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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dart frogs have always been on my 'maybe someday' list and my friend recently offered to order a custom viv for me for my birthday. I keep and breed R. Ciliatus (Crested Geckos) and have done a few planted vivs so I do have some experience with keeping critters. Other than that I'm very unexperienced with dart frogs and I know the best source of info from is on the forums from the dedicated keepers so here I am!
At the largest I'll get a 12x12x18 Exo terra with 2-8 frogs.
My questions are:
Which dart frogs do you recommend for beginners that are relatively hardy, beautiful and can be seen during the day? (A few Frogs I like are Ranitomeya imitator, Dendrobates tinctorius Ensing & Dendrobates leucomelas.) I LOVE red eyed tree frogs but they never seem to be active during the day.
What is your favorite source to get your dart frogs from?
Where is the best place I can order a great custom vivarium with a water feature made for under $350? (I just need the background, ground and water feature made, I can plant the viv.)
Which, if any, dart frogs can happily coexist with each other, if I wanted to have some variety?
Are there any fantastic websites with useful dart frog facts or care I should see?
Feel free to post dart frog terrariums with water features. :)
Thanks in advance!
-Louisa
 

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Not what you wanted to hear, but...doing the research to learn how to build your viv yourself, is a big part in learning how to properly keep dart frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not what you wanted to hear, but...doing the research to learn how to build your viv yourself, is a big part in learning how to properly keep dart frogs.
Yeah I understand. I just don't want to mess up with the plumbling/pump and have it flood or not work and I'm not crafty enough to build a 3D background without it looking crappy... but I would really enjoy doing the plant research, picking them out, planting them and what not.
 

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Hi Louisa,

Welcome, I will answer some of your questions, in reverse order :)

There are tons of threads that have water features pictured - just look away.

This is a fantastic web site - look through all the stickies in the beginner and general sectionto start with.

It would be fair to say that all dart frogs do better NOT coexisting together in the same tank (especially a small one and 12x12x18 is small)

I have never bought a custom made vivarium, but if you post your location there maybe someone nearby that could help, or you could look through the sponsors of this forum.

Again you could look at some of the sponsors on this forum for frogs, and like as not someone lives near you that could show you PDFs before you make a decision.

All of your choices in frogs would be reasonable choices for starting out. Imitators are really tiny though, so if you have not seen them in person they might be disappointing.
They are pretty awesome though and would be a better choice for the tank size you mentioned. Leucomelas would be my pick due to their bold and curious personality.

In general the tank you mentioned is on the small side but would be fine for raising up froglets of tinctorius, leucs, and maybe be keeping a pair, but no room for a water feature.
If you do some reading on this board you will find this a huge subject and everybody has an opinion. However it is pretty safe to say 8 is way to many of any species!

Ok ..again read read read on this forum, and take your time before you get frogs and you will be fine.

Sally
 

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You don't have to run a pump in your viv, it's actually recommended that you don't because its pointless for the frogs. Also, a nice background is only for the obsessive, plants will end up covering most of your background so you shouldn't stress on that. And since you said you're interested in the planting process, a custom background by you is best because you will have foresight as to what plant goes best where. The basic skills that involve making a background are as follows: Spraying, waiting, carving, coating, enjoying. If those seem a bit too advanced then culturing food for the frogs and caring for the plants would be overwhelming.

There are lots of step by step threads on all sorts of backgrounds AND lots of site, including the sponsors, who have pages on how to build your own background. Get creative and gain some experience. Its all worth it, even if you "mess up"

We're also here to help (as best we can).
 

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Hi Louisa,


In general the tank you mentioned is on the small side but would be fine for raising up froglets of tinctorius, leucs, and maybe be keeping a pair, but no room for a water feature.
If you do some reading on this board you will find this a huge subject and everybody has an opinion. However it is pretty safe to say 8 is way to many of any species!

Ok ..again read read read on this forum, and take your time before you get frogs and you will be fine.

Sally
This is a great point water features take up way too much real estate. I have a 18x18x24 that is 2x the size your considering, and it takes away almost half the ground space. Due to the lost space, it can only accomidate 2 luecs, 3 would be too many adult luecs. Your size tank is okay for starting out but figure 2 darts max. Lots of froggers have started out with smaller tanks like that, and will then upgrade them and sell the smaller tank all set up. If you look in clasifieds here or if someone with one sees your post, can possibly get just what you want cheap. Reasearch and you will find something you like. GL
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys!
I'll definitely go through all the sticky's. :)
 

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To be honest, I haven't been very impressed with most vivariums available for sale. Good vivs are works of love, and you can usually tell if someone is making one as a display piece or to just sell. Also, be careful when buying as almost all planted vivariums I've seen sold have plants that look good at first, but don't do well in the long term (either get too big or just die in a few months).

If you want something you'll truly be happy with, the best advice is to do lots of research and build one yourself. Keep it relatively simple and ditch the water feature for a 12 x 12 x 18.

You'll only be able to keep 2 mature frogs in that tank, and I'd recommend any of the tincs, leucs, auratus, or other larger frog.

Sorry I can't answer your questions fully, but there is far too much detail to go into everything in one post! Spend a few hours researching and if you have any specific questions, we'll all be happy to help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input!
I'm used to needing more arboreal space for my geckos but how would frogs do in an 18x18x18 Exo-terra? (I have one I'm not using.)
The water feature is one of my favorite aspects of keeping darts so I rather upgrade in size to be able to have one. I wanted to go the easy way and have someone with experience and the skills to do all the handy work, but if I go step by step I'm sure I'll be able to handle it. I just want it to be perfect since it will be a display piece in the living room.
 

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If you can plan to keep the feature small, its doable. Give it a shot. Remember we like water features the frogs dont. lol
 

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The 18x18x18 is what I have my leuc's in. It's working our great. You don't have to be crafty as much as creative. I finished my first viv last month and it came out better than I thought I could do for my 1st (i posted a thread on my viv if you wanna see). Really easy to do without a water feature. We I say easy, I mean yes it takes time, lots of looking at pix n threads, but overall an fun experience.
Good luck....feel free to ask questions ;)
 

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My questions are:
Which dart frogs do you recommend for beginners that are relatively hardy, beautiful and can be seen during the day? (A few Frogs I like are Ranitomeya imitator, Dendrobates tinctorius Ensing & Dendrobates leucomelas.) I LOVE red eyed tree frogs but they never seem to be active during the day.
frogs generally reccomended for beginners are:
dendrobates species-
D. tinctorius (which includes a number of locales)
D. auratus (again comes in a variety of locales)
D. leucomelas (there are 2 or 3 distinct varieties)
dendrobates are larger frogs (usually over 1" SVL) they are generally bold (although some auratus are known to be shy) most are reasonably priced between $20-$120ea. and will do well only in pairs or trios (leucs will do ok in groups if the tanks are large enough and properly designed)

its possible to start with ranitomeya species but since they are smaller they dont tolerate nearly the amount of mistakes a novice is bound to make. this is not to say it cant be done, but there is certainly less room for error. they are small and very quick. many are very shy as well. recommended beginner species would be as follows:
R. imitator
R. ventrimiculatus
R. lamasi (orange or green leg)



What is your favorite source to get your dart frogs from?
responding to this is a violation of the sites user agreement
check the classifieds section of the forum as well as the sponsors. there is also a vendor feedback section where you can research peoples transactions and if people were satisfied or not.

Where is the best place I can order a great custom vivarium with a water feature made for under $350? (I just need the background, ground and water feature made, I can plant the viv.)
like others have said your going to want to build your own terrarium. there is a plethora of information on how to do every aspect. you dont need a background (its solely for your benefit) and you should forget about a water feature. its pointless, expensive, and will almost certainly lead to issues when it fails (which it will).

think of it like this, keeping these animals requires dedication and hard work and its really helpful to feel a connection with them by involving yourself in the processes that result in their proper care. its like a kid that gets a new car for their 16th birthday. they never change the oil, trash the car, and eventually wreck it. the same kid when forced to work to make the money for the car (or a better example would be one who buys a fixer upper and works hard to get it running) will cherish it since they are invested in it and will take better care of it. make sense?

although you dont see many online, vivariums can be as simple as a good drainage layer some substrate and leaf litter and a couple pothos cuttings. i assure you the frogs will be just as "happy" and literally a monkey could build a tank like this.


Which, if any, dart frogs can happily coexist with each other, if I wanted to have some variety?
NO NO NO NO!!! bad idea. search "mixing" and you'll get an idea what im talking about. this INCLUDES frogs of the same species but from different locales, so no 2 different tincs or leucs or imitators!

Are there any fantastic websites with useful dart frog facts or care I should see?
you came to one of the best out there :)

Feel free to post dart frog terrariums with water features. :)
Thanks in advance!
-Louisa
good luck. do the research and take your time, you will be thoroughly rewarded by your animals

james
 

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Thanks for the input!
I'm used to needing more arboreal space for my geckos but how would frogs do in an 18x18x18 Exo-terra? (I have one I'm not using.)
The water feature is one of my favorite aspects of keeping darts so I rather upgrade in size to be able to have one. I wanted to go the easy way and have someone with experience and the skills to do all the handy work, but if I go step by step I'm sure I'll be able to handle it. I just want it to be perfect since it will be a display piece in the living room.
the water feature issue is one that EVERY new frogger argues about. MOST regret having attempted it once they become more involved and trash the tanks or let the feature sit dry. its something thats almost entirely useless and the money spent on it would be so much better spent on other aspects of the terrarium. your going to do what you want but i'll say right now

dont waste your time and money on it!!!

if the water feature is a deal breaker, you might consider a different animal because your compromising the usable space, and in turn the quality of life for the animal, for your own enjoyment.

james
 

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the water feature issue is one that EVERY new frogger argues about. MOST regret having attempted it once they become more involved and trash the tanks or let the feature sit dry. its something thats almost entirely useless and the money spent on it would be so much better spent on other aspects of the terrarium. your going to do what you want but i'll say right now

dont waste your time and money on it!!!

if the water feature is a deal breaker, you might consider a different animal because your compromising the usable space, and in turn the quality of life for the animal, for your own enjoyment.

james
Especially in a 12" x 12" x 18". You simply don't have the room.
 

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The OP is planning to use an 18"x18"x18" and staying with the water feature. I agree that its a novelty.

Throw out some ideas and materials you already have and we can help you with what might be easiest. A water feature is going to extend the amount of time it takes to set up the tank by at least 2 weeks. A viv setup without one is easily done in a week or two.

I highly recommend you try and set up the tank without the water feature. Since you're more keen to plants, excluding the water feature with give you A LOT more room for plants to enjoy.

With that said, my first tank features a drip wall that I made and designed with the possibility of not running at all and still looking perfectly normal. I chose to have the drip wall because I felt my tank was large enough to accommodate it and I really want to have a moss infested piece of cork with dribbles of water coming from it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You guys are incredibly helpful, thank you all so much!
I was planning on doing a thin drip wall with some water running into a small palm-of-your-hand sized pool, but since you guys are saying it's not worth it, how about a very small fogger to just fog the bottom or have it run down the background?
I did decided to go with a DIY setup with all of your advice. :) I don't mind putting a lot of work and time into it, I just need to trust myself that it will come out the way I want it. (On ho, to the DIY section!)
Alright so a big no on the mixing which I can understand since it's the same with different geckos. So now I have to decide between the orange & blue locality of R. imitator or the green one. GR.. lol
How many of the R. Imitator could I fit in the 18x18x18? Is it still the 5 gallon per frog rule still apply or is it a bit more lenient since they are a small species? I would like to have a small group. Does that species do well in groups? (I'm thinking 3-5 frogs)
I like the idea of the smaller species since I think searching and locating the critters is half the fun. They are be unexpected hidden beauties. :D
 

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Personally I would skip the fogger and just to confuse you, the drip wall and tiny pool sounded fine in the 18x18x18, but as others of have said..kind of a hassle.
However when you get your frogs it would be a good idea not to put them right into the tank you spend a lot of effort and time making. Having a simple 10gallon with some substrate, easy plants, and leaf litter, secure glass top is an easy way to quarantine (worth researching).Then you have more time to build your display tank as well as keep a closer eye on your new frogs.

Age, sex, species, morph, tank design, are some of the factors in "how many frogs can I put in" and so I would say there really is no correct rule of thumb. I would worry about that less until you have had more time to read through others experiences.

Imitators would fit your description of "unexpected hidden beauties" nicely.

You sound like you are a good sport about taking advice from the board:) which is another reason to take your time, as sometimes all the advice can be confusing and/or not so great even!
Sally
 

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Glad to hear you are going DIY. You will learn so much more and be much more prepared for their care. Imitators will do best as a pair. If you really want a thumbnail that can be grouped, consider Vents, Amazonica, Vanzolini, or Lamasi. Whichever of these guys you decide on, remember that they LOVE to climb. While this is not a necessity, consider going just a wee bit taller with an 18" x 18" x 24" for some extra climbing room. All of my thumb vivs are 24" tall and they love it. I like to incorporate a nice piece of climbing wood, like Ghost Wood, into my thumbnail builds. Should you go with any of the Thumbs I've just mentioned, 3 to 5 would be fine as long as it is well designed, with lots of cover, ledges, and hides.
 
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I still think you should lose the pond, but a drip wall that simply seeps into some gravel at the bottom would not be a waste of space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Personally I would skip the fogger and just to confuse you, the drip wall and tiny pool sounded fine in the 18x18x18, but as others of have said..kind of a hassle.
Haha, ya I'm confused. So will the dart frogs not use a small pool? I've heard that some frogs need a spot to soak.

However when you get your frogs it would be a good idea not to put them right into the tank you spend a lot of effort and time making. Having a simple 10gallon with some substrate, easy plants, and leaf litter, secure glass top is an easy way to quarantine (worth researching).Then you have more time to build your display tank as well as keep a closer eye on your new frogs.
I was planning on buying the frogs after I give the tank about a month to acclimate, but having the frogs in a simple setup for a while seems like the smart way to go. I plan on going to a local show or reputable breeder in my area (South Florida) to buy my darts so I can see them in person before making any final decisions.

You sound like you are a good sport about taking advice from the board:) which is another reason to take your time, as sometimes all the advice can be confusing and/or not so great even!
Sally
Oh ya, I don't doubt you guys know your stuff! I know with forums people aren't shy to correct those giving out the wrong advice... :rolleyes:
I really want the little guys to be happy and flourish so I'm making sure to follow all the important guidelines and be as open minded as possible. It's not worth having a gorgeous set up if the inhabitants are not enjoying it equally as much.

I like to incorporate a nice piece of climbing wood, like Ghost Wood, into my thumbnail builds. Should you go with any of the Thumbs I've just mentioned, 3 to 5 would be fine as long as it is well designed, with lots of cover, ledges, and hides.
I saw how nicely moss takes to ghost wood while looking through planted vivs so I'll definitely be including some.
What is a dart frog fanatic's favorite type of moss?
I use NEherp's terrarium moss for my geckos and I love the look but I think I want something more fine for the thumbnails.
 
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