I thought I'd share my weekend project with everyone. I decided to build a paludarium and see if I can come up with something close to my inspiration.
This first post is just going to be the build process I went through and then hopefully (since I'm starting all the dews from seed) I will have picture updates 3-6 months down the road.
Just as a disclaimer, I've never really built one of these before and I'm just going off of information I've read online. If you know of any hints or tips that might be helpful, please let me know!
Ok, here we go.....
-Fish tank (I used a 30 gallon tank)
-Lights for fish tank (For right now I'm using two Philips 'Natural Light' bulbs, but I have a feeling a may need to change things around. I got my lighting info from this sticky.)
-Fish tank gravel
-Mini water pump
-Humidity and temp gauges
The first thing I did was to make sure everything was washed and sanitized since I was reusing an old fish tank.
Next you'll probably want to map out on a piece of paper how you would like your tank to look. I usually skip this step because to me its always a fun process to move the rocks, stick and gravel around until they look nice. Plus I already have the idea in my head, so I save a piece of paper. But for some this is a neccesary step, otherwise you'll end up with a mess of a tank thats not asthetically pleasing.
After you've decided on a design You'll want to set up the tank in its perminant location. This for me actually took longer than the design process since there isn't much room in the house. Just remember though, once you start building your paludarium, it'll be a pain to move it! Not to mention heavy.....so plan wisely.
After I've set up the tank I get some plastic tubs and fill them with my peat to soak in water. I tend to try and make more than I need, because its much easier for me to have extra peat lying around instead of not having enough and having to wait around for the peat to get moistened up. I also do this for the dry sphagnum as well.
Now its time for the fun part, the actual build!
The first layer that I put down in the tank is the fish tank gravel. I move it around to create a low area for the mini pond (left) and higher areas for the land. I also (due to not having enough gravel) created a more boggy area in the front right hand corner. I decided I would put some utrics there. I know they can become invasive, but we'll just have to deal with that when the time comes
Next layer is the sphagnum layer. I put this layer down over the gravel to help keep the next layer (peat) from penetrating into the gravel and causing a mess. I put down just enough so that I don't see the gravel anymore. I also only do this on the land and bog area, not the pond.
Note: I also put in my water fall rock (left back corner) and another rock (back right corner). I was lucky because this rock already had a naturally occuring hole in the top back so all I needed to do was sticking the pump behind the rock and put the tubing into the rock. Viola! Waterfall rock.
Close up of the layer process
Now that the sphagnum layer is down I fill up the water to my desired level. I do the water before the peat because I don't want to splash the water around when I'm filling up and get peat sloshed around everywhere.
So once I fill up the water, I then put down a thick layer of peat. I built up some areas more than others just to get a more natural look. I also built up the back higher than the front. That way when you're sitting down looking at it you can see from the front all the way to the back without having to get up and look from above.
Note: I also added a stick just for fun. I may hang some Spanish moss from it, we'll see.
Now that everything is set up, I planted a small clump of utricularia as well as sprinkled some seeds around. Hopefully these will be sprouting soon!
And because I'm impatient I decided to throw in a couple of capensis
We'll, thats all I have for now. We'll see how this setup works and I'll post any changes or updates Enjoy!