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Old 06-14-2011, 04:30 PM
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Default New to vivs

Alright, where to start?
I was looking around online to find some quality info and I've stumbled upon DB. I am getting an exo terra 12"Lx12"Wx18"h terrarium and I was told I could keep a couple of dart frogs in there. After more research and talking to a few breeders, I found that I may only be able to have one as there is not enough floor space for two.

One breeder recommended I look into the 'thumbnail' Ranitomeya species if I want to try to get a pair of them as he said they are much smaller and would require less space. Does this species live exclusively on the ground floor or would they use the higher ledges and platforms I plan to create on the back and side walls?

Does anyone else have any suggestions as far as which kind of dart frogs I could keep happily in this type of terrarium or should I be looking at tree frogs/crested geckos?

More questions! I have a mini manzanita stump that resembles a small tree. I would like to incorporate it into the scape but I'm worried it might be too sharp for the frogs. I do plan to cover it in flame moss but I was still worried about them so I had to ask to see if anyone else has tried/done this.

I was told to check here as well to find instructions/advice on how to make a small pond and waterfall that I could easily remove for cleaning. My plan is to make a cork background and run the waterfall behind it and have it end up in a small pool of water near the front of the terrarium. I know it cannot be very deep and has to be easy enough for the frogs to enter/exit it so they do not drown, but my question is how do I keep the soil from soaking up/mixing in the water? I picked up a bag of hydro balls from my LPS and I plan to get some mesh to separate the layers but I still cannot seem to wrap my mind around how to keep it all separate and clean.

Speaking of clean, I've read that I'll need to completely tear down the tank and clean everything about once every two months is that correct? I want to try to minimize the tearing down and cleaning once everything gets settled in as it could possibly damaged the background and plants and such.

Sorry for all of the questions but I definitely want to get everything right before I introduce the frogs. I'm sure I have more but I cannot think of them at the moment.

Thanks for reading,
Andrew
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: New to vivs

A pair of ranitomeya would probably do fine in there, assuming you landscaped it properly to their needs. They are generally arboreal so a vertical orietated cage would suit them best. Check out the care sheets here on the forum : http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/car...re-sheets.html

Usually the larger frogs are recommended for beginners, like auratus, leucomelas, tinctorious so maybe check those out and see if they interest you. They come in many different colours. These are all terrestrial frogs, so would do better in a horizontal orientated vivarium. 5-10 gallons is the "recommended" size, but I dont like to see pairs of the larger frogs in anything less than a 20G aquarium, or an 18x18 exo.

The sharp area of your stump shouldn't cause any problems. Many of the broms used in vivs have spines and don't cause any problems.

As far as making a waterfall in the viv, there are TONS of threads on this on the forum. Use the search function and search "waterfall" or any combinations of that and you will find tons of info. Remember though, the waterfall is for your enjoyment, and is usually no use to the frogs. It also can take up a lot of useable space from the frogs.

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There is generally no "cleaning" of the viv, since people use bugs to do this. Springtails and iso's/woodlice do a great job. Often you will have to trim back plants though otherwise it will become completely filled with plants, assuming they grow well. Usually this only needs to be done every 2-3 months, depending on plants.

Again this is just my thoughts on all of this, I would suggest using the search function as much as possible as 99% of the time the question you have has been asked time and time again by other members.

Andrew
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: New to vivs

Hi Andrew,
12x12x18 is small for the larger dart frogs, although it should be fine for a pair of Ranitomeya. These thumbnail frogs are much smaller and faster than many of the larger, easier dart frogs so I suggest you try to go see some in person to get an idea of how small they are, because they are tiny for people who have never seen them! It also means you will need to make sure there are absolutely no tiny gaps in the tank because thumbnail frogs can fit through the tiniest of spaces.
The Ranitomeya species, for the most part, utilize height a lot, which is why many people keep them in vertically oriented tanks, but also still use ground space.
I would honestly skip a water feature completely, there is no need because most dart frogs, like Ranitomeya, would probably not even use it and it will waste vaulable space in a small tank to begin with. They are more of a pain than they are worth in small tanks in my opinion.
Not sure where you heard that you need to tear down the tank ever few months, but that's not true. A good vivarium with live plants and microfauna (springtails, isopods, etc.) will keep itself clean for the most part. You should only need to trim plants if they grow too big every few months, not tear it down at all.
Hope that helps.
Bryan
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: New to vivs

I'm jealous of your stump. I'm always keeping my eyes open for "stumpy" pieces of wood to use in a viv but I haven't been able to find a good one yet.

I wouldn't do a water feature in that tank, for any type of frogs. There's already a minimal amount of space and you'd just end up using valuable frog-use space for it.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: New to vivs

Definitely skip the water feature. You are already pinched for space. Water features are for you...to look pretty. Your frogs want more real estate. That is valuable space better used for more leaf litter or a nice piece of climbing wood. I like ghostwood.
No cleaning involved other than wiping your glass down. As Drew advised, bugs will be your janitors. In addition, your live plants use the frogs waste as fertilizer and clean the soil through growth.
When you are ready for some info on cultivating your viv "janitors", check this thread out. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/foo...ringtails.html
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:24 PM
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Thank you all for the responses
I'll try to get a pic of the manzanita stump later when I get off of work.

I think I'll take your advice and skip the water feature.

I was thinking about covering the inside of it wall to wall with some cork and maybe some stones (besides the front of course) and making mini ledges everywhere. I'm sure others have done this but I want to know how it worked out.

Also, what can I fix the cork/stone to? Should I silicon it right to the glass or try to get a flat board of some kind and fix it to that so I can remove it if necessary? I just don't want the frogs to be able to get behind the cork as it is not entirely flat. I could always use a lot of silicon to fill up the gaps but I'd think it would get pretty costly.
I did see a lot of people use great stuff but I'm no artist so I probably couldn't make something that looks natural.

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Old 06-15-2011, 01:30 AM
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Is ZooMeds eco earth a good substrate? Or should I do something a little more fibrous?

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Old 06-15-2011, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: New to vivs

You silicone the cork bark on. After it is completely dry, you stuff it with damp sphagnum moss so frogs can't get behind it.
ABG mix makes a great substrate. ABG Mix - Terrarium Substrate | Josh's Frogs
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:37 AM
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I like to adhere the cork to my backgrounds w/ clay and add a little more to fill around the edges. its easier to get plants to grow in/on, and you can pull everything out later on if you don't like it...

don't tell doug, but i'm still using the entry level formula of 3 parts dr. elsey's unscented kitty litter from petco mixed w/ 1 part peat moss ... just add water a little at a time until you get a nice workable paste and mush it into all the cracks...

if you're going to attach anything heavy, silicone is a must, but for cork, clay is easy money.

here's a link to my favorite construction how-to article for beginners. John is a member here and has great articles on his site.

Building Dart Frog Terrariums / Tropical Terrarium Construction - Frog Forum

good luck,
brett
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:38 AM
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this one's really good too! 10 gallon vertical dartfrog terrarium construction - Frog Forum
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:57 AM
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@Pumilo
Thanks I just may use that idea with the moss.

@btcope
Those are great write ups of how to set up the base and backgrounds thanks!



I'm going to a swap near me this coming Sunday, what kind of price range should I expect for the different species of Ranitomeya?
I know some can go for hundreds but these are not what I'm looking for, I would like some with bold colors that will really contrast with it's home, something with primary colors would be pretty sweet looking but I don't even want to look at prices online since I know I'll be sad when I see them.
So basically what are a few of the less expensive species I should be looking for and a decent price for them? PM me if necessary.

Oh and I forgot, I have a fogger, would this be of use for them as well? I would still mist once or twice a day as well.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:06 AM
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Check out Ranitomeya Ventrimaculata, see if you like them. The French Guiana morph is usually pretty reasonably priced (I've seen juvies for $40 and sexed pairs for ~$125). Another lower priced thumb is Ranitomeya Lamasi 'Orange Panguana', commonly called Orange Lamasi. These are typically a lot shyer than Ventrimaculata though, so that's why they're not my first choice. Ranitomeya Imitator species are pretty bold and good for newer keepers as well, but usually cost ~$100/frog.

Good luck dude. Don't rush it. You might just spend this weekend looking at what's around and getting a good idea of what you like... Having the tank set up and getting your conditions spot on before picking up frogs is always a good idea.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:17 AM
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That's exactly my plan. I want to get there and talk to the breeders to get their take on things as well as see how much this will dig into my pocket. Its twice a month so I'll try to go next month when I am ready for the little ones.

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Old 06-15-2011, 07:45 AM
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Will the compact top be enough to grow moss, broms, some grass like UG or something and some others?
I assume I'll be needing something a little more powerful so I thought I'd ask, but I think I'd be able to DIY another fixture to go on top as well.
I could always step it up and go with some t5s. I'd rather not if I could save some money my and setup would work.

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Old 06-16-2011, 06:40 PM
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So here is that manzanita I was talking about. Might have to trim it a bit as I have to bend a few branches to fanaggle it in.



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Old 06-17-2011, 12:16 AM
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Having a hard time finding the ingredients for a clay background/substrate. I don't need very much and everywhere I look it's in quantities of like 50lbs. I need calcium bentonite correct? How much would I need to make a clay background and substrate for a 12x12x18 to make 3 walls with shelves and such and for the substrate?

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Old 06-17-2011, 02:28 AM
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what's the compact top you're asking about? its an exoterra? i use their tops for some of my tanks. the ones that hold a regular bulb... i put in a 6500k compact fluorescent. should be fine for a tank of that size.

as far as clay ingredients goes, i've been using the kitty litter despite people saying its lousy. it gets the job done. where are you located? perhaps another frogger in the area can help you out w/ some material?

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Old 06-17-2011, 02:43 AM
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what's the compact top you're asking about? its an exoterra? i use their tops for some of my tanks. the ones that hold a regular bulb... i put in a 6500k compact fluorescent. should be fine for a tank of that size.

as far as clay ingredients goes, i've been using the kitty litter despite people saying its lousy. it gets the job done. where are you located? perhaps another frogger in the area can help you out w/ some material?

-brett
Yeah its the exo terra one it came with, I have a 6500k linear cfl I can put in there.

Wish I knew others here on DB but I'm in Chicago if anyone wants to help an Ent out.
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:08 AM
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Nice branch there....lots of arms on it...december comes and you can hang some spheres and candy canes on it for the little guys...haha jk...but very cool branch to get creative with
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:16 AM
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Two quick searches and I found these. Really the search feature is your best friend on here.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...trate-how.html

Read the entire thread, but pay special attention to post 27.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...ckgrounds.html
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 31drew31 View Post
Two quick searches and I found these. Really the search feature is your best friend on here.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...trate-how.html

Read the entire thread, but pay special attention to post 27.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...ckgrounds.html
I've read them both twice over. Having a hard time finding the clay. Have to continue to search tomorrow before work.

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Old 06-21-2011, 09:24 PM
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So I've been throwing around a few ideas about what I want my viv to look like and I would want to get that manzanita branch in there but I'm wondering if it might take up too much space and not look very nice.
Let me know what you think, I'll of course have to do some trimming as I have to bend branches to get it inside and close the doors.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:37 PM
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Must be hard to see but I figure if I trim it down a bit it will only take up the top of the viv, and if I make a few shelves and such it would work out.
I was also thinking about ditching the manzanita and saving its gnarly awesomeness for a fish tank and making a tree trunk out of the clay background. Liked pumilo's sick looking tree root viv and got the idea from that.

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Old 06-30-2011, 09:36 PM
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Alright. I set up the viv how I want it, but now a pet store in the area is going out of business and everything you see is for sale. A friend of mine works there and he is purchasing one of their reptile racks. Its a three tier setup that can be modified into nine different cages. He will only be using two of the three tiers so naturally I asked how much for the third. We worked out a deal and I'm getting it. Footprint is approx 4'L x 2'H x 2'D. Now since these can be divided into three cages I'm thinking about upgrading the ball python to two of these leaving one still open. Hooray! Larger viv for dart frogs!

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Old 06-30-2011, 09:38 PM
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Oh and here's a crappy phone pic of the exo terra

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Old 07-04-2011, 05:28 PM
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[QUOTE=PeanutbuttER;608939]I'm jealous of your stump.

have any pics/links of this stump?
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:29 PM
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just the stump i cant seem to find it in the pic of your setup.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:21 PM
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ONly put like 2-3 PAIRS
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
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just the stump i cant seem to find it in the pic of your setup.
Its on page two with the Sphagnum moss.

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Old 07-04-2011, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
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ONly put like 2-3 PAIRS
Do you mean 2-3 pairs for the whole 4' cage itself?
For the extra cage I'll have open for the darts I think will be like 16" x 2' x 2' and I was hoping to get at least two pairs of some kind of thumbs. I was thinking ranitomeya ventrimaculata.
Can I keep two different kinds of Rani. thumbs together or should I just stick with the same?


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Old 07-04-2011, 07:35 PM
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i thought you were referring to a miniature tree stump. whats left after you cut down a tree, but just a small version for the viv.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:39 PM
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Nah I bought it super cheap off tpt.net swap n shop. He called it a stump so I've been as well. Sry for the confusion.

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Old 07-04-2011, 07:42 PM
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now you have put a thought into my mind it would be cool to have one to put the flies on when it's feeding time.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:52 AM
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So I have an old heat pad that has lost it's stick. Can I put it under my viv or is it best kept on the side?

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Old 08-08-2011, 02:12 AM
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So I have an old heat pad that has lost it's stick. Can I put it under my viv or is it best kept on the side?

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Why would you need a heatpad? What are the temperatures inside the tank and in the air outside of it? There is usually no need to heat a tank since 68-78 is perfect for the frogs and that is the temps of rooms that many tanks are kept in.
Putting heat pads under glass that has water or lots of moisture can also cause it to crack the bottom pane of the glass I believe... it's on a lot of the warning labels on heat pads.
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for the info bryan, my temps are a constant 74 but the viv is in the room with a window air conditioner so I worry.

I do have another question though, the viv is in a living room where other members of the household are known to stay up a bit late leaving a light on. The viv does get some indirect light from the lamp across the room. Should I cover the viv at night when the viv lights go off?
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