Category Archives: landmass physics

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 »

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 »

Paludarium Feed-throughs mounted

After the cracked glass of the paludarium was fixed, I could continue to mount the feed-throughs. This is a vital part to build before any water can be put into the paludarium, as right now there are some huge holes drilled in the glass bottom :O

Different types of Feed-through

There are several types of feed-throughs planned for the paludarium:

  1. Feed-throughs feeding through the back that will run into the waterfall (3x);
  2. Feed-through feeding through the back for cabling;
  3. Feed-through in the bottom where the filter will draw dirty water from;
  4. Feed-through in the bottom where waist water will stream from into the sewer.

All the feed-throughs have rubber rings in order to make them watertight. I applied some vaseline to the rubber rings which will help to make them waterproof. Read more »