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  #1  
Old 12-05-2020, 12:25 PM
harpspiel harpspiel is online now
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Default 60g Paludarium, pic heavy

I've had orchid terrariums before, but my misting system broke and life happened for a while, and then in January of this year I decided to finally make my dream happen and build a paludarium.

Here are pics of the progress, from beginning the build in January 2020 to where I am now:





Waterfall in action

2/15/2020:


6/28/2020:


12/5/2020:






Current orchid list:
Acianthera (Pleurothallis) prolifera
Aerangis curnowiana
Angraecum didieri
Bulbophyllum
'Santa Claus'
Bulbophyllum barbigerum
Bulbophyllum planibulbe
Dendrobium aberrans
Dendrobium auriculatum
Dendrobium
'Aussie's Hi-Lo pink'
Dendrobium laterale
Dendrobium lichenastrum
Dendrobium limpidum
Dendrobium pachyphyllum
Dendrobium parvulum
'Eichenfels' x 'DanDan'
Dendrobium parvulum delicatulum 'Violet Blue'
Dendrobium subuliferum
Epidendrum
'Panama Ruby'
Haraella odorata
Lepanthopsis astrophora
Macodes petola
Masdevallia
'Confetti'
Masdevallia 'Dragon Gem'
Masdevallia erinacea
Masdevallia wendlandiana
Maxillaria minuta
Maxillaria schunkeana
Meiracyllium trinasutum
Mystacidium braybonae
Paphiopedilum
'QF Mini'
Paphiopedilum thaianum
Phalaenopsis hainanensis
Pleurothallis dodsonii
Pleurothallis tripterantha
Restrepia dodsonii
Schoenorchis fragrans
Sophrocattleya
'Seagull's Gumdrop'
Trisetella hoeijeri

The waterfall is out of commission at the moment, I had the main aquarium pump running it 24/7 and it was making everything around it too wet to grow anything, which you can see in the 6/28 pic. I have a separate pump for it now, and just have to get it set up on a timer to run for a few hours a day. I'm happy to describe build techniques if anyone is interested, or include a list of non-orchid plants - I currently have around 80 different species of plants in there.

It's looking a little crowded to me (I guess 80 species is a bit much), and I want to reorganize soon. I do like that wild, swampy look, but any plant placement suggestions to make it flow better visually are welcome.

Last edited by harpspiel; 12-05-2020 at 12:46 PM..
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2020, 03:17 PM
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Sweet!
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2020, 11:28 PM
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DirtyCoconuts DirtyCoconuts is offline
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Super cool.

Would you explain the water flow you have, is there a riparian layer at the bottom or does the pump sit at the same levers as the bottom of the display?

Also, how did you bend the white plastic “egg crate” light diffuser? In pic one? Heat gun? I never thought about bending it but that is brilliant.
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Old 12-06-2020, 11:59 PM
harpspiel harpspiel is online now
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In the first pic you can see both egg crate and a piece of acrylic that I bent with a heat gun. The egg crate was a little finicky but I think it could have some pretty cool applications.

I siliconed the acrylic in place to create a separate land area (so far no leaks, fingers crossed). The land area has its own drainage layer with a bulkhead about 1” up from the bottom. There is an overflow bulkhead about 4 1/2” up on the water side. Currently both drain into the same bucket. The water flows freely under the “bog” area on the right, which, it turns out, makes it too wet for anything other than Utricularia. I’m trying my unhappy Masdevallia ‘Confetti’ in a pot of hydroton sitting in the bog area at the moment, with about 1/2” of the pot in the water.

There’s a Paludarium filter hidden at the back of the water area that should circulate water in the tank, but it’s not flowing at the moment, I think I just need to clean it. Turns out my aquatic section doesn’t need much filtration, between the plants, about 30 cherry shrimp and a snail. The Paludarium filter used to pump water up to the waterfall, but I decided to separate those functions out by getting a 2nd pump for the waterfall. Once I set it up, I’ll either recirculate water from the combined reservoir through the waterfall, or just use aquarium overflow. There’s a lot of wicking from the aquatic section over the acrylic into the land section and I lose around 2 gallons of water/week that way, so it would be nice to recycle it, but it might be too dirty.

I also have an ultrasonic mister sitting in the water, mostly for effect, and a 2nd reservoir under the tank for my MistKing system. All water is RO provided by my $50 Aquatic Life under-sink RO system, which takes my 200 ppm tap water down to about 6 ppm.

Last edited by harpspiel; 12-07-2020 at 12:13 AM..
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  #5  
Old 12-07-2020, 08:24 AM
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Simply AMAZING! Love it. Many kudos to your skills.
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:55 AM
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DirtyCoconuts DirtyCoconuts is offline
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amazing!

I’d love to see how you did the plumbing if you have any pics of that.


Also, look into wetter bog plants like American pitchers (saracenia) and some bog orchids.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:36 AM
harpspiel harpspiel is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyCoconuts View Post
amazing!

I’d love to see how you did the plumbing if you have any pics of that.


Also, look into wetter bog plants like American pitchers (saracenia) and some bog orchids.
North American bog orchids and pitcher plants are really neat, but unfortunately both too big and temperate, so they wouldn't do well in my tank long-term. I think I just need to try some aquarium plants that also grow emersed - maybe Bucephalandra would do well there, I really like that genus. I also want to try Utricularia calycifida, it has cool leaves.

So, the less glamorous aspects of my setup. On the lid you can see the MistKing tubing, wiring for the lights, and 2 vent fans (they run for about an hour a day, not sure whether they're really necessary since I have an internal circulation fan). I built a raised lid to hide the MistKing mister heads and lights, because I like a clean look:


Hidden back compartment with the ZooMed Paludarium filter and aquatic section bulkhead. You can see that the water level is quite low right now, due to wicking into the land area. You can also see the ultrasonic mister in front. The pendant orchid is Epidendrum 'Panama Ruby', a fun little hybrid that I'm trying out in this spot, but it may be too wet.


Usually the back compartment is covered by a piece of egg crate covered in Spyra:


The land section bulkhead with tubing leading into the overflow bucket. The aquatic section has a similar setup:


In the stand, the overflow bucket on the left with tubes from land and aquatic section draining into it, and the MistKing reservoir on the right, both with their own overflow bins (learned this the hard way):


Mistakes I made so you don't have to:
I made the tank lid out of plywood to save money, and tried to waterproof the inside. It grows a lot of mold and is hard to clean, so I'm going to spring for acrylic soon and remake it.

When I was building this people recommended having a sump system with the filter in it for easy access, and if I had that my filter would probably be running right now, since it's a pain to ease it out of the back compartment to clean it. However, I don't really seem to need it. It also would have involved drilling another hole in the glass, and I already felt nervous about 2, but it turns out they're pretty easy to do.

Always assume you'll have leaks! I recently got the bins after numerous flooding incidents, both from my overflow bucket overflowing, and from temperamental fittings on my MistKing reservoir and pump. All I can say is, it's a good thing I'm not allergic to mold, and that I live in a desert where (eventually) the bottom of my tank stand will fully dry out.

I highly recommend my internal circulation fan, an 80 mm Coolerguys IP67. IP67 means that it's somewhat waterproof - it can deal with constant splashes and spray. I have found that regular computer fans rust within a year for me. However, there may be dedicated vivarium fans on the market now that are cheaper than the $15 Coolerguys fan that would work just as well, I haven't researched that recently.

These are great for internal lights, I have a Current Satetellite Plus Pro 36" aquarium light, but I supplement it with hanging LED spot lights.

Last edited by harpspiel; 12-07-2020 at 11:46 AM..
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2020, 10:21 PM
harpspiel harpspiel is online now
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I reorganized and I think I’m happier with it. Once it grows in the left side will be a little mossy clearing, dotted with Sinningias:


If my Masdevallia ‘Dragon Gem’ (back, far left) doesn’t perk up soon, I’m going move it and put a small, colorful begonia there:


Macodes petola, Paphiopedilum thaianum, Malaxis comelinifolia and an Adiantum visible through the arch:


My trouble spot on the right, out of commission waterfall and bog, and the ultrasonic fogger in action:


There’s a little dead space between the logs on the ground, I think it’s calling for a colorful selaginella:

Last edited by harpspiel; 12-07-2020 at 10:57 PM..
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:15 PM
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DirtyCoconuts DirtyCoconuts is offline
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Stunning


And thank you for the pics of all the interior bits. That is gold.

You work very clean
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Old 12-18-2020, 08:16 AM
A.Marie A.Marie is offline
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Your paludarium is gorgeous! I hope I can create something so beautiful one day (I'm new to orchid growing, so I've got a lot to learn before I tackle something like this!)

What non-orchid species do you have in there? It looks like maybe some Tillandsia species, mosses/liverworts, and aquatic plants too?

Last edited by A.Marie; 12-18-2020 at 08:58 AM..
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