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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel like I'm documenting my kids first haircut with that title, but here goes!

Currently I'm collecting everything that I think I will need for the build, but of course I order things, and realize I need more things, so I've been making multiple orders from the same vendors, a little annoying - but my fault for not planning better! As my first tank, I realize I'm probably over-ordering, but I also realize it's incredibly likely I will end up with multiple tanks so I'm hopeful I will be able to use anything left over for future builds.

At some point this week I should have pretty much everything I need to at least get going on the background, so I will most likely begin that phase next week.

I did want to start a thread here to get some input & feedback before I make a mistake somewhere along the line, bounce some ideas and questions off of you seasoned/experienced froggers, and make sure I'm thinking along the right lines! I realize with certain things, I will only have once chance before it becomes a major headache, so I'm doing my best to eliminate any typical rookie moves.

As far as the frogs go, I am certain I want something in the Ranitomeya family (genus the scientific / correct term?). Specifically R. Fantastica, probably Nominal, OR R. Variabilis, probably Southerns. That said, I am trying to build around that when planning the viv and have been looking at as many Ranitomeya vivs as possible on the forums here trying to get an idea on what seems to be successful.

The viv itself, I ended up going with the In Situ Amazonia. Originally I had planned on going with an old exo-terra I had floating around from a decade ago, but that's mysteriously disappeared. Looking into getting another Exo, I found the In Situ, and just from looking online I could see the Exo would require a lot of extras & modifications to bring it up to Amazonia standards... considering cost at that point it seemed like a no brainer to just get the Amazonia. Works out to 22W x 24H x 17.5D I believe.

I did order the mistking set up, the 2nd sized pump (thinking down the line for more tanks) - I don't intend on using it off the bat. I'll probably get it set up, but I dont want to rely on it at first and fully plan on getting used to hand misting for a while. Seems to be an invaluable lesson for long term frog care, especially for somebody like me.

The background I had planned on doing a combo of cracked cork mosaic with the spaghnum, straight silicone and peat, and some great stuff. Definetly the full back, and probably some of the sides. I would do the entire sides, but I would like to retain some visibility - I might go half and half there. This is really dependent on the wood that shows up and how well I visualized it in the tank based on the pics online.

For the drainage & substrate. According to In Situ, it takes 2 lbs of activated charcoal to fill the trough and get a small drainage layer established. So I have that ready to go. I have some weed mat that will go down on top of the charcoal, and a couple bags of ABG for on top of that. I think I may need more though, I ordered one bag from Glass Box Tropicals and one bag from NEHERP, just looking at them I dont see how it would be enough, at least if I want any depth to the ABG, so anticipating another order there. On top of that I have a couple bags of leaf litter - some sea grape, southern magnolia I think? And one other. I'll confirm later when I get home, but wanted to start with the sea grape and then cover that with some of the other litter. Which reminds me - how deep should the ABG be? I am figuring 2" of leaf litter but not sure about the ABG. Thats one thing with the InSitu, it doesn't seem to promote a deep substrate. Realistically I will be keeping the substrate minimally planted in order to give the frogs as much ground space as possible, but I would like to have maybe 2-3 terrestrial plants? Maybe a couple more depending on the plants themselves, but mostly everything will be mounted up and out of the substrate.

Basically I am working around the concept of heavily/well planted, keeping "multi-levels" of usable space - ledges, ramps, slopes/gradient in the substrate, strategically placed branches and logs,

Once I get this all moving, I'll start to order some plants - I have a minor list going of some ones I might be interested in, but not prioritizing that just yet.

One of my biggest questions/areas I'm not sure in, is quarantining/disinfecting. I understand the concept and the reasons for it, but wondering how in-depth it gets. For example, I had ordered some driftwood, manzanita wood, etc from various shops, NEHerp, Etsy, etc. Do I sanitize these? Soak them in a bleach solution, rinse, and let dry? What about the Viv itself? Is it recommended to sanitize the viv? Leaf litter, ABG mix?

I'm certain I should be sanitizing the wood and leaf litter, bleach dip every plant that goes in (do I further QT them?), but not sure the best way to go about this. Also I figured it would just be lazy not to disinfect the Amazonia, so I'll do that, but again, not sure of the safest/suggested way to do so.

I'll definitely keep this updated as the build progresses with pics, but figured I should get this thread started now. Looking forward to this whole thing and excited to eventually get some frogs in here!

Thanks everybody!
 

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Generally speaking: if I'm ordering "new" wood, I don't disinfect it (but maybe I ought to), disinfecting wood is a pain.

For plants I use neherp's plant cleaning routine: NEHERP - Vivarium Plant Processing Procedure

For leaves: if I'm buying commercially available leaves from a major vendor then I just rinse them really well, and don't bother disinfecting them.

ABG mix should not need cleaning, I can't imagine trying to disinfect that lol.

To disinfect the tank: use a bleach solution the same way as for prepping the plants, and use a cloth to rub each surface of the tank with the solution, then rinse, rinse, and rinse some more.
 

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For plants I use neherp's plant cleaning routine: NEHERP - Vivarium Plant Processing Procedure
That looks good, except for the advice to skip a bleach dip on bromeliads. There should be do problems bleaching Neos or Crypathanthus, and a strong reason not to skip it. If it can't be dipped, I wouldn't let it in my vivs.

Hopefully you've done your research on R. fantastica -- they're said to be shy and fast, so if you want to see the frogs, or don't own a catcher's mitt, maybe not the best choice.

Oh, and : Ranitomeya is a genus (in the family Dendrobatidae).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Generally speaking: if I'm ordering "new" wood, I don't disinfect it (but maybe I ought to), disinfecting wood is a pain.

For plants I use neherp's plant cleaning routine: NEHERP - Vivarium Plant Processing Procedure

For leaves: if I'm buying commercially available leaves from a major vendor then I just rinse them really well, and don't bother disinfecting them.

ABG mix should not need cleaning, I can't imagine trying to disinfect that lol.

To disinfect the tank: use a bleach solution the same way as for prepping the plants, and use a cloth to rub each surface of the tank with the solution, then rinse, rinse, and rinse some more.
I sort of assumed that on the wood, disinfecting wouldn't be easy. I just dont know where the risk level is ordering "new" wood from somewhere on the internet. I also assumed you cant disinfect ABG in any reasonable manner, but thought I should ask lol.

The leaves I was really just going to follow this, also from NE Herp:

How To Process Leaf Litter:
1) Thoroughly rinse the leaves in a pot of water
2) Drain & refill the pot with fresh clean water
3) Bring the pot to a boil for about 2-3 minutes
4) Allow to cool, then strain leaves before use!

Appreciate the tips!

That looks good, except for the advice to skip a bleach dip on bromeliads. There should be do problems bleaching Neos or Crypathanthus, and a strong reason not to skip it. If it can't be dipped, I wouldn't let it in my vivs.

Hopefully you've done your research on R. fantastica -- they're said to be shy and fast, so if you want to see the frogs, or don't own a catcher's mitt, maybe not the best choice.

Oh, and : Ranitomeya is a genus (in the family Dendrobatidae).
Thanks! I had noticed some conflicting info on the Broms, but yeah, definitely intended to bleach them all. I'm adopting that approach of it I can't dip it, it's not going in.

I dont own a catchers mitt, but I have done some research. Personally I dont have a major issue not seeing them all of the time, I think part of the attraction to me is having to look around a little bit. In other words it's more "rewarding" to me to see them, if they're not always out in the open.

However that is also why I am considering the Variabillis, as I believe they are known to be a little more viewer-friendly.
 

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Personally I dont have a major issue not seeing them all of the time, I think part of the attraction to me is having to look around a little bit. In other words it's more "rewarding" to me to see them, if they're not always out in the open.
Understandable, and I agree. Be aware that "shy", in thumbnails, sometimes means not seeing them at all for weeks. My sirensis (midway between shy and bold, according to most reports) disappeared almost completely for the better part of the first year or so. They're getting a bit better now. This can be very troubling for a new keeper, who may have to get over the worry that all their frogs are dead because they can't be found for extended periods. It is really tough to figure out if they're eating, too -- if your viv isn't 100% FF proof, it isn't clear that the flies are being eaten or escaping, and sometimes poop is somewhat hidden.

A recent thread with some discussion of fants with input from some pretty well-versed keepers (I assume you've read this one, but linking it anyway):

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Understandable, and I agree. Be aware that "shy", in thumbnails, sometimes means not seeing them at all for weeks. My sirensis (midway between shy and bold, according to most reports) disappeared almost completely for the better part of the first year or so. They're getting a bit better now. This can be very troubling for a new keeper, who may have to get over the worry that all their frogs are dead because they can't be found for extended periods. It is really tough to figure out if they're eating, too -- if your viv isn't 100% FF proof, it isn't clear that the flies are being eaten or escaping, and sometimes poop is somewhat hidden.

A recent thread with some discussion of fants with input from some pretty well-versed keepers (I assume you've read this one, but linking it anyway):

So personally, from everything I've read, my biggest concern would be difficulty observing them if I suspect any sort of health or aggression issue, figuring out if they're eating, etc. Not seeing them for extended periods of time wont bother me once I get over that initial worry of, "did I kill them?" Of course I am hoping that the viv I build will help with their confidence and they'll be out foraging and exploring, but even if I build the perfect viv, I realize it's not up to me to decide how they act, frogs within the some species/locale will all have their own individuality, some will be more shy and some will be more bold.

I've read through that thread a couple of times - it's a good one! Actually reading through it originally I remember thinking that they sound like a good fit, even still.

I'm not 100% dead set on Fants either. I can always get them for another tank. At some point I would definitely like to have a tank with more visible frogs, so I really have nothing against starting with something else and getting Fants down the line. Probably not the worst idea to start with Variabillis or Imitator
 

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If you really want a perfect starter dart I would consider leucs. They are not shy, eat everything you feed them and more tolerant to a degree on humidity levels. I got them as a second species and regretted not getting them first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If you really want a perfect starter dart I would consider leucs. They are not shy, eat everything you feed them and more tolerant to a degree on humidity levels. I got them as a second species and regretted not getting them first.
Interesting - why did you regret getting them as a 2nd over the first? What was your first?

They require more space, no? I feel like they might be a little cramped in an Amazonia
 

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Basically I felt like getting leucs was like auto pilot compared to my previous species. I never had to fuss over them eating as froglets because they are pigs, very visible so I could monitor their growth/progress and have not had any health issues like my first species (terribilis). They are also a lot of fun to watch climbing over the whole tank, terribilis kind of just sit in one spot motionless all day unless eating. An Amazonia should be a perfect size for 2-3 leucs no problem. I have 5 in 36"x18"x24".
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Basically I felt like getting leucs was like auto pilot compared to my previous species. I never had to fuss over them eating as froglets because they are pigs, very visible so I could monitor their growth/progress and have not had any health issues like my first species (terribilis). They are also a lot of fun to watch climbing over the whole tank, terribilis kind of just sit in one spot motionless all day unless eating. An Amazonia should be a perfect size for 2-3 leucs no problem. I have 5 in 36"x18"x24".
I appreciate the info! Those are definitely some good points. I dont know, maybe I should be re thinking my choice haha. The idea of keeping a trio does interest me too. Maybe I should be considering a Ranitomeya on the bolder side - everything I had been buying so far / planning in the viv has been with Ranitomeya in mind, I would have to readjust a little for Leucs I think. They do seem cool though. I have been keeping notes while I do my research and put them in there for what would likely be my second species, if not one of the bolder Ranitomeya.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This took me way longer than I expected to get to this point, a mix of life business, laziness, waiting on things in the mail, a few set backs, the light housing glass showed up cracked and I didn’t realize until I flipped the viv on it’s side to do the background. InSitu was great and sent out a replacement, with shipping delays it was taking forever and when it finally went out for delivery it got damaged and they returned to sender. Eventually I got a good piece and made the repair and kept on going.

I was going to wait to post pics so I could get the spag jammed in the cracks and the substrate down but I just realized I may have screwed up. I’m not entirely sure but I think I may have used a piece of grapevine and now I’m panicked that it’s going to rot and fall apart on me.

My only hope is that I did foam it into the wall high enough that I could keep it elevated off of the substrate. I planned to slope the ground up to meet it, but I can change that easily.

what do we think about that twisty spindly wooGrapewood? It’s so hard to see in the pics I think. I tried to get a few angles.

honestly at this point unless there is major objection, my plan is to continue as is, keep the branch out of contact with the substrate, and keep an eye on it. If I can get a couple years out of it I would be happy with it, I would expect to build a 2nd viv, move inhabitants over and rebuild this one with no grape wood

I’ll also get better pics once I have the moss in the background, substrate down, lights plugged in etc. doing a combination of silicone and peat and cracked cork mosaic.

also I think I’ve decided to change frog plans and I’m leaving heavily towards sirensis

Interior design Art Wood Tints and shades Event

Brown Wood Organism Trunk Twig

Wood Natural material Art Twig Event

Dog Wood Carnivore Dog breed Fawn

Dog Dog breed Wood Carnivore Fawn

Wood Twig Plant Art Trunk

Wood Flooring Gas Art Metal

Food Kitchen appliance Cuisine Grilling Cooking

Wood Art Natural material Flooring Metal
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok so decided to keep the possible grape wood and not have it in contact with the substrate, see what happens…

got the stand together, charcoal down, window screen down, ABG and Spag soaking (for background mosaic)…realized I don’t have a drain line and then realized I couldn’t put the ABG in cause it’ll likely run out enough excess water to drain. Oops. Gotta run out tomorrow for that. Anybody know off the top of their head what size tubing fits the Amazonia drain?

Could use some opinions on this stump I want to put in. Personally I like it, yes it’s big, takes up a lot of space, but provides good climbing area, and has a pretty narrow foot print, so I like how it divides the area and creates a pocket in the back left. I’m figuring this would be the dampest and darkest corner of the viv if I keep it.

otherwise I’ll leave it to open floor space
Wood Rectangle World Art Glass

Wood Twig Trunk Plant Tints and shades
Black Wood Rectangle Art Creative arts
Wood Branch Plant Grey Trunk
Wood Sculpture Trunk Art Artifact
Wood Rectangle World Art Glass
Wood Automotive design World Art Sculpture
World Wood Organism Art Artifact
Wood Twig Trunk Plant Tints and shades

Wood Sculpture Trunk Art Artifact

Wood Automotive design World Art Sculpture

Black Wood Rectangle Art Creative arts

World Wood Organism Art Artifact

Wood Branch Plant Grey Trunk
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
up and running now, looking for some plant ideas…especially for the angled cork planters, I have the 2 on the left hand side and 1 on the right.

i can’t really put broms in those right? Just thinking for when they pup, they’ll have nowhere to go.

any other plant suggestions welcomed, not really sure where to start. Definitely wanted to get a couple marcgravia shingling up. not sure how I’m going to plant the hard scape at all

if I order un-rooted cuttings, it’s best that I root them first in spag outside of the tank right?

let me know what you guys think!

Wood Art Rectangle Sculpture Painting

Wood Organism Trunk Art Twig

Wood Branch Plant Organism Trunk

Wood Trunk Art Picture frame Tree
 

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I made similar cork planters for my recent build. I have them planted with Episcia species of plants (no idea what species, just that there Episcia) they will trail down from the planters and create new plants along the way.

Here's a picture of one that's just starting to trail down (it's the bushy plant at the back)
Leaf Botany Wood Terrestrial plant Plant
 

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up and running now, looking for some plant ideas…especially for the angled cork planters, I have the 2 on the left hand side and 1 on the right.

i can’t really put broms in those right? Just thinking for when they pup, they’ll have nowhere to go.

any other plant suggestions welcomed, not really sure where to start. Definitely wanted to get a couple marcgravia shingling up. not sure how I’m going to plant the hard scape at all

if I order un-rooted cuttings, it’s best that I root them first in spag outside of the tank right?

let me know what you guys think!

View attachment 306059
View attachment 306061
View attachment 306062
View attachment 306060
Wow! Looking great! Post pictures once you’ve planted
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Plants showed up and I’m a nervous wreck :ROFLMAO:

Seriously though I am a bit nervous I’m going to kill some of them. I bleach dipped everything, even the stuff that’s a little more delicate, cause I figured I can’t be too safe. I’ve dealt with pests in reef tanks before but didn’t want to risk it here especially after seeing how adamant some here are about bleach dipping plants…has to be a reason for that. I got myself mentally accepting I’ll probably have some die off or plants react poorly to the bleach (some did), but still I’m hoping they all root and grow into nice beautiful plants. I still planted the damaged ones hoping they’ll recover nicely

i did mess up by putting the leaf litter down first. Not that I planned to put in a lot of “terrestrials” but I didn’t realize that for example, Marcgravia, although an epiphyte (?) still should be rooted in the ABG, same for the microgramma I got… anyway it just made things a little more difficult.

springs are in, dwarf white are in, I want something for the planter in the back left, I want a couple of those air plants…can’t remember how to spell the full name but I think people call them “Tillys”

Overall I think I have enough shading plants, it’s hard to visualize how these things will look once grown in, especially considering this is my first viv. I don’t know, maybe I’ll need more.

I know I’ll want more broms. I’m on the fence of letting these two grow and pup for a more natural appearance but I could also be talked into adding a 3rd anyway

that big stumpy log on the left also has some great crevices I could put plants in. It’s hard cause it seems so bare but I put 16 different plants in there

and again, intended inhabitants are a Sirensis group

Wood Branch Flower Plant Organism

Plant Organism Terrestrial plant Grass Wood
 
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