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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, where to start?
I was looking around online to find some quality info and I've stumbled upon DB. I am getting an exo terra 12"Lx12"Wx18"h terrarium and I was told I could keep a couple of dart frogs in there. After more research and talking to a few breeders, I found that I may only be able to have one as there is not enough floor space for two.

One breeder recommended I look into the 'thumbnail' Ranitomeya species if I want to try to get a pair of them as he said they are much smaller and would require less space. Does this species live exclusively on the ground floor or would they use the higher ledges and platforms I plan to create on the back and side walls?

Does anyone else have any suggestions as far as which kind of dart frogs I could keep happily in this type of terrarium or should I be looking at tree frogs/crested geckos?

More questions! I have a mini manzanita stump that resembles a small tree. I would like to incorporate it into the scape but I'm worried it might be too sharp for the frogs. I do plan to cover it in flame moss but I was still worried about them so I had to ask to see if anyone else has tried/done this.

I was told to check here as well to find instructions/advice on how to make a small pond and waterfall that I could easily remove for cleaning. My plan is to make a cork background and run the waterfall behind it and have it end up in a small pool of water near the front of the terrarium. I know it cannot be very deep and has to be easy enough for the frogs to enter/exit it so they do not drown, but my question is how do I keep the soil from soaking up/mixing in the water? I picked up a bag of hydro balls from my LPS and I plan to get some mesh to separate the layers but I still cannot seem to wrap my mind around how to keep it all separate and clean.

Speaking of clean, I've read that I'll need to completely tear down the tank and clean everything about once every two months is that correct? I want to try to minimize the tearing down and cleaning once everything gets settled in as it could possibly damaged the background and plants and such.

Sorry for all of the questions but I definitely want to get everything right before I introduce the frogs. I'm sure I have more but I cannot think of them at the moment.

Thanks for reading,
Andrew
 

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A pair of ranitomeya would probably do fine in there, assuming you landscaped it properly to their needs. They are generally arboreal so a vertical orietated cage would suit them best. Check out the care sheets here on the forum : http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/care-sheets/48976-species-list-links-care-sheets.html

Usually the larger frogs are recommended for beginners, like auratus, leucomelas, tinctorious so maybe check those out and see if they interest you. They come in many different colours. These are all terrestrial frogs, so would do better in a horizontal orientated vivarium. 5-10 gallons is the "recommended" size, but I dont like to see pairs of the larger frogs in anything less than a 20G aquarium, or an 18x18 exo.

The sharp area of your stump shouldn't cause any problems. Many of the broms used in vivs have spines and don't cause any problems.

As far as making a waterfall in the viv, there are TONS of threads on this on the forum. Use the search function and search "waterfall" or any combinations of that and you will find tons of info. Remember though, the waterfall is for your enjoyment, and is usually no use to the frogs. It also can take up a lot of useable space from the frogs.

Search Function

There is generally no "cleaning" of the viv, since people use bugs to do this. Springtails and iso's/woodlice do a great job. Often you will have to trim back plants though otherwise it will become completely filled with plants, assuming they grow well. Usually this only needs to be done every 2-3 months, depending on plants.

Again this is just my thoughts on all of this, I would suggest using the search function as much as possible as 99% of the time the question you have has been asked time and time again by other members.

Andrew
 

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Hi Andrew,
12x12x18 is small for the larger dart frogs, although it should be fine for a pair of Ranitomeya. These thumbnail frogs are much smaller and faster than many of the larger, easier dart frogs so I suggest you try to go see some in person to get an idea of how small they are, because they are tiny for people who have never seen them! It also means you will need to make sure there are absolutely no tiny gaps in the tank because thumbnail frogs can fit through the tiniest of spaces.
The Ranitomeya species, for the most part, utilize height a lot, which is why many people keep them in vertically oriented tanks, but also still use ground space.
I would honestly skip a water feature completely, there is no need because most dart frogs, like Ranitomeya, would probably not even use it and it will waste vaulable space in a small tank to begin with. They are more of a pain than they are worth in small tanks in my opinion.
Not sure where you heard that you need to tear down the tank ever few months, but that's not true. A good vivarium with live plants and microfauna (springtails, isopods, etc.) will keep itself clean for the most part. You should only need to trim plants if they grow too big every few months, not tear it down at all.
Hope that helps.
Bryan
 
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I'm jealous of your stump. I'm always keeping my eyes open for "stumpy" pieces of wood to use in a viv but I haven't been able to find a good one yet.

I wouldn't do a water feature in that tank, for any type of frogs. There's already a minimal amount of space and you'd just end up using valuable frog-use space for it.
 

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Definitely skip the water feature. You are already pinched for space. Water features are for you...to look pretty. Your frogs want more real estate. That is valuable space better used for more leaf litter or a nice piece of climbing wood. I like ghostwood.
No cleaning involved other than wiping your glass down. As Drew advised, bugs will be your janitors. In addition, your live plants use the frogs waste as fertilizer and clean the soil through growth.
When you are ready for some info on cultivating your viv "janitors", check this thread out. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/food-feeding/66991-how-culture-isopods-woodlice-springtails.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the responses :D
I'll try to get a pic of the manzanita stump later when I get off of work.

I think I'll take your advice and skip the water feature.

I was thinking about covering the inside of it wall to wall with some cork and maybe some stones (besides the front of course) and making mini ledges everywhere. I'm sure others have done this but I want to know how it worked out.

Also, what can I fix the cork/stone to? Should I silicon it right to the glass or try to get a flat board of some kind and fix it to that so I can remove it if necessary? I just don't want the frogs to be able to get behind the cork as it is not entirely flat. I could always use a lot of silicon to fill up the gaps but I'd think it would get pretty costly.
I did see a lot of people use great stuff but I'm no artist so I probably couldn't make something that looks natural.

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I like to adhere the cork to my backgrounds w/ clay and add a little more to fill around the edges. its easier to get plants to grow in/on, and you can pull everything out later on if you don't like it...

don't tell doug, but i'm still using the entry level formula of 3 parts dr. elsey's unscented kitty litter from petco mixed w/ 1 part peat moss ... just add water a little at a time until you get a nice workable paste and mush it into all the cracks...

if you're going to attach anything heavy, silicone is a must, but for cork, clay is easy money.

here's a link to my favorite construction how-to article for beginners. John is a member here and has great articles on his site.

Building Dart Frog Terrariums / Tropical Terrarium Construction - Frog Forum

good luck,
brett
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
@Pumilo
Thanks I just may use that idea with the moss.

@btcope
Those are great write ups of how to set up the base and backgrounds thanks!

:D

I'm going to a swap near me this coming Sunday, what kind of price range should I expect for the different species of Ranitomeya?
I know some can go for hundreds but these are not what I'm looking for, I would like some with bold colors that will really contrast with it's home, something with primary colors would be pretty sweet looking but I don't even want to look at prices online since I know I'll be sad when I see them.
So basically what are a few of the less expensive species I should be looking for and a decent price for them? PM me if necessary.

Oh and I forgot, I have a fogger, would this be of use for them as well? I would still mist once or twice a day as well.
 

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Check out Ranitomeya Ventrimaculata, see if you like them. The French Guiana morph is usually pretty reasonably priced (I've seen juvies for $40 and sexed pairs for ~$125). Another lower priced thumb is Ranitomeya Lamasi 'Orange Panguana', commonly called Orange Lamasi. These are typically a lot shyer than Ventrimaculata though, so that's why they're not my first choice. Ranitomeya Imitator species are pretty bold and good for newer keepers as well, but usually cost ~$100/frog.

Good luck dude. Don't rush it. You might just spend this weekend looking at what's around and getting a good idea of what you like... Having the tank set up and getting your conditions spot on before picking up frogs is always a good idea.

-brett
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's exactly my plan. I want to get there and talk to the breeders to get their take on things as well as see how much this will dig into my pocket. Its twice a month so I'll try to go next month when I am ready for the little ones.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Will the compact top be enough to grow moss, broms, some grass like UG or something and some others?
I assume I'll be needing something a little more powerful so I thought I'd ask, but I think I'd be able to DIY another fixture to go on top as well.
I could always step it up and go with some t5s. I'd rather not if I could save some money my and setup would work.

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Having a hard time finding the ingredients for a clay background/substrate. I don't need very much and everywhere I look it's in quantities of like 50lbs. I need calcium bentonite correct? How much would I need to make a clay background and substrate for a 12x12x18 to make 3 walls with shelves and such and for the substrate?
 

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what's the compact top you're asking about? its an exoterra? i use their tops for some of my tanks. the ones that hold a regular bulb... i put in a 6500k compact fluorescent. should be fine for a tank of that size.

as far as clay ingredients goes, i've been using the kitty litter despite people saying its lousy. it gets the job done. where are you located? perhaps another frogger in the area can help you out w/ some material?

-brett
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
what's the compact top you're asking about? its an exoterra? i use their tops for some of my tanks. the ones that hold a regular bulb... i put in a 6500k compact fluorescent. should be fine for a tank of that size.

as far as clay ingredients goes, i've been using the kitty litter despite people saying its lousy. it gets the job done. where are you located? perhaps another frogger in the area can help you out w/ some material?

-brett
Yeah its the exo terra one it came with, I have a 6500k linear cfl I can put in there.

Wish I knew others here on DB but I'm in Chicago if anyone wants to help an Ent out. :D
 

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Nice branch there....lots of arms on it...december comes and you can hang some spheres and candy canes on it for the little guys...haha jk...but very cool branch to get creative with
 
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