04-24-2008, 02:01 AM
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Your options are going to be very limited due to size of the tank and her unwillingness to feed crickets. A vivarium situation is most suited for amphibians, and the main diet of amphibians is live bugs... there's not any way to get around that. It's not just a matter of what they will take, but also about nutrition to keep them alive and healthy.
Even frogs would have a limited selection of anything that can live in a 10 gallon tank for long... dart frogs would be the only thing I can come up with off the top of my head, and then maybe only 2 - 3 of them... not the easiest thing to care for. They have very specific requirements, and because of their size they need live wingless fruitflies for food, and those are something you get the pleasure of raising yourself... lol. Humidity has to be controled for them, too... and very little water other than misting frequently.
I'm wondering how you're planning to seperate water from dirt in such a small tank? There would have to be some kind of solid partition between the 2 so that the dirt doesn't fall down into and contaminate the water. Once it gets wet, the water will turn to mud, so it would have to be perfectly sealed to keep the soil and water from mixing. Then there is the added maintenance anytime an animal goes from dirt to water... again turning that water to mud. What you are wanting to create can be done, but not easily and not easy maintenance in a 10 gallon tank. You won't have the length to pull it off without creating a mess... I know cuz I've tried it many times.
Now, if you were willing to swap the mud for gravel, large stuff works really well for this, then work with bog and pond type plants... you could use a divider without the worry of sealing it off so tightly, without the mess, and a way to add a filtration unit. Something like a small Whisper 10i, or the 5i, rocks built around it to hide it along one side of the tank, rocks down to the bottom to keep gravel away from the intake... submersible so goes right down into the water... gravel around the rock to help hide it more... and you have a small waterfall which will help keep the whole thing clean. Just be sure to seal it well wherever cords will need to run out from under the cover, as amphibians are escape artists.
With all of that in mind, then you could add a small heater (something made for a bowl and preset, so it's small and not too powerful for not much water) and you'd have a nice habitat for dwarf frogs, and then she only has to feed black worms, they stay under the water, and are compatible with most fish.
Or... you could skip having the water other than in a dish buried in the dirt to hide it well, and get my daughter's favorite pet... a madigascar giant millipede. They eat rotten fruit and veggies, so easy to toss salad scraps to them. Water dish needs to be shallow so they don't drown in it, and they need to be misted a few times/day, but pretty easy to keep.
Those are about the only 2 things I can think of that would do well in a 10 gallon vivarium set up and won't require crickets for a diet. Have yoy considered just making it a full blown aquarium and buying her a few fish instead? Moving it wouldn't have to be hard... drain the water into a bucket, put fish and plants into the bucket, air stone if you're going more than 30 minutes away, leave gravel in tank, and out it goes. Get it home and put 1/2 the water back in, then the fish, then fill it up and add plants and you're done.
Hope this helps!