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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have my new enclosure ordered and will have it in 2-weeks. It is 36" long X 24" wide X 40" tall. It will have a bulkhead/valve on the bottom with an ever so slight pitch to the floor so water flows toward it. The doors will be 12" from the bottom and the enclosure will be fully capable of holding water to that level ( not that a foot of water is the plan), and 4 passive vents placed in the front and sides. The top is a fixed screen.

I am getting back into the hobby after a long hiatus so I am looking at begginer darts or tree frogs (Leucs, auratus, thumbnails, RETF's or lemur frogs - not a mix) stock choice will depend on what quality stock is available when I am able to stock it.

My question is with regard to maintenance. What interior build will be easiest to keep the tank clean? Since i can easily drain all the water in the tank, i am thinking doing a false bottom with GS coated in silicon and coco fiber. Other structures will be created in a similar way or with SF/grout.

The idea being, heavy misting or creating a light rain in the tank will wash most of the dreck into the water basin , which will get changed frequently, easily, and will little disturbance to the inhabitants. Plants will be potted in GS niches that were designed for them, cork logs, wood, etc...

Leaf litter is easily removed and replaced...I am just trying to minimize or eliminate the heavy duty stuff...like complete substrate removal and replacing for cleaning.
Does my idea sound viable or can anyone suggest a better idea? I know there is no such thing as a maintenance free tank, but a little planning ahead can make life a lot easier.
 

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The entire top is a screen? This is going to make it a challenge to keep your humidity high. It has been done, but only by advanced hobbyists.

I guess I don't understand your concerns about removing and cleaning the substrate. Vivs are generally built to last. A proper substrate should last for many years without any removal and cleaning. Leaf litter should never have to be removed. It will break down over time as it decays and your microfauna eat it. You just have to add more from time to time. Your microfauna, and your live plant growth serve to "clean" your substrate.

I really don't understand using a bottom with great stuff, silicone, and coco fiber. A proper bottom would be a long lasting clay substrate, Turface, or ABG mix that you can plant straight into and you can establish microfauna in.
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63732-clay-substrate-how.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63915-truth-about-abg-mix.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, that is actually how I used to do it. I have been listening to some people who were telling me my approach wasn't the best. It worked pretty well in the past but that was a while ago. Thanks again for taking the time to help the confused :)
 

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For a long lasting substrate, check out the clay threads. Done properly, they can last a really long time, plus they benefit your frogs from the extra calcium they get, and the increased microfauna populations. You could also look into turface. Do a search for turface and you'll find some vivs set up with it. Turface may last 20 years.
Also, if you are just getting back into it, check out all the microfauna that we have access to now. Great little viv janitors and a delicious between-meal snack for your frogs!
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/food-feeding/66991-how-culture-isopods-woodlice-springtails.html

Oh, and if you're a Dr. Johnny Fever fan, you'll get it..."Boooger!"
 

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I have never had to clean my tanks.
a modified AGB Soil Mix and false bottom with a fine screen cover. That keeps out most of the refuse.
Are you making a paludarium? fish? If the whole thing will just be for frogs, you could use a simple background with cork bark and silicone. Fill the cracks with spag moss. plants love to climb this
I have had terrariums like this set up for 3+ years. I have never changed the soil. Some good soil amendments to make your substrate last are tree fern pieces (crumbled), turface, some charcoal, orchid bark. Also most of the plants we use, pull humidity from the air or the soil, and attach themselves.
I only ever use 2-3" inches of substrate. It provides a great h2o o2 mix for the plants. A healthy dose of springtail and isopods help keep the soil fresh, as well.
Also, keeping some water in the bottom of the tank helps keep humidity up and to regulate temps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For a long lasting substrate, check out the clay threads. Done properly, they can last a really long time, plus they benefit your frogs from the extra calcium they get, and the increased microfauna populations. You could also look into turface. Do a search for turface and you'll find some vivs set up with it. Turface may last 20 years.
Also, if you are just getting back into it, check out all the microfauna that we have access to now. Great little viv janitors and a delicious between-meal snack for your frogs!
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/food-feeding/66991-how-culture-isopods-woodlice-springtails.html

Oh, and if you're a Dr. Johnny Fever fan, you'll get it..."Boooger!"
LOL good to see there are other people with a few decades on them besides me. WKRP was awesome.

I will revisit the substrate threads. I remember a couple of interesting options.
The microfauna is new to me and I am excited to give it a try. I have been trying to source them (I am living in Alberta now-originally from NY) and finally have one for each.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have never had to clean my tanks.
a modified AGB Soil Mix and false bottom with a fine screen cover. That keeps out most of the refuse.
Are you making a paludarium? fish? If the whole thing will just be for frogs, you could use a simple background with cork bark and silicone. Fill the cracks with spag moss. plants love to climb this
I have had terrariums like this set up for 3+ years. I have never changed the soil. Some good soil amendments to make your substrate last are tree fern pieces (crumbled), turface, some charcoal, orchid bark. Also most of the plants we use, pull humidity from the air or the soil, and attach themselves.
I only ever use 2-3" inches of substrate. It provides a great h2o o2 mix for the plants. A healthy dose of springtail and isopods help keep the soil fresh, as well.
Also, keeping some water in the bottom of the tank helps keep humidity up and to regulate temps.
I'm not doing a paludarium. I've done one with darts in the past and that was the only one where breeding didn't occur (Tincs). In retrospect I don't think it was due to it being a paludarium as much as the other environmental factors not being TInc specific. I was able to get tricolors and histos to breed in a more species specific environment.

Still I think it would be better for the frogs if it was just a frog tank. This way if they could possibly deposit tads without issue. Also, more to feed and look after. I do plan on keeping a few inchesof water heated with an aquarium heater in a safe place to maintain temp and humidity.

I am still waffling on the background. I may do it piece-meal and silicone it in. I for sure will make a styrofoam/grout tree structure. I'll do the egg crate as a false bottom...I may have to get creative with GS to keep things from worming their way under it.
 

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Since you have a drain, a false bottom is a sure thing imo, but you can make it shallow since it will drain anyway.

I believe most people run weedblock or screen over their false bottom to prevent any kind of run off.


I agree on never "cleaning" my tanks as well. This holds true for my frogs and similarly setup pygmy chameleons. I have heard good things about ABG, but I just make my own substrate...the thread has already been linked I second that.


Most of my tanks don't house frogs, but they all have screen tops and I have no problem keeping the humidity in the 70-80% range; then again my entire house is quite humid as well (40%+) and all my tanks are 30gallon or smaller.

I have found the easiest way cover the top where necessary is to just run a piece of plastic wrap over it...I poke a few tiny holes for ventilation when I do that (works better with automated setups or front opening tanks otherwise it rips real fast if you move it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The ABG mix sounds like the way to go for this enclosure. Can i use aquarium activated carbon for the 1 part fine charcoal? Or should I try and get it from a nursery. I'm not really sure of it's purpose in the substrate. If I were to use activated carbon in an aquarium, it would only be good for a month as that is when it will max out on waste absorption and start being a contributor as the ammonia leaches out of it back into the system.

I have read through those a couple of times before. I am going to have to take a practice run or two on a smaller tank to see how it does. I am intruiged by fern panels, or at least bits of them to see if I can et some grow out from them. I don't want the whole thing done in them...just a bit here and there. I may do a small water feature to circulate the water. The bits of panel may go well around there if they can wick some water up and get some grow out.


I believe most people run weedblock or screen over their false bottom to prevent any kind of run off.


Most of my tanks don't house frogs, but they all have screen tops and I have no problem keeping the humidity in the 70-80% range; then again my entire house is quite humid as well (40%+) and all my tanks are 30gallon or smaller.

I have found the easiest way cover the top where necessary is to just run a piece of plastic wrap over it...I poke a few tiny holes for ventilation when I do that (works better with automated setups or front opening tanks otherwise it rips real fast if you move it).
I live in Alberta now. It is so dry here you can almost feel yourself dehydrate. I used to live on an island where humidity wasn't an issue. I did use plastic wrap at one point to aide with the humidity in one enclosure. Oddly enough the best breeding successes I had were in tanks that had no water feature and no humidity traps. I just bottom drilled the tank and had a drain pan underneath. Once at dawn and once at dusk I put a baking tin with the bottom hole punched on the top screen, filled it with water, and let it rain. I even got my Histos to breed in that setup.

I might end up doing a GS/wood bank with a weedblock to simulate a sort of river/creek bank to block access to the flase bottom. Pothos should be good there as they will root right in the water.
 

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Thanks, that is actually how I used to do it. I have been listening to some people who were telling me my approach wasn't the best. It worked pretty well in the past but that was a while ago. Thanks again for taking the time to help the confused :)
I think if you read enough of his posts, along with Ed's--they are quite familiar with taking time to help the confused...
 

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It might be helpful to you in the long run to establish some sort of terrarium set up...a very simple, uncomplicated one, for collecting plants that you want to use. Following the advice given here on several threads-the process of cleaning and sterilizing helps get the plants to recover..and you can get the plants acclimated to the substrate that you will eventually use...Some plants just do not make the adjustment out of the soiless mixes for whatever reason..they are probably given dilute fertilizers every time they get watered...you have to get your new plants used to being on a diet...fed by your substrate... This will give you plenty of time to browse the sponsor's sites and get plants...if you are like me...you'll go nuts over what people find to put in their vivs. Have a great deal of fun...I'm SO hooked.
 
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