April '00 - Rod's 450 Liter Paludarium.
In order to demonstrate the vast range of aquarium styles in our hobby, I'm always trying to show as many different types of setups as possible in this section. So it was a great pleasure for me when I received this submission a few months ago. The Paludarium is a setup that emulates a river bank, and is normally composed of aquatic, terrestrial and amphibian plants/animals. This combination immensely expands the possibilities of tank decoration and population, and must be a real joy to create (I'll definitely try it someday). But it also increases the challenge of producing a functional and harmonious result. And here's a great example of one such setup...created by american hobbyist Rod Mason. He's been keeping fish for about five years, and started somewhat backwards in that his first tanks were saltwater. This paludarium is his first attempt at freshwater aquatic plants and fish. Here are Rod's comments and details of about the tank:
"I learned the basic rules for fishkeeping from saltwater, but it was an expensive lesson. At the time of these pictures the tank was six months old and is located in my den. It's one of three...the others are a 100 L Hex, which I just changed to fresh, and a 200 L saltwater.
Dimensions: 180x45x55 cm (450 L). The wall to the water portion is set back 25 cm and is 22 cm high (about 100 L of water). I used some undergravel filter plates which I cut to fit, then placed the dirt upon these for the land section. This provided a free space allowing the soil to drain. I left an uplift tube on the UGF which I run a rubber hose down through, making drainage easy.
Filtration: One Shark which I now use with a DIY yeast reactor, one
H.O.T. Magnum used just for water movement, and a small water pump to power
the water fall. I really don't have any filtration.
Lighting: Two 30 W Coralife Nutri-Grow over the water section and four 30 W Sylvania Gro-Lux tubes over the land.
Heating: Two 50 W Acura submersibles at each end of the tank.
Gravel: Regular natural colored aquarium gravel with a soil mix (this I don't know if I would do again).
Nutrients: Tetra Hilena Crypto once month. Tetra Flora Pride once a
Water parameters: Temp 26 C; pH 6.8.
Aquatic Plants: Amazon Swords, Ludwigia, Val, and ivy which has grown into the water and back out of it. Since adding a yeast reactor I now also have Hygrophila, Rotala and others.
Garden Plants: Bromeliads (Guamanias, Tillandsea, ultras), Aphelandra dania, Vrieseas Mamey Crouton, Clatheas ivy, begonias, african violets and some others I don't know the name of (I'm new at this plant business).
Fish: Mollies, Platies, Guppies, two Giant Danios, four African Dwarf Frogs, one Pleco, and one Clown Loach.
Maintenance: This tank really is low maintenance, I don't use any
filtration and have not had any problems so far. I do a water change of
about two gallons once a week and that's it. The land plants I water about
every two weeks with Miracle Gro plant food drops mixed in the water.
The biggest problem I have is keeping everything cut back. The ivy has
grown out of the tank and has got long enough where it frames the outside
of the tank. These tanks are simple to build and easy to maintain. I am still experimenting with different flowers and plants and can hardly wait for the stores to set out the spring plants."
If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.
Photos taken by Rod Mason and displayed here with his permission.