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First viv!

2063 Views 24 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  ryan10517
Hello all! (and thank you to all who've posted so much useful information here!)

This is my first viv which I plan to house some PDFs. The viv has been planted and running for about 3 weeks.

My questions to the experts are: I've noticed a scum on the surface of the pond. I've recently added the Azolla caroliniana - floating algae you see there. Is that the cause? Or will it help clean that scum off? Is this normal? I was planning on doing a partial water change soon anyway. Should I try to skim this off?

Also, my soil is a mix of ExoTerra Forest moss and Peat moss (about 2:1). Is that sufficient?

Any help would be appreciated.

Also, if you notice anything else that looks wrong with the viv, please let me know! (or any kudos:D)

Thank you again!


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Tank looks pretty good. As for the oily slick on the top of the water, just frequent water changes will get rid of that.
Looks great!

Are you going to be putting some creature in the water? If not, it might be better to make the pond smaller to give the frogs more land room.
Thanks guys!

I am considering a couple of fish for the pond. Any suggestions?
Just a real quick comment, the film is actually a good sign. It is basically a colony of good and neutral bacteria (aerobic)...
Your pond is too small for fish ( almost all need at least ten gallons) but if you put some bigger rocks it it will add more land for the frogs.
Looks nice, but there is not enough land area for frogs. Not nearly enough. The pond is only for you, because you want it. Land area? Now that's what your frogs need.
Wallace is probably correct, though there is likely also a good amount dead bacteria in that layer. Still water betta setups will develop this harmless layer, the only other thing it really could be would be a protein layer but without decaying organics like food or fish I really doubt it's that. Water changes should solve the problem.

As far as fish you will have limited choices without water movement and filtration. My personal thought for a tank like this had always been the tiny sparkling gourami as they have labyrinth organs which allow them to breath from the surface. A betta could live in there if there is enough space but it's hard to tell scale. A betta, I would guess could pose a threat to the frogs. I have seen them attack african clawed frogs, by biting the frogs back legs.

The viv has a cool look to it, good luck.
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I've kept sparkling gouramis for a few years and they definitely appreciate some heavy plant growth to hide in. The pond's probably too small for any fish, but how big is the viv? You might be able to squeeze some small killifish in there. If you want the pond more than the frogs, go with some vampire crabs. They're as vibrant as PDFs and have nearly the same care requirements. Just mix in some aragonite sand with the substrate and they'll be happy. They'll utilize the water area and the land portion, but they won't climb as much as PDFs. CHOOSE YOUR DESTINY!
Thank you for the replies!

Although now I'm pretty confused. Some of you are saying that there's not enough land area for the frogs. I thought the frogs liked a lot of vertical area?
This is an Exo-Terra 18x18x24 with a false bottom. So the water is much more than what is showing in the pond (under the false bottom). And the right side rear rock is a waterfall, so that should aerate the water plenty. Does that change what/if fish could be included?

I'll include another angle of the viv. If you guys still think it needs more land for the frogs, then so be it. After all, it's for them! (I can look at fish elsewhere! :D)

Also, if you notice, I'm getting brown edges on my black rabbit's foot fern. Do they NOT like to be misted? Is it getting TOO much light? Too little water? Any thoughts?

Thanks again everyone!


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(Generalized. There are, of course, exceptions and blah blah blah):

Some frogs like a lot of vertical space, some like horizontal space. The PDFs that primarily like vertical space, also use horizontal space. None of the frogs will use a large pond of water and it may present a hazard.
If the dart frog has areas to easily get out of the water I wouldn't think of the pond as a threat. Some darts like to sit in the water sometimes, but would definitely like land better.
Can you take a top-down shot? It will give us an idea the depth / land uyilization
Okay, here are a couple more top view shots...

When I first got the viv I thought it was HUGE! lol. After putting in the background and features I realized that real estate was being eaten up fast. Still, I guess I wanted it all. Water features, rocks, trees, savannahs, ocean... lol.

Anyway, as you can see, the pond is almost a quarter of the tank. Sooooo, guess I'll use all those rocks and branches I bought thinking I had so much room! he he

I'll post what I come up with...


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Okay, so here's the new pond area...

whatcha think?


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much better ... now you just need a layer of leaf litter and let it grow in a bit ... looks great.

agreed, more leaf litter is needed. viv looks nice though. What frogs were you planning on getting? leucs are a great beginner frog and will utilize most of the space in there. where in illinois are you located?
Thanks guys! More leaf litter, huh? Ok.

Ryan, I was thinking leucs as a matter of fact. :)

I live in Warrenville. How bout you?
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