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Old 05-10-2017, 08:07 PM
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Default Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I recently saw a comment that said a moss layer between ABG and leaf litter is no longer the preferred method. I tried a search and couldn't find more about this. Is this the general consensus now?
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I don't recall a top layer of sphagnum ever being the preferred method, you want microfauna to be able to move in and out of the substrate layer freely. I personally wouldn't want to trap my substrate under a wet layer of sphagnum either.

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Old 05-10-2017, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

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I don't recall a top layer of sphagnum ever being the preferred method, you want microfauna to be able to move in and out of the substrate layer freely. I personally wouldn't want to trap my substrate under a wet layer of sphagnum either.

Pat

.....huh? Everything I've ever read says to use a sphagnum layer... So frogs don't eat a bunch of dirt when going for flies.
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

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.....huh? Everything I've ever read says to use a sphagnum layer... So frogs don't eat a bunch of dirt when going for flies.

I've used calcium-based clay in many of my substrates, particularly with obligates, since Doug (Pumilo) wrote some great material on them several years ago. I want frogs to be in occasional contact with that substrate. If you don't want your frogs touching or occasionally eating substrate, you can cover it in leaf litter without layering it with sphagnum.

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Old 05-11-2017, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I understood the thinking that constant contact with moist substrate could cause issues including accidental ingestion amongst other things. I have used the three part method in both of my vivs but I think I'll leave out the sphagnum layer on this next vivarium I build. I agree that a good leaf layer above substrate should be sufficient. Thank you for your replies.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Sphagnum stays too wet. We do all we can do to make a well drained substrate...and then bury it in a nasty layer of wet?
Drainage layer, substrate layer, leaf litter layer, and that's it.
I've made a lot of vivs in my day, and not one has ever had a layer of sphagnum.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

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Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
Sphagnum stays too wet. We do all we can do to make a well drained substrate...and then bury it in a nasty layer of wet?
Drainage layer, substrate layer, leaf litter layer, and that's it.
I've made a lot of vivs in my day, and not one has ever had a layer of sphagnum.
very true. I did the 1/2''layer on top and it kept the soil way to soggy, water would not seep through the soil it kept wicking the moisture up. so now I only use it around the plants. a good leaf litter on top of the abg will keep your frogs clean and out of the soil.
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

How about the horror stories about frogs rotting their feet and legs off, seemingly overnight, after catching a bacterial infection? I've seen pictures. It's not just stories. Teribilis seem to be particularly sensitive to that. I recently read that other Phylobates can also be particularly sensitive to foot rot via wet substrate.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

It's weird how some ideas just won't go away. Putting sphagnum between the ABG and leaf litter is one of them. I'm guessing people first started doing it to maintain humidity when sealed vivs and sky high humidity was a best practice.

Oddly enough, if you look at the label on a bag of ABG mix from Josh's, it recommends using sphagnum in that exact manner. I skip it for reasons mentioned above. I actually wish they would stop putting so much sphagnum in the ABG itself. That little stuff seems to stick to everything.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

People still do it, because a sizeable frog and frog supplies vendor here on DendroBoard, tell them to do it on their very outdated instructions they have on the internet, and on certain products they sell.

Oh hey, did you know that with a constantly wet layer of sphagnum moss between your substrate, and your leaf litter, things rot faster? That means you get a place an order for replacement leaf litter, and eventually even the substrate, before you would otherwise need to.

No names...it's not feedback. I guess you'll never know who I'm referring to.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I believe they need to be a supporter/ Donor to get such protections but I could be wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
People still do it, because a sizeable frog and frog supplies vendor here on DendroBoard, tell them to do it on their very outdated instructions they have on the internet, and on certain products they sell.

Oh hey, did you know that with a constantly wet layer of sphagnum moss between your substrate, and your leaf litter, things rot faster? That means you get a place an order for replacement leaf litter, and eventually even the substrate, before you would otherwise need to.

No names...it's not feedback. I guess you'll never know who I'm referring to.
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I have had an okay experience with sphagnum moss. It might be because I'm just bad at growing plants but I have experienced seasons of total plant rot. I had a tank with a layer of sphag and to be honest, it isn't too damp. It is almost dry! But in that tank I had a dry/wet season and when I moved onto the wet season, all my plants started rotting. I have several plants barely holding on that used to be well established in my tank. For me, every little plant is important so it really broke my heart! I had several plants that I bought, rot after being planted in that tank. I don't know if it is because of the sphagnum moss but it was a tragic incident.. I didn't really think about the cause being sphagnum moss until now. Maybe I'll change in my next upcoming build!
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

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I believe they need to be a supporter/ Donor to get such protections but I could be wrong
You can get in trouble for any feedback on the open forum. You can NOT say, "brand x is the greatest thing ever and the other one is junk". You CAN say, "I choose to go with brand x, and it's been working for me". You can say, "The brand you are using now does not the feature that allows.....whereas brand x has that extra feature.". You can NOT say, "That extra feature makes brand x far better than the other one".

It wouldn't matter if they have protection or not, a name would be an infraction for me, as feedback on the open forum.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Andrew Lee, in my experience, plant rot is often caused by poorly drained, wet substrate. It is possible sphagnum could be contributing to your problems.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

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Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
Andrew Lee, in my experience, plant rot is often caused by poorly drained, wet substrate. It is possible sphagnum could be contributing to your problems.
Thanks Pumilo, I followed Josh's Frogs recommendation of false bottom, ABG, and sphagnum moss with leaf litter. I guess I should remove the sphagnum moss. What do you say?
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

That wasn't the point of my post Just that they aren't a sponsor of DB at all.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
You can get in trouble for any feedback on the open forum. You can NOT say, "brand x is the greatest thing ever and the other one is junk". You CAN say, "I choose to go with brand x, and it's been working for me". You can say, "The brand you are using now does not the feature that allows.....whereas brand x has that extra feature.". You can NOT say, "That extra feature makes brand x far better than the other one".

It wouldn't matter if they have protection or not, a name would be an infraction for me, as feedback on the open forum.
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:02 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

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Originally Posted by Andrew Lee View Post
Thanks Pumilo, I followed Josh's Frogs recommendation of false bottom, ABG, and sphagnum moss with leaf litter. I guess I should remove the sphagnum moss. What do you say?
If it were my viv, yes, I would remove the sphagnum layer, in favor of more leaf litter.
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I have built some vivs with a sphagnum layer and some without. The only reason I ever used a sphagnum layer in the first place was when I was new to the hobby and learned everything from Josh's. In my opinion, the sphag isn't necessary and in my setups seemed bad for the plants. I never use a sphag layer anymore, and seem to get nicer vivs.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Super helpful discussion! I've only had my first viv a few months and have thought my substrate was too moist. But it never occurred to me that it might be the sphagum since I believed what I read on the internet. I probably didn't learn my lesson about trusting the internet, but I am going to swap out the sphagum layer with more leaf litter. Perhaps I'll see my R. Variabilis on the ground a bit more if it is a bit less damp. We'll see!


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Old 05-17-2017, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

PS I have also definitely lost some plants to rot...


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Old 03-10-2020, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Newbie here, and I am glad I ran into this thread. Last night I watched around 5 hrs of videos and all but one put the moss on top. I believe I saw three vendors stating to put the moss on.

I was actually going to reference the one video that didn't put the moss and ask if that was the correct way to do it (Which I thought was wrong).
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Old 03-10-2020, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Glad you found your way to the truth ;-) I have no idea why certain vendors continue to recommend a sphagnum layer. It is just trouble, no matter how you slice it. Good job doing the research!

Mark
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I've used sphagnum for years with no issues. My only dislike is the unsightliness of the stuff when it's dead and wet, but I personally think it's very versatile. Most of what we buy are dead moss and it takes months to re-grow so I think most beginners can't do that. I like to use it around plants to hold moisture and I don't over-spray where the moss is so it usually doesn't get as wet as some here have experienced. I nice lively patch of sphagnum looks pretty good in my opinion.

There are better alternatives.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:43 PM
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I've used sphagnum for years with no issues. My only dislike is the unsightliness of the stuff when it's dead and wet, but I personally think it's very versatile. Most of what we buy are dead moss and it takes months to re-grow so I think most beginners can't do that. I like to use it around plants to hold moisture and I don't over-spray where the moss is so it usually doesn't get as wet as some here have experienced. I nice lively patch of sphagnum looks pretty good in my opinion.

There are better alternatives.
Almost all of us use sphagnum moss in our tanks in some capacity. That's not what this thread is about. There are some folks that (still) advocate having a complete layer of sphagnum between their substrate and their leaf litter layer. This is now considered by most to be a relic of past husbandry practices. I have lots of sphagnum in my tanks, being used in various capacities, including those that you have described. I don't use a sphagnum layer between substrate and leaf litter, however, for the reasons described in the thread above.

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Old 03-10-2020, 10:25 PM
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Not only plants, but also frogs rot from the overly moist conditions and substrates..
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Old 03-11-2020, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Quote:
Last night I watched around 5 hrs of videos and all but one put the moss on top. I believe I saw three vendors stating to put the moss on.
Quote:
I have no idea why certain vendors continue to recommend a sphagnum layer.
My guess - nothing more - is that it's either a case of pure marketing ("see how pretty this is!"), or it's marketing combined with lack of empirical feedback (stock turns over fast enough to not demonstrate the malign effects of too wet).

In short - how you sell something is not how you keep something.

Just a guess. It's as charitable as I can be. Other guesses would be darker...but also just guesses. No point to that.

cheers
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

I just want to point out that advice from vendors to use a sphagnum layer in this way is probably due to the huge number of people who aren't necessarily as experienced as members here keeping darts in exoterra or zoomed enclosures with 100% screen tops. A lot of poeple simply won't bother adapting the screen top in any way and will assume that it must be fit for purpose as sold.
In circumstances like that a layer of damp sphagnum beneath the leaf litter could have a very positive impact on humidity.
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Sphagnum Moss Layer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis View Post
I just want to point out that advice from vendors to use a sphagnum layer in this way is probably due to the huge number of people who aren't necessarily as experienced as members here keeping darts in exoterra or zoomed enclosures with 100% screen tops. A lot of poeple simply won't bother adapting the screen top in any way and will assume that it must be fit for purpose as sold.
In circumstances like that a layer of damp sphagnum beneath the leaf litter could have a very positive impact on humidity.
Well, some vendors recommend both a fully sealed top and a layer of sphagnum:

https://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/b...the-ground-up/
https://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/b...frog-humidity/

Yours is a sympathetic interpretation, but I suspect this recommendation has more to do with the use of sphagnum in the hobby's dark past, and and an unthinking 'yeah, it usually works' attitude. Most novices (based on threads here, anyway) seal the viv up tight, not run a full screen top.
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Old 03-12-2020, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis View Post
I just want to point out that advice from vendors to use a sphagnum layer in this way is probably due to the huge number of people who aren't necessarily as experienced as members here keeping darts in exoterra or zoomed enclosures with 100% screen tops. A lot of poeple simply won't bother adapting the screen top in any way and will assume that it must be fit for purpose as sold.
In circumstances like that a layer of damp sphagnum beneath the leaf litter could have a very positive impact on humidity.
While this is possible, I doubt that's the motivation. I think it's just plain momentum. Once you find something that works, it's easy to just keep going with that, even when better options exist. In my opinion, there is a lot more potential damage to be done by advocating the sphagnum layer than possible upside for folks that use too much ventilation. Not much point in imputing motive to someone, though. It's more important to let people know that this is no longer considered to be standard practice for dart frogs. In a forum like this one, it's so easy to find threads that (years ago) also advocated this practice. More threads that come up in search that say not to do that might increase our odds of getting the message out :-)

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