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Apologies in advance - I know NOTHING of paludariums. My FIL has decided he either wants one, or a FW aquarium (this I can do). I have a few years worth of FW fish keeping, and a little over a year worth of planted tanks (easy, low light tanks, though nothing technical or difficult). I am seeking ALL advice Re: paludariums. My questions:

He wants a VERY big, custom built tank. VERY tall, VERY BIG... (IF my LFS can even make it this big, I still have to ask them)... it would (not even half way full) hold close to 200 gallons of water... is that at all plausible? Is that much water workable?

What kind of fish are best for these set ups. MUST be flashy. He wants discus, I am not sure about this one.... or other various cichlids.

A good site to figure out what kind of animals (reptiles) would go well in your set up? Thinking: matching humidity, plants etc etc etc? Or should I narrow down what he wants and come back and ask??

How much weight??? Suppose it is.. 4 feet tall, 5.5feet wide, 2 feet deep, plus LOTS of water? He wants mostly rocks? will that work? I THINK those are th measuremens... not 100% on what the height is... may be taller...

Necessary equipment for a paludarium that you wouldn't need for a FW tank? cost of setting this up?

Maintenance on a paludarium??

how different is it, really, from a planted FW tank???

I plan on making 3 spreadhsheets for him.. 1) FW tank, 2) 200 gallon paludarium (not what he wants, but thought i'd leave it as an option)
3) above mentioned HUGE paludarium with: options for fish/plants/reptiles/cost

He really has NO thought of the live stock, and NO idea about .. well anything or care of said fish (will probably end up being ME who does this, as I'm 99% sure he won't unless I make it ridiculously easy...) ... he just wants it to be pretty and so it is up to me to do this, or find out if he likes any of these options at all. :rolleyes::rolleyes: so... sincere apologies if some of these questions are ridiculous.. but I truly don't even know where to begin (besides asking my LFS about possible tanks). I am off to go look through some of these other threads now and try and figure some of this stuff out! Thanks a lot!!!
 

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First things first. This project is going to cost a bucket load of cash. He is looking at several thousand dollars I am sure, probably 3-5,000 for a full set up.

He will need metal halide lights, probably 4x250W or the next size up bulb. Probably 3x300w heaters, and 2 canister filters, about 150 pounds of substrate – your choice.

Paludariums are basically like a fish tank + an emersed setup. If you have any experience with those then you will find it second nature.

Fish choices are practically infinite. If he wants rocks and flashy – try some of the African cichlids from Malawi, lots of the labidochromis fish are very colorful. Very much like salt water. I wouldn’t go with discus since they are pretty much the most picky FW fish out there, especially if he doesn’t know much about fish. Discus would probably be the worst first fish to have.

You could try planting orchids in the top part and getting some anole lizards.

Maintenance is essentially the same as with a fish tank. Except large tanks require larger water changes which works out to be more effort.
 

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depending on the dimensions of the "200 gallon" tank you could get by without 250 or 400 watt Metal Halides. that is a serious amount of light, especially considering you wont be filtering it through water for the most part. T5 lighting with good reflectors should be plenty for the vast majority of plants you'd prob use. low light plants in the water (anubias, crypts, sags ect.) and low to high on the land part. this could still run you close to $1000 depending on lenght and depth of tank.

lighting aside, what exactly do you plan on putting in the tank animal wise? this will have a big impact on the nessasary filtration, heating, substrate, and not to mention final cost. do you want $5 anoles, $50 tree frogs, $100 day geckos, $300 chameleons? flashy orchids and broms will cost way more than ferns and pothos vines.

just some stuff to think about.

-nick
 
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