Tag Archives: paludarium

Watering the background

One of the tricks I have been using to keep things growing everywhere in the paludarium is by regularly watering the background. In this post I will describe how I made a spray bar and how I mounted it inside.

The idea

In order to get water onto the background and have it nicely sift through I have been using a 12mm PVC tube with a series of 1.5mm holes drilled into it. Really simple, and works well even with the smallest of pumps:

Example from an older setup on how to use a spray bar

Mounting the PVC pipe

Now mounting the pipe has always been an issue: I always used aquarium suction cups for this, and you guessed it: They come loose over time. How to overcome this issue? Glue the pipe in place. But that has a drawback that when the pipe get clogged, you’re in for a project of its own cleaning it (or ripping it out and replacing it). To find a more proper solution, I turned to Fusion360 and the 3D printer to come up with this:

3D printed wall mount with a separate 12mm PVC tube clamp that you can slide into the wall mount.

I printed a two-piece tool for this: A wall mount and a PVC tube clamp. I printed 4 sets of these (for a 120cm distance to cover inside). I glued the four wall mounts in place using silicon glue. Now I can slide the PVC clamps in there, and replace them if needed. Next, I can insert the 12mm pipe:

The 12mm tube being held in place right on top of the paludarium using the 3D printed wall mounts and insert clips. The hole on top is used to feed tubing in and out, one of the tubes will go into this PVC pipe using a tube pillar (ordered but not here yet 😉 )

Finally I can start glueing in the background. Here I am used compressed fern root plates which give a nice nutrition for plants who grab hold to it, and it neatly holds water I pump on top:

Compressed fern root plates are glued under the pipe. These plates are excellent for growing plants on, plus they take on water really well and let it slowly sift through to the the bottom of the setup.

Sucking up water… From where?

Final piece of the puzzle is where to get the water from. In my new setup there is a specific sump-like section where all water that drains through the land portion. It is kept there and transported into the sewer if the level gets too high. Also, the aquatic part flows over into this section.

I will use this water to pump up to the PVC spray bar. Usually I’d put a small aquatic pump into the sump and have that push water up, but as I know now, pumps get clogged and fail over time, and replacing such a pump would be a project of it own.

For this reason I will be sucking water up using a small diaphragm pump like this one:

Small 12V diaphragm pump that will be used all over the paludarium; this one will suck up the water for the spray bar.

One final problem? The water the pump will take in will be “dirty” water; there might be particles in there which I may not want inside the pump, and certainly not inside the spray bar. So back to Fusion360 and the 3D printer once again:

A 3D printed inlet filter will make sure the pump and spray bar don’t get clogged by particles in the (dirty) water I use to spray onto the background.

On to the next tiny sub-project inside this huge paludarium project 🙂

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!

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.

Read more »

Adding software features to Artemis

New things! Everything is progressing nicely. Did additional testing on the 230VAC detection circuit and wrote software to read SHT31 digital humidity/temperature sensors. Also added a ClosedLoop function so analog inputs can be used to compare to store values and have an outputs act on the comparison.

230VAC detection

Finally I had the time to properly measure the mains voltage inputs. No shorts or anything… So I decided to go on and plug in the mains voltage into the Artemis.

The 230VAC detection circuit is connected to D48 (ICP5 on the Arduino), which mean I could potentially measure the exact frequency of the mains AC voltage. Still, I do not require to have that, so instead I built a simple timer that resets if the phase comes up, and counts down if the phase disappears. This way I always have a stable reading on the signal, even when the Artemis accidentally measures on an exact phase zero crossing.

        if (digitalRead(PIN_230V_DETECT) == LOW) // Active? Reset Timer.
                TIM_50HzDetect = 10;
                if (TIM_50HzDetect) // Not active -> count 2 zero and stay.
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The first two hours playing with Raspberry Pi

Unbelievable what can be accomplished in only two hours. Today I finally unpacked my Raspberry Pi and started to play with it. Pretty soon I had it up and running… This is going to work out just fine 🙂

The Raspberry Pi. This will be the new brains behind the Paludarium v2.0!

The Raspberry Pi. This will be the new brains behind the Paludarium v2.0!

Getting the Raspberry Pi to boot

I just typed up the downloads page at raspberry.org, found the tool to 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 www.terrariumhuis.nl 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!

Paludarium 2.0 definite glass specs

After checking, evaluating, changing, re-evaluating and changing again, I finally came up with the final design of the glass paludarium. I had already put up preliminary specs in the older blog post “Paludarium 2.0: Ordering glass“, but now specs have changed and are definitive. Bring forth the offers from different paludarium building companies!

Changes in the new design

Some adjustments were made in when finalizing the design for the glass. The most important changes: 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 »

First idea for the cabinet

As Paludarium 1.0 is sold and gone, I’ve begun to design the cabinet that will be built under the new paludarium. I plan to use kitchen cabinets for this purpose, and include a section to put the TV on as well.

Using kitchen cabinets

When building our new kitchen, it dawned on me that using kitchen cabinets might make the perfect cabinet Read more »