Some tips on setting up and maintaining a semi aquatic or aquatic tank
for amphibians. See also "Salamander
" for important water quality considerations.
When setting up a new tank, put everything in place and run the filter
for at least 24 hours before adding animals. Also, consider
adding a product that establishes a population of beneficial ammonia reducing
bacteria to a new tank.
New gravel should be rinsed (in a sieve under running water) until water
Get a bucket that can be set aside for use with your amphibian tank(s)
only - one that hasn't had soap in it. Use this only for adding water
to and cleaning your tank (want to be extra fastidious? Get two -
one for clean water only, and one for cleaning).
Clean items with hot water only. This includes tank, decoration,
rocks, wood etc., and any new items added to the tank. Soap/detergent/chemical
residues can be very harmful. The exception is filter media
which should be cleaned with cooler water only - see below.
A gravel washer is a handy siphon driven device (inexpensive) that gently
agitates the gravel and pulls out dirty water, and is the best way to accomplish
the weekly (or every two weeks at a minimum) water changes.
Tap water must be dechlorinated before adding it to the tank. This
can be accomplished with water conditioners sold at pet stores (advantage:
quickly makes the water safe to add to an established tank) or by letting
the water sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
Only a third of the water should be changed/replaced at a time. Although
you are adding clean water, the changes in the water chemistry if you change
too much water at a time can be devastating to sensitive amphibians (and
Cleaning the filer: any rinsing of filter media should be done in
cool water to prevent killing the beneficial bacteria that help to remove
ammonia. When changing filter media, including a bit of the old media
with the new will help perpetuate the bacteria and make filtering more