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Old 17th January 2011   #1
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Default 30-Long Paludarium

I am considering setting up a display quality paludarium. Based on space restraints, I was considering using a 30-Long size glass aquarium (dimensions 36x12x16). I want a naturalistic setup with live plants, and several semi-aquatic newts. I have had some previous experience (years ago) doing a paludarium, but it was on a smaller scale and used no live plants. I'd like some advice on certain issues, particularly with regard to selection of caudates and plants.

For the setup I will be using an old Tetra Viquarium kit that I used in my previous paludarium experience. For those unfamiliar, this kit features a plastic retaining wall (with filter box), a small waterfall powered by an electric pump, and a stream created by modular plastic segments. I previously had the kit set up in a 20-High, and used only the minimum number of stream segments to get an adequate fit. I lost the other segments, so I am limited in the size of my "land" area. The land portion is about 15x12, though it is bisected by the stream and one of the corners is essentially dominated by the waterfall. Thus I would say the about 70% of the area is surface accessable, although the animals can burrow under the stream unit. The water section would thus be about 21x12, with a depth of 5.5 inches.

On to the actual questions, I would like a species that would utilize both the aquatic and terrestrial components of this setup, maybe with some preference for the aquatic. I would also like a species that has some tolerance for warmer temperatures, as conditions can get into the 70's indoors at my house during the summer. I would be able to provide some amount of cooling (such as a fan to improve evaporation), but don't want to get into chiller units and such. Finally, I would also like to be able to keep a group of these animals, preferably at least four, in this setup.

The two genera I was looking at were Triturus and Tylototriton. In general I prefer the appearance of Triturus, but Tylotriton has its own charms. What species from either of these genera be appropriate for such a setup?

My other question concerns plantings. As stated, I would like this to be a lush, naturalistic paludarium. The room that this setup would be located in receives some indirect sunlight. I would also mount some florescent bulbs on a timer. For the land portion I would like to put down a carpet of either sheet moss or bunch moss. Additionally, in the back I would like a reasonable sized fern-like plant. My concern here is that the viquarium setup essentially inundates the substrate on the land portion except for an inch or so under the surface. What kinds type of plant would tolerate this environment? Also, for the pump to function the terrestrial substrate must be a thick layer of gravel, so I need a plant that can grow essentially hydroponically.

On the aquatic side, I would like to have several emergent plants. I also want some aquatic grasses, ideally ones that will grow to the surface but will not develop into long strands that overwhem the tank. Finally, I would like to attach some javafern to submerged wood. Again, I would like to know species that would work in a "moderately" (in my opinion) lit setup.

Filtration should be no issue in this situation, the entire substrate bed on the terrestrial portion essentially acts as one giant combined biological/mechanical wet-dry filter. As mentioned before, the viquarium kit also includes a filterbox that accepts small "Whisper" brand filter cartidges, though those cartidges offer negligable power when compared with the substrate bed. My only concern is the stream outlet into the aquatic portion, as this will induce some movement in the water. However, I believe I can dissipate the current by placing an obstruction such as wood or a large rock in the immediate flow.

Anyway, that is about all I can think of about this setup for the moment. Please give me any advice, criticism, or questions you have!

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naturalistic, paludarium, triturus, tylototriton, viquarium

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