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Old 03-24-2018, 08:35 AM   #1
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Paludarium Build

So this has been coming for years and finally the fish Gods have aligned.
I have my 75g tank with an overflow built in and an awesome custom made enclosure for the top of the tank. I used this setup maybe 15+ years ago for my son at first and he had a Chinese water dragon in the land section. After he moved out I set the tank up as a reef tank and recently moved my reef to 120 in a different room. So now I have what I need to build something different. Maybe over 20 years ago I ran my 135 half [or less] filled with a land section that housed anoles I caught in Florida ! My wife thought it was the most beautiful tank ever with vine plants growing end to end.
So with tank ,stand and top I am ready to make the paludarium I have dreamed and thought about for along time.
I definitely want a strong fish presence in the tank and plan on moving the kuhlis , farrowells and hatchet fish from my half filled 29g...But I want to be able to view the surface action of tank so have decided to "lower" the water level in the 75g from 19" to aprox. 13" .
To do this I have removed the built in overflow from my Aqueon 75g and cut it to the proper height on my band saw ! It came out way easier then de rimming any tank that is for sure and only took 15-30 minutes. So I need to clean it up and caulk it back in place. I need to build a sump since none of mine fit in the stand.The stand is only 19" tall to allow for the massive top. The top is made like the stand out of mahogany and has 2 glass panels in front. It measure 48x18 to fit on top of the 75 and is 43 inches tall.
I am going to paint the back of the tank black but unsure about inside the top. The inside is good grade luan mahogany plywood that could be sealed or painted. Not sure . This build is going to take a while I think but I will start with pictures of parts as they come together . Hoping to seal overflow and paint tank this week end. Stand is in place and top is still in the 'fish supply attic' . It will not be the easiest to get out /down from there but today may be the day !
Hoping this will be an awesome build and tank .Fun is #1 , function is #2 as I can always make improvements along the journey !
Besides the mechanics I really have no idea about any of this though !
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:47 AM   #2
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Sweet!! Can't persuade you to do brackish mangroves and archer fish??
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:53 AM   #3
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Sounds like itís gonna be awesome!
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:56 AM   #4
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I like brackish but think I want freshwater fish.. I think it will be easier on me and plants in the long run..
Cutting the overflow to have a partially filled tank is something I have thought about for years ,but could not bring myself to do to a new tank. It was way too easy and I think it will be a major part of the system that makes this thing smoke ! No hoses or tubes need to snaked in . All can come through the holes for the sump in the overflow as I plan on running the flow very low with possible water feature[s] creating the visual flow of the tank.
Beside the ease of freshwater in compare I have not ruled out land creatures yet but don't have any in mind yet either.. They if they happen I am sure will appreciate the fresh water .The little anoles were pretty cool to watch and like my fish selection just the right size to proportion the tank properly.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:22 AM   #5
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Fine.... with your skills and facilities... a 3 tiered foam cut in, 2 water levels, a little waterfall action perhaps?? A nice deep sandy section for fish and the shallows for a mudskipper?? Frog?? Load that baby up with air plants and vines. Mister?? One of those plant growing led boxes heavy on reds and blues. Sick!!
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:44 AM   #6
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Looking at 13 inches of water and who knows how much land ?
Not so sure I am up for a foam background ?
I am a builder not a creator !
I have seen builds that were beyond awesome with foam . They honestly intimidate me as I am not artistically inclined.. I use a straight edge to draw lines !
Universal rocks has some awesome backgrounds and tree stumps .Saw this at one of the LFS the other day.
https://www.universalrocks.com/fish/tree/stumps/ts-003
Pricey but looked outstanding .It is soft rubber like that can be silicone [I think] to the back of tank.. I test drove it in a 75 they had in the store and it was large !
I would like natural stuff but maybe mixing both real and artificial can look good ?
Going to need to sell a lot of fish for this one !
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:41 PM   #7
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Dart frogs! This kind of thing crosses my mind every once in a while.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbkemp View Post
Dart frogs! This kind of thing crosses my mind every once in a while.


Unfortunately Darts need lots of land and little water. If this is gonna be a fish focused paludarium darts definitely wonít work. They canít really swim lol.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:48 PM   #9
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I NEED fish man!
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Old 03-24-2018, 10:54 PM   #10
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Fondly looking forward to this, I have been starting to finally think through actual tanks and backs for a Paludarium. Though mine is a long time out - so it makes yours even more fun to watch!
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:01 AM   #11
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Subbed I need to see where this goes!
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Old 03-26-2018, 08:35 PM   #12
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Ok couple of pics and update.
Stand has been 'sealed' with tongue oil.
Before ;

The overflow was cut to height so I thought I would show you how it pulls water from the column also , not just the surface. It is dual layered .

The inside edge is low enough to allow surface flow and still pull from column through the slots in front.
I marked inside overflow with sharpie so I could caulk inside and out.

I was lucky and found a tube of Aqueon aquarium caulk at LFS .

Caulked on outside

The basic set up with sealed stand.

You may notice a 20l in the stand fresh from the $ per gallon sale .
I will be build a new design [to me ] sump I saw a couple years ago and just thought was the best for fresh water planted tanks ..I am pretty sure I will inject this tank with co2 so a gas friendly sump will be nice.
Here is a video of it in motion ;

The top is out of attic but still on sheds roof. I will get it in tomorrow .
Need to measure and order glass for sump.
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Old 03-26-2018, 08:41 PM   #13
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Mahagony??
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:02 PM   #14
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Always !
I had turn the old 75 g stand [also mahogany ] into a kitchen island for Mrs b. so the tongue was what was happening anyways..
The top for this build is mahogany also so it will match up nice...
It used to be more affordable years ago.
The bead board is still reasonable but the 5/4 !
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:23 PM   #15
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I love mahagony. It's stupid money. I would have cut you a deal on the true 2x18x72" slab in my garage. Needs a home.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:46 PM   #16
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I love mahagony. It's stupid money. I would have cut you a deal on the true 2x18x72" slab in my garage. Needs a home.
I just paid $80 for a 19x60 5/4 African mahogany.It was the widest board available. I still had to bread board the edge with 2x4 of mahogany[7' $45]...
I have to make something for her every now and then..
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:02 PM   #17
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Regarding the sump, gas friendly and easy access mechanical filter...nice.
Some floaters like frogbit would be nice in the water section.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:14 PM   #18
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So itís a double sided sump? Interesting...
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:46 PM   #19
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Post pictures!!
"I like brackish but think I want freshwater fish.. I think it will be easier on me and plants in the long run.." LOL It's always about the plants coral. Just say it! Don't be messin with my plants!!
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:29 PM   #20
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I just paid $80 for a 19x60 5/4 African mahogany.It was the widest board available. I still had to bread board the edge with 2x4 of mahogany[7' $45]...
I have to make something for her every now and then..
That is really beautiful, the stand and of course the wood is gorgeous. Always appreciate beautiful naturally finished wood
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