After getting some input and doing a fair amount of research, I've started putting together what I hope will be an excellent home for my pair of Wyoming Tiger Salamanders. I've had them for about 2 years now, and their current home is a getto tank created from an old motor home bath tub. It is way too big, and the whole thing is ugly as sin, so it has to go. Based on my research, it appears that the salamanders should have a predominately terrestrial environment, but that in and of itself is rather boring, and I've been wanting to try a paludarium style tank, so this was the perfect opportunity. Unlike the bog, I'm going for looks on this one rather than native, so it will be a evolving mix of terrestrial and aquatic species. The goal is a low humidity/low tech riparium which will be unheated.
The tank is a standard 30gal AGA aquarium (36"x12"x18"). Since my goal is a riparium setting, the tank will be only about 1/3 full of water, so I drilled the tank for two bulkheads.
ZooMed 501 canister filter
Aqueon strip light w/ standard aquarium bulb and an Aqueon twin tube strip light w/ one standard aquarium bulb and one Floraxam plant bulb
Top: standard Zilla center-hinged screen top
The tanks scape will be created using a combination of silicone, Great Stuff Pond Foam, River rock, and cottonwood driftwood.
predominately Ion Brick plant gravel, with a few pockets of aragonite sand to help maintain a higher pH.
potting soil covered with cottonwood leaves and dried spagnum moss
daphnia, freshwater mussels, hydra, planaria, rotifers, scuds, tubifex worms to start, additional varieties will be added as they are aquired
Western Chorus Frogs
Fish will most likely be some type of shiner (possibly Emerald shiners) if I can get my hands on some.
Forget-Me-Nots and Mint to start, will add others as I get a chance
Duckweed to start, hope to add some type of lily as well
hornwort, maybe some bladderwort if I can find some
bonsai plant, moss, native fern, going to try some different orchids, mainly minitures and a lady slipper to start
Started out by drilling the tank with a bit from firstname.lastname@example.org
. I drilled two holes, one slightly lower for the overflow and one a little higher for the return. Basically my intent is a closed loop system with the ZooMed canister driving the closed loop. The following day was beautiful so I hiked a few riparian areas looking for some driftwood for the tank, came up with several very nice cottonwood pieces. To create the scape, I placed a few stones, used permanant marker to mark their position and layed down a thin layer of black GE Type II 100% silicone. Once it started to harden, I added the foam and placed my first layer of rock. As the foam hardened I worked my way up, bracing the various stones in place. Once the foam had hardened over night I recoated the edges with the black silicone as my goal is a 100% water tight boundary. Once the silicone begins to skin, I'll add some black aquarium sand to texture it. Then its on to the first water test. Hope to paint the back of the tank black as well to offset the color/texture of the various plants.
So since I know everyone likes photos, here are a few shots of the build getting underway.
The scape begins;
The left side, which will be one of the aragonite holding areas;
The retaining wall/boundary on the right side;
The cottonwood driftwood piece which will become a cave for the salamanders. I've already done some modifying with my skill saw, but appears I have a little more to do;
A piece of cottonwood bark which I hope to incorperate to provide a spot for mounting some miniture orchids;
And a piece of Ponderosa pine that was removed from one of my terrariums that maybe will get added as well;
This is my first fully scaped attempt at a paludarium tank, and I'm open to any and all suggestions on design, fauna, flora, ect, so feel free to jump in and give suggestions or pointers.