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Hello all, as the title indicates I am new to the forum and to housing/keeping dart frogs. I have done a fair bit of reading in the site so far but still have some unanswered questions and probably a lot more to learn.

We have kept reptiles in the past but with more arid dry terrariums, this will be the first tropical vivarium myself and my wife have built and are really looking forward to the process.

We got a really good deal on a 36x18x24 enclosure with stand, which will eventually house 4 leucs. We will be building in small trickle flow water features that will have no standing water deeper than 1cm, and will be building in access tubes for the pumps so that they can be replaced/maintained in the future. For drainage layer we have tossed around different media‘s between the clay balls, egg crate, or biochemical cotton foam. The foam seems to be very difficult to source locally and the clay balls will add a significant amount of weight due to the footprint of the enclosure so I think we’ve settled on using eggcrate (unless someone else has better suggestion?). My initial plan is to build the eggcrate layer like a box with the sides and front kept about an inch away from the glass with the gap filled with clay balls for aesthetics. The screen layer would cover this all with the edges siliconed to the glass.

We are still sourcing wood pieces and will be shopping locally for appropriate plants coming soon (all plants will be processed prior to introduction to the enclosure using the methods outlined on NEHerp)

My current questions are as follows:

- I was thinking of using some wide pvc for the risers of the false bottom in spots, and was wondering if I make it able to allow water to flow in and out could I put some clayballs and/or bio char inside the risers to provide breeding ground locations for the springtails?

- I have seen some build videos where they are using a paint on product instead of silicone onto of the spray foam. Looks like they are tinting it with quikrete tint. Does anyone know what product they are using?

- Does anyone have recommendations for low flow fully submersible pump? we would like to just achieve a trickle down a couple wood pieces for example.

- We live near Calgary, Alberta and as such can get quite cold in the winter, my concern is providing suitable heating to the enclosure to keep temps steady. I was thinking about a 25w heating pad attached to the tank and connected to a exo-terra dual thermostat to 1) prevent the heat from running all the time and the tank getting too hot, and 2) to help create a temperature gradient within the tank. Is this a suitable solution? Or is there a better solution to helping the tank temperature stay within range. Perhaps heater cable buried in the substrate?

- Following the previous question, where would be the best place to place the mat on the tank? I have read things stating that it’s inadvisable to attach it to the bottom of the tank. Should I attach it to one side of the back of the tank? Will any silicone on the back glass along with any spray foam and hardscaping prevent the mat from working correctly?

- With the thermostat where would be best placement for the probe? Should I also get stand-alone thermometers/hygrometers to have probes in other areas of the tank to ensure proper temp gradient?

Those are just some of the questions I haven’t been able to easily answer by reading through the forums, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, if anyone else in Canada knows some really good online suppliers or suppliers local to Calgary area that they can share with us that would be great, thank you.
 

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This is a great place to start for keeping leucs, and addresses a few of your questions and design choices:
 

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- I have seen some build videos where they are using a paint on product instead of silicone onto of the spray foam. Looks like they are tinting it with quikrete tint. Does anyone know what product they are using?
Likely Drylok, which is a masonry sealant, but can be colour tinted. I've used it on a few of my builds.
 

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I use Nicrew LED lights, the temperatures near the top of the tanks are, typically, 1-2°C warmer than the bottom of the tank. I would expect the same thing for the Fluval lights. My frogs are active and breed at these temperatures.
 
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