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Old 09-08-2011, 06:19 PM   #38
hydrophyte
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OK I have some observations on this one...

Myth #2 - Planted ripariums are perfect habitats for turtles, frogs, crabs and other amphibious animals.

You could maybe keep fully aquatic herps OK in a riparium, but anything that might climb would not be good for the riparium plants. Most of those plants that grow on the rafts have fine, thin stems and it is easy to knock them over. A lot of the best plants to put in the planters are similarly flimsy. Crypts can grow into really impressive emersed riparium specimens, but the stems are so soft that any animal larger than a small insect would just flatten them out.

There is not any real land area in a riparium, so there is not good place for herps to bask. One could include a shelf or flaoting island or something like that, but those feaures would just get in the way of the riparium planters. To get a good-looking planting it is usually necessary to fill most of that whole real rear pane of glass with planters + plants.

There so-o-o-o-o-o-o many different options to explore for fish stocking. You can make a really engaging display with some nice active fish to go with the riparium plants. It appears to me that some hobbyists get really stuck on the idea of keeping herps in a riparium because their own frame of reference is mainly with the vivarium setups used with dart frogs and other herps, which might be the only similar kind of setup that they have seen. I once had a discussion with somebody who insisted that I should put some dart frogs into a large open-top riparium filled with plants, and robust cichlids and livebearers. Dart frogs would have just drowned in that tank. The fish probably would have eaten their legs off. I thought that the setup looked nice just the way it was, but that guy could not shake that idea.

If you want to keep amphibious animals with plants, then something more like a regular paludarium setup with a built-up hardscape would be a better idea. However, as mentioned earlier something like a hybrid setup with the right riparium plants might also work OK for amphibious animals. I have pondered setting up the mangrove planting that I have going in a 65 for mudskippers, but I decided to use other fish instead. Most of the plants in there are are upright and sturdy, and it wouldn't be hard to make some good areas for the mudskippers to climb around by adding some more big manzanita stumps to the water. You could also probably make a nice hybrid setup for turtles if you were to forego the trellis raft and just select some really big and sturdy peace lilies in planters to put on one side of the tank, then positioned a floating basking platform on the other side. It might be hard to get a layout like that to look totally natureal, but the plants would add some nice greenery and help to keep the water clean.
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