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Old 12-07-2018, 02:25 AM
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Default 180 Gallon Terrarium

Hello everyone! -WARNING- This initial post may contain long, boring, unnessecary descriptions of my tanks journey to becoming the terrarium you currently will see. Please bear with me as I explain in some detail, all the incarnations of this system. It deserves it!

First


So… I know that has been a while since I posted any updates on the 180gallon paludarium build. And again thank you to everyone that had followed the original thread on here. While it was short lived, and not updated very regularly, I hope that some people were able to pull some inspiration. Over the past four years, the system has seen many changes. Most notably, it became and additional support tank for my 350gal reef aquarium as pictured below. Reef enthusiasts that follow Reef Central may have seen this.



As you can see, this system was used as more of a coral holding tank for customers and new additions to the larger system. Many of the organism that made up this portion of the tanks life were some seagrasses, macro algae, soft corals in genus zoanthidae, large polyp stony corals and tridacna clams. For a while it also held a prized red mangrove specimen around the eight-year-old mark. Unfortunately, one of the support roots split killing the tree. As I was utilizing this tank for saltwater, I had to get my dendrobatid fix in other ways. Thankfully down in Arizona I was close with the owner of a LFS that wanted to display some of his freshwater plants in their immersed state. I helped him along with the scaping of a pretty spectacular tinctorius sp. paludarium.



My time in Arizona ended and I moved up to Colorado where I am currently living. During my move, I knew that I wanted to turn the 180gal into something a little more unique than what I had currently had it set up as. Once I decided to remove it from the 350 reef, I figured it was time to set it up as a freshwater paludarium with an extremely majestic water feature. I began designing out a plateau that would double as a “top” pond, draining successively down “smaller” ponds until ultimately reaching the lowest level “stream”.



Sorry for the poor quality, I’m not sure why I didn’t take any early pictures of the early build, but this screen shot should work. I used blue foam as the main structure of the elevated ponds, and covered it with a special cement that has been used for not only vertical projects like bridges, and tunnels, but also zoo enclosures for its close to neutral Ph thanks to a plastic polymer that is added to the mix. I will try to find the name of the brand if anybody is interested. As I added hard scape into the system it quickly became apparent that the 30x30x48 dimensions, were still a little too small for the vision that I had, allowing larger pieces of wood to protrude out into space while still leaving enough light space for the ponds to grow aquatic stem plants like bacopa, hygrophila, and bucephalandra submerged and immersed like the paludarium in Az. The wood, was just too much however.



Another issue I ran into was the realization that even though I was going to have plenty of space for epiphytic plants to grow on the wood, I really didn’t have much terrestrial space, and whilst the water was a cool feature, it was probably too dangerous for dendrobatids. NOW WHAT DO I PUT IN HERE! As I was searching potential candidates for the system, I began to parse through the pros and cons. Pro- I had enough water space for some really cool micro fish like celestial pearl danios, whiteclouds, butterfly loaches, badis, or even a small school of green neons. Con- I wasn’t ready to have a small space for fish and then add in an amphibian that was nocturnal that would only be active at well…night. So I thought I made a compromise with getting some guppies and then a few geosesarma crabs. They would occupy both land and water, and while they may eat some guppies, oh well. As time went by, schedules filled up, and the tank was left on autopilot. Plants filled in nicely, and the whole thing just became a fixture. But it was lacking any mobile creatures. I hadn’t gotten any crabs or fish yet.



It was about 7mo after the reincarnation of the paludarium that I noticed a friend staring at my tank when I was throwing a party. Others had looked in and moved to the other tanks because, “fish are more interesting than plants”. But he was just starring… starring as if he had seen something. He then asked my what was in there. “Nothing” I answered, well that is except for plants. And just as I was about to show how impressively blooming my pleurothallis picta “gigi” was, I noticed his face drop. “Why do you have a box of plants in your house?” And that’s when another realization hit me. People like action. Movement. Something other than cool orchids to look at! And then it me. It was time to go back to my roots. What had started my passion nearly twenty years prior. I needed some frogs. But how could I tear down something I thought was turning into a true piece of art.



When the day came I knew that I had to get some more material to make it more compatible with a terrarium. False bottoms were always how I easy maintained a healthy substrate in my other systems, but because this one was setup for multiple closed loop pumps, I had the luxury of turning the bulk heads into drains for waste water. The soil that makes up the bulk of the system is a coco fiber, aqua soil mix. Hopefully with time, the floor of the terrarium will get covered with a lush layer of moss. Of course, that will take time. To make sure that any frogs could find their way into the drains, I elevated the substrate enough to allow water to pass through to the gravel layer, and through a platform made from light diffusers. Basically, a light false bottom. As I was tearing out the plants, I noticed that many of the air roots from orchids and bromeliads were woven tightly into the woodwork requiring careful extraction to minimize damage. I believe I will lose some plants just due to stress. Here is the number of different plant species I had in this tank organized by either ferns and moss, or epiphytes.



All in all, the process took two days to complete. After all is said and done, I think that the new layout will open the possibilities for new micro orchids and other rare plants along with the addition of one of my favorite frogs. So here is my new/old/redesigned Dendrobates tinctorius “New River” setup. Hopefully I will remember to update regularly on plant additions and general frog happiness. If anybody has any questions, feel free to send em!

RyanD, Jeremiah, Encyclia and 3 others like this.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Ah, the possibilities! I have learned the same thing over time about having something in the tanks. My tank are almost all in my living room right inside the front door. I almost always end up giving people the tour when they come to the house for the first time. There was a time when most of my tanks had pretty cryptic species in them. I would be showing people around the room and I kept having to say "Well, what you WOULD see in there is..." I came to the conclusion that I need to have some frogs just because they are visible and I have something in the tanks for visitors to see.

That tank just cries out for a large group of...something :-) First thing I thought of was Terribilis. My Mints are out all the time. I always see all three of them. They won't shy away from playing on that huge lawn you have. They also won't pine away that you don't have a ton of vertical hardscape to hang out on. This, of course, assumes that frogs play, pine, and/or hang out :-) They will get up to everyplace in your tank periodically, but they will spend a lot of their time on the spacious floor of that tank. Of course, there are tons of other options, too, but Terribs would be great!

Best of luck in finding just the right inhabitants!

Mark
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Quote:
That tank just cries out for a large group of...something :-) First thing I thought of was Terribilis.
I do love terribs, but I already have a group of tincs coming for this setup. I am thinking of finding someone who wants to build like a 250gal long tank for gold or mint terribillis. If I did that setup it would be all understory growth and larger plants like monstera and ferns. huge open areas of mossy ground space and dark gloomy wood. I great contrast to the yellow or mint green frogs.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

I find it funny that so many people come from the reef keeping hobby to dart frogs. Although you still have a reef I have seen countless people post that reeds was their previous hobby. Both of your setups are fantastic by the way!
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

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Originally Posted by Wyofrogs View Post
I do love terribs, but I already have a group of tincs coming for this setup. I am thinking of finding someone who wants to build like a 250gal long tank for gold or mint terribillis. If I did that setup it would be all understory growth and larger plants like monstera and ferns. huge open areas of mossy ground space and dark gloomy wood. I great contrast to the yellow or mint green frogs.
Yeah, they would definitely enjoy the floor space. You can also plant it a little denser, if you want to, because the terribs don't usually care much about hiding :-)

Mark
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Quote:
I find it funny that so many people come from the reef keeping hobby to dart frogs. Although you still have a reef I have seen countless people post that reeds was their previous hobby. Both of your setups are fantastic by the way!
I Have noticed the population of reef keeping and frogs are pretty high. A lot of my friends in the hobby have both or want both. I just love anything that can be kept naturally in a glass box. Fish frogs, corals, you name it!
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Here are the four "New River" Tincs(only three pictured). They are currently under quarantine, in an observation tank, and should be added in the next couple days. Due to there size, I would like to make sure that they are eating and functioning normally before being added into a larger enclosure where observation is harder. But currently they look healthy and active!
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:17 PM
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Wyofrogs,
What was that product you used for the hardscape ? Sounds very interesting for our hobby.
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Hello Everyone!

Its been a while since I've updated due to traveling for the holidays. I just wanted to show everyone how much the terrarium has changed over the last few weeks. A little over three weeks ago, I added four Dendrobates tinctorius "new river" to the terrarium and shortly after left them while I traveled. Thankfully everything was happy when I returned last week and I noticed that not only were the frogs doing great, the plants had made an incredible transformation in color. Look at this little guy just chillin on the small phalaenopsis sp.

Here is a side by side comparison of the tanks in just under a month. the only thing I did was increase the humidity in the terrarium by adding an extra mist and fog cycle. Incredible!!

I also was cleaning out some debris from the system, and realized that just like certain corals, bromeliads look the best from top down. Check out these crazy colors that are coming out!

You also can't beat the contrast between the wonderful blue of the frogs against the red broms! I am also trying to answer as many of the questions as possible in a timely manner. So still bear with me.
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Wyofrogs,
What was that product you used for the hardscape ? Sounds very interesting for our hobby.
It was called thorite, but it might be going by a different name.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:58 PM
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Thank you. I'll check it out.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Hey guys, here is PART 1 of my latest update!

So again it has been a while and I wanted to do an update, plus another update. Since I last left all of you, I had just redone my scape to better suit the addition of the "New River" tincs that I ordered at the end of last year. Well after a few months, the terrarium had grown in and became a nice lush environment that the frogs really enjoyed. Most of the time, they all seemed content to just hope around, but if someone approached the tank, they had the ability to hide quickly in a brom.



Here is a group shot of the frogs at about 6-8 months old, giver or take a month or two.



I still haven't heard any calling yet, but am guessing that I have two females and two males(what do you all think?). Aggression is non existent at this point in their life, and I hope to keep it that way. I really dig the pattering on these frogs. Talk about some beauts!

With all that being said, it was not all sunshine and rainbows for our fantastic quartet. Some very drastic things did come up in the last couple months, but don't worry yet, all is not sad for this group.

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Old 05-13-2019, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Cliffhanger!
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:51 PM
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PART 2

After a long search, I was able to track down a property that allowed me to do my business and live on the same location. So naturally I was excited for the possibilities of my enclosures. After a few weeks of planning, this is what came to be.



As you can see, the plan is to have my display systems in my main consultation room where the majority of people will be meeting me. I know it isn't optimal to have a reef aquarium surrounded by natural light, but I feel like I am up for the challenge. The terrariums location was a dead giveaway the moment I scouted the property for the first time. It was just too perfect. I also am planning on setting up an iwagumi style natural planted tank on the opposing wall. Here is a closeup of the new layout.



The pros to this location is for sure the awesome brick wall behind the system, and the perfect little nook. The largest con is transitioning the peninsula style layout to a more traditional single view. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. As for now, this is the main update since the last time, and I hope you enjoy it. Ill get some front on pictures shot when the plants have had time to grow in a bit.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: 180 Gallon Terrarium

Beautiful set up. I really loved the peninsula version, it was amazing. The new is just as good. I'd love one day to have a really big tank like yours. Anyway, awesome job!
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