Paludarium Design and build ..
When I was working on the rocks in my shop, they kept looking a little green. So I put some more color on. At that point all you can do is add the lighter tones on top, the darker tones have to be underneath. I put them in the tank today & put the T5's above the tank to see how it looked all together. Now they look OK (not greenish at all) but a little bland, less so when you look close up. The only way to add more color at this point is to start all over again from the green wash on. I think it will be fine once every thing else goes in. I can't even think about doing all that over again.
This is the mount I found
I saw something similar on another thread here
Cool way to mount a fan.
But I didn't like the suction cup mount. Did some searching & found these.
SiriusXM Radio Multi Angle RAM Mount | Heavy Duty Sirius XM Radio Mount | SiriusXM Radio Mount
Used channel aluminum to mount fan to adjustable mount. Best way I could think of & not impede air flow.
I have an area above the tank that will house the fans & misting system with a mess screen to keep frogs & lizards from getting into the fans. Above this area is where the lights will be. Made a acrylic divider to separate fan & light area.
Finally got the fan thing figured out & done!
The mount for the basking bulb.
Grouts cured & sealed the underwater parts with epoxy. I knew the epoxy would be glossy but it was worse than I thought, so ended up steel wooling them. Still a tiny bit glossy but livable.
Installed the first of the net pots & fill gaps with GS.
Note : You could try hooking the fans up to some kinda wave maker timed outlet like these...
Natural Wave Multi Cycle Timer Reeftank Wavemaker Power Strip Aquarium Systems | eBay
Coralife Digital Power Center (Day-Night-Timer or Wave Maker)
I think you'll find you wanna run them on timers. I tend to agree with others that is overkill on fans. You have to remember it is air circulating in a box... once it is moving, with no place to go it is going to keep moving, but like you said you can pull some out if need be. I'd just keep a real close eye on the internal conditions when running that many fans.
Acrylic divider with fans mounted in place. The basking bulb goes through a hole in the acrylic.
Still don't know what lights I will end up using. Some of the orchids I like want nearly full sun levels of light. No problem getting that amount of light. The problem is paying for it. I'm talking to the folks at Build My LED to see how much more light I'll need to get that level of light. I have some metal halide I tried out but they put out to much heat for the acrylic. Pretty concerned what this may cost.
I'm pretty close to being able to fill the water part. May just do that & get some fish & let it run with the T5s I already have till I get the light issue resolved.
When I have talked to any of the orchid people about growing orchid in a paludarium, the first thing they say is "your going to need really good air movement". Also I have no vents under the doors because most of the time I will be looking at this seated & didn't want to be looking right at a vent. So most of the fans are pointed at the doors & one at the end panel to keep them clear. Also these are very quite fans that only put out 74 CFM. They will all be on a little controller from the manufacturer, so they can be dialed down if needed.
I may well have more than is needed, if so they come out real easy.
Hope that explanation of why I used that many fans wasn't to abrupt or blunt. All the orchid grows I talked to made a pretty big point of air movement, so I wanted to be sure they were happy & the glass stays as fog free as possible.
If you do the math, this tank is 374 gallons. So if 2 fans was good on a 150 & the 150 had vents to help keep the glass clear, then 6 fans don't really seem to be all that much more. I really wouldn't mind if there was a bit of a breeze in there as well. This is pretty much how I came up with this many fans. Just my best guess.
How to test the aircirculation inside the paludarium ?
if you want to really test your airflow/circulation, seal it all up and run a fogger inside until the tank is filled with fog. then run one fan until the fog dissipates, then repeat with 2, then try all your fans. with the tank filled with fog you will briefly be able to see your circulation. ive seen gimm do this on his 150gallon and 2 fans did the job well
I had originally planed to silicone Hygolon over the GS & in the deep groves in the rocks so moss & the like would grow. Now that I'm looking at it all, I think it being such odd shapes & curves the Hygolon would be hard to fit & probably be a PIS to do.
I think I'm remembering correctly that you can cover these type areas with silicone & then press coconut fiber and or other substrate type material into the silicone so moss & the like can grow in these areas? Any insight into this would be appreciated.
Still researching the lights but have the misting system in.
Higher view of the pots
living room side
Finally got the trim done & in, water is mostly cleared up. So got some new pix!
The roots of the mini peace lily are in the water. Zach at Josh's Frogs told me about planting them like this. He said fish like the roots in the water & reed frogs like to sleep on the underside of their leafs. The wire ties are temporary, if it does well I'll replace it with fishing line.
Black Mondo grass is Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens
Corkscrew Rush is Juncus effusus Spiralis
The gold, orange & greenish one (looks like a clover) is a kind of a Oxalis (all the label said)
This is the weird one I tried. black or purple Mondo Grass. The best nursery in town had what they called a string garden, which was different plants bare rooted & rapped in a sphagnum ball & hung up with string. So thought I'd try more or less the same thing, only not a ball of sphagnum I packed a space between two branches. I really like the black leafs, looks kinda like a odd air plant.
Aquatic Plants :
Cooling system :
I decided between orchids & pitcher plants it would be worth wild to get more of a temperature drop at night. When I found the part I was looking for, I decided to go ahead & build a cooling system.
I already had a chiller, tank & pump so when I found this radiator Seemed time to go for it. It is made by Hydro Innovations & called Ice Box 8" size.
Found this fan made to go in ducts, the 8" size fit perfect. Got it from Northline Express
From here on out I need to add, had I planed this from the start it would be much more compact, simple & less Sanford & son looking. Since it is an add on after the fact & not enough room to put it right on the tank now, it is what it is.
There is a 6" size radiator which would be all I'd ever need for this tank but I found a place that I could get the 8" for the 6" price. I figured I'd get the bigger one so if I wanted to add another tank I could cool it with the same system, just split off another duct add a fan & thermostat. I didn't have room for 8" or even a 6" duct, so I just used dryer vent duct.
I had this 15gal tank & wrapped it with foam to help hold temp better. The chiller is actually just out of the room to the left.
This is the duct going into the tank & the return. Some day I may attempt to straighten all the messy wirers, probably not. I hate the mess but it's easy to ignore it because it is in the back room.
Note : you could buy a small portable AC unit for the room and program it to go lower at night.
small portable AC unit : Can be used to aircoditioned the Paludarium
New pitcher plant, with a lot of help from several carnivores plant people. It's a dwarf maxima. Every one said they are smaller & don't need as cold a temp at night. When I got it about a month ago it had one pitcher open & one about half way grown. The nice pitch on the left has grown new since it's been here & another little one on the other side that gets bigger ever day. The plan is as it grows & starts to vine I will train it to vine on the branches at the top of the tank.
Another carnivorous plant, a Cephalotus. Doesn't vine but makes pitchers that rest on the moss & stays pretty small.
A weird begonia plants
The completed tank :