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Old 02-04-2017, 04:17 PM
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Default First Dart Frog Vivarium

Hi!
Today, I'd like to start a photo-documentation thread, from my first Dart Frog vivarium.
It's still a work in progress, but I hope to finish it by the second half of February. We'll see how it goes, but I'm in good hope. Despite the fact, it's the first so complicated build for me. Even though it's not a first vivarium overall

Let's start from the beggining.


Terrarium 33.5x20.5x16 inches I've managd to buy for 5$. Fit for a total makeover. Dirty as it could be, no lower ventilation, but the upper one, was covering a whole ceiling. I had to remove the front and upper glass panels, as well as the backwall decoration, that I didn't like. I've also changed the orientation to 33.5x16x20.5 inches.


At first, I've planned to make a decoration based on great stuff, covered in epoxy with coconot fiber on it. But I've ended up with more ambitious plan of sculpting in styrofoam. On the picture above, you can see th initial attemts of fitting the pots, for Nepenthes ampullaria.


Here, I start scuplting, after the change of plan.



To the right, you can see a tank, that will cover the water pump, for the waterfall and stream.



I've almost forgot to mention the species that will be living in this viv. Dendrobates leucomelas. Probably up to 6 frogs, but I'll start with 4 to see how they feel about the amount of available space.
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Old 02-05-2017, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

I'm proceding with sculpting today, and effects can already be seen. There's only one wall and the waterfall left to do, after that I can put the grout, epoxy and peat.

General shape of the waterfall and stream is ready.

I was wondering, how to do the part of the decoration, where I didn't want to use the slated rock effect. Eventually I made a decision, to just glue some pieces of styrofoam and shape them with a soldering iron. Effects are better than I thought!



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Old 02-11-2017, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

After a short sickness I've finished sculpting. The only thing left to do is putting a few layers of grout, then epoxy and peat/coco, and planting some plants

Let's try some branches


Current overall view

In the end I've completely scratched earlier versions of waterfall. I've tried big blocks of styrofoam. I've tried using real rocks. None were satysfying. I also decided to do a small pond (2-3cm deep) instead of stream.

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Old 02-17-2017, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

I've finally manage to put the first layer o grout (out of probably 3-4). Rocks are looking quite well (considering my art skills :P), but I hope to get the better effect with next layers. The only thing that really annoys me, is the rectangular piece in the middle, that's masking the pots. But I guess, that I shouldn't worry too much, as it will be covered by big branch, and in short time overgrown by sphagnum moss, that will be hanging out of the pots.


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Old 02-17-2017, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Looks good! I'm going to put an ampullaria in my tank too
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Wow this looks very beatiful.

How will you colour the grout?
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

You may already be aware, but I hope you know that grout needs to stay moist for a full 28 days to fully cure. You'll want to do many, many rinses, and test the pH of the rinse water as you go. No matter how well you seal it, if uncured, the base it releases will eat that sealant and ultimately leach into your vivarium. There are threads on this that may be helpful. I've linked two of them here.

Faux Rock Question

foam rock hardcoats and peatmoss backgrounds?

It's also worth mentioning that styrofoam leaches an endocrine disruptor.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Don't worry. I plan to get the frogs at the end of March, or even at the end of April, so there is plenty of time for the grout, to properly cure
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Ok, it appears that I messed up during translation. I'm not using grout after all. I'm not sure how this thing is called in English, but the dictionary translates it as mortar. This particular brand that I'm using is recommended by most Polish hobbyists. I've asked around and it appears that it doesn't leak any harmful components and the only reason to spray it for some time, is to avoid it cracking.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Ok. I can finally say, that the build is over.
The decor is finished. I just need to complete a few technical details and it will be all done.

Because it was supposed to be a photorelation, I'll post two photos from the work.

After I finished putting the mortar, I've put in place some wood decor, using the expanding foam.


Next, I've put some epoxy in a few places and covered it with peat.


And here you can see the finished vivarium




Now I only have to wait for my frogs

Plants used for the decor:
-Carnivorous-
Nepenthes ampullaria [Tayave, Irian Jaya]
Nepenthes ampullaria 'Harlequin'
Nepenthes ampullaria 'Lime Twist'
Nepenthes ampullaria 'Red Specled'
Nepenthes ampullaria x spectabilis
Nepenthes bicalcarata
Nepenthes campanulata
Nepenthes sibuyanensis

Utricularia alpina
Utricularia chrysantha
Utricularia longifolia

-Other plants-
Tillandsia cyanea
Tillandsia feldhofii
Tillandsia ionantha

Catopsis moreniana

Neoregelia 'Donger'

Vriesea splendens

Cryptanthus sp.

Fittonia sp. (white variation and one with red veining)

Tradescantia L.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Wow that turned out amazingly!!!

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Old 03-08-2017, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

This looks great! I'm very interested to see how your nepenthes do. I love them and have always been tempted to put some in a vivarium.

I keep a few different varieties and some can grow really, really bushy and big. Are the varieties you put in supposed to stay 'small'? In my experience the only small nepenthes are younger plants.

Anyways this looks awesome and can't wait til it grows in!
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Thank you for all your appreciation
Nepenthes are generally large plants, but the species I chose are relatively small. N. ampullaria grows not so little at first, but after some time it starts creating 'basal rosettes' which stay basically smaller and more compact (they can look as if they have no leaves - only pitchers). At this point you can cut the mother plant and enjoy miniature nepenthes
N. campanulata is always staying small. It grows up to 10cm in diameter if I remember correctly.
N. sibuyanensis and bicalcarata are there only temporary, as they are young and they tend to grow huge.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Now that I'm finished, I wonder how many D. leucomelas I can put in there?
It's 33.46 x 15.74 x 20.42 inches (44.9 gal). I was thinking 4-6 (probably 4 for start, and maybe I will leave for myself another 2 if they breed).

I also thought about putting two Mourning geckos there. From my research, it seems that it's being done by quite a few keepers and it don't create any problems. Of course I have a spare tank for them if I can see anything wrong, but I don't expect any problems. Those geckos are small enough to not pose a threat to frogs and tend to keep themselves to upper part of the tank, while frogs will probably be staying on the bottom. Geckos also have those nice ledges, right under the lamps, on both sides of the vivarium. I think they should love them. Anyway, I'm gonna have them long before the frogs, so I can observe their behavior patterns and if I see that they might be getting in the way for frogs, they'll gonna go to another tank.
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Old 03-08-2017, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Been lurking a bit but this build caused me to register and post!

It's making me rethink the way I want to do the build I have on deck. I was also thinking of using Great Stuff but this has me wondering if stacking in foam sheets and blocks would work better for my purposes.

Great looking build and neat idea!
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Old 03-08-2017, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Nice first build! Curious to see how the waterfall works out. One thing that may be of concern is the styrofoam. I am not 100% sure but I heard foam is an endocrine disruptor. Also, I think 4 would be the best quantity for that tank. Of course take my advice with some salt because I am not as experienced as others. But good job and good luck!
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieball View Post
Thank you for all your appreciation
Nepenthes are generally large plants, but the species I chose are relatively small. N. ampullaria grows not so little at first, but after some time it starts creating 'basal rosettes' which stay basically smaller and more compact (they can look as if they have no leaves - only pitchers). At this point you can cut the mother plant and enjoy miniature nepenthes
N. campanulata is always staying small. It grows up to 10cm in diameter if I remember correctly.
N. sibuyanensis and bicalcarata are there only temporary, as they are young and they tend to grow huge.
Thanks for the info! I've looked up N. ampullaria and it is a stunning plant with a beautiful rosette. If I ever see a N. Chaniana available I'm picking one up, I love the 'open cup' shape. Can't wait to see some mature pitchers!

As for frog counts I vote on 4 maybe 5. That's a good group number IMO. Even with 4 frogs chances are 87.5% you'll get a pair (if I'm doing the math right). Plus leucs are bold so viewing them won't be an issue.
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogTim View Post
As for frog counts I vote on 4 maybe 5. That's a good group number IMO. Even with 4 frogs chances are 87.5% you'll get a pair (if I'm doing the math right). Plus leucs are bold so viewing them won't be an issue.
Thanks, that's what I thought

As for Nepenthes chaniana, I think it's growing quite large. But if you like the pitchers on it, I'd recommend N. campanulata. It's a lot smaller and also quite similiar

Here are some photos of pitchers from this tank:

N. campanulata


N. ampullaria 'Lime Twist'


N. bicalcarata
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

hey nice tank...i was also planning on getting some pitcher plants but i was worried they might eat my frogs...do you have any concerns?
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by T1NY View Post
hey nice tank...i was also planning on getting some pitcher plants but i was worried they might eat my frogs...do you have any concerns?
Don't worry. The species I have in my tank are too small (except for a N. bicalcarata, but it's young) to eat frogs. Also, I'm sure you'd notice a missing frog before anything can happen, as digestion can last weeks, or even months. You also should know, that N. ampullaria evolved and is no longer a typical carnivorous, but rather specializes in catching dead leaves from trees above. There is even a species of frog that lives and breeds inside it's pitchers. As for the dart frog hobby, take a look at the photo below of O. pumilio inside the pitcher of N. ampullaria 'Lime Twist' (not mine)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...9c73649312.jpg
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:24 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieball View Post
Don't worry. The species I have in my tank are too small (except for a N. bicalcarata, but it's young) to eat frogs. Also, I'm sure you'd notice a missing frog before anything can happen, as digestion can last weeks, or even months. You also should know, that N. ampullaria evolved and is no longer a typical carnivorous, but rather specializes in catching dead leaves from trees above. There is even a species of frog that lives and breeds inside it's pitchers. As for the dart frog hobby, take a look at the photo below of O. pumilio inside the pitcher of N. ampullaria 'Lime Twist' (not mine)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...9c73649312.jpg
Good to know! I could definitely use some pitchers to clean up excess fruit flies in my ranitomeya tank
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

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Originally Posted by FrogTim View Post
Thanks for the info! I've looked up N. ampullaria and it is a stunning plant with a beautiful rosette. If I ever see a N. Chaniana available I'm picking one up, I love the 'open cup' shape. Can't wait to see some mature pitchers!

As for frog counts I vote on 4 maybe 5. That's a good group number IMO. Even with 4 frogs chances are 87.5% you'll get a pair (if I'm doing the math right). Plus leucs are bold so viewing them won't be an issue.
Southbaytraps.com has N. chaniana right now.

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