How to Set up a Tank for Amphibians

Amphibians are vertebrates that spend part of the time on land and part of the time in the water. Frogs, toads and salamanders are amphibians that you can raise in tanks. You will have to maintain the tank's temperature because amphibians can't regulate their own body heat [source: San Diego Zoo].

The water requirements differ among amphibians. Some amphibians spend most of their time in the water and just come up to breathe, while others need rocks to climb up out of the water on. Some amphibians, like salamanders, need humidity and a dry area, as well [source: Bogaerts].


Here's how to set up a tank for amphibians.

  • Choose a tank. The size will depend on how much water you need to fill the tank with, how many animals will be living in the tank, and how big they will grow. A glass tank with a secure lid is best [source: ARC].
  • Maintain the correct temperature with an aquarium heater with a thermostat or with special bulbs. The heating and humidity requirements differ among amphibians, so be sure to check what you need before you buy your equipment [source: petsuppliesplus].
  • Line the bottom of the tank with a substrate material, if necessary. You can use fairly large gravel or pebbles, or a combination of peat moss and soil. It's important to choose substrate that's too large for your pet to swallow [source: petco].
  • Add plants to the tank. They'll provide a shelter and a hiding place for amphibians. Plants help maintain the humidity level, which is sometimes important. They also help keep the water clean [source: ARC].
  • Create a land area, if necessary, by separating the tank into two areas. Use a substrate such as soil, moss or bark for the dry area [source: petco]. Some amphibians need rocks to climb on, while others need a place to hide inside the tank. Check your amphibian's needs.
  • Create regular cycles of light and dark to simulate day and night cycles. You can create this cycle with the help of an aquarium light and a timer [source: CZS].
  • Filter and change the water on a regular basis [source: petco].