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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy! New here and to the hobby. Did loads of research over the last few weeks and did my first build and would love to hear your thoughts! I'm thoroughly addicted and already getting excited about building another one down the line.

The tank is one of these new Frogs & Co dart frog terrariums. 18 cube. Pre-drilled drainage, single pane door, glass/screen vent top, routing for misters. Did a great stuff pond foam background with mopani wood and cork bark + black aquarium silicone and tree fern fiber over top. Got a relatively cheap LED aquarium light with a built-in timer/day-night cycle, along with a similarly cheap misting system with a built-in seconds timer of Amazon.

Here's a pic of it freshly planted. Can't see them but there are a couple cork round caves, one behind the wood, one towards the front. Springtails and dwarf white isopods in the ground, magnolia leaf litter. The little tree spirit figurine dudes are 1.2-1.5" for reference. Shooting for 3 or so fine spot D. leucomelas in here about a month from now. Any suggestions or thoughts? I'm thinking about adding a thin piece of ghostwood sloped up from the front to the background to add some more vertical space but worry it will be really cluttered when the plants grow in.

Plant Pet supply Aquatic plant Fish supply Terrestrial plant

Plant Purple Flower Terrestrial plant Violet
 

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I'm thinking about adding a thin piece of ghostwood sloped up from the front to the background to add some more vertical space but worry it will be really cluttered when the plants grow in.
That's a good idea. An 18 cube is not really much space at all for leucs (that "dart frog" marketing is misleading on those Frogs & Co vivs), so maximizing climbing opportunities and use of space should be a priority.

I'd personally pull out the spider plant while you still can (the roots on those can wreak a lot of damage), and the birdnest fern before it has radically outgrown the space.
 

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Be prepared to pull that Spanish moss. Tillandsia usneoides likes a lot of air movement, which is why you'll encounter it swinging in the wind suspended from a lateral branch in the wild, rather than surrounding the main trunk of the tree. It may do well for a while in a tank, but will eventually rot. I grow a few varieties. If you really like it, and wish to keep it in your house, it will do well being dunked in water, or sprayed to the the point of being dripping wet, then allowed to dry out before repeating. It likes very high light also.

Your general layout looks decent, and your plans to add some ghostwood sound like a good improvement. The wood you have in there resembles grapewood. I hope it isn't. That stuff decays rapidly in humid conditions; within a few weeks it will already be going soft. It's hard to guess from the photos what you have in there.

I'd add a bit more leaf litter to make a nice, thick stack, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
looks great what light did you buy ?
Thanks! It’s this one.
That's a good idea. An 18 cube is not really much space at all for leucs (that "dart frog" marketing is misleading on those Frogs & Co vivs), so maximizing climbing opportunities and use of space should be a priority. I'd personally pull out the spider plant while you still can (the roots on those can wreak a lot of damage), and the birdnest fern before it has radically outgrown the space.
Understood. Though the out of the box modifications were a compromise I was willing to make this first go. Oh, good to know. I’ll probably replace that spider plant then, not really a big fan to begin with.
Be prepared to pull that Spanish moss. Tillandsia usneoides likes a lot of air movement, which is why you'll encounter it swinging in the wind suspended from a lateral branch in the wild, rather than surrounding the main trunk of the tree. It may do well for a while in a tank, but will eventually rot. I grow a few varieties. If you really like it, and wish to keep it in your house, it will do well being dunked in water, or sprayed to the the point of being dripping wet, then allowed to dry out before repeating. It likes very high light also. Your general layout looks decent, and your plans to add some ghostwood sound like a good improvement. The wood you have in there resembles grapewood. I hope it isn't. That stuff decays rapidly in humid conditions; within a few weeks it will already be going soft. It's hard to guess from the photos what you have in there. I'd add a bit more leaf litter to make a nice, thick stack, too.
Thanks! The spanish moss is the dried stuff and just aesthetic flair for the moment, probably will go in the long run. The wood is mopani, should hold up just fine yeah?
 

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I currently only have Leucs. I've kept aurotaenia, auratus, bicolor and imitator in the past
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The wood is mopani, should hold up just fine yeah?
Mopani is one of the best rot resistant woods, it should last you a very long time.

Since you are removing the spider plant anyways, I would suggest moving the rabbit's foot fern in the front right to the spot that the spider plant will be vacating. That way it isnt getting in your way when you are dumping in fruit flies in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since you are removing the spider plant anyways, I would suggest moving the rabbit's foot fern in the front right to the spot that the spider plant will be vacating. That way it isnt getting in your way when you are dumping in fruit flies in the future.
That is such a good point, I didn’t even think of that. Thank you! Spider plant is out and rabbit foot fern is in its place. Will go hunt for a good piece of ghost wood or two today.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I have about a month before any frogs go in and want to get it just right before they do. Will update.
 

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I honestly hadn’t really thought about it until you mentioned. Why do you ask?
I'm not Tijl but I can answer your question. Because bromeliad rosettes open upwards, towards the sky to catch sun and rain in nature. Too much of an angle looks unnatural and wont allow the plants to hold much water in their urns. Even as the plants blindly send out stolons to pup from, the new pups always attempt to orient themselves facing the sky if they have the space to do so, no matter what angle relative to the mother plant the stolon ran. The only time that you would see broms oriented how you oriented them is when a colony of clones is crowded to the point of forming a spherical shape, but only the pups on the bottom of the colony would be oriented that way. The rest would be oriented upwards.
Images from a google search:



 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm not Tijl but I can answer your question. Because bromeliad rosettes open upwards, towards the sky to catch sun and rain in nature. Too much of an angle looks unnatural and wont allow the plants to hold much water in their urns. Even as the plants blindly send out stolons to pup from, the new pups always attempt to orient themselves facing the sky if they have the space to do so, no matter what angle relative to the mother plant the stolon ran. The only time that you would see broms oriented how you oriented them is when a colony of clones is crowded to the point of forming a spherical shape, but only the pups on the bottom of the colony would be oriented that way. The rest would be oriented upwards.
Images from a google search:



I see…I’ll have to play with them to see if I can orient some vertically but doubt I can do all of them that way. Is this just a question of being naturalistic or is it harmful to the plant/less useful to the frogs or something if oriented this way?
 

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My response would be similar to that of Okapi.

I thought you put the bromeliads intentionaly in that position, for whatever reason. Hence why I asked. It looks very 'strange'/unrealsitic to see them in that position. I found it strange no one else noticed it.

Leucomelas don't have any use for bromeliads, so the frogs would not mind their position. But the plant itself will suffer as Okapi already explained in his post.
 

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Ok…got it. You guys could’ve just said so instead of being all cute about it 🙄 Will the plants really suffer being at a 45 degree angle though? I see lots of setups that are many years old with their bromeliads at a similar angle
I didn't see it as big enough of an issue to risk offending you by pointing it out. Broms will survive growing at an odd angle, they just won't grow optimally and will be dehydrated without full urns. I prefer to only offer constructive criticism if something about a newbie's first build could cause problems for them or their frogs. If you had ranitomeya rather than dendrobates, I, as well as everyone else, would have said something.

I see…I’ll have to play with them to see if I can orient some vertically but doubt I can do all of them that way.

I am at work so I can't offer a picture, but look up the X toothpick trick or make a U shape out of a paper clip. Hopefully someone can chime in with an example soon.

Edit: I do have a pic on my phone:
Plant Terrestrial plant Rectangle Grass Natural material
 

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Ok…got it. You guys could’ve just said so instead of being all cute about it 🙄 Will the plants really suffer being at a 45 degree angle though? I see lots of setups that are many years old with their bromeliads at a similar angle
I did not ment to offend you or anything like that, I was just curious if this was done internationaly for some reeason.

If anything my post could help you avoid spending money on new bromeliads if these happen to die by 'misplacing' them..

I don't think that could be the case since they either would die of or straighten out by growing towards the light if they have not matured yet.
 
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