How to Make Your Own Aqua Terrarium

Written by camela bryan
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How to Make Your Own Aqua Terrarium
Use a small aquarium for a very small amphibian. (Seiya Kawamoto/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Amphibians live in both water and air environments, and need a habitat which supplies them with both elements for the best health. An aqua terrarium is an aquarium with both wet and dry areas. Your pet will live happily with water to soak in and a flat surface on which he can sit and bask. Amphibians also like to hide, so ensure that your habitat also provides a small hiding space for your pet's comfort.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Aquarium
  • Tape measure
  • 4.5-inch diameter log
  • Saw
  • Clear silicone sealant
  • Sphagum moss
  • Gravel
  • Aquarium light
  • Natural daylight bulb
  • Mesh aquarium top
  • 25 to 40W clip on spotlight
  • Dechlorinator
  • Aquatic plants
  • Branch
  • Shells or hollow logs

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  1. 1

    Measure the inside length of the aquarium. Saw the log to this length. Place it on the bottom of the aquarium. It should run across the long dimension of the aquarium halfway back in the middle of the aquarium. Glue the log in place with clear silicone sealant.

  2. 2

    Place a 1/2-inch layer of river sand or gravel in the bottom of the aquarium on both sides of the log. Lay spagum moss on top of the log.

  3. 3

    Place a large flat rock or two in the aquarium right behind the log. The rock should have a flat top that is even with the top of the log. You may place additional rocks under the rock to raise it to this level, but be sure that the arrangement is stable. The top of the rock should be large enough to allow your pet to move around easily on it.

  4. 4

    Treat several gallons of water with declorinator according to the package directions. The amount of water needed will depend on the size of the aquarium. Declorinator is available in tropical fish stores. Add water to your aqua terrarium to the desired depth.

  5. 5

    Place a branch on the log to that it both lays on the rock and extends into the water. This will allow the animal easy access to the water.

  6. 6

    Add small aquatic plants to the water in front of the log. Java moss and anarcharis are good choices.

  7. 7

    Place the mesh cover on the aquarium. Mesh allows for proper ventilation.

  8. 8

    Put a natural sunlight bulb into the aquarium light and place it on the aquarium over the cover. Be sure to purchase a top and a light which are designed to fit on the aquarium together.

  9. 9

    Clamp the spotlight to the aquarium cover or the edge of the aquarium. Adjust it so that it shines on the large rock. This provides the amphibian with a basking spot.

  10. 10

    Create a hiding place for your pet within a large shell, a hollow log or an area with dense vegetation.

Tips and warnings

  • Ask an aquarium supply store for some of the gravel from their tanks. It will already have beneficial algae growing on it, which will help your plants thrive.
  • Add decorative elements, such as branches, and live or artificial plants.
  • Your water areas should be deep enough to allow your creature to submerge himself almost completely and your dry surfaces should be large enough to allow him to move around.
  • Select an aquarium to suit the size of your particular amphibian.
  • A 4.5-inch log will be large enough for any amphibian. If your pet requires less than 3 inches of water, you may use a smaller log.
  • Over time, the log will decompose. This is normal and will help feed the plants. If the log is no longer usable by your pet, remove its remains and install a new one.
  • Monitor the temperature of the aqua terrarium to suit your pet as direct sunlight may cause the environment to be too hot.

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