I’m still loving this! I’m not a fan of high tech tanks but everything else is great! I love that wood rim. It really compliments the hardscape and sand and brings the whole thing together for me. Are you going to place the in and out tubes through the wood?
Are you putting a background on the tank?
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Yes I will definitely be putting the intake and return through the wooden lid. I am trying to get some stainless steel returns and use them for both intake and return. Its more difficult then I first thought it would be because not every seller actually sends the same set they have pictured. I think I found a good set but we will see. I will probably add some frosted window film to the back of the tank at some point, no other background.
Any updates? I need to see some newts!
You ask, I deliver!
It's been almost a month since I set up the tank and last posted. A lot has happened and when I saw SteppingStones asking for an update I realized I really should update this thread with all that has happened.
So first off I will get out of the way that the plants in this tank are doing great, maybe even really great. This is an aquasoil tank so there should have been a lot of nutrients in the water this first month but other then some start up diatoms on the anubias leaves, there hasn't been a spec of algae in this tank. I think a lot of this has to do with using established plants that had already transitioned to underwater conditions and because my light is pretty low powered compared to some of my other setups.
With that out of the way the rest of this post is going to focus on the newts.
So I got the newts shortly after my last update. They arrived in very good condition, the breeder clearly being someone who takes care of their animals. I allowed the newts to come to room temperature and then put them into the tank on the 'land' portion. They spent the next hour or so swimming around in the tank exploring it and all looked well. Then they crawled back up on the land portion and pretty much stayed there for the next 2 weeks.
This was a problem.
The newts I got are called alpine newts and while some species of salamander spend significant time on land, these newts in captivity spend almost all of their time in the water. For them to spend so much time on the land essentially meant something was wrong. Over the course of those 2 weeks I did a number of things, the first of which was talk to people with more experience including the breeder. I was told that newts take a bit to settle into a tank and a week out of water would not be unusual for them. After that week went by I started considering other options. You see the newts were not alone in this tank. I did something that is frowned upon in the newt world which is have some fish in the same tank with the newts. In this case I put my ricefish from my walstad bowl in this tank. The fish are super peaceful so I wasn't worried about them hurting the newts and they could certainly tolerate the same temperature ranges (the 2 reasons most often listed for why you should not cohabitate fish and newts), but as it turns out they were just plain stressing my newts out. I didn't want to remove them though because I don't have another tank they can go into. It came to a head one morning when I found my last male ricefish almost bitten in half.
Soooo yeah, the remaining 4 female ricefish got moved to a temporary tank while I try and rehome them. That was problem 1.
But still I had land bound newts.
I eventually decided that my temperatures were simply too high. The tank was getting as high as 73 degrees at its peak, and while that was technically within range of these newts I think it was just too much for them given they were in a new home. I put a fan on the tank and that dropped the temperature down to 66 at its peak and within a day one of the newts was in the water. The other newt... not so much. This is now 1.5 weeks after introducing them and the remaining newt would stay out of the water for another week. It actually got to a point where I was convinced I needed to take more drastic action and made a hospital tank so I could closely monitor this newt and was just about to put it in the hospital tank when I found it happily swimming about in the water. What changed? Basically different food I believe. I was feeding flightless fruit flies on the land portion and pellets to the newt in the water. I was advised to switch to frozen bloodworms for both and I believe that made all the difference.
I have since also introduced earth worms to their diet and I ordered a white worm culture to throw that into the mix as well.
Flash forward to present time and both newts are looking healthy and spending all day in the water. I haven't seen either on the land portion in days (which is how this critter is supposed to act).
But I have a silly fan on top of my tank. I really want that thing gone, which means I need a chiller. I'm going to try and DIY one together but if that fails I will just bite the bullet and buy one.
And so without further ado, here is a bunch of pictures of newts.
And a full tank shot as of this morning:
That's all I have for now. Next time I will hopefully have something to talk about concerning the DIY chiller.