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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am constructing a 10g paludarium from styrafoam and concrete following background howtos. The tank will be gravity fed by a drilled 8g and will house the return pump, and I may add another tank inline to increase water volume. I plan on DIY auto top-off to maintain water level.




Water circulation is by waterfalls and rivers. Planting area 1 is fed by a waterfall from 8g drain. Planting areas 1-5 are connected by a river. Planting area 6 is connected to 1 by another waterfall. 6 and 5 drain to submerged area.

Planting area 1 is approx 2.5" in diameter and 2" in depth.
2 is 2.5" x 1.5"
3 is 2" x 2.5"
4 is 2.5" x 1.5"
5 is 2.5" x 2"
6 is 3" x 1"

Water parameters are
10-15ppm NO3
3ppm PO4
>20ppm K
Plantex + extra Fe to .3ppm
Sometimes additional Fe chelate
>40ppm CO2
74-76F

Lid will be drilled to fit piping to minimize gassed off CO2 and keep humidity. I use EI with plants as biofilters.

Of my plants the following can be grown emersed, but I may be wrong:
Alternanthera reineckii
Ammania sp "bonsai"
Anubias afzelli
Anubias nana
Crypt beckettii
Crypt lucens (I think. Traded for C. parva, but it's too big to be parva.)
Crypt wendtii var red
Elatine triandra
Glosso
Hygrophila corymbosa "compact"
Hygrophila polysperma "sunset"
Ludwigia repens
Pogostemon stellata "narrow leaf"
Pogostemon stellata "broad leaf"
Riccia
Rotala macrandra
Rotala rotundifolia
Wisteria
Java moss
X-mas moss

1. Layout: Are the deeper planting areas adequate or am I limited in what plants I can try? Most areas can't be much deeper, but can combine 1 & 2 and/or 3, 4, & 5 if necessary.

2. Lighting: I am leaning towards 3x13w CF or 3x15w NO. Do I need more light to try any of my plants?

3. Substrate: recommendations? Am considering layers of mulm, peat, and Schultz, or planting stems into a mix of mosses and elatine triandra. Ideally the substrate would look good on concrete.

4. Plants: From searches I believe it is best to try the crypts and glosso first, and would like to start with r. rotundifolia and l. repens, too. Since anubias is epiphytic, I would like to try it where there is no water flow but high humidity, but perhaps I am taking the word too literally. Would you recommend I start with other plants? Are any of my other plants especially interesting when grown emersed? I do not mind if I have to trim often.

5. Animals: OT, but do you recommend a particular amphibian? I prefer pets with personality, and it cannot excrete any toxins that would harm fish or inverts in the connected tank.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So someone walked off with it after the third and final coat of cement was drying. Will be starting over and posting pics in this thread, as I assume there is still interest.

Thanks again. Later.
 

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Someone actually stole an irregular styrofoam block coated with cement and a pipe sticking out of it. I dont understand my own species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As I look at it I think I got greedy with the planting areas, as I am not sure there is adequate room for the plants to spread out. Moving forward anyway.


1 is approx 2.5" in diameter and 2" deep
2: 2.5x2
3: 2x1.5
4: 2x1.5
5: 2x2
6: 2x2.5
7: 2x2.5
8: 2x.5 (I plan on trying anubias here.)
9: 1.5x1
10: 2x1.5

Hey Baj, you made my day. :)
 

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Looking good! I'm not sure which design i like better, but is stagant water going to be an issue with the deeper pockets? I have zero knowledge of these types of tanks =D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks. With the river flowing over the pockets/planting areas, I think it will be no different than substrate in an aquarium. I believe it is recommended that emersed substrates get complete drainage, and this layout doesn't accomplish that. If needed I figure I can make little "pots" for the planting areas with holes on the bottom and a lip before the next pocket, so it drains out the bottom. I barely know what I'm doing -- hoping that once the thing is working and I learn something about emersed culture, the next paludarium will be better and pretty :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just an update and list of issues. I've been away and dumped a ton of water softener and a powerhead into the 10g for curing. pH is still over my test and have started daily total water changes last night. The whole structure is softer than I expected -- I needed to widen the end of the river as it some chambers were overflowing, and did it easily with my hands. I'm not so sure it will hold up for some amphibians. Hoping the concrete is significantly harder after it cures.

Tried assembling the setup while keeping sump in line (after water drains from the main its not recirculated), and for some reason the paludarium messes up my Durso standpipe unless flow rate is drastically lowered. I need to mess with the piping to figure it out.

The structure looks very weird with plants in it.. ugly even. I'm continuing with curing but am considering a more traditional emersed growth setup using potted plants, to get maximum space and complete drainage from each pot. This would mean no animals of course. I just have to stare at the thing for a while to decide what I'm going to do. :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been really lazy so sorry for being slow with updates.

Its been raining here so I'm curing it on the roof -- don't tell my neighbors ;) I got a cool piece of driftwood that will go into the main, too.


Here's my half-* way of getting some plants started on emersed growth. The planter is 18" wide but had to remove the right lip to fit it in the tank. The pipe connects to main's drain. It may be a real dumb idea but hopefully it works out.


Layers of eggcrate. Top has mesh to keep substrate from falling:



Mulm and junk from another tank:


Topped off with Schultz. Followed this by rinsing the whole thing, then realized that was dumb because I'm also rinsing out mulm :/ The substrate is clouding up the whole system anyway:


Cleaned out the sump but didn't clean the tank -- please excuse. It's sitting on a jar. I'll have hard piping in later. The furthest right pipe is for auto top off adapted from Dave's ECS:


May need to have a lid to keep humidity. Have not purchased new lights yet (just using spiral screw-in CFL) so all lower light species at the moment that will hopefully adapt to emersed growth okay -- crypts, anubias, l. repens.
Left:

Right:


Entry to auto top-off system. Just test fitting. I was originally thinking of using a 5g water jug with a spout connected to the piping (all sealed), but it will be better if I find some airtight container I dont need to pull down to refill.


Thanks again for all the ideas and encouragement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Had to take it out and increase exit holes as it caused a backflow/bubbling issue and lots of the plants got burried. Problem solved. Heres how they look now -- not too good.



Cutting a temporary lid tonight and replanting -- I wish I could cut it for the curing structure but the current layout's entry pipe messes that up. Thinking of adding elbows to it as a workaround. More pics tomorrow. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Phil, its not working out too well as I think I'm moing way too much water through it (~200gph -- I'd rather not turn this down as I have a river tank theme going on in the main). Please steal it and I'm interested in how it works for you. :)

Sorry for delay. Lid is in but plants look like they're dying or dead, and not adapting. After brainstorming on current issue, I'm trying new plantlets and not touching them, to rule out the humidity and root disturbance issues.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I might be a day or two early on the 27 day curing point for concrete, but the structure is no longer raising pH and this is my only chance to play with it for a few days, so cheated :) Have not yet decided what to grow submerged.

Issues:

Flow had to be drastically lowered as it's the only way I can get the paludarium to work with Durso standpipe on main. Estimate 125gph is moving through the tructure (planned on ~200gph).

Pelia and stuff is floating around from when everything got messed up after main tank had flushing effect (before lowering flow). Will clean this up later.

Using Schultz under mosses, as otherwise the plants moved too much in the current.

The first sections overflow at the sides. There's still good flow for the river.

NOISE. Moss at drain output helps a little.

Shallow planting area is empty because I have not figured out how to keep Anubias in there.

Lighting is 2x13w AHSupply from the main. Expecting JBJ CF this week.

No progress on auto top off system yet.

Will update in a few days.






Planter experiment has potential I think. If I ever try it again, little planters over the eggcrate instead of a layer of Schultz would be wiser. After no recovery I tossed those plants.
 
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