Setting Up for the arrival of an Acrochordus Filesnake is no simple or inexpensive proposition. And with the various Pumps, Heaters, etc--is as or more expensive than keeping any other reptile.
Additionally, a Happy, Healthy
Acrochordus Filesnake will eat with the Quantity and Frequency of the average Colubrid. So, unless You are into making constant trips to the Pet/Bait Store, "New Arrival" Temp adjustments and everything else involved--You may want to consider a Separate "Holding Tank" (10gal+) to save a lot of work and hassle.
That Said: Personally, I am a Low-
Maintenance, Hassle-Free kind of Guy: If it will save me some Trouble--its probably worth a few bucks in my book. But the other side of that coin is: I appreciate "Bang-For-Buck" like most People.
I have put this Page together to help people along with what I have learned from Personal Experience and on the internet through many, many Hours of "Research" surfing the various "Aquatic" Forums-(Where many of the Folks have been doing the "Aquarium-thing" for Decades).
Some of what is offered below is simply MY Opinion, and some of it is based upon the General Consensus of the Folks on the various Aquatic forums.
Basically, this page is just a guide toward What You will need and What is Available and What is worth its weight in Salt,
i.e., The Good, The Bad and The Don't Waste Your Time....
Any Links below offered to Outside websites are not a recommendation (unless otherwise Stated) of a Specific Place to buy a product.
The Information here is based on the
assumption that You do not currently own an aquarium or have any aquarium-related supplies on hand.
Just Keep in Mind that the Information offered on this website is worth Exactly what You are Paying for it.....
Basic Items Needed:
Aquarium // Aquarium Top // Aquarium Stand // Lighting // Filtration System
Heater // Hidebox // Thermometer // Water Test Kit(s) // Fish Food
Live Plants // Plant Food // Chemicals // Holding Tank
The Aquarium itself may seem like a simple choice, But its not. How Large? Glass or Acrylic? Local or Online? The choices go on and on.
Personally, I prefer Glass Aquariums, but many other people
prefer Acrylic-so its just a Personal Choice. The size needs to be determined by the size of the snake upon arrival, how much bigger its going to get and Your Finances. People literally spend $10K+ on Beautiful Aquarium Setups, so this can all get just as expensive as You want.
If you decide to buy locally than your choices will be limited to what is available locally.
If you choose to buy online then your choices will be pretty limited to Acrylic Aquariums. Its extremely hard to find anyone that will ship Glass Aquariums. That Said:
Tenacor Acrylic Aquariums are highly recommended and quite expensive, but well worth the money from what I understand.
Another Highly recommended source is:
I have purchased from them myself and can certainly recommend them. As a side note: they told me that they sometimes ship Glass aquariums, if they are purchased with the Stand and Canopy, because this can all be packaged together and really help support the Glass Tank through the shipping process. Additionally, they apparently do quite a few Aquarium- and Reptile-related "Shows" and can have their driver meet you along they way to or from.
The size of the Aquarium that You choose should be based entirely on the Filesnake itself.
Again, the choices seem limitless. You can choose to Buy or Build a Top that suits Your needs. You can choose a "Canopy",
Plexiglas/Acrylic cut to fit, Glass....its really up to your needs and resources. But for Acrochordus snakes--You DO need a Top on the Aquarium that will keep the snake in should it choose to try to get out.
It will need to be clear for the Live Plants and Photoperiod.
Personally, I either manufacture my tops completely or use the glass tops
available commercially and incorporate them into my own design.
Once Again: Many Options, Many Choices. You will just have to look around and see what's available, what You want and what fits Your Budget.
Currently, I just use a Wrought Iron stand that I have had with My Arafura's Aquarium for years.
As seen in the A. javanicus pages-I also use a sturdy DIY wooden stand. I don't have any current intentions of Upgrading the current setups--except: Entirely. I can continue to use the current equipment, but I am planning to upgrade the Tanks, Stands and Tops to something much larger (125-180gal.) in 2007-8. We'll see what happens and how it goes.
Just take some time and look around, because there is some really nice stuff out there.
You can spend $500 or more on light for a Standard 55gal. Aquarium. I've currently spent about $20: A 4' fluorescent
shop light and bulbs from Walmart and the Chain and fixtures to hang it from the ceiling.
The Options are wide open.
Just remember that Acrochordus snakes do not like light-it is Dangerous for them in the wild, so it causes stress in captivity. But you do need to provide a Photoperiod and light for the Live Plants.
I have 80 watts of Fluorescent light hanging about 6" above the tank with a lot of
Top-Coverage and my
Arafura Filesnake seemed Happy with it. I have also started using the
Aqualights with bulbs in the 6,700K-10,000K range. I really like the lighting
effect of the GE 9325K bulbs. These ranges are Great for Aquatic Plants.
My Advice would be to simply not over do it: Whether you hang them over the tank, rest them on top of it, support them on legs or put them inside a canopy--the Filesnake and Low-Light Plants will really prevent the need for any Major Investment in Lighting.
And now the choice become even more
Limitless. Sheesh-there are a ton of different filter choices and combinations available out there: Sumps, Refugiums, Plant Filters, Hang-On-Back (HOB) Filters, Undergravel Filters, Interior, Exterior and so-on. But to cut through all the hoopla--all you need is a good Canister Filter.
Eheim Canister Filters are apparently the Best. However, they are also Expensive. Eheim has a Large, Die-hard following of long time Aquarium Enthusiasts behind it. They are Good Canister Filters if You want to pay the Money for them.
That Said: Even the Die-hard Eheim Fans admit that the
Rena Filstar xP Canister Filters are Good Filters and offer the Best "Bang-For-Buck" available. I used an xP3 on my Arafura's Tank, an
xP2 on my A. javanicus setup and an xP1 on my Chinese Water Snake setup, and I am Very Happy with them. Be sure to check out the
for an Overview of My entire Filtration System.
The Options here are fairly Limited to Interior/Exterior, Brand and Size.
Ideally, it is a good idea to get 2 smaller Heaters instead of 1 larger one, because that way, if there is a "Failure" the aquarium won't over-heat and kill the inhabitants. Its a good idea and should be seriously
Personally, I have never had any problems, but the internet is loaded with
failing heaters. I had 3 Heaters in My Arafura's tank and one in the
Refugium-but was Winter time. I only had 1 50watt working all Summer. My A.
javanicus setup has 1 300w Hydor ETH Inline Heater and 2 200w Via Aqua Stainless
Steel Heaters. I also keep a few extra heaters on hand--just in case. I consider being able to Add/Remove the heaters as necessary a plus.
Understand upfront that My Experience and Understanding is that None of the Newer "Dial-in" setting Heaters
have Accurate Dial-ins. I have to set all of my heaters below the desired Temp
in order to get the Temp that I want. The Dial-in feature makes the process much
easier, but their accuracy still leaves much to be desired, exceptions Hydor
ETH, Jabo Eger, Visatherm Stealth.
Hydor ETH Inline Heaters
are very Good, worth the money and can be adjusted outside of the aquarium. But they only come in 200-300watts and they are fairly Expensive...$40-60.
Their Dial setting is accurate and this is the only heater that I have not heard
any complaints about.
Jabo Eger I have not used these,
but they have a very strong following and are Highly recommended. I have
recently purchased 3 of these heaters. I will update this once I have used them
for a while. From what I can gather: These were excellent heaters before Eheim
bought out this company--now their quality is questionable.
especially their "stealth" version are currently considered to be
one of the best currently available. However, they did have some type of "Failure" problem, but I believe that has been corrected.
I currently use one Stealth heater in my baby A. javanicus setup, and I've had
no issues with it.
Via Aqua Traditionally, these
heaters have gotten a lot of complaints along with their other products. But
apparently Via Aqua has been listening and corrected the problems. I currently
use 2 Stainless steel heaters and 1 Titanium--I have had any problems at all.
And I am not finding many current complaints.
Rena Cal Heaters
are heaters that I use
and keep around for "Extras". They come in a large selection of sizes, are good quality and usually a bit less expensive. However, I can personally attest that their Dial-in settings are not accurate.
Won Pro-Heat Titanium Heaters These heaters are pure junk. The internet abounds with complaints of these
heaters failing. I mention these because they are expensive, good looking and
give the appearance of "Quality". From what I have read--Stay Away.
There are many brands of heaters out there, so what You choose is up to You. If I had it to do over again: I would choose between those listed above.
My first choices are the Hydor ETH or the Via Aqua Stainless Steel with an
add-on Heater Controller.
About the only heater that I actually trust
without an add-on heater controller is the Hydor ETH. Heater controllers are
worth their weight in Gold. They 0ffer a fail-safe against Your heater failing
"full-on". They can be fairly inexpensive to very expensive.
OTTO Heater Controller
I currently have 3 of these and Love them.
They have been around for Yrs, yet are pretty hard to find. They are very
reliable and about $18 from UltraLife Direct.com. They are 50% off. The
cart will show the full price, but You will be billed correctly. I will be
buying more of these in the near future. These are the most inexpensive,
reliable heater controllers available. And they have a Great Track-Record that
spans over many years.
Ranco 111000 Heater Controllers are very popular in the animal husbandry
world. They can be purchased as Single or Dual (for both Heating and Cooling),
Very Reliable and cost about $70 and up. Beware that they are not necessarily
completely wired. Some are--and cost more, others are not. Just pay attention to
what is being offered and Your own DIY abilities. From what I have seen: A
completely wired unit is generally about $15-20 more.
Hydroset Electronic Thermostat
These come with or without an LCD readout and range from about $50-85. I have
never used them, nor have I ever heard any complaints about them. But for them
money: I just go with the OTTO.
Then, of course, we can get into the
various "Industrial" Heater Controllers which get up into the $100s and $1,000s
of dollar. For our purpose here though--the 3 above should do the trick.
The Hidebox is a pretty straight-forward affair: Water-durable, appropriate size and allows as little light transmission inside as possible. The Hidebox that I use is simply 2 small Kitty Litter Pans stacked together for a 4 1/2' File snake.
(Click Here for More Info)
What You choose should be fine as long as it is based upon the 3 criteria above.
Additionally, the nice thing about the Kitty Litter Pans is that they are Long and Wide without being Tall.
Might seem like a pretty straightforward topic, but there are many choices--as usual.
have used Digital, Stick-on and Floating thermometers. I do like the assurance of using more than one thermometer.
Keep in mind that most thermometers are really not very accurate for our
purposes though. Many are only accurate to +/-1C which is +/-1.8F. I use a lot
of the Coralife Digital thermometers these days and above is their accuracy. So,
in order to "Calibrate" them, I purchased a Paterson 12"
Color Thermometer (Temperature Range 60-150F in 0.5 Increments, Accuracy 0.25F) from BH Photo Video.com. Best $24 Shipped that I have spent. Film Development
Thermometers are generally Very Accurate, because the temp of the Chemicals is
Very Important to the process.
are considered the least accurate and reliable.
Coralife Digital Thermometers
are suppose to be accurate to 1C, but I have found that their accuracy really
varies from unit to unit. Out of 10 units that I own--only 1 is actually
accurate. The rest vary from 0.2-1.7F. They currently represent the overall "Bang-For-Buck" in Digital Thermometers.
I would suggest Calibrating them with the Paterson Thermometer above.
can be very accurate, but my suggestion is, if you buy them in person, to compare the thermometer(s)
that you are going to buy with all of the others on the self and get what you
need from the ones that match. Their accuracy varies Greatly--so the one that
matches up with 3 others: should be fairly accurate.
Water Test Kits
Anyone that owns an Aquarium Needs the appropriate Water Test Kit(s). Quality varies.
Understand though that Hobbyist Grade test kits are not very accurate and can
only be used for a General reference or Gauge. Some are Down right worthless
like potassium and iron.
are considered the least accurate and the Hardest to read. I use them for their convenience and because the water parameters for the
Arafura Filesnake don't seem to be all that tight-I just need to have an idea that everything is in the Ball-park.
Master Test Kit Aquarium
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Master Test Kit is considered to be the best Overall
"Bang-For-Buck". They are only about $15. I currently use the Master Test kit
and the GH and KH test kits. Keep in mind that I don't test very often. After a
while You will get to know a particular setup....
Seachem Test Kits are probably
the Hardest to read with any accuracy. Seachem has an Outstanding Reputation for
Outstanding Products, but the "Readability" of their test kits certainly leaves
something to be desired.
Lamotte Test kits are probably
the best on the Market in the Affordable range. These kits average about $25/kit
and up, so if money is no object--Lamotte is the way to go.
This one is pretty straightforward. Many brands, many types. Tropical, Goldfish--it doesn't really matter. A good Brand Flake Food (Tetra, Hakari, Wardley's, etc) will do just Fine.
I feed my feeder fish a variety of foods.
Live Plants are the #1 best addition that you can make to your Filtration
system, and, Technically: You can operate an aquarium with nothing BUT plants
for a filter system. One Problem is that certain fish (Comets,
Goldfish--Acrochordus' Food) will eat your plants into extinction.
Plant Food is not as Straightforward as it may seem. There are many choices and
combinations out there.
I am going to list the 2 Best, and by "Best" I mean
Quality plus "Bang-For-Buck". I use Dry ferts for N, P, K and Liquid for Micros
(Seachem Flourish and Tropical Mastergrow).
Rex Grigg sells bulk Dry Ferts
for planted tanks. It can all seem very intimidating at first, but its really
not. Using Dry ferts is really no different than using liquid ferts. Either way,
there's a "Learning Curve" and an "Adjustment Period" for the user. Websites
like The Planted Tank.net and Aquatic Plant Central.com can teach
You how to get started with Dry or Liquid ferts.
Seachem Once again, Seachem has
a Great Reputation and Great Products. They Truly Deliver. Their line of Liquid
ferts are very popular and their website is a wealth of information. The cost of
their ferts starts getting expensive on larger setups, but on smaller setups its
really not to bad.
There are way too many chemicals to go over--and the vast majority of them are not needed anyway.
One thing You will need is a good Dechlorinator.
I use Seachem's Prime. Its widely used, Highly Recommend and is just an overall
Other chemicals that I have used without causing any problems
for the Arafura are: Flourish products, Tetra AquaSafe, Kent Blackwater Expert
and Botanic Humic, Plant Gro, Rex Grigg's Ferts, Stability.
I do not use any type of chemical filtration-just good ol' sponges and filter floss.
I do use Seachem's Purigen in my Chinese Water Snake Setup and other Planted
Tanks. The Only reason that I do not use it in my Acrochordus setups is
because it is not "Black Water" compatible, i.e.; it will remove the Tannins and
Ok, A separate Holding Tank for the Acrochordus' Food (Fish) is really a Good idea--Especially if You are buying Your Fish from a Bait Store. The reason is this: When I buy my fish from the Bait Store--They are usually kept at about 45F. When I bring them Home--I have to Slowly bring them up to 86F: Not a Simple task! It used to take me about 36 hours, many water changes and the constant addition of Temp-Correct water to get those fish up to Temp. My Chinese Watersnakes will eat 2 dozen Medium-sized Minnows in a week. So, I buy 12 dozen (144 minnows), go through the process and then keep the "Extras" in a
22gal. Holding Tank--It Truly saves me a lot of time and Hassle. I have
developed a process using Seachem's Stability, Prime and Ammonia Alert that
allows my to cycle the holding tank in 36-48 hrs with only 2-3 water changes.
Yes, that's from empty to way overstocked in no time flat.
Comets seem much Hardier than Shiners or Minnows, but they still have to be brought up to temp.
as any fish does. Pet stores do not keep their fish anywhere near 86F--so, even though the process is much faster and easier--its still a process. If You mess it up: Your fish will die and Your Money and Time will be wasted: Its just that Simple.
So, What do You need???
That depends upon Your Situation. I currently have a 2 A. javanicus Filesnakes and 2 Young Adult Chinese Watersnakes to feed. The
Elephant Trunk Snakes eat Comets (adult) that Average about 30 grams and 4-5"
long and medium minnows (baby). The Chinese Watersnakes eat a Dozen+ Medium Minnows/Wk--Each!
So, Currently I am using a 22gal. Holding Tank with an Undergravel filter with Reverse-Flow
and a Fluvial Plus 3 Internal Filter and an old-fashioned Bubbling Corner Filter that I already had. After I go get fish--the Holding Tank is way too small, way overcrowded and has trouble initially handling the Bio-load.
With One Acrochordus (Lg. or Small) You should be able to get by with a 10gal. Aquarium and a good Filtration system
for a Holding Tank. Anything more than that and I would suggest a Larger Holding Tank.