View Full Version : ....and now for something completely different......

22nd May 2004, 20:51
it is not my habit to go to this section-i am afraid of getting drawn in, but i have something to show off. i got an idea to do a set up for my fires that would help exhibit the bold colours of the fire salamanders that live in my front store window (this is an inside window-no sunlight). most of my set ups are traditional ones of dirt, plants and wood-like this one for my mole salamanders
i had just bought a tank at a garage sale and it fits ok on the front window rack (which was made for 15 gallon tanks). i am unsure of the gallons for this tank but i am guessing its 40-ish. i was looking to create a different sort of set up -sort of funky/artsy post-apocalyptic. to see the final product you will have to sit through the 'making of' pics.
here is the tank to start:
it came with out a top and since its long i decided to create a split top, since there is no divider between the tank sides -this type of screen top would not work with cats!(their weight would collapse it)
here are the steps to creating their habitat:

first i laid down the bottom charcoal layer-i dont use gravel underneith since this makes tanks so much heavier
now i added the pipes(which create tunnels),peat moss and plants
then i added the moss and some of the black rocks-these are polished black river rocks
and last i added the rocks to the top of the peat (had to take some from the water section-i ran out) and added water-and salamanders!
i thought it will take a while till they learn to use the tunnels-i had put this one in his to sart-and was amazed he actually climbed right up it to perch on it. the one by the water that looks like a parascope my be hard for them to use(its a dead end one under ground)but one did climb on top of it and sat there-almost basking.
i am hoping this set up will create more interest in viewing them -the old set up they all stayed mostly under the logs and were hard to spot with all the different colours in a natural set up.

23rd May 2004, 02:45
Nice! It really shows off their colors, that's a great set.

23rd May 2004, 08:56
Paris, I have used a few of these plumbing pipes too. Mine are half buried, they make good semi-hiding spots.

(Message edited by kaysie on May 23, 2004)

23rd May 2004, 21:33
Nice tank (and salamanders)! We use half-hexagonal uPVC guttering as shelter for our female axolotl, Peely. It worked so well that we're going to get some more for Wally - our male. There are loads of interesting shapes at B&Q.

24th May 2004, 09:58
Hey Paris, this is an awesome post. Incredible idea with a super result. I'm glad you took so many pictures during the building phase, this is better then any instruction I have ever red.

I have one question though. Concerning the charcoal. Is that charcoal as you could use in a barbecue or the one you buy to use in filters (or are both the same?)
I'm not familiar with the use of it as a substrate, hence the question.

Once again, great setup.


24th May 2004, 13:42
grill charcoal is definitely NOT to be used, i wouldnt trust that they didnt add anything to help it be flammable-or at least have been stored or made in a facility that has those chemicals. you can use fish tank charcoal but it is expensive since it is a specialty market item -i use SCOTTS charcoal-sold at home depot for about 3$ a bag-this tank took 3 bags. the charcoal is irregular shaped and in small chunks but it is sold for terrariums/plants and is just plain charcoal.

24th May 2004, 13:49
That's a great idea, plants grow just fine on them I presume? Plus it's light, definatly something I'll think of using in the future

24th May 2004, 17:05
well the idea is that in a terrarium or a pot that doesnt drain, you want to have air spaces so the plant roots dont become water logged. the traditional approach is 1-2 inches of gravel, 1 inch of charcoal then your plants and soil. i used to do this but the rocks were sooo heavy that i couldnt move tanks if i had to. since the charcoal is alot like the gravel in that it keeps the soil off the wet bottom and provides air spaces-i have forgone the gravel. the added plus in this set up is that the water from the wet area is automatically going to go through the soil up to the water level-so the charcoal will help clean the water. my reason for this is intentional because i will need to raise the water level occasionaly since i placed the moss patches in depressions-this will ensure that are very wet -these grew along a bank of a stream and i noticed the wetter the patch (the more it got splashed) the taller the moss.

30th May 2004, 17:04
Great pics Paris, an excellent set-up and great salamanders.
Are they S.s.salamandra?
Do you use peat often I've been wondering whether to use it or not, I heard it was acidic?
Thanks, Mark

7th June 2004, 18:05
yes they are s.s.salamandra. i use peat almost exclusively as it is the only soil i can buy that has no additives .(fertilisers or polystyrene bits) it is acidic but then leaf litter is also acidic and that is where many live. they do have a choice not to be on the soil-and the water part will be dark with tannins for a while-especially if i dont drain it out. to note though is that soil 'wicks' moisture up through it and so the water level seen in the soil area is HIGHER than the water body.

8th June 2004, 15:00
Thanks for clearing that up Parishttp://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/happy.gif

10th November 2004, 20:04
That is a great home. The rocks really accentuates the salamanders. Great idea. Where do you get your moss from???

11th November 2004, 18:16
hey do you think this setup would work for some Ensatinas? I would think so but i am not sure. Please respond.

12th November 2004, 04:34
Why was I thinking "Monty Python" when reading the title of the post?

I love the set up, very different, but awesome!

12th November 2004, 15:07
what type of system is that you have used to make the screen top?

26th February 2007, 17:58
What's the best way to separate water from land? Was everything you used bought from a pet store?

26th February 2007, 19:14
Paris, what kind of store is this?

28th February 2007, 01:59
Paris, what kind of store, im a curious cat....do you have a pet store?

3rd March 2007, 16:44
Neato Gweato!

18th June 2007, 19:03
Wow that looks amazing, and the salamanders look so happy in there! very nice markings as well on them. :)

26th June 2007, 00:19
Sorry i know this may be a dumb question but coudl you use this for an all water setup with axolotls??:confused:

26th June 2007, 02:39
I don't see why not, if you have a nice set-up then show it off by all means!