It is almost time for our trip to Costa Rica. I can’t wait! There will be plenty of animals to photograph, and I am especially exited to visit the La Selva Biological station where the Paludarium gets its meteorological data from.
In a few days we’ll be touching down at the San José International airport. From there we’ll be renting a full-size SUV, which we are probably going to need.
From the airport we’ll head over to Heliconia Island, a nice place with many things to see. Most exciting of all, we will be visiting the La Selva Biological Station and finally see where the Paludarium’s values all come from!
Next we will be travelling around Costa Rica and visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest, the Los Quetzales national park and finally Corcovado National park which may be a bit exciting to reach given the fact that you need to cross some rivers by car that may have too much water when we arrive to cross decently.
Things we’ll be looking out for
Routes we’ll be travelling while in Costa Rica
As I am very much into photography of all living things, I’m hoping to find poison dart frogs, lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders and insects. On top of that we’ll be scouting for larger animals like mammals and birds.
If I have the time (and the internet connection) I’ll be posting some more blogs as we move through beautiful Costa Rica.
What I noticed in the past few days was the keyhole cichlids (Cleithracara maronii) were very aggressive to the other fish. As they have never done this before I decided to investigate.
Building a nest
What I saw today was that two of the Cichlids were very close together. On a rocky surface in the back I saw around a hundred tiny white dots, and both cichlids constantly at that same spot. I became clear to me: The keyhole cichlids are having babies!
A keyhole cichlid defending its eggs that were laid on a rocky surface near the filter drain.
Both parents show a lot of care for the eggs. Read more
One of the sensors that can be read by the Neptune module is the Sensirion SHT-11 I have had laying about for years.
Now finally it is ready for use! The sensor sits on the end of a 2,5 meter cable which is soldered on directly. A small capacitor is glued on as well to cope with the excessive cable length. The sensor in its entirety is covered in a drop of silicon glue to keep the moisture out of the electronic contacts. This sensor will be measuring over 98% relative humidity at times!
The Sensirion SHT-11 sensor glued into a drop of silicone. This digital sensor measures air temperature and relative humidity in the Paludarium.
So far the results are looking good. This is the sensor still hanging in the living room:
22.24 degrees centigrade and 65.94% relative humidity. Sounds realistic as it’s a very moist day.
When the silicone had dried, I put the sensor inside the paludarium. After settling it showed measurements like these:
Measured values when the Sensirion sensor is inside the Paludarium.
Great! Tempereature at 23.16 degrees, relative humidity at 87,61%. Very Jungley
What I did find out, is that the location of the sensor heavily influences the measurements. Especially the humidity is VERY dependent on where you measure.
Posted in Automation, Paludarium
Tagged air temperature, humidity, humidity sensor, measure air temperature, measure humidity, relative humidity, sensirion, Sensirion SHT-11, sensor, SHT-11
Finally. After a long time building the hardware and the software, the Neptune module is the final module to be added to the Paludarium.
This module is a more complex version of the Apollo units that live inside the Canopy that control lighting and fans. The Neptune module has some control for lighting (namely the underwater lights), but its main purpose is controlling pumps and valves, and measuring back sensors in the paludarium.
For now the Neptune module is setup in the cabinet under the Paludarium:
The Neptune module sitting in the cabinet under the Paludarium with some sensors already connected. What a mess of wires and hoses!
The unit has been running for over two weeks now without a single flaw… I must be doing something right
After running some tests, today for the first time there was an actual thunderstorm in the paludarium!
How the paludarium figures there should be a thunderstorm
I could have made the weather inside the paludarium choosen by random, but that wouldn’t have been any fun. Instead, the paludarium fetches live data from the La Selva Biological station in Costa Rica.
Using a 1,5 day delay this meteorological data is “replayed” inside the paludarium. Why 1,5 day? Well, one day to Read more
People are often confused what things are all in the paludarium, what they are called and what they do. In this blog post I’ll explain the different components (sub projects if you will) that make up the paludarium today.
A quick overview
In order to get the paludarium working as it works today, I had to run several different projects and put them all together. First I’ll quickly list all the different components:
- The Cabinet – The custom-built cabinets that hold the paludarium;
- The Paludarium – The glass structure that holds water and air (the paludarium is a closed construction);
- The Land part – The part above water. Filled with tropical plants, and for now no animals here;
- The Aquatic part – The front underwater part of the paludarium, where the fish live;
- The Sump – The rear underwater part. Any excess water from the Aquatic part is dumped here, and the plants living on the background panel get their water from here (and return it there too);
- The Waterworks – The board in the cabinet that holds all the plumbing (water valves etc);
- The Canopy – The intelligent armature sitting on top of the paludarium;
- PaluPi – A standard Raspberry Pi with an RS232 level converter that sits inside the Canopy and handles all the “smart thinking”;
- Apollo units – Named after the god of light, there are around 12 of these units inside the Canopy, each handling up to 4 leds, halogens, TLs or fans;
- Neptune module – Still under development, this unit controls all pumps, valves etc in the Waterworks;
Quite a list right? Everything in this list had to be tuned Read more
Posted in Artificial Rock and Wood, Automation, Cabinet, Glass structure, landmass physics, lighting, Paludarium, Plant life, Rain and Mist, Water physics
Tagged paludarium parts, paludarium projects, paludarium stuff, paludarium sub projects, sub-projects
Just a quick post to show of the new plants in the paludarium! I just finished planting the non-aquatic plants, and I am very happy with the results:
non-aquatic part planted as well!
I could not resist this VERY cool orchid when I saw it in the shop. Hopefully Read more
As the paludarium slowly got all parts in place, I set myself a goal: I wanted to have it filled with water on my birthday! That proved to be a LOT of work; but it paid off! In this blog post I’ll show you the final tidbits that made the paludarium ready to contain water.
background and waterfall
The background now has two layers of epoxy where I poured this jungle soil over the epoxy. The result is almost covering the background, and not that much white is showing (from the styrofoam). Now it was time to glue the background in! I used aquarium silicon glue for this:
The background being glued in place. Note the stick under the background to make sure it stays in place.
Note the stick that holds the background in place while the glue dries. With that done, it was on to Read more
After a really busy time, I finally have had some time to work on the paludarium once more. This time I have started working on the various backgrounds using epoxy resin.
Preparing to work with epoxy resin isn’t that hard, but you need to sort out what you will be doing and have all tools required at hand: The epoxy resin starts to set within an hour, so once you have mixed up the components you need to be ready to go. This is what I used:
Preparing for the first epoxy resin layers.
It is VERY important that Read more