Monday, May 28, 2012

Sleep to wake

In the few hours I have to myself I can't stay awake. So then I go to bed and can't sleep. And here it's only Monday.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day off

Today was my first day off in what felt like forever.  Still, I got up at 5 and left at 8 to go see my girls' basketball game.  They won of course. 

I came home, cleaned my house, did my laundry, put together a  new shelf, and then got to work on my new tank. 

I made some vines from shoelaces and wire, siliconed it, and then covered it with coco fiber.  Should work well, except that the wires occasionally poke out.  Could end up injuring the frogs. 

I carved out a background from foam.  This time I decided for a mostly water tank, and I'm thinking I will just transfer my axolotl to it.  I worked three tuperwares into the the upper portion to use for plants.  I've siliconed the pieces together. Once it's dry, I'll cement it.  This time, I think I'm going to to seal the whole thing with epoxy.  I don't want to wait for it to cure.

Monday, May 14, 2012


The other day I got two fire-bellied newts to put in my temporary tank.  I've also put my tree frog in with them.  The newts seem to like it very much, equally using the land and water portions.  I think it is probably too short for the frog.  He is very noisy at night though, so he is probably fine.

While this tank looks very cool, I've realized there are several design flaws that don't make it an ideal tank.  First of all, the waterfall and plant containers I made do not fit snugly against the back of the tank. There is a lot of space where animals could potential hide and get stuck where I wouldn't be able to find them. I filled it all up with loose rocks as best as I could, but it still isn't the best solution.  There are say too many places to hide.  Which is good for the animals' stress levels, but harder for me to care for them.

I'll use the experience in keeping this tank when I build my next two.

Monday, May 7, 2012


New Palu

The other day I was at a fish shop and they had some used tanks for sale.  They were a bit dirty, but only 200 yen!  Needless to say, I bought one.
Feeling eager to get started planting a tank and feeling frustrated over the slowness of my other project, we decided to make a new one.  We found a cool piece of driftwood with a hole at the top of a natural trough and foamed it onto a large rock to make a waterfall.  I then though to try out my old trick of using tupperwares to separate the land and water.  This time, we foamed the sides, then siliconed them and pushed in sand.  They look really cool!
We then made our background using foam, cork, some rocks, and some large bark.  We put the tube for our filter under the cork to disguise it.
It came out looking very very cool, and we only spent about 3000 yen.

I am hoping to put some newts into it, but before we do, I have a few worries I'll get to in another post. 

Paludarium update

My large paludarium project has been progressing slowly.  I finished my fake rock waterfall and installed it into the tank using silicone.  In building the rock, I didn't give much consideration as to how difficult this installation process might be, and I've ended up with a lot of hang ups.  First of all, I kept  the rock in two pieces, but probably should have used more.  I installed the small piece first, which went in easily, but when I put in the big piece, I found that I had built the rocks too snug and ended up having to slide it in, smearing silicone everywhere.
And then, once the rock was in, there are so many small nooks and crevices that it has been incredibly difficult waterproofing the tank. water leaks all over in places I can't get silicone into.  Oh well.  It's a learning process.  It will get there.
Other than these problems.  it works really well.  The filter fits perfectly into the space I made for it and draws water through the intake.  The water basin at the top holds all the water, and the waterfall itself looks really cool.  I think once this is planted it will be awesome.


I've been meaning to get some pictures up of some of my new additions.  I've actually gone a bit crazy in the last couple weeks.
First, I bout an axolotl.  It was on sale, as well as a small acrylic fish tank, so I got them. Having seen so many planted aquariums while researching my big tank, I decided to try one with this new tank.  I bought the small aquascaping soil, a brand called "Project Soil." It looks like small, dark brown gravel, but I think that it is basically soil compressed into dense little pellets.  I have seen a lot of planted tanks with plants growing roots directly into it.
Since I would love to have a similar setup, I added it to my tank, but it proved to not be the best idea.  I feed my axolotl small frozen worms.  The first day, I put some in on top of this project soil, and he started to eat the worms as well as the rocks.  Some of them he spit out, but it seemed that he was also swallowing some.  I had read about axolotl care before I got him, but hadn't looked to carefully at substrate.  It seems that to feed, when an axolotl finds something it wants to eat, it vacuums in all the water in front of it, pulling in whatever comes.  If too much of that is gravel, an axolotl will eventually die from impaction.
For now, I've cleared out a corner of the tank that is strictly a feeding area.  I put his worms directly onto the glass bottom so he can eat without getting any stones.  He is pretty messy though. He always ends up knocking more of the project soil down into his food and then I have to clean it.  Oh well.