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Anybody keep salamanders?

Discussion in 'Reptiles & Amphibians' started by innoko, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    I'm planning on setting up a vivarium soon and was wondering if anyone on here has ever kept salamanders? That's what I'd mainly like to keep in mine, maybe a small frog or two. Ideally I want to replicate a woodland habitat with water and terrestrial space, with live plants but nothing too complicated with moving water or filtration if I can help it. I'm ordering a book on vivaria tonight but thought it would be fun to talk to people with experience, if there are any on here.
     
  2. I do not have any personal experience with that but I'd sure love to follow your progress! I love salamanders!
     
  3. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    I'm sure I'll take TONS of pictures! I'll post 'em up here to share when I get working on it. I'm also thinking about trying to grow some bioluminescent mushrooms in there.
     
  4. DancesWithCurs

    DancesWithCurs Good Dog

    Salamanders need pretty clean water, so make sure you keep that in mind. I used Seachem stuff for mine, since it's a great price for the usage volume. You should look into setting up bio-active substrate in your vivarium. It has the advantage or minimal maintenance
     
  5. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    I'll probably stick with lungless salamanders as opposed to newts, so that I don't have to have any kind of water feature, because I do want it to be low maintenance.

    I've never heard of bio-active substrate...from a brief googling I gather that it's like live sand in fish tanks? Full of creatures/bacteria that break down waste...is this the system you're talking about? Bio-active Substrate | Gecko Time I was planning to have some pillbugs or other small "cleanup" critters in there so I'm very interested in this type of substrate; my goal is to recreate a functioning natural ecosystem as closely as possible so that I can mostly observe it and not have to interfere much.
     
  6. DancesWithCurs

    DancesWithCurs Good Dog

    Yeah, it works really well. And they tend to ignore the isopods and springtails for the most part
     
  7. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    Do you just...gather substrate from outside? And how do you keep the insects IN the viv and not in your house? Lol.

    Also I finally got the vivarium book that I ordered, but it sucks. I did find this super helpful site, though, for anyone else interested in salamanders/newts: Caudata Culture Home Page
     
  8. Elliehanna

    Elliehanna GRCH Dog

    I would think you would want to gather it at the edge of a body of water, like that sandy mud silt stuff, not just dirt but I am not sure
     
  9. DancesWithCurs

    DancesWithCurs Good Dog

    If you want you can order bio-active substrate. Or start a non-outside culture of your own utilizing organic soil, LECA, isopods and springtails
     
  10. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    So I've been dragging my feet on this project for no good reason, until yesterday when my fiance returned from working in the woods on a rainy day with this little beast:

    [​IMG]

    He's a Slimy Salamander, Plethodon cylindraceus, and actually I don't know if it's a he or a she but I'll try to sex it when I get the tank set up. I am going to do the bio-active substrate with hide objects, leaf litter, moss, etc taken from typical salamander habitat, I still need to figure out how to keep the prey/cleanup critters IN the tank and not in my house, though! And this guy, because when I went in to check on him this morning he was 3/4 of the way up the glass almost to the lid, which is not very secure.

    My main concern for him right now is that the AC has been out in my house for going on a month (thanks, landlord) and salamanders need to be kept cool, under 76 degrees preferably--I've been keeping frozen water bottles on the screen lid of the tank and I have it on the floor in the coolest room in the house but I'm sure it's hovering right around unhealthy for him. Hopefully the AC will be fixed this weekend, otherwise I'll have to come up with a more permanent solution for cooling.

    Will update this thread with pics as I set up the viv, for anyone interested. :)
     
  11. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    A week later I finally have the substrate layered in the viv. Fiance is picking up more leaf litter and clean-up critters from the area where he found the salamander (and maybe another sally, too!) so hopefully tonight I can move him in. Although I'm still figuring out the lid--I have a few ideas for something custom. Anyway, here's the viv so far, situated in the coldest room in the house (my AC is finally fixed!)...

    [​IMG]

    That's a layer of pea gravel, then sand, then a mixture of organic potting soil and coconut coir--I'm hoping that's enough to let it drain adequately since I didn't drill a drain hole into the tank. Oh, and I threw a pothos in there on a whim even though I can't keep a plant alive. We shall see.
     
  12. innoko

    innoko Big Dog

    Finally finished the viv and got some decent pics of the sally! I didn't see him for a few days after I put him in there (he was always climbing the glass trying to escape his temporary tank), so I got concerned and dug around...found him in the little rock-and-moss cave I'd built. He's in there most of the time and is starting to get used to me staring at him, lol. I did go for the bio-active substrate and filled the viv with collected leaf litter, moss, and small woodland plants, and I mist it several times a day so hopefully things will continue to break down and nourish the soil. There are lots of little invertebrates in there too and I have a "collecting station" set up in my yard for food items like snails, slugs, worms, and pillbugs. Maybe it's because I'm a giant nerd, but this has been really fun so far.

    Here's the setup overall:

    [​IMG]


    The cave...if you look real close you can see his tail, in the center of the photo:

    [​IMG]


    His little face!

    [​IMG]


    And if I'm lucky I sometimes catch him coming or going, the rest of the tank is covered in leaves so you can't see him creepin' around...

    [​IMG]
     

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