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Old 10th July 2007   #1
viperidae81
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Hey all--
I'm looking to set up a fully living vivarium and I am in need of some substrate advice. I'm looking at getting some S. intermedia, or some S. lacertina. I have a everything figured out (tank, plants, filtration, etc.) but I am stuck on what substrate to use (keeping in mind these animals are fully aquatic). I want something as natural as possible and I am willing to experiment. I don't want to use only sand or only rocks as these animals like to burrow in the substrate in the wild. Any advice is appreciated. Let me know what you think...
Thanks in advance
--Nick




Last edited by viperidae81; 10th July 2007 at 03:34.
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Old 10th July 2007   #2
Heather Jewett
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Coco fiber bedding, sold in bricks and expand when soaked in water, have always worked well in my tiger sal enclosure. Though I have no plants in with the tiger, I have used the old coco fiber to "top off" some of my house plants, so I think whatever botanical life you have in mind should be fine as well. Good luck, I myself always enjoy setting up new tanks
Heather



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Old 10th July 2007   #3
Ed
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You can use a mud mixture on the bottom but you will never see the Sirens as they will keep the water muddy (or you will have a clogged filter). I keep A. pholeter over a mud bottom and any disturbance causes the tank to turn into a solid brown impentrable mess.

If you want to add other materials to simulate the substrate, you can use dry leaves like magnolia leaves (although they will turn the water brown). A better method maybe to use a sand bottom and then use types of floating plants that form very solid mats for the sirens to burrow through (I have had good luck with Utricularia gibba).

Ed



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Old 10th July 2007   #4
Jennewt
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I've seen aquatic tanks like Ed is suggesting: fine sand topped with some dead leaves. As the leaves decay, they have to be removed and replaced. It's a bit messy, but much less messy than real mud. There are certain kinds of tree leaves that should probably be avoided, but I'm not entirely sure which ones. I think oak is acidic, and probably one to avoid.



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Old 11th July 2007   #5
viperidae81
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thanks for the suggestions... anyone have any idea what leaves would be good to use?
--nb



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Old 16th July 2007   #6
Pat
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I would use beech or maple leaves. And here is my long and drawn out reason why.

Beech and maple are shade tolerant species. (They donít need a whole lot of sun). Being shade tolerant, they only need a small scale disturbance to grow. A small scale disturbance would be something like a tree dying because of disease and old age. When that tree dies, there is a canopy gap, and usually a beech or maple (if they are there) will fill that canopy gap. Oak and other shade intolerant species need larger gaps (need more sun) to grow. A larger disturbance could be a fire or tornado.

So if a tree dies, falls over, and if the rootball comes up as the tree falls over, there will be a depression in the ground where that rootball was. Later the tree and rootball decays and that depression ends up becoming a small vernal pool. This leads to a pit and mound effect throughout the woods. Generally late successional woods have many of these pits (hole where rootball) and mounds (decayed rootball), and will be dominated by more maple and beech. So then those pools fill up with more maple and beech leaves than oak leaves. So that is why I think maple and beech leaves would be good to use.



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