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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody! I am just getting started with darts and vivs, and I'm a little unsure of some things. I have worked with darts in the past... Just never at home. I am starting my first terrestrial viv, just got done siliconing the sides black. I'm planning on adding the Great Stuff tomorrow night.
Ok, my first question is; What type of great stuff do I use? I bought a can of "Gaps and Cracks" but is this the right can? If not, I will exchange it first thing tomorrow. As for the substrate... I am pretty confused onw hat to do. It is a 10 gallon tank and I would like it to look as natural as possible. I am not really keen on how to set a dart viv up without an egg crate as a false bottom. What do you guys use for the substrate? My final question is, what do you all do to glue the substrate onto the great stuff foam, and what substrate do you use? I am not sure to use black silicone for it, or something else (better?). And the substrate to attach, what works best in the long run? I'm sorry for all these questions, I just want to get this right! :)
 

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Welcome to the board. I am from south Jersey, Gibbsboro actually.

Anyway, the Great Stuff comes in a red can with a yellow cap (I believe that is the right color order) and it is for gaps and cracks. What I did was silicone the sides (not back) and add the wood (I used ghost wood) to the background. The next step was to use the great stuff. Then I used GE Silicone II (most seem to use this) on top of the great stuff. I chose the brown color because if any of the bedding doesn't stick, brown is more natural. After putting silicone on, press the coco bedding in firmly to make sure it sticks. Make sure the bedding is dry and I also recommend gloves because great stuff is extremely sticky and once dry, it is tough to get off. If you get it on any exposed skin, it usually washes off with only a little effort.

Many people have had luck with the eggcrate bottom. I chose to use leca as the drainage layer, followed by fiberglass window sceen (both can be purchased at blackjungle.com). Some substrate options include coco bedding and tree fern fiber, or orchid bark and peat moss, for example. I chose to add a little of all four, peat and coco bedding in greater portions. It doesn't look too bad. Place some java moss or your choice of moss on top, and you should be set, in addition to some other plants of course.

I hopefully will be able to get my 30 gallon pics on here soon. Good luck with yours.

Oh, where in NJ are you from?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks a lot for the help! So far I have done everything you said, got the right Great Stuff, same silicone although I couldn't find the brown (need another tube i think. :roll: ), I was thinking about using the Leca but wasn't sure how well it worked. It's pretty cool they sell the right amount for a 10 gallon though. Is there an easy, nice looking way to make a small water area without flooding the whole tank? I would like to use some small aquatic plants like Lilaeopsis brasiliensis. I was also thinking about maybe Spathiphyllum floribundum 'Mini' for the tank, as well as some epiphytes. I am in Ocean BTW.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can you recommend any other small sized, easy plants that would work well? Again, I'm sorry for all these questions!
 

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As far as the water feature, I am not certain the best way to do that. I put a fall in my 30, with a pond at the bottom. I sectioned the pond off using great stuff and silicone. Took a while to get it right, I think if I did it again I would be better at it. First time may be rough. I would keep searching for the brown silicone. I bought mine at Home Depot and a local hardware store. HD is cheaper. That color is my preference. If you don't section the water off, it will turn brown. I believe that is due to the tannins (I think that is what it is called). I have the Lilaeopsis brasiliensis in my pond. I just finished it a week ago. Since you are looking at blackjungles site, check out the calathea's. They seem nice and are growing pretty well. If this is your first viv, you could always start slow and make a nice simple setup. This would be a good way to learn without investing too much money. Just a suggestion though. What are you putting in there?
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, this is my first Viv...tropical at least. I have done lots of work with aquatics before though. I'm not really sure what is going in it yet... I am leaning towards a pair of tincs. I'm not sure what race yet. I am open to suggestion in this are though also. I like tincs because they aren't too shy and I love their colors.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I was thinking about getting the pair from him, but the shipping is a bit much. I would like to try to find the frogs locally. Or at least within pickup range.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I forgot to ask, For the coco bedding, I was thinking about using a brick of bed a beast and then drying it out in the oven. Then when it is all dry and in its loose form could I use that to press into the silicone background? Or is there some other coco stuff people use? Where did you get yours?
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was thinking about going to IAD this year but I don't know if I will be able to afford it. Was more interested in going for the salamander talks at first, but my dart frog interest is definately growing.
 

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Same stuff, different packaging. Blackjungle has it for $3 a brick I believe. Their bricks are bigger than the ones I got from the store. If you are a new customer to bj, you get 10% your entire order, excluding shipping, so you may just want to save a trip and get it from them. One brick is more than enough for the background. Not sure if it will cover your substrate also, unless you mix in peat, which is real cheap. 2.2 cubic feet for $6 at HD. But definately dry it. Thin layers in the oven works best.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alright, thanks a ton! Hopefully I still have a brick lying around somewhere, I will soak it tonight and bake it in the morning. :) I still need to think about the substrate though, I will use Leca for drainage though. I like the way it looks. Thanks for the blackjungle info BTW, didn't know they had a discount. Actually, when you consider the price of going to IAD, I am much more interested in paying the shipping cost now.haha Do you have any cultures you could subculture? It would be cool to get stuff from someone local.
 

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I could culture some flies if you wanted them. I have some new ones I just started so they should be producing soon. You wouldn't need too many cultures if you get them before the frogs, but you would need some media and cups. I have hydei, melanogaster, and turkish gliders. I also just got some springtails so they are beginning to culture nicely too. Let me know what you want to do.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Never heard of turkish gliders... How different are they? :shock: Do adult darts ever eat springtails? I am also looking to get my hands on some tribolium and those small white isopods.
 

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Here is flyculture.com 's description:

Flightless Drosophila melanogastor (Turkish Gliders): This is an interesting newly developed line of melanogastor. These flies have the ability to glide short distances in small loops that are about 2-3 inches in diameter. This is the most productive line of melanogastor we have seen.

They do jump and are a lot quicker than the other flies. They do breed fast. You could only have like 20 flies in the culture and in a short period be filled with them.
I am not sure about tribolium, what exactly are they, maybe I only know the common name not scientific. If the isopods are these:

Armadillidium vulgare - Pill Bug - Roly-Poly: This large (15mm) isopod makes a great addition to any terrarium. A. vulgare is great as a terrarium janitor and the soft bodied juveniles are readily consumed. Add one starter culture to each terrarium for optimal performance.

then their young aren't much different in size then springtails. Supposedly azureus like springtails, according to the Professional Breeders Series. Plus you would have cultures going for froglets, when they breed for you. They could culture in the tank so if you miss a feeding, they would still have some food available. It couldn't hurt to have as a backup source. I also have rice flour beetles but they are a pain.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That's a good point, I should have them ready if/when I have froglets. I also keep other animals that like them, but I've been putting them off. I wasn't sure if many people kept live isopods or springtails in their tanks. I would like to for the benefit of scavenging and an extra food source. The isopods I am referring to are similar if not the same as the "tropical woodlice" they use in the UK. They are soft bodied and white and get about 3 mm. Tribolium are confused flour beetles. I am also working on getting a culture of buffalo worms going. Are the gliders good feeders so far? Are the frogs able to catch them easily? Another thing I plan on doing is catching termites this summer and maybe some aphids. Feeding has always been one of my biggest concerns when I considered keeping darts, hopefully I am not overdoing this, but variety is good right? :p
 

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You can't really go wrong with variety. For a pair of frogs, you will spend more time with the amount of food items you are considering than the frogs :D . It is quite a bit of food. I am going to try and get termite larva from the pine barrens. The dead pines are loaded with them. They can and will catch the gliders. They don't fly, just...umm...glide. Its like a short hop. I am not familiar with woodlice or the worms, but I do have beetles and I barely use them. I just have the container sitting there. I had 16 cultures a few weeks ago for only four frogs, they were producing like crazy, too fast I had no use for them. Now I have about a similar amount of cultures but 8 frogs, so a litle better ratio (with the added frogs, of course :D ).
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The flour beetles can be a pain, I would really like a culture of them though. I have other used for all the feeders than the darts. They just give me more reason to culture them.hehe I definately need some FF cultures though. Do you buy premade media or make your own?
 
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