High Tech Newt Tank - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-16-2020, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Small update:

I am still waiting for word regarding my tank. The website I bought it from originally said it would be in stock in mid to late November. Later they changed that to just be 'late' November. Meanwhile I am proceeding with everything else I can possibly do before its actually present.

That includes springing for some opaque tubing so I won't have to look at all the gunk in my filter hoses. I have absolutely no idea why all tubing is not opaque. After doing a reasonable thorough search I found that mcmaster carr sells some opaque tubing and amazon had some penn plex replacement tubing which is opaque black. The penn plex was slightly cheaper for the amount I actually needed so I went for that. Here is how my under cabinet currently looks:



I also picked up a bag of sand at Lowes. Specifically, I got Gardenpro All Purpose Sand. At 4 dollars for a bag its hard to beat the price. I also really liked how dark it is. At least a few shades darker then HTH Pool Filter Sand. The downside is that its not nearly as nicely graded as HTH. It has both very fine particles and some smallish stones. Plus, it came quite dirty. It took about 10 bucket changes of water before it ran clean. Not a big deal but definitely worth noting. I would not want to put this directly into an aquarium. Still, I like the look.



And I have been playing with hardscape. Here are a few of my ideas:











And if you are wondering what that wood picture frame looking thing is in the background.. well that's the lid. Hopefully the lid anyway. I don't have the tank lying around to make sure it fits so I had to go off of the listed measurements.
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-16-2020, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
...
I have been wanting to make a newt tank for a long time now. I grew up catching newts in a pond on my parents property so there is a lot of nostalgia in getting them now as an adult and 'doing it right' as it were.
I can definitely relate, as I grew up a herp lover and probably had pretty much every reptile/amp I can get my hands on. I even belonged to the New York Herpetological Society and attended meetings at the Bronx Zoo.

Nice DIY, way above my pay grade. In terms of the layout I actually like the one you had on the first page. Is the idea to fill up the tank half way and have the rocks exposed. Got the itch now to get something with feet inside of fins, thanks lol.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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In terms of the layout I actually like the one you had on the first page. Is the idea to fill up the tank half way and have the rocks exposed. Got the itch now to get something with feet inside of fins, thanks lol.
Thank you!

Its very much a work in progress. I like how the rocks on the right look in the last picture but the rocks on the left are not great. So I will probably reorganize everything a few more times ;P

And yes the idea is to fill the tank half way to 2/3rds full leaving the tops of the rocks exposed. I want the rocks to stick up as much as possible so I can have as much water as possible while still leaving a 'land' area.

Scratch the itch! Newts are cool!
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 12:34 PM
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Nice looking DIY build! Really dig the concrete top, nice touch that is quite unique Goodluck with the rest

my 20 gallon journal:
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Nice looking DIY build! Really dig the concrete top, nice touch that is quite unique Goodluck with the rest
Thank you! I really like concrete tops. They have some tricky setup issues, but once you got a place to make them they are really quite easy to create, and the finished product I think is very functional.

Small update:

I found out today that my UNS tank which was first said to come in Mid November to Late November, then moved to late November, is now scheduled for December. If I had a date certain I might be willing to wait but this could also be a thing where the tanks just keep getting delayed and delayed. For that reason I decided to switch tanks to a Waterbox Clear Mini 30. This tank has the same 600mm length but is both taller and wider then the UNS 60U. This means the top I made is completely useless. Ohs well.

It also means I need a new piece of cardboard so I can redo the hardscape ;P

Here are the first 2 new potential layouts:



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post #21 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 04:30 AM
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definitely consider the plants you'll be using as you decide on the hardscape. Too many rocks will limit what you can have, unless you lean heavy on epiphytes. But the look may not matter as much as you think. I spent so much time (and a fair penny!) on figuring out my hardscape, laying it out just like you are doing. Only to find out months later I can hardly see any of them since they're always hidden by the plants. If yours is going to coming out the water that part will probably be fine, but depending on the plants the underwater part might be fairly irrelevant.
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post #22 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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definitely consider the plants you'll be using as you decide on the hardscape. Too many rocks will limit what you can have, unless you lean heavy on epiphytes. But the look may not matter as much as you think. I spent so much time (and a fair penny!) on figuring out my hardscape, laying it out just like you are doing. Only to find out months later I can hardly see any of them since they're always hidden by the plants. If yours is going to coming out the water that part will probably be fine, but depending on the plants the underwater part might be fairly irrelevant.
This is definitely good advice. The plants are going to mostly be coming out of Walstad bowl. So there will be a fair amount of hair grass, micro sword, juncus repens and ludwigia. There is also some buce brownie ghost, and some anubias nana and nana petite. To this I am going to add some java fern because.. yeah a lot of rocks. I am aiming for a moderately planted tank with little out croppings of plants so hopefully the hardscape can shine through. On the emerged rocks I am planning some terrestrial moss and some strands of Peperomia Prostrata (string of turtles) which will hopefully drape down into the water in a most artful way ;P

With all that said..

Small Update:

I continue the hardscape layouts including going to my rock store (ie the woods) and picking up a new giant rock.









The last one I am liking but time will tell

Speaking of time, I don't have much of it left! I got word that my Waterbox was shipped on Friday and will be arriving sometime on Monday. Hopefully Monday night (but more probably Tuesday) I will be scaping this tank.



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post #23 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 07:46 PM
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I vote for the second one (if I get a vote). It feels well balanced and not too "heavy."

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post #24 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-22-2020, 09:21 PM
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I love seeing DIY projects and yours is well done! Very impressed by all the work you put into it so far, and looking forward to seeing the end result!
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post #25 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-23-2020, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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I vote for the second one (if I get a vote). It feels well balanced and not too "heavy."

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Everyone gets a vote! But mine is the only one that counts ;P I do worry about there being too much rock but when I look at some of the really awesome contest tanks they have crazy amounts of rock as well. Plus at least parts of these rocks are going to be buried in substrate.

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I love seeing DIY projects and yours is well done! Very impressed by all the work you put into it so far, and looking forward to seeing the end result!
Thank you! Its been fun so far, I'm excited to get this tank rocking and rolling so I can get my newts in !

Very small update:

I think I finally found a layout that is working for me. Here is the layout from straight on plus a few extra angles thrown in.









Tomorrow my tank arrives so I will need to boil my rocks and wood before then. Assuming I get that done I should be able to get right into scaping this tank. I want to boil these rocks because they came from the wild and I'm a little concerned about weird persistent types of algae that they might harbor.
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post #26 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-27-2020, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Update!

The tank came in on Monday as expected. I knew the dimensions in advance but I was still thinking, 'huh this thing is bigger then I thought' ;P

Here it is in place with some egg crate down to protect the bottom from all the stone I am using:



It took 2 days to get the scape back the way I liked it (or a reasonable approximation) despite the pictures I took. Eventually I got it to look like this:



At that I point I was ready to add some aquasoil. This is dennerle scapersoil I got off of amazon a few months back.



You can't see it but there is some matala mat in the back of the tank that protects the glass in case the rocks ever shift.

Then I was ready to add the sand and flood the tank!



And that's where I'm at now. Its been a couple of days, I got my filtration running if not running how I want it. I have not planted anything in the tank yet nor added any livestock. All the plants are going to be coming from an existing walstad bowl, so I will be taking it very much in little bits and pieces. Before removing half of the plants I want the new tank cycled so I can move over the livestock.

I am also not happy with the two intake tubes I am using (one being used as a return due to the lower water level). I was hoping to get stainless steel lily pipes for this but I had trouble finding someone who would sell me 2 intakes as opposed to a set of intake and return. I prefer not to pay the premium of buying 2 returns I don't need. (if that makes sense).

I did find someone a few weeks ago selling exactly what I wanted on ebay and ordered from them (shipped from china). Those came in on Monday as well but they do not exactly match the picture (holes up too high) and will not work for this tank.

After looking into it a bit I decided to try to make my own stainless steel lily pipes. I bought some 3/4 thin wall stainless steel tubing and a bending spring and watched some videos of folks making it happen.... So yeah, I'm going to give it a go

In the meantime, the plastic bits will be functional till I can get something a little more aesthetically pleasing.
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post #27 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-30-2020, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Update

Aaaaaaannnnd, I changed it up ;P

I didn't like the hardscape nearly as much once the tank was flooded.

I really thought changing it up was going to be horrible now that the sand was in but honestly it wasn't a big deal.

Here is the new hardscape:





Thanks to using cycled media from another tank the cycle for this tank only took a few days to complete. Earlier today I added the first few plants from my walstad bowl. Plus 1 snail (I shall name him Tester the Fearless).



Over the next few days I will add more and more plants and livestock to the tank until the bowl is essentially empty. Stay tuned!
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post #28 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-30-2020, 12:48 AM
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I was going to comment that I didn't love the wood, since I felt it took away from the main rock, but you read my mind. Looks much better IMO. Is that mini pellia emersed?


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post #29 of 31 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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I was going to comment that I didn't love the wood, since I felt it took away from the main rock, but you read my mind. Looks much better IMO. Is that mini pellia emersed?
Thank you! Yea I really wanted to use that wood but every time I took it out I was like 'wow that looks better' ;P

Once it was gone the scape just kind of came together almost instantly.

It is not pellia, it's actually terrestrial moss I found in the woods. I also replaced it with a different species that I was able to get a bigger piece from. Speaking of which..


Update:

For the new moss I secured it with a small dab of aquarium safe silicone. I also moved over all the plants I plan on using in this tank from the Walstad bowl. In so doing I discovered what destroyed that tank ;P You see I have been unhappy with the Walstad tank for a while because I had a very persistent algae that my snails and amanos were not touching. I couldn't get rid of the stuff, it grew crazy quick and no matter how much I manually removed it would just be back again the next week.

Well........ heh it turns out it was not algae. It was instead a rootless plant I purposely added to the tank somewhere around 10 months ago. I found this plant in local streams and mistook it for an aquatic moss. I purposely added it to 3 tanks, my spec V, my 40 breeder, and the walstad bowl. I forgot about it because it was quickly eaten by fish in the other 2 tanks. In this tank it took over and grew in a way that was more reminiscent of algae then a plant. It wasn't until I was looking at handfuls and handfuls of the stuff during the tear down that I realized what it was. Anyway it was a real pain to deal with because any plant I wanted to reuse needed to be cleansed of this stuff (think a bad java moss infestation, but worse since the strands are smaller). It took hours but eventually I got the plants pretty clean. I won't say perfectly clean, but hopefully clean enough that any infestations that start to crop up I can jump on quickly and kill.

Anyway in addition to moving over the plants I also made a new lid to fit this tank. Here is how the tank looks now:







I also tried to make my own lily pipes for this tank using 3/4" stainless steel tubing... that did not work. I tried manually bending the pipe around a fulcrum but it was beyond my strength. Then I used a hydraulic press and it was hard even for my press which made me feel better about my own strength but still. Anyway it also flattened my tube a bit too much so I abandoned that project as unfeasible without better equipment. Instead I went ahead and bought a inflow/outflow set which is shipping from china. If that works I will buy another one. Till it gets here I have the rather ridiculous situation with the current plastic inflows.

So why bother with putting the top on now? Well as it turns out its needed. I found a reputable breeder on facebook who sold me 2 unsexed alpine newts. They were shipped overnight fedex yesterday and should be arriving sometime this morning. So finally the newt tank is going to get some newts
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post #30 of 31 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 05:10 PM
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Following this build. I'm very curious to see if the co2 will have any effect on the newts.

I've always been a herp lover first, currently breeding ackie monitors and Dumeril's boas. Have really been mulling the idea of building a newt tank.

Love the hard scape and choice of substrate!


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