Category Archives: Artificial Rock and Wood

The stuff Paludariums are made of

People are often confused what things are all in the paludarium, what they are called and what they do. In this blog post I’ll explain the different components (sub projects if you will) that make up the paludarium today.

A quick overview

In order to get the paludarium working as it works today, I had to run several different projects and put them all together. First I’ll quickly list all the different components:

  1. The Cabinet – The custom-built cabinets that hold the paludarium;
  2. The Paludarium – The glass structure that holds water and air (the paludarium is a closed construction);
  3. The Land part – The part above water. Filled with tropical plants, and for now no animals here;
  4. The Aquatic part – The front underwater part of the paludarium, where the fish live;
  5. The Sump – The rear underwater part. Any excess water from the Aquatic part is dumped here, and the plants living on the background panel get their water from here (and return it there too);
  6. The Waterworks – The board in the cabinet that holds all the plumbing (water valves etc);
  7. The Canopy – The intelligent armature sitting on top of the paludarium;
  8. PaluPi – A standard Raspberry Pi with an RS232 level converter that sits inside the Canopy and handles all the “smart thinking”;
  9. Apollo units – Named after the god of light, there are around 12 of these units inside the Canopy, each handling up to 4 leds, halogens, TLs or fans;
  10. Neptune module – Still under development, this unit controls all pumps, valves etc in the Waterworks;

Quite a list right? Everything in this list had to be tuned Read more »

Bringing all technology together

As the paludarium slowly got all parts in place, I set myself a goal: I wanted to have it filled with water on my birthday! That proved to be a LOT of work; but it paid off! In this blog post I’ll show you the final tidbits that made the paludarium ready to contain water.

background and waterfall

The background now has two layers of epoxy where I poured this jungle soil over the epoxy. The result is almost covering the background, and not that much white is showing (from the styrofoam). Now it was time to glue the background in! I used aquarium silicon glue for this:

The background being glued in place. Note the stick under the background to make sure it stays in place.

The background being glued in place. Note the stick under the background to make sure it stays in place.

Note the stick that holds the background in place while the glue dries. With that done, it was on to Read more »

Building the Backgrounds using Epoxy resin

After a really busy time, I finally have had some time to work on the paludarium once more. This time I have started working on the various backgrounds using epoxy resin.


Preparing to work with epoxy resin isn’t that hard, but you need to sort out what you will be doing and have all tools required at hand: The epoxy resin starts to set within an hour, so once you have mixed up the components you need to be ready to go. This is what I used:

Preparing for the first epoxy resin layers.

Preparing for the first epoxy resin layers.

It is VERY important that Read more »

Taking a chance: Adding lianas to the background

Sometimes you have to take a chance. I wanted some realistic roots worked into the background (above water). But how to find nice pieces that will not rot too quickly?

Contestants for a wooden background above water

I have been looking at a lot of different types of wood to use in the background on land. The wood should not rot too quickly, so my first thought was to use driftwood, or rather the sinking type used in aquariums all over the world.

But it proved to be very hard to actually find pieces that Read more »

Styropor construction of the background and waterfall

Finally I had some time to build pieces of the paludarium again… This time the background above water, the land portion between the aquatic part and the sump… And the waterfall! In this blog post I’ll discuss the technique used in more detail.

The background

The background is made from a large, single piece of styropor foam:

Starting out with just one big block of stryrofoam... And some cutters.

Starting out with just one big block of stryrofoam… And some cutters.

I took several styrofoam cutters to it before it became a little bit in the direction of what I was looking for. I made several Read more »

Aquatic background glued in

Now that all the water stuff has been built and tested, I emptied the paludarium again. High time to start working on the backgrounds and waterfall.

The Aquatic background

It makes sense to start with the aquatic background, as I bought this background and do not plan on building it myself. As the paludarium will be amazonian, I choose the amazonian version from Akwaline, and after glueing it in it looks like this:

The Akwaline background glued in place.

The Akwaline background glued in place.

I decided to align the background to the right (as I look straight into the right side of the paludarium as well. So the right side is glued directly against the Read more »

Finally: The aquatic background arrived!

After going to a local store, I found an aquatic background I immediately fell in love with. It had to be ordered in the right size, and the delivery of the background has been delayed then more delayed. Today, finally… It arrived!

The background

This is the new background for the aquatic part:

Artificial aquatic background for the paludarium

Artificial aquatic background for the paludarium

This background is manufactured by akwaline. I looked at all the available types they had. Knowing what river sides in the Amazon look like (thanks to our great trip to the Guyana jungle in 2006) I selected the closest match… Surprise surprise… It was the “Amazon” type. Obviously they did their homework 🙂

The final days of Paludarium 1.0

After just over two years, the day is nearing: Paludarium 1.0 is going to be shut down, including the real time statistics page At that time I will start building out Paludarium 2.0, which of course will get a realtime statistics page once again (possibly a nicer one!!) but that will take at least several months to complete.

Read more »