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How to Set Up a Dart Frog Vivarium

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 270

Choosing the right enclosure

Some frogs are more arboreal while others are more terrestrial. So, you need to design your enclosure with the species in mind. You can build your tank in an upright vertical position or horizontal position. A few species of Dendrobates are arboreal. Mantellas for instance are totally terrestrial and will need a wide horizontal enclosure. There are frogs that are semi- arboreal too. So, do your research first!

Some tanks are all ready designed to house amphibians with easy access to your frogs and tank design, appropriate ventilation, power cord outlets, etc.

Designing the layout

Something to keep in mind that a lot of beginner hobbyists ignore is bringing leaves, branches from indoors and introducing them into their tanks without being sterilized beforehand. This can introduce many problems like fungus and insects. If you bring in items just microwave everything for 15 minutes. Soil, orchid bark, leaf litter, etc.

If they have appropriate hiding places they will be happy and be more likely to breed. If this is what you choose to do. Making your tank natural like a "Rainforest", is not only more appealing to the eye but your frogs will appreciate as well.. Coconut dens for instance make great hiding places for dart frogs. This in turn will keep them healthy.

There are many options when designing your tank. You can do something from the very simple or to the elaborate with dripwalls, waterfalls, ponds, tropical plants etc. Sometimes the most simplest layout is best as you will encounter less problems with plumbing or water splashing against the glass, or having to change the layout entirely, etc.

It is not necessary but adding a backwall can be a benefit to the tank and your frogs. It offers another dimension to the tank so you can add plants, driftwood, etc. It can be made from a wide variety of substrates. Such as Cork Bark, Coco Fiber, Great Stuff foam, clay (this is a special mixture), Tree Fern, Habi-Scape simulated rock, Cocos Panels, etc.

There are various options when designing the bottom of the tank as you might have guessed. The simplest method only uses a product like Miracle Grow potting mix, Orchid Bark, and leaf litter.

You can add a base substrate of LECA, pea gravel, Terra-Lite and a newer product called Feather-Lite. Cover it with weed block material or fiberglass window screen this keeps the dirt from falling into the drainage layer. Plantation soil or potting mix would go next then add forest moss or leaf litter. This helps filter out waste. If your tank is built correctly from the beginning you will not have to touch it again. Other than pruning back or replacing plants.

You will then want to do your landscaping. Do the hardscaping first such as rocks, logs, etc. Then add your chosen plants. Ferns, bromeliads, etc. Keep the throat of a bromeliad full with water and your frogs will lay eggs there.

A method I have learned that has worked really well for me is once you have your tank's floor completed "seed" it with Springtails. This is a great food source for your frogs. They also help take care of any mold or fungus that might appear in tank. Which in turn aids the tank developing into an ecosystem.

Once planted add some accents such as grape leaves, lichens, mushrooms, mosses, sea pods are really cool and of the ever popular course coconut den.

Lighting is an important aspect too. The lighting is not so important for your frogs but for your plants. Pet stores will offer appropriate lighting that does not get too hot. In most cases, a full spectrum bulb that runs the length of the tank should do just fine. You might even try running two bulbs. Keep them on a cycle of your choice with a timer.

Proper humidity is one of the most important aspects of the vivarium. You can add a dripwall/waterfall by running water lines behind the wall. Creating moisture through the use of a fogger, misting system, hand misting, etc. will maintain the appropriate humidity in the tank. Balance humidity between moisture and ventilation. You can add a humidity meter. Be careful not to over water.

Temperature is also important. Plants will do just fine with average household temperatures. Watch out not to get your tank too warm concerning your choice of frogs. You may consider a using a computer fan to keep a steady airflow. Keep your lighting on shelf above your tank. There are also good hoods on the market for this purpose.

Your next step is to buy frogs and have a reliable food source for the frogs. The best method is to set up fruit fly cultures.

So, there you have it the basics of setting up a naturalistic terrarium/vivarium. There are many different opinions on how it should be done. I have just offered what has worked best for myself. I will offer more articles on keeping and feeding, how to culture flightless fruit flies, etc.

Have fun!

My name is Bob Abraham. I have actively kept and bred reptiles and amphibians for 30+ years.

Source: EzineArticles
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