Category Archives: Rain and Mist

The Aeryn module: Palu Air Conditioning

The Aeryn module was designed to allow air to be taken into the paludarium, heated and/or moisturized (mist) before it enters the setup. This is all part of the idea to have “no tech inside” but rather outside for easier access, maintenance and replace with updated versions.

What is Aeryn

Remember the sci-fi series “Farscape”? I originally designed this module named the Aether module. In honor of Farscape I renamed this module to Aeryn 🙂

The Aeryn module is a box-shaped module approximately 60x15x13cm in size, and is inserted into the hood above the paludarium. It lines up with two 12cm holes in the ceiling, where two fans draw in air from the outside. On the end of the module a 40mm pipe leads to the meshed strip on top of the paludarium where the conditioned air gets inserted.

Aeryn section 1: the air intake

The first section of the Aeryn module contains two 120mm fans, RPM regulated (and RPM measured back). These fans are put on top of the module, blowing down into the module. So first the airflow needs to be guided to flow sideways, which is accomplished using a 3D printed guide as shown below:

First section: After the air is pushed in from the top using two 120mm fans, this 3D printed guide directs the air to the left, on to the next sections of the Aeryn module.

Aeryn section 2 : Air heater

The second section of Aeryn is the air heater. First there is a (quick vase mode) 3D printed nozzle to force the air through a large (12x20x7cm) metal heatsink. Under the heatsink there is a 70watt heater element that automatically stays at 70 degrees when powered on:

The second section of Aeryn can heat the air using a large heatsink and a heater pad.

Aeryn section 3: Misting section

The third and last section of the Aeryn module can add mist (moist) to the air forced into the paludarium. There are three 24V mistmakers in a 3D printed holder:

3D-printed holder for three 24V mist maker units. This holder keeps the mist makers in place while allowing water to flow underneath the mist makers as they take in water from the bottom.

These mist makers get placed in a container where I’ll cut out holes for air inlet and exhausts (this is a work in progress). I might split up the mist maker control where I can activate one and/or the other two to more or less regulate the amount of mist.

Second I’ll have an external diaphragm pump able to pump (reverse osmosis) water into this container. There is also an overflow pipe that makes sure the container can never overflow. The overflow ensures the water level inside the container so the mist makers work optimally, and excess water gets inserted into the paludariums aquatic part. I might add a flow sensor to this lead to make the computer detect when there is enough water inside the container (and stop pumping), but I might also “loosely time” this as the overflow will secure the water level inside the container anyway.

This small container will have a lid and holes for air inlet and exhaust, as well as a 6mm hose to fill the container with reverse osmosis water and a 6mm overflow tube to ensure a proper water level for the mist makers.

The way the air leaves Aeryn

The exhaust is still under development; so far I have 3D printed a 40mm exhaust pipe which leaves the module at a 45 degree down angle. This will ultimately lead into a paludarium-wide transparent 50x50mm square tube which in turn will force the conditioned air into the paludarium through the top mesh strip which is 50mm wide:

The paludarium top mesh: a 50mm wide strip through which the conditioned air will be forced inside while keeping animals in 🙂

This concludes the description of the Aeryn module. It should allow me to regulate airflow through the paludarium, heat the air to hopefully direct it at the front window (so it won’t fog up). Finally I can add mist to the air I insert into the paludarium to quickly raise humidity as the sun sets. And combinations of all above; how to exactly regulate this to get to the proper airflow, air temperate and humidity remains to be seen. However, the paludariums “brain” will be capable to control all bits and pieces individually, so I guess I’ll find out soon enough!

Video: The first real Thunderstorm

After running some tests, today for the first time there was an actual thunderstorm in the paludarium!

How the paludarium figures there should be a thunderstorm

I could have made the weather inside the paludarium choosen by random, but that wouldn’t have been any fun. Instead, the paludarium fetches live data from the La Selva Biological station in Costa Rica.

Using a 1,5 day delay this meteorological data is “replayed” inside the paludarium. Why 1,5 day? Well, one day to 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 »

Paludarium planted!

Just a quick post to show of the new plants in the paludarium! I just finished planting the non-aquatic plants, and I am very happy with the results:

non-aquatic part planted as well!

non-aquatic part planted as well!

I could not resist this VERY cool orchid when I saw it in the shop. Hopefully Read more »

Rain Down On Me

One of the last things to build and test with all the water stuff, was rain. So I added a small installation with sprinklers that get fed directly from the tap water.

Rain Down On Me

The rain installation is controlled electronically (duh!). On the WaterWorks under the paludarium, I have one electromagnetic valve that can be opened to feed the rain installation:

The magnetic valves on the WaterWorks. The one on the left controls the osmosis filter, the center one inputs tap water into the aquatic part, and the rightmost has now been connected with a thin black tube to allow for rainfall.

The magnetic valves on the WaterWorks. The one on the left controls the osmosis filter, the center one inputs tap water into the aquatic part, and the rightmost has now been connected with a thin black tube to allow for rainfall.

The valve on the right has now been connected as well with a thin black tube. This tube is fed upwards, and Read more »

Hardware ‘n stuff ordered!

Today I finally ordered most of the hardware I’ll require for the further construction of the paludarium. Not computer chips this time, but pumps, filters, pipes, heaters and other cool stuff. In this blog post I’ll highlight some of the components that I’ve selected.

Aquatic Filter

Originally I used an Eheim 2222 external filter for Paludarium 1.0. However, this filter was already too small, so for the new Paludarium 2.0 it would definitely be too small, so I was in need of an upgrade. The price of the larger Eheim filters scared me a bit – So I decided to go for another vendor, JBL. They have a much cheaper filter line, the greenline filters:

The JBL Greenline 1501e external filter

The JBL Greenline 1501e external filter

I bought their 1501e version, which outputs an impressive 1400 litres per hour and Read more »

Go with the Flow

As I’ve started to think up Paludarium 2.0, more and more ideas are popping up. The most recent one: How to build the water household. With all the things I want, and all the technology I can build, I am now thinking up the specs and features I need/want, and how I can build them so that it will actually work, and most important, KEEP working.

Specs for the flow of water

I have quite an extensive must have / wanna have list. Here they are in random order: Read more »