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Hello!

I just wanted to introduce myself. I am new to the dart frog/vivarium world, but have years in the saltwater/reef tank hobby. I am currently gathering supplies for a 18x18x24 Exo-Terra Vivarium/Dart build. My 14 year old son and I will be documenting the build and planting for his high-school horticulture class. We've been doing a lot of research, and are taking our time.

I'm a 46 year old IT manager from St. Paul Minnesota who has transitioned to a work-from-home environment for the forseeable future, and my home office is missing 'life'. I used to have a nano-reef up here, but had to move it to my basement after a water leak. I love the idea of a vivarium hosting two thumbnail darts. It will give me something to look at, maintain, continually research, and enjoy.

Our big questions right now are pretty basic.

1. What LED lighting fixture would be appropriate for a 24" tall tank? (probably depends on the plants we select)
2. What thumbnail species is best suited for our build? We both really enjoy the look and 'attitude' of the Ranitomeya Imitators.
3. What if we get a pair and they start breeding? What do you do with the froglets?
4. Are there any reputable breeders in the Midwest area (We have a great Reptile Store down the street from me, but their dart frog selection is minimal).

Thanks everyone!
 

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Hi, I'm from MN too. I haven't been doing this for super long, but I think I can help a bit.

1. Not sure about lighting (forgot which brand I use), but plenty of others can help with that.

2. Thumbnails are a bit tricky. Some are very shy, and you don't see them super often, while some species are out a bit more, and are definitely more visible. I've heard that imitator can go either way, and I don't personally keep them, so I'm not sure what to tell you there. I have, however, kept leucomelas. Leucs are a great option. These guys are still on the smaller side, but they're very bold and active.

3. Well, you can sell the babies when they get older, or you can humanely euthanize eggs & tadpoles before they become froglets. If you get a pair, breeding is pretty much inevitable.

4. I'm sure there are good breeders around, and on here as well. Ask around online, and you're likely to find someone. What's the store? Is it TCR?
 

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Your lighting options are almost limitless.

I use nicrew Aquarium LED lights, they're inexpensive but look nice in terms of light quality and the actual look of the light strip itself.

I use NICREW RGB Plus Aquarium Lights, paired with nicrew ramp up timers that allow me to have the lights start out dim and then increase in intensity them ramp down at night time.
 

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I will comment on 3 and 4, as the the others were covered well already.

3. Imitators are a good, active Ranitomeya, as far as the genus goes. You can also enjoy them going through the mating and rearing of tadpole process within the tank. Ranitomeya aren't the best starter frogs, but imitators are a good choice of the genus if you do go that route.

4. Offspring can stay in the tank as they grow. You can sell off the offspring to other hobbyists if needed. Imitators will raise typically 4-6 young a year within the tank, with no involvement from yourself. You can negate this by keeping all males together (or all females, but they are sometimes more aggressive towards each other), but otherwise you do need a plan for the offspring. Some other types of Ranitomeya, such as the different types of fantastica and benedicta don't raise their own tadpoles as actively, so if you don't pull out tadpoles and raise them, the chances of having more froglets in the tank are much lower (but not impossible!). Variabilis is another species that are fairly active, easier to keep and don't rear their own tadpoles. Many types of imitators are actually mimics of variabilis, so they can look almost identical in many scenarios.

Hope this helps some!
 

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Welcome to DB. :)

After you've been here for a while and meet a minimum post count -- which you'll do in the course of taking part in discussions as you research -- you'll get access to the Marketplace, where you can hook up with frog breeders. That's the only section we have ads in.

Imitators can be an OK first frog, and an 18 x 18 x 24 is a good size for a pair. They're more touchy than the standard 'beginner' frogs, so make sure the viv is focused only on the frogs' needs (no foggers, flashing lights, waterfalls, etc), and make sure you've got a properly warm room for it (temperature is often a deal breaker for people).

Talk to the folks at the shop (TCR, yes? I used to live in Minneapolis) and get a relationship started with them so that you can possibly sell offspring to them down the road. If you don't want the offspring going to a shop, then selling them here on DB is an option.
 

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I'm also in Minnesota and TCR is a really nice store. I only have planted tanks right now, no frogs, but they have a bunch of great supplies. Ive also gone to the local reptile expo pre covid and that's always been nice although I'm not sure how it's being done with covid and all.
 
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