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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
Recently I have had a fascination with Dart frogs, mainly Dedro's.
During a recent trip to the Atlanta Aquarium I noticed their dart frog exhibit, which seemed pretty cool, this did nothing but spark the interest further.

I am not the type to like pets that involve hair, or training... haha So Frogs and Fish are perfect.

I have a custom build tank that measures 36"L x 24"W x 24"H
HOWEVER, its a rimless tank that is intended for a planted aquarium.
I also have a 20Long, with a stand... sitting there.

So I decided to make this 20Long into a small vivarium and from what Ive read the past few weeks, theres nothing wrong with this size if I just keep one or two frogs in it of the same genus/species.

I was thinking of two Cits. They are my favorite!


Now the specs:

Tank: 20Long with enclosed Glass Top
Stand : Modern black stand
Lighing: Marineland LED fixture (24") with 8 Daylight LED's and 4 460nm Blue LED's
Background: ... Heres the part I am asking about.
So I wanted to do something simple since this is my first Dart Frog habitat. I chose Coconut Fiber Backing... I picked up two strips (24" x 10") strips for Hermit crabs at petsmart, but today noticed those planters made of 100% coconut fiber today for only 4$! it was the perfect size... and is make of the same material and 100% all natural... Has anyone used this before? the stuff looks, feels and smell identical to the fiber background intended for hermits.

I figured I could use the coconut fiber in much of the same way Ive seen people use it for Bromeliad placement. By cutting a slit in it then inserting the plants base and packing it with Sphagnum to insure a steady and secure attachment until the plant grows.

Substrate: .. again, heres the second part.
I have seen people using clay balls on the bottom for drainage, and maybe because the clay has some iron and other elements in it for plant development. I have a bag for SeaChems Flourite , which is RICH in nutrients and is clay based... I also have some of the small bioballs used for reef tank filters (dont worry not been exposed to saltwater). I am thinking I can use the bioballs as a drainage base, then top them with the flourite for nutrients, then a layer of the tropical topsoil (coconut fiver brick) I got today and sphagnum, with leaf litter as a dressing (where can I get some btw?)

How does this sound?

Plants: I picked up the following today for starters:
Fittonia argyroneura
Hemigraphis alternata
Crptanthus bivittatus
Syngonium podophyllum
Tradescantia spathacea
Nephrolepis exaltata

How do these sound?

Also I was going to get some local moss that grows out in the woods here (away from polution) its the same species that you can buy ... i am slightly worried about parasites so I wanted to hear opinions about this...

I wanted to add a philodendron vine, some driftwood and rock, a fern or two more, and a couple of bromeliad pups. Maybe a tilandsia ionantha ...

I grow orchids, palms, broms, and carnivorous plants as well as many other tropicals here... its a hobby of mine so I can always use my epiphytes i have here growing too. .. namely the broms and tilandsia


Lets see... i think that better be all for now.

Please help me :) :) :)
 

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those coco planter backgrounds will deteriorate rapidly. It seems to me like the ones that Josh's frogs has are the same thing with a bit more latex and should last longer. Plus, they're $2... Coco Fiber 12'' Square (Red) I've been on the fence about them for a while, but next time I have an order ready I'm going to buy some to try it out. By the way, if any local guys are doing an order from Josh's let me know, would love to split shipping on some of these panels.
 

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HI Dartolution,
Welcome to Dendroholics Anonymous. My name is Rich and it's been 2 weeks since my last frog purchase (Crowd: "Hi Rich.").

It sounds like you have done some homework, which is great. I'd recommend you ditch the moss altogether as it's neither natural nor easy to grow long-term. Plants and leaf litter are the way to go.

The clay balls you refer to are called LECA (Light Expanded Clay aggregate). If you use the search function, you'll find plenty of posts on it. Their original usyeis in hydroponics. Froggers like them because they're lightweight and work well for drianage. Fluorite is not lightweight and I'm not sure how bioballs would work in this application (though I think they're probably worth more sold on Ebay or ReefCentral and replaced with LECA).

If you picked up your plants from a big box home improvement store, be sure to rinse the roots and remove most of the substrate before placing in your viv to avoid the fertilizers/pesticides they may have added to the soil. As for plant selection, I don't recognize most of those and can't look them up right now. Suffice it to say that anything that grows large or quickly will eventually dominate your viv which might be a less than desirable situation.

Consider picking up some isopods and springtails to seed your viv in advance of frog addition. This will help make the viv more ecollogically stable and provide a supplemental food source for your frogs. But the "bugs" will need time to colonize the viv before the population can support constant predation by frogs.

For any and all purchases, I always try to patronize board sponsors (there's a link to them on the left as well as banners on the top of every page). Finding local sponsors is helpful, but not always possible. In any case, many of the sponsors have years of keeping and shipping experience and serve as a source of information, as well as supplies, feeders and frogs. There are froggers in Alabama, for sure. Check the regional sections to connect with them. Having a nearby friend that can bail you out in case of a fly culture crash or similar disaster is invaluable.

Last piece of advice I'd offer is to practice culturing flies well in advance of purchasing your frogs. A steady food supply is crucial and there is both a science and an art to fly culture.

I'll quit rambling now. You can use the search feature to get more info on any of the topics I mentioned.

Good luck and welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hey thanks Rich!!!
I really appreciate the good info there,....


A few questions....

No moss? :-( maybe no local moss? Or a moss substitute like ricca or ... Something I really like moss lol. I have some growing that I've seen in several vivariums growing outside in a planter with a few bright pink cryptathus I have had for years... It's a nice cover in the pot and loves moisture.

Thanks for the elaboration on the clay balls LECA
Bioballs are just made of plastic and would essentially do the same thing, provide drainage, I was thinking of a layer of these, then some screen mesh, a layer of the fluorite then the coconut soil and sphagnum with leaf litter... Sound good?
No fluorite isn't light, but... Does it need to be? It is the bottom nutrient layer...

Thanks for the heads up on the plants, I was going to strip the roots anyway but this information helped me make that decision.

I don't think they get too big, minus the arrow leaf plant.
I do intend to put some java fern and anubias, brooms and a small orchid as well... I might sub some out.

Where can I get cultures of Isopods and springtails? I read this everywhere but am a little lost as to the process of culturing or how to get the insects.


Will the woodlice or springtails be sustained in the vivariums if there are no frogs present?
I'm a way off from purchasing the frogs still, I have just got the background silconed in place now. And the layer of bioballs set.

Thanks!
 

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No moss? :-( maybe no local moss? Or a moss substitute like ricca or ... Something I really like moss lol. I have some growing that I've seen in several vivariums growing outside in a planter with a few bright pink cryptathus I have had for years... It's a nice cover in the pot and loves moisture.
Terrestrial Dendrobatids are usually found in leaf litter or dense undergrowth, not on pretty moss lawns. If you want moss for you, Riccia or Java moss might be a beteer subsittue as temperate mosses usually need to go dormant at some point.
Thanks for the elaboration on the clay balls LECA
Bioballs are just made of plastic and would essentially do the same thing, provide drainage, I was thinking of a layer of these, then some screen mesh, a layer of the fluorite then the coconut soil and sphagnum with leaf litter... Sound good?
No fluorite isn't light, but... Does it need to be? It is the bottom nutrient layer... !
Lightweight is usfeul when you end up moving the viv for any number of reasons. Otherwise, weight isn't important. Your plants are going to get a lot of their nutrition from frog waste and leaf litter decomp. So the clay is not necessary from their perspective. But if you talk to Dr. Dirt (Matt Mirabello) he can tell you how great a substrate clay is. Some froggers use clay topped leaf litter with no coco fiber, sphagnum, etc.
Where can I get cultures of Isopods and springtails? I read this everywhere but am a little lost as to the process of culturing or how to get the insects.


Will the woodlice or springtails be sustained in the vivariums if there are no frogs present?
I'm a way off from purchasing the frogs still, I have just got the background silconed in place now. And the layer of bioballs set.

Thanks!
You can get the coco fiber, leaf litter, springs and isos from board sponsors. There are some great threads on culturing the springs and isos as well. Depending on the species, they'll feed off leaf litter, but you can always supplement with species-appropriate foods until the frogs go in, if you want. You might want to mix some fir bark (reptile bark) and/or tree fern fiber into your coconut mix if you go that route.

HTH,
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool! So maybe just a little moss haha not much, and I think I'll stick to fluorite as moving this small tank won't be a problem.

As far as the leaf litter, does it have to be from specific trees?
I read of water and a blender? What's this about
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bump and...

Decided to go with fluorite as a nutrient base since it won't hurt the frogs, used the plastic bioballs with some weed barrier landscaping fabric on top of the bioballs, then fluorite slopped to the back, in the center a small very shallow pool area filled with black sand and stone and soon to be leaf litter. A coconut fiber topping with sphagnum moss mixed in a little...

I used the coconut fiber backing for my background but thought about putting some clay over it.....

What's this talk about clay and cat litter?

I also planted it with a few plants, some cryptathus, some penny wart, oyster plant, hemigraphis, a small fern, and a couple more... Needs a small vine type plant and a small broom and I'm happy.
 
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