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Thread: My Overkill Terrarium with Custom Rock Face & Waterfall

  1. #1
    rcl27's Avatar
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    My Overkill Terrarium with Custom Rock Face & Waterfall

    First off, here is the almost finished waterfall:



    And the back side (ignore my dog):



    To highlight the basics, this is going into a 75 gal terrarium with a mix of CP's ranging from a N. glabrata to D. falconeri. Yes I realize two very different environments but just wait

    The base of the rock wall is hollow and houses the 720 gph waterfall pump, the 260 gph pump/filter assembly, the UV filter, a quickly crafted fogger, and all of the piping. There are three pots built into the wall. The one underneath the waterfall is an undrained standard pot that will house a smaller Utric. The other two are in the cliff face and have been designed for smaller highland nepenthes. Both pots have two 1/8" PEX pipes ran through them that are attached to a main coolant line. Water is circulated in a closed loop through these two pots, through the back half of the "grow area," and out of the terrarium into a reservoir housed inside a mini-fridge.

    To get a small idea, this slightly dated schematic shows most of the action. The original 300 gph pump was not strong enough so that was re-purposed to the coolant loop. A Fluval U4 Pump/Filter took it's place. The UV filter is attached to it's output & further behind it (or left on the schematic) is the 720 gph waterfall pump running freely.



    I have just finished sealing everything and made a few tweaks (like capping off the stream reservoir so water doesn't go everywhere). I am in the process of washing sand, black lava rock, and waiting for my extra pound of Besgrow NZ Sphag to get here. The current plan is about 2" of sand, 2-4" of black lava rock, and sphagnum to bring all the pots together. Here's another Google SketchUp image to illustrate this (again, slightly dated, I've boosted the total number of pots quite substantially).



    Depending on my temps, I have found a waterproof heat rope over at Big Apple Herp that I can wrap around plants that need the heat in the front half of the grow area. The rock wall pots average about a 10 F delta but I have no idea what that is going to do inside the main area.

    Feel free to ask all the question you want. I know I have left out a ton of stuff but this was kind of an impromptu decision to post this tonight. I plan on videoing the rest of the assembly so people can have a better idea how it is assembled. For more pictures just click on the Photobucket link in my signature.

    Oh and because videos are always better. This was taken about a week ago. Since then I capped the stream reservoir with acrylic so the water actually goes INTO the stream and have cleaned up the waterfalls just a bit to make them flow better. Cheers!


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    It looks amazing already, and I'm sure it will be even more so once it is all set up. Have you thought of growing plants in the water? Or would they just get sucked into the filtration system?

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    rcl27's Avatar
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    That was actually the main reason I went with the 4" water height. It seemed to be the best compromise to still allow something like U. inflata or U. purpurea to grow without having to create a 20" high soil line for my mexican pings or cephalotus.

    Surprisingly the water flow isn't that strong in the pool. Check out the bubbles made from the waterfall. They hardly move considering almost 1,000 gph is being sucked in right behind them lol.

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    rcl27's Avatar
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    Hmm, I apparently didn't capture the bubbles very well in the video. Still, they were stagnant enough that I even became slightly paranoid that my filtration system wont be strong enough haha.

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    It seems like you might even be able to grow lithophytes if you are able to keep them from being swept off. I guess I would be worried about the water agitating the substrate in the water too much if the flow was too strong and the water too shallow. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

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    rcl27's Avatar
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    I appreciate it! It's been nearly 6 months building this thing so I am equally excited and fed-up with the project haha. The aquatics will be the last thing I add since I am still not 100% sure it will work. However, I am going to grow a P. moctezumae on the rockwall. If you look in that first photo I built a spot out right in between the two pots to try and hang one or two. It is right above the big shadow.

    A little down the line I am going to build a rock spire/arch that goes from the second pot to the far right, front corner of the pool. This will hopefully give my glabrata something to climb. If any of you are Halo fans, think Beaver Creek/Battle Creek/Battle Canyon depending on the version. I was even debating buying a small rocket launcher to set on top of it haha.

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    Aristoloingulamata Dexenthes's Avatar
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    You are really putting some thought into this. I am sure it is going to be absolutely stunning when finished. I am dying to see how this will turn out!
    LOOKING FOR: N. (argentii x bicalcarata) x {[(lingulata x edwardsiana) x (naga x hamata)] x [(klossii x undulatifolia) x (aristolochioides x rajah)]} Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124586

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    can't wait to see the end product, this is AMAZING! awesome job!

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