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.

Getting the thing into the Mancave :O

So this was an interesting twist… Here I am talking about how important height is and how I need to maximize that… Well, the only entry into the Mancave is a 4-step staircase, total height is only 110cm… So I ordered a paludarium 105cm high. You can imagine the look on the faces of the two guys delivering! A Glass box of 140x65x105… That needs to go through a hole with only 5cm to spare…

But… We got it done. With some creativity and some muscle power we managed to get the glass construct down in one piece. I quickly cut the rubber mat to size… And the paludarium was placed on its throne!

IT IS HERE! And… It all fits 😛

There are three holes in the bottom which allows for 3x 20mm PVC pipes. Two will handle in- and output of the canister filter (to drive the waterfall and filter for the fish). The third hole is to send any excess water into the sewer. All three holes neatly terminate into the right-side cabinet. As you can see here the holes in the glass align pretty well with the holes drilled into the cabinet:

The glass holes align with the holes in the cabinet. Pheeew!

On top, there are also three holes. I really only needed one or two, but I figured they are easy enough to plug up, but hard to drill after placement. I will just 3D print some stops as required for those. I choose to have one drilled left, one right, and the third one basically above the underwater PVC pipes because this is where the “center of land portion” will arise.

A nasty detail: Glass will bend under its own weight

Even before the paludarium was built, the people at Blue Lagoon mentioned that the glass plate on top would have to be supported by glass struts in order not to bend under its own weight. This was something I had not planned on! I definitely did not want the struts INSIDE the paludarium, and I did not have room to have them put on top (as I had only 5cm of headway getting it through the Mancave door, I could not possible make the setup 5cm higher and I did not want to make the entire thing 5 lower because of the struts).

Solution: Blue Lagoon would deliver the paludarium without the supporting struts mounted, and I would glue them on myself after the paludarium was placed:

Adding the glass struts on top of the paludarium. This will keep the top plate from bending under its own weight. In the background you can see the neopixel shining a really early sun 🙂

With that, the paludarium is ready to be extended with piping, a light fixture (which I usually refer to as “the canopy”). And then it is on to building the interior. But there is loads of more work to do before I get to that point!

Are you thinking of getting your own custom paludarium but are you afraid of constructing the glass yourself? Then definitely take a look at Blue Lagoon’s online terrarium designer (in Dutch, but you’ll manage 😉 )

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