliff. This will allow this area to be 'flooded' so I can have some emersed plants that like wet feet. I am thinking of an HC carpet here that will be partially emersed. In the areas of land that I want to keep dry, I am using some spare EPDM rubber pond liner that I had laying around that I siliconed to the back side of the rock cliff. This is being supported by the false bottom.

Perspective view of the tank positioned in the living room wall unit.

Starting to plant and stock with some colored skirt tetras, danios, and Endlers.

Couple of detail shots.

Side is viewable as well showing open top. Water is still hazy in this pic.

I'm experimenting with some mosses for the land portion. Need something that likes light!

This is where I'm at right now in the build. I will post updates when I've had a chance to plant the land section.

Are there any suggestions on a semi-aquatic species that will get along with fish and perhaps come out on the land section without risk of escape through the open top? FW crab maybe?

Also, any thoughts on some nice submersed plants that are small leaved and will maintain the desired scale? I don't want a broad-leafed or stem plant that will look too large in perspective.

Thanks for your input in advance.

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