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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have photos of their mantella vivs they can share? I'm putting one together for a pair of baroni that are in quarantine, and I'm curious to see what everyone else does for theirs.

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I have a trio I bough earlier this year along with the Exo 18x18x24 they were in. It’s pretty standard, foam background with coco fibre siliconed on and some fake vines. Substrate is ABGish. Only change I made was the top, I put a standard Exo top on with half glass and then cut a piece to cover 2/3 of the front screen which I can remove if I want to do a seasonal humidity cycle. You can’t see it in the pics because the ficus is overgrown but there are ledges and little cave like structures at various heights in the back corners they use a lot.

I may eventually make some changes here but the frogs seem to be happy so it hasn’t been a priority. From what I’ve read on breeding them it would be nice to have a larger water dish with some over hanging structure maybe.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! Glad to hear they like using the ledges/caves. I've been building several into mine so it's nice to hear they'll probably use them! Not sure what sex mine are so who knows if breeding will become a thing 🤷
 

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I would use a cave set up with your plants and a small stream for baroni, cowani, and nigricans as they appreciate some height and ledges unlike madagascariensis, crocea, or aurantiaca which prefer more leaf litter. Nigricans (which are geneticaly identical to baroni) seem to like to climb. All mantellas appreciate running water that is turned on seasonally in their tank as in nature they gather by streams for breeding. I turn water features off in the winter while they're cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Rain_Frog do you have any recommendations regarding betsileos? The seller sent a free one with the baroni, which I was definitely not prepared for 🤦 So far there are no takers in my local Facebook frog group, so I think I now have a new frog to house. It's in a quarantine container right now, but I have an 18x19x12 that I just tore down which I can convert into a long-term tank (small I know, but I really wasn't ready for another frog).

Regarding the baroni, I haven't ever done any water features for my darts so I'm not really familiar with them - is there a simple setup you'd recommend for one? (Or could I do a fixed pond-type feature that I could easily clean out?)
 

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Betsileo (ebenaui) can be very shy frogs. They are actually one of the more attractive frogs out there but I rarely see mine. However, all mantellas are bolder if kept in a large group, especially if you want to breed them which you should. Ebenaui need warmer temperatures but are very hardy and live a long time. I bred them long ago. I've had my male ebenaui for 17 years and he is my oldest mantella, but I rarely see him. So, get your ebenaui some company and you will hear them call and see them more often despite the shyness.

As far as a water feature, as long as your tank isn't tempered, drill a hole in the bottom and a hole in the back of your tank for a sump with a diamond hole saw. There are plenty of videos out there on the internet how to use a diamond hole saw, and it's not difficult as long as you go slow and use water to cool the glass.

It makes things MUCH easier for water flow to have a pump externally, and I will no longer use false bottoms with mantellas as I would have frogs dig underneath and get stuck under the false bottom. Fortunately I found frogs every time but I use LECA specifically for that reason now. Mantellas unlike dart frogs do appreciate a shallow water feature in part of their tank and I find some of my frogs regularly visiting the water but make sure its not too deep as the males look for sites to attract females as in nature, the rain washes the tadpoles into the stream. Turn off the water feature during the winter time and drain it to cycle the frogs with lower temperatures according to the seasons. That's important to breed mantellas-- cycling. Baroni, nigricans, and cowani are difficult to breed-- the people who have had success have kept them in very large groups and offered a wider variety of food as this group of mantellas can have difficulty gaining the weight that other mantellas will for breeding. The easiest way to tell if you have baroni or madagascariensis is how easily they are bred. Mads will lay eggs for me even when I do not want them to, whereas the majority of people I know with the other three species can have difficulty with egg fertilization rates if they are not kept in a big group.

You can keep most mantellas except laevigata, cowani, nigricans, and baroni in a ten gallon in a small group at a bare minimum. But, with baroni, nigricans, laevigata, and cowani especially, you will need at least a 20 gallon high tank that gives them the ability to climb, like a square shaped tank vs a long tank that betsileo, mads, crocea, expectata, milotympanum, viridis, aurantiaca, and pulchra like. I rarely see my madagascarensis climb. I do not know off the top of my head if bernhardi appreciate a taller vs longer tank as I have not worked with them.
 

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Mantella baroni, Dendrobates auratus, Afrixalus dorsalis, Theloderma corticale
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Does anyone have photos of their mantella vivs they can share? I'm putting one together for a pair of baroni that are in quarantine, and I'm curious to see what everyone else does for theirs.

View attachment 300837
Here's mine, 25 gallon tank. The fan you see in the left upper corner is part of a water cooling system I built. There is a waterfall which is currently switched off as the frogs didn't like the buzzing of the pump. Following Rain_frog advice, I will be drilling a hole in the glass to take the pump out later this year when I move house and when the breeding season is over (this originally wasn't feasible where I currently live). The idea is to have the back area with more plants to provide cover, sleeping spots etc, whilst the best spots for egg deposition are in the front underneath the moss and cork slabs. So far this has been working out pretty well.

All plants except for the moss are from madagascan origin.


13 baroni in there, currently have some tads swimming around. But I'll make a separate topic about that a bit later.
 

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Mantella baroni, Dendrobates auratus, Afrixalus dorsalis, Theloderma corticale
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Nice! How big is the viv? And is that green patch on the right your water feature?
60x40x40 (in cm, which translates to 24x16x16 inches roughly). The water feature is on the left behind the plants. It's mostly just a waterfall as the water drains quickly into the filter foam and back into the pump. There are rocks on top of the foam to create a kind of rocky waterfall/pool scene.

The substrate of the rest of the viv is akadama, with just a bit of ABG underneath for the plants. Drainaige layer of hydroballs. I will change the drainage layer to fully filter mat when the pump is moved out of the viv.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll have to post a photo of the full viv this evening when I get home from work, but this guy was out hunting Whe I popped in over lunch. He's very reclusive and I haven't seen him out like this before, but this morning I switched the lighting mode to a more bluish option to simulate deeper shade. Looks like it had the desired effect!

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