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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologize in advance for this being long but I would really really appreciate any responses.


So, I've been wanting to do this for a long time but after much research I feel slightly overwhelmed. I could really use some suggestions.

I have a 75 gallon aquarium, a waterfall feature with a filter (is that good enough?), 2 Full Spectrum Daylight Bulbs T-8, 32 Watt, 48 inches with a fixture, a mesh top, cork bark, aquarium silicone, a quad fan to prevent mold. I will be buying a digital thermometer w/ temperature probe and hygrometer.

I want it to resemble a rainforest.

Now, here's the problem: I have no idea what to put in it. There are SO many options. I would like to have some sort of reptile, but I've heard a lot about how they carry parasites and disease and the set up would be in my room so I'm a bit nervous. Any opinions.. or facts.. on this? What kind of reptile would be ideal for a beginner with a half land/half water set up? Originally I wanted a chinese water dragon but I've read that a 75 gallon wouldn't be big enough, so I'll settle for something smaller :)

I would prefer it if the lizards suggested thrive at room temperature/don't need a heating lamp but I could also buy a heat lamp if that's not possible.

Can I have fish in it too, or any other animals, if I have a lizard? I've read so many different things on it and some people say yes others no. Would love to hear what people here have to say.

Then, what kind of plants work well? They would need to be non toxic to the animals of course.. I know baby's tears and bromeliads work, what else would?

and what kind of moss works well?
 

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You'd have a tough time keeping a chameleon without additional heating. Fun little animals though.

How about anoles? Sometimes called the American chameleon, green anoles are native to the subtropical climate of the southeastern U.S. I believe you can generally find a few more species in the pet trade too. They're pretty undemanding, and you could keep several in a 75 gallon tank, whereas a 75 long might be pushing it for even one chameleon (though not impossible).

Also, there are some cool amphibians. Many different types of newts and salamanders will do just fine at room temperature. Again, you could keep several in a tank that size. I'm thinking of the fire-bellied newt, or maybe the Oregon newt. Fire-bellied toads are also nice in groups and would thrive in a nicely planted 75 gallon half land/half water setup. Any of these three are very good beginner pets.

Newts are pretty long-lived. I had a fire-bellied newt that died last summer after 20 years in my care.

Reptiles are nice, but given your parameters, you should give amphibians some consideration too. As a general rule, you want to treat any reptile or amphibian as though it's carrying something. For your protection and theirs, always practice safe handling (wash your hands before and after), and handle them (amphibians especially), as little as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for that info, very helpful :)

I have another question - cork bark. Is it going to mold in a rainforest, humid tank?
 

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Mold is possible. If you have a decent amount of air movement however, you can keep it away. I accept a little mold as a fact of life in my tank (and most tanks). As long as it isn't out of control though, it won't hurt anything except the aesthetics of your setup.
 

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I would suggest skipping Chameleons as a beginner.

I second that fire-bellied toads and newts are an excellent option for the setup as you're describing it. They do well in cooler temperatures, they will use both aquatic and terrestrial sections in a paludarium, and they're not particularly demanding.

For plants, you can use a diversity of species, depending on the saturation of your substrate, the prevalence of dry areas and micro-climates, and their delicacy relative to the weight of the intended inhabitants. For the background and branches, vining species of Pepperomia, Ficus, and possibly Hoya are excellent candidates. Examples include P. prostrata, P. rotundifolia, F. pumilo, F. quercifolia, and H. curtisii. You can also intersperse epiphytic plants including miniature orchids (a little more advanced,) bromeliads (Neoregelia are a good option,) and Tillandsia. For larger-leaved or background plants, Begonias, some Aroids, and Korean rock ferns are all options. For the foreground, you might consider leaf litter (just dead, sterilized leaves that allow hiding places for inhabitants,) Hemianthus callitrichoides, or various species of aquatic moss or liverwort (Christmas, Java, Taiwan moss, etc. and Riccia fluitans.) You can also try terrestrial mosses like sphagnum and pillow moss, though these tend to be hit-or-miss. There are quite a few valid options, but all the ones I mentioned are pretty easy if you read up on their care.

Mold tends to flare up within the first few months of introducing a piece of wood to a vivarium, but it soon dies off in most cases. You can manage it more easily if you introduce a clean-up crew of springtails and isopods. These also provide active foraging opportunities for the tank's carnivorous inhabitants. On a similar subject, you could introduce small aquatic snails and potentially a few shrimp to your water section, but these may very likely be eaten. I would not generally suggest fish as both the fish and the amphibians will likely be a little stressed by the presence of the other.

As for other inhabitants, I would not generally suggest mixing species of amphibians or reptiles. Generally, this leads to higher stress for the inhabitants of the vivarium and the potential for novel pathogens.

Here are a couple of really attractive setups that may inspire you or provide a guideline:

-Serok-'s Paludarium:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=565938

FlyingSquirrel's Paludarium (different site) :

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pa...m-build-post-i-go-details-very-pic-heavy.html

Good luck with your build!
 
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