All the information listed here is based on my own experience, please carry out your own research before attempting to replicate anything on this site.
It was a nice surprise to find new arrivals over the last couple of weeks! Just as the Swordtail fry in both the nursery tank, and the few elusive strays in the Common Musk Turtle enclosure, are growing up, the parents have given birth to another batch of babies!
I've bred guppies and mollies before, but only in community aquariums where the fry weren't easy to care for, so I'm delighted that dedicating a setup to them has worked so well! Interestingly, the fry that are living with my Common Musk Turtles seem to be growing quicker than those in the nursery tank, but I'll be moving soon to prevent them stressing out the young turtles when they get too big.
More surprising than the Swordtail fry however, was the discovery that nymphs have finally hatched out in my Domino Cockroach (Therea bernhardti) culture. I'd been hanging on to my tub of "pet soil" for several months since I saw the last adult, and in the process of giving it a quick check before putting the lot in the bin, found a number of small nymphs roaming around. I'm glad I paid close attention, as these guys are tiny, and must only be a week or so old at the most.
Paying close attention also saved my fingers this week, when working with my Bull Snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi), as the little devil has become quite focused on food. I was in the process of sweeping some aspen bedding from the sliding tracks of his vivarium (after he had been fed, I might add!) and had to jump back as he chased me out of the tank and attempted to eat the dustpan and brush aswell! Needless to say he didn't quite manage it, and was quickly shooed back inside the viv.
Lastly, I'm sure you may have noticed the site has pretty much completely changed in layout. Hopefully this is still simple enough to navigate, and I've made the pages wider to fit information more neatly on each section in preparation for the new shop design. Hopefully this is displaying properly for everyone, but if you have any questions or seem to be having any difficulties with the new layout, please send me an email!
I've spent a lot of time over the holidays researching plant species that might be suitable for vivariums, and accumulated quite a lot of seeds! Initially, I was looking in particular for North American native plants, for my Red Eared Slider, Common Musk Turtle and Bull Snake. However, having found plenty of resources along the way, I've started sourcing a variety of seeds, native to areas around the globe, in the hope of finding a few non-toxic, easy to grow, vivarium species.
With a bit of luck, I should have some young plants available in the online shop later in the year, but I will be updating the site as I try out various new plant species in my own enclosures. One that I'm particularly excited about is a plant endemic to the Philippines, which I am hoping to sprout in my Tokay Gecko enclosure.
Seeds aside, the reptilarium seems to be plodding along after the winter break. Several of my cockroach colonies have been downsized to make some more space, although I'm holding on to a few individuals of each species. Some, however, have gone the opposite way, and the colonies have outgrown their tubs. I'm seriously considering downsizing my Blaptica dubia (feeder cockroach) colonies to give the others more room! Dubias used to be a best seller for me, but they are that simple and quick to grow that prices have fallen for starter colonies and it's almost not worth raising them to sell anymore!
I've had another batch of Swordtail fry from my adult females, which I'm growing up in a separate nursery aquarium. Ideally, once these are large enough to look after themselves, I'll introduce a few into my North American turtle tanks. There are already a few elusive fry in the Common Musk tub with my two youngsters, and this week I added a large quantity of pond weed to give them plenty of cover.
I'm still working on the different article sections, and the shop will be getting a makeover soon enough so that I can list a few plants for sale in the near future! I recently wrote about how to make a DIY sponge filter, which I'm using in the Swordtail nursery, and seems to be doing a great job so far.
I had to throw in a picture of my Chinese Softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) this week, as he's such a fidget that I rarely get a photo of him without blur!
Happy new year from the reptilarium!
I'm a little behind schedule with this update, with it being a busy time inside and outside of the zoo! Both the musk turtles (Sternotherus odoratus) have been reunited, and the adult Swordtail fish removed from their setup in the hope that the nervous turtle will begin to feed normally again. I observed him eating several pellets in his temporary setup so I'm sure he'll pick up in the comfort of the planted tub.
The Swordtails themselves have given birth, so there are several young fry hiding around the Musk turtle enclosure, but both youngsters seem a bit too clumsy to catch them. The adult fish are now in their own tub, and hopefully if I get plenty of fry from their breeding I can try to incorporate a few into my Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) setup.
Unfortunately I've had a bad turn of luck with my new Archer fish (Toxotes sp.). After losing one of the trio shortly after I got them home, due to bullying, the two that remained appeared to be in conflict, and I discovered a large, unfortunately fatal wound, on the smaller of the two today. Now that I am left with one dominant fish, I am unsure whether to keep him on his own, despite being a shoaling fish, or buy quite a few new Archerfish to ensure one is not continually picked on.
As a more cheery start to the new year, I managed to record a video of my golden Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) being handfed bloodworm. I've uploaded this to the InsectivoreUK youtube channel. I also managed to capture footage of my Chinese Softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) feeding on his festive treat of aquatic snail (not quite a turkey dinner, however), and I should upload it shortly!
I've also placed an order for a whole variety of seeds, for plant species which I have researched and found suitable for various vivarium setups. Hopefully they should arrive soon, and I will be able to offer seedlings via the shop in the next few months.
Some of you may have noticed new article sections on the website, which I'm still working hard to populate! Some may be currently empty but that won't last long!
All the best for 2012,