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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have done a lot research into dart frog ( i know that live plants are better for them) but is it possible for them to live in a viv with fake plants? of course still being using bg substarte that i can find or make myself (possible using biolife prorep forest substrate) and have springtails in to keep any mold from growing + extra food for the dart frogs so i wouldn't have to do as much cleaning of substrate as the springtails should keep it mostly clean. Any thoughts on this or should I not bother keeping dart frogs without a bioactive viv?
 

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I have done a lot research into dart frog ( i know that live plants are better for them) but is it possible for them to live in a viv with fake plants? of course still being using bg substarte that i can find or make myself (possible using biolife prorep forest substrate) and have springtails in to keep any mold from growing + extra food for the dart frogs so i wouldn't have to do as much cleaning of substrate as the springtails should keep it mostly clean. Any thoughts on this or should I not bother keeping dart frogs without a bioactive viv?
The term bioactive is a misnomer. All tanks are bioactive... My door knob is bioactive.

One of the main reasons why we use live plants is that they provide some service for the tank: conversion of carbon dioxide into oxygen, the plants also provide some moisture to the tank air as well.

I never clean my substrate, all my substrate is converted in leaf litter (which is important for frogs).

I have experienced other animals not liking the feel of fake plants against them (mind you this was 15+ years ago) and avoiding the fake plants wherever possible. This could happen with dart frogs as well, rarely do people talk about using fake plants with them on here.

Those are my thoughts, hopefully others chime in as well
 

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I have had to use fake plants with larger taxa for visual blocks and cover. I needed foliage to be in specific zones. Most of the time I combined these with live pothos in the understory for ambassador permanent display but I also had to be able to dismantle and disinfect strongly per infux and dictate of the owners entrepreneur goals - my least favorite part of that job. I had a continual, fairly broad drip in heavier fake plant situ and was always with mister in hand.
But it is Clear that animals Live Plants are better beyond ideological favor. Also animals can get caught in fake plants, especially long tailed or with fragile autotomy.

An interesting note is no matter how realistic a 'silk plant' looks or feels, silkworms and other insects will lose purchase on them readily while easily fastening on and moving along actual leaf morphology.
 

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I think most people also enjoy the aesthetic of the live planted tank as well - and those that enjoy the frogs the most, learn to love the plants as well. Remember that the frogs are not always visible, so its nice to have a cool looking vivarium at any time!
 

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Live plants are also some of my best indicators that the conditions in the tank are where I want them to be for the frogs.
+1. I don't use any man-made environmental gauges whatsoever, other than the thermostat on my backup space heater (keeps the winter NTLs from going too low; it comes on at 47F). I just have live indicators - the plants. My snakes are tougher than nearly all my plants, and they like the same conditions. So, if the plants look happy I know I'm squarely within spec for the snakes. Whereas if the viv is consistently getting too dry or too wet, the plants will show it pronto, and I know I have to do some investigating and correcting or else I'll be dealing with a sick snake in a few weeks.

I no longer use any fake plants in vivs. I used to use a fair bit, but everything already said here by others - definitely ugly, possibly dangerous, and lacking the metabolic benefits - has also led me to my current practice.

Snakes aren't frogs, obviously, but I think the basic principles carry across. Gauges are fallible and also offer moral hazard into "stability" - the quest to keep temps, RH etc constant. Better to let things wiggle around, within bounds.

good luck!
 

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I really agree with your comment about uniformity.

Humidity, moisture is cyclic, the animals we keep, snakes, frogs, most others, such ebb and wane can be a stimulating as well as corrective force in a closed system, just as the ability to move through gradients of their own volition.

There isnt alot of opportunity to break environmental monotony in a boundary of space. To allow these kind of external differences within a safe spectrum for such somatically acute animals is a positive for their whole well being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
so, if i where to use real plants would i need to use artifical lighting? I would rather keep away from using any electric as i dont have a lot of plugs to use as i msotly keep reptiles, the cage that i want to use gets low light from the sun all day, would this be okay to do if not i can always take plants out and take them outside for a few days every so often if need be?
 

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It depends on how much artificial light the viv gets. Sunlight could work, but you'd have to worry about it being heated up by the sun. You could borrow a light meter intended for plants and check how much sun the tank gets, if it's not getting too warm.

You should really just get an artificial light. If you don't have many plugs, use a power strip to get more plugs. You don't want to be taking the plants in and outside- it's stressful for the plants, for the animals whose habitat you're messing with, and may bring in pathogens. Plus, any plants in a state where they can be removed and taken outside aren't going to contribute very well to a bioactive viv, you want the plants in the soil or on the background itself. And most dart-frog-suitable plants don't want to go outside, anyway, that's too much light, not enough humidity, and probably the wrong temperature.
 

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No, don't ever put a herp enclosure in direct sunlight. Not ever. It is way, way too easy to bake things.
 

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to use real plants would i need to use artifical lighting?
Not necessarily.
  • A few options (terrible ones) have already come up - removing the plants to take them outside, and putting the viv in direct sunlight.
  • A better option would be to just stick with typical houseplants that do fine with crappy light. You don't need light-hungry plants like bromeliads. People see them in pictures and then get to thinking they need them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
But you'll have a lot more options, and be able to see into the viv better and thus enjoy it more, if you just got a light. I understand British homes - especially older ones - may not have many outlets and may also not have a very high-amperage service. But you can get some really low-load lights these days.

good luck!
 
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