Re: Palludarium

> All the talk about duckweed has prompted me to write about my 
> observations with growing the stuff. Once i started growing plants I was 
> told "never ever get the stuff, or you will never get rid of the stuff". 
> Recent postings on duckweed concur with that observation, however I have 
> never been able to grow it. It is not a water chemistry problem, I grow a 
> reasonably large number of plants to a presentable standard. Australian 
> and Papua new guinean rainbowfish eat it. [snip]

My emotions over duckweed has changed with time also.  Like, hate, like
a little bit.  Now, I see some fish eat at it (it completely leaves some
of my tanks), and some fish (most tetras) don't (it accumulates).

My biggest surprise is my 180 gallon tank, where the horrendous plague
of duckweed has lost out to the fantastic growth of salvinia.  Go figure.

cbay at jeppesen_com, cbay at verinet_com

> Toni xero at localnet_com wrote:
> I am sure some of you have seen the "River Tank" system that is for sale.
> Its the one that comes with plastic rock-like tank dividers and background
> parts that you glue together in side the tank to form little waterfalls and
> pools. I like the idea but the fake plastics rocks are really ugly. Has
> anyone ever built one from scratch so to speak, using real rocks ? Can
> anyone offer me some advice on how to go about doing this?

I'll start with saying I haven't done it yet.  :-)

The most *amazing* palludarium setup I've seen is one with a high back and
sides, but part of the front is cut out.  I really liked the look of it...
The back and sides gave plenty of room for rocks and waterfalls, the
bottom was an area of water, and the sides and part of the bottom let
you cover the area with bromeliads or bog plants.

I rather like the idea of a palludarium where I don't have to worry about
forgetting to water my plants.  :-)

I don't think I will attempt a palludarium with a 100g or 200g tank...
While it could look really good, I was quite taken with the "open front".
I'd rather use functioning 100g tanks for holding water, which seems to 
be a better use of their potential.  

I'm not sure how much of an impact on the humidity the open front would
have, but I'm sure I won't suffer from lack of humidity in the tank; and
it may help some plants (but evaporation would go up).

So, here's my plan (which won't fit in my house and which has not yet been
approved by my wife):  Square base, 4' by 4'.  The back and sloped sides are
3-4 feet high glass (1/4" is fine, because I'm not filling it with water).
The front is 12" high, 1/4" glass, and the water level should approach 10" 
high.  The top will be open, with plants growing out.  The stand will hold
the bottom 24" above the ground, for greater viewing ease.

That will give me quite a bit of vertical area for plants (I'm fond of
bromeliads), and still 10" deep at 4x4' square for water (less loss from
substrate, etc.) -- quite a bit of volume.  Further, I could
experiment with ultra-low maintenance ideas prompted by our David Webb. :-)

My eyes are bigger than my house.  :-)  I just can't constrain my
grandiose (my wife calls "excessive") palludarium desires to a *measely*
100g tank.  :-)  :-)

For technique (more in line with your question), I know the irregular
rock faces on many houses start with side board, which they nail
chicken-wire on top of, then build a cement rock wall in front of that
with the cement grabbing hold of the wire for additional support.
I'm going to look into tile supply houses and see about doing a similar 
thing with rock, grout, and tile adhesive (I don't want to go with
the plastic back-drop either).  While my sides will probably be glass
(greater viewing area), the back might be that "concrete wall-board"
used for tiled areas (totally impervious to moisture, I'm told).

cbay at jeppesen_com, cbay at verinet_com