Paludarium Definition*

* (A Paludarium is an artificial biotop living, reproducing as faithfully as the wild and untamed,
it represents the transition wetland between the aquatic and terrestrial part of its environment.
It can host various animals (in adequacy with the medium reproduced) or be exclusively reserved for plants.
It can also be perfectly appropriate to the maintenance of orchids and carnivorous plants ...)


Detail overall project milestones :

Step 1: Creation of the gallery, and preparation of 9x30W LED lighting and PC fans
Step 2: Creation of wooden furniture
Step 3: Creation of the glass tank
Step 4: Creating the system of rain, waves, waterfall, and mist
Step 5: Creating the sandy beach and rocks
Step 6: Installation of geotextile felt, moss seeding and installation of plants
Step 7: Setting up branches of driftwood and creating artificial vines + orchid plants
Step 8: Setting up the scenery (still undisclosed)...



Presentation of the Project
Saturday, 24. September 2011, 13:30

Project status : Completed
Type :
Size of the tank :
40" x 40" x 28" (100cm x 100cm x 70cm)
NET volume of the tank :
185 Gallon (700L)
Closed : Yes
Materials :
8mm glass tank, gallery and wooden furniture OSB
Lightning :
100% LEDs 9x30W
Aeration :
Four PC fans 3W (12cmx12cm)
Irrigation :
A pump 1500L/h for the system of rain
Wave system : Two vibrations pumps 3000L / h
Fogger/mist : 3 Foggers
Type of water : 100% filtered rainwater (not limestone)
Type of scene : 100% Natural: Natural sand Seychelles, rocks, driftwood, vines & natural roots.
Plants :
Terrestrial and Epiphytes (ferns, gardenia, vanilla, orchids, palms, creeping, and mosses)
Planting technique/substrate :  100% natural moss (kept wet by rain system)
Animals : Currently a water snail "Neritina" can be added later to Bernard terrestrial hermit (Pagou) or crabs vampires, Drosophila for the atmosphere "gnats" and Agalychnis callidryas and crickets and why not also Sparkies (fireflies). But nothing is really decided yet.
Height of water :
5 in or 35 gal (15cm or 150L)
TOTAL weight :
Approximately 660 lb (including water)
Next step : Let grow vegetation

For this third project is an island 360° that I will realize, the tank is glass 8mm thick and 100cm fully closed side, the Seychelles natural sand will form a small island strewn with boulders, covered vegetation, driftwood branches and vines falling from the ceiling fill the space, and will be covered with orchids and moss (lots of moss).

Side vegetation, I will try with specific plants such as frangipani with its beautiful yellow flowers and the famous Flower of Gardenia Tiare Tahitensis, as usual with a database of several varieties of ferns and orchids Vanilla is climbing).

A system of artificial climate will be set up to recreate the rain (and therefore the natural watering of all plants by this technique), the waves will also fail on the outskirts of the island through a pump vibration and the wind that will provide aeration and naturally move the foliage.

For lighting, we go for the 100% LED, ie "High power" of the 30W unit, there will 9x30W...

Current plants :
1. Dryopteris atrata, 2. European fern, 3. Blechnum spicant, 4. Polypodium vulgare, 5. Asplenium trichomanes, 6. Gardenia Jasminoide, 7. Bromelia Vriesea splendens, 8. Palm Chamaedorea elegans, 9. Ficus pumila "Repens", 10. Pyrrosia serpens, 11. Helxine, 12. European Moss, 13. Javamoss, 14. Lebermoos, 15. Sagina subulata, 16. Chlorophytum, 17. Orchid Vannilla planifolia, 18. Orchid Haraella Ordorata, 19. Orchid Angreacum didieri, 20. Orchid Masdevallia Constricta x heathii, 21. Orchid Ceratosylus retisquama syn. rubra, 22. Orchid Psygmorchis Pusilla, 23. Orchid Pleurothallis Spec. Mittelamerika, 24. Orchid Oncidium variegatum, 25. Orchid Mini-Phalaenopsis.


3D modeling project
Saturday, 24. September 2011, 13:30

Place in 3D models, which will give you one idea on the whole project.
(All is not modeled, and I leave much of a surprise when the final result by excluding certain visual aspects in the modeling)...

The dimensions of the tank : 40" wide x 40" long x 28" high.
(The can serves as a marker size).

The wooden furniture and the gallery will be painted matt black, highlighted with golden finish corners.

In the gallery we see the 9 LED heat sinks, and two small fans (in the corners but not visible in photo) that will provide aeration of the tank and the effect of "light breeze on vegetation".


The islet, rocks, rain (which falls directly off the ceiling)
and a portion of the vines / branches, without the plant part.


Hover over the photo above with the cursor to show / hide the rain.


Another view without rain.

To compare the volume that will take this new project, I have superimposed the previous "Waterfall Paludarium".
It is completely embraced in the new volume. Even go back there twice.

(The can serves as a marker size).


Superimposing the 3D tank at real size, in a picture to better understand the proportions.


First test of LEDs
Wednesday, 07. January 2012, 21:47

Testing 50W LED in situation in my previous project (Waterfall Paludarium).



Creation of the Gallery
Thuesday, 17. April 2012, 19:02

Wuhu, we go for the new Adventure!
After 9 months of preparation and mature reflection, I am ready to develop this third project.

Work began, I started assembling the gallery, here in the photo.


Painting gallery in black.



Creation of the furniture
Saturday, 26. May 2012, 21:05

The furniture is now assembled, have yet to paint it.
I do not know if the dimensions make the same impression, but it's very ... BIG !

(The can serves as a marker size).



Painting the furniture black.

We can see the plate of extruded polystyrene installed on the furniture, to receive the tank.
I will create (later) two doors to close the furniture, or will install two small black curtains, I see.



Creation of the Glass Tank
Friday, 1. June 2012, 19:03

A large stage is passed, ouf !!! It is not easy this story .... But the tank is standing !!!

Silicone freshly put

There are more than wait until everything dries quietly in a week I do the water test.


Getting water
Thursday, 07. June 2012, 22:09

The seals of the tank having been much time to dry, it's time to put the water to start preparing the implementation of the various systems that generate the climate, and there to work !

No water leak was found so far.



Angles to finish the 24k gold leaf
Wednesday, 13. June 2012 11:59

Initially I wanted to paint the aluminum angle iron bomb "golden" for the golden effect, but in view of the result of said paint (what I expected) it proves to be very disappointing.

So I decided to take one at a corner, the 24 carat gold leaf. The result is now more than appointment.

A little comparison to illustrate my point :

#1 The left stick has not been worked, it is aluminum.
#2 The middle is spray-painted "golden" trade.
#3 And finally the last is plated 24K gold.


Overview angles gilded with 24 carat gold leaf.



Creating the Climate System - The Rain
Monday, 09. July 2012, 16:53

Willing to make a most natural plants irrigation, I thought long to a true system of rain "natural" (without the effect of cow pee). It took me a long time, reflection, and imagination to succeed in developing this system and develop this idea.

It's a little rain falling from the entire ceiling surface, the flow of the drops is ideal
delicately watering the plants and decor, without any washing.

The soundscape so characteristic of the rain is there.
The magic starts at the instant it begins to fall...

Rain water that is used is totally devoid of limestone, splashing on the glass are not dirty, and even clean them.

The mist of foggers is heavier than air, it is usually located at the bottom.
But when the rain is activated, the humidity increases instantly.
Which at effect allow the mist to rise and extend to the entire volume of air from the tank.
Creating a warm, soft, airy and saturated with moisture.

The rain runs randomly "alternate" with other systems that generate climate.

Thus, rain, wind, fog, and waves can therefore sometimes be found in use simultaneously and add up as in nature.


The technical part of the system and its operation remain secret, I will not expose anything more about the rain. There are more than a dozen ways (more or less effective) to realize, I just imagined a rain that is adapted to the constraints and possibilities of this project.



Installing the Sandy Beach
Wednesday, 01. August 2012, 15:00

Shaping a natural sand island of the Seychelles.
I delayed taking the pictures because the water is not yet fully returned clear and limpid. In the coming days it will get better.

I will have to finish later "trap pump" by making a hidden cover.



Creation of the Gallery LED lighting
Sunday, 26. August 2012, 17:40

These are the LEDs that this time still have retained my attention (high-power).
I thus made nine spots 30W each for a total workforce of 30,000 lumens spread over the entire surface of Paludarium. And once while walking "waooow" efficiency is there ...

For comparison with my previous project "Waterfall Paludarium" (he was enlightened with 4 tubes of 55W PL, there were 15 000 Lumens in total). So now there to double the light intensity in this project.

The spots are not all set yet, but it does not prevent me to take some pictures.

For this series of photos, I temporarily placed a potted plant and a branch of driftwood, to better assess the effectiveness of light on objects.
Plants will obviously installed without pots during final placement of plants.

The lights went reflected in the glass, amplifying the impression of a larger volume.

The spots are placed so that the light never reaches the eye directly
unless really placing themselves in against-diving.




Background Black... and White
Saturday, 08. June 2013, 12:44

Here now a year since I was not busy I of the project, I had left it as is with the potted plant and root driftwood. It functioned since without lighting (there was no need), just the water filtration. However the sun fact gradually grow algae on the sand.

I was not very happy at first to see the sandy dirty, so I put a Snail "Neritina Coromandeliana" and two small shrimp "White Pearl" which henceforth maintain the windows and sand. (It certainly will take more shrimp for algae, but it will come).

Over time I got used to see the sand like that, and I decided not to clean with its irregularities, it has become even more natural. This aspect is not to displease me altogether!

I resumed work by changing the black background already installed, I wanted to switch sometimes black, sometimes white ... Cruel dilemma, so I finally make a slide on each side of the bottom to accommodate a plate of white foam board and black on each side. So I just have to pull the plate and simply return it to completely change its appearance.

It almost seems the terrascaping seen like that ... But it will not remain empty for a long time ;)

The water level dropped by half in one year through evaporation.
The plant have not been watered once, she is perfectly satisfied the 90% humidity that prevailed inside.

I put a piece of foam on the driftwood, it has gradually spread.

The central LED was grilled and through tests, I will have to change.

The snail Neritina Coromandeliana and White Pearl Shrimp cleaning the floor.



Rocky Scenery, Shell & Marine Pests
Sunday, 21. July 2013, 14:10

After various attempts at sculpture rocks in expanded polyurethane foam, realism does not always suited me ... Out of curiosity, I tried with real rocks, and I was immediately hooked.
This time I could not expect more "natural", that is exactly what was needed after all.

I had been thinking the darkest almost black rocks start, contrasting the white sand, but those there are also adapted to the tones of the project. It is even still possible to paint, I tried on a rock outside and realize it very well. See then.

Their position is not yet final, it will certainly change with the installation of driftwood.

The water is not again become completely crystal clear after the complete cleaning of the tank and sand, but I decided not to wait any longer to present the step of the rocks ...

And then at recreate an island ... As much doing things entirely. A little trip later, and the rocks are being adorned with small shells and marine parasites such as barnacles, small worms and barnacles.

Ubiquitous in all oceans, they are well known to colonize and invade their supports, giving to the rocks submerged a most representative of the marine world.

I expected, even began to realize barnacles artificially by molding from real specimens. The result was very fair and clear, but the inclusion of materials that I tested did not allow me to retain this method because they were not resistant in time when immersed in water.

Ideally the conventional resin would have perfectly fit the bill, but I'm not a fan of his tedious for use as small objects. Especially as he should then paint them, which would necessarily have been less realistic than the natural.

So I boiled and soaked in alcohol at 90 ° true "barnacles" retrieved on molds trade, to sterilize and to install them "as-is" without risk paludarium. To finish paste them "falsely disorderly" on the rocks and decor.

As for the rocks, the details and realism of the true barnacles could not be more perfect.

Also, you can see in some places, the skeletons of small marine worm,
reproduced using a pastry bag filled with "fix-all acrylic."

Note that I finally cleaned the sand. It gradually gets old to the passage of the sun in the time to come.



Installation of Driftwood
Friday, 02. August 2013, 11:47

Here are the different driftwood that I picked to the river. I found many beautiful things, roots / vines to wood wavy, but not yet the "structural" main root that I wanted. This does not prevent me in any case begin to contend with what I've found.

The finest roots will be braided and used later finishing for natural air creepers.

The woods are positioned plume. They intermingle with rocks and will be used to support plants that together, form the vegetated island.

It may seem at first glance that there is too many branches. But must be placed his vision into a three-dimensional context to see that not everything is on the same level of depth.

As being cubic in shape, the vessel extends to a depth of as much as its width. I must therefore make the most of the potential offered by the air volume of 700 liters, using it in height, depth and 360 °, while trying to preserve the visual lightness of the whole.

It would have been a shame not to make full use of all that space.

This amount of branches sees himself therefore justified because (with some rocks) are the only materials intended for planting plants. And as all the vegetation will be Aerial, nothing will therefore build on the glasses.

This appears for the moment a little "dry" and "lifeless", but keep in mind that the branches will be vegetated and sometimes completely covered with moss.

Also I chose to use only the natural elements to make the structure of the set.
(No polystyrene or MPE, everything is done with wood and rock).

Note that the provision may yet evolve over the steps.

Pump waves (in the bottom right corner) will be hidden later.


Creating the decor : Natural Aerial Lianas
Wednesday, 14. August 2013, 11:44

The lianas were also planned artificial initially but I gradually opted for an all-natural decoration, as much it completely go. So I selected the finer branches of driftwood, to to intermingle and let it hang of the decor.

A little staging, lianas come to life, and the wild side appears.


Also, in order to conceal the electrical and son pipes unsightly pumps that will cross the stage, and especially instead of of hiding them, I planned to diverted their presence by braiding the same way as lianas for a fully integrated concealment in the background.

We no longer see what is right before our eyes...


Climate System - The Mist
Wednesday, 28. August 2013, 13:46

I planned the waterfall in the center of the island, but the current layout of branches and rocks will not allow me to achieve this configuration.

The waterfall was not really an important detail for this project, and as I do not want to use polystyrene or artificial materials, I put it aside for the moment ...

For the mist I used three foggers (misters ultrasound). Concealed by small rocks.

Electrical wire are painted in tone branches. It must also interleaved real vines and moss to improve their camouflage.

The mist generated by these foggers is heavy, it is located at the water's edge when operate alone.

But when the fan is turned on, the fog moves and spins in the air.


As soon as the rain will soon be reactivated, the mist will "scope" by the high humidity generated by the rain. The mist will then slowly and uniformly spread throughout the volume of the air saturating humidity.

A small black-and-white to emphasize the mysterious atmosphere that take the Island in the mist.


Climate System - Waves
Friday, 30. August 2013, 11:21

To avoid constant static effect on the surface, pumps waves (or pump vibration) brew 150 liters of water and gives it life.

The waves are also randomly assigned to alternate with other climatic phases.

The second beneficial effect of the water current is the dispersion of sand dunes forming underwater. What makes the beach more natural.




Total overhaul of the System of Rain and Gallery
Tuesday, 10. September 2013, 14:12

The rain system that I crafted in July of last year, it did not prove fully effective and deserved to be completely redone. I hoped that this first test would conclude but that was not the case. I even amended again several times without major improvements. But this is no big deal, because I made the decision based on my results I got with the first prototype, entirely redo it and thought better.

I had already thought about improvements in the first implemented, so I was able apply.

It was worth it because the rain was not perfect, dripping too has some places and not at all to others ... The more so she could not run unattended, because of the drops accumulated on the rails and falling by ground within a few minutes.

I remind that rain is not simply "aesthetic or decorative", but especially in order to meet the real needs of plants that will be installed underneath.

The problems experienced with the previous prototype are now all resolved. The rain is now perfect on the entire surface of the project except for one detail...

The Disadvantage of rain (because nothing is ever perfect) are collaterals splashing on the windows ...
This is the price to pay, because you must know what you want, I wanted the rain, I've had it with what it means :)

But the droplets on the windows do not stay long, they gradually disappear with the activation of ventilation.

But past that little detail, the result is now there and the magic of the rain too.

The moisture percentage rises well when the rain is on.

Note that the rain is almost invisible on white background.
However it shines and lights up on the black background.

The water cycle is fully closed circuit, the water of paludarium that is reused for rain, no external supply of water is added.

The rain is not continuous function, like other systems, it alternates randomly varying and rebalance of humidity, temperature, etc ...


And finally, the video.



Installing the Vegetation
Saturday, 14. September 2013, 17:24

These are the mosses which in this project will serve as a substrate for plants, replacing the artificial technique geotextile felt, usually used for some years in this discipline (this technique just took over the principle of nature to retain moisture).

The mosses resume the role they play in nature ie, provide root support for plants and maintenance of their water needs.

A completely natural and living substrate, it works so well for millions of years it did not need changing.

Plants benefit from the rain as in the wild. Looking more closely, nature is really well done because when they fall on the leaves, the drops are automatically channeled to the major branches dripping stems, all leading directly to the roots. The substrate thus receives water directly provided by plants, it is moistened and kept moist at least until the next automatic start of the rain.

As the water used is free of limestone, the leaves do not suffer from the rain.

The plants were mainly found online about Ben's Jungle, Karnivores and Le Jardin du Pic Vert.






And finally, a 3D animation to better understand the volumes and relief.

Votre navigateur ne prends pas en charge les contenus Flash.



Detailed listing of the Vegetation
Thursday, 19. September 2013, 11:04

The current vegetation consists of 25 different varieties of plants including :

Ferns :

Dryopteris atrata

European Fern(unnamed).

Blechnum spicant

Polypodium vulgare

Asplenium trichomanes

Mosses :

Java moss, seeded on aerial branches.

Lebermoos, located on the rocks at the water's edge.

 Sagina subulata

and several other varieties of foams European type that serve as a substrate with Sphagnum Chile.

Creeping & climbing:


 Ficus pumila (repens)

 Pyrrosia serpens

Different Orchids:

They find their places in epiphytic on aerial branches of driftwood. Their hydration is also ensured by the rain and humidity.

Vanilla planifolia is also climber likes to expand and colonize its support vines.

 Haraella Ordorata

Angreacum didieri

Masdevallia Constricta x heathii

 Ceratosylus retisquama syn. rubra

Psygmorchis Pusilla (it took a hit to warm before installation, I hope she will recover).

 Pleurothallis Spec. Mittelamerika

Oncidium variegatum

And a mini-Phalaenopsis.

Not forgetting to mention the sweet and intoxicating white flowers Islands represented in this project by the Gardenia jasminoides.

(Not yet in bloom at the moment)

The "palm" type Chamaedorea elegans

A chlorophytum.

And finally, a Bromelia :

Vriesea splendens


Mist in the Morning
Wednesday, 20. September 2013, 11:01

This morning I could see before the start light, a ray of the rising sun, plunging through the vegetation and the morning mist.

When the freshness of the night made ​​up more moisture, you can see a misty morning scenery if foggers are running at that time. Phenomenon disappears when the light is gradually raise the temperature and slightly lower moisture (if the rain has not intervened).




The Trap Pump
Monday, 30. September 2013, 11:36

The hatch is made to conceal the pump. More importantly, letting the water but not the sand, the entire range acts as a natural filtration ... The pump draws the inside which is then re-sent on plants and decor via the system perfectly clean rain water.

Made of polystyrene, holed four sides and insulated with felt, the pump draws filtered by sand island water without risk of suck up sand.

Then, creation of camouflage hat.

The frame is made of polystyrene topped with a small square of felt, coated with acrylic sealant, and encrusted with sand.

The hatch in place covered with sand on the edge to hide the ends.

The pump hose is when to him camouflaged as wooden branch.
I recovered the bark that I surrounded and silicone to the pipe.

It was then vegetalized like traditional branches with the mosses to blend perfectly with the rest of the decor.

Besides, you had probably not noticed on previous pictures ...

This "branch" has become the support of the small fern "Polypodium vulgare."

Ultimately, it is the only artificial part inside the tank,
with technical elements (pumps, foggers etc ...).


Evolution of Vegetation - 2nd Month
Wednesday, 20. November 2013, 10:59

Two months have passed since the installation of the plants. It was good to do a little state of play.

Vegetation grows perfectly from the beginning I was pleasantly surprised to see it particularly adapted quickly.

The principle of planting (the moss) that I experienced in this project (for all plants) works wonders, the rain did its job perfectly, and I did not need to intervene since.

The need for action and the regular addition of water, because although the tank and the ceiling are "almost" sealed (very little moisture or heat from escaping into the room), ventilation reinjected into the tank, the hot, dry air from the gallery lighting "almost" closed circuit. Despite the paludarium to need about 30 liters of water added weekly. (no, there are no leaks, I have checked). ^ ^

Climatic conditions inside work perfectly, and the lighting (LED High Power) also participates in large part to the success of this proliferation.

Climbing plants (Ficus, and Vanilla) rises pierce the light.


The Lebermoos begins to well invading the rocky edge of the island.

The proliferation of micro-algae in the water by the passage of the sun in this season will change once more the uniformity of sand. But this is not a bad thing the contrary is that more natural. (However, the water remained perfectly clear, even if a slight green tint the color now).



Java moss to extend here and there inexorably.



Elected achieving project of the year "Paludariums Forum"
Wednesday, 22. January 2014, 13:02

There are nearly 7 years, I made the discovery of a discipline, "paludariums" the only French forum on the topic "paludariums, a world between Heaven and Water." Forum essential in this area and especially since the beginning administered by a passionate "Phill". There are a little over 8 years now.

This forum bloomed in my mind a whole bunch of ideas taking their roots in the plant, water and mineral world. And here goes that there by little this realization "Island Paludarium 360" has been assigned the achievement of the 2013 Forum.

Here is "Palunette" the magnificent trophy that creates fully Bupa (a member of this forum).
"Pleasure to create" here is what animates this artist who is not his first attempt. And I warmly thank her contribution.

Also thank you to everyone who followed me during this project. Thank you all. ;)


Evolution of Vegetation - 6 months (this winter)
Monday, 20. January 2014, 10:21

Six months have passed since the installation of vegetation, a small summary of winter images is required.
The life goes on inside the plants always grow as much.

I added an Jasminum Sambac (or Arabian Jasmine). It flourished in soon after.




We can see that the branches of driftwood begin to ward off humus on their surface. This is the result of the renewal foam, which gives more nutrients to new mosses and plants that grow there.


The bottom of the water is obviously messed with the time, but it has the advantage of accentuating the natural effect.
Water is however quite clean and clear, it is only on the bottom that accumulates the development of cyanobacteria.


Evolution of Vegetation - 1 Year
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 1:59 p.m.

A year that the project is running alone, I did not intervene it, I chose to "let do".

Some plants have disappeared, others have proliferated, as expected the ficus pumila "repens" and especially the foam "Lebermoos" literally invaded the project.

Here are some pictures before pruning :

We can see the algae accumulated at the bottom of the water, creating a thick carpet.





Cutting of vegetation (currently)
Sunday 19 October 2014, 3:54 p.m.

Here is the project now, after a big cleaning of the water area and the hobbing plants "invaders."



However, I left a part dirt in here and there on the sand to keep this little wild effect.



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