I build a Paludariam – Part II

Here is the second part of my work on the Paludariam.

First, a definition.
We all know that an aquarium is an environment that you store and display fish and aquatic creatures in. These range from basic gold fish and Betta bowls to elaborate, super-expensive saltwater reef aquariums housing some of the worlds most beautiful and deadly ocean creatures.

I had built one or the other over the years, but never really combined them until I found inspiration in the things i read about Vivariums which lead to Paludariams.

Essentially, the Paludariam is just like a vivarium, a terrarium with live creatures, live plants, regulated humidity and temperature to produce as much a self sustaining ecosystem as possible. The difference between the Paludariam and Vivarium is that the Paludariam also incorporates a water feature in addition to a landmass for the animals to live in. the water feature could be anything from a pond to stream to waterfall to a deep fish tank surrounded at the top by landmass for amphibious creatures.

In my case, I have a rather simple setup that involves a water feature, with a waterfall, several small fish (Tetras) and a base layer of gravel that slopes up out of the water line to provide moist, but not flooded landmass and moss for my frogs to crawl on. The upside here is that the moss maintains moisture and helps with humidity control, as does the circulation from the waterfall. So lets take a look a bit more in-depth:

The landmass, as I said, is just a lot of aquarium gravel substrate covered by moss. the upside is that I can easily plant some semi-aquatic plants, it’s cheap, and easy to maintain (just remove the moss and replace every now and then). The down side is that I’m really limited on what can be planted, normal potted plants will drown. The frogs love it, it gives them a lot of texture to climb on and jump around in, plus it really maintains moisture, which helps with keeping the humidity around 70% or so.

You can see the three plants I put in there today… they’re new, so we’ll see how well they work. I may yet have to pull some of this out and redo it in-situ, but hopefully not.

This is the water side. The filtration and aeration is done by the waterfall… it’s a pre-made unit I picked up on clearnace at PetSmart that includes dual filtering and constant water movement. Its big enough for twice the amount of water I have… my water level is limited by the lower vents in the glass, unfortunately, so I get about 4 inches deep or so. The gravel is just standard aquarium gravel and the quartz was harvested from my yard… it gives the fish something to hide behind, and the large piece makes for a nice perch for the frogs.

And here are some tiny froggies:

And some Fishies (neon and white-tip tetras):

There is also one tadpole who has strong back legs. I think he’ll be sprouting the front legs soon so I put him in the tank directly to see if he’ll metamorphose and crawl out on his own into the new world. Given that they’ve all been raised together in the same tub, I don’t think that disease is a worry. If he survives and emerges like I hope, I’ll probably simply transfer them from the tadpole tank directly to the paludarium once they become froglets. But that will really depend on what this guy does.

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