Originally Posted by perchie.girl
The one tank I chose to keep when I moved to my house in the desert is the 110 gallon. For what its worth its got the same foot print as a standard 75 gallon but its Much taller. It is stunning when it is set up.... 48 w by 30 tall by 18 deep.... Its like a picture window.... http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/aquarium_sizes.php For what its worth the larger the tank the easier it is to manage.
I had Red Eared Sliders.... Found em at a garage sale as hatclings.... or under three weeks old. Started out with a ten until I found a forty used at a pet store that was going out of business. I set up a vivarium for them.... When they got to be the size of Saucers it was time to move them outside because maintaining the tank was becoming an issue..... Hence the pond... I wont have aquatic turtles again.
As a young adult still living at home I had a twenty gallon aquarium that I kept a Garter snake in. I set that up as half water half land in the form of Aquarium gravel. I took half of the undergravel filter out leaving the other half under the "dry" land. The water side I kept stocked with feeder fish and the aquarium filter worked to circulate their water and filter it. I had Gravel about three inches deep on one side held back by petrified wood and water three inches deep on the other side. I shortened the lift tube for the filter so it would be able to pump the water up through with just an air stone. Worked great.... couple of branches for shedding and to get away from the water submersible water heater to keep the water 75 to 80 degrees Which kept the whole vivarium around the same temp. Cost me nothing because I already had the "parts". exept the submersible heater. That was before they came out with "Kits" or special habitats.... The snake at the fish so I didnt need to by any Pinkies or stuff like that. I used a standard hood too and covered any holes with screen material.
Tortises are a special committment.... BTW we had them native in Roswell. Which gets about a month worth of snow.... All you have to do is Put them into a Hibernation box for the winter..... But Tortises live a very very very long time.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I don't want to do a turtle, though it does make me sad for my daughter because she has been talking about having a turtle for so long. I'm not even thrilled about the idea of a snake, but the maintenance seems to be a bit easier than the turtle thing.
Honestly, we ALWAYS have something alive in some kind of tank or container. Always. Its just the nature of where we live. Our first year in this house, we over-wintered a woolly bear caterpillar in our fridge. Last winter we overwintered a gobsmack of ladybugs, which we planned to release on our fruit trees in the spring (unfortunately, moisture got into their container and they all died).
We were going to overwinter a giant toad we found, but ended up letting her go so she could hibernate. This past spring, we did tadpoles which we released when they were toadlets.
One summer, we did monarchs, which we harvested from milkweed that was going to be mowed (we have TONS AND TONS of milkweed). I think we raised something between 20-30 caterpillars from eggs. Not all of them survived, but most did. We were going to do monarchs again this summer, but I didn't see a single egg this year, and only a few monarchs.
The whole snake thing came about because we captured a baby garter this past summer...and wanted to keep him for awhile for observation, but we couldn't get him to eat. We ended up letting him go, but it prompted my son to ask for a corn snake.
I do miss having our aquarium. We had convict cichlids (holy cow can they breed) and a green terror that we raised from teeny tiny. Some plecos and a few other random types. It's just so expensive to start up from scratch though.
Originally Posted by ozexpat
My real goal is to be able to live as cheaply but richly as possible with the resources we have within our grasps.
I have the luxury of 2.5 acres of land but the older I get the more I think how crazy it is to have plants that are just decorative. I want dual purpose everything. If you have the ability to chose, why have a pretty shrub when you can have a pretty shrub that also is edible by me or my animals? Why have a shade palm when you can have a pygmy coconut tree?
And why not use the land you have to grow animal that can give you pleasure to look at as well as the satisfaction of cooking?
The Tilapia would be perfect addition to the plan but to teach Bernie and to expect Bernie to take on another food group may be too much. When I am home I will talk with the Ag College about an intern to help Bernie. Then we can talk about pigs and fish.
I'm having a hard time letting go of my love of green grass, lol. Of our three acres, we have a perimeter that is mostly overgrowth. Some cattails, a marsh in the corner (which technically isn't on our property), lots of sumac, lots of shrubs and just shrubby brush. We have an orchard of 12 fruit trees which we planted the first spring we were here (2012) and probably about two acres of green grassy lawn. Hubby wants to cut down most of the overgrowth but I won't let him. Why? Because even though it is mostly useless weeds, it is an entire ecosystem. The lightening bugs, butterflies, and a whole host of other creatures and critters are uninterested in the green lawn. But they are a constant presence in the overgrowth. I cannot even begin to tell you how many homeschool lessons we conduct in our "tall grass" as we call it.
That said...I do love my green lawn. It is one of the reasons I am hesitant to add livestock...I'd hate for the damage they'd cause. We do want to buy a horse for our daughter someday, and maybe a cow for milk. But I have to get over my love of the green grass first...lol.
I did take a step in the right direction this fall...we had our neighbor till a large section of the tall grass for a veggie garden for next year. And a patch for strawberries and more raspberries (mine are doing fantastic, but I don't have enough plants...takes a week to pluck enough to make jam and by then, the early picked ones are starting to turn).
We definitely want to become more self-sufficient and are learning as we go.