I felt my old Slithering Waters Post was getting a bit congested so I thought I start anew with a perspective look at the latest developments. Just in case anyone wanted the background story on how it got where it is, here's the link to the original post on this forumhttp://scorpionforum.darkbb.com/herps-and-amphibians-f36/slithering-waters-t2025.htm
First, a look at what the fuss is about
What first appears to be a laboriously planted semi-aquatic vivarium, I assure you is nothing of the sort; though the journey to here is no less laborious.
No plant-matter was actually planted onto the wood by hand at all. This result is nothing short of a dream come true; at least it truly was through my experience.
It pains me deeply to attribute the achievement of this 'beauty' to little more than incidental luck simply because I'm quite certain that many hobbyist have not arrived at these results without immeasurable strife and toil which still did not guarantee the desired end result.
Therefore I shall attempt to share with you by explaining in grave but condensed detail how I managed this. I cannot however, guarantee that what you see here is at all replicable even by myself should you attempt to trace my steps. This was truly a result of trial by fire and consequential error.
3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft Aquarium with Custom Carpentered Lid
Semi-Aquatic setup; Fine Gravel+Aquarium Sand Substrate
Broken Ceramic Pots and Assorted Driftwood pieces assembled to extend 'dry' surface area;
Submerged Internal Filter with overhanging outlet to drip or fountain head
Extensive History of Attempts to Incorporate Live Aquatic Plants; Live Plant Catered Aquarium Lighting; Initially regular and Arduous water changes on a weekly to a monthly basis.
Two (orignally 3) co-habitable Asian Water Snake species from the Homalopsinae sub-family of colubrids (back-fanged; mildly venomous; non-toxic to humans without hypo-allergic sensetivities)
Enhydris plubea (Yellow-Bellied/Olive Water Snake) 2 surviving specimens from a total of 4
Homalopsis bucatta (Masked/Puff-Faced Water Snake) 1 surviving specimen from a total of 3
Enhydris enhydris (Rainbow Water Snake) previously included; no surviving specimens of 5
At one point a total of 9 snakes (3 of each species) marked the stretched accommodated limit of this size enclosure (Mind you not intentional; I had snakes just dropping in from friends and herping trips)
Various Feeder fish varieties were replenished as stocks were effectively eaten.
Glass/Ghost Shrimp were spored to breakdown detritus for plant-life absorption; Live Bacterial Culture added on various occasions
Severe re-occurring White-Spot Fungus parasite contracted from wild-caught non-quarantined snakes and/or infected feeder fish has been effectively subdued into remission via extensive and pervasive chemical treatment over an extended period of time; hence the ocean blue hue to the water in some pics (I know how some may feel about chemicals but I had no alternatives available to me).
Occasionally I noticed that green moss would take root on this particular driftwood whenever the drizzle made frequent contact with it to which I adhered no pretentious expectations. Overtime, through my peripheral labors I noticed that this sprouted through no will of my own
I was actually wondering how long it will prevail and it eventually withered out but in its place, this miraculaously grew
I pressed some wads of forest moss by the driftwood against the glass in hopes that it will provide more ample basking spots for the snakes.
Uncannily, the decaying matter which I initially feared would foul the water actually provided nutrients for healthy vegetation.
Additionally, at some point, I had discarded the fountain head for a more direct trickle flow which touched the initial moss-prone driftwood.
Ultimately, a re-utilized light from another defunct planted tank sparked the sudden mass explosion of life. Since this, no major water change is apparently necessary. I only need to add fresh water that has been loss through evaporation
My 'methods' or rather unintentional courses of action have not come without steep price; and some may perceive my resolves 'brutal' and relentless.
Many of the snakes I loss to the disease were individuals I could pick out from a mixed bag, each one I grew unerringly fond of, and grieved their passing not unlike one would a canine or feline companion; despite the fact on one occasion, one of them clamped down on my fish-smelling index finger without relent.
I had to gently pry the jaws open, and extract a half-inch long fang out from my flesh. I don't recall toxic effects from the bite; which left me with no loss of adoration for them.
I guess what urged me to persevere in spite of the numerous complications I endured in the keeping of this tank; is nothing more than a picture in my head that I dreamed up as a young boy.
To be in awe of their grace as they float effortlessly, like mythical dragons of the deep.
As I mentioned before, I had no manuals, no references, or precedence of examples save a picture in my head.
The only thing that provided sufficient guidance and help was one singe website: www.acrochordus.com or alternatively www.homalopsinae.com. Nothing else came close to anything similar to what I had intention of mind. My time with these snakes has been nothing short of dream come true, and some...
From this experience, I gained certainty that whatever it is you envisioned in life, no matter how trivial or seemingly unimportant, or perversely absurd as the tantalizing sight of slithering waters is without a doubt... nothing short of achievable.
I sincerely hope you have taken more from this than I ever will....
By the way Among the snakes that have persisted through it all, is the very first water snake I ever acquired as a neonate; my little Enhydris plumbea - Lucifer. All things of beauty that have come to pass like us will never last. But, I consider myself fortunate to have held them, while they... "we" are here.