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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
I'm having a few problems deciding on some things for the paludarium that I'll be starting eventually. I'm in the planning stages now, so anything could change. Some background: I have had a planted aquarium for over a year now, and it has gotten somewhat difficult to manage due to the fact that I live in an upstairs bedroom. I dislike carrying gallon jugs of water up to my room every week, and I wanted to figure out something I could do. I don't want a terrarium, because I have a very happy betta in the tank right now.

So, I have a regular 20 gal tank (24" x 12" x 16") that I'm going to convert. I have several plants in there right now, including a few amazon swords, Cryptocoryne, and what I believe to be Aponogeton (I bought it at petco and they didn't know what it was).

I want the water level to be about 3-4 inches deep and to take up the entire front half of the tank.
I will have a small water feature with either a pump or a filter (haven't decided yet). It will have a false bottom, and I will be making a 3D background.

My real question is, what kind of lighting will I need? I prefer LEDs for their energy efficiency, and I know of several people who have had great success with them. I want to grow things like african violets, korean rock ferns, prayer plants, orchids, begnias, and philodendrons.

Any advice?

ps. for the record, I only plan on having a betta and maybe a few more fish in it. I do not plan on housing anything terrestrial in it at the moment. Later on I might, but it will be a long time down the road.

Pss. Sorry for such a long post, i just wanted to make sure i covered everything!!
 

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Welcome to APC!

I have a 20 tall paludarium that I light with 3 spiral compact flourescents. These produce too much heat for plants that grow all the way to the top. Based on my experience with typical planted tanks, I plan to switch to a Finnex Planted Plus LED fixture. It will give me higher light without the heat problem, and should grow the plants you mention.
 

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Welcome to APC! You are off on a project I haven't tried yet. Carrying water up the stairs would discourage me too, big time! Do you have a bathroom and/or kitchen sink in your apartment? If you do, it is pretty easy to make a hose/adapter set-up that lets you change water, using the tap water. Of course, if the house water is from a softener, and you are carrying un-softened water, it isn't nearly as easy to use the tap water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Will that fixture work for the aquatic plants as well?

Also, what is the maintenance like on a paludarium? I plan on adding things like springtails and isopods to help with decomposition, but I can't really find any info on what you actually need to do to maintain it (besides taking care of the water, spraying it and trimming the plants)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Unfortunately no, I don't have a sink upstairs where I could hook up an adapter. Eventually I'll move into a one story, but until then I'll do this!
 

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The Planted Plus should be fine for the aquatic plants as long as your terrestrial plants don't shade the water too much--that's a problem I have with my paludarium.

If you have no terrestrial animals except small invertebrates, maintenance is much the same as a planted tank that holds the amount of water that you keep in the paludarium. I have fire-bellied toads in mine, so I need to vacuum the gravel more frequently. Your maintenance should be pretty low with a single betta. The water volume in mine is only about 4 gallons, so it would not be big enough for than one or two fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok thank you! The only terrestrial animals I'm really considering are long tailed lizards (maybe one or two) or potentially dart frogs, but if I do get them I plan on adjusting my paludarium to accommodate them. Right now all that's in my aquarium is two bettas (a very chill male and female who don't bother each other) and two platies. I had more, but I've been giving them away to some of my friends who are starting aquariums.
 
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