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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just barely getting started with dart frogs and am making my plans for setting up my first viv soon. I love all the different colors but quickly found that mixing different color frogs together is a big no-no and even putting two frogs together of the same morph will likely lead to breeding (and apparently when you first buy the frogs you cant tell if both are male), and I don't have room to raise babies. I've decided that when I can finish my basement Ill set up several 18x18x18 tanks in a row and place a single frog of different morph in each tank, that way I can enjoy the variety of frog colors without having to worry about babies. But for right now I only have room for one viv, and the preferred location is underneath a cabinet so it only leaves 18 inches of clearance. So a 18x18x18 viv doesn't leave enough room for the light. I've seen that terribilis dont typically climb as much as other species, so would a 18x18x12 be sufficient for a single terribilis yellow? At least for a few years until I can have a larger setup.

Thanks!
 

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It's a bit on the very small end TBH - but a lot depends on how you lay out the tank. Terribs are also rather terrestrial so they will need as much "floor" space as possible. Honestly that size is probably best for a thumbnail but they like height.

Why are you so focused on a terrib? Plenty of similar colored / slightly smaller frogs. Another reason why Terribs need space is that they are very "aggressive" frogs and can jump quite a distance.

If you're setting up a "collection" of similarly sized vivs, the first one will be the most important to get right in terms of sizing, so why not make the footprint a bit larger? There are plenty of much much larger frogs out there that you would otherwise miss out on.
 

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I would say that's definitely too small; a healthy terribilis is active and prone to explosive movement. They also climb much more than you might think, mine climb about a metre high almost daily and would go higher if they could. I would at least look for a bigger footprint if not more height.

I'm not a big fan of keeping frogs solitary for the long term -- they don't get 'lonely' as far as I know, but you miss out on some interesting interactions. I'd try for working out a way to do fewer but larger vivaria, I think you'll enjoy that a lot more in the long run.
 

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You could still use an 18×18×18. Just use some of those flexible strip LED's. They would sit lower than the plastic rim. My concern of only going 12" high, is that plants that would provide good coverage, would basically be touching the lid. Especially if you do a deep drainage layer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the info, I’ll explore some more and try to make a larger one work somehow. And when he graduates from this short-term setup I’ll definitely move him into a 24x18x18 and have the 2 other smaller morphs I want in 18x18x18.

Terribs are also rather terrestrial so they will need as much "floor" space as possible.
That’s part of the reason I thought a terrib would be okay in a short-term shallower viv.

Why are you so focused on a terrib?
Whenever my family goes to the aquarium close by my house my 3 year old son runs straight for the frogs and points to the yellow terrib they have there. Then when we get home he’ll say he wants a yellow frog. My wife and I also love the concept of keeping dart frogs and each will pick a morph we want, but we’re going to let our son pick the first morph we get.

If you're setting up a "collection" of similarly sized vivs, the first one will be the most important to get right in terms of sizing, so why not make the footprint a bit larger?
The viv I get now will not be part or the future “collection”. I was initially planning to just get three 18x18x18 but now I’ll probably go with two 18x18x18 for tincs and one 24x18x18 for the terrib. This one will either end up as spare tank for temporary uses or I’ll sell it.

You could still use an 18×18×18. Just use some of those flexible strip LED's.
This sounds like a great idea actually. I’d have maybe 1/2” to 1” of space between the top of the viv to the bottom of the cabinet. And just need plain old LED will be okay?… not anything special?

Edit I found this super thin light that may be the answer to my problem. When I get home to today Im going to to double-check measurements again. Praying that there's 18.7 inches below the cabinet so I can squeeze in the 18x18x18 with this light.
 

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In my opinion that's too small. I wouldn't put even one terribilis in anything smaller than 18x18x18, preferably a little larger.
 

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Okay, this might come off as kinda rude, but let it be known this is not at ALL my intent!

Don't go for a collection of frogs yet. It's a lovely idea to have everyone in the family pick out a different kind of frog they like on paper, but keep in mind, large collections of these animals are usually only seen in zoos or in the homes of keepers who dedicate their lives to raising them. One or two dart vivs, sure, but a whole rack of different dart species is a lot to handle. If you have a family, what happens if you have to move? If someone loses their job? Go on vacation? Pet sitters who can manage that many dart frogs, let alone know how to handle dart frogs at all, aren't exactly common, or cheap, depending on where you live. It's not impossible to manage these things, but it's definitely something to keep in mind. Individual dart frogs are a 20+ year commitment, far more than other, more "family friendly" pets.

Plus, you haven't even kept your first dart frogs yet. Better to try it with one, and if you find yourself hooked on them, THEN start considering getting more, but don't go for a very small vivarium so you can build a rack of them. People will do racks, and it looks cool, but these are keepers with years of experience in managing and caring for frogs and other herps. Not to mention, the costs for that many dart frog vivariums, no matter how small, will be insanely expensive, more than likely over a thousand dollars. Doing a "temporary" viv that's smaller is only gonna jack up the price of this endeavor. It will be very difficult to recoup the costs you spent on setting up that viv, too.

As for avoiding breeding frogs, it's honestly not that difficult to keep a pair of them together and avoid breeding. You'll miss out on a lot of interesting social behaviors and antics with solitary frogs, as was mentioned- they are social to some degree, and from what I heard, terribilis especially so. If you do find eggs, you can just scoop them out, stick them in the freezer, and you don't have to worry about them. Even if, by some miracle, a tadpole manages to reach adulthood unnoticed, you can probably find someone willing to take that frog.

If everyone in your family is willing to commit to these things (except your son, who's probably a bit young to have to commit to caring for animals who live that long) I'd suggest finding one dart frog species you all like, and focus on that frog. Give it the best care you possibly can, including spatial needs, and then if you're still wanting for more, consider just as heavily if you truly want more frogs.

Hopefully this is helpful! Dart frogs are truly wonderful animals, and there's no shame in wanting to enjoy them from the comfort of your own home. It's just important to make sure you can handle all their needs before you do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, this might come off as kinda rude, but let it be known this is not at ALL my intent!

Don't go for a collection of frogs yet. It's a lovely idea to have everyone in the family pick out a different kind of frog they like on paper, but keep in mind, large collections of these animals are usually only seen in zoos or in the homes of keepers who dedicate their lives to raising them. One or two dart vivs, sure, but a whole rack of different dart species is a lot to handle.
Constructive criticism is absolutely necessary, haha. I am just getting started so the more information and tips the better. I wouldn't consider anything rude unless it was a clear attack or insult. As far as the "collection" goes, we are talking 3 vivs tops, and the other 2 vivs wouldn't come for another 2 years minimum once I finish my basement. So I think I am already doing what you said (try it with one, and then get more a few years down the line if it works out).

Plus, you haven't even kept your first dart frogs yet. Better to try it with one, and if you find yourself hooked on them, THEN start considering getting more, but don't go for a very small vivarium so you can build a rack of them. People will do racks, and it looks cool, but these are keepers with years of experience in managing and caring for frogs and other herps. Not to mention, the costs for that many dart frog vivariums, no matter how small, will be insanely expensive, more than likely over a thousand dollars. Doing a "temporary" viv that's smaller is only gonna jack up the price of this endeavor. It will be very difficult to recoup the costs you spent on setting up that viv, too.
I guess I should have use a better word than "collection". Haha. A rack sounds even more intense. The final vision is one 18x18x18 on each side with a 24x18x18 in the middle, so just three vivs. For what it's worth, when I was younger I had a water dragon, green anole, chameleon, ball python, and 2 leopard geckos in my room all at once.

As for avoiding breeding frogs, it's honestly not that difficult to keep a pair of them together and avoid breeding. You'll miss out on a lot of interesting social behaviors and antics with solitary frogs, as was mentioned- they are social to some degree, and from what I heard, terribilis especially so. If you do find eggs, you can just scoop them out, stick them in the freezer, and you don't have to worry about them. Even if, by some miracle, a tadpole manages to reach adulthood unnoticed, you can probably find someone willing to take that frog.
Is that really all there is to it? Haha. How do you properly dispose of the eggs after they've been in the freezer? Will a pair breed for its entire lifespan or will I be able to stop looking for eggs after a few years? Considering this, I may end up getting 2 terribs. But say I only get 1 for now to test it out... could I add a younger terrib to the same viv as the older terrib in a few years? Or do they need to be raised together?
 

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Is that really all there is to it? Haha. How do you properly dispose of the eggs after they've been in the freezer? Will a pair breed for its entire lifespan or will I be able to stop looking for eggs after a few years? Considering this, I may end up getting 2 terribs. But say I only get 1 for now to test it out... could I add a younger terrib to the same viv as the older terrib in a few years? Or do they need to be raised together?
I believe, post freezing, you can simply dispose of them, as you would with a spent fruit fly culture. I wouldn't know about introducing different age frogs together, though. They'll probably keep producing eggs throughout much of their lives, if you do end up with a breeding pair, but I can't imagine there would be clutches so frequently it'd be tedious, especially if you provided a cocohut and petri dish for the frogs to lay their eggs in. Makes them easy to find and remove, whether you plan to breed or not.

3 vivs is definitely more reasonable, though I would still consider upgrading space if you can- perhaps make the 2 side vivs 18x18x24s, i.e narrow, tall vivs. In theory, an 18 inch cube would be an okay minimum for a pair of a smaller species like tincs, leucs, or thumbnails, but in practice, a lot of stuff goes into a viv, especially the fairly thick drainage and substrate layer, and backgrounds, where applicable. With these in mind, you end up with only about 12 inches of vertical space, which isn't all that much. Just something to keep in mind!

Anyway, good to know you've got a good game plan for handling these fellas, and experience keeping multiple herps at one time! When I'm giving pet care advice I like to err on the side of caution, because some folks honestly don't know the commitment involved- which is fine! But it's better for both the keeper and pet if the owner knows what the terms of service, so to speak, are, before bringing the pet home, you know?
 

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I would say it's too small. IMO, whether it is 1 or 4 terribilis, you need 36x18" for floor space. As far as height, they will use every inch of it if you design it correctly. So the taller the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
especially if you provided a cocohut and petri dish for the frogs to lay their eggs in. Makes them easy to find and remove, whether you plan to breed or not.
Is that what is referred to as the "honeymoon coconut"? A place for them to hide while they get it on? And the petri dish just goes under the coconut with a thin layer of water? I think I will get 2 of the yellow terribs to see the socialization aspect. Plus I read they get bolder when there's more than one frog, so that's a plus too. Ill be crossing my fingers for 2 males but if not then yeah Ill just give them the coconut so the eggs will be all located in the same spot and easy to remove, or maybe even list tadpole eggs for sale. Guess this also means my new minimum viv size is up to 24x18x18. Spectral Designs seem to make the thinnest possible light (only 0.7" tall) so when I get home Im going to see if I've got 18.7" below the cabinets. If not then I think Im just going to have to find a different place to put the viv instead of getting a shorter one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update time... after carefully measuring again, I have exactly 18.75" below the cabinet, which leaves me 0.05" to spare. I'm also probably going to go with a 24x18x18, and as long as it truly is exactly 18" at its max height and the spectral design light truly is exactly 0.7" then it seems like it will barely squeeze in there. Im also leaning more toward getting 2 terribs now... mainly to see the social interaction between them and because I read they are bolder in groups. If I end up with a male and a female then Ill just freeze and dispose of the eggs.

Thanks for the advice and tips to everyone who posted. It'll probably be another month or two until I order everything (except the frogs which will be at least a few weeks later) and set it up. I'll make sure to post pictures to critic the setup when it comes.
 

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If you swap out the stock Exo top for partial (50%, IMO) glass (tempered 1/8" might be reliable enough here, though I like tempered 3/16" usually) and partial window screen kit insert, and have the SD panel sized to sit on the glass, inside the plastic rim of the Exo, you'll buy yourself a little room.

Keep in mind that if this cabinet has a solid back, you're going to have moisture issues inside this cubby, and the viv won't vent as expected. I have one Exo like this, and there's a couple inches of headroom, and it vents very differently from others not in a cave.

You could get the glass and install the viv and remeasure and then possibly talk to Kurt at SD about slimming it down a bit, if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you swap out the stock Exo top for partial (50%, IMO) glass (tempered 1/8" might be reliable enough here, though I like tempered 3/16" usually) and partial window screen kit insert, and have the SD panel sized to sit on the glass, inside the plastic rim of the Exo, you'll buy yourself a little room.
I was going to buy the glass top from Josh's with the rest of the kit, do you know how thick those are? If its thicker than 3/16" I can easily just go to a glass shop instead.

Keep in mind that if this cabinet has a solid back, you're going to have moisture issues inside this cubby, and the viv won't vent as expected. I have one Exo like this, and there's a couple inches of headroom, and it vents very differently from others not in a cave.
Its not a complete cave. Heres a picture of how it'd be, drawn to scale. Will I get moisture or heat problems on the cabinet still?
Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Diagram


You could get the glass and install the viv and remeasure and then possibly talk to Kurt at SD about slimming it down a bit, if need be.
He will do that? Yeah Ill definitely take advantage of that. If it can be slimmed to 0.5" instead of 0.7" I'd be a lot more comfortable.
 

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I don't find that top on their website, so can't say for sure. There's a 3" ventilation gap, huh? Odd. Anyway, that's not enough if you build a window screen insert, as the framing eats 1.5", IIRC. More ventilation can be throttled back, less can't be increased easily. I'm currently running 50% screen. Something to think about, anyway.

If you vent from the front you won't have the cave issues I mentioned. The viv won't fully ventilate, though, as air will pass behind the doors and up and out, but the back half of the viv will not get that ventilation. Some folks do it the way you're proposing, but I personally think the reasons offered aren't relevant, and ends up with a viv that dries less well than it could. Given the 'cave' issue, though, it might be the least worst design, since if you vent out the top back with the arrangement you've drawn out, you're going to have a rotten cabinet, and an overly wet viv.

Kurt can customize, though I'm speculating about the height aspect. He might want a minimum clearance for the LEDs against the glass, I don't know. Ask him and see if it is an option. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't find that top on their website, so can't say for sure. There's a 3" ventilation gap, huh? Odd.
Its only available with their complete kits. I don't believe it comes with a vent, I was just going to have 3 inches cut off and make the vent myself. I live in a relatively dry climate with an average humidity level in the 20s for 4 months of the year so that's why I was leaning toward more glass coverage and a smaller vent at the front to clear the front glass for viewing.

you're going to have a rotten cabinet, and an overly wet viv.
Guess its back to square one of finding out where I can put this thing 😞
 

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vent at the front to clear the front glass for viewing.
Yeah, this is the reason usually given. A viv run at a proper moisture level simply won't -- can't, as the glass temp won't fall below the dewpoint of the air without adding supplemental heat to the viv -- have more than ocassional (immediately after misting) condensation on the glass, though, so the front vent idea isn't well-justified. Unless you've got the cabinet issue that you have, which as I pointed out may be a factor in how you set this up. A front top vent isn't terrible, but it isn't the best design, IMO.
 
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