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schoolzoo 10-25-2012 02:51 AM

New build for salamanders
I will be acquiring a couple of tiger salamanders in the next couple of weeks, so I am seeking advise on what they require.
The tank that I will be housing them in is a 25 gallon. I was thinking of having part of it aquatic - complete with fish. I know that the fish will likely get eaten - but I think that my students would enjoy and learn lots form that. I am also thinking of the land part being filled with peat and natural moss. (Will go and dig some out from under the snow)

I don't think that I will attempt a drilled tank to house the filter parts. I am planning on running a fuvel canister type filter - should make it easier for the students to clean the tank, with less disturbance to the critters. I will need to seal the back of the lid to prevent them from escaping (I'm assuming that they can climb?)

Any other suggestions for how to achieve this would be great; the learning curve on this one is going to be straight up for both myself and all of my students.
I'll try to post some pictures as we go.

Wy Renegade 10-25-2012 06:15 PM

No need to worry about sealing the top for the salamanders, they are lousy climbers. This particular type of salamander is a mole salamander, so they should spend most of their time in the terrestrial portion. I would make as much of the tank terrestrial as possible. This means however, that they spend a lot of time out of site, so students might find that sort of disappointing. You'll need to consider a feeding site of sometype as well.

schoolzoo 10-26-2012 01:18 AM

Thanks for the feedback. I did some more reading last night and am now leaning towards filling the majority of my tank with land. I am looking for a exo terrarium - it will make cleaning the tank easier if I can access it from the front as opposed to the top.
I'll likely take the easy way on this one and pick up a pre-made waterfall/filter. I've seen some nice ones for turtles, but we will see - I do have a general plan in mind if I attempt to build; the major issue is timing on this one, I don't have the luxury of time in playing as the person who I'm getting them from is wanting to be rid of them, but wants to keep the tank that they are in.
I've learned that they are poor swimmers so I won't be needing a "swimming hole" I do however want a way to filter their wadding pool in an attempt to make looking after them easier and less time consuming.

schoolzoo 11-18-2012 01:22 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I finally pick up a salamander - the person who I go it from also gave me the tank that its in. I know that in the very near future I'll be changing things. I'm thinking of moving the crabs (along with the false bottom that I made) out of the terrarium and into the emptry 25 gallon in my room. Then I'll have a better tank to "play" in for the salamader. I think that I'm going to try a stream type - so that its water is filtered so it should be easier for us to look after. Not 100% committed to that idea as I do like the terrarium, but we will see - perhaps I can convince my husband to build yet tank stand and get a new tank :) One can hope - here's the pictures of the newest addition to my room.

tinkerpuppet 11-18-2012 02:50 PM

I know nothing about the proper care/habitat of salamanders, but I love them! Congrats on your new addition, I look forward to seeing what you come up with for this little guy!

schoolzoo 11-20-2012 03:06 AM

There has to be an easier way to feed this critter. This evening it took me around 10 minutes to get it to eat 1 small meal worm. I gave up trying to get it to eat a second after half an hour. Please help.
I have a large pair of tweezers and am trying to feed by holding the food in front of it. Even with the food touching it, the salamander wasn't interested.

schoolzoo 11-22-2012 04:09 PM

I hope to get the new tank for this guy done this weekend. The sooner I can get him into a bigger tank the better. I wnat to try to make this look as natural as possible. I think that I'm going to have a very large land part with a small stream running the length of the tank into a pool. I'll be using a 25 gallon tank and filling most of it with soil for him to dig through. The land and water I was thinking of separating with large stones/rocks and filling in the gaps with great stuff pond.

schoolzoo 11-25-2012 03:38 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is the start of the planning/building process - the tank is still in the box. The small side is going to be the water part, the larger side is going to be the land side. I'm going to use an aquarium safe epoxy to hold the rocks together, and then fill the empty spaces with Great Stuff Pond. The Great Stuff is also going to be used to hold the rocks to the bottom and sides, and for making a "stream" across the land.
This should give the salamander lots of space for digging and walking around. My husband is going to bring me a part of a log (either birch or poplar) which we will then hollow out so the salamander can have something natural to hide in/under.

Sd760 11-25-2012 04:05 AM

Really a cool IDEa. U might have already said this but why don't u carve some great stuff and really customize it and grout it up and seal it. Anyways really impressed and beautiful specimen. Keep the updates coming!!!

slowfoot 11-25-2012 12:54 PM

It's a good idea, but the Great Stuff/rocks combo will not be watertight no matter what you do. I've tried it numerous times. Even if it starts out holding water, the foam will eventually pull away from the edges.

Wy Renegade 11-26-2012 02:08 PM

Silicon between the joints of the rocks and cover the GS with two-part epoxy. If you want to be double sure, you can always stick a glass plate cut to the correct size about an inch behind your wall.

schoolzoo 11-26-2012 06:00 PM

Thanks for the tip. I have the stand finished, hopefully this evening I can start attaching rocks together.

Wy Renegade 11-26-2012 06:13 PM

Sounds great. Looking forward to seeing what you put together.

Sd760 11-27-2012 02:46 AM

That's interesting. Makes sense. Ya only used it for reptiles. Excited to see your product.

schoolzoo 12-04-2012 02:32 PM

I have the rock wall almost finished. I decided to go with a curved wall to give a more natural spot fot the stream to enter. The next step is to fill the holes with the great stuff pond. I used a 2 part putty type epoxy to hold the rocks in place, and then silconed each steam with black aquarium silicon. (Took longer than expected as I could only do 1 layer of rock at a time.) As I don't completely trust my building skills yet, I've also decided that to make sure my substrate doesn't become water logged I'm going to silicon in a piece of plexi just behind the rocks. I found a small canister filter that will power the small stream (I'll build that this evening with the great stuff pond). I'll hide the intake on the bottom under some rocks, and use some kibd of plant to hide the hose as it goes up the wall. I'm not going to paint the back of this one as it is by a window and I still want to be able to see the deer when they pass by. (No worries - direct sunlight does not come in)

Yesterday the salamander spent a large part of our lunch break wandering around his small tank.

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