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Old 05-30-2019, 10:38 PM
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Default Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

Hi Everyone
Recently I've been reading up a lot on freshwater planted aquarium aquascaping. Anyone who's looked into aquascaping knows that stones are used in almost all aquascapes. But in the vivarium hobby freestanding stones seem to be uncommon in layout construction. Some people put fake rocks in their backgrounds but I can't think of many instances of people actually putting real freestanding stones in their landscapes. From what I've read the only arguments against using stones in vivariums is the weight, rough textures that could damage delicate amphibians, and limestone changing the water parameters. Are there any other disadvantages that I missed?
These days there are plenty of stones that are sold for freshwater aquariums that I think could work in vivariums. I would be interested in seeing some cool vivs with stones as part of the hardscape. Its been a while since the last viv design discussion so does anyone have any cool ideas on working rocks into the landscape?
Anyway I'm planning on building a new 40g breeder viv this fall and I will probably try to put some rocks in the composition unless someone has a good reason not to.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

I have a piece of slate rock sticking out of the substrate in one of my vivs. Frogs love to hang out on it


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Old 05-30-2019, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

That sounds pretty cool. Do you have a picture?
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

I glued some large, flat rocks to my background, only one is still showing due to plant growth.
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:13 AM
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The last one I built has a rock bottom. I’ll take some pictures tomorrow.
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

I have always avoided rocks in my vivs, but probably not for any good reason. The two things that are kind of in the back of my mind are that I see frog's skins as thin and easily damaged. Maybe that isn't the case. Rocks are less forgiving than wood. I would think that nice, smooth river stone would probably be fine, while igneous rocks might be a bit more inclined to scratch the little fellas up. I have never tried it, though, so I don't know for sure. I would have thought that those broms with the super-pokey leaf margins would also poke them, but they seem to completely ignore them. So what do I know? :-)

Also, as you know from planted aquariums, there are some rocks you don't use because of their interaction with the water chemistry (I am looking at you, petrified wood). Frogs have permeable skins so I wouldn't want them to pick up undesirable metals and other stuff just from hopping around on the rocks. Again, no backing at all for this; it's just something that cropped up in my mind.

Having said all that, if other people who actually know what they are doing think that they are safe, I think that using rocks like people do in planted aquariums could introduce a whole new design element into our vivs. I can imagine an Amano-style vivarium that would look completely different than anything I have seen in vivs thus far. You would still need to pay attention to the needs of the frogs by providing hiding places (the kind of Amano planted tank I am thinking of would be short on hiding places) and other behavioral needs of the frogs, but it could be really interesting. It's actually a whole new thing (to me, anyway) because in planted aquariums, the fish can just swim around in the negative space. Frogs, being bound by gravity, can't do that, so you would have to use negative space in a different way. I think it would be super cool if those two worlds could be merged more effectively. Just wait for the buying frenzy for Baby Tears and other low-growing foreground plants following the release of your first Amano build :-)

For those unaware of what I am talking about, check out the following Google Search (the guy has an absolute gift):

https://www.google.com/search?safe=a...=1096&dpr=1.25

Mark

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Old 05-31-2019, 06:51 PM
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

DPfarr, that's exactly what I was thinking of. Well done. Do you have any frogs in there? Do they seem to avoid the rocks or do they embrace them like any other surface in the tank? Do you find that there are enough places to hide? It's a really striking tank and so different from what so many of us have in our vivs :-)

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Old 05-31-2019, 08:37 PM
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Those rocks are bound together w GS and hollow underneath. Bit of a cave system really. There’s going to be some varadero going in there eventually.

There’s also a hollow cork log protruding from the background.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Stones in Vivarium Layout Composition Discussion

DPfarr that's a really awesome viv. It really does look like a hardscape diorama type planted aquarium. Though isn't there a possibility that the sand could stick to the frogs bodies and irritate them?
As for choice of rocks. I would be extremely hesitant to use something really porous like lava rock. I could easily see a frog getting a leg stuck and or getting some nasty scrapes. I would be worried about similar rocks such as Dragon stone Okho, Unzan etc. Their are some other rocks like San Sui that are moderately rough but would probably be OK as it would take a lot of force for a frog to break its skin on one. As for pH and hardness, I did some quick research and couldn't find to much information on the effect of water hardness on amphibians beyond the fact that water parameters should be kept close to the frogs natural habitat. Based on that I think that stones that raise the hardness a little such as Elephant skin, Seiryu etc would be OK provided they're flushed frequently with pure water which wouldn't be a problem in most vivs anyway. As for toxic metals rocks sold for the aquarium hobby shouldn't have anything like that as it would be toxic to fish. I only covered Aqua Design Amano stones but anything similar that you can find in a pet store or online should be OK as long it is relatively smooth and doesn't change the water hardness drastically. Of course we need more data on this before we can draw any definite conclusions.
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