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Old 03-18-2017, 05:49 PM
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Default Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

Hi guys, a nearly full on noob here but I'd just like to ask whether modifying Exo-Terra vivariums by sealing the doors and replacing the mesh top with glass is absolutely and completely necessary or whether it is just a nicety and Dart frogs will be fine without those mods.

I would guess that it differs per species, but as an example would Leucomelas be ok without those changes?
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Old 03-18-2017, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

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Hi guys, a nearly full on noob here but I'd just like to ask whether modifying Exo-Terra vivariums by sealing the doors and replacing the mesh top with glass is absolutely and completely necessary or whether it is just a nicety and Dart frogs will be fine without those mods.

I would guess that it differs per species, but as an example would Leucomelas be ok without those changes?
You can get by without messing with the doors, but you should probably modify the top. Otherwise you're going to need to be misting very frequently, and that's going to cause more problems than it will fix.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

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You can get by without messing with the doors, but you should probably modify the top. Otherwise you're going to need to be misting very frequently, and that's going to cause more problems than it will fix.
Thanks for the help With regards to modifying the top, is there any easy way to do this or what is the most simple way to going about creating the best solution?
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

The easiest thing to do would be to get a piece of glass to go over the top/screen. You can get a piece of glass cut at like Lowes or Home Depot or any glass-cutting store for the dimensions you need fairly cheaply.

Modifying the screen top is necessary to maintain the humidity that pdfs need...
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

For mine, I always have a piece of glass cut that extends just over the edge of opening all around (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of any inch). Then, I have them cut 2 inches off the back. I rip out the metal screen (it will eventually corrode) and silicone the glass over the top of the opening. You just need to make sure you don't cut the glass so wide that it won't let the little plastic clips compress to get the top out later. I leave the 2 inch gap in the back and I just silicone some screen over that part to use it as a vent. Finally, I save the 2 inch piece of glass to set on top so that I can leave it more covered or less covered, as I see fit :-)

It's really easy. As TG said, you don't need to mess with the doors, though flies may get out of the opening between the doors and the glass (or between the two doors). There are always so many flies around my house, I can't keep track of which gap in all my tanks keeps letting the flies out ;-)

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Old 03-18-2017, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

Yes, it's absolutely necessary to cover the top, at least. Your tank will dry out too much without it.

NEHerp and (I think) Josh's Frogs both sell pre-cut glass that sits exactly in the space on top of an Exo, and you can pick the size. The ones from NEHerp don't fully cover the top, but instead leave a small strip of space which you can have on the back or front of the viv. I actually found that was too much ventilation for me, so I just put clear tape over most of the mesh that was left exposed.

As for the doors, I've found you don't need to do this for the smaller Exos, but it's very useful to do on the larger ones. You lose a lot of humidity through those door cracks, and therefore have to spray more. Also, flies can more easily walk through the door cracks on the larger Exos.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

On my first Exo Terra, I made the mistake of only covering the screen top half way and I had a terrible time trying to keep the humidity up. On my latest, I had a piece of glass cut to fit the top, and I left an inch and a half screen vent in the back. So far it holds humidity perfectly, although i am still letting things settle before adding frogs.

I did not have a problem with flies getting out from between the doors, but i used a piece of banana on a feeding station to draw the flies and keep them in the tank.

Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

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Yes, it's absolutely necessary to cover the top, at least. Your tank will dry out too much without it.

NEHerp and (I think) Josh's Frogs both sell pre-cut glass that sits exactly in the space on top of an Exo, and you can pick the size. The ones from NEHerp don't fully cover the top, but instead leave a small strip of space which you can have on the back or front of the viv. I actually found that was too much ventilation for me, so I just put clear tape over most of the mesh that was left exposed.

As for the doors, I've found you don't need to do this for the smaller Exos, but it's very useful to do on the larger ones. You lose a lot of humidity through those door cracks, and therefore have to spray more. Also, flies can more easily walk through the door cracks on the larger Exos.
I find this advice misleading, at best. I have the largest exo you can get, and the amount of humidity I lose is neglible through the doors. I also have a 2" vent strip on the lid of the tank, and honestly, I think I should increase this to between 3"-4" for better ventilation. You do *not* want a stuffy, stale tank and covering up your vent and all air flow is a terrible idea. Currently, in my 'dry' season for my big viv, I mist twice a week (and was misting once a week for a month or so) With no door modifications, and my 2" vent, I have no humidity issues. The frogs are fine, they hunker down in the leaf litter and have no issues staying moist. The takeaway here though, is this. Humidity is important, but anything in the 60-80% range is completely fine, and ventilation is equally important. You *need* good ventilation for a healthy tank and healthy animals.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

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Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
For mine, I always have a piece of glass cut that extends just over the edge of opening all around (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of any inch). Then, I have them cut 2 inches off the back. I rip out the metal screen (it will eventually corrode) and silicone the glass over the top of the opening. You just need to make sure you don't cut the glass so wide that it won't let the little plastic clips compress to get the top out later. I leave the 2 inch gap in the back and I just silicone some screen over that part to use it as a vent. Finally, I save the 2 inch piece of glass to set on top so that I can leave it more covered or less covered, as I see fit :-)
Mark
Why not do this with solacryl so you can then supplement the frogs with UVB? Its pretty simple and you can even permanently attach it to the plastic parts of the lid.

I use large vents on my enclosures and I have no issues with humidity, in fact I can hear pumilio calling down the hall from where I type this...

some comments

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Old 03-19-2017, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

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I find this advice misleading, at best. I have the largest exo you can get, and the amount of humidity I lose is neglible through the doors. I also have a 2" vent strip on the lid of the tank, and honestly, I think I should increase this to between 3"-4" for better ventilation. You do *not* want a stuffy, stale tank and covering up your vent and all air flow is a terrible idea. Currently, in my 'dry' season for my big viv, I mist twice a week (and was misting once a week for a month or so) With no door modifications, and my 2" vent, I have no humidity issues. The frogs are fine, they hunker down in the leaf litter and have no issues staying moist. The takeaway here though, is this. Humidity is important, but anything in the 60-80% range is completely fine, and ventilation is equally important. You *need* good ventilation for a healthy tank and healthy animals.
This sounds good but is 60-80% humidity really fine for Darts? I'm just asking because Josh's Frogs recommends no lower than 80% at all times so I'm curious as to whether this is high enough. Do you still have the mesh at the top of the viv or have you replaced it with glass?
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

Does Solacryl have the tendency to warp that plexiglass does?
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

A little external search found an answer to my own question:

Solacryl in Socal

I didn't check to see if the links to purchase it still work, but there's at least a lead on where to purchase Solacryl in the above thread.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: Using Exo-Terra Vivariums Without Modifications

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Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
I find this advice misleading, at best. I have the largest exo you can get, and the amount of humidity I lose is neglible through the doors. I also have a 2" vent strip on the lid of the tank, and honestly, I think I should increase this to between 3"-4" for better ventilation. You do *not* want a stuffy, stale tank and covering up your vent and all air flow is a terrible idea. Currently, in my 'dry' season for my big viv, I mist twice a week (and was misting once a week for a month or so) With no door modifications, and my 2" vent, I have no humidity issues. The frogs are fine, they hunker down in the leaf litter and have no issues staying moist. The takeaway here though, is this. Humidity is important, but anything in the 60-80% range is completely fine, and ventilation is equally important. You *need* good ventilation for a healthy tank and healthy animals.
Well, that works for you. My apartment is cooled by central air, which makes it extremely dry. As in, the big Exo dries out about 5 hours after misting. I use a Mistking to mist multiple times a day, maintaining about 80-85% humidity.

Your 60-80% humidity could also be described as "misleading, at best". All my frogs are bolder with higher humidity. My leucomelas, especially, will hide if the humidity gets too low. I used a fan initially but found it to be basically useless. Air still gets in and out, but my tanks stay humid, my frogs are active and breeding, and my plants are booming. I would suggest that the OP experiment and see what works best.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:44 AM
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Well, that works for you. My apartment is cooled by central air, which makes it extremely dry. As in, the big Exo dries out about 5 hours after misting. I use a Mistking to mist multiple times a day, maintaining about 80-85% humidity.

Your 60-80% humidity could also be described as "misleading, at best". All my frogs are bolder with higher humidity. My leucomelas, especially, will hide if the humidity gets too low. I used a fan initially but found it to be basically useless. Air still gets in and out, but my tanks stay humid, my frogs are active and breeding, and my plants are booming. I would suggest that the OP experiment and see what works best.
Bold does not equal healthy. Not does breeding equate to quality husbandry. If you're maintaining a constant 80% plus humidity, you're going to breed your frogs to death. They need to cycle, seasonally. Their non-breeding seasons should to be at least as long as their breeding season. Your viv needs ventilation, this is not a point that's up for debate.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:09 AM
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Bold does not equal healthy. Not does breeding equate to quality husbandry. If you're maintaining a constant 80% plus humidity, you're going to breed your frogs to death. They need to cycle, seasonally. Their non-breeding seasons should to be at least as long as their breeding season. Your viv needs ventilation, this is not a point that's up for debate.
Yeah, they all stop breeding for 4 months over the winter and recently started again (I live in Southern California where it's somehow hot already). Guess they got the message about the breeding cycle. So maybe you have no idea what you're talking about.

Also, I didn't say my vivs had no ventilation. I said the doors and lid let so much air in and out that I need to mist more. All my vivs have ventilation in the lid. I'm not debating you; you're trying to keyboard warrior me because I gave honest advice to the OP.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Xan View Post
Yes, it's absolutely necessary to cover the top, at least. Your tank will dry out too much without it.

NEHerp and (I think) Josh's Frogs both sell pre-cut glass that sits exactly in the space on top of an Exo, and you can pick the size. The ones from NEHerp don't fully cover the top, but instead leave a small strip of space which you can have on the back or front of the viv. I actually found that was too much ventilation for me, so I just put clear tape over most of the mesh that was left exposed.

As for the doors, I've found you don't need to do this for the smaller Exos, but it's very useful to do on the larger ones. You lose a lot of humidity through those door cracks, and therefore have to spray more. Also, flies can more easily walk through the door cracks on the larger Exos.

At no point here do you recommend ventilation. You're recommending covering the entire top of a vivarium, and sealing up the cracks in the doors. This would negate all forms of ventilation in a tank. This is poor advice. You're even recommending covering up a vent that NEHerp has specifically built into their glass tops. Again, poor advice. You may live in a climate microcosm, but for 90% (probably more) of hobbyists, these conditions will lead to stagnate, over-wet tanks with excessive humidity that is detrimental to frog health. No one is trying to 'keyboard warrior' you here, just prevent the passage of poor advice based on outdated husbandry methods. I'm glad you cycle your frogs, but for the majority of the country this require altering your misting habits throughout the season. We don't get to rely on a desert climate to dry out our tanks. I also have my doubts that the cracks in the doors of an exo are sufficient ventilation for a tank, especially with daily multiple mistings.

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Old 03-20-2017, 04:31 AM
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At no point here do you recommend ventilation. You're recommending covering the entire top of a vivarium, and sealing up the cracks in the doors. This would negate all forms of ventilation in a tank. This is poor advice. You're even recommending covering up a vent that NEHerp has specifically built into their glass tops. Again, poor advice. You may live in a climate microcosm, but for 90% (probably more) of hobbyists, these conditions will lead to stagnate, over-wet tanks with excessive humidity that is detrimental to frog health. No one is trying to 'keyboard warrior' you here, just prevent the passage of poor advice based on outdated husbandry methods. I'm glad you cycle your frogs, but for the majority of the country this require altering your misting habits throughout the season. We don't get to rely on a desert climate to dry out our tanks. I also have my doubts that the cracks in the doors of an exo are sufficient ventilation for a tank, especially with daily multiple mistings.
Okay, cool. Like I said, there is ventilation in the lid too. Also, the word you're looking for is "stagnant".

I came here to help, not to pick a fight. Hopefully the OP takes something useful from all this.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:36 AM
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You're right. But a late night typo doesn't negate my argument, that based on your post it certainly makes it seem like you're recommending not to ventilate a viv. I'm unsure why you're harping on this, as it's not really a debatable aspect of vivarium design at this point in the hobby....But you're fired up, so I'm going to exit this conversation and reiterate the salient point here. Ventilate your vivs. Always.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:49 AM
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You're right. But a late night typo doesn't negate my argument, that based on your post it certainly makes it seem like you're recommending not to ventilate a viv. I'm unsure why you're harping on this, as it's not really a debatable aspect of vivarium design at this point in the hobby....But you're fired up, so I'm going to exit this conversation and reiterate the salient point here. Ventilate your vivs. Always.
Instead of making fun of the idea that Southern California is a "climate microcosm", I'll just say: I agree. Ventilation is good. Figure out what works best for you and your frogs.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:28 PM
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Why not do this with solacryl so you can then supplement the frogs with UVB? Its pretty simple and you can even permanently attach it to the plastic parts of the lid.

I use large vents on my enclosures and I have no issues with humidity, in fact I can hear pumilio calling down the hall from where I type this...

some comments

Ed
Interesting point, Ed. If I really wanted to, I could just put the UVB over the screened portion of my tops. I have never had any need for UVB that I know of, though. I have read about UVB for pums but have not read anything about its broad applicability for all darts. Is it something I should be shooting for with all of my frogs? Maybe I should start a different thread with these questions to avoid derailing this one. Also, Solarcryl is a lot more difficult to source than glass, so that's another reason my tanks don't have it. I might need to look into it if UVB is an important component of dart husbandry, though. I am interested in hearing your reply.

As for large vents, I think that the "discussion" between TG and Xan above brings up the fact that one size doesn't necessarily fit all. If I used vents the size you say work for you, Ed, my plants would be dried out by the end of the day. As Xan said, the external environment in people's houses varies drastically. Summer and winter, my humidity level in my house is less than 20%. That's why my vents are so small and probably why Ed can get away with much larger vents. I just don't need vents that big to maintain the humidity levels I need inside the tank. If you are starting out, though, you should probably go with bigger vents because it's a lot easier to cover bigger vents than to work around vents that are too small.

Good stuff, Ed. Thanks!

Mark
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:43 PM
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As for large vents, I think that the "discussion" between TG and Xan above brings up the fact that one size doesn't necessarily fit all.
I think that's a great takeaway, Mark. My home's humidity is typically between 50-70%, so I can get away with more ventilation. We do have to tailor our tanks around the conditions in our homes, to an extent.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:53 PM
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Interesting point, Ed. If I really wanted to, I could just put the UVB over the screened portion of my tops.
Passing UVB through the screening significantly reduces the amount of UVB that can actually get through the screen. In fact the finer the mesh the less of the UVB that can get through it. see if you can get a copy of Evaluation of UVB reduction by materials commonly used in reptile husbandry
Zoo Biology
Volume 26, Issue 5, Date: September/October 2007, Pages: 417-423
R. Michael Burger, William H. Gehrmann, Gary W. Ferguson as that breaks it down pretty well.


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I have never had any need for UVB that I know of, though. I have read about UVB for pums but have not read anything about its broad applicability for all darts. Is it something I should be shooting for with all of my frogs? Maybe I should start a different thread with these questions to avoid derailing this one. Also, Solarcryl is a lot more difficult to source than glass, so that's another reason my tanks don't have it. I might need to look into it if UVB is an important component of dart husbandry, though. I am interested in hearing your reply.
There has been at least one very rough trial with UVB in dendrobatids (see UVB exposure Dendrobates) but people tend to only think of UVB in terms of completely formed D3 but D3 and some of its pre-forms can act as hormones in multiple vertebrate tissues . See for example (free access)
Kochupillai, N. "The physiology of vitamin D: current concepts." Indian Journal of Medical Research 127.3 (2008): 256. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?h...rmone+activity

There is a lot of good information coming out in multiple taxa showing that oral supplementation doesn't provide the same levels of circulating vitamin (all forms) including taxa that have always been considered to not need exposure to UVB (like snakes).

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As for large vents, I think that the "discussion" between TG and Xan above brings up the fact that one size doesn't necessarily fit all. If I used vents the size you say work for you, Ed, my plants would be dried out by the end of the day. As Xan said, the external environment in people's houses varies drastically. Summer and winter, my humidity level in my house is less than 20%. That's why my vents are so small and probably why Ed can get away with much larger vents. I just don't need vents that big to maintain the humidity levels I need inside the tank. If you are starting out, though, you should probably go with bigger vents because it's a lot easier to cover bigger vents than to work around vents that are too small.

Mark
Our humidity in the winter can range from 20% on up depending on conditions but inside most houses the humidity tends to be a lot higher that external humidity due to insulation of the house reducing air exchange with outside and conditions which increase humidity inside the buildings such as showers, cooking, other enclosures, house plants, water bowels for pets and so forth. Right now, the exterior humidity is fluctuating around 35% but interior humidity is closer to 50-55%. This is why people need to consider outside of the building humidity less and inside the house more (unless you have windows open all of the time).

Yes there will absolutely be differences in the appropriate size of vents but I suspect that people in general underestimate the actual humidity inside the tanks.

some comments

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Old 03-20-2017, 05:04 PM
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I've taken the screen top out and used plastic wrap(saran wrap) to cover it without any problems. But this was only for a small 8x8x12 which I don't use anymore but for a small plant nursery.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:11 AM
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Another thing to think about is sealing up the smaller venting on the top and by the door to prevent fruit flies from escaping. I'm just sealed them off with silicone or a bit of mesh glued in.
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