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Re: Paludarium

Travis posted:

>Hello All. I am new to the list.  I am thinking about building a
>terrarium with a large assortment of *interesting* plants, a water
>section with some fish and maybe a few small lizards/frogs.
>Any direction or information would be great.  I do not have much
>knowledge of aquatic plants.  I have done a bit with fish tanks and
>lizards.  Any help would be great with recommendations of setup and
>plants to start with.  Plus plant sources.

How much of an investment are you planning to make?  I haven't checked them
out lately, but I toured the paludarium sites on the web (that I could find)
a while back, and they mostly were very sophisticated, DIY dream projects.

I set up something much simpler.  44 gallon pent tank, about one-third full
of water, small submersible filter.  Vitalite in a prefab ten gallon strip,
as well as an incandescent, GE plant grow bulb (maybe 40 watts?) propped up
above the tank.  It's not pretty, but it works.  I pulled apart the prefab
glass lid, and replaced the square part with a prefab screen top.  I've only
used a small number of plants, but here are my limited observations:

Ye olde impossible-to-kill houseplant, pothos, grows well.  It seems to be
perfectly happy just sucking nutrients from the water, although it has sent
roots down to the substrate.  Besides, the anoles love it as a perch.

Java Moss grows fine above water, although it must be close enough to get
its "roots" into the water.  Even a few inches above the water level, it
grows as long as it's got a wet dangling section.  Mine gets dry and brown,
though, if I let the water level get too low.  It tends to recover quickly.
Since my rockwork is lace rock, which is a little tough on amphib feet, I
think it's much appreciated.  My oregon newt seems to really enjoy the
network of caves in the lace rock.

"Dragon flame" grows quickly, given sufficient fertilization and lighting.
(Sorry, I don't know its scientific name, but it's on the "blacklist").  I
dropped lighting levels a while back and killed it, though, so if anyone's
got some lying around, I'd love it... hint, hint...

Home Depot potted tropical plants seem to work well.  I've got a
medium-sized bromeliad, as well as two kinds of lily.  I basically upended
half the soil from the pot on top of a depression in the java moss-coated
rockwork, and the plants have taken off.  One lily has divided, and the
bromeliad has two new bromeliadlets at its roots.  There should be a local
poison control number, which you can call to ask about whether such plants
are poisonous.  They can't tell you about amphibians, of course, but they
can tell you if a plant is not recommended with house pets or infants.  The
anoles enjoy perching on both, and it provides some shade from bright

I've had some difficulty finding much information about semi-aquatic plants
on the web; if you find any great resources, let us all know!

Alysoun McLaughlin
Wheaton, Maryland
Where our power was out for 72 hours this weekend, in subfreezing
temperatures.  We rescued those fish we could catch, but half the community
tank wouldn't come near the net.  Amazingly, nothing died; not the SAE's,
not the loaches, not even the cardinal tetras.  All the plants seem fine,
despite the blackout and chill.