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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this has been a long process for me. Somewhere around 3 years ago I started playing with the idea of getting some PDFs. I have been in the exotic pet hobby for almost 10 years now and really enjoy it. So PDFs were never very far away. The thing that always turned me off was not the delicacy of these frogs in general, but the food source that needed to be dealt with. Any way I decided about 6 months ago that I was going to dive in and I'm sure glad I did!

So I have finished (maybe?...if a viv can ever really be considered finished :p) my first viv. It has been designed around my frog of choice which is actually a group of Varaderos. It is a standard 15G long tank that I had converted to a vert by a local glass company. They actually did a fantastic job and for very cheap. Labor and materials was only $40.

After the long process of making the standard GS background and deciding the general layout of the tank I was ready for plants. I had difficulty finding plants locally and so after finding a few suitable ones I ordered the rest from Hawaiian Botanicals in British Colombia (excellent company btw). I now have all the plants in place after a bit of shuffling and I'm happy with the turnout. The plants have been growing in for about 3 weeks now so there are gaps around that I expect will fill in. The brom in the middle has a new stolen shooting out towards the center of the viv that will help to fill a void there, and I have two species of creeping plants to grow up the back and over the wood etc.

Basically at this stage I am interested in any comments and/or suggestions from the more experienced froggers. I have a group of 4 Varaderos which I'm sure are very anxious to move in. So what else does it need? Would you change something for any reason? Is it ready for the frogs or does it need more work or time for plants to keep growing? I want to move my frogs out of quarentine but I'm afraid to jump to quickly. I genuinely request any and all helpful input and constructive criticism. With so many experienced froggers on this forum it just feels wrong to not reach out for some advice.

Thanks in advance for your help and without further a due, my viv:
 

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Looks good. Add some leaf litter for cover and microfauna. Also, watch out for the long fibers around your broms, I'd be worried a frog would get tangled up in them. Good luck with the Veraderos!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I don't have much ground space left for leaf litter but I have kept this thought in the back of my mind. I already have the tank seeded with springs and I know they appreciate leaf litter so I'm going to add it where I can.

As for the long fiber tangle issue you mentioned. The fibers actually are coconut fiber and from one of those coconut husk planters people use as hanging pots. I just cut it up and wrapped it around balls of sphagnum so the broms roots don't dry out. I'm a little worried about the thought of my frogs becoming entangled. I did cut off any loose strands before putting them into the tank. After taking a second look I don't see any obvious problem areas where the frogs might try to squeeze themselves in so I'm going to leave it and keep close watch over the frogs behaviour around them.

Thanks for the recommendations! Please any other pointers or criticism will be appreciated so feel free to comment.

Ben
 

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First, I am not a vet, nor do I know crap about Varaderos.

I can't tell how you're avoiding substrate wicking with the soak. Is that a layer of gravel between top of the waterline and bottom of the substrate? If so, you should be fine.

I would find a way to get leaf litter in there. That soak sucked up an aweful lot of the bottom. Speaking with great ignorance, you may need more floor space for 4 than what is currently available. Maybe shoot a PM to Doug (Pumilo here) and ask him to take a look. He is a super nice guy. Very knowledgable and very supportive.

Here is a great thread on Varadero set ups with pictures if you haven't seen it. Three of the people in the thread (that I know of) breed them regularly so they have their tanks dialed in.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-discussion/62595-lemme-see-your-veradero-setups-pls.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great reply, thank you!

That is in fact a layer of gravel I have separating the substrate from the drainage. I am finding I actually need to remove water from the little pool because it fills up withing a couple weeks. I will definitely add some leaf litter as soon as I have the chance because it seems to really be beneficial to everything living in there.

Thanks for the link. I think some time in the past I may have come across this thread but I had forgotten about it so that's great. I will also take you up on your suggestion to message Doug, I haven't had a whole lot of luck tracking down any decent information on the care for these guys besides the basic requirements. As for floorspace I hope they don't need more than what I have :eek: ... I was originally planning on a trio but a group of 4 presented themselves to me so I jumped on it. I figured I have a much better chance of getting the sex ratio I'm interested in and if need be I can sell the extra frog.

Again thanks for the input, I really appreciate it and I'm sure my frogs will too!

Cheers,
Ben
 

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One of the reasons that I prefer to hang out here versus the other boards is that the vets are extra patient. You can PM anyone. I have asked a lot of folks here some really basic questions. I have yet to receive a snide answer.

Tip your e-beer to all of the vets here that answer the same question 300 times a year !

The tank looks really nice. I wish I had experience with the species and could offer some intelligent help. I am certain that Doug (as well as many others here) will help.

PLease be sure to ask if floor space is suffient for 4 frogs. Be prepared if they recommend that you backfill your soak based on inhabitant count. Not saying that it will happen, just grab a box of Kleenex just in case ! :D

And please be sure to post up the updates so we can all learn a bit more.

Excited for you that your frogs are about to get a new home!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks again for your input. I sent a pm to Doug asking for any advice and criticism he may have for me. If it comes down to it and I need to fill in the little pool then it's not the end of the world. I only put it in because I like the look of natural water features but I'm not super attached to it. It looks nice and all but now that you've mentioned the idea of filling it in I wouldn't mind some extra room. It would open up a few different possibilities with the tank design. Alas I don't want to get too far ahead of myself so we'll see. Maybe I will just leave it and if I observe the frogs tending toward the ground more frequently I will fill it in.

Cheers,
Ben
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. I have some leaf litter from a couple tropical plants I grow for fun that I have been saving in case I wanted/needed to use it for the darts. I guess it's a mighty good thing I kept it!

Ben
 

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You asked so here goes. Positives first. I really like the background. Good use of both large shelves and smaller shelves and resting spots. They love to climb and will appreciate that. You picked some attractive broms and left some room for them to grow. Still, in a 15G you may need to remove one or two as they grow in depending on their mature size. I like the wood incorperated into the background. Be prepared for it to mold some but it will pass. I like plants with tiny leaves mixed into my vivs (just my personal like is all...no reason for it) so I like that on the floor in the back left. What is it? Pepperomia Prostrata? However I don't like how much floor space it takes. I would find a way to lift it a little higher, add about 2 inches of leaf litter under it, and then let it sprawl across the leaf litter to it's hearts content. Every now and then you'll need to lift the sprawl and add more leaf litter.
Lose the dive. It's taking up too much valuable floor space which is already at a premium in a vert viv. Trust me, your frogs would much rather have more leaf litter for hiding and hunting in. In addition, I don't like those rocks at the bottom. Too sharp. If a frog jumps wrong from way up high, I don't like those sharp corners and edges. Losing the dive will lose the rocks at the same time.
A nice branching piece of ghost wood would look good and add some great climbing space.
Not sure what that is around the base of the broms, but I don't care for it. It is unnecessary and doesn't look natural to my eye.
Leaf litter, leaf litter, leaf litter. Don't care if you don't like it. Your frogs do! They will be bolder with it as they learn that cover is always one step away. They will hunt in it. It gives valuable space for your microfauna (springtails and isopods) to live and breed in. It is what is found in their natural environment.
Oh, did I mention leaf litter? Oak varieties, Magnolia, live oak, Indian Almond.
You mentioned you can't find too much info on Varadero. Keep in mind that a Varadero is just an imitator. Broaden your search. Any info good for imitators is good for Varadero.
Last, but not least. Imitators will do best as a pair. Once they pair off and you have a confirmed male and female, please remove the other two and find them a different home. There are people keeping them in groups, but I don't think you will find anyone keeping them in a group in a 15 gallon viv.
Hope I haven't disheartened you with too many changes. Really, it's a good start and shouldn't take long. I really do like what you've done with your background. That will be like a jungle gym for them!
 

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Love what you did with the wood in there. As for the broms, the shredded coco concerns me, too, as far as trapping frogs. The good news is that broms don't need anything around their bases. In fact, I find they do a lot better if their bases are bare and exposed to the air.

I agree that you should lose the pond area. Don't worry, there will be more tanks and opportunities to make a nice water area where appropriate. The varaderos won't use the pond and they can get any water they need from the broms. They would love extra land with extra leaf litter and micro fauna.

Hope you'll update with pics when you get your frogs :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You asked so here goes. Positives first. I really like the background. Good use of both large shelves and smaller shelves and resting spots. They love to climb and will appreciate that. You picked some attractive broms and left some room for them to grow. Still, in a 15G you may need to remove one or two as they grow in depending on their mature size. I like the wood incorperated into the background. Be prepared for it to mold some but it will pass. I like plants with tiny leaves mixed into my vivs (just my personal like is all...no reason for it) so I like that on the floor in the back left. What is it? Pepperomia Prostrata? However I don't like how much floor space it takes. I would find a way to lift it a little higher, add about 2 inches of leaf litter under it, and then let it sprawl across the leaf litter to it's hearts content. Every now and then you'll need to lift the sprawl and add more leaf litter.
Lose the dive. It's taking up too much valuable floor space which is already at a premium in a vert viv. Trust me, your frogs would much rather have more leaf litter for hiding and hunting in. In addition, I don't like those rocks at the bottom. Too sharp. If a frog jumps wrong from way up high, I don't like those sharp corners and edges. Losing the dive will lose the rocks at the same time.
A nice branching piece of ghost wood would look good and add some great climbing space.
Not sure what that is around the base of the broms, but I don't care for it. It is unnecessary and doesn't look natural to my eye.
Leaf litter, leaf litter, leaf litter. Don't care if you don't like it. Your frogs do! They will be bolder with it as they learn that cover is always one step away. They will hunt in it. It gives valuable space for your microfauna (springtails and isopods) to live and breed in. It is what is found in their natural environment.
Oh, did I mention leaf litter? Oak varieties, Magnolia, live oak, Indian Almond.
You mentioned you can't find too much info on Varadero. Keep in mind that a Varadero is just an imitator. Broaden your search. Any info good for imitators is good for Varadero.
Last, but not least. Imitators will do best as a pair. Once they pair off and you have a confirmed male and female, please remove the other two and find them a different home. There are people keeping them in groups, but I don't think you will find anyone keeping them in a group in a 15 gallon viv.
Hope I haven't disheartened you with too many changes. Really, it's a good start and shouldn't take long. I really do like what you've done with your background. That will be like a jungle gym for them!
Thanks so much for your extremely helpful and informative post Doug! Now for feedback :)

I'm glad the frogs will appreciate the shelves and ledges that I built into the background. Everything I read about imi's said they love using all available space and I just pictured these little guy sitting on the shelves keeping watch. The small leaved plant that you mentioned you liked the look of is actually Ficus pumilia 'Rikki' (A.K.A. bi-coloured creeping fig). It had a large root mass and so that's why I planted it as is. I actually cut away a lot of the plant because it was much larger than I was expecting when I received it. I would love to move it and have it crawling up the back more because that is the intended purpose of it for my viv. So I will be sure to adjust it's placement and try to open up some more floor space. I will even cut away some of the plant if need be and then try and grow some new clippings.

You mentioned removing the dive is a good idea and that I am fine with. If it makes my frogs happier than I'm happy. I'm actually excited to have a little more room to work with now. It will also allow me to increase the depth of the planting medium allowing for improved plant growth and microfauna. I'm super glad you pointed out the rocks because I honestly never fathomed the possibility of one of my Varaderos falling and becoming injured or worse. So that is a great tip and I'm glad I didn't need to write it up on my beginner mistakes list.

Once I backfill the dive you mentioned adding another piece of wood to further maximize usable space. I'm happy with this suggestion because I wanted to incorporate more wood but ran out of space if I was still to leave room for plant growth. I already have an idea of what I want and it will help me shift the broms around a touch and really improve the viv layout.

Everyone thus far has mentioned leaf litter and so I promise to all of you, myself, and my frogs that plenty of leaf litter will be added. The way the viv stands now it was simply a lack of space issue. But with the changes in store I will be able to add plenty. This I like because I wanted it in there but sold myself short on available floor space with the original design.

Also with the mentioning of them fairing better in pairs I will remember this and watch for them to pair off. The number I keep is not an issue. I can appreciate 2 frogs just as much as 4. Now whether or not I relocate the extra two frogs to a new owner or just a new viv is still on the table :p:D .

About the stuff I have wrapped around the broms now. I actually don't much care for it either. I was under the impression the broms need to have their roots/bases wrapped in something so they can drain excess water but not dry out. The tank is constantly at 100% humidity so common sense would lead me to believe this is not possible but I was afraid to go against the majority of what I Have been reading. If you guys are suggesting I remove the stuff wrapped around the broms I would be quite happy too :p.

I just want to say thanks again for these fantastic pointers. As I said I've been an exotic animal hobbyist for quite some time now but frogs are something new to me and so it is a strange yet fun experience going back to the beginners circle. I'm glad so many experienced froggers have been willing to extend a helping hand to myself and many others before me.

Thanks to everyone generous enough to donate me their time and knowledge.

Cheers,
Ben
 

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WOW :eek: thats one of the best first vivs ive seen! I would lose the pond and add leaf litter then that would be perfect for a group of varaderos :D
 
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