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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey y'all. im just getting started in the hobby, I did tons of research and thought i had it mostly figured out but just found out otherwise after posting to a couple FB groups after getting my frogs yesterday.

Ive been heating my Viv using a small reptile heating element and a temp controller, but folks have expressed lots of concern about the heat generated in the immediate surroundings as well as possible contact with the frogs. I feel a bit foolish for not considering this, but hey, its my first time.

Anyhow, I am looking to change my heating technique and have a ReptiTherm 50-60 gal UTH I could use with the temp controller, but I worry that It wont be very effective given that I have 5-7 inches of false bottom and substrate. With my 2 inches or so of lecca do you think the one large pad would be enough to heat the entire viv about 10 degrees?My roommates are pretty adimant about keeping the house at 65f and i moved in last so dont have much say in our roomtemp.

ps, i have since put screening on my fan in the viv.

Feeling pretty stressed about it all now.. Thanks for the help.
Max
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Hey y'all. im just getting started in the hobby, I did tons of research and thought i had it mostly figured out but just found out otherwise after posting to a couple FB groups after getting my frogs yesterday.

Ive been heating my Viv using a small reptile heating element and a temp controller, but folks have expressed lots of concern about the heat generated in the immediate surroundings as well as possible contact with the frogs. I feel a bit foolish for not considering this, but hey, its my first time.

Anyhow, I am looking to change my heating technique and have a ReptiTherm 50-60 gal UTH I could use with the temp controller, but I worry that It wont be very effective given that I have 5-7 inches of false bottom and substrate. With my 2 inches or so of lecca do you think the one large pad would be enough to heat the entire viv about 10 degrees?My roommates are pretty adimant about keeping the house at 65f and i moved in last so dont have much say in our roomtemp.

ps, i have since put screening on my fan in the viv.

Feeling pretty stressed about it all now.. Thanks for the help.
Max
I saw this post on reddit or facebook (I think) and held my breath, but I can't do it here.

Let's talk about of few immediate changes that need to happen to ensure the safety of the frogs:

1. Remove the lamp from INSIDE the enclosure immediately! The frogs will invariably burn themselves on the bulb.
2. I'm not entirely sure what that other thing is (a fan?) on the right side...but certainly if its a fan, it needs to be removed right away.
3. Remove the majority of the sphagnum from the substrate and replace it with leaf litter or more ABG, it will be too wet for the frogs.

As for heat, the easiest way would be to add a small space heater or other single room heater and increase the temperature of the room. You could also use a heating pad underneath or on the side of the tank. I don't think a heating element on the tank will be your best bet.

Generally speaking, I would assume if you did tons of research as you suggest, you would have come across the temperature requirements of the frogs before purchasing them. You may have better luck finding something that works within the parameters (in this case, temperature) that you can easily provide. Even a space heater or heating mat may fail.
 

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My frog room temperatures are in the mid-upper 60's. The lights will add a few degrees of warmth to the tank. So my tanks have a temperature range in them from 67F to 73F depending where in the tank.

@Chris S has given you great advice to start making improvements. I wouldn't put an under tank heater under the tank, they can cause cracked glass.

Leaf litter, leaf litter, leaf litter!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My frog room temperatures are in the mid-upper 60's. The lights will add a few degrees of warmth to the tank. So my tanks have a temperature range in them from 67F to 73F depending where in the tank.

@Chris S has given you great advice to start making improvements. I wouldn't put an under tank heater under the tank, they can cause cracked glass.

Leaf litter, leaf litter, leaf litter!
What kind of lights are you using? The lights I have put out negligible heat
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I saw this post on reddit or facebook (I think) and held my breath, but I can't do it here.

Let's talk about of few immediate changes that need to happen to ensure the safety of the frogs:

1. Remove the lamp from INSIDE the enclosure immediately! The frogs will invariably burn themselves on the bulb.
2. I'm not entirely sure what that other thing is (a fan?) on the right side...but certainly if its a fan, it needs to be removed right away.
3. Remove the majority of the sphagnum from the substrate and replace it with leaf litter or more ABG, it will be too wet for the frogs.

As for heat, the easiest way would be to add a small space heater or other single room heater and increase the temperature of the room. You could also use a heating pad underneath or on the side of the tank. I don't think a heating element on the tank will be your best bet.

Generally speaking, I would assume if you did tons of research as you suggest, you would have come across the temperature requirements of the frogs before purchasing them. You may have better luck finding something that works within the parameters (in this case, temperature) that you can easily provide. Even a space heater or heating mat may fail.
Thanks for the feedback. I did find the temp requirements and spent a good chunk of time figuring how to keep my viv at temp, unfortunately it was a way that is now a blatantly bad idea...

the room is unfortunately too large for a space heater to work effectively..
 

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I use sunblaster LED lights, they put out more heat than I would have expected but even my cooler lights still put out some heat.

I just checked my room. Room temperature 68, inside tanks range from 70 to 75 degrees depending on the tank and location in the tank
 

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As has already been said you do need to remove that dome fixture from within the vivarium as soon as you possiby can as it's a real danger to the frogs.
For heating, one old school method for when you only want a gentle temperature increase in a humid environment is using an aquarium heater to heat the water in your drainage layer or false bottom but I'm not sure how viable it would be to retrofit something like this into your current tank setup. It can work but it will also have some impact on the humidity in the tank and has some inherent risks in and of itself. If you were to try it I would only use a ceramic heater like THIS or THIS rather than a glass one and it's pretty crucial not to let the water level get too low. It looks like your drainage layer may not be deep enough for this to be viable anyway but it's not always easy to say from a picture.
Waterproof heat cable like THIS might be your best option and easier to retrofit into your setup as you can fairly easily conceal it under leaf litter etc but also leave a cooler area of the enclosure that isn't heated by the cable - and it doesn't need to be submerged in water. If you went with this option though you must also connect it to a pulse proportional thermostat like THIS.
Maybe you can sell the dome fixture on ebay to help absorb the cost?
 

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It appears as if the viv is completely sealed using acrylic. There are at least three relevant concerns, if this is indeed how things are set up:

1. The acrylic will warp from moisture (edges will curl upwards) and frogs will escape,
2. Frogs and plants need ventilation,
3. Installing lighting over screened area will help some heat to penetrate into the viv.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It appears as if the viv is completely sealed using acrylic. There are at least three relevant concerns, if this is indeed how things are set up:

1. The acrylic will warp from moisture (edges will curl upwards) and frogs will escape,
2. Frogs and plants need ventilation,
3. Installing lighting over screened area will help some heat to penetrate into the viv.
I cut my acrylic to fit and used my dremel to cut holes/slots for ventilation in the top. I figured this would be the best way to keep humidity at a consistent range. My only concern with using a screened portion would be humidity and temp loss, especially if im using only the lights to heat and they're off at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the help all. and as I didnt respond to you directly, thanks Luis!

I have taken out the dome fixture and heating element and purchased a double dome fixture with lower wattage "daylight" heating bulbs from the company Thrive, meant for reptile enclosures. In my initial test just now they got the temp sitting around 75 on the side of the tank it is above and 71 on the other. My concern now is warping and offgassing from my acrylic top, so I will have a piece of glass cut to fit ASAP and monitor closely until I can get it installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You joke, but it's so so so so so so important for dart frogs. Wet sphagnum moss is not a great substrate topper for dart frogs.
I appreciate the info. It’s mostly leaf litter, the sphagnum you see in top is what they came packed with when they were shipped to me. I figured it may smell like them and make them more comfortable. But I’ve had a few others say more leaf litter too, so that’s in the to do for this evening.
 

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You joke, but it's so so so so so so important for dart frogs. Wet sphagnum moss is not a great substrate topper for dart frogs.
I'm only making light of how often this ends up needing to be reiterated on here and that it really is often the only thing that's missing from otherwise excellent setups.
It's unequivocally true for my geckos too, they require very high humidity relative to most reptiles given just how small and prone to dessication they are but they really don't like walking on wet surfaces. They have at least 8 inches of litter to forage down into and so that they can move between different microclimates to thermoregulate. I try to include a lot of branches and twigs as well as seed pods and beech mast too because it more closely replicates what I observe in the wild on the forest floor and seems to lead to less wicking which gives you a better moisture gradient in your litter layer.
I'm such a devout leaf litter puritan that I literally ONLY have a very deep layer of leaf litter on the ground, all plants in their tanks are epiphytes except for a random trimming of Anubias congensis from an aquarium that I threw in one time to become part of the leaf litter and randomly it decided to absolutely thrive. Seems to flower almost every two weeks so it turns out it's not just our animals that like the leaf litter.
I can't believe I'm virtue signalling about how deep my leaf litter is.
 
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