Category Archives: Glass structure

Ordering the Paludarium itself

After some measuring, more measuring and several conversations with the people at Blue Lagoon (A Dutch Terrarium shop who build custom terrariums / paludariums), I pulled the trigged and put in an order.

The Big Bad Glass Box has arrived!

It took them less than a week to build. I got a phone call that my paludarium was ready for delivery… So I needed to speed up the construction of the cabinet! I had triple verified where the holes should be drilled in the glass… But that stays exiting every time. Will they have drilled in the right place, did they measure from the outer wall or the inner wall? Did *I* measure correctly when I drilled three big ugly holes in the cabinet for the PVC piping to go through? Luckily, in the end it all worked out great.

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Paludarium 3.0: Designing the new “canopy”

Thinking back on Paludarium 1.0 and Paludarium 2.0 I cannot stop wondering why on earth I ever thought that introducing 230VAC on top of a paludarium was a good idea. Powe failure would cause the canopy to “condensate up” and cause huge issues when the power came back. This and a hundred extra issues. So now is the time to set things right in version 3.0. The hood on top used to be a very “smart” lighting (and more) system I called “the Canopy”. Now it is time for a drastic new approach: Canopy 3.0!

Minimalistic design

The new Canopy will have as little as possible electronics inside. All stuff need to be driven through either pipes or wires, and all of the pumps and electronics can sit Read more »

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 »

Some major surgery – Cracked glass, the sequel… (part 2/2)

Today, the glass divider was replaced for free by Ruud from Here’s how it was done.

Placing the new glass divider

First thing to do was to make sure all silicon glue was properly removed that was still there from the old cracked divider. Then a new piece of glass was cut to size. At each side it was kept around 1,5mm too short, to allow for the silicon glue to sit between walls and divider to prevent it from cracking again.

Then silicon glue was applied to the base of the divider, and the divider was placed inside. Next, the sides where glued and the divider was fixed with a piece of tape to dry.

The new glass divider is glued in place and looking good (and no cracks this time :) )

The new glass divider is glued in place and looking good (and no cracks this time 🙂 )

Within a few days I’ll start to fill the paluarium with water for the first time, to make sure all is water tight before I start glueing in other stuff.

Some major surgery – Cracked glass, the sequel… (part 1/2)

After I applied the fix to the cracked glass divider inside the paludarium, I noticed… Another crack in the same divider, but now on the other side. I had had enough. More drastic measures were needed… But how to go about that? Luckily, the supplier that built the glass paludarium stepped up and offered to help!

How to fix this issue for good

I figured it would be virtually impossible to remove the glass divider and glue in a new one. I needed more knowledgeable advice. So I contacted the supplier of the paludarium that originally built it for me, Terrariumhuis in Rotterdam. They gave me some good advice on how to apply a fix, but even better: They offered me to replace the glass divider free of charge! Read more »

Cracked glass fixed!

In a previous post I showed the crack in the glass that had appeared spontaneously. In time the crack has extended fully upward to the top of the glass separator. Today I decided it was time to fix the issue!

Why the glass cracked

As the glass cracked through fully to the top of the separator, it became clear Read more »

Minor disaster: Cracked glass

After working on the paludarium, all of a sudden I discovered a big crack in the inner glass separator. It is a little hard to see, but the crack is around 15 centimeters long:

Minor Disaster - Huge crack in the inner separator!

Minor Disaster – Huge crack in the inner separator!

At first I kind of panicked… If this glass can crack just like that, the same thing might happen to one of the external glass right?? After looking closer, there has propably been some tension in the glass combined with a bad cut on the edge of this particular piece.

More work… There is no way I can replace the glass separator. Because it is 48cm high, and it sits only 10 cm in from of the rear glass, I can never ever replace the entire separator without taking the whole thing apart… I decided I will glue a piece of glass over the crack and hope for the best. There is no real force from the water on this piece, as both sides of the separator will have 40-48cm of water.

The Paludarium v2.0 is here!

Two weeks after the order, the glass got delivered today. I was psyched! Two guys carried the immense thing inside. Weighing in at 80 kilos, quite an accomplishment. And they did not even hit anything in the house.

The Paludarium is here!

The paludarium is now sitting neatly onto his reserved spot. Everything seems to be perfectly in order (size and construction-wise). Here it is: Read more »

Paludarium to be delivered… Tomorrow!

I got an email today, and guess what… The paludarium will be delivered tomorrow!

I just finished prepping the place it should sit:

The protective base where the glass of the paludarium will sit on. Everything is prepped… Let’s hope I drilled the holes at the correct position.

The kitchen cabinet now has holes drilled at the exact position where the sewer drain and the filter drain will sit. These holes to all the way through the wooden top. AT the back of the top plate I removed a strip of material as you can see. Through this strip I will feed any pipes and wires I need to go in and out of the paludarium.

On top of all there is a protective rubber layer. This will prevent the glass from breaking if the plating is not 100% flat (or has any irregularities).

I am fully prepared for the arrival of the paludarium!

Glass has been ordered!

The word is out… The glass is ordered! Measures are now final, I am very thrilled to see the finished product! I ended up ordering at after visiting the shop where they actually glue at all together. It is a very small shop, yet it delivers most of the terrariums and paludariums in Dutch shops.

They were very interested in building my “special” (as they mostly build standard sizes). At one time I ordered a paludarium from the same shop which was of acceptable quality. Since then they have improved a lot I was told, so I cannot wait to receive the order and building out the Paludarium 2.0! The measures are an exact match to the drawings posted in the Definite glass specs.

As soon as the glass arrives I will post pictures on this blog, and of course all the steps required to build it will be documented here as well! Can’t wait!