The Paludarium

Last edited: June 9, 1997

Here are a few shots of a paludarium I've had set up for about 18 months. The tank is a 110 gallon (48"L x 18"W x 30"H) with water depth of about 14". There is a latticework of driftwood piled up in the back to serve as a foundation for the potted terrestrial plants. I don't know the names of all the plants but some of them are Tillandsia sp (which is currently in bloom,) baby tears, croton, english ivy, button fern, and a few others. Potted down in the water are some Cryptocoryne cordata, and emergent Echinodorus spp. The Echinodorus have put up lots of flower stalks which grow a lot of baby plants. I need to do some cuttings and repot some of the youngsters. Each of the three Echinodorus has 3 - 5 flower stalks. They also each put up a new leaf every couple of weeks or so. The leaves are now growing up to the top of the 30" tall tank and pressing against the cover glass. I spray everything with a spray bottle every few days but things stay pretty moist even without spraying. I pour in a splash of Ferrovit fertilizer every month or so. A colony of ants has moved in and live inside one of the pieces of driftwood. Last time I wet the whole works with a garden hose, the ants came out in full force and the archerfish had a feast.

These photos were taken a few months ago:

Lighting is by (6) 40 watt fluorescent tubes of several types. It's been awhile since I thought much about lighting so I've forgotten the names of the bulbs but I don't think it's any magic combination.

The fish include four archerfish (Toxotes jaculator, or possibly Toxotes chartreus,) a mated pair of angelfish (no hope of a successful spawn in the company of archerfish, however, but I just needed a place to put them) and a few penguin tetras and black mollies. I used to have some neons in here but they quickly disappeared upon the introduction of the archerfish. The paludarium setting is perfect for the archerfish as you can put flies on the leaf stalks of the plants and they will shoot them right down. Quite cool.

I have kept some red-spotted newts in here but they tend to climb out. I have found them roaming around the fish room floor on occasion.

Filtration is by a single submersible power filter. It's the one that has a gauge on the front of it so you can see what the flow rate is (Visi-flow?). When I do get around to cleaning the filter, the sponge inside it is usually clogged pretty good with roots. That's about it for now.

You can send me your comments, etc to Tom Fredericks :