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Me And My 55 Viquarium


Fishguy2727

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My real first name is Brian.

I live in Northern Virginia.

I have been keeping my current goldfish for just over a year (for the one I have had the longest).

My favorite type is ranchu.

One of my other setups is my 55 gallon viquarium. It is a 55 gallon tank with a Tetra/SecondNature Water's Edge Viquarium kit. They do not make these anymore. It cost about $80 when I got mine about ten years ago. It is basically a plastic waterfall with pump, creek, and rock wall. You fill the land area with gravel. This provides the land area. The pump in the waterfall pulls water through the gravel, which functions like a filter. There is a compartment that holds a Whisper Biobag (Medium) where the water comes into the land area. Here is a whole tank shot:

IMG_0548.jpg

The current inhabitants are: 4 firebelly toads, 2 firebelly newts, 2 eastern newts, a ton of guppies, and a bunch of snails. All of the plants are live. The plants include: water wisteria (now growing out in the air too), anacharis (note high tightly it is growing), crystalwort, java moss, pothos, lucky bamboo, sandrianna, english ivy, water hyacinth, and two unknown assorted houseplants. The plants in the land area have their roots in the gravel, with the constant water supply it is like hydropaunics. The lucky bamboo is pressing against the screen and one of the english ivy plants has now grown THROUGH the screen. Lighting is one 4' fluorescent Reef Sun (50/50) and one 30" fluorescent (I think that one is a Reef Sun as well).

Eastern newt:

easternnewt.jpg

Toad and newt getting along very peacefully:

newtbytoad.jpg

Two toads:

2toads.jpg

One toad:

IMG_0535.jpg

One toad on hyacinth:

IMG_0527.jpg

Firebelly newt:

IMG_0315.jpg

Firebelly toad:

IMG_0314.jpg

The english ivy growing THROUGH the screen:

IMG_0541.jpg

Many people have the idea that firebelly newts and toads are simply incompatible. They cite reasons like their toxins killing each other and aggression. The toxins are not constantly leaked, they are kept in the skin until the animal is agitated, then it is released on to the skin. And apparently the toxins are not a problem anyways (at least not the newts' poison to the toads) or else every time a toad bit a newt, it would die. I have never seen anything that suggests this is a real problem I have never seen any articles, or heard of any experiences, that truly support or even suggest this. The only support for this is lots of articles and sites saying that it is a problem(without any bit of support), simply regurgitating it over and over. The other issue is aggression. This is a much more real issue. Anyone who goes in to a LFS and finds them housed together will most likely find at least one newt missing a leg or have some other type of injury. However, the issue does not seem to be them simply being together. The real issue has to do with overstocking, underfeeding, and having an improperly setup tank. Most LFSs have a very simple setup, usually open water and a baren land area, maybe some fake plants in the water or land. They also tend to be very overstocked. In addition, since the tank is not setup properly. With minimal land area, and no real decor, it is a pretty sterile and boring environment. In addition to all of this the animals are usually underfed. This makes them more aggressive about eating when food is offered. Most injuries to newts tend to happen at feeding time when a cricket is near or even on a newt and the newt is grabbed when a toad tries to eat that cricket. Setups containing both species need to be lightly stocked, well fed, and properly decorated. I have had these species together before. Back then it was about like this setup only in smaller tanks (20long and 29). That setup was moved from tank to tank once or twice, but was setup for probably about four years. I never once had a single incident that showed that these species living together is inherently a problem. This current setup has been setup for about six months. Again, not a single incident or shred of evidence that these species are inherently incompatible. I don't know of any species that when crowded, underfed, and in an improperly setup enclosure WON'T cause some sort of problems for each other, why place such a reputation on these species without ever testing or even questioning it? This combination is not inherently wrong. When truly done properly it can be a very successful setup.

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Thanks for posting that. Very nice set up :)

I have 3 newts in a 15 gallon long (I think, it's a strage tank, it was marketed as a 'desktop' tank because of the shape) I used a terra cotta pot full of gravel for the land, then put rocks and gravel around it to give it a good grade for them to climb out on. The house plants are growing in that. I have java fern and another plant I'm not sure of in there. I love vivariums, they are fun to set up and maintain. Here's a shot of it, I don't have that dinky filter in there anymore though. (it was junk!)

IMG_0079.jpg

I've always wanted toads too but like you, read all the warnings about agression. I'd never try them in the tank I have now for the reasons you cited, but maybe someday I'll give it a shot in a larger tank.

What do you feed them? Mine just get freeze dried blood worms. They refuse to eat much else, I did feed them live earthworms when I got them because they went on a hunger strike from the stress of the new environment, but since then it's just been blood worms.

Oh and one more question, do you know if they're Japanise or Chinese fire bellied newts? I have Chinese, which tend to be less agressive.

Edited by Chrissy_Bee
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I forgot to specify that the substrate in the water area is Estes' Marine Sand.

The fish, snails, and newts get New Life Spectrum. It is designed for fish but I have found it to also be the best food for invertebrates (shrimp, crayfish, marine inverts, etc.) and amphibians (newts, axolotls, etc.).

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kewl set up and nice to meet you.

i thought Viquarium was a dirty word. but i see now after your post :tomuch:

are they exspensive to set up and maintain?

a dirty word :rofl

They can be hard to set up, depending on the speices of both animals and plants you are keeping. Mine was actually not hard at all, but it's also pretty basic. You can get really complex set ups that require a ton of planning. But once you get one going that works, they really look great :)

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I had almost all the supplies I needed. I had the viquarium kit, gravel, sand, lights, and a couple plants. I really only needed more plants and the animals. And actually setting this one up was not a problem either. I have used this system multiple times before and it is pretty easy to begin with.

Since they don't make this kit any more, or even an equivalent, setting up something like this could be kind of challenging. Many just silicone a piece of plexiglass in to an aquarium, silicone some gravel to the plexiglass, and then just decorate. Others go all out and use eggcrate, siliconing special backgrounds on, and all sorts of other things. For some really advanced terrariums/paludariums/vivariums/viquariums/aquatic terrariums/whatever else you want to call them, google any of those terms as well as things like 'dartfrog build', 'dartfrog paludarium' and many other things. You will probably get some website and forum hits about setups people have built, and some of these would put most zoo displays to shame.

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can you hold a firebelly toad? can you house three in a 10 gallon aquarium?

They can be handled but not frequently. They can release toxins fromt thier skins, like all toads, which wouldn't be good if you accidently ingested it. Also, amphibians absorb through their skin so if you have something like soap or any chemical on there, it can make them ill.

And ya...do you have a spare 10 gallon?

Edited by Chrissy_Bee
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Here are a couple articles I had written before that are now relevant:

FIRE BELLY TOAD CARE SHEET:

SET-UP: A minimum of 10 gallons is required to give an individual adequate moving space. This size can allow for multiple inhabitants, up to about four. This does not mean that 2 can be kept in a 5-gallon or one can be kept in a 2.5 gallon. There must be at least 10 gallons for one, but it allows for others. There should be land taking up no more than half of the tank. In a 10 gallon tank one quarter land is minimal to allow all to be out and feeding all at the same time without them crawling on top of each other. Shelter should be provided on the land, most easily by fake plants. They should be able to rest their front feet on something while in the water, this is also most easily done with fake plants. The water depth should be at least one inch (this may need to be deeper depending on the filter you choose), but three to four inches with things to rest on is more ideal. To provide the land, most people pile gravel up on one end. This also allows for a slope giving varying depths, which lets the toad pick the depth at which it is most comfortable.

FILTRATION: In small tanks a small filter is more than enough. A Duetto 50 is ideal for a 10 gallon with only one to two inches of water. If you would like to have three to four inches of water, a Duetto 100 is much better. In a larger tank an internal whisper is ideal. This same filter is also known as the micro filter. The Reptofilter is basically a whisper 10i with green plastic instead of black plastic, and a cover over the filter cartridge. All are forms of the same filter and all are equally effective. The 10i model would be okay for up to a 20 long tank with no more than 6 inches of water covering no more than half the tank. As the tank gets bigger, you will obviously need to compensate with a larger filter.

LIGHTING: Fire belly toads are active day and night, so low intensity UVB lighting is necessary. This would be in the form of a 2.0 rated full spectrum fluorescent bulb. An ambient temperature of 70-75F is ideal. This is easily achieved with a low watt bulb in a heat lamp over the land area. If it is a large tank a low watt (25 watts) heat bulb can be used. Otherwise a daylight bulb is better. These bulbs are shaped like a regular house bulb, but usually have light blue glass. The package will probably say it is full spectrum, but that just means it has at least a little bit of UVA light.

DIET: Fire belly toads can be kept just fine on an all cricket diet. The crickets should be dusted with a calcium/vitamin D3 powder every three feedings. They may accept other foods, but the crickets will provide a complete diet. Mealworms and similar feeders can bite at the inside of an animal, but they are harder to digest anyways so I would avoid them altogether. If it is possible the crickets should be gut-loaded. All this entails is feeding, at least most of them, very well for a couple of days before they are fed to the toads. This can be done with commercial cricket foods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure to provide water. The water cannot be liquid, it needs to be in the form of a commercial cricket water gel, a water soaked sponge, or from high water foods like apples.

Why You Shouldn't Handle Your Amphibians:

No amphibian should be handled except when necessary. That would mean only when moving them to clean their cage, or to check for illness or injury. When they do need to be handled, wash you hands very well before you do it and make sure your hands stay wet. Their skin is very sensitive and many chemicals can permeate through it very easily. Their skin functions as a lung. It has to be wet to do this. Their skin is obviously a little more durable than a lung, but they are similar. You wouldn?t want anyone touching your lung tissue, so don?t touch theirs. Many people do handle their amphibians, but just because they haven?t had any problems yet, doesn?t mean it?s the best thing for them. Amphibians are a look only pet, just like fish.

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can you hold a firebelly toad? can you house three in a 10 gallon aquarium?

They can be handled but not frequently. They can release toxins fromt thier skins, like all toads, which wouldn't be good if you accidently ingested it. Also, amphibians absorb through their skin so if you have something like soap or any chemical on there, it can make them ill.

And ya...do you have a spare 10 gallon?

just if the toad released it toxins into your skin what do you have to do? will it kill you? I was thinking maybe for xmas I could get a 10 gallon tank and 3 toads

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It really is not a problem for human skin in general, but if you have some on your hand and you then wipe your eyes, you will get a reaction. I have heard your eyes may swell up and burn a little, it has never happened to me. So the regular healthy skin is not really a problem, it is areas that have mucous membranes. Any handling should be on an as-needed basis, this is not a cuddly hamster type of pet.

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It really is not a problem for human skin in general, but if you have some on your hand and you then wipe your eyes, you will get a reaction. I have heard your eyes may swell up and burn a little, it has never happened to me. So the regular healthy skin is not really a problem, it is areas that have mucous membranes. Any handling should be on an as-needed basis, this is not a cuddly hamster type of pet.

ok thanks

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can you hold a firebelly toad? can you house three in a 10 gallon aquarium?

They can be handled but not frequently. They can release toxins fromt thier skins, like all toads, which wouldn't be good if you accidently ingested it. Also, amphibians absorb through their skin so if you have something like soap or any chemical on there, it can make them ill.

And ya...do you have a spare 10 gallon?

just if the toad released it toxins into your skin what do you have to do? will it kill you? I was thinking maybe for xmas I could get a 10 gallon tank and 3 toads

No it won't kill you.

This is the last time I want to repeat myself though....you say you can't get a new tank to upgrade your goldfish, yet your posting about all these different pets (toads, tetras) implying that you'll get a new tank to set up. Please get a bigger goldfish tank.

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