....and now for something completely different......

P

paris

Guest
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.
 
I

i.

Guest
Nice! It really shows off their colors, that's a great set.
cheers!
 
K

kaysie

Guest
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)
 
L

leighton

Guest
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.
 
J

joeri

Guest
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.

Joeri
 
P

paris

Guest
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.
 
C

coen

Guest
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
 
P

paris

Guest
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.
 
M

mark

Guest
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
 
P

paris

Guest
mark,
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.
 
M

mark

Guest
That is a great home. The rocks really accentuates the salamanders. Great idea. Where do you get your moss from???
 

andrew

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hey do you think this setup would work for some Ensatinas? I would think so but i am not sure. Please respond.
Thanks
Andrew
 
J

jillian

Guest
Why was I thinking "Monty Python" when reading the title of the post?

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

carolyn

Guest
What's the best way to separate water from land? Was everything you used bought from a pet store?
 
K

kara

Guest
Paris, what kind of store, im a curious cat....do you have a pet store?
 

tashie7161

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