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Well hear are my thoughts on leaf litter.

I use to use pillow moss, but found that it needed more light then I originally planned. So it wouldn't flourish and began to look "ugly" to me. I now have more light over most of my tanks and the moss grows better, but mainly where it gets direct light. It looks really cool if it is growing well, but if not it looks bad to me. So, I started to add leaf litter (LL) to the tanks, over the moss and in other areas. Well I made a bunch of new tanks awhile back and started using more LL in them and less moss (also had to do with the fact that moss became tougher for me to get and more expensive). I am really happy with the results. The frogs love the LL, looks more natural, and is great for springtails and other micro fuana.

Ok, so how I go about LL in my tanks. I use mainly Magnolia leaves now, as they look tropical. You can also use oak leaves, and I think there are some kind of leaves Black Jungle had for sale awhile ago. Like I said, I like the Magnolia leaves more then the oak. I just place a layer of the leaves on top of my substrate and thats about it lol. I overlay them, try to make some areas for frogs to hide under and for springtails to breed... but thats about it. They will breakdown, but thats a good thing. I just add more leaves on top when they start to really look like soil. I mainly use whole leaves in the tanks, but you can also add some broken up ones under the whole leaves so they breakdown faster and the springtails should flourish in them. So some broken ones, with whole leaves on top of them. I also put leaves in my substrate mix, but thats another post for another time :) .

I hope I have made sense, as it is late and I didn't read it over before posting it. If anyone else has other ideas or experiences please post them, and ask any questions you may have.
 
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leaves

Jonathan,

I couldnt agree more! I, too, use magnolia and swamp oak leaves in my vivs as well as patches of moss here and there. I believe the leaves create a much more natural appearance and the frogs seem to like them all the better. Thumbnails, in particular, seem to be more bold in leaf litter and I definitely wouldn't keep my retics on anything else.

-Bill J.
 

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In my auratus tank I originally had places with moss but with a weak light they quickly died, so I put some magnolia leaves down the leaves have now decomposed but the moss has not and it looks pretty ugly, the tree I used to use that I knew was pesticide free was recently sprayed with pesticides so I am looking for a new tree. I love the leafs they look great. But my other tank has moss in it and it has been growing for near 7 months I believe with only dead patches in one small area. I like both but found that leaf litter is better for all ym low light situations.
 
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I hate moss for the most part! Java and dried sphagnum are the only 2 kinds I add to tanks now. I had the same problem. I could keep the moss going for 6 month to a year and then it would slowly rot away. I used to hang out with Brent B. fairly othen and I love his method. In one tank, he has a false bottom, screen, and then clay kitty litter. Where he wanted plants he had pockets of sphagnum moss to help keep the plants moist. This soil forced the roots to stay near the surface adding a very nice effect. Almost mangroove swamp! Here is a link to his web page about his general feelings:http://www.konza.ksu.edu/~blbrock/information/general_design_philosophy.htm

Sorry getting OT, Now he also just layers leaf litter and as the decompose he adds more. Just before he moved, I think the tank was about 5 years old, but it had about an inch of decomposed leaf soil. Now I am not quite to the step of using clay as main soil, but I do seem to be drifting that direction.

Great Topic, I will add more later,
Benjamin
 
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I could keep the moss going for 6 month to a year and then it would slowly rot away.
What kind of lights? Most people say its a lighting problem. I am debating on upping the wattage on my lights for this very reason.

Stitch
 
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leaf litter

I agree also.I have tried pillow moss and moss I collected from my area without much luck.I use magnoila leaves my sister-in -law sent me some from Missouri. I haven't found a tree here in Iowa yet.
I do have some java moss in my bicolors tank and it seems to be growing good.It started in the small pond and has grown up the ghostwood stream and is invading their coconut hut.
I have a 55 watt cf kit over it and it grows even in the shade of the epiphytic plants.
Most of the pic of dartfrogs in their native habitat seem to be on leaf litter more so then areas covered in moss too.
Mark W.
 
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I have used almost every type of moss. To me java moss is the best way to go if you use gravel as a substrate. Also if you dont have too many plants blocking the light. That is the way my azureus tank is setup and the java moss is doing great in there.

In my vertical tanks, the pillow moss and java moss are dying. On the ground the brom is covering up most of the area so they do not get any light at all. On my branches my java moss are too close to the light, so they are dying too because its too dry. I think LL will fit better in a vertical enivornment just because you dont have as much ground space to work with.

My question is.. is it ok to have LL with gravel and a false bottom only? My main concern is that once the LL decomposes it will leak through the false bottom and i would end up with clumps of mud under there.
 

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My moss does great on gravel, but not on dirt. I think one key to moss is that it can not get too wet, so gravel allows good drainange. It also needs acidic soil, so that can be a issue also. I have had very good luck with pillow moss, and have it in 3 of my tanks on just gravel. All are growing very well, and the only place that is going bad is where a waterfall is getting it too wet. It does require good light.


jbeetle said:
Well hear are my thoughts on leaf litter.

I use to use pillow moss, but found that it needed more light then I originally planned. So it wouldn't flourish and began to look "ugly" to me. I now have more light over most of my tanks and the moss grows better, but mainly where it gets direct light. It looks really cool if it is growing well, but if not it looks bad to me. So, I started to add leaf litter (LL) to the tanks, over the moss and in other areas. Well I made a bunch of new tanks awhile back and started using more LL in them and less moss (also had to do with the fact that moss became tougher for me to get and more expensive). I am really happy with the results. The frogs love the LL, looks more natural, and is great for springtails and other micro fuana.

Ok, so how I go about LL in my tanks. I use mainly Magnolia leaves now, as they look tropical. You can also use oak leaves, and I think there are some kind of leaves Black Jungle had for sale awhile ago. Like I said, I like the Magnolia leaves more then the oak. I just place a layer of the leaves on top of my substrate and thats about it lol. I overlay them, try to make some areas for frogs to hide under and for springtails to breed... but thats about it. They will breakdown, but thats a good thing. I just add more leaves on top when they start to really look like soil. I mainly use whole leaves in the tanks, but you can also add some broken up ones under the whole leaves so they breakdown faster and the springtails should flourish in them. So some broken ones, with whole leaves on top of them. I also put leaves in my substrate mix, but thats another post for another time :) .

I hope I have made sense, as it is late and I didn't read it over before posting it. If anyone else has other ideas or experiences please post them, and ask any questions you may have.
 

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Leaf litter

I only use leaf litter. Ive never realy tried moss on the ground because ive always hated the temperate/north american forest feel it gave. Also frogs always seem more skiddish and stressed when on moss, unless there is alot of plant cover...which then makes it too dark for the moss.
Most of the advantages of leaf litter have already been mentioned but i cant stress the importance of using leaves from non-pesticide areas.
Ive also used the kitty litter method B. Brock developed. I love the way it pushed up the roots of the plants but when it came time to dismantle the viv, it was hell. :twisted: The clay stuck all on the glass and it was a pain to get off. But if you dont plan to take the tank apart any time soon... its a great method. Back to the moss, I do use java and other types of moss on the root backgrounds and on other vines/wood/rocks (anywhere that leaf litter wouldnt naturaly gather) I also use leaf litter in the pools making sure that there are enough plant roots, algea, and microfauna in there to prevent rancid mud pools. Blarggg, enough babbling
 
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In need of leaf litter

I have been wanting to try leaves in my viviaria for a while now, and you all convinced me. Now the problem is obtaining the correct leaves. I live in frigid Michigan. If any of you have extra magnolia leaves (or other appropriate leaves,) please contact me. Thanks again.
 

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Re: try oak leaves

I need to find some and gather trash bags full this spring, but i'm a fan of moss so who knows.

melissa68 said:
In Ohio, oaks keep their leaves through the winter and drop them in the spring, the same should be true in MI. I am sure you can find an oak up there.

Melis
 

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I cant find Java moss for sale anywhere here in Orlando, Fl! :( Does anyone have some extra or at least a lead on where to get some localy?

Thanks
Ryan
 

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leaves

I crumple up the oak leaves, and place the magnolia leaves( whole) on top of the oak leaves. most of my frogs like to hide under the magnolia leaves. I plan on using fig leaves from my tree as soon as they plum out from the winter.
TQ
 
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Leaf Litter - Chicagoland

Is there anywhere that you can purchase good quality leafs for litter? Reason being that I live in downtown Chicago, and aside from Grant Part, there are not a lot of trees, or a large variety...

my moss looks swampy, and i'd like to "upgrade".

thx!
 
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Maxwells, do you have a car? If so head out to lisle, the morton arboretium has many species of plants from all over.
 
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Car

Stich,

I do have a car, but I try to forget about it, given that it costs me what my entire rent payment in Michigan was just to have & park it in Chicago. (insert growl here)

My concession is that I don't ever drive it, my husband does. Now he has to be certain to be at home for the monthly fly delivery, steal, ahem borrow, nice river rocks from his workplace parking lot, now drive me to get dead leaves. He'll be thrilled. :roll:

However, good idea about gathering from the 'burbs. You know Chicagoians, we get rather myopic regarding other places.

I had an offer for some Magnolia leaves, which might be hard to come by around here, dunno. They sound like a perfect addition to my tanks. (Thanks, Donn!)

Cheers!
 
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