Ventilation and moisture regulation
Apart from the light and the heat, the drinking water supply, relative humidity and the right degree of substrate moisture are also very important for the animals’ well-being. Reptiles and, to a greater degree, thin-skinned amphibians, constantly lose water, particularly through the skin, as they respire.
This is especially true with those amphibians which absorb their water intake almost exclusively through the skin and in contrast to other terrarium animals, barely drink at all. In addition to cleaning and refilling the water dish, your daily maintenance should also include regularly spraying the inside of the terrarium with water, at least once every morning. This also applies to desert terrariums because there is often fog or dew in the morning hours in regions with high daytime temperatures and significant decreases at night. Many animals are used to meeting their moisture needs as water condenses on their body or on objects in their close environment.
Some species of animals, e.g. chameleons, prefer moving water. Young animals don’t need more than the water drops that collect on leaves or objects after misting, whereas adult animals often require more. In this case, we recommend you add a drip system to supply water over an extended period of time. Thus, the animals have the opportunity to take in water according to their own needs and you can occasionally add vitamins ( JBL TerraVit fluid ).
You can supply your pets with moving water by putting in a waterfall, e.g. a ready-made model or indoor fountain, or by setting up a larger-sized waterfall complete with a water reservoir on the rear wall. In this case a consistently good water quality is important. JBL offers very reliable and small-scale water pumps for such purposes (e.g. JBL ProFlow t300 ) or the higher performing JBL ProFlow u1100 .
Besides this, clean the substrate of your aqua-terrariums regularly with a gravel cleaner such as the JBL AquaEx Set 10-35 and clean the aquarium panes with a glass cleaner such as the JBL Blanki Set . Carry out a weekly partial water change of around a third of the water volume, similar to with an aquarium. Without regular cleaning in the mostly warm terrarium climate, germs very detrimental to the animals’ health, will form very quickly in the reservoir of the indoor fountain or waterfall. These often contain just a few litres of water.
The water supplied to a terrarium requires a certain maintenance if you don't want a murky brew laden with bacteria. These bacteria can endanger the animals’ health. Maintenance of the drinking vessels is relatively simple - they just need to be cleaned and refilled with fresh water daily. When it comes to larger water sections in a terrarium, e.g. in combination with a waterfall, the maintenance required is comparable to that of an aquarium.
How do you change tap water into biotope-like water?
Treating the water in aquariums and in water sections of terrariums
A larger water section in the terrarium can be regarded as a separate "aquarium". Therefore, all the principles and rules that apply for an aquarium also apply here. You will find all the information you need in the JBL website category “Essentials/Aquarium”:
What does water treatment mean? How do you make tropical water using tap water?
In a nutshell : After the water section has been filled with mains water, add a water conditioner ( JBL Biotopol T ) to render any chlorine present harmless and absorb harmful substances, such as heavy metals.
Internal and external filters from the JBL CristalProfi and ProCristal range can be used to filter the water. These are available for various litre capacities. The JBL CristalProfi e702 greenline is suitable for water sections of 150 litres. Internal filters, which can also be installed horizontally at low water levels, might be better suited for small water vessels up to 100 litres. JBL also has a filter series in its range for this purpose. For water sections with contents of 40 to 80 litres the JBL CristalProfi i60 greenline is perfect.
It is imperative you do a regular water change of approx. 30 % every 2 weeks. The water you replace always needs to be treated to suit the animals‘ requirements using the JBL Biotopol T .
If you keep turtles, we strongly recommend you use a very powerful external filter (e.g. the JBL CristalProfi e402 greenline for 40-120 litres) because of the animals’ very high metabolism. In this case it’s always better to select a model one size bigger than that recommended for the corresponding water volume. With JBL EasyTurtle JBL offers a product that effectively accelerates the degradation of the large amount of waste produced by turtles, thereby preventing unpleasant odours. It contains specially bred cleansing bacteria which are bound to a mineral granulate. These granulates are simply sprinkled onto the bottom of the water section or integrated into the substrate.
Ventilation of your terrarium
The need for fresh air and all other climatic factors vary significantly in accordance with their species and origin.
Nowadays, the terrarium is usually ventilated through two air screens mounted on different sides which prevent stagnant air from accumulating. Fitting a ventilation grid under the front panes has the advantage of keeping the view into the terrarium unobstructed.
The air in a terrarium heats up from the heating mats, e.g. the JBL TerraTemp heatmat or cables on the floor, the lighting and the radiators, such as the JBL ReptilHeat , and then rises subsequently. Some of the warm air escapes through the ventilation grids, usually in the lid of the terrarium, allowing fresh air to flow in through the grid under the front pane. The air circulation helps keep the panes and interiors dry. If there is no ventilation in the lower third of a humid terrarium, stuffy congested air saturated with moisture will quickly form, causing the side panes to fog. This is why aquariums are only suited for keeping animals from dry regions (e.g. leopard geckos) and not for setting up a rainforest terrarium unless ventilation slits are subsequently inserted near the floor.
Ventilation for diurnal reptiles
When keeping diurnal reptiles such as tortoises in aquariums, make sure that large ventilation surfaces in the cover stay open. This will lead to a high loss of heat and moisture, and this is why aquariums can only be unreservedly recommended for very few animals.
In a terrarium, the optimum moisture can be achieved by increasing and decreasing the size of the ventilation openings. The heat will not escape as quickly and as much as from an open aquarium.