20 gal high newt riparium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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20 gal high newt riparium

After the irresistible pull of the Petco dollar a gallon sale, I decided to set up a riparium for my Japanese fire belly newts. I think ripariums could be pretty nice housing for fully aquatic newt species that don't really need to ever come out of the water.

Here's what I have so far:

20 gallon high
Glass top (newts can climb out, so this will be a high humidity riparium)
Lighting: 24" T5NO Coralife fixture
Substrate: play sand and large rocks (I have to stay away from small gravel and most planting material because newts can swallow it)

So I'm looking for suggestions on plants for the emersed portion. They'll need to be on the short side because there will probably be about 7-8 inches between the water and the top of the glass. They'll also need to be tolerant of cooler water (around 65F in the winter).

I'd love to try an Asian (or Japanese) biotope-type thing, but I don't think I can manage it in my area, just based on what I can get on my budget. This species inhabits deeper pools and ponds attached to cool streams.

Here's a thread documenting their habitat in the wild, if anyone's interested: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...al-b-font.html

I'll post some pics of my current set-up later. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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I got most of the underwater section planted today and took some pics. The light is just temporary until my new fixture arrives:

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No newts in there yet. It's mostly a bunch of java fern plantlings, a couple of anubias, and a poor val I ripped out of one of my other tanks.

I know the pothos will eventually take over everything, but I can just keep trimming. I'm thinking two riparium planters would be nice. I'd also love to put in a black background, but the newts are black so I'm not sure how well we'd be able to see them...

Anyway, any suggestions for short plants for the emersed section would be great. And any other comments - I have pretty much zero aquascaping ability.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 12:21 AM
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Looks good so far man, I'm not really sure on any emersed, don't have any. I am in the process of building a 55g riparium. It's somewhat done but I'm not happy with it.

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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 12:28 AM
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Crypts are the coolest plants for high humidity ripariums. I had this setup going with emersed crypts and various other plants in a 55...

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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SlammedDC2 View Post
Looks good so far man, I'm not really sure on any emersed, don't have any. I am in the process of building a 55g riparium. It's somewhat done but I'm not happy with it.
I wish I could work something as large as a 55 gallon - I think you could do a lot in that space. Thanks for the comment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte
Crypts are the coolest plants for high humidity ripariums. I had this setup going with emersed crypts and various other plants in a 55...
Yeah, that tank is part of the inspiration for this one - it's pretty fabulous. A lot of the plants, though, are too tall for my set up. Are there any crypt species you could recommend that are:
1. short
2. like hard water
3. don't mind temp drops to 65F or so?

I've been a little scared to try them because I've heard they can be touchy.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 02:35 AM
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Why can't you lower the water a bit more? With a few more inches of space you can get a much more robust riparium planting going and I think that that stump will also look cool with more sticking out of the water. I don't think it'll matter much to the newt so long as you keep up with water changes. For an animal like that the footprint area is generally more important than the water volume.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's three newts, so they do need the space. With a fully aquatic species like this, deeper water is better for them - they do spend a lot of time swimming. I just don't like filling my tanks to the top because my light heats the surface of the water quite a bit.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 02:37 PM
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What kind of water temp do the newts like to keep?

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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of water temp do the newts like to keep?
60 - 74F or so, though they need a drop to 50F to stimulate breeding (which is why they're in my basement right now).
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowfoot View Post
Well, it's three newts, so they do need the space. With a fully aquatic species like this, deeper water is better for them - they do spend a lot of time swimming. I just don't like filling my tanks to the top because my light heats the surface of the water quite a bit.
Oh, that is quite a bit of livestock. Yes you are right they probably do need the extra space.

A couple of crypts that grow well in ripariums and stay shorter are C. wendtii 'Green' and C. wendtii 'Tropica'. These two are real hardy and easy to grow. They won't grow much with cooler temps all the time, but they will tolerate cooler water just fine. Lower temps will probably enhance their colors too.

Crypts should go in riparium planters with rich media to root in. I do really well adding some real topsoil buried down inside the clay gravel. A couple other plants that also grow short that will root well on your driftwood or on riparium trellis rafts are Anubias barteri var. nana and Microsorum 'Windelov'. If you give ti some light the 'Windelov' grows really nice like this.

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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions! That's a nice looking plant. I think I'll give those crypts a try and see how it goes. It should be considerably warmer up under the lights, so they might do well.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 08:56 PM
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Here's a picture to show how I put the topsoil in the planter...



It is important to make sure it is covered on top and beneath with fine gravel. If it washes into the aquarium water you will get an algae bloom. Crypts grow a lot better if you give them some real topsoil.

That picture above show the Crypt. wendtii 'Mi Oya' that grew really big. For me the C. wendtii 'Tropica' (below) was more compact and had a more horizontal habit.

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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 09:24 PM
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Looks good Devin, I have really gotten into crypts lately. Not to thread jack but will any crypts do okay in a low humidity rip?

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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 09:31 PM
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The only crypt that will grow very well in an open-top tank is C. ciliata. It has leathery leaves and grows just fine in average humidity. It's a weird plant and different from other Cryptocoryne in several ways. I read somewhere that they might actually split it off into its own genus. It's easy enough to grow and bloom in a riparium. It has a really dramatic spathe that smells like pumpkins.

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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 09:36 PM
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Do you have any? for sale that is?

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