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Thread: Paludarium

  1. #1

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    Paludarium

    I am new to raising CPs. Stopped in a Lowes and impulse bought a sundew, purple pitcher, and cobra lily (Darlingtonia californica) death cubes (love that term!) for my new office. Then I started reading up on caring for them. As I was reading about the Darlingtonias, I saw a write-up suggesting they like flowing water over their roots. Besides plants, I wanted to add an aquarium to the new space, so this write-up had me thinking, why not combine the two?

    I found 1 reference on here to a Paludarium (combination aquarium and terrarium) with CPs. It was from 2001. So is there any experience here with them? I am recognizing that the Darlingtonia may not do well in this set-up, but I believe I can make the habitat viable for other CPs. Is there any experience on here with these systems and CPs?

    I have had aquariums all my life, so I am comfortable with that portion of the paludarium idea. I have always wanted to do a stream type version of one. For this version, I would probably want to have some of the filter water return into the planted area, combining the "circulating bog" idea into the design.

    For now, I am looking at the Circulating Bog watering method in this forum's sticky threads.

    Regards,
    Karl

  2. #2
    Bio is my life! S_Oregon_CP's Avatar
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    Its fairly easy. You raise one side with whatever materials you have. Place a pump on the top that circulates water out of the bottom. The water flowing has to be slow to prevent erosion and bothering the roots to much. Darlingtonia can be grown outdoors as long as its not colder than 30 degrees for weeks at a time. I set up a tank like this for my turtle back when i was like 9. It is fun and if you add fish or water CP's such as ultricula it can be very exciting

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    Where to start....where to start...

    I've set up a few of these over the past few years, I've never went the raised land route. I've just taken large pieces of driftwood and used the emersed portions of the wood as my land mass. You can create a driftwood land bridge pretty easy and quickly (provided you can find a good supplier of driftwood). Filter bags can be filled with soil/peat/whatever and used to plant the plants. Then cover the bag with sphagnum moss (to hide the ugly bags) and your done. Or you can skip the whole process and just get plants that enjoy growing on the wet/moist driftwood. The wood wicks very nicely and is idea for alot of plants.

    I have a pump running up to a splitter giving me 8 smaller lines to direct the water flow where I want it. I've never used a tradition filter in these types of tanks. Just a pump, heater and lights. I am currently testing out using Epi-web as a background wall, I'm having mixed results.

    If you keep the humidity up you can also play around with emersed aquatic plants and get some nice flowers off bacopa and maybe if your lucky get a cryptocorne to flower. Always back to CP's...I currently have some Utric's growing in there along with some sundews. You can really grow anything that will take the high humidity so long as you control the watering. Thats the real issue, since you won't be watering in the traditional sense you have to pick there home carefully. A plant might thrive in one place but move it 1 inch down and it dies.

    Might check out this post http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=115965 there are some pictures and random information about my paludarium.

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    Thank you both for the information.

    I was thinking of 2 scenarios for the actual build-out. The first was to use some rock to separate the land area from the water. I have a large piece that would make a great cliff face and could use it across a tank. The second was to build an overhanging shelf with something like the plastic flourescent light light lenses that I have seen used in a lot of the tanks here for hanging plants on. Either option would have a heavy filter cloth (like the weed barrier cloth for gardening) to keep the peat in place. If I do it right, I can hide the egg crate with this. I may end up with a combination of the two methods.

    I have a 94 gallon tank at home with driftowwd hanging down into the water column. It looks great, and some plants are above the water line. I have even had my cryptos bloom in there. Not bad for a planted tank without CO2! If I go the paludarium route, I do want to go a bit farther/higher.

    The only animal life I am looking at will be fish. Small fish. And no cichlids or other diggers. Maybe a snail or some shrimp as well, but nothing above the water line.

    I was thinking of running a canister filter, with a split off the output to trickle some water thru the land area. Maybe I'll get some cork bark and put it up the back as well. Then I could have the water trickle down that.

    RSS: I did not think of growing orchids in there as well. Do you have anything beside Epidendrums in yours? How are the orchids doing? Do you get flowers? What about keieki's? I could definitly try something on cork bark. Maybe even a Brassavola nodosa.

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    I would stay away from running water over the cork bark, it will decay quicker than you would think. Thats why I was trying out Epi-web, but I'm not overly happy with the results of my first test using it as a backwall, I really like the stuff for growing orchids but not being able to remove it and dunk it in water really hurts its usefulness. The plants mounted to it are just hanging around and not growing. Although the Ficus pulima var. quercifolia is rooting very nicely into it. If your not familiar with this plant, google it and get some its a great vivarium plant.

    I have about 15 or so Epidendrums of various species growing in the worm feeders, they are all Nanodes species divisions and are just in there to grow up some. Besides those I have 2-3 mounted on the Epi-web in the back, and about 10-12 on the driftwood. I've had 3 of them flower in there. Unless you have some experience with keeping orchids alive in more idea conditions, stick with smaller less expensive plants. Growing orchids in this type of an envoirment is more challenging that more traditional methods. For example, the Epidendrums in the worm feeders, I never water and they are wetter than they like (well they get submerged during my 3 week flooding of the tank, the entire tank is filled up and let sit under water for an hour or 2. Lets the killifish get to the random bugs up top). The roots are alot more prone to rot. I've had perfectly healthy roots, growing in mid air rot due to the constant 99% humidity and lack of air flow over them. This could be fixed with a fan, but that creates a whole different area of problems and the Epidendrums are growing nicely. I'll figure something out later, I hope.

    One of the really neat parts about paludariums is the little micro climates the tank establishes. I have a few 1" X 1" areas that can grow 1 species perfectly but if I move it even a cm it dies. Thats the real issue with the orchids, you just need to have a feel for what the plant likes and will tolerate before you put it in there.

    One last note.....don't put a vining or creeping plant in there if you don't want it to take over everything. They can be a real nightmare to remove and can overtake everything. Some good examples: any creeping ficus, hairgrass, most mosses, the creeping Utrics, chain swords, and Cryptocoryne affinis. Like right now I have Utric. graminifolia growing up onto the driftwood and within a few months I expect it to cover the entire piece, unless I actively try to keep it in check. I've only been trying to keep it out of the waterline so far. So far so good.

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    I have over 20 years experience with orchids. I also have a great local greenhouse for them, with 2 very knowledgeable owners. I'll slowly add a couple and see what happens.

    I am assuming you have a cover, probably glass, on your setup. Is that true? I was thinking of going without a cover to reduce humidity and temperature.

    The cork bark deteriorating does surprise me. If I go with water flowing over something similar to that, I'll rethink and maybe change to a rock or rock-like "veneer." If I added cork, I did know better than to silicon it directly to the tank. I try to avoid siliconing anything directly in place. On my aquascapes I will use it to glue rock walls together, but not to the tank itself.

    My biggest problem is that the most ideal area I have to place a tank is only 14" wide, so that limits me to the thinner tanks. I am a fan of the deeper (front to back) tanks. I am going to see about finding a used 40 gallon high or 55 gallon tank. If I can't find one used, I'll end up with a 30 gallon extra high (24"x12" footprint, 24" height) or the 40 gallon high (36"x13" footprint, 20" height). I am leaning toward the 40 gallon.

    The Epi-web sight shows "branches" formed in the material. Have you tried that as opposed to driftwood? Either way, I think I may have to give the material a try. I may also try a timed pump for watering some of the plants. Especially any that I put on the Epi-web. A powerhead run for 5 minutes a day with a tube to water them may work well.

    It sounds like I will be doing a lot of experimentation.

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    Yep I have a glass cover with a small area cut out to allow some venting. Without the cover alot of the plants I have in there would die quickly, but I've arranged the plants with the high humidity in mind. I would check the humidity without the cover before you planted anything, it might be too low. With this type of a setup you never can tell, way too many factors.

    I have not found a state-side vendor to buy the Epi-web branches from, and I haven't gotten around to ordering from overseas yet. Maybe later this year.

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