30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build - DIY Aquarium Projects - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 07-27-2013, 03:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

Hello!

Will right off the bat say I am new to using forums in general, so if I do something which is against the forum rules or general conduct/manners, please let me know!

Now for the fun stuff, I have a Paludarium which is a few months old and am looking to re-build it. Almost all of the plants are growing out of the water. The bottom holds 6 Gal and has organic soil covered in sand, so far so good. For the construction, I will be using "great stuff" to build the shapes and a waterfall, then will be using polyester felt to cover it and form a hydroponic system for the plants. Pockets will be made with the felt which the plants sit in, water from the bottom is pumped to the top and feeds the plants (most likely will use a timer vs continuous flow). Moss will then cover all the felt. This felt pocket design has been used successfully in large hydroponic walls, but so far I haven't seen anything small scale. My goal is dense, well manicured plant coverage.

Here is my Paludarium from week 0 to week 7. It looks a little rough now, I went out of town for the weekend and all hell broke loose while I was gone, but has recovered some since.


It is currently stocked with 2 blue dwarf gouramis, many non-fancy guppies, and some sort of sucker fish. I plan on putting a small vine snake or tree snake in there when complete. As far as plants go, in the water I have water lillies, Anacharis-like plants, on the top portion I have two types of bromiliads, ferns, two vine species (Florida native, species currently unknown), moss, and finally, a Phaleanopsis Orchid! (the Orchid did NOT like it's repotting, flowers are lost but it will re-bloom once it adjusts)

Any input as far as design, construction, and stock is greatly appreciated! I am beginning work on it today and this thread will be updated regularly, this is my hobby, not a project.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

Welcome to APC!

This is a really interesting project. Do you like your tank/terrarium? What brand is it?
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

Thanks!

I absolutely love it, it is an ExoTerra 24" tall and 18" wide & deep. The front glass opens up and allows very good access to the plants & aquarium.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

Siliconed the back, put in my hydroponic hose, applied the great stuff, then coated the great stuff with silicone. I then folded the felt over itself, creating two layers and cut many slits in the front sheet for the plants to fit. The silicone acts like glue for the felt. I also carved a ledge in the foam on the top for the water to pool and flow evenly. Waiting for the silicone to cure then will put plants in tomorrow. Photo is of the back not fully siliconed. Click image for larger version

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Old 08-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

What is the felt that you are using?
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

It's standard black polyester felt from Michael's, was like $4.

I am having difficulties mounting my driftwood to the background. I couldn't stick it in the great foam like I have done in the past, as I had to put felt over it. The driftwood is not heavy at all, any suggestions?
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

Have you tried putting screws or nails protruding from the back side of the driftwood, then pushing these into the foam? Maybe with help from gel-type super glue?

That's great about the felt--I was expecting some kind of special hydroponic material that would be hard to find.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

Sorry for the belated post, things went awry, all my fish got dropsy and died immediately after the rebuild, cause is unknown. I ended up using a combination of weather-resistant screws (painted) and fishing line. I waited to post as I wanted to give it some time to grow in. The hydroponic system is working flawlessly!

So far, it is stocked with mostly the same plants, along with some native grasses/low growing flowers, water lettuce, and some plants from the Mimosa genus. The Mimosas open in the morning and close at night, very cool to watch. My largest bromeliad is in bloom, can't wait for it to fully open! Also have some small frogs and tadpoles that hatched today, not sure if they are the same species, they are both local.

Here are some pictures, camera doesn't do it justice.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 30ish gallon aquaponic paludarium build

I think I will be removing some of the thinner plants and replace with moss, they seem to take away from the bromeliads. Just have to find me a nice patch of moss.
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