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Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

This is a discussion on Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium within the Photos & Pictures of Enclosures, Vivaria, etc forums, part of the Vivaria, Enclosures & Product Reviews category; Hello everyone. After looking at everyone else's enclosures for their Caudates, I figured that perhaps I should get around to ...

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Old 1st September 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Hello everyone.

After looking at everyone else's enclosures for their Caudates, I figured that perhaps I should get around to posting mine as well.

My 10g AGA has been set up in its current incarnation for about 3 months.
The flora was chosen specifically to tolerate the lower temperatures demanded by C. orientalis, and have been growing well, if somewhat more slowly than usual.

The rock and driftwood formations were designed to provide many small caves, hiding spots, and perches for the inhabitants. It should also be noted that the water level is usually about 1.5 inches lower, to permit the newts to climb out on the driftwood or on the plants.

Flora includes:
Potamogeton gayi,
Ludwigia sp.,
Microsorum pteropus (Java fern,)
Lilaeopsis novaezelanidae (Brazilian microsword,)
Micranthemum quadrifolia/hirsuta (Four leaf clover,)
Riccia fluitans,
Taxiphyllum alternans (Taiwan moss,) and
Monosolenium tenerum (Pellia.)

Click the image to open in full size.

I just trimmed a number of the plants on Friday, so pleas pardon the scraggly look at the moment.

To keep the plants healthy and growing, I run 4x18w compact fluorescent bulbs that I took from cheap desk lamps and retrofitted into a hood, giving me 72w. The lights are, in turn, supplemented by CO2 diffusion at about 20ppm, and I dose macronutrients and traces each morning per PPS (a planted aquarium fertilizer regime.)

Now, I know some of you are ready to jump on me about the lights heating the tank to intolerable levels, but don't worry- I've worked something out for this particular issue. Despite average temperatures between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit out here, the aquarium stays at a stable 66 Fahrenheit during the day, and drops to about 62 F at night. I manage this by using a computer fan that I've wired and mounted to the hood to help lower temperatures with evaporation during the day, in combination with my DIY canister filter/chiller that I built for this purpose. You can see the setup here:

Click the image to open in full size.

Basically, it consists of a small powerhead inside of a small locking tupperware that has been plumbed into the aquarium. It contains porcelain rings and nylon scrubbers for biological and mechanical filtration. This, in turn, sits within a lunch box, which is filled with ice and frozen bottles. I zip it shut, and it lowers tank temperatures by between 6 and 10 degrees, which, in combination with the fan, keeps the tank at an acceptable temperature. The only problem with this setup is that, every six or so hours, I have to unzip the lunchbox and replace the ice; however, despite the constant chore of ice-replacement, I find this option rather preferable to buying an extraordinarily expensive aquarium chiller or spending $60 per month on running my air conditioning 24/7.

Now, for tank inhabitants, I currently have 2 C. orientalis:
Smudge:
Click the image to open in full size.

And Lt. Porky:
Click the image to open in full size.

My girlfriend named them- Smudge for the blurry, grey colour of his body, and Lt. Porky because of the newt's big gut and the orange bars on his shoulders.

In addition to the newts, I have 2 Caridinia japonica (Japanese algae-eaters,) 1 Atyopsis moluccensis (Bamboo shrimp,) and 2 Beaufortia kweichowensis (Chinese hillstream loaches.) You can click on the links to see images of them in my aquarium (the post was getting a little picture-intensive...) I apologize for the quality of these photos- my camera is just a point-and-shoot, and the flash necessary to capture pictures of them at night somewhat distorts the colours.

The C. japnonica are included here for algae control, and seem to be tolerating the lower temperatures very well. They're quite active and growing well, and the firebellies don't seem to pay them any attention. The bamboo shrimp is an extremely passive filter feeder, and he and the newts seem to be mutually empathetic of one another. I've seen the shrimp just sit there as a newt walked on top of him. Finally, the Chinese hillstream loaches, a coldwater, stream fish (tolerant of even the winter temperatures that the tank will fall to) are in there for control of film algae. They are very peaceful and usually slow moving, but can swim very quickly if they're frightened. They're also largely nocturnal, so they do not often cross paths with the newts.

Finally, here are some random photos of the aquarium:
Riccia fluitans pearling, several hours after lights-on
Click the image to open in full size.

And, a newt's eye view of the aquarium:


Click the image to open in full size.

Thanks for looking, and please feel free to leave comments- even if it's just to tell me I'm a fool for mixing R. fluitans with firebellies. :)



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Old 2nd September 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

That tank looks incredible. Great idea with the cooling apparatus too. Congrats!



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Old 2nd September 2008   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Thanks very much for the complement.

The filter/chiller was actually quite easy to construct, and cost me a grand total of $5.50, as I already had many of the supplies.

Basically, I went out to WalMart, and purchased a small lock-and-lock tupperware that was tall and narrow, to provide a large surface area-to-volume ratio of the filter (to permit greater heat exchange) while still permitting sufficient space for the filter media. While there, I picked up 5-minute epoxy to seal the gaps without being as messy as silicone. You'll want the 5 minute type so you can manipulate the seal if you need to.

I already had an exo-terra repti-flow pump laying around, so I put that to use. I drilled a hole in the tupperware's lid just wide enough to be able to force the pump barb through. I then mixed up a very small batch of the epoxy and applied it with a toothpick just around the edge on both sides to make certain that any gap was sealed. Next, I placed the pump in position and marked where the power cord should come out. I then cut the power cord about 10" from the plug, drilled a hole just wide enough for the cord, and pulled it through. I then rewired the cord. Next, I repeated the epoxy process for the new hole. Finally, I drilled one last hole just smaller than my tubing, pulled it through with a pair of pliars, and epoxied that. All that was left was to fill it with my filter material, attatch the output hose to the pump barb, and my makeshift canister was complete.

For the input and output tubes, I just re-used a couple uptake tubes for HOB filters.

Thanks again for the interest.



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Old 2nd September 2008   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Nice! At least one person is keeping newts in true planted aquarium - beautiful Iwagumi. Here in Poland, Nature Aquarium is getting more and more popularity.
Riccia is pearling - are you using CO2 in this aquarium?



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Old 2nd September 2008   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Hi, Yahlies.

Thank you for your complement. Though I certainly wouldn't call it a standard Sanzon-Iwagumi, my arrangement certainly took some inspiration from that particular concept. Over the years, I've seen a greater number of Europeans doing both Dutch and Nature Aquariums on the forums I frequent, and they are producing very interesting new styles.

I inject pressurized CO2 for 30 minutes before lights on and until about 30 minutes before they go off. I find that about 1.5 bubble per second on the bubble counter produces a CO2 cocentration in the aquarium of about 20ppm. Although I use pressurized on this aquarium, any tank of a similar volume could likely use DIY yeas reactors to produce sufficient Carbon levels for a much reduced price. I just used pressurized because I had it laying around.

Thanks again for your interest.



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Old 2nd September 2008   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

simply stunning. i love the retro fitted computer fans and cooling system idea (might have to steal it)



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Old 2nd September 2008   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Please feel free- my ideas really aren't all that original, but I posted them here to share! If they can help a keeper and his or her animal, I'm happy to have played some small part.



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Old 2nd September 2008   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

I read that Iwagumi is nature setup using stones as decorations - and your beautiful tank is suiting to this term :)
I think, that mr. Amano should start creating nature arrangements inhabited not by small fish, but Japanese species of newts and salamanders :)



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Old 2nd September 2008   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

What is the point of the bamboo shrimp and the loach? Don't they do the same thing? I am curious as I might want to get them with a newt but I'm not sure if they clean different things.



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Old 3rd September 2008   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

In all honesty, the Bamboo shrimp and the Hillstream loaches are in there simply to add extra interest, rather than for much practical use. They make the system just a little more dynamic for my girlfriend, which, in turn, makes her more likely to tolerate my hobby.

But, to answer your question, no, the fish and shrimp do completely different jobs in the aquarium. The hillstream loaches are actually algae eaters, and scrape film from the glass and hardscape. They basically help out the army of various species of snails that are flourishing in the aquarium. Japanese algae eaters only eat filamentous algae- if their pincers can't grab it and pull it up, they won't go through the effort of trying to consume it. They're also a clean up crew, and, along with the snails, help to consume leftover bloodworms. Finally, the bamboo shrimp eats only organic particles suspended in the water column- in the place of pincers, they have evolved a set of setae "fans" that they use to filter the current. One of these days, I'll get a film of him in action, so you can see what it's like.

I should note that it's probably not the best idea to include the bamboo shrimp in a newt aquarium, because I don't know if they'll tolerate the winter temperatures that we put the newts through to prepare them for breeding. I plan on transfering him over to another aquarium when that time comes.



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Old 3rd September 2008   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

I'm keeping bamboo shrimps in one aquarium with group of C. orientalis and all are doing well. Winter cooling goes ahead in other container put in the basement, so shrimp shouldn't have any problems.



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Old 3rd September 2008   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

What a fabulous tank! You've got some truly spectacular plant growth in there, and the newts look happy too.



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Old 21st September 2008   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

is a chiller necessary for cynops? i didn't think they lived in that cold of an environment. my tank temps are probably around 70 degrees.



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Old 22nd September 2008   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Actually, Cynops orientalis inhabit cool ponds and streams throughout China, and room temperature tends to be a bit on the warm side for them. Especially if you intend to breed them, a chiller (or one of many other cooling options) isvital to attaining the lower temperatures required to stimulate these Caudates' cycles. At higher temperatures, they become more prone to bacterial and fungal infections, and I have noticed a considerable decrease in the activity of mine when they are exposed to overheating.

So, to answer your question, no, chillers are not necessary for a happy Cynops, but colder temperatures are.

This site has a good resource with lots of information on the care of this species in its Culture section. Here's a link.

Thanks for the interest.



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Old 22nd September 2008   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Wow, I never thought of newts as possible inhabitants for high tech planted tanks...very coo!



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Old 22nd September 2008   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Good god! You are the Ammano of the Amphibian world buddy!


Nice inspiration!!



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Old 23rd September 2008   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Beautiful tank. I may have missed it but is there a place for them to get out of the water?
Chip



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Old 30th September 2008   #18 (permalink)
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Arrow breeding cynops

Firstly I love the tank and what you've done, I keep shrimps with my cynops sometimes.

But in response to the cooling, actually, Cynops orientalis only require a very slight drop in temperature to trigger breeding (if any drop at all), temp is not the main trigger. This slight drop is often achieved naturally over the colder months. More important are photo-periods throughout the year and also water levels in the tank. When it starts to gets cold and dark, put them in a tank with no land and not much plants and maybe 3 inches of water. Keep them in an unlit area, no lights. doesn't have to be pitch dark, just no direct light. During this period feed them plenty mixed worms: blood worms, earth worms etc, give them plenty.
Then when the days start to get longer and a bit warmer, put the tank in a big window where it will get natural light 24/7, add some more plants, top the water up to nearly the brim... your newts should breed. But then when your wonderful Cynops babies are just about to morph, don't go to france for a week, leaving them in the hands of your flat-mate unless your sure they'll be fine.



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Old 20th June 2011   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Agrippa's 10g Cynops orientails Aquarium

Wow!

Sorry, I don't mean to make my first post here as a thread necromancer, but I was looking for a post to inspire me for my own CFB aquarium and stumbled across this.

Does anyone know what became of this tank? I haven't seen any others like this, but it's great! I know this thread is three years or so old, but I'm going to try to emulate it when I set up my own aquarium.



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