55 gallon riparium for newts - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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55 gallon riparium for newts

I recently set up this riparium for my collection of 9 eastern newts. I wanted something with enough swimming space for them, but due to living in an older home, plus some safety issues, we needed something that wasn't too heavy. So a riparium was a good compromise. Also, my lady newts like to have a place to escape the non-stop courtship that happens every winter.

I grew out a bunch of plants from my other tanks, and bought a few new ones for the riparium planters (thanks, Hydrophyte!). The humidity is high because of the lid - newts are escape artists - so I get to grow a lot of things emersed. I think what I have in there is:

Java fern (both emersed and submerged)
Bolbitis heteroclita (slowest growing plant ever!)
Java moss
Guppy grass
Elodea
Various crypts (busy melting)
Some kind of hydrocotyle
Various Anubius
Some ferns that grow epiphytically
Lizard tail
Acorus
Cyperus helferi (emersed)
Duckweed







Newt butt:



The driftwood hides the riparium planters and creates a structure for the Anubias and java ferns to grow on. It still needs a lot more growing in, but I think it looks pretty close to what I had in mind - like a driftwood snag at the edge of a pond.

Bonus pics of a newt shedding his skin and eating it:



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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 08:00 PM
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Awesome tank, where did you get the wood?

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 08:15 PM
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That is one beautiful tank! Lucky newts. I love those little guys. I had one when I was a kid. Every now and then I consider getting one, but I don't have the space nor time.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 08:24 PM
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sweet!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 08:28 PM
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Really lovely--should be amazing once you get good solid growth on the emergent plants.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 08:55 PM
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cool really cool!!! good job hiding the hardware under the wood! how big will your newts get?

-Jacklyn
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments!

AquaAurora: I got the wood off of the banks of the river near our house. It had to be cleaned and soaked for a while to get the swamp smell mostly off of it.

jmf3460: The newts are fully grown. They're about 4-5 inches long. They really are fully aquatic, but like to hang out near the top in the plants and wood.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 12:22 PM
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Slowfoot, what do you feed your newts and what kind of sizing arrangements do they need? Is two the capacity for your 55gal? Im asking for a new tank for Christmas one of the zoomed paludariums to do a similar set up and I have been wondering what I could put in it. Are the newts totally plant friendly? What is their temp range? and ph and all that if you don't mind sharing your success

-Jacklyn
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmf3460 View Post
Slowfoot, what do you feed your newts and what kind of sizing arrangements do they need? Is two the capacity for your 55gal? Im asking for a new tank for Christmas one of the zoomed paludariums to do a similar set up and I have been wondering what I could put in it. Are the newts totally plant friendly? What is their temp range? and ph and all that if you don't mind sharing your success
Let's see... I feed my newts a mix of live, chopped earthworms, and frozen bloodworm cubes. They really will eat anything that 'smells' like food, though. Or anything that moves.

In a 55 gallon, filled to the top or near it, I could probably fit 20-30 newts. They are a pretty non-aggressive species. Some species are very aggressive, though. I think a zoo med might not have enough water area for newts. They really should not be on the land at all except in certain special circumstances, so the land part of a paludarium would probably be wasted. They are totally plant friendly, until the females lay eggs - they fold plant leaves over around the eggs, so delicate plants like crypts will get damaged. They like tannins in the water, hence the oak leaves.

They do have some requirements for proper care that make them not as attractive to keep for most people here. First, they really like it cold. I'm keeping this tank at room temperature right now. It gets down to 62F at night. Most species cannot handle temps above the low 70s. I honestly don't have problems growing easy plants at those temps, though. Second, they can't really be with fish. Fish stress them. You might be able to keep a few white clouds, but that's about it. Also, most species hate currents, so you're limited as far as filtration goes.

The other issue is that most are wild caught and just don't do well in captivity. Especially eastern newts and Chinese fire bellies, the two cheapest newts.

If you've thought about all that and still want newts there are some great species out there that are very hardy. Spanish ribbed newts are my personal favorite. They get big, are cool looking, and are very friendly for an amphibian.

Let me know if you have other questions. I love to talk about newts

Bonus courtship pic. I can't understand why the ladies want to get away

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2014, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Just a little update: everything is growing well except for the wisteria, which is maybe a blessing because I kind of overloaded this thing with plants.



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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2014, 05:14 PM
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A really beautiful tank.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2014, 05:21 PM
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That is super beautiful. I've been reading into Newts and I think I may purchase one in the future.

Your riparium is an inspiration.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 12:05 AM
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This tank is gorgeous, the newts are awesome, and I will offer the same advice everyone always said: it would look even better with a black background! It really looks stunning though.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! Time for a small update, I guess...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CluelessAquarist View Post
This tank is gorgeous, the newts are awesome, and I will offer the same advice everyone always said: it would look even better with a black background! It really looks stunning though.
This is on my to-do list, but I just haven't gotten a chance to work on it yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

So, I moved some things around a bit and raised the water level. I took out some plants that weren't doing well, mostly in the planters, and trimmed back some of the ones that we're doing too well. It looks approximately the same, though.

I also took out all the male newts because the females began laying eggs. They were tired of being harassed anyway. Some random pics:





One of my oldest newts - she is over 30 years old.


Eggs folded into a crypt leaf




Thanks for all the nice comments!
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:22 AM
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I love this riparium. If you want a quick background you can apply without emptying the tank, I have had good luck with static cling limo tint.


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