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Old 10-14-2015, 02:43 PM
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Default Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Just finished this blog post last night!
Compares reefing to dart keeping and has a ton of visuals to boot!

Hope you folks enjoy it!



Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums
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Old 10-14-2015, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

That is a really good article, TJ. I learned a lot about reefs by reading that! I thought you were spot on in your comparisons of the two. It was thorough and included some really good information for those who are unfamiliar with our hobby. Thanks for doing that :-)

Mark
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Old 10-15-2015, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Amazing blog post, looks like it took you a lot of time and effort to make, and the comparisons were apt and it taught me a lot that I didn't know about reefing and its parallels to the dart hobby. Job well done
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Old 10-18-2015, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Great write-up! It's good to see these comparisons being made. And I've wondered myself why there isn't more overlap. The marine aquarium industry is developing tons of new tech that I think could be directly applied to the dart frog industry.

I've been keeping a reef tank for about 12 years but set up my first dart frog enclosure only about 7 months ago.
I took these this morning:




In my opinion, the main reason reef keeping has exploded in the U.S. vs dart frogs which seem to be just starting to really take off is due to U.S. restrictions on importation.
Laws in the U.S. for importing corals is much more relaxed (albeit still a long process) than it is to import and trade in reptiles/amphibians. For example, you can buy all the corals and marine fish on eBay that you want but you won't find hardly a single reptile/amphibian for sale due to restrictions put on companies like eBay.
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Old 10-18-2015, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Excellent, write up. Thank you, for sharing. I've been a reefer for over 20 years and have gotten the same feeling of satisfaction with a reef as with a Viv. I believe exposure has helped the reef hobby explode. Where I live almost every pet store has an aquarium some with salt water fish and corals but maybe one has a viv setup. Movies and tv show will show a saltwater aquarium but I don't remember ever seeing a viv on the screen. Just my 2 cents.

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Old 10-19-2015, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Interesting read but its obvious that both are ecosystems and the comparsions could be used for setting up a turtle tank, a chamelion setup or any ecosystem. The best part is really the striking colors of the sw fishes compared to the unreal colors of our dart frogs. If you compare the complexity and expense of reef vs frog there is no comparsion. Darts are kept by kids easily, reef tanks are for adults with a lot of disposable income and time.
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

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Originally Posted by jpm995 View Post
Interesting read but its obvious that both are ecosystems and the comparsions could be used for setting up a turtle tank, a chamelion setup or any ecosystem. The best part is really the striking colors of the sw fishes compared to the unreal colors of our dart frogs. If you compare the complexity and expense of reef vs frog there is no comparsion. Darts are kept by kids easily, reef tanks are for adults with a lot of disposable income and time.
I know where you are coming from, but in many cases, it isn't necessarily common knowledge for reefers that keeping herps can be done so similarly to keeping reefs.

The reason frog vivariums (specifically dart frog vivariums) is such a great comparison, is because most herps including turtles, chameleons, snakes, geckos, etc. are not kept in complex ecosystems, and are simply kept in enclosures with fake decor because its really simple to do. Dart frogs are almost exclusively kept in complex ecosystems; even froglets raised in small plastic containers tend to have natural substrate, wood, live plants, and are provided leaf litter with springtails.

You'll notice I don't go too far into the comparison of ecosystems because a) it is an obvious comparison for us dart frog lovers, and b) it isn't necessary to. I basically aimed to enlighten reefers about how similar the ecosystems can be, and used springtails and isopods as a way for them to connect the dots.

Your feedback is appreciated! It was a complicated blog to write so that both audiences could appreciate it. So yes, there are moments that may seem obvious to either side
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

I also wanted to mention a quick note on your last point.

here is a reef aquarium I set up when I was a teenager:



By no means did I (or my family) have "tons" of disposable income. I just had a part time job, and really enjoyed the hobby - to say frogs are for kids and reefs are for adults is completely inaccurate. It is really going to come down to interest and aptitude. The fact is, most kids, teenagers, young adults, may not be interested in either hobby enough to invest the time and money into it.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

To support TJ's last post, I'm 18 years old, have a part time job, my parents most certainly do not pay out that kind of money to me, and I've poured well over $1000 into keeping my frogs and hermit crabs now that I look back at it. While I have no experience with reefing, the cost seems to be the most important factor, and I do believe I could have done it if I had so desired.
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

TJ, I've kept salt water fish and reef tanks extensively along with high-end African Cichlids like Tropheus and I want to point out some differences you may have overlooked between these and keeping dart frogs.

Just in plain monetary terms the upkeep on salt water fish is quite high due to the much higher demand for power and the need to make frequent water changes that involve large amounts of salt. Changing water on 2-3 salt water setups or reef tanks get expensive. I had 11 tanks and 3 were reef setups. I was running 3 or more appliances 24/7 compared to the one low-wattage bulb per dart tank. I run one pump in all my vivs.

Something else you may have overlooked is the high rate of attrition to reef tank inhabitants and the high price of neglect or inattention. Many of the animals we like to keep in reef tanks have very short lives there because we can't provide the correct diet or conditions they need. Corals often die, butterfly fish and angel fish waste away, crustaceans rarely make it to their next size shell...the list goes on.
Many hobbyist end up with a few hardy survivors in an ammonia high tank or a tank that has highs and lows as they add replacement critters then become bored with them. Unstable water conditions cause many mysterious losses in the fish trade.

Losses in the dart frog hobby are pretty rare and mostly involve the odd escapee or an environmental mishap like loss of heat or cooling. Keeping them at room temperature, well fed and reasonably moist in a well planted vivarium and you pretty much have it covered and at a much lower cost in a variety of ways.
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Nice blog TJ. It's nice to see fellow reef keepers here

RRRavelo, I agree upkeep on reef tanks can be high. I've been a reef keeper for about 25 years or so (give or take). I now only keep an invert reef rank (with one fish). The lights, filters, and salt does tend to be expensive. Lighting is getting much better with the shift from mercury vapor bulbs to CFL, and now LEDs. But the filters of course run 24/7 and folks may also have protein skimmers. But I will say once a tank is "balanced" it needs very little maintenance. imho at least.

However, I think that second paragraph is only applicable to people who don't maintain their tanks well, which would be the same case with vivs. I've had most of the same corals for at least 10 years and the same six line wrasse for 9. My emerald crab is probably 3 years old and is huge. If we don't feed our frogs well, with good supplements etc, then they inevitability decline the same as that poor copper banded butterfly that wastes away because it's not getting what it needs.

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Old 10-25-2015, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Good point Mike. A well maintained, stable reef setup can be low upkeep and the attrition is almost zero. The failure of a key component can be a killer however and much more critical with that type of setup than with dart frogs.
I nice reef setup though can be truly awesome when well kept. Think about the expense of all the corals, inverts, brine shrimp, fish. A nice reef setup represents a much higher monetary investment than a comparable sized frog tank of the highest order.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Quote:
Originally Posted by tardis101 View Post
Nice blog TJ. It's nice to see fellow reef keepers here

RRRavelo, I agree upkeep on reef tanks can be high. I've been a reef keeper for about 25 years or so (give or take). I now only keep an invert reef rank (with one fish). The lights, filters, and salt does tend to be expensive. Lighting is getting much better with the shift from mercury vapor bulbs to CFL, and now LEDs. But the filters of course run 24/7 and folks may also have protein skimmers. But I will say once a tank is "balanced" it needs very little maintenance. imho at least.

However, I think that second paragraph is only applicable to people who don't maintain their tanks well, which would be the same case with vivs. I've had most of the same corals for at least 10 years and the same six line wrasse for 9. My emerald crab is probably 3 years old and is huge. If we don't feed our frogs well, with good supplements etc, then they inevitability decline the same as that poor copper banded butterfly that wastes away because it's not getting what it needs.

Mike
I disagree with this, frogs are pretty simple to keep and its hard to kill them. SW fish are 10x the expense and difficulty. Example of a dumb miskake by me. Had a 240 gal undersea habitat tank. 8 foot long by 2 wide and high. Had a queen angle that was doing fine. Added a smaller french angel which was risky but with tank size and all the caves and corals thought i'd be ok. The Queen stopped eating even though there was no aggression between the fish, they seemed to ignore or avoid each other. Had to give away the French angel [store wouldn't return], but the Queen never recovered and died . Over $400 wasted by my mistake. I could drop my frog tank off the roof and i wouldn't come close to that. I can go on with many horror stories of SW tanks but to me theres really no comparison. Worst frog mishap so far is one escaping when i opened the door [their quick]. Found him about 10 minutes later, was ok. To me the comparsion ends after the beauty and wonder of some of natures most striking creations. Only some birds can rival these stunning creatures.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Not sure what this debate is about as TJ laid out a well done blog about the similarities between reef tanks and frog vivs. The basic idea being that they are both somewhat complete ecosystems in a box.

I personally never got the reef of my dreams that I researched forever for. In the end I decided that to do it the way I wanted to, I would need a dedicated room and build it into a wall to be viewed from the living room. Yes this would be very expensive.

No one is arguing that frog vivs are as difficult to care for as reef tanks. If they are they are wrong. So many more variables and pit falls in reef keeping. I have heard of many horror stories in keeping reef tanks where the problem almost was never even found out (water quality) and only have heard of minor issues or the odd catastrophe almost always involving a failed air conditioner in the height of summer... Or the lack there of.

The other point is expense and I can't really see how someone can argue that keeping PDF's is as expensive as reef keeping. Mind you PDF's are by no means cheap but all TJ was saying was that if there is a will there is a way. If you really want a reef tank you can do it. It won't have all the latest equipment and you'll probably have to do more water changes to make up for it but it is not impossible on a budget...

The only thing I'd like to add is that reef tanks are more work... Vivs almost take care of themselves in comparison (Once set up properly, of course).
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Old 10-25-2015, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Really glad to see that the blog sparked some discussion!
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Reef tanks are beautiful and colorful, but I love the green of freshwater aquariums. Even here marine fish are expensive, but not as much as the frogs - which are rare, or rather impossible to find, while I can find marine fish also in my town. Let's say the cost of a saltwater aquarium are x10 than freshwater or frog viv. Because of space I dismantled my old freshwater aquarium, so now I enjoy frog vivs.
Good job TJ_Burton!
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

I must say, having come from a reef background, you totally nailed this. Amazing write up! Thank you for this!
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Great writeup! FWIW, the photo you used to illustrate moss coverage vs. coralline growth is from my old 18 x 24 zoo med thread. Very cool.
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:31 PM
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Great writeup! FWIW, the photo you used to illustrate moss coverage vs. coralline growth is from my old 18 x 24 zoo med thread. Very cool.
I am more than happy to add you to the credits at the bottom if you want to PM me the name/info you'd like me to use!

99% of the images were pulled from google image search, so I figured I'd be adding to the list as time goes on
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

You can just tag my username if you want. All about the creative commons as long as it's not being used to hawk some product. Was actually a pleasant surprise to see it in the writeup.
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:39 PM
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Double post sorry

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Old 10-26-2015, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

I really enjoyed reading this article, thank you for sharing it on the forum !

I thought some examples were particularly clever, especially the comparison with light and its effect on bromeliads or sps corals. I was astonished by the similarities of pattern between the fishs and the frogs, great job there also !

Maybe I'd stress the fact that rainforest terrariums are less of an ecosystem than reef tanks. Simply because different frogs shouldn't be kept together (unless specific constraints are taken into account that can't in any case be considered standard).

Are there trends in the reef hobby ? I have noted that moss has really become a 'thing' in the past couple of years, at least in Europe. Does anyone feel the same way ? Any input is welcome.


Regards,
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:35 PM
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You can just tag my username if you want. All about the creative commons as long as it's not being used to hawk some product. Was actually a pleasant surprise to see it in the writeup.
Done!
Thanks for letting me know it was your photo.
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Quote:
Originally Posted by RRRavelo View Post
TJ, I've kept salt water fish and reef tanks extensively along with high-end African Cichlids like Tropheus and I want to point out some differences you may have overlooked between these and keeping dart frogs.

Just in plain monetary terms the upkeep on salt water fish is quite high due to the much higher demand for power and the need to make frequent water changes that involve large amounts of salt. Changing water on 2-3 salt water setups or reef tanks get expensive. I had 11 tanks and 3 were reef setups. I was running 3 or more appliances 24/7 compared to the one low-wattage bulb per dart tank. I run one pump in all my vivs.

Something else you may have overlooked is the high rate of attrition to reef tank inhabitants and the high price of neglect or inattention. Many of the animals we like to keep in reef tanks have very short lives there because we can't provide the correct diet or conditions they need. Corals often die, butterfly fish and angel fish waste away, crustaceans rarely make it to their next size shell...the list goes on.
Many hobbyist end up with a few hardy survivors in an ammonia high tank or a tank that has highs and lows as they add replacement critters then become bored with them. Unstable water conditions cause many mysterious losses in the fish trade.

Losses in the dart frog hobby are pretty rare and mostly involve the odd escapee or an environmental mishap like loss of heat or cooling. Keeping them at room temperature, well fed and reasonably moist in a well planted vivarium and you pretty much have it covered and at a much lower cost in a variety of ways.
I do not entirely disagree, but I would argue that the plants are just as hard to provide for as many corals if you are using anything other than common big box store plants.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

Just to echo what Zerelli said; when you start looking at the more rare and exotic plant varieties your costs to acquire, and the consequences of seemingly trivial errors in husbandry, grow exponentially and lets not even get in to people who like to do appropriate biotope displays with nothing but plants native to the frog's habitat.

I love me some rare orchids and ferns but damn are they expensive and unforgiving!

Jonathan
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

If it can be of interest the pic of "IN WALL" terrarium is from GADY-GADY (Poland).
(I know for sure because I dreamed something like this for years).
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Frog Vivariums Vs. Reef Aquariums

And I'm sure everyone knows that the peninsula is GRIMM's and the hardscaping example is JoshsDragonz'

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Old 10-29-2015, 08:09 PM
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If it can be of interest the pic of "IN WALL" terrarium is from GADY-GADY (Poland).
(I know for sure because I dreamed something like this for years).
Thanks!

Quote:
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Just to echo what Zerelli said; when you start looking at the more rare and exotic plant varieties your costs to acquire, and the consequences of seemingly trivial errors in husbandry, grow exponentially and lets not even get in to people who like to do appropriate biotope displays with nothing but plants native to the frog's habitat.

I love me some rare orchids and ferns but damn are they expensive and unforgiving!

Jonathan
From first hand experience with both - plants simply do not compare to the absolute lack of flexibility of corals. Even when you get into specific uncommon species of plants, orchids, ferns, etc (not the drugstore varieties) can still take quite a bit of punishment, give you more than a handful of warning signs, and still turn around, survive, and then thrive when you make appropriate changes. The vast majority of small polyp stony corals (SPS) simply do not deal with fluctuations, changes, or mistakes, and can literally bleach in a matter of hours to a point of no return. Tank crashes for reefs are far more of a worry than for planted vivariums (or even planted aquariums). Its just the nature of it.

I am in no way discounting the knowledge and effort required to get plants like orchids, bromeliads, ferns, and other epiphytes to thrive. From experience I can confidently say that keeping orchids is not exactly easy, and getting them to grow well and flower takes even more effort and knowledge.

Anyone who can master their craft has me tipping my hat!



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And I'm sure everyone knows that the peninsula is GRIMM's and the hardscaping example is JoshsDragonz'

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Grimm is already covered in the credits at the bottom, JoshsDragonz' is a help though, thanks!
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