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ntny 19th February 2018 12:54

Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
Hello Folks,

i have some troubles cooling down my terrestrial tank and need some advice
i have connected my terrestrial tank to a aquarium chiller rated 1/20hp with a stainless steel pot containing about 2-3 liters of water inside the terrestrial tank.
the temp of the water in the stainless steel container is 22C. but the surrounding air temp in the terrestrial tank is still 26C high?
i tried to lower the chiller temp to 20C but it only seems to drop the surrounding air by 1 degree only to 25C.
i also tried to install a mini-fan to circulate the air inside the terrestrial tank but it seems to increase the temp instead.
i have also insulated the tank with styrofoam sheets. while it didn't lower the air temp inside the tank but it helps the aquarium chiller to "kick in" lesser, saving electricity bills.
may i know what's the usual and proper way to cool down a terrestrial tank?
is it ok for the terrestrial tank to have 25-26C air temp and water is about 20-22C?
i am keeping Ambystoma opacum for this terrestrial tank.


AdvythAF 22nd February 2018 18:53

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
25-26C are a little high, but for summer it is ok. I would try to cool it down to 15C for at least a month for them. You might want to use a modified refrigerator tank for them, for the long term.

Good luck!

ntny 24th February 2018 03:12

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
hi advyth
yes its pretty high at 25-26C air temp. that's why i am worried.
anyone knows how to cool down a terrestrial tank properly?
i saw on internet some folks connect aquarium chiller to a small radiator/metal box with fins and place them inside the tank to cool down.
the radiator has mini fans which blows/circulate cooled air from the radiator inside the tank
does this helps? one thing i am worried about mini fans, the newts might get injured if they ever climb into the fans?

PDONTnAMBY 26th February 2018 03:30

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
I've fussed over temperature a lot, and had several salamanders perish due to high temps during my time in the hobby. The conclusion that I've finally come to is that it is almost certainly easier and cheaper to put your terrarium into the cold than it is to put the cold into your terrarium. In years past I've tried numerous chilling techniques for my aquatic and semi-terrestrial tanks, from floating ice/ice packs, to evaporating water with fans, to frequent partial water changes with cold water, to running tank water through a coiled hose in a mini fridge. NONE of these techniques have been able to consistently drop the water temperature >3 degrees C below ambient temp, even for fully aquatic tanks. From my understanding, electric chillers are even less effective (and far more costly--starting at >$300 for models that do *anything*).

On the other hand, you can buy a new, medium-sized wine cooler for <$200 that will get your sallies as cold as they can handle. If you get a cooler with removable racks, you should have enough room to put in a terrarium. A glass-front wine cooler holding a fully-terrestrial terrarium and lit from outside would likely have no need for wiring into the cooler, provided you can mist it fairly regularly.

The most obvious concern with this sort of setup would be circulation--I have no idea what air exchange, if any, the inside of a wine cooler has with the outside, and you certainly don't want to asphyxiate your salamanders! However, salamanders use less than 100 cubic millimeters--or 0.1 mL--of oxygen per hour per gram of body mass. The average houseplant's leaf, on the other hand, gives off ~5 mL of oxygen per hour (and absorbs a commensurate amount of CO2, one would assume). Now, plants don't always metabolize CO2 and give off O2 at the same rate, and I'm sure that metabolism varies with temperature--so let's use a conservative estimate and say that at 8C, a plant is about 1/10 as efficient as at 20C. So that same leaf now gives off 0.5 mL of oxygen per hour, which means that it can support 5 grams of salamander. So if you have ~50 grams of opacum--4 mid-sized adults--you'd need the equivalent of 10 leaves in an enclosed system to provide enough O2 for them (this with a very high estimate of hourly oxygen use). Obviously, houseplant leaves are bigger than terrarium plant leaves--but still, a pothos, some ferns, and some healthy moss ought to put out more than enough oxygen for your salamanders. And of course, you'll likely be opening the enclosure regularly for mistings, feedings, and cleanings, so the odds of oxygen shortage seem exceedingly low.

I plan on using a setup like this for my P. ruber and G. porphyriticus this summer. DM me if you're interested in exchanging ideas.

ntny 26th February 2018 05:43

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
Thanks for your advice.
i experiment with some changes, i replaced the Glass tank with a Styrofoam Box,
the styrofoam box is 60cmx45cmx30cm (LxBxH). about 1.2 inches thick. i drilled some ventilation holes 5mm big on the top of the styrofoam box cover for fresh air exchange
i placed a Bigger/Taller stainless steel pot (diameter 25cm x H 20cm) with 10L of water into the styrofoam box, used a small pump to pump water into my aquarium chiller. i covered the stainless steel pot with stockings to prevent the marble sallies from climbing in and drowning
i set the aqua chiller to 20C and now it seems the air temp in the styrofoam box is 23C.i monitored for a few days and it seems stable at 23C
the substrate i used is Coco husk+bark chip,.a few drift woods for hiding places. no water dish provided.

a few questions below:
1) is it safe to use styrofoam boxes to house sallies? can they dig out and escape?
2) there is quite a lot of condensation from the stainless steel pot, is this going to cause too high humidity?
3)the 5mm ventilation holes on the styrofoam box cover enough for air exchange?
4) there is no light in the styrofoam box. is light necessary?


ntny 27th February 2018 01:52

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
hi folks
another question about moss
may i know if those "packaged moss" from zoomed or exo-tera are they "live moss" or dried moss?
i have no light in my tank will these moss die, rot and foul up the tank?
is it ok if i have no plants or moss only some driftwoods for hiding places?

John 9th March 2018 02:55

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
Those mosses can come back to life but they need light and a lot of TLC.

ntny 9th March 2018 08:44

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
Hi John,

Wow Founder! Thanks for your kind advice.
i have no light for my enclosure and i think i will pass these mosses in fear they will rot and foul up.
is light really necessary for Ambystoma opacum breeding? the reason i avoid light is to reduce any electrical appliances which may increase heat.
thanks sir

Axolotlee 18th May 2018 23:57

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
Air conditioner I have one in a room with the door closed all my tanks stay cool . I have it on low gives me anywhere from 53 to 64 nothing above that depending on where the tank is. High and I can adjust that with my heat in the house although its summer it will stay on for the most part cheapest solution you'll get. If you need cool humid air add a humidifier in the room

D jaycock 13th July 2018 22:39

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
I cool my apology tank water by freezing de clorinated water in ice cream containers in the freezer

coleonyx 13th July 2018 23:18

Re: Help, How do i cool down terrestrial tank?
Opcaum can be kept at higher temperatures so they're not as much of a worry as some other species, as long as it has plenty of burrowing depth you should be ok. Mine has been doing fine through our heatwave in the UK and has only just gone underground for extended periods of time, coming up in the evening to eat and poop. She has 5+ inches of damp soil and a decent layer of live moss to bury herself into if she needs.

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