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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 10 gallon that is meant for reptiles and not aquarium use.... I have it setup as a fry tank right now , but I am nervous that it may break if I carry it wrong or something, so I want to make it into a 50/50 terrarium... So I guess my questions are...
What type of substrate(s) to use....
What to use a filtration for the water section?
What type of lighting to use for plants (both in and out of water)
If there are any other things I should know...

Thanks!
 

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I know that the Whisper internal filters can be used for a terrarium. I've been interested in doing one myself. I'm eager to see what people suggest. I've seen a terrarium at an lfs once that had a neat little divider that made a kind of stream from the top section to the bottom. I wonder where you could find something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tank ready

So I emptied the tan gallon today... managed to flood the bathroom while doing so. But now my tank is ready... I t hsa an undergravel filter in one half and the land mass is the other side... I sucked as much water out as possibe with a turkey baster and now I am going to let it all dry out.. If I am really lucky I plan to get some sort of other substrate instead of my blue black green and purple clown puke. As soon as it drys out I will silicone in a divider to keep the water sepparated from the land and figure out how to decorate it... I plan on putting one firebelly toad in it and maybe one newt... both are easily acessable and cheap...
Thanks for reading.
 

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Well, I've had my newt tank up and running for quite some time now, so I might as well share. This is where Murky, my fire belly newt, lives.

Alright, well, first, I'll discuss the equipment for the terrarium. It's a 10g with a standard hood designed for screw in bulbs. I replaced the halogen bulbs with 27w spiral compact fluorescents, for a total of 54 watts. I actually have a computer fan to keep the bulbs cool and to introduce fresh air to the terrarium. As for the filter, well, I don't actually use one: I just have a number of aquatic plants in the water section, and do daily water changes. Low-tech, but higher (slightly) maintenance. I also have a humidifier plumbed into the terrarium (just an ultrasonic that I bought from Walmart.) This keeps up the humidity despite the fan.

In building the terrarium, the background is just black slate that I placed on a thin layer of expandable foam. Where the foam poked out, I covered it in black silicone and then covered that with peat moss. To create the barrier between the land and water sections, I siliconed a plexiglass barrier to the base to keep the land section water-tight. I then used the expandable foam (called great stuff) to put a small insulation, then squashed the coark-bark slab onto the plexi. Again, any foam that poked through was covered with silicone and peat.

For substrate, I use a mixture of orchid bark, milled peat moss, sphagnum moss, and coconut husk. It leaves pretty good drainage (I have a 1 inch drainage layer of kroton leca balls at the bottom,) but as I have only ephiphytic plants, it's not that terribly necessary. In the water, I just use silica sand (washed playsand from Home Depot,) as I'm a poor college student.

In the terrarium, I have a bromeliad, three tillandsia, aluminum plants, 6 types of mosses (java, christmas, taiwan, golden-club, sphagnum, and an unknown,) java fern, and earth stars all on the land section. The water section consists of java fern, christmas moss, taiwan moss, hemianthus micranthemoides, and banana plants. The key for flora in smaller terraria is to pick plants with small leaves and stems to help create the illusion of extra volume. I don't really have any images of the water section, but if anyone is interested, I can get some. Well, I guess that's enough talking, so I'll just let you see the pictures now.

Newt's Eye View


Bhudda (keeps an eye on the inhabitants)


The Sphagnum Moss Taking off


Humidifier Going


Murky's Favorite Hiding Spot
 

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THE whisper internal is a good terrarium filter, it's waht i have. IMO, the ten gal is a hard tank to make a deep enough water area for.
here's mine, good luck.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow thanks guys... So you think I should ditch the gravel and just go get some sort of bark or something...? I cut glass for my divider today and filed the edges down so it is not sharp at all... I will probably use a whisper and I have a 25watt tetra submersable heater to use too. I will hopefully get the rest of the stuff for it this weekend... Oh and my lighting is a sholight with only 1bulb over 2 ten gallons right next to eachother...

Thanks for all the help.
 

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Whether or not to use the gravel depends heavily upon the type of plants you plan on using. If you're going to use terrestrial plants like me, then you need a more advanced substrate; however, if you're using aquatic plants or epiphytes, it doesn't matter as much. The plants you use also depend highly upon the amount of light you supply to your tank. With just one shoplight, you might not have enough light, but who knows. My plants really prefer high light, so that's why I have so many watts.
 

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Duettos make decent paludarium filters, as well. I think the $20 model is the DJ 50, and it'd be more than enough for a partial water area in a 10 gallon. You can stand it upright like that whisper, or lay it down, to completely hide it underwater. The whisper would probably work a little better, but the Duetto would probably work in the space you're using a little bit better, since it's more mobile, with being able to run in any direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok so I have made a bit of progress...

I bought peat and extra absorbtion potting soil today, along with a tube of 100% silicone to put in my divider with. I plan on putting in the divider today and add the soil asap. I am not using any of the gravel posted above..

I have a full glass top to go over it to hold in the humidity and I may use a heated humidifier as a source of heat and humidity(duhh)

As for the plants I bought a "bush on fire" or something like that today... It says it is tropical but I have no clue....


So I am a little scatter brained right now I will post pictures later after I get things going.

Please let me know if there is anything else I should look into.
 

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Just a tip on foggers, the exoterra/zoomed ones at petsmart don't do well, and are a huge waste.
Buy a 20-40$ ULTRASONIC humidifier at wallmart/greens, and modify it to where the outlet has a hose going to the tank. It's much better,and safer. for more info. see Dendroboard.com.
 

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Oh yea, also the petsmart fogger metioned above is dangerous, and can shock an animal that touches it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok well I have a Humidifier for like a room that heats the water into vapor, that I think I could modify to work just so I dont have to buy anything new...Do you think this will work..?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Pictures.

Ok so here is the divider, soils, and plant... let me know if you can ID that plant and maybe tell me more about it, and if the soils will work alright...

The divider... Was cracked but I may run a waterfall through there...All edges are sanded and NOT sharp at all.






I will probably do a thick layer of peat on the bottom and mix it with soil through the rest and put a thick layer of peat on top too....

ID on this plant...?

 

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I'm a horrible botanist, so no id yet on your plant.
Um, the humidifier has to be ultrasonic i think, maybe not, but i know the ultrasonic makes fog, not mist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
oh ok...well I got this one all hooked up and it is deffinatly just a mist one but It works good fo now... I will update with pictures tomorrow!
 

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Alright, where to begin.

Well, the plant you showed there is called a croton, but I'm sorry to say that they tend to get rather large. It makes a good house plant, but, unfortunately, it will rapidly outgrow a ten gallon, and probably won't like all of the humidity in your terrarium. Sorry about that, but if you send me a pm, I'll give you a list of great plants along with some sources.

As for the humidifier, I actually just use one that I got at Walmart- I just plumbed it into the vivarium, and viola. Did you get one of the exo-terras? One way or another, if you experiment, I'm sure you'll manage to get it to work. If not, feel free to send me a pm, and I'll do my best to help.

Now, on to terrarium construction.:icon_smil when you silicone in your divider, it would be a really good idea to place it farther back so that you have a 80:20 ratio of water volume to land. Both your cynopsis orientalis and bufo orientalis prefer a lot of swimming space, and by moving the divider back, it will help to accomodate them. Trust me- I just finished a renovation on my own tank to give my newts more places to swim, and they really appreciate it. Oh, and when the silicone cures, it's a really good idea to carefully test out the seal on your divider, because, trust me, it sucks to try and repair it when the tank is up and going.

I really seem the bearer of bad news, but unless you put a top layer of moss or other plants on that peat, it tends to hurt newts because of its very high acidity. Unfortunately, their sensitive skin burns under prolonged contact to this soil, and leads to health issues later on. In my terrarium, I just used a lot of live mosses in conjunction with sphagnum moss (which is the type of moss from which peat is derived.) It's also a good idea to include lots of orchid bark and vermiculite (you can even just use aquarium gravel) in the soil within these terraria to facilitate drainage, but, again, this depends largely upon the types of plants you end up with.

Anyway, I know it's a bit of a rough start, but don't get frustrated- I have no doubt that it will turn out great in the end. Good luck, and send me a pm if you need any advice. :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK so I deffinatly am going to try and get different plants... I was at petsmart yesterday and they had a box of that they called FROG MOSS I read the container and it said to soak it in water and it would coem back... I wasn't too dry but it still had soil on the bottom of it so I guess I will get some of that and just cover the peat... It was the peat you were talking about being acidic right? I Got the whole land side fillied in yesterday before I read this so I have a bout 70-30 ration water to land and the divider is not the same one pictured above but is set at an angle like this [water/land] so it will be eaiser to get out of the water... I got the humidifer wrking and I think I will put it on a timer to come on every hour for maybe 10minutes because if it is on longer the tank gets very wet and HOTT.

Please let me know if this sums everything up...?
 
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