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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the video on Joshsfrogs.com, he demonstrates how to setup a 10g vivarium with no water feature, a cocofiber-square background, a glass lid with no ventilation, and only a layer of hydroton under fiberglass mesh as the bottom layer.

I am very new to the hobby and researching as much as possible (literally for 2 weeks straight now) and all of this info seems contrary to everyones advice, yet joshsfrogs.com is a top rated seller, so obviously he has done this for some time quite successfully.

My question are, if I set up a 10g exactly as he shows:

1) is this large enough to house a pair of PDF's and breed them properly? (I know, I know, bigger is always better, but why does the expert use this method so successfully?)

2) will these plants be too much for a 10, with 2 pieces of small Grapewood and a cocohut: Neo. "Mosquito" (mounted), pilea "Friendship", pilea "Moon Valley", Orthophytum saxicola, Selaginella erythropus "Ruby Red", and small Tillandsia's (bulbosa, aeranthos, araujei, & butzii) mounted throughout? (Also, I would opt for live mosses and lichens rather than the sphagnum)

3) concerning the plants and the frogs, with a sealed tank, is there enough ventilation with this method of vivarium setup?

4) will a 6500K T5 full spectrum daylight bulb (24") be adequate for maximum plant health?

5) will it be necessary to siphon the water from the layer of hydroton on the bottom eventually, or how does that work? Is it a closed system and the water evaporates and condenses in equalibrium, and added water from daily mistings is used by the plants, so it never has to be changed/filtered/replaced?

6) would I need some sort of mini pond for them in the absense of a water feature? Not for breeding, just to soak, drink, etc. The bromeliad should be sufficient for breeding...

7) I intend to seed the vivarium with springtails on day one of completing setup, and purchasing my first frogs about a month later. Would it be unwise to seed the vivarium with cricket eggs? (by tossing a few adult females in for an hour or so)

I really want to do it right the first time (and yes, I read the 21-page thread about top 10 beginner mistakes lol), so any help anyone can offer before I venture into this amazing hobby would be greatly appreciated. And please note that nothing in this post is meant negatively toward joshsfrogs.com, and I in fact intend to purchase most of my supplies through them. I just need more clarity on exactly how their particular vivariums function.

Thank you in advance!!
 

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1.) A 10 gallon is argueable NOT large enough for a pair. Some do it though. If you can afford just a little more money and space a 20 long would be better. You'll have more room for plants and frogs.

2.) A 10 is going to be a bit tight for all that, see 1.

3.) I would want at least some ventilation. Again some people seal everything up, but you may find you need to ventilate to shedd heat.

4.) Should be enough light yes. That bulb is alot longer than a 10 gallon tank though, by 4 inches.

5.) Maybe. It depends on you ambient temps, evaporation, etc. More than likely you'll have to siphon water out occationally.

6.) NEED, no. Can't hurt though. I'd provide a petri dish under a cocohut for this if you don't do a water feature.

7.) Seed with springs, forget the crickets. Having attempted breeding and growing crickets at the Zoo for a while, I can't see it working in a vivarium. The soil is all wrong, its TOO humid, the babies would only be small enought to be eaten by frogs for a short period of time. An interesting idea but not very sound in practice.
 

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I think some of those 'how to' vids are barebones. Gives the viewer info on how to keep the frogs adequately. If you see the vids, with no experience under your belt, I think the info you get is invaluable.

However, most folks will tell you that a little larger is better. Not that you can't do it with 10g but if you can go larger, do it. IMO, better for frogs, plants, and, your viewing pleasure.

Then again, there are plenty who do keep their pairs in 10g tanks and seem to be successful doing it.

IMO, it's just plain fun to make a tank and a 10g can crimp your creativity. :D

Disclaimer: I'm still a noob. Don't want to be accused of being one of those 'know it all noobs who act like they know what they're talking about" :p
 

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6.) NEED, no. Can't hurt though. I'd provide a petri dish under a cocohut for this if you don't do a water feature.
Actually, the petri dishes under the coco huts are for breeding purposes/easy removal of eggs and aren't filled with water. But otherwise, I have put petri dishes in the tanks filled with water and find the darts love it.

If you figure out which type of dart you are interested in keeping, people could give you some more exact answers to some of your questions.
 

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Actually, the petri dishes under the coco huts are for breeding purposes/easy removal of eggs and aren't filled with water. But otherwise, I have put petri dishes in the tanks filled with water and find the darts love it.

If you figure out which type of dart you are interested in keeping, people could give you some more exact answers to some of your questions.
I agree. My frogs make frequent use of their little bathtubs. Learned a neat trick from Philsuma. Get those small half pod things, coat the inside with silicone. Fill it with water (after curing of course) and ta da! Natural looking frog bath.

They like to take a nice soak after a romantic romp in the hut. :D
 

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I agree. My frogs make frequent use of their little bathtubs. Learned a neat trick from Philsuma. Get those small half pod things, coat the inside with silicone. Fill it with water (after curing of course) and ta da! Natural looking frog bath.
Cool idea! I never thought of that!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everyone so far for all the replies! I'm pretty sure I'd like my first pair to be Dendrobates auratus "Super Blue", Dendrobates tinctorius "New River", or Oophaga pumilio "Cristobal Island". Not sure which ones yet, all 3 are ridiculously stunning!

I may just toss a bunch of various species in and see what hybrids I get... TOTALLY KIDDING, I know how much you guys hate that! :D

But seriously... which of those 3 would be the best for a beginner with said setup?
 

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Personally, I regret every 10 gal and 20 gal long I've used. They never seem tall enough for my plants. Remember, you're going to have a pretty thick layer of soil in there! :)
 

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Both Auratus and Tinctorious (the only one I have experience with) are fairly easy frogs to start out with...Pumilio, I'm not so sure. Anyhow, based on the experience I've had with Tincs so far...

A pair of Tincs can work in a 10...but honestly, to me it seems too small when you see them in there full-grown. I like to keep mine in something larger and give them a little more room if possible. You are talking about many years, after all.

Hopefully, someone will chime in as far as their experience with Auratus and Pumilio.
 

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I think you'll see the New Rivers the most. They are very personable frogs. The kind that will come out to greet you at feeding time. The auratus and pumilio will pretty much ignore you or glare at you with disdain. Especially the pumilo, lol.

I have a single Sip in a 10 gallon. He's technically still a froglet but a large one. It seems too small for him and I'm going to be moving him to something larger soon.
 

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A 10g vivarium is sufficient for a lone frog (they don't get lonely!) or a pair of many species, but a larger vivarium is certainly recommended! The larger a vivarium is, the more microclimates can be provided, the longer waste takes to accumulate, and the more room for the frogs.

Ventilation is (for the most part) more for the plants and viewing than the frogs. We have kept frogs in vivariums with no ventilation for years with no issues (it used to be the standard in the hobby!). At home, I personally provide vents in all my vivariums, but this is more for the bromeliads and orchids I like to include in my plantings.

As far as the background, a cocopanel background is very simple and economical to set up - perfect for the vast majority of people just entering the hobby. Plants seem to cover up the background pretty quickly. I enjoy spending a little more time on the background personally, but that's my preference. I'm sure the frogs really don't care :p

i would stay away from pumilio as a first frog, personally. They are fairly difficult to breed, and that's part of the fun of dart frogs - their unusual reproductive habits. Auratus can be fairly shy at times. Dendrobates tinctorius (aka tincs), such as New Rivers, are typically bold, large frogs that are great for beginnners.

Don't be afraid to give us a call some time and chat frogs!
 

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In the video it is actually a 20 gallon high.

20 gallon highs are still small enough for racks, but do allow more plant options due to their height. Unfortunately they aren't a "standard" size tank at most places.

Bigger is better, but a 20 gallon high seems to be a good size for a pair of tinc sized frogs, but there have been 10s of thousands of darts bred from 10 gallon tanks.
 

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As far as the background, a cocopanel background is very simple and economical to set up - perfect for the vast majority of people just entering the hobby. Plants seem to cover up the background pretty quickly. I enjoy spending a little more time on the background personally, but that's my preference. I'm sure the frogs really don't care :p
I actually just put your cocopanels in my viv like a month ago in an effort to reduce the weight (had clay before). Plants are taking a bit longer to root into it than I'd believed, but they do seem to be rooting now for the most part. I'm finding that the ones towards the top dried out because the coco panels rubberization (?) makes it shed water better than normal coco fiber and the plants towards the top especially need extra misting (lesson learned). Overall though, I'm pretty happy with it, especially because it saves a lot of space since it's only like a half inch thick and it weighs next to nothing. I'd recommend these as a no hassle background and who doesn't like the look of a plant covered background.

Just to point out for those who haven't ever tried these, they're not just red like you'd think from the website. I've read past threads where people have complained that there's no brown, but the backsides of the 3 panels I bought were all normal brown coco-fiber color. Only the one side is colored.
 

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I actually just put your cocopanels in my viv like a month ago in an effort to reduce the weight (had clay before). Plants are taking a bit longer to root into it than I'd believed, but they do seem to be rooting now for the most part. I'm finding that the ones towards the top dried out because the coco panels rubberization (?) makes it shed water better than normal coco fiber and the plants towards the top especially need extra misting (lesson learned). Overall though, I'm pretty happy with it, especially because it saves a lot of space since it's only like a half inch thick and it weighs next to nothing. I'd recommend these as a no hassle background and who doesn't like the look of a plant covered background.

Just to point out for those who haven't ever tried these, they're not just red like you'd think from the website. I've read past threads where people have complained that there's no brown, but the backsides of the 3 panels I bought were all normal brown coco-fiber color. Only the one side is colored.
I always thought the cork bark tiles were really nice for a fast and easy option, if not somewhat expensive
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I feel stupid for not recognizing the difference between a 20h and a 10g... I should know better, as I have kept snakes, lizards and especially scorpions since I was 14, and worked at 2 pet shops and PetCo for over 4 years collectively. My bad! :p

But anyway, I think I will go with the 20h, my friend has one he's giving away at the moment, and PetSmart actually has the 2-part glass lid for that size in stock!!! And I happen to have a 24" T5 ballast just sitting around :D I am quite pleased at the moment.

Now I have new questions... Everywhere I've read said it is best to have 1 frog per 5 gallons of tank. Yet I also have read that having 2 males, or even 2 females, together and they fight and/or eat each others eggs. Then the third dilemma is that you can't order a "pair" of froglets. You get what you get... How do I make sure I have a comfortable pair/trio/quartet of frogs while keeping them from fighting if they turn out to be the same gender, and if I end up with say, a pair of the same, do I add their counterpart, or replace one with the opposite sex?

This all seems very hard to understand to me... With all the other exotics I've worked with (not amphibians yet), you don't put pairs together until you can sex them. It seems PDF's are done completely backwards... Please advise? lol

Thanx again guys!
 

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Great score on the 20H! (Especially for free!) It's a wonderful size for most any dart frog. You'll be glad in the long run that you went with it over the 10G. I think the 5G per frog was what they went by quite a while ago and the hobby has since evolved into trying to provide more room/comfort for the frogs. There isn't any hard and fast rule that I know of though, and I imagine each species has different requirements for this as well as many other things.

And you're right...unfortunately froglets can't be bought in pairs...it's impossible. But, we are fortunate in that there are many species that can be kept in groups even into adulthood such as auratus, leucs, and terribilis. And many of the other froglets, such as tincs, can co-exist in groups at least until they reach subadult status at which point you may have to start separating same sex.

If you start off with a pair, and they turn out to be the same sex, I would leave them together (as long as there has been no previous aggression) and try adding in the opposite sex and see how it goes. Or, if you're looking to save some cash...you could always try trading one for the sex you need.

It is a little complicated when you're first starting out. But, if you first decide on the species you like...it makes the rest of it a whole lot easier! :)
 
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