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Old 06-21-2011, 03:38 AM
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Default ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

So I finally finished my 3 new vivariums.

The first is my 18x18x24 Zoo Med. I'll be keeping a pair of Cobalts in here eventually. I've ordered a group or 5 for now.



A Closer shot of the water feature. I plumbed an Ehiem pump from a 5 gallon reserve tank below the vivarium through bulkheads. This drains down through a layer of gravel and hydroton and back to the 5 gallon tank. Its basically a small recirculating loop. I can fill the small tank with several gallons of water if needed and perform water changes on the false bottom by exchanging the water in the little tank.



This is a shot of how the reserve tank is plumbed. The fogger is also plumbed through the bottom. It rises behind the central brom via a standpipe.



There are two smaller vivariums, 12 x 12 x 18 Zoo Meds.

The left vivarium

And the right vivarium


The two sit side by side and share a fogger setup similarly to the larger vivarium. I am thinking of thumbs for the two smaller vivariums.

I ordered all the moss before I really started reading up on how much better leaf litter is. I have magnolia leaves coming and have collected some small live oak leaves that will probably eventually replace the moss. I really need to find something do do with the moss tho.

Let me know what you think.

Doug
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Very nice Doug. Great jobs. I really like the plant choices.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Here are the two Smaller vivariums Side by side



And the large vivarium from the side that faces my desk.



I'm struggling to convey the depth in any photos. There is a huge cavern under the lage piece of wood that forms the waterfall.

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Old 06-21-2011, 03:53 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Thanks John! A pair of your varadero are a top contender for one of the smaller vivariums. I was thinking of a group of vents of some kind for the other.

I'm already planning to turn our guest bedroom into the frog room as I can easily put a small window AC unit in there and have better temperature control. El Paso is also very dry. With a cooler ambient temp I think I can get my humidity up into the 90s by completely sealing things up, but right now I need some ventilation to keep the temps down below 80. Right now they are about 74 in the am and 78-79 at 5 pm when I get home then they fall off again.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:53 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Tanks look great Doug! What's that plant mounted on the wall of the large viv? Also, any ideas on which thumbs you want for the smaller tanks?
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Plant mounted on the wall? The little tiny one on the back wall up high? If thats the one you're mentioning it is Schoenorchis fragrans, a minature orchid. It is rediculously small, I was a little disappointed when I got it. I wasn't expecting it to be that small. I'm hoping it does well and flowers.

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Oh, right now I'm leaning to any of the vents or imitators. I really like the varaderos, but they are so expensive, but amazing looking. Some of the obligates look really cool too. I'm already wanting to set up a larger more terrestial vivarium for when my cobalts grow up and have the 18 x 18 x 24 be for a group of Iquitos. If I'm reading correctly the imitators do best in pairs as adults but the vents can be kept in groups of 3 to 5.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:27 AM
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FYI from what i have learned 5 cobalts wont work in a 18x18x24 to teritorial stick with pairs.

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:41 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Doug - Not to burst your bubble but I'm out of Varaderos for the time being.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:43 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

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FYI from what i have learned 5 cobalts wont work in a 18x18x24 to teritorial stick with pairs.

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You sir, are correct. I have no intention of keeping them all in there long term. Probably another 8 months based on the recommendation of their breeder at which time I'll hopefully have a pair or a 2.1 group. Not sure what I'll do with the others just yet but plenty of time to think about that.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:46 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

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Doug - Not to burst your bubble but I'm out of Varaderos for the time being.
DOH! Well thats ok. I jumped the gun when I saw that you had them available and my vivs and bug cultures were just not ready yet. I'm glad that you got them all sold tho. They are really nice looking frogs and I'm sure the new owners are super proud.

Sean has some iquitos that I think would work great too yea? Very similar looking frog.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

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Sean has some iquitos that I think would work great too yea? Very similar looking frog.
Very different in habit though. There are basically 2 branches of the thumbnail tree (the thumbnails being the genus Ranitomeya).

Ranitomeya imitator and its relatives (R. lamasi, R. vanzolinii, R. flavovittata, among others) are one branch. They have similar habits (boldness varies greatly though), the same egg laying and tadpole raising strategy, and even very similar calls. Obviously they vary greatly in outward appearance but they are very similar frogs in most ways, even in the way they move about. These guys are not really long-term group frogs unless you've got a reasonably sized terrarium (my opinion).

The other branch of the thumbnail tree includes the various races of Ranitomeya ventrimaculata (many of which are likely species that have yet to be separated taxonomically), and its relatives like R. variabilis. Different egg-laying strategy, different body shape, and do well in groups (though you may see egg eating if you've more than one female).

If you see a Varadero and an Iquitos together they look nothing alike whatsoever. Having said that, if I were advising someone new to thumbnails on which to pick, I would say either, but I would also add that stuff about the different branches of the Ranitomeya tree. Best of luck in your decision.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Nice Vivs BTW
I have 2 WC Cobalts in seperate QT's
I belive them to both be males.
After tests and a little more confidence of gender maybe if you have a female we could do a trade.

Again Nice Vivs Doug
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

I have the same problem with trying to capture depth in photographs, especially since mine is nearly solid bromeliads haha. That Schoenorchis should do fine...it's a very easy orchid, and the blooms are definitely worth the tiny size!
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

I think you'll be impressed a little more by the Schoenorchis once it flowers. I've seen plants where the leaves aren't visible because they're covered in blooms. I'm frogsitting one of John's probable pairs of Varaderos while a friend is out of town, and they are just as brightly colored as in the pictures. If you want thumbs, I think they are a great choice. I also have a single female standard imi and a trio of orange lamasi. They would all be good choices. The lamasi are a little shier, but not as shy as some have said they are. I also personally like the intermedius.
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Well....perfect...what can I say. Zoo keeper myself so I didn't expect any less...looking fabulous!!!!!
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:27 PM
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Lightbulb Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

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Originally Posted by ZookeeperDoug View Post
So I finally finished my 3 new vivariums.........

I ordered all the moss before I really started reading up on how much better leaf litter is. I have magnolia leaves coming and have collected some small live oak leaves that will probably eventually replace the moss. I really need to find something do do with the moss tho.

Let me know what you think.

Doug
Very nice Doug, and I love the water feature.

Yes, the Zen look of moss looks great.... and I started out that way not very long ago.
*sigh*
But then Scott (aka the Scott here on Dendro ) educated me as to using leaf litter.
I was bummed and didn't even bother to take the moss out...
Just covered the moss over with leaves.
And it died.
I have since learned that can just die off anyway.

However, every cloud has a silver lining.
Moss covered over with leaves can create a springtail factory. oh yea.
Cheers,
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Thanks Todd,

Yea. Its hard to tell from the pictures but there is a large cavern under the water feature and that big brom up top. I've put several magnolia leaves under there. The frogs seem to be doing great on the moss. We'll see if it dies off or not. If it stays healthy I'm just going to let it go.

My new viv will have all leaf litter though. I got a box from Spaff and some from a friend in Atlanta. Lightly bleached, rinse, boiled. Should be good to go.

My new tank is gonna be crazy full of broms. Plans are for my "Varadero" to go in there, then I'm gonna break down their old viv and redo it.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

The vivs look fantastic. I don't quite have the artistic talent to make mine look quite that good. I have a couple of suggestions if you don't mind. The brom with the stalked flower probably won't make it, although it might send out a couple of pups before it dies. I used one of those in an early viv and it didn't do as well as the neos. Regarding the moss, I have found that with many species of moss, when it is growing, it adapts to the light, moisture, substrate, etc. at that location and if you take some and move it, it will often die back, but if you're patient, the spores will germinate and new growth will appear that adapts to the new location. Sometimes it will even exhibit a different growth habit. I found this out when keep bonsai trees years ago.

The pillow moss looks fantastic, but it often starts breaking down after being in the viv for a few weeks. It's usually loaded with viable spores, but due to its thickness, the entire mass can turn to mush before you start to see new growth. If it shows any signs of that, I'd remove some of it so you don't end up with a mess.

Leaf litter is great, especially for pumilios and for thumbs that you allow to rear their own young. In fact, it's essential. Leaf litter started out being used primarily for ornamental purposes - several large leaves placed on the bottom for aesthetics and hide spots for the frogs. However, a functional leaf litter is entirely different and must be able to sustain populations of springtails, isopods, and other tiny prey for the froglets. Often, froglets will emerge and it could be a week before you first see them. If you rely on feeding them and don't have feeders living in the viv, they can starve before you ever see them.

Magnolia leaves are very durable and a great choice. It gives the leaf litter a vertical dimension and creates lots of voids and hide spots. However, I always have layers of litter. If I'm starting from scratch, I put some maple leaves or a similar leaf down first - it'll break down quickly and provide food for the fungus that feeds the springs, for example. I then put a variety of durable leaves - both in size and type. Along with magnolia, I also use live oak. I'll even put some small twigs and heavily curled leaves to "fluff" it up. It doesn't do much good to have a flat leaf litter with no voids. Even if the bugs can live in it, it's very difficult for the froglets to get to them. I also recommend boiling the leaves before putting them in the viv. As tempting as it is to leave all the local bugs in the leaf litter when I collect it, there is just too much of a risk of introducing chytrid or parasites.

Sorry to go on so long. Working at a zoo, you probably know much of this better than I do. Good luck with the frogs.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Thanks Jim. All input it welcome.

Yeah, there are 4 pups on that brom so I expect it to witheer away soon. It kinda doesn't really work there and hides the dimention of the tank too. I may just remove it and replace it with something else. Maybe some emergent growth plants like anubias or crypts.

I'm hopeful with the moss, as I like the looks of it. I'll keep an eye out for what you are talking about. So far the moss has been in the vivarium for almost a month and is showing new growth spots. There are actually 3 kinds of moss, pillow, mood(frog), and another type that looks like java.

My plan for my other 18x18x24 is to have most everything suspended up on the walls leaving lots of leaf littler on the ground but also a terraced effect to give the tank some dimention.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Your vivs look killer - good "vivscaping" compositions (if there is such a word). What kind of lights did you end up with?
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:07 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

If it wasn't, then it is now. Yes, Doug is a fantastic vivscaper. I'm having to do some renovations on a couple of vivs and my son asked me if I was reviving them! Nearly wet myself laughing.

Doug, I'm looking forward to seeing frogs in your vivs. Keep us posted.
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Your vivs look killer - good "vivscaping" compositions (if there is such a word). What kind of lights did you end up with?
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

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If it wasn't, then it is now. Yes, Doug is a fantastic vivscaper. I'm having to do some renovations on a couple of vivs and my son asked me if I was reviving them! Nearly wet myself laughing.

Doug, I'm looking forward to seeing frogs in your vivs. Keep us posted.
I got a good laugh from that also - thx

Hope to see some pics of your viv after your revived viviscaping is complete -
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Looks nice!
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Very attractive tanks, would be a bit of a shame to have to leaf litter it instead of leaving all of that beautiful moss, but such is life. I like the hidden fogger outlet and the fact that the water feature isn't burning up a bunch of precious floor space or over-occupying the view. The angling of broms in the first tank is very pleasing for some reason, as if they're all reaching toward the same point. Good combination of open space and density as well. I wouldn't mind having that first one completely devoid of livestock for use as a plant display.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: ZookeeperDoug's 3 New Vivariums

Thanks. There have been some minor changes. The large cavern under the water feature in the first tank has been completely carpeted with magnolia leaves. The Clubmoss to the left, S. kraussiana "Gold Tips" almost all melted, its just to wet there I think. The creeping philodendron is really taking off. I can tell I'll need to stay on top of manicuring this plant or it WILL overgrow the tank. I'm also planning to replace the flowering Veressia Brom with something more appropriate in a neoregelia of some kind. I'm waiting on one last shipment from Tropiflora before I decide what gets used where.

In the smaller vivariums, the one with the Veressia brom, has had that brom replaced with the Neo. zoe that I found. That vivarium is home to my 4 Varadero. I've also replaced some of the ivy in the back of the tank with Ficus repens. I got a huge hanging basket of it at walmart for $6! I've added magnolia leaves here too.

The last viv is essentially the same with the exception of adding some mag leaves.

Each tank I plan to remove some moss to be used in the new viv and replace those area's with some leaf litter. Not all of the moss will be removed.
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