Floating Gardens

jewett

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I really like using drift wood in my newt tanks, for various reasons, but I got tired of the junk that would build up under the wood pieces. It was difficult to move the wood around without disturbing the newts (a lot) and then I could never get the wood back in the same position where I thought it looked the nicest. I also felt that too many black worms were obtaining refuge in the wood and that bugged me too. So I thought up a solution and I really have liked the way it looks.
I got 12lb fishing line and tied it to the ends of the drift wood. I liked the 12lb because it has been strong enough to support the wood, but thin enough to manipulate into knots. Also, it does not prevent my tank lids from closing securely because it is so thin. I left the ends of the fishing line long enough that I could keep the ends on the outside of the tank and secure them with suction cups (that are attached to the outside of the tank). I could then "cinch up" the fishing line, which resulted in the driftwood being suspended several inches above the bottom of the tank. This leaves the tank bottom free of any obstacles to my cleaning and water changes, and the black worms have not been able to use the wood as sanctuary.
I have been very please with the results of my "floating gardens." I think they look great with the drift wood all covered in java moss, and the newts utilize the extra space this created by the water surface, where they can hang out in the mostly submerged moss but can easily stick their heads up to breathe. I can also watch them better when they feed because the bottom of the tank is so much more easy to observe. And it has made water changes so much easier and faster for me.
I have done this in my Cynops pyrrhogaster tank, Cynops/Hypselotriton orientalis tank, and in the bigger set up I am working on for my Mesotriton alpestris colony. In the fire belly tanks the wood has been suspended since this past Spring and every thing has held up very well.
At first I thought I would have to spend a bit of money on "fish tank safe" suction cups, but then realized that I could in fact go with the cheap ones from the dollar store because the cups would not actually be in the tanks as they are attached to the outside, and therefore could not leech any weird chemicals in to my water. And to the best of my knowledge fishing line is fairly inert and so does not cause a problem either. I was also very careful to make sure that I left no fishing line looped where a newt could get entangled and drown, or get cut on. I have had no problems so far, and because the line that the newts have direct contact with is heavily covered by java moss I do not see this ever being a cause for concern.
Sorry no pictures, though! I am a horrible picture taker so all the pics have turned out goofy, and it always takes me forever to re- size pics to post, anyway. I bet the idea would look better in your imagination than my actual tanks, anyway!
Heather
 

Molch

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what a nice idea!

someone on dendroboard posted a thread about a viv with floating mountains a la Avatar; basically the terrestrial version of what you did :)

maybe if one coated the fishing line in silicone and then rolled it in sand it would be thicker, more like a liana, and make a better surface for moss to grow on?
 

jewett

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Hey, I got a little less dumb and remembered how to post pics! They are not great though, so please don't be too disappointed but here are some pics of when the project was first completed. There is elodea in there now, which I had taken out to tie the drift wood up and wanted as much stuff out of the way as possible. But here you go:
 

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jewett

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That last picture is just an example of the suction cups I used to attach the wood with the fishing line to the outside of the tank. I kind of wedged the cups under the frame of the tank to help stabilize but I have not really had any problems with the suction cups coming off.

Oh, and this is a 55 gallon long tank, housing 3.3.0 Cynops pyrrhogaster. My temps are about 17C, and I have java moss, java fern, elodea, and now some vallesneria potted via method a la Molch.
 

Darkan

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This is a great idea. I love your tank!
 

daedae

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Great looking setups, and a very neat idea! Do you have any filtration set-up? I'm just asking because for a set-up I am currently making, I'm unsure if the plants do enough filtration. Thanks
 

jewett

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No filtration - I rely on the plants and water changes only. I used to use a filter with these guys, but they seemed to dislike even the smallest of currents and I was always worried about the possibility of escape due to the power cord exiting the tank. So now no mechanical filtration at all - only plants and water changes. And thank you for the compliments!
Heather
 
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    Ok I’m new so I have a pink Axolotl and it’s a baby like two three max inches and it eats from the top and it has now been floating a while now should I be worried ?? The other one is at the bottom of the tank and the tail isint hoocked or the gills aren’t curved flowerd they seem relaxed
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    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
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    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
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    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
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    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
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    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
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    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
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    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
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