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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've put together what I believe to be a list of essentials i need to start getting together to set up my first dart frog enclosure. I have a 36 x 24 x 18 inch glass aquarium (l x h x d) that I am considering using. If I do, then the top will be glass with ultra fine mesh for ventilation.
Am I missing anything obvious?

Clay beads for drainage layer
Mesh to place over the beads
ABG substrate
Enough leaves for two.or three leaf litter layers
Materials to make sculptured back and sides
Coconut shells
Petri dishes for egg laying once old enough
And of course plants and branches
 

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Consider something to mist with. A spray bottle or an automatic system. I use a drip irrigation system with mist nozzles. $25 online, USB powered.

Lights for day/night cycle and plant health. I personally prefer color temps of 5000 or higher. I use LED strips and cut to size.

Be prepared for removing standing water if it gets too deep. I drill all of my tanks and put a bulkhead on the back that drains into a bucket. I use the effluent to water house plants. Some people just siphon it out. Some people just don't water enough to be bothered by it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Consider something to mist with. A spray bottle of am automatic system. I use a drip irrigation system with mist nozzles. $25 online, USB powered.

Lights for day/night cycle and plant health. I personally prefer color temps of 5000 or higher. I use LED strips and cut to size.

Be prepared for removing standing water if it gets too deep. I drill all of my tanks and put a bulkhead on the back that drains into a bucket. I use the effluent to water house plants. Some people just siphon it out. Some people just don't water enough to be bothered by it.
Thanks for your input.
I was planning on using a siphon to remove excess water.
I already have a pump spray. I've looked on Amazon and Ebay for irrigation systems but have been put off by the clearly fake 5* reviews.
Your advice re light colour temps is very helpful as that's one area I'm very unsure about.
 

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I have 12 of those cheap ones and am setting up 2 more tanks this week - two that I've ordered were nonfunctional on arrival. Some have been running for as long as 4 yrs. Some have broken after a few months (namely because I didn't put the little filter piece on the end like you're supposed to; meaning, they clog easily). If you want a link to the USA version I buy, I can pm you or vice versa, so you can find the UK equivalent.

Also, for backgrounds - A lot of people use Great Stuff and then silicone and coco-coir. I find that tedious and just use the black foam pond sealant. I spray it on, sometimes w/ cork pieces and branches etc, sometimes just the entire background as foam. Then I either carve off the smooth surface, tear off the smooth surface, or take a dremel tool and grind the smooth surface. It's reminiscent in appearance to the black hygrolon look that some people use since it's black. Given time, the plants grow up and over it. I hate taking the time carving the great stuff and smearing it w/ silicone and then coating it with coir - and then repeating for gaps that were missed. I hate the fumes too. The black pond foam is 3x more expensive here, but the lack of effort/work is worth it to me. Spray in the morning, carve in the evening, and that's it.
 

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I have 12 of those cheap ones and am setting up 2 more tanks this week - two that I've ordered were nonfunctional on arrival. Some have been running for as long as 4 yrs. Some have broken after a few months (namely because I didn't put the little filter piece on the end like you're supposed to; meaning, they clog easily). If you want a link to the USA version I buy, I can pm you or vice versa, so you can find the UK equivalent.

Also, for backgrounds - A lot of people use Great Stuff and then silicone and coco-coir. I find that tedious and just use the black foam pond sealant. I spray it on, sometimes w/ cork pieces and branches etc, sometimes just the entire background as foam. Then I either carve off the smooth surface, tear off the smooth surface, or take a dremel tool and grind the smooth surface. It's reminiscent in appearance to the black hygrolon look that some people use since it's black. Given time, the plants grow up and over it. I hate taking the time carving the great stuff and smearing it w/ silicone and then coating it with coir - and then repeating for gaps that were missed. I hate the fumes too. The black pond foam is 3x more expensive here, but the lack of effort/work is worth it to me. Spray in the morning, carve in the evening, and that's it.
I do similar, but after spraying the foam I take handfuls of powdered coco choir etc and just toss it on rather than carving. Not always but it can make things easier 😜
 

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Mistking misting systems are available in the UK. Highly recommended if manual spraying isn't right for the keeper (but hand pump sprayers do a great job).

If you listed 'clay beads for drainage layer' (called 'LECA' or 'Hydroton' here) without considering other drainage options, I'd suggest making sure that's the drainage option you want. LECA wicks (which isn't likely to be a benefit in a humid climate) and IMO doesn't look the best. Other options are aquarium filter foam or "egg crate" (ceiling light panels) on risers.

Another thing that newer keepers sometimes decide on without having considered alternatives is backgrounds. They're not necessary, and I don't use them at all since I think I can make a more usable viv without. Here's an example. Just an idea that you may not have considered.
 

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If you listed 'clay beads for drainage layer' (called 'LECA' or 'Hydroton' here) without considering other drainage options, I'd suggest making sure that's the drainage option you want. LECA wicks (which isn't likely to be a benefit in a humid climate) and IMO doesn't look the best. Other options are aquarium filter foam or "egg crate" (ceiling light panels) on risers.
I know you had shared images of a sloping glass bottomed enclosure but I can't remember (or find the images again) what you put on top of the glass... What do you usually use as a drainage layer? Do you usually do that sloped glass and if so, what goes on top? The substrate and then leaf litter?
 

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I know you had shared images of a sloping glass bottomed enclosure but I can't remember (or find the images again) what you put on top of the glass... What do you usually use as a drainage layer? Do you usually do that sloped glass and if so, what goes on top? The substrate and then leaf litter?
That viv is here. I wouldn't recommend all this complication for one's first viv, but I do like how it works. The drilled ghostwood attachment is working great.

On regular drainage layer vivs I've been using aquarium filter foam (then ABG on top, no barrier). I'll continue to use this; it is my favorite drainage layer design so far (not counting sloped bottoms).

On sloped bottoms, I use substrate (ABG, or calcium clay, or calcium clay mixed 50/50 with LECA on a recent one) and then leaf litter on top of that. On a couple of my InSitus, I put down a layer of turface, then calcium clay, then leaf litter; the turface isn't necessary, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Not sure all this is directly relevant to your immediate concerns, @Ian14 , but hopefully it is interesting and edifying. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That viv is here. I wouldn't recommend all this complication for one's first viv, but I do like how it works. The drilled ghostwood attachment is working great.

On regular drainage layer vivs I've been using aquarium filter foam (then ABG on top, no barrier). I'll continue to use this; it is my favorite drainage layer design so far (not counting sloped bottoms).

On sloped bottoms, I use substrate (ABG, or calcium clay, or calcium clay mixed 50/50 with LECA on a recent one) and then leaf litter on top of that. On a couple of my InSitus, I put down a layer of turface, then calcium clay, then leaf litter; the turface isn't necessary, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Not sure all this is directly relevant to your immediate concerns, @Ian14 , but hopefully it is interesting and edifying. :)
I'm like a sponge right now, I'll take any and all ideas and advice to get me started off in the best way! Ultimately, the more ideas, the more options and choices I can find, the better.
 
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