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Building a Paludarium – an Upcoming Winter Project

Patty here.

So, Summer is rapidly passing us by, and before we know it, Fall will be upon us.  I always dread the end of warm days for my plants.  After perfectly sunny and humid days provide them with perfect conditions to thrive, I have to shove the plants into every spare corner and windowsill of the house and pray that they will make it through another long, cool, dry winter.  This year I am especially dreading it, since this spring I invested in several ferns and trailing plants that are humidity loving, like Maiden’s Hair Ferns, and some others that are thriving in moist soil that I fear will not handle the transition to indoors for the long duration.

I think the solution to my problem might be one that I have been contemplating for a while now, the construction of a new Paludarium.  In my last entry, I wrote about Archerfish and the possibility/benefit of keeping them in a large Paludarium.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept of this type of set-up, it is kind of a hybrid aquarium/terrarium with a land area and a water area capable of supporting a variety of plants and also a potentially terrific environment for fish and amphibians.  The set-up ends up looking like a slice of marshland or rainforest, and I think that some of my plants may be in for a winter holiday if I can pull it together for them. 

I actually have 2 spare aquariums to potentially use for this project, an old 55 gallon and a 65 gallon.  The 55 has been used before as a terrarium, but not as a true paludarium as the shallow aquatic side was completely divided from the terrestrial side with a length of plexiglass.  It served its purpose at the time, a green home for a couple of green tree frogs.  The water side was too shallow to keep any fish, but that will be remedied in the new 65 gallon project.

 Before I get started I’ll be doing some rearranging, so the project isn’t going to get off the ground for a while yet.  For now, I’m considering the components I’ll need.  Materials that I have on hand for the project are planting media (soil, flourite, clay pellets), submersible pumps/filters, heaters, lighting (though I may need to upgrade), plants (always on the lookout for more), and some other decor like stone fountains, wood and rock.  I’ll be acquiring or collecting some other materials I’ll need for construction gradually so that I can get set up by the time the weather turns cold.   I’ll need some PVC pipe and fittings some egg-crate, screen or landscape fabric, charcoal, sealant, and some other bits and pieces, maybe some plexi-glass and some cork bark depending on the layout I choose.  Design will be the next step, and the second part of the great paludarium blog.

I’d be interested to hear any ideas from readers who have attempted this before and have some insight. With such creative possibilities here, anything can be helpful.

Check out some interesting paludariums on YouTube.

Until next time,


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