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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

New to the forums here and I realize this isn't the introductions forum, but I also have a brief question.

In short I'm interested in what size/type of tank would be good for someone looking to start the hobby slowly.

I'm not looking to own frogs anytime soon, I've owned many plants in the past and I feel bad enough when one of them dies that I think I'd feel way worse if I killed a frog, so I'm trying to get everything as right as it can be. That and I can't guarantee someone would be able to care for the frogs in the next few years.

So my goal is to set up a very lifelike vivarium that is as close as possible to self sustaining as I can get it. I've already decided I want a false bottom and some running water and I'm thinking a kind of layered LECA and sphagnum moss substrate and a foam background.

I'm still just in the planning phase so nothing is set in stone, so I'd love any input some of you guys/gals have to offer!

Best,
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if plants is what you want, a substrate made purely of sphagnum probably isn't going to work out as well as others. Take a look at ABG mix (try atlanta botanical gardens in the search function, "ABG" and "mix" are too short and won't show up), it'll serve you better than sphagshwag.
 

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My first suggestion is to decide on a species you want to work with. From there you can begin to landscape to the needs of the inhabitants. If you decide on any water feature whether a pool, a stream, or a full on water fall, it will truly limit usable space. The only function that is a positive across the board is tad deposition(Aside from a water feature with a current or wash). Even then, tads(unless encouraged to be reared in Viv) will be very difficult to remove. You have to consider the lid/front will have to opened pretty good to allow the capture of a tad in a corner pocket in the Viv. If it were me, I would avoid a "water feature" and opt for the plastic receptacles used under potted plants. I get them for like 30 cents a piece from Drug Mart.

Best of luck, I want pics when you build... I have a hunch you are someone with an attention to detail, and a less than sub-par expectation of yourself...

JBear
 

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you don't really need to put LECA on top of you false bottom....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey guys thanks for the suggestions! There's a wider range of things to think about clearly, although I had forgotten to mention that I was interested in the Dendrobates azureus. Read something about them being pretty hardy as far as dart frogs go.

I like the idea of the ABG mix over the sphagnum. Hmm, this tiny book I'm reading though did say that the authors used LECA on top of false bottoms and I've seen a few designs online that look like they've used the LECA. Maybe it's overkill as far as ventilation, but who knows.

I hope to post pictures when I get started. I'm still grappling with tank size.

So do you guys generally thinking moving water is bad? I've always been a fan of fountains. It'd kind of bum me out not to have it in there, I'm curious about methods for designing pools that are not dangerous to the frogs, I know they can drown in certain situations.

Again, thanks for the info everyone! Really appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, what's the deal with the exoterra tanks? That's practically all I get when I try looking for vivarium tanks online, but it seems like those gates in the front would make maintaining the temperature and humidity levels harder.

Looking for aquarium tanks gets me something that looks more like what I see other people using generally.

Thoughts? It's a shame I can't edit the original post.
 

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Exo's are primarily used because they are front opening. It's a real bonus when working on a tank. A lot of people use racks and stack the tanks, so in that situation you need a front opening tank. That said, there's nothing wrong with an aquarium. They actually give you a better view. Nothing wrong with a small water feature IMO, but people do have problems with them saturating the substrate. Sometimes the pumps crap out too, so you'll need easy access. It will just take some time to plan out properly. Make sure to test it well. Azureus is a great first frog.

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What I did is add a 2 inch layer of leca and then the ABG mix. With the ABG mix, don't leave anything out, maybe you could leave the peat moss out or if you used cypress mulch rather than orchid bark you could leave the tree fern fibre out. It's a great mix. Some people have used things like orchid bark, peat, and sphagnum too but nothing is as good as the ABG mix. Water features aren't usually done because of substrate saturation, wasted space, and the possibility of drowning. If you really want to replicate their natural habitat, a shallow puddle would be kinda cool, I personally don't like running water unless it's a trickle over something. Search up the thread "my jungle", he has a really good water feature. But if you REALLY wanted to replicate their habitat, a mossy root system with 1-2 plants, clay substrate, and 6 inches of leaf litter.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Again great suggestions everyone! I had no idea I'd get such great feedback here!

As far as the water feature, I wasn't thinking of replicating Yosemite Falls or anything extravagant like that. All I wanted was a light trickle that filled 1-2 puddles before disappearing somewhere under the false bottom.

I saw one design that seemed to try to keep as much substrate away from the stream of water as possible by really sculpting the stream rather than just have water pouring over substrate.



I've actually decided after looking through some of Grimm's videos to go ahead and do a beginner tank on just a 10 gallon exoterra that focuses mostly on plant life and sustainability. I was thinking I may just put some guppies in the bottom for some wildlife that I feel less attached to (don't worry I wouldn't introduce frogs later I know how people feel about mixing species). Although for someone just starting the hobby, I have to say I understand the lure.

Anyway thanks again everyone! Really excited to get started with the design! I'll keep you all posted!
 
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