Thinking up The Paludarium 3.0

As I have moved between houses, I decided to not move the paludarium with me. A hard decision, but also an important step forward; building something new will allow me to think different once again.

One primary reason not to move the current paludarium (v2.0 if you will) was the fact that the new place where the paludarium would sit should again have access to tapwater and sewer. Then add the complexity of the move itself. Another not totally unimportant reason was the fact that my new home really did not have a decent space to fit a paludarium of this shape. So I found a new home for the inhabitants and sold the glass box. Including the “canopy” (after I removed its “brains” though).

Next I figured out that it would actually be an awesome chance to think up something new again. The next step in a journey to figure out how to build these jungles inside boxes and have the thing maintain itself. Some corners I cut I can now ‘uncut’, like for example the fact that tapwater pressure generated the rain through sprinklers. Not realistic and unwanted to rain tapwater directly into the paludarium.

Next question: What will this new paludarium look like? Will I need to solve new issues? An answer to the last question: “Definitely”. I have a lot new ideas running through my brain, including a way to have realistic rainfall, no more fogging up windows and a clean, less complicated setup (so no more required access to tapwater and sewer yet still able to do refreshes automatically).

What will this all look like? Right now the plan seems to be to build a glass (or rather a combination of glass and acrylic) square. I think size will turn out to be around 65x65x65cm (or 25x25x25″). Rain should fall naturally this time, lighting should be upgraded to the new high-power 10W LED chips. And be of a more realistic color temperature (not just cold white).

Example of a cube-shaped Paludarium

There will also be less water. The old paludarium had a massive 50cm (or 19.7″) water level. The new “cube” will probably have less than 12cm of water. So yes- no more Anableps (four eyed fish). This time round I think I’ll focus more on poison dart frogs! There should still be some fish around though, but just some tiny ones.

So called “Blue jeans” poison dart frog which I photographed in Costa Rica.

Still I have several “issues” to solve. Like how will I build a cube without an ugly “canopy” on top, but rather a transparant cover where all things like rain and lighting do reside without being intrusive to the eye. Cleanly designed, looking like design and not some big wooden construction. It should be glass/acrylic, metal and first and foremost “clean”. Easier said than done; where will the wires for the lighting go? Where will the LEDs go? How will I cool them? How to make proper rain without ugle pipes and hoses? And most of all, how to access the thing easily as I no longer want sliding doors.

Next question: How to make sure the glass does no longer fog up? One of the original “issues” that I never really solved was how to keep the glass from fogging up. I want the new design to be clean, viewable… Also at night or early morning when humidity levels are over 95%… Ventilation is a must but does not solve the problem completely. Right now I am considering heated windows. Either by using razor thin resistance wire (like rear car windows have) or use some kind of tin-oxide layer on the glass that can be heated by applying a current. I could use this glass as a heater for the air while I’m at it too…

Loads of things to consider, to solve, to work on! I hope I’ll have time soon for some fun experiments around these problems that need to be solved. Stay tuned!

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