06-04-2013, 03:52 PM
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As you've raised this question, I'll briefly mention how I had my coujple of newt tanks set up many years ago.
The first one I did, was a 20g long type, and I found a large chunk of wood that was almost full length of the tank. I wedged this in with a 2 or 3 large rocks at one end, sort of in the rear corner, and allowed it to extend down the tank at an angle. Part way along I propped it up with another rock. Then I filled the tank so the water level was about half, and the upper surface of the wood was above it. I had a frog (Fire Bellied Toad actually), a pair of Fire-Bellied newts (that bred, and 12 efts survived to maturity), a trio of NA Easter Newts, and another odd newt I wasn't sure of the species. No filter or heater. These critters lived many years; the frog was in his 19th year when he died, and the last of the newts that hatched in this tank was in his 21st year.
Another tank I set up was a 20g, and I got two pieces of glass cut and I siliconed them diagonally so they were about 8 inches high. The front part was water, the back "land." At first I used soil with a cap of gravel, and planted ferns; this looked nice at first, but eventually became a real mess. So I tore it down and used pea gravel in the "land" compartment, much better. I had 3 or 4 newts and the same frog in this until they were all gone. No filter, but I had a heater in this tank after I moved into my present house because unlike the apartment, the house got cold in the winter at night.