Soil for plants

bhill368

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Hi! I've never created a terrarium with live plants before and am planning on doing so soon. What is the safest kind of soil for me to get? Thanks!
 

seandelevan

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Anything labeled as organic will work. Been doing it for 10 years with good results. Make sure you get it to a mud like consistency first and then add an inch of gravel and or sand. I like to use a mix. If you don't you'll have a hot mess on your hands. Then plant what you want to plant. More plants the better. Then add water very very very slowly, can't stress that enough. Below is a video from a couple years ago of my newt tanks with live plants.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCynZ2Aenrs
 

DartFrog180

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Although elsewhere on caudata/caudata culture it has been discouraged for use with salamanders and newts, I really like using "Atantic Botanic Garden Mix" ("ABG Mix") or similar recipes. ABG mix has been a preferred substrate of dart frog vivarium keepers for many years. I've used a modified recipe similar to ABG mix now for about three years to keep a generously planted vivarium that has included a group of Tylototriton shanjing for over 17 months.

Planted in the substrate of the vivarium are four species of ferns, four different live mosses, Peperomia species, Ficus pumilla vines, two dwarf Spathiphyllum lillies, and some kind of Oxalis that I think came in as a contaminant with one of the ferns that was purchased as a potted specimen. All of the plants/mosses listed above, as well as the Tylototriton are thriving. There is a colony of orange Porcelio scaber isopods introduced in the vivarium as sanitary scavengers and a constant food source for the Tylototriton. One of the concerns with any substrate is ingestion and compaction. I have observed on many occasions as the Tylototrition stalk and eat isopods off of the substrate. Similarly, when I feed them earthworms, mealworms, waxworms, etc., it is not uncommon to see small amounts of substrate stuck to the food items and ingested by the salamanders.

The Tylototriton themselves (2M:3F) are healthy and active. They had at least three different bouts where they oviposited viable eggs during 2017. I guess my point is, ABG like mixes work well for heavily planted dart frog vivaria, and my modified ABG like substrate is working without incident for this group of salamanders and the plants in their vivarium.

My recipe is as follows (all by approximate volume, prior to mixing and initial soaking):

1) two parts fine coconut fiber.

2) two parts fir bark chips, crushed to small size (about 1/4 inch or 0.65cm or smaller) by running it through an old kitchen blender.

3) one part fine peat moss from garden store.

4) one part finely milled sphagnum, made even smaller by running it through an old kitchen blender.

5) two parts garden store finely crushed charcoal.

Once this was all mixed and hydrated, it was placed in the vivarium at a depth of about 3 inches/7.6 cm over an egg crate false bottom to allow drainage. I misted it for about two days to allow settling before planting.
 
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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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    hi.....
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    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
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    Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu, how big they are? also for substrate, i would not do gravel at all I would either do sand or none at all!
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  • MuggleMiChu:
    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
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    Thank you so much for the information and advice! They are eating again, they ate a lot today. I think it might have been stress from the move or digesting old food, I also noticed they ate some of the food left in the tank (I removed the rest). I’m going to keep the tank bare bottom.
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