09-17-2009, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Henderson, NV
Thanked 7 Times in 2 Posts
R. fantastica 'Lowland' Tank Setup
I have a standard 40 gallon tank that I would like to turn into a colony tank for R. fantastica 'lowland' imported via the late November Understory import. That gives me two months to build out the tank and get it ready and growing in for the new frogs sometime in early/mid December.
Personally, I've been interested in frogs since high school, when I was an active member of Frognet. Fast forward several years through college and into the lovely world of software engineering and I'm working for a company that embraces my idea of having a tank of frogs in the office.
I plan on automating as much of the system as I can, so for example there will be an automated misting system, timed lights, etc. I plan on seeding the tank with springtails and other 'leaf litter' style bugs before the frogs arrive. Do you think this, combined with a heavier than normal feeding on Fridays would get a group of 5 thumbnail frogs through the weekends till Monday morning when they could be fed again? Long weekends, etc - someone would be in the office to feed.
I was interested in thumbnails simply because they're the 'type' of frog I have the most experience with - my D. imitators (back then it was D!) in high school always had eggs and I raised more than a few froglets as well. R. fantastica also won a department vote against other "common" species.
The plan, after a department wide vote, was to acquire a colony of R. fantastica - so I was planning on 5 individuals in a standard 40 gallon tank. Here's the general layout I was considering for the enclosure:
- In both back corners, cluster of bromiliads. The species here would be some form of broad-leaf bromiliad, which also remained rather short to the ground (it's a standard 40g). The idea being that the frogs would be able to set up territories and avoid each other if they wanted to. There would be film canisters / coco huts on each end as well as the frogs matured.
- From each corner, pothos, or similar vining plant (baby's tears, etc - probably a mix of 3 or 4 species) giving lots of broad leaf cover along the bottom of the tank.
- If possible, moss coverage throughout at the soil layer.
- If there is room towards the center of the tank, perhaps driftwood sunk into the soil where small orchids or Tillandsia sp. could be planted as a center grouping.
- For a substrate green moss covered peat moss/sphagnum/orchid bark/charcoal mix. Below this would be a gravel drainage layer - separated via nylon screen to avoid the soil falling into the rock layer. This rock layer would also contain a piece of aquarium tubing so that any water that collects could be flushed and then siphoned out.
- Along the front of the tank, a small water feature extending back perhaps 2 or 3 inches and a few inches deep. The idea here would be that this body of water would help maintain humidity in the tank - we're in Las Vegas after all and the AC removes whatever humidity might be in the air.
My idea for the water feature is to take a small strip of black rubber pond liner and spread some silicone over it. Onto the silicone would be pressed small aquarium gravel. The resulting mat could be cut and pressed into position inside the tank, and then the edges would be siliconed to the tank glass wall to form a waterproof basin that could be filled. This body of water would serve to raise humidity in the tank, as well as to deter frogs from tracking soil/etc up onto the front panel of glass.
As R. fantasica are rather shy, I wanted the give this layout time to grow in so that the vining plants were able to create a green 'carpet' of cover across the bottom surrounding the bromeliads so that the frogs felt secure enough to move about if they wanted to. My general idea is that the more places they have to disappear into, the more likely we are to actually see them out and about hunting, etc.
Lighting would be provided by a 96 watt 6500k power compact bulb. Cooling for this light will be provided by a 12 volt computer fan drilled and wired into the canopy which will be blowing into the reflector and across the bulb's length. Room temperature in our office is anywhere from 70 to 76 depending on the time of the year, so that plus the minor heat that will still be contributed from the ventilated light should keep daytime highs inside the tank around the mid/high 70s.
Night time lows inside the tank should be in the mid 70s. Misting would be discontinued at night, however the ventilation fan would probably run 24/7 ventilating the canopy.
No special tank ventilation was planned - should I invest in a small 1" computer fan which could pull air out of the tank? I see this as a perfect way for fruit flies to escape though, so I'm not really sure it's needed.
The misting system would consist of two ultra fine no-drip misting heads, fed from one of those 5 gallon water-cooler drinking water jugs (so it'd be filtered, etc, and should serve to cool the tank a bit). I'd probably set the misting timer to mist 3 or 4 times every photo cycle, with perhaps one cycle in the early afternoon being longer than the others.
Does this sound like a workable tank, or is it fraught with fail? I don't see any major issues with it.. but that's usually the case when something is about to go horribly wrong!
Any comments would be most appreciated.