Water&land Terrarium Stocking

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by Notivation, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. NotivationValued MemberMember

    Hey guys!

    To explain my life:
    • I have two, three gallon nano aquariums. I'm 16 and obviously still live with my parents, who won't let me get anything else bigger.
    • The exclusion to the above statement is that my dad MAY let me get an aquarium, because he keeps on saying how much he loves terrariums that have water and land.
    • I would like to offer to him to do a father and son project on making such aquarium
    Great, so now that we're on the same page, this is a huge deal to me. My question to you all is what stocking could I do? I was thinking some form of crab. Could I keep some form of fish with it? Also, what plants would you suggest for the dry side? I'm pretty well versed in aquatic plants, but not so much in terrarium plants.
    • What should I use as a retaining wall to hold back the soil from the body of water
    • Should I do just soil all the way down, or should I use some sort of filler?
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  2. FanaticFishlore VIPMember

    It's not that hard, most plants can be found at a gardening nursery, or even Home Depot.
    What you are explaining is a paludarium which has shallow water, and extreme amounts of living plants.

    I am not totally sure about the stocking, I think @aussieJJDude may be able to assist!

  3. NotivationValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the fast response! I was thinking of fiddler crabs, after some research. Thank you for helping me get a name to what I want!

    Or vampire crabs, what is the care for them?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2018
  4. JThorValued MemberMember

    If you haven't stocked the Nanos, go for cherry shrimp or Amanos. Trust me, if you ever want to get any other more testy kind of shrimp later you're better off starting with the easiest shrimp.

    As for terrariums, I've only ever kept two types of crab, Hermits (Strictly for a terrarium) and Vampire crabs (Can do a terrarium for them, but I've stocked them in a fish tank only filling up the tank a little and making a landmass in one corner of the tank). I'd recommend either of those just from my own experience as they were mostly stress free. Vampires are the more interesting and i'd argue easier in my opinion but need much more space than Hermits, they both need different environments but both have similar needs if that makes sense?

    Also, I have a completely different alternative for you away from crabs though this is for an aquarium more than a terrarium if you're into unusual pets. Fire Belly Newts. Now, they will spend most of their time in the water. But they will get out and bask as well, I ended up buying a floating island that was meant for turtles. Only thing i'd point out is personally I think they need at the bare minimum a 20-25G long so you will have to mention that to your dad. But they're super fun!

  5. NotivationValued MemberMember

    I have one tank devoted to various colored neo shrimp and one blackwater for a betta. :)

    I was looking at vampire crabs. In your experience, do they attack other fish in the water? And do they shred plants? Dad is thinking a 30g long. Not sure if that is made.
  6. NatakuWell Known MemberMember

    If you want a really cool build project with the parental unit try a paludarium set up with poison dart frogs (which are not poisonous when kept in captivity on a diet which doesnt contain the bugs they extract their poisons from) and for the water area you could do some small tetras like neons or gold tetras.
  7. JThorValued MemberMember

    Good stuff regarding the neo's!

    From my experience no, they won't actively hunt down anything. They were all pretty relaxed animals to be honest. VC's are allegedly the more peaceful crabs out there and from what I remember they definitely seemed that way. I only briefly put some guppies with my VC's before removing them to another tank out of worry. Crabs are opportunistic though, they will snap at anything they feel threatens them or could be food. I did however keep some feeder ghost shrimp with the VC's, i'm sure some were eaten but the population never took that much of a dint to notice. For plants, in the water I just used Moss Balls and on land I used land moss from a garden store along with driftwood and rocks. I'm sure I did stuff wrong but i'm just speaking purely from my experience when I was a kid and I had them for over a year so must have done something right. Wish I could have a picture to show you but if you do a quick Youtube sweep i'm sure you'll get ideas for VC habitat ideas.
  8. NotivationValued MemberMember

    Ooh, that'd be cool! I didn't know you could have darts! Since my dad is really advocating for the land aspect of it, I would imagine he would like to stock land and I would stock the water since that's my hobby. I'd really like for it to be a blackwater "lagoon," as he wants it, but not sure if he'll go for it.

    Good to know, I heard from one source that they eat moss, but of course no individual is the same. We have a lot of cool plants in the forest surrounding our house, from odd moss to this one type of fern that is SO COOL LOOKING!! Dad says he "is getting the budget together," so I guess we shall see what will happen
  9. aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    Definitely stay away from hermit crabs in these types of setups, horrible suggestion really since the only thing they will benefit from is the humidity, and if you have a heater, heat. They require a specialised environment and what you have planned will not suit.

    Fiddlers are brackish, and they really do better with salt. So, I would suggest not going with them unless you use salt tolerant plants.

    Vampires are a great choice for this type of setup, and from literature they seem to spend most of their time on land - so consider roughly 70% land with 30% water - and make a display out of that. They also can breed in captivity - but have no experiences since they are illegal in aus unfortunately.

    Halloween crabs might be another suitable option. I believe this is the more terrestrial crab of the bunch I've listed, and most keepers tend to only have a small shallow bowl for water. This might be right up your ally if you want to keep plants as well!

    As for one of your nano tanks, consider thai micro crabs and shrimp!

    Fish in the water area will come down to the space you have and the amount of work you want... fish = more work IMO.

    Edit. Consider growing many aquatic plants emmersed! Plants like java fern, buce, mosses (like java), anubias are some great plants to try, and if your feeling adventureous consider HC cuba, hydrocotyle tripitara japan and crypts. A vast majority of plants actually aren't 'aquatic' and when grown out of water, they have a completely different look to the immersed ones.

    Otherwise, look into neo broms, fiscus, begonia, orchids, pilea and ferns! Theres loads, and vivarium forums and YouTube should point you in the right direction.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  10. NotivationValued MemberMember

    Figured as much from hermits, I was hoping for something that spent time in the water too. Hence, I think that vampire crabs would be best. I already have several aquatic plants in my other tanks, so I think I would maybe I could use some of them (such as pennywort, which would be cool if I could get the leaves to float to the surface like in my current tank). If I had a 30g long, how many vc's would I stock that with?

    Thanks in advance
  11. FanaticFishlore VIPMember

    Definitely, they wouldn't fare well in this setup, with the sloped land formation, and the amount of it, with little room.
    They can also get into the water, and scare the fish. Then end up dirtying up the water too much, making it harmful to the fish.
  12. NotivationValued MemberMember

    Speaking of dirtying water, I was thinking of doing a canister filter to filter the water and making the clean water do a waterfall of sorts and then run into the water. Here's my further questions to the public and I will update the post:

    • What should I use as a retaining wall to hold back the soil from the body of water
    • Should I do just soil all the way down, or should I use some sort of filler?
  13. FanaticFishlore VIPMember

    You can use glass, or acrylic that is attached to the actual tank.
    I would do soil all the way, but you can use a layer of gravel, topped with thicker soil or mulch for the top layering.
  14. aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    I would personally make a false bottom, layer of soil over a layer of gravel for good drainage. Whatever you decide, keeping the soil mostly moisture free will keep the tank low of harmful bacteria.

    If you do the divider, I'd suggest staying away from arcylic as it doesn't bond well to silicone and eventually fail.

    Edit: as for the amount of crabs, it depends on the individual. Most seem to do around 3g per crab, whats most important I believe is not to mix species of VC with eachother. I'd personally do around 6 or so, and understock it so they don't damage the plants so much. Plus having ample space allows plenty of room to disperse aggression.
  15. FlipFlopFishFlakeWell Known MemberMember

    What about a brackish setup with fiddler crabs and mollies?
  16. NotivationValued MemberMember

    So dumb questions: What do you mean about mixing species of vampire crabs? There are multiple available? And they do damage plants? To what degree?

    Regarding the divider, I saw someone use a block of filter foam with a layer of gravel, which seemed pretty cool and makes sense.

    Eh, I was thinking about it but salinity would just be another step in the process. I didn't know mollies were brackish though, good to know
  17. aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    Yep, theres multiple species. From my understanding they can interbreed with eachother... keeping species seperate - at least colour morphs seperate - will help reduce this. :)

    They may snack on some of the plants, but also delicate plants that break easily will be damaged as they do their usual crabby stuff. Its nothing major, but IMO its compounded with having more crabs!

    That could work as well! Filter foam will allow it to drain, plus if you use it to hold back the soil from the water plants - like mosses - will grow on it.
  18. NotivationValued MemberMember

    Really good to know, thank you! Another question, and it may not matter since they're amphibians, but what water parameters should I keep in terms of hardness and pH? Should I do RO water with a little be of remineralization? Or just treated tap water?

    Darn, that's a little disappointing, but I suppose worth it. Would I use normal aquarium lighting or heat lamps? My room temp here, being in Pennsylvania with crazy environmental fluctuations, can be anywhere from 65-75.

    This is so exciting!!!!
  19. aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    They not frogs, but I assume you meant amphibious? If not, oh well - Im not changing my mind! ;) IMO, as long as the water quality is consistent thats what I would strive for. Its far better to have consistent water quality than having fluctuating water - what you've been using for your aquariums should be fine for these guys!

    IMO, heat lamps have the tendency to dry out the tank, which is the opposite of what you want since they have gills. I would in fact suggest using a submersible heater and seeing if that does the job - in most cases from various forums, it has... - and if that doesnt hold, then I would suggest purchasing a heat mat. After reading a few posts on these guys, it does sound like they enjoy having water at a warmer temperature.... Yes I know, if the air is warm so is the water... but ususally its around 1-3 degrees cooler from my experiences with other types of crabs.
  20. NotivationValued MemberMember

    LOL, whoops, amphibious. I figured as much, but with my shrimp I know the TDS and hardness has to be at a certain level to promote molting, wasn't sure if that was the case with these guys.

    Would a temp of 78* work? for the water? That would probably keep the humidity and air temp pretty high.

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