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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I'm almost ready to start my first build, just need more $$$. I have read up on just about everything I can think of for weeks now, and I have a few basic questions -

1) When put down the base layer (hydroton), then cover it with the substate divider (fiberglass screen), should water be added before filling with substrate? I am assuming not, but can't find a definitive answer anywhere, as this will likely affect humity.

2) Same as above, only regarding substrate (ABG). Should it be left relatively dry, mixed with water before going into the tank, or watered in only when the plants are positioned? Or both the latter answers?

3) Exactly how many fruit flies (melanogaster) should be fed per froglet/frog (D. azureus) and how often?

4) How bad of an idea is adding a large adult female cricket into the vivarium, under stict supervision, for a few minutes to lay some eggs each day/week to provide a constant source of pinhead "treats" for the froglets? Or even placing a small container of substrate in a sterile container with the female cricket and introducing it to the vivarium, cutting the risk of injury to the frogs from a large bitey insect? How big is the risk of pinhead crickets (hatched in vivaria or introduced) hiding long enough to grow into a formidable danger to the frog? I have seen what crickets can do when reptile owners are not diligent about removing uneaten crickets overnight... I worked at PetCo for a while, and the employees let this happen far too frequently.

5) When it comes to leaf litter, should it be added on top of the substrate (ABG), between the substrate and sphagnum, or on top of the sphagnum? Or should part of the substrate be covered in leaves and part in sphagnum?

6) Is it best to use distilled water or natural spring water? Rain water in Houston would have just as many chemicals as tap water, so that's not an option here...

Thanx to anyone who can help in these somewhat trivial matters, I just don't want to do anything wrong right off the bat simply because I was too afraid to ask a stupid question!!!
 

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1) The only reason I could see to add water is to fill in a water feature. If you don't have one you don't have to add and additional water.

2) Put ABG mix ontop of fiberglass screen, mist lightly

3) Just search it.

4) I like darts because I don't have to fool with crickets. If you're dead set on feeding out pinheads rear them into a separate container and then see if your frogs will eat them.

5) leaf litter goes on top of the substrate

6) Whatever floats your boat. I use RO water for misting to prevent mineral buildup on the glass.
 

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1) The only reason I could see to add water is to fill in a water feature. If you don't have one you don't have to add and additional water.

2) Put ABG mix ontop of fiberglass screen, mist lightly

3) Just search it.

4) I like darts because I don't have to fool with crickets. If you're dead set on feeding out pinheads rear them into a separate container and then see if your frogs will eat them.

5) leaf litter goes on top of the substrate

6) Whatever floats your boat. I use RO water for misting to prevent mineral buildup on the glass.
Perfectly put. I would just add that the answer to number three will depend on who it comes from. There isn't a universal law of how much or often to feed your frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone. Just didn't wanna mess up something simple and ruin a $250 vivarium before I even get any frogs in it... And that's the absolute cheapest I can do it for without a water feature or false bottom! I had no idea how expensive this hobby was, but it's too late. My curiosity is peaked :)

As for the sphagnum moss, I pretty much began my quest to make certain I knew what I was doing by watching the basic setup video by joshsfrogs.com. He specifically recommends adding the sphagnum in a thick layer over the ABG... Many other "how to make a vivarium" posts, web-pages and youtube videos do this as well.

So pretty much everyone just kinda "wings it" and does their own thing it seems. I just want to make sure that what I do isn't something that will NOT work... This is all very confusing.

I won't be using crickets. It's not worth the time, money or energy to care about a cricket. I'll just worry about what to feed them when I get my starter kit for melanogaster cultures to practice the FF colonies a month or so before I even order frogs. The only reason I brought up the crickets is that in every other exotic pet I've had, a variety of food makes for much healthier animals than ones that eat the same thing every day their entire lives.

As for the water, I guess I'll just water the plants in, then mist until I hit 80+ percent humidity and see what happens...
 

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Crickets MIGHT lay eggs in ABG but I doubt they'd even hatch. We cultured crickets at the Zoo for a couple months. Turned out to be WAY more trouble than it was worth. They prefered to lay the eggs in sandy substrate with a bit of cocofiber mixed in. Too wet and nothing hatched, same with too dry.

I put a little moss on top of my ABG before adding the moss/leaf litter.

Mist with RO or DI, spring/tap will have minerals which build up.

I actually found it easier to move the ABG around and add it when a little damp, thus less dusty.

I feed small amounts of fruit flies daily and reseed my vivariums with springs weekly from cultures. I found my tincs will destroy hydei all day long if I let them but I don't want them to get too fat.
 

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I think you're right...most of us do at least a little "winging it" and it is very confusing when you start out trying to read everything you can. Everyone has differing opinions and methods as to "what works". Even for me, after a year of nearly non-stop reading, I can become confused/unsure and need to ask questions. It's a good thing that you're doing that and shows that you are trying to do your best. :)

Here's my answers to your questions...

1. No, you do not need to fill the bottom with water.

2. I mix my own substrate and it's slightly damp when I put it in. However, I don't see the need to get it damp until you're ready to plant.

3. Ed is a great man and his contributions are priceless. But, if you're like me, I can get totally mind-boggled when reading some (okay...a lot!) of it. So, if you get lost in the threads he posted, or can't precisely weigh everything you should, here's a good thing to try... simply feed a small amount...if they're gone the next morning, try feeding a little bit more than before. If there are quite a few flies left over, feed a little less the next day. You want to have flies readily available to froglets, but you don't want them floating in them. It doesn't take too long to figure out about how much they need to eat. Also keep an eye out as they grow...for when you need to increase the amount.

4. I wouldn't mess with crickets. I've heard they're dirty and smelly and can cause injury to frogs if they're too large. Fruitflies are an easy staple. If you want variety, I know tincs do well with bean beetles and isopods. There are more options out there...just look through the supplies classifieds and you'll find all sorts of things.

5. If you're using sphagnum, the leaf litter would go over that. You don't have to cover the entire tank in leaf litter. In my tanks, I usually place the leaf litter around the outside perimeter around plants mainly just for the isopods and springtails...but the frogs seem to move it around anyhow!

6. I prefer to only use distilled for anything in regards to tanks so that I don't have to fight water deposits/build-up/etching down the road.
 

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1) I prefer to put a quarter inch of water in to help keep a high humidity.

2) ABG mix can tend to "shed" water the first time you wet it down. I prefer to saturate it outside of the viv, squeeze out the excess, and then put it in. No biggie though, if you choose not to mess with that, it may just take a good amount of misting until it is thoroughly dampened.

3) I would start with around 15 or so per frog. If you cannot find any the next day, raise the amount. If they are everywhere, lower the amount. If there are still just a few around, sounds about right.

4) Forget messy, stinky, crickets. Fruit flies, springtails, and isopods. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/food-feeding/66991-how-culture-isopods-woodlice-springtails.html

5) Skip the sphagnum if you are using ABG and leaf litter. Thats saves more room for an extra inch or two of leaf litter!

6) RO for mineral build up prevention.
 

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Ok, I'm almost ready to start my first build, just need more $$$. I have read up on just about everything I can think of for weeks now, and I have a few basic questions -

1) When put down the base layer (hydroton), then cover it with the substate divider (fiberglass screen), should water be added before filling with substrate? I am assuming not, but can't find a definitive answer anywhere, as this will likely affect humity.

2) Same as above, only regarding substrate (ABG). Should it be left relatively dry, mixed with water before going into the tank, or watered in only when the plants are positioned? Or both the latter answers?

3) Exactly how many fruit flies (melanogaster) should be fed per froglet/frog (D. azureus) and how often?

4) How bad of an idea is adding a large adult female cricket into the vivarium, under stict supervision, for a few minutes to lay some eggs each day/week to provide a constant source of pinhead "treats" for the froglets? Or even placing a small container of substrate in a sterile container with the female cricket and introducing it to the vivarium, cutting the risk of injury to the frogs from a large bitey insect? How big is the risk of pinhead crickets (hatched in vivaria or introduced) hiding long enough to grow into a formidable danger to the frog? I have seen what crickets can do when reptile owners are not diligent about removing uneaten crickets overnight... I worked at PetCo for a while, and the employees let this happen far too frequently.

5) When it comes to leaf litter, should it be added on top of the substrate (ABG), between the substrate and sphagnum, or on top of the sphagnum? Or should part of the substrate be covered in leaves and part in sphagnum?

6) Is it best to use distilled water or natural spring water? Rain water in Houston would have just as many chemicals as tap water, so that's not an option here...

Thanx to anyone who can help in these somewhat trivial matters, I just don't want to do anything wrong right off the bat simply because I was too afraid to ask a stupid question!!!
Pumilo is dead on lol
Seed your tank with springtails
If you can't afford an R/O system then distilled works great I have never seen any mineral deposits, ever.
I call the company and ask them is it is truely distilled water cause I use the store brands.
Walmart's distilled water is pretty good.
Idk if you have Kroger there lol but their Distilled is awesome and at 59¢ a gallon you can't beat it.

I breed crikets and you really need more heat than what's in a vivarium.
Mine hatch at 90°
If you upkeep the crickets well they don't stink.
$20 box of 1000 adults and just fill a butter container(small) full of some eco earth and they will lay eggs like crazy then put them in a plastic shoe box under a heat lamp with the butter bowl lid on there loosely and in a week you will have tons of pinheads.
It's fun to experiment with it lol
 
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I put my substrate in a bucket and add water till its wet. Then I pull out hand fulls and squeeze out as much water as i can. Then i put it into the viv, fist by fist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks so much for those replies yesterday, I feel like everything makes so much more sense now! I appreciate all of the input and opinions of everyone here :)
 
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