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Vic's 180 Gallon Vivarium (previously a paludarium)


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#1
Withers

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So, I've always wanted a display tank in our home. Something that would really wow people and something that I could watch for hours and not get bored. It has taken various forms over the years, but it was always either a poison frog tank or a big predator only reef. I've given up reefs, and this will likely be the final nail in that coffin.

I'm going to build a large paludarium that consists of a community freshwater section and a planted section for poison frogs. Here's the rough sketch of what it will look like.

BigPaludarium.png

The tank itself will be 36x24x48 and the stand will be 36x24x30. The water section will be 36x24x10, so approximately 50 gallons, along with a 20 gallon sump. The entire thing will be made of 1/4" glass, assuming I don't get any bowing in the water section.

I'm picking up the glass on Thursday and I'll start construction this weekend, so stay tuned for pics :)

Current Status:

 

8556237120_e77b28aa5f_b.jpg

Edited by VicSkimmr, 26 March 2013 - 09:44 AM.


#2
doppelganger

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I don't know what's going on but I'm already subscribed! :D
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#3
Markushka

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This sounds awesome!! the one hitch to keeping a fw set up in a vivarium from experience is tannins. Do you know how you are going to deal with them? I wanted to have a little pond in my viv, but the water turned black from the tannins.

#4
madfx

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Sounds like a cool project. You planning a misting system? I always wondered how you strike a balance between misting and ventilation to eliminate condensation on the glass. Nothing's worse than a beautiful setup with foggy glass.

#5
Lukapalooza

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AWESOME! I have been looking into building a paludarium also. I am going to have to wait till I move though. However it would sound cooler if you called it Vic's Vivarium! lol (another term for paludarium)

Get the most colorful orchids you can find!

Edited by Lukapalooza, 19 April 2011 - 09:45 AM.


#6
animalmaster6

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Sounds awesome!

I really can't wait to see this set up.

Any ideas of species for the FW part?

#7
Withers

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This sounds awesome!! the one hitch to keeping a fw set up in a vivarium from experience is tannins. Do you know how you are going to deal with them? I wanted to have a little pond in my viv, but the water turned black from the tannins.


Tannins from the soil or from the wood? The soil will never be in contact with the water section, but some will likely leach in just from drainage.

Sounds like a cool project. You planning a misting system? I always wondered how you strike a balance between misting and ventilation to eliminate condensation on the glass. Nothing's worse than a beautiful setup with foggy glass.


It will definitely have a misting system. I'm much too lazy to do it by hand and I'm a sucker for all types of techno-gadgets :) Condensation will be kept to a minimum via an air circulation system. It will have at least 5 80mm fans moving air around to help promote plant growth and hopefully drive away condensation.

AWESOME! I have been looking into building a paludarium also. I am going to have to wait till I move though. However it would sound cooler if you called it Vic's Vivarium! lol (another term for paludarium)

Get the most colorful orchids you can find!


The difference is the water section. A vivarium doesn't have a large water portion.

Sounds awesome!

I really can't wait to see this set up.

Any ideas of species for the FW part?


I've got some ideas, mostly danios and killifish I think.

#8
mmcguffi

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You could do some south american cichlids, that would look AWESOME. I not sure how safe that would be with poison dart frogs though

#9
Withers

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The frogs shouldn't ever get in the water, but yeah I don't want to chance having any aggressive fish. I'd hate to lose a $100 frog due to a cranky $10 fish.

#10
mmcguffi

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lol you'd probably lose the fish too

#11
animalmaster6

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I got a really awesome idea from this. It may even be the same thing that you're doing haha.

I was thinking: You could do a the tank with originally just substrate (not underwater substrate) on the ground. You build the plants up the side of the wall going up.
You would make a hole for water in the bottom. You would not fill up the entire bottom, the water would be in the front middle or in a front corner. The remaining substrate would be like a dirt, or whatever substrate you use, beach. It would be like a pond.

Could that work? You could put a material around the pond and plumb it into something to make water flow. I think it sounds really cool. This would only work in a decent sized tank though.

I've got some ideas, mostly danios and killifish I think.

Sounds nice. What about hatchetfish? You could do a South American Rainforest theme. I don't believe hatchets are aggressive.

#12
maximusmarine

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I got a really awesome idea from this. It may even be the same thing that you're doing haha.

I was thinking: You could do a the tank with originally just substrate (not underwater substrate) on the ground. You build the plants up the side of the wall going up.
You would make a hole for water in the bottom. You would not fill up the entire bottom, the water would be in the front middle or in a front corner. The remaining substrate would be like a dirt, or whatever substrate you use, beach. It would be like a pond.

Could that work? You could put a material around the pond and plumb it into something to make water flow. I think it sounds really cool. This would only work in a decent sized tank though.


Sounds nice. What about hatchetfish? You could do a South American Rainforest theme. I don't believe hatchets are aggressive.

It would probably be best to ditch the water area and rely on the Misting system It's OK to build a waterfall but have the water drain through the substrate to a collective submerged area with a return pump. You don't want large collective areas of water for terrestrial frogs. Also due to the size of your Vivarium you may need only one of those fans pulling the air out. I ran 1 2" 12v fan on a 150 gal Viv. You wouldn't want to lose your heat and humidity by too much air movement. I once went on this exact course, getting rid of the Reef system and building a Vivarium, however the craving for a reef system returned 3 years later. So now I have both!
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#13
animalmaster6

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It would probably be best to ditch the water area and rely on the Misting system It's OK to build a waterfall but have the water drain through the substrate to a collective submerged area with a return pump. You don't want large collective areas of water for terrestrial frogs. Also due to the size of your Vivarium you may need only one of those fans pulling the air out. I ran 1 2" 12v fan on a 150 gal Viv. You wouldn't want to lose your heat and humidity by too much air movement. I once went on this exact course, getting rid of the Reef system and building a Vivarium, however the craving for a reef system returned 3 years later. So now I have both!

Yeah I see the problem here.
My point for this pond though is so you can keep freshwater fish.

#14
Withers

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It would probably be best to ditch the water area and rely on the Misting system It's OK to build a waterfall but have the water drain through the substrate to a collective submerged area with a return pump. You don't want large collective areas of water for terrestrial frogs. Also due to the size of your Vivarium you may need only one of those fans pulling the air out. I ran 1 2" 12v fan on a 150 gal Viv. You wouldn't want to lose your heat and humidity by too much air movement. I once went on this exact course, getting rid of the Reef system and building a Vivarium, however the craving for a reef system returned 3 years later. So now I have both!


Please guys, I know what I'm doing. The entire point of a paludarium is to have an area with water for fish, and an area with plants for frogs. I've set up plenty of vivariums just for frogs, that's not what I'm interested in. I want a display that features both. This is the tank I currently have set up.

Posted Image


None of the fans will be pulling air out of the tank, that would be suicidal for the frogs. These fans will only move air around inside the tank. It won't have a material effect on humidity. Without air circulation plants will not thrive, especially not difficult to keep species like orchids and ferns.

Yeah I see the problem here.
My point for this pond though is so you can keep freshwater fish.


The key is to keep the water completely separate from the soil. Setting up a "pond" area sounds good in theory but is extremely difficult to pull off, especially with a waterfall. It's been done, but my goal is something much simpler (and hopefully as good looking). Hopefully I'll be able to show you what I mean once I get to that point.

Edited by VicSkimmr, 19 April 2011 - 04:25 PM.


#15
gabe_j

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damn it Vic how'd you find out ab my secret ninja project lol I'll post a build thread on it later it's not good enough yet. I did see the build out on that other forum. good work man.
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#16
Withers

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damn it Vic how'd you find out ab my secret ninja project lol I'll post a build thread on it later it's not good enough yet. I did see the build out on that other forum. good work man.


My bad :lol: The more the merrier! I'm not sharing the build log for this one with that other forum, I'm going to try some different stuff with this one and I don't think I'll debut it till it's done. Not to mention I'm going to have multiple species of dart frogs in it (shh don't tell).

Here's the eventual spot for it
Posted Image

Edited by VicSkimmr, 19 April 2011 - 05:03 PM.


#17
animalmaster6

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This is the tank I currently have set up.

Posted Image

That is one amazing paludarium. I really like it.
It's almost completely what I was thinking. My thought was just deeper water for fish.

The key is to keep the water completely separate from the soil. Setting up a "pond" area sounds good in theory but is extremely difficult to pull off, especially with a waterfall. It's been done, but my goal is something much simpler (and hopefully as good looking). Hopefully I'll be able to show you what I mean once I get to that point.

Ah I see. It does sound really nice haha. I can see why it would be so hard.
I can't wait to see the finished product.

#18
Withers

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The way you do it is by building a false bottom, which is basically a platform for the soil to sit on top of. This is how it works (sorry it's not easy to see)

Posted Image

Posted Image

With the foam carved and substrate added
Posted Image

It'll obviously have to work differently for this tank since the water will be so deep, but the theory is the same. The water section in this tank is just to provide a little extra humidity and for me to be able to flood to simulate a rainy season. The frogs don't need it at all and it's much too shallow to keep fish in.

Edited by VicSkimmr, 19 April 2011 - 05:55 PM.


#19
animalmaster6

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Jason, this sounds pretty awesome.
Very well thought out :happy:

Edited by animalmaster6, 19 April 2011 - 06:32 PM.


#20
HiImSean

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sounds like an awesome project. i've seen a few tanks done like this and think it looks awesome. im always a fan of dwarf cichlids, especially crenicichla and apistogramma. i use to have a group of apistos with some angels and cory cats in a planted tank. they were pretty cool, always moving around

#21
Withers

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:D

Posted Image

#22
Arcbound Phyrexian

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I was really hoping to see a reef paludarium when I clicked on this! I've been thinking about what would be necessary to do one recently. Lol.

Looks like a nice plan regardless though. I've yet to keep any dart frogs, but I've had a few paludariums for American gree tree frogs, fire-bellied toads, anoles, red-claw and vampire crabs, so I know the nuances of false bottoms and drainage waters. Lol.

Keep up with the pictures; I'll definitely be following this one. :)

#23
Withers

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A reef paludarium would be ridiculous, but I don't think the frogs would appreciate the saltwater :lol:

#24
maximusmarine

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Ok I see that you know what ur doing with the build. However you may get some flack for two things: One is that fish release pathogens to your frogs and the second would be the multiple spieces. There are "Purists" out there. lol. Nice set up though, I experimented alot with my system also. You hear it from all kinds but to each there own. I'd like to see the completed project. Have you been to Dendro Board at all?
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#25
Withers

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Yeah I've been on dendroboard since 2006. I couldn't care less about what the majority of members on Dendroboard think. This tank is more than large enough (180 gallons) to house 2 species of frogs and they'll be incapable of interbreeding (Ranitomeya and Amereega). On top of that they both come from the same area in the wild.

As long as the enclosure is large enough and the frogs have their own niches, and as long as the species cannot interbreed, there's no reason why multiple species of frogs can't live together in peace. It's done all the time, especially in Europe.

Their small mindedness is exactly why this build thread isn't going up on that site.