Tag Archives: Tiger Salamanders

A Tiger Salamander terrarium with fish!

24 Mar

The Tiger Salamanders I have were being sold as fish bait in Texas several years ago. They were purchased, brought to Iowa and raised into adults, which is how I bought them.

Cute!

Cute!

Tiger Salamanders like to be cool and moist. A woodland terrarium is what they need. They can do with a dish of water to crawl in and drink from but I’ve always wanted a little aquatic area to make it more interesting.

I finally came across some glass shelving that was used in a bathroom medicine cabinet. One long end of the glass is smoothed so that it is perfect for my purpose.

I siliconed the glass into a 55 gallon aquarium.

I sealed the glass with silicone into a 55 gallon aquarium.

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I added some gravel, not sand.

I added some gravel, not sand.

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Then I added  this top soil, which has no fertilizers or additives of any kind.

Then I added this top soil, which has no fertilizers or additives of any kind.

I mixed the top soil with Coir, which is coconut-husk fiber. This keeps the soil damp yet loose.

I mixed the top soil with Coir, which is coconut-husk fiber. This keeps the soil damp yet loose.

I added ferns and ivy's. Then I bought a bag of "long-fiber" Sphagnum Moss and spread that over the top. This looks good and keeps everything cleaner as the Salamanders come out of their burrows and climb around.

I added ferns and ivy’s. Then I bought a bag of “long-fiber” Sphagnum Moss and spread that over the top. This looks good and keeps everything cleaner as the Salamanders come out of their burrows and climb around.

long fiber moss

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The main diet for Tiger Salamanders is worms. I buy these Canadian Nightcrawlers. They also eat crickets and many other small creatures that burrow in the forest soil.

The main diet for Tiger Salamanders is worms. I buy these Canadian Nightcrawlers. They also eat crickets and many other small creatures that burrow in the forest soil.

Here I am feeding them pieces of frozen shrimp. This should not constitute very much of their diet but it's good to have in a pinch.

Here I am feeding them pieces of frozen shrimp. This should not constitute very much of their diet but it’s good to have in a pinch.

I put some guppies and White Cloud Mountain Minnows in the pond. There is no heater but I do have an airstone. I'll change the water about once a month.

I put some guppies and White Cloud Mountain Minnows in the pond. There is no heater but there is an airstone. I’ll change the water about once a month.

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I had one main concern when setting up the terrarium. Tiger Salamanders spend their lives hiding underground. If mine hid all day and only came out at night how would I feed them? I could release worms and crickets into the tank but if they aren’t eaten they eventually die and rot.

For the first few days I didn’t see the Salamanders. They had burrowed under almost instantly. But within a week they had all made an appearance looking for food. Now, whenever I am maintaining the tank by misting or watering the plants, the Salamanders pop out and look to the sky waiting for a worm. In fact, they want to be fed so often that I have to ignore them sometimes. Tiger Salamanders can get too fat in captivity.

Another hint is to use distilled water for misting the terrarium. This is a good idea for any glass terrarium, with frogs or plants. I wipe off the glass after spraying but if I miss some drops it will dry without leaving a mineral residue.

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Pictus Catfish are jumpers

4 Dec

Be careful with the Pictus Catfish, they are very active fish and can jump out of the tank.
A few months ago I came home and was looking at a tank that has a group of young Jack Dempseys. Suddenly I saw one of my Pictus Catfish swimming in that tank! He had leaped out of his tank through a small gap, cleared a few inches of space and went into the neighboring tank. A lucky fish.

Eventually I found a dried-up Pictus Catfish on the floor. So now I only have two.

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Transferring Mr. Pictus back to his original tank. By the way, when catching Pictus Catfish try not to use a net. You can “herd” them with a net, then try to catch them in a big plastic cup or suitable container. The spines get caught in nets. Bad for the fish and maybe bad for you!

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I face their wood hideout to the front of the aquarium so I can watch them.

I brought in some water lilies and also dropped in a handful of washed, dead Oak tree leaves. I think the Pictus appreciate the natural hiding places.

I brought in some water lilies and also dropped in a handful of washed, dead Oak tree leaves. I think the Pictus appreciate the natural hiding places.

The Oak leaves look good in the Tiger Salamander tank. They help keep the tank moist and make it so I never ever get to see the salamanders.

Oak leaves also look good in the Tiger Salamander tank. They help keep the tank moist and make it so I never ever get to see the salamanders.

Cleaning the Tiger Salamander tank

19 Nov

A few months ago I was given another Tiger Salamander so I now have three. Here is a quick lesson on cleaning the salamander tank:

Start with a damp substrate. I use Coir, which is Coconut-husk fiber.


Spread the Coir on the bottom. Add a water dish. I like a Clay flowerpot material with no sharp edges.


I lay some bark pieces over the Coir for the Sallies to crawl under.



I toss in some dry oak leaves and a fake plant. A live plant would be nice but I don’t have direct lighting over the Sally tank. They like it dark.


Add Sallies.


I put a screen cover over the tank but if the air is dry it’s good to have a more solid cover to hold humidity. If you use glass or plexiglass make sure you have some air flow. The Sallies need to breathe and you want a moist , but not moldy, environment.

Tiger Salamanders

15 Dec

No, not in the fish tank. In a terrarium. I told you I would get off-topic once in a while with my other pets!  I have two Tiger Salamanders, and this photo might give you the impression that they are a thrill to keep.

OK I got your picture, go back and hide now.

But they are of a group of salamanders known as Mole Salamanders, because they spend most of their life underground. If you give them a proper home, they will show their appreciation by digging underground and almost never being seen.  I must say they are easy to care for. I feed them earthworms or crickets a few times per week. Keep them in cool place, 70F degrees or less, put in dirt and leaves and moss and a water dish, mist the tank every few days, keeping the substrate lightly moist, and there you have it,  Salamander heaven.

Don’t forget to clean the tank occasionally, a small tank every few weeks, a larger tank may go months before it needs a complete overhaul. Change the water in their dish frequently, at least every other day. They may come out at night and lay in it.

Tiger Salamanders live a long time for such a small creature. Mine are about 5 years old, and they can get to 15 or even 20 years. That’s a lot of worms.