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10G streamside build log

This is a discussion on 10G streamside build log within the General Discussion forums, part of the Vivaria, Enclosures & Product Reviews category; After many months in a hodgepodge of bland, makeshift moss-and-dirt and semi-aquatic critter keeper setups, my small plethodontids will FINALLY ...

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Old 24th May 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default 10G streamside build log

After many months in a hodgepodge of bland, makeshift moss-and-dirt and semi-aquatic critter keeper setups, my small plethodontids will FINALLY be getting a dedicated riparium that will be far more functional and pleasing to the eye, and have a smaller total footprint to boot! I've never done a good job chronicling a build before (partially because all of my other builds have been kinda ad hoc and scattershot), so this seems like as good a time to start!

Because I'll be housing a couple of species with varying habitat requirements, I'm trying to make a biotope with several different microenvironments. (I know, I know... I've read the horror stories about species mixing, but the vivarium gods have yet to smite me for my transgressions against nature.) And because I'm using a 10-gallon tank, these microenvironments have to fit close together without it seeming forced, or worse, cramping the inhabitants. So, how to achieve all this?

I've taken a lot of inspiration from mossy creeksides in the Appalachian foothills, where one can find everything from P. ruber to E. longicauda to even the occasional P. cinereus within feet of each other. Particularly, steep wet shale and slate banks, where groundwater seeps flowing into the stream create tiny, mossy grottos, provide perfect microhabitat for Eurycea spp., the primary inhabitants of this tank. And the steepness allows for these banks to be inches away from comparatively dry soil, where P. cinereus will be much more comfortable. Also, small waterfalls/drip walls are just always cool, and the faux-slate will be fairly easy to create and will look good even before the moss grows in.

Because I'll be leaving my nice cool basement (S/O to my in-laws for being hospitable and cool with my weird hobby) for an undoubtedly non-air-conditioned apartment at the end of this summer, I'm going to run the water supply through my jerry-rigged mini-fridge aquarium chiller. Additionally, I'll be running a dinky little HOB filter for the waterfall. The chiller can be run with a small, relatively unobtrusive powerhead or mini-fountain pump in a corner, so I'm not going to bother to hide that. The filter, though, would look silly if visible:

Click the image to open in full size.

...so I'm going to have to cover up the water outlet. I've previously tried completely separating my filters and circulation from the rest of the tank so that curious critters can't climb into and on them, but this has always made maintenance a major hassle (and half of the time they end up finding a way into where they shouldn't be anyway)! So this time, the whole setup will be open. I'll just have an easily removable lid covering the top of the filter. Makes it look pretty, but clean-up should still be simple.

I've tried using Great Stuff before, any while it's certainly easy to get it onto a tank, getting in there and shaping it is quite a bit more difficult. So this time I'm using pink foam. (Foamular brand, from Home Depot). My father-in-law found me a BALLER old hot wire knife that my wife's grandpa made about 30 years ago with a transformer, some wire, a piece of plywood, and I can only assume probably some toothpicks and chewing gum. Thing seriously rocks. After several hours of carving, here's my faux-slate base and filter cap:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll keep y'all updated with the project as it goes!



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Old 24th May 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 10G streamside build log

Best of luck. Sounds like a bit of a large project for a 10 gallon but perhaps your's will turn out great. Do post updates



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Old 2nd June 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 10G streamside build log

It's definitely a big project time- and effort-wise for a 10G. To justify that, I'm using it as a learning experience for when I redo my 55G. It's also *physically big* for a 10G. Now that I've got all of the layers cut out it looks like there may not be enough land area for the Plethodons, so I'll probably make the waterfall a little bit smaller. It might also just be too bulky in the z-dimension to look good in a 10G. If that's the case, I might custom-make a 20" long by XX" tall by 13" deep tank, which I think would probably look more balanced. I'm going to be building a 13" deep multi-tank stand anyway to accommodate the 55G and a 20G long, so a custom tank would fit in there nicely.

Anyway, my wife and I are finally done with our wedding celebrations, so expect updates shortly!



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Old 3rd June 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 10G streamside build log

I hope it goes well! Its surprising what you can fit inside a 10 gallon...I look forward to photos :)



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Old 4th June 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 10G streamside build log

Very creative. I'm loving the design. : )



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Old 9th August 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 10G streamside build log

I look forward to seeing photos, I'm hoping to do something similar (although just for one species) in a 10G soon... my first venture into paludariums... so I'm looking forward to see how yours goes!



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Old 14th August 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 10G streamside build log

You might want to take a look at the aquarium sites for hill stream loaches
A River Runs Through It — Loaches Online
How to keep hillstream and brook loaches in the aquarium
There are others as well.



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