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Ok all, I am racking my brain trying to decide on a paludarium setup method. I'm doing a new 29 gallon paludarium and I want it to look as "natural" as possible. It's for my japanese firebelly newt.

The problems I am struggling with are:

- trying to decide whether I want to go with the true divider method, or the "water table" method where the land is above the water table and there is not really a divider.

- one of the advantages of a true divider is the land area and soil can be at the same level or below the water on the other side, which allows more planting options. This is especially advantageous when doing a "standard" rectangular tank because there is not much vertical space to begin with after the water is added.

- I would think the water table method is a bit more complex, in addition to reducing the vertical space on the land side. But it would be "more natural" and probably slightly easier to mask the transition area.

- regardless of the method, I am trying to think how I am going to conceal the transition from wet to dry side. I don't want a plain vertical division obviously, but it seems like it would be hard to conceal the transition due to the sharp change in height. I guess just a bunch of rocks in a slope?

What are your recommendations? Thanks!
 

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You could try draping Java Moss over the lip of the divider to conceal it, or even super glueing some coco husk fibers. You could glue a piece of plexi-glass on the divider and create a bank. There you could plant marginals that do well with a lot of water, but grow out of it. This would look cool and help conceal the transition. Best of luck and post pics when you decide!

JBear
 

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See Pilippe Devosjoli's Popular Amphibians.

What you call water table he calls shoreline, it works like this:

1) lay down some gravel;

2) push aside a depression, and hold back the gravel with larger flat stones. A 1-2' depression will be fine.;

3) Pour water into the depression to the height of the gravel;

4) Place a 1"-1-1/2" in layer of planting substrate on top of the gravel; hold back with NZ sphag and curved cork.

Finally, use plants that can tolerate moist substrate, but bear in that Cynops prefer cooler temperatures. I think sagittaria in the pool, Java moss growing out of the pool, and emersed ludwigia are good choices. Lysimachia would do well in this tank, as would dwarf mondo grass (easier than acorus).

In a well set-up tank, this is a good tank for Bombinas--who get a bad rep as foot biters (I think cause they're not fed enough. A well fed Firebelly doesn't bother adult newts, and they do come from virtually the same place).

HOWEVER--if your eventual temptation is to have fish, go with the divider method. White clouds and and small hillstream loaches can live in this tank and won't $#@% with the newt(s).

Have fun.
 

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Here is a quick picture of something that I have built. It looks a bit empty at the momement as I am still in the process of filling it with plants. I made a false bottom out of the plastic egg crate, fiber glassed it, then as the resin was setting I pushed rocks into it. I'm sure that something similar could be done to make it newt friendly as I'm not sure if they would like the rocks. The land is simply a hollow that I formed with the fiberglass; it goes down about 5 inches from the top - enough room for smaller plants to take root. Given that it is made from fiberglass the land doesn't get saturated from the water - only from the humidity of having the water fall.
 

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Here is a quick picture of something that I have built. It looks a bit empty at the momement as I am still in the process of filling it with plants. I made a false bottom out of the plastic egg crate, fiber glassed it, then as the resin was setting I pushed rocks into it. I'm sure that something similar could be done to make it newt friendly as I'm not sure if they would like the rocks. The land is simply a hollow that I formed with the fiberglass; it goes down about 5 inches from the top - enough room for smaller plants to take root. Given that it is made from fiberglass the land doesn't get saturated from the water - only from the humidity of having the water fall.
If you plan on building an enclosure for a newt, Caudata Culture Articles - Setups , provides some successful examples.
 

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I've been over to the Caudata page - and joined there too as I was looking for some help with a salamander - I'm still in the process of building its new tank. The picture of the terarrium that I posted on this link was orginally built for some chilli crabs - they unfortunately didn't survive the summer and I haven't been able to stock it back up yet.
 
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