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Old 01-18-2019, 08:30 AM
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Default First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

Hello,

So for 3 years I've been lurking in this forums reading about dart frogs and vivariums. So after finally having the resources, time, and my own place I've finally started my tank September last year. I've added the frogs and geckos 2 weeks after setting up the tank. I bought 4 Dendrobates tinctorius Azureus and 2 mourning geckos from Josh's frogs in Chicago during NARBC. I was told that both the Azureus and geckos were approximately 3 months old. I know that when the forgs mature I might need to separate some individuals due to aggression.

About my vivarium setup, there is nothing groundbreaking. It is a 29 gallon tank with a greatstuff and coco coir background. The only thing I did differently is the substrate. I had a 2 inch egg crate false bottom with a 1 inch gap at the front filled with river rocks so that it won't be too obvious that there is a false bottom. I then covered the egg crate with weed blocker. Then the next layer is red lava rock, an inch of sphagnum moss, and 2 inches of leaf litter.

The reason I used lava rock is due to the fact that I decided to use plants that don't require a rich substrate to grow. I felt that it would be a waste of money to buy ABG when I won't really need it. Now at the time I was planning this build, I still have a lot of red lava rock left that I used in my fire belly toad paludarium and planted fish tanks. I bought the huge bag at Lowe's for $4. I used it as a biomedia and filler under the large rocks that I used in my paludarium build. Some I used as biomedia in my planted fish tanks. It is very versatile, porous, and had lots of surface area for good bacteria. I also noticed that it holds moisture well and at the same time good in draining excess water. I noticed the plant roots in my paludarium doing great with the lava rock and that made me decide to use it for my vivarium build.

Regarding plants, I ordered 3 Neo fireball bromeliads and pilea nummulariifolia from Josh's frogs. The bromeliads, being epiphytes don't need the substrate. The pilea, I had a lot of experience growing it when I was still in the Philippines. It needs high humidity and can survive in low light. I've seen it grow on leaf litter in the Philippines with no trouble so I know it can do well in my setup. I also added 2 cuttings of wantdering jew. Lastly, I added my favorite plant of all time, the golden pothos.I've grown it everywhere. My fish tanks, paludarium, ponds, and my garden. This plant is bullet proof. For microfauna I have springtails.

When I bought the frogs and geckos in NARBC, Josh Frogs gave me a "frog hotel". It was a container with moist sphagnum moss and plant cuttings that they gave for free. They gave it to customers who have to drive a long way home, like me since I'm based in Indiana. The plant cuttings included live sphagnum moss, an unknown vine but more likely a philodendron species, and another unknown plant.

So after nearly 4 months I can say that the tank is doing well. The frogs had grown and are very bold. The geckos I'm able to catch at night hunting. The plants had grown in the tank.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:11 PM
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Default The inhabitants

The frogs has grown bolder and utilize all the tank space.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

Sorry guys if the some of the pictures were posted sideways. I don't know how to keep them upright

Anyway here are the pictures of the mourning geckos.
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File Type: jpg Gecko at night going down the substrate 12.2018.jpg (76.3 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Ghost 10.24.18.jpg (84.4 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg 20181015_070450.jpg (64.2 KB, 38 views)
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:33 PM
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Default Equipment

For equipment I use a Beamswork LED light for aquariums. I've used it in my planted tanks and paludarium. It was pretty good and cheap in Amazon at $37. It is doing really well in lighting the tank and it is not too bright or too warm. It is on a timer for 12 hours a day. The top of the tank is a standard glass top compatible with the tank. At the front is a gap around an inch where I glued plastic canvas to prevent escapes. I then placed 2 computer fans on top. I bought the fans from amazon and it is already wired together which is good since I don't want to mess up wiring this things myself. The fans were also on a timer and are turned on 3 times a day for 30 minutes.

The drift wood were mopani. I bought them from petsmart and for the size and look they were very cheap at $13 each. I love how the pilea attached themselves on the wood. I had no idea that it could grow this way.
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Old 01-18-2019, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

Just diving into my own first build(Paludarium). I really like the vibe you have going in your tank. I really like when people do builds that your eyes can "Get lost" in. a lot of depth and texture between the driftwood and plants. You picked some awesome wood pieces as well! I really enjoyed looking at your animals and set-up! Thanks for posting that.

Mike
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mmkco View Post
Just diving into my own first build(Paludarium). I really like the vibe you have going in your tank. I really like when people do builds that your eyes can "Get lost" in. a lot of depth and texture between the driftwood and plants. You picked some awesome wood pieces as well! I really enjoyed looking at your animals and set-up! Thanks for posting that.

Mike

I appreciate the feedback. Here is a picture of my fire belly toad paludarium. This is a very simple build and incorporates what I've learned in my planted tanks. I will post a more detailed build explanation on the "Other Amphibians- Other Frogs" part of this forum.
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:18 AM
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Default Set up

This is the tank when I first set it up. The coco coir did not stick in a lot of places so I painted it with Drylok mixed with gray acrylic paint. I also added two PVCs with caps in the false bottom to drain excess water. They are underneath the drift wood. So far I haven't drained this tank yet. I hand mist every 3 days to allow the tank to dry up a little bit.

I have both Hydei and Melanogaster fruit flies. The frogs have no problems catching and eating both.

I also included a picture of my tanks. On the upper left is my 20 gallon long planted tank, below it is my 20 gallon long fire belly toad tank. On the upper right is the dart frog viv and below is my 3.5 gallon betta tank.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

You have some really nice builds! I cannot wait to finish mine so I can just sit and enjoy it. You have 3 to enjoy. That must be amazing. Very nice work!
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:40 PM
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Mushrooms have been growing in my tank.
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

Do you have any springtails in the tank? I bet they'll enjoy them.
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium with Red Lava Rock substrate 30G

Very nice first tank.

I'd be much more careful of those fans and 'wanting to dry out' your viv a little bit.

2 fans seems overkill for that small tank. Humid is a little more workable, than 'opps too dry'.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:03 AM
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Default

I understand the concern. The screened area where air can enter from the fans is maybe around 1/4 of an inch only. The purpose of the fans is just to keep the front glass clear for viewing. I keep it on a timer to run 15 mins, 4 times a day so that I can enjoy viewing the tank. Juat enough to keep it clear but never saw it get dry. The tank will be a year old next month. I've attached a picture of the tank currently.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:04 AM
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Default

Lots of spring tails. I don't know what happened but the pictures were not posted.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:29 AM
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Default Frogs are now a year old.

Can you guys give me your opinion if the frogs look obese? I feed them every other day. These are my first dart frogs , so I can't tell if they are too fat. Very happy about this tank. My first dart frog and vivarium,. The plants are doing great. I can say it is bioactive since I see a lot of springtail activity and they are able to thrive. I still seed this tank with spring tails every couple of weeks from my colony.
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