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Plants for a 45-Gallon Paludarium

By Bill Brissette

The 45-gallon paludarium. Photograph by Bill Brissette.

In order to complete the 45-gallon paludarium, a wide variety of plants, both terrestrial and aquatic, were used. Here is complete list of those plants.

Terrestrial Plants

Liverwort Conocephalum sp.

Bolbitis Davallia Edanyoa difformis

Creeping Fig Ficus pumila

Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba”

Red Leaf Hibiscus Hibiscus acetosella

Marcgravia sp.

Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha

Paradrymonia campostyla

Button Fern Pellaea rotundifolia

Little Red Tree Peperomia sp.

Tiny Tears Pilea sp.

Pleurothallis allenii

Rhaphidophora hayi

Mini Pellia Riccardia sp.

Monkey Plant Ruellia makoyana

Schismatoglottis sp.

Pretty in Pink Tolumnia sp.


Aquatic Plants

Anubias Barteri var. “nana”

Anubias Barteri var. nana “petite”

Cryptocoryne wendtii

Dwarf Hair Grass Eleocharis sp.

Weeping Moss Fontinalis antipyretica

Pennywort Hydrocotyle verticillata

Dwarf Pennywort Hydrocotyle tripatita

Amazon Frogbit Limnobium laevigatum

Red Root Floater Phyllanthus fluitans

Dwarf Rotala Rotala rotundifolia

Dwarf Sag Sagittaria subulata

To read the entire article and see the finished paludarium, please click here

Posted June 28th, 2011.

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Float Away Island

By Bill Brissette

Without strong enough glue, the cork island floated away from the expanded PVC.

I wanted to write a note about using silicone with expanded PVC. Expanded PVC is a great material because of its light weight, easy machinability, and smooth, food-safe surface. Unfortunately, its surface is one of its downfalls as well: While it is readily glued to itself with PVC cement for plumbing, silicone has a hard time sticking to the surface.

After writing the latest installment of “Adventures in Aquascaping” and setting the tank up for a week of rinsing, the cork island in the center of the tank floated up and away. The silicone had stuck just fine to the cork, but not to the surface of the PVC. At least, it did not stick well enough to overcome the buoyancy of the cork. The other parts of the hardscape seem fine, especially where I used a lot of silicone, and where it is above the waterline. But this was a major setback that could have been avoided.

I would like to experiment with a few glues to be able to tell you the best one for this particular application, but I think an expanding polyurethane foam glue may be more suitable than the silicone in places where it is not visible.
One thing is for sure though, and that is that the porous center of the expanded PVC sheet is far more receptive to bonding than the smooth surface is.

To repair the float-away island, I plan on fully drying the insert and using the random orbital sander to roughen and gouge the surface of the PVC where it will be reglued so the glue has a chance to grab hold. Then, when I return to my rinsing phase, I plan on loading up the submerged cork parts with stone, so that their buoyancy doesn’t defeat the bond prior to planting. Simply adding weight during this phase, will emulate the substrate that will weigh things down once the tank has been planted.

In future projects, I will be sure to really roughen all surfaces that are to be glued, to avoid this problem.

Posted May 25th, 2011.

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A 45-Gallon Tank Insert

By Bill Brissette

The vector drawing the author used to cut his blank for the plastic insert.

When planning an intricate insert for an aquascaping project, it is especially important to plan ahead. Included here is the author used to cut the plastic insert. Learn more about how he built the insert at

Posted May 11th, 2011.

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