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Old 04-17-2012, 03:01 PM   #31
Wy Renegade
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Originally Posted by CannaBrain View Post
very unique build, lookin forward to seein it progress

I do have a couple questions. how do you intend on maintaining water level with your inflow there? just seems like a couple days evap and you could be suckin air, but maybe you've added something I'm not seein or maybe I'm just seein it wrong. Also, what's your main water source? I've been tryin to figure out ways to lower my pH since I live in a hard water area..

You mentioned orchids earlier, sounds sweet! still plannin on that?

Good luck with the rest, I'll be watchin
Thank you for looking and for your comments.

Right now my current plan is to install a misting system using a pump and 1/4" tubing. I'm currently monitoring water evap to get some idea of how often that pump will have to kick on in order to maintain the water level. What I'm not sure of is if I can balance the tanks need for water with that of the terrestrial side to dry out and not be water-logged. It may end up having to be dual system of some sort.

My main water source is tap water, which around here typically has a pH of 7. You might want to consider purchasing bottled water or installing a RO system. Personally I would not use RO/DI in a freshwater system.

As far as the orchids, they are definitely still in the plan. There will be a Lady Slipper orchid in the terrestrial portion and I hope to place several miniture hanging varieties as well. That large hole in the top of my piece of driftwood is hopefully going to work well for one placement and I hope to get a couple of others on the piece of cottonwood bark.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:04 PM   #32
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Default The soon to be Inhabitants

My two Tiger Salamanders, I believed one to be Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum or the Blotched Tiger salamander and the other to be Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum or the Eastern Tiger salamander. Both are females, so at some time in the future if I hope to breed, I would have to aquire a male. That is not currently in the plans.


Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
Tiger salamanders are a large, robust salamander that is a member of the mole salamander family. Adults average 6 to 8 inches in length, although individuals up to 12 inches have been found. Distrubuted nearly coast to coast in North America, it is the only salamander native to the state of Wyoming. There are currently 6 recognized subspecies found throughout its range. Adults have distinct bars or splotches on a black, brown, or olive green background (although all black individuals also occur), while the larva lack the yellow bars and are a brown, grey or olive color. The larval form which is gilled is sometimes referred to as a waterdog or mudpuppy.

Habitat: Tiger salamanders require a moist environment in order to prevent desiccation. The adult form is primarily terrestrial and are found in forests, grasslands or marshes. They typically inhabit burrows or reside under leaf litter, but are also good swimmers. During the breeding season (late May to August), they return to shallow water to breed. Eggs adhere to submerged vegetation singly or in clusers up to 20. Larva are aquatic and have gills on their head which appear feathery in the water. Transformation from larva to adult can take anywhere from two months to two years.

Niche: Strict carnivores, the adults feeds primarily on insects and worms, although they may also occassionally consume small frogs or baby mice. the larve form feeds on aquatic invertebrates when small, but can become predacious and sometimes even cannibalistic when larger.

Breeding: Breeding occurs in the water in late May to August, with the male nudging a willing female to initiate mating. Females deposite an egg or egg sack during a mating dance, and the male then deposites a spermatophore. The female picks up the fertilized pack and adheres it to the underside of submerged vegetation.

Disease: Tiger salamanders typically carry both the Ambystoma tigrinum and the Regina ranavirus viruses, and both have been implicated in large scale die-offs of these animals. Batrachochytrium dendrobatides infections can also occur, but are typically not lethal. They can also carry salmonella bacteria, so care should be exercised after handling these animals.

Here is a link to a great care sheet write-up that was done for these if anyone is interested;
Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) Care Sheet

And here is a link to a great video series on identifying, buying, keeping, sexing, and building habitats for tiger salamanders for anyone who is interested;
Video: Types of Salamanders | eHow.com

Last edited by Wy Renegade; 07-13-2012 at 05:08 AM.. Reason: replacing pictures
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:46 PM   #33
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I hope those two salamanders show a little gratitude--they're getting a major upgrade in their living quarters! What a great result for so much attention to detail, it's looking really well-done.

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Old 04-17-2012, 07:08 PM   #34
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Thanks - I'm hoping that they enjoy it as much as I am at this point.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:19 PM   #35
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Default The Terrestrial Zone

For the terrestrial portion, I laid down a base of large gravel which I covered with a piece of fiber matt to prevent the soil from falling down into it;


For a soil mix, I used Earth-Gro Top Soil from Home Depot mixed with reconstituted coco fiber. I planted my bonsi tree, added the driftwood cave and placed the Lady Slipper orchid in a clay pot sunk into the soil. The pot definitely cut into the soil area available, so depending on how active the salamanders are, I may have to rethink this orchid.






I still need to add some leaf litter to cover the soil and in about a week, after the water pH stabilizes from the Ion brick substrate, I hope to add the salamanders and assorted invertebrates. Once I see where the salamanders spend their time, then I'll make a final decision on fish and other inverts. Hopefully at that point I'll also be able to add in some additional plants to both the aquatic and the terrestrial portions.

At any rate, here is the required FTS shot;

Last edited by Wy Renegade; 07-13-2012 at 05:18 AM.. Reason: replacing pictures
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:34 PM   #36
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My main water source is tap water, which around here typically has a pH of 7. You might want to consider purchasing bottled water or installing a RO system. Personally I would not use RO/DI in a freshwater system.
How come you would not use RO water in a freshwater system? Is it because of the fauna you keep? As far as I know, it's popular choice for a lot of planted tank keepers. I have just started converting to RO water for my tanks, slowly. I do dose to replace lost minerals, but the tap in my area is very hard and all that calcium and magnesium stains my tanks and my plants do not appreciate it either, especially when I used it in my humidifiier, it would stain my leaves.

So what caused that initial drop in pH for you? Oohhh i just read... the ion brick?

Anyways, it's lookin great, can't wait to see it grow in, and hope you're able to fit some more orchids in there
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:08 PM   #37
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The issue with either RO water or RO/DI water is that the filtering process stripes everything from the water, leaving you with (essentially) H2O. Living animals (especially aquatic ones) relie heavily on water to provide them with essential vitamins and minerals that they need. In a saltwater tank, these stripped necessities are replaced via the sea salt mix we add back to the RO/DI water. In the case of a freshwater system just using RO or RO/DI water means that the organisms under our care are not going to receive the vitamins and minerals that they need. So long as you are will to buy the replacement minerals using RO water or even RO/DI should be fine, and in your case so long as you are dosing you should be fine. In my case, my tap water falls well within the acceptable range, so rather than spending the money to dose a whole regiment of replacement supplements, I simply dechlorinate and use tap. While I've seen that it seems to be becoming more and more of a popular choice, I'm not sure that many are really doing the research they should. Many seem to simply be adding the RO water without dosing. Additionally, I've done a little research (granted its not been a lot) and to be honest, I haven't found anything that seems to replace all the required elements in one shot like the salt mix does for salt tanks. Out of curiousity, what are you dosing to replace the required elements?

In this particular case, I'll be using RO water in the misting system, but for the PWCs, I'll be using dechlorinated tap. That way I'm not losing elements the fauna requires.

Yep, the ion brick absorbs ions so until the substrate reaches capacity, it changes the pH.

Thanks, definitely going to get a few more orchids in there as well as some others.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:02 PM   #38
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Your Salamanders are beautiful. How big are they now? What do you feed them?

You tank looks fabulous. The orchid is a lovely addition. I'm looking forward to seeing them in their new home!
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:14 AM   #39
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Thats easy enough. Here's a picture of the old ghetto set-up from the exterior;


And here's a shot of the interior;


Good catch on the crayfish LOL - I fixed it (I think).

In regards to the pH, I'm hoping the two pockets of aragonite sand will accomplish just that. Under low pH, the aragonite should dissolve and raise the pH. Devin indicated that the Ion brick will cause the pH to lower for the first week or so, so I'm hoping the effect is only temperary.
teehee! your ghetto setup is actually rather charming :'D

i figured that's what it was for, but i didn't see that it was to be underwater. my bad. it should go up, you might have to add more, worst case scenario...
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:57 AM   #40
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Your Salamanders are beautiful. How big are they now? What do you feed them?

You tank looks fabulous. The orchid is a lovely addition. I'm looking forward to seeing them in their new home!
Thanks duff. The salamanders are about six inches and are around two years old - both were early spring rescues from two years ago. I have numerous students and even some adults who bring them in because they find them in odd places - trapped in a window well, in the hall of a nursing home, etc. Most I try and return to the wild as soon as we've fattened them up a bit and the weather warms up, but these two were pretty small and emaciated, so I hung on to them. I feed a variety of foods; earthworms, crickets, meal worms etc., but my base is meal worms from a couple cultures covered in vitamin dust. Both of these now are just over 6 inches from tip of nose to the tip of their tail.

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teehee! your ghetto setup is actually rather charming :'D

i figured that's what it was for, but i didn't see that it was to be underwater. my bad. it should go up, you might have to add more, worst case scenario...
Thanks - in addition to being ugly however, its also pretty large with a lot of wasted space. I'm looking forward to having it gone as my next project is either a vivarium with sump or a cold water paludarium with a sump. Regardless of which way I end up going, the tank will need to be on a stand with space beneath for a sump.

I'm curious to see how quickly it breaks down under the more acidic conditions. Since I did end up with quite a few dolomite chunks mixed in I'm fairly certain it shouldn't disappear too quickly. If it does however I've got lots a full bag of the petco stuff.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:34 AM   #41
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Very interesting, what do you do that causes people bring to you Salamanders in need? I've lived in 5 states and camped in a dozen more and don't think I have ever remembered seeing a salamander! Do you live near a river?

(oh do I love Wyoming btw, such a beautiful state If I wasn't so settled here, I'd be there in a heartbeat!)
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:28 AM   #42
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Very interesting, what do you do that causes people bring to you Salamanders in need? I've lived in 5 states and camped in a dozen more and don't think I have ever remembered seeing a salamander! Do you live near a river?

(oh do I love Wyoming btw, such a beautiful state If I wasn't so settled here, I'd be there in a heartbeat!)
I'm a high school biology teacher who has a room full of aquariums, vivariums, paludariums, and terrariums. To be quite honest, I've seen them in the wild only once myself. Our community sits at the junction of 3 fairly large rivers, so we sit smack in the middle of a large riparian area. One year, several years ago, at the end of the school year I had 12 different salamanders in my ghetto set-up! I released all of them but one back into the wild.

Thanks, I'm a native, so its near and dear to my heart.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:39 AM   #43
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Idk if the land mass is enough for a full grown tiger. They get near 8" long and are way more terrestrial than aquatic....

Don't want to be a party pooper here, but I agree. Tiger salamanders are a type of mole salamander. Probably the reason they spent most of the time in the water for you is because the substrate you provided them was rocks. They had no where to dig or hide.

I used to have a pair and kept them in a 7 inch deep mix of coco fiber. They spent about 95% of the time underground for months on end. Not the most interesting pets...

At any rate I would suggest you try a "forest floor" type of terrarium with a thick substrate layer and see how they react to that.

Wiki quote "Adults are rarely seen in the open and often live in burrows that are usually 2 feet from the surface. Tiger salamanders are almost entirely terrestrial as adults, and usually only return to the water to breed."

http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Am...tigrinum.shtml
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:43 AM   #44
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I use this http://brightwellaquatics.com/products/florinmultit.php for dosing. In my large aquarium I plan to buffer with my tap water every 3rd water change or so, but the rest of my smaller tanks and paludariums with shrimp and snails, I'll probably try straight RO to see how plant growth goes with just dosing. I'd really love to try my hand at some carnivorous plants other than UG, so that's part of why I'm tryin to bring my pH down too. Anyways cheers!
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:59 PM   #45
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Don't want to be a party pooper here, but I agree. Tiger salamanders are a type of mole salamander. Probably the reason they spent most of the time in the water for you is because the substrate you provided them was rocks. They had no where to dig or hide.

I used to have a pair and kept them in a 7 inch deep mix of coco fiber. They spent about 95% of the time underground for months on end. Not the most interesting pets...

At any rate I would suggest you try a "forest floor" type of terrarium with a thick substrate layer and see how they react to that.

Wiki quote "Adults are rarely seen in the open and often live in burrows that are usually 2 feet from the surface. Tiger salamanders are almost entirely terrestrial as adults, and usually only return to the water to breed."

http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Am...tigrinum.shtml
Hey IceDragon, no problem. I'm fully aware of the fact that Tiger's are classed as a mole salamander, and that the issue with the current set-up is the rocks. From what I've read, not only in the article you linked above, but also this one http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/tiger_sal_101.shtml as well as the others I've linked throughout the thread, the terrestrail area I've provided is probably on the small side, but certainly is deep enough. As I stated above, we will see how things go - if there isn't enough room, then I'll move them into something different and put something else in here. While this set-up may not be perfect, its certainly a far cry better for them than what they are currently in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CannaBrain View Post
I use this http://brightwellaquatics.com/products/florinmultit.php for dosing. In my large aquarium I plan to buffer with my tap water every 3rd water change or so, but the rest of my smaller tanks and paludariums with shrimp and snails, I'll probably try straight RO to see how plant growth goes with just dosing. I'd really love to try my hand at some carnivorous plants other than UG, so that's part of why I'm tryin to bring my pH down too. Anyways cheers!
CannaBrain very nice. Carnivorous plants are another of my interests that I haven't been able to fully pursue. My original bog paludarium was set up with the intention of keeping carnivorous plants in the wetland portion, but it didn't work out (perhaps because of the plants I tried), so it has become more of a native invertebrate bog at this point. The only thing I see wrong with your water plan is that what you are dosing provides the necessary elements for plants, but not necessarily animals. I assume that you are also planning on keeping some fish and other critters in those tanks? If so, you may want to try and find an additional supplement that meets the needs of the aquatic animals. If you're doing only plants on the other hand, then you should be good to go.
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