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3:03 AM   October 31, 2014
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Community Tank Conundrums

Encouraging consumers to purchase separate tank setups for each species they keep can be a big chore. Reptile fans, particularly beginning hobbyists, may prefer rather to create a single environment with all the species they love – living in harmony.

Clearly educate consumers on the inherent problems with community reptile tanks. This approach does what’s best for the animals and creates a solid marketing approach that justifies the purchase of several new entire setups. Each of the following sticking points makes the case for more supplies and better care of the animals your customers love.

Injury
Something many beginning hobbyists may overlook is simply a fact of nature. Many commonly kept reptiles and amphibians aren’t picky about what they eat – including each other. Smaller animals in a community tank end up as prey in short order. Even some larger animals can end up as dinner in a surprisingly accommodating mouth, which an owner might not think capable of swallowing larger prey. Opportunistic critters eat whatever is available, including each other. Make sure consumers have what they need to separate their favorite species.

Another point to remember is that many amphibians have toxic defenses they are not afraid to use against each other when community conflicts arise. Cross-species toxicity is a common cause of death in community tanks that include amphibians.

Conflicting Conditions
Most amphibians and reptiles don’t mix when it comes to temperature and moisture requirements. While most reptiles need to have access to a wide range of temperatures in their environments, that same swing could easily kill the majority of amphibians. Unless an enclosure is quite large, it is nearly impossible to accommodate each species in the community and their special requirements.

Enclosure Size
An important factor to stress when discouraging community tanks is the range each species occupies. In a small tank there is precious little space for building a home, hunting, mating and other activities for each of the tank’s occupants. As ranges for different species overlap, conflicts are sure to arise.

Food Requirements
Even if multiple species of either reptiles or amphibians are kept successfully, animals often fare poorly in the long run. Since their food requirements usually are divergent, malnutrition results when a hobbyists fails to safely accommodate each species’ needs. Some species of amphibians, for example, may eat large crickets, while the other (smaller species) in the tank feeds on hatchlings. Adding both is fine but may not work, as the larger species inadvertently devours the hatchlings, as well.
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