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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Seems like options like Exo Terra aren't well respected by many here. I attempted frogs years ago using a 75 gallon tank. I feel like the set up turned out great, IMO...but after receiving sick frogs and despite vet care, I lost them...I was demotivated and gave up. Let the set up go to crap, tore it down, and eventually sold the tank.

Well...I'm back and.resdy to try again but on a smaller scale. I'd really like a front opening option. I was thinking that the 18x18x24 size options would be good. A little larger would be nice but I'm also trying to stay on a limited budget.

So what are some other than Exo Terra tank options or are the Exo Terra setups really not all that bad?
 

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I'm not sure why you'd say that exo terras are not respected around here. Most people have one or more of these tanks in use.

I have tanks from exo terra, zoo med and Atasuki that I'm using. I like long tanks (36"long). Hinged doors are a pain on such a long tank as you have to have 18" of clearance for the doors to open so I prefer the sliding door tanks (Atasuki) for my 36" long tanks. For my 18" long tanks I use either exo terra or Zoo med tanks because the hinged doors are less of an issue for me with the smaller door lengths.

The other, Cadillac option, is an InSitu ecosystems tank.
 

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Everyone has a budget, but I might suggest drawing out your planning to either accommodate a larger tank (more fun) or an InSitu (excellent plug and play design).


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What species of frog will you be keeping?

I currently use ZooMed, ExoTerra, and InSitu vivs. The ZooMed are the least appropriate because of the single door design (I keep mostly thumbnails, so escapes are more likely with a single door).

The Exos are fine, though mods are needed (possibly substantial mods depending on your position on ease of draining and FFs escaping).

The InSitus are plug and play, very well designed, and by far the best viv of the three (though there are only two sizes available; the smaller one is slightly larger in usable volume than an 18 x 18 x 24). I think the InSitus are a very good value -- considering all the factors involved, I think they are the best value of the three.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm not sure why you'd say that exo terras are not respected around here. Most people have one or more of these tanks in use.

I have tanks from exo terra, zoo med and Atasuki that I'm using. I like long tanks (36"long). Hinged doors are a pain on such a long tank as you have to have 18" of clearance for the doors to open so I prefer the sliding door tanks (Atasuki) for my 36" long tanks. For my 18" long tanks I use either exo terra or Zoo med tanks because the hinged doors are less of an issue for me with the smaller door lengths.

The other, Cadillac option, is an InSitu ecosystems tank.
Just seems that in a few threads I read folks liked to poop on Exo Terra...maybe they are just vivarium snobs? I mean they do seem very popular...just wasn't sure if it was because they are decent quality or just because they are a cheaper option compared to some of the higher-end and boutique brand setups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What species of frog will you be keeping?

I currently use ZooMed, ExoTerra, and InSitu vivs. The ZooMed are the least appropriate because of the single door design (I keep mostly thumbnails, so escapes are more likely with a single door).

The Exos are fine, though mods are needed (possibly substantial mods depending on your position on ease of draining and FFs escaping).

The InSitus are plug and play, very well designed, and by far the best viv of the three (though there are only two sizes available; the smaller one is slightly larger in usable volume than an 18 x 18 x 24). I think the InSitus are a very good value -- considering all the factors involved, I think they are the best value of the three.
Not sure what I'll keep. Even though I've kept frogs before...I am FAR from experiences so probably something newb suitable. Last time I tried terribilis and it didn't work well...sick frogs. So yeah...not sure. Suggestions for easier to keep frogs that would do well in the 18x18x24?

I was looking at the In Situ tanks. I'd probably go with the base model Selva, maybe the Plus, if I went with them. It's more my budget and I like that it is a little wider.
 

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Just seems that in a few threads I read folks liked to poop on Exo Terra...maybe they are just vivarium snobs? I mean they do seem very popular...just wasn't sure if it was because they are decent quality or just because they are a cheaper option compared to some of the higher-end and boutique brand setups.
It's not a question of snobbery so much as inconvenience. I have three extra large Exo Terras up and running, will do a fourth ... but they're just a pain to modify.
 

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Suggestions for easier to keep frogs that would do well in the 18x18x24?
Most folks would suggest you learn as much as you can about Dendrobates leucomelas, D. tinctorius, and D. auratus and see which one spins you the most.

On the InSitu, I'd personally suggest the Selva Plus, with the lights but not the fans. The fans are really well designed, and it is great that InSitu has them as an option, but I just don't think they add too much to the usefulness of the viv, because it ventilates great as is. (Oh, I just looked and it only adds $15 to the price to go up to an Amazonia. Hmm.... that's a harder choice. It might be worth that just to see if you like them, I think.)

The included lights, though, are really decent. The Alumalite back is cool, looks good (I don't make backgrounds, so I see the back) and makes a lightweight viv even more lightweight, but I'll bet the glass back is fine, too. (I have two Amazonias with the Alumalite backs)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's not a question of snobbery so much as inconvenience. I have three extra large Exo Terras up and running, will do a fourth ... but they're just a pain to modify.
How much modification do they need?
 

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How much modification do they need?
The InSitus? None at all. They are specifically designed for dart frogs.

Drainage is already drilled, holes for MistKing are drilled (with plugs if you mist manually), ventilation is ideal and adjustable, FF-proof as is. Sloped bottom so you don't need a drainage layer/false bottom setup. Check out InSitu's thread here before you order for a discount code.
 

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How much modification do they need?
You'll need to either design a false bottom or drill a standard Exo to create drainage. The newer 'frog models' have a built in drain but you'll still need to work out a drainage layer which is somewhat less work.

Likewise, the standard Exo lids are terrible for frogs since they're all screen, so you need to mod or replace them. The new frog-marketed model has a somewhat better lid but they didn't go all the way and it needs modification too from the looks of it. I also don't love the dimensions on the newer ones, so to my eyes InSitu wins again.

You can take fairly simple, low-cost routes or go all-in like I did, but all this after-market modification will add to the base cost.

InSitus are literally plug 'n' play ... if you want to install a background that's the most work you'll need to do on one of those.
 

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I got a chance to touch one of the new Exo 'dart frog' models. Actually it was the 'tree frog' model; they're both the exact same design, but the tree frog one is 24" high, the dart frog one 18" high (because dart frogs are terrestrial, right?).

It has a single door, which is less good than double doors (frogs jump out).

The latch mechanism on the door is different, and odd -- you have to push a clicky button to release the door, and then push the clicky button the other direction to latch the door, and it isn't apparent just looking at it whether the door is latched or not. (Tangentially, I like the latch mechanism on ZooMeds the best by far, but I've heard they break often.)

The drainage bulkhead on the Exo is really nice -- bottom drilled, but doesn't stick out proud of the base. I'd like to get some of those bulkhead fittings they're using, but I think they're proprietary.

It isn't drilled for MistKing -- there are cutouts for Monsoon tubes, kind of like on the regular Exos, in the back. The cutouts aren't big enough to jam $20 bills into so you can watch them decompose in the leaf litter, of course, but buying a Monsoon is about the same when it is all over, from what I've heard from people who use them and people who sell them. On the plus side, the plastic panel that's on top looks easy to drill for MistKing. The whole top has a slick release mechanism to remove it, better than the thumb-screw things on the regular Exos, though I don't pull the tops off vivs much.

The top vents aren't adjustable (so you'd still have to provide glass or acrylic inserts if you wanted to throttle it back; there's about 40% screen on top) and the underdoor vent looks just as FF-permeable as the regular Exos.

The front dam is really low (just under 4", I believe). I've been trying to slim down my drainage and ABG levels, so I would like this, but some people might have to learn some new tricks.

They're only about $10 more than regular Exos of the same dimensions. I believe they're also imported like other Exos, if you care about that sort of thing (InSitus and ZooMeds are made in the US).
 

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It isn't drilled for MistKing -- there are cutouts for Monsoon tubes, kind of like on the regular Exos, in the back. The cutouts aren't big enough to jam $20 bills into so you can watch them decompose in the leaf litter, of course, but buying a Monsoon is about the same when it is all over, from what I've heard from people who use them and people who sell them.
Slightly hijack-ey, but what are the issues that people have with the Monsoons?
 

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Slightly hijack-ey, but what are the issues that people have with the Monsoons?
They fail very early, very often. They're also, perversely, higher priced than a Mistking.
 
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