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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently building a 24x18x24 Exo Terra for a group of R. Fantastica and would like to know if I'm maximizing the space available. No leaf litter quite yet as the hardscape hasn't been finalized.

Currently the hardscape primarily takes up space at the front of the tank (unfortunately it was just the way the cookie crumbled, couldn't fit the large piece in any other way) and there is a lot of empty space at the back left and right corners of the tank which I intend to use for plants.

About the plants:
In the more open back left corner I intend to plant Marcgravia El Coca, this means that this space will remain open for quite a while as that plant is slow to grow. To in the right corner I intend to plant Philodendron Fibraecataphyllum. I have two of these and they're about a foot each with around 7 leaves. This should provide instant shelter for the frogs from day one. On the pieces of driftwood itself I intend to plant Marcgravia Azrael and Philodendron Lupinium. In the two spots circled in green below I intend to plant Vriesea Erythrodactylon although I'm not sure if this is a good idea since it's quite close to the door and Fantastica are known to be quite fast. Please let me know if I should reconsider. Along the other walls I'll probably plant some other Marcgravia (not much surface area created there, but I like the look).

About the hardscape:
The large piece of wood is hollow on the inside and it opens up to the subsrate which means that there's plenty of room for leaf litter so I don't believe it takes up more surface area than it provides. This is the guiding principle behind all of my hardscape choices. Unfortunately the left side of the tank is lacking in hardscape that cuts into the vertical negative space. Most of the hardscape there are at the mid-level. And although there are a few holes and tunnels, I fear that the current set up may not provide the frogs with sufficient hiding spaces outside of leaf litter.

Please let me know what you think. Thank you.


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If it were me I would use smaller (diameter wise) wood. This takes up most of the space - and while it creates usable areas, it also takes up usable area that could be used for plants, for example, or thinner branches that would create even more surface area. Lots of plants are strong enough to support Ranitomeya, so their growth and their leaves is a great way to create usable area.

I also think you may have a tough time viewing fantastica in here as is. It is a bit crowded.

Just my thoughts!
 

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Agreed with Chris, that is a really awesome looking piece of wood but might be counter-productive in a tank this size. I would worry the frogs would spend much of their time behind the wood, which would be nice for them but not so nice for anyone wanting to view them.

I'm not particularly handy with power tools but I wonder if it is possible to use some kind of saw to bisect the wood vertically so you could put it flush with the back wall of the terrarium and take up less space up front while retaining the cool aesthetics of the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If it were me I would use smaller (diameter wise) wood.
Do the pieces of wood that you have in mind have tunnels or holes? Or are they just branches and twigs that when used will always expose the frogs? Hardscape with holes and tunnels tend to be bigger and take up more space, do you think the the trade off is worth it?

usable area that could be used for plants
When you say this I'm assuming you mean terrestrial plants? What species of terrestrial plant would you recommend that gets tall but not too tall? So far I'm mainly intending to use shinglers so I don't have much knowledge regarding suitable terrestrial plants.

I also think you may have a tough time viewing fantastica in here as is. It is a bit crowded.
Am I correct in assuming that Fantastica sightings will be rare, not because the frogs are inactive due to the lack of potential hiding spots, but rather because the hardscape will get in the way of me actually seeing them? Do you find your shyer frogs utilizing a lot of the more open areas without any overhangs or plants above?

Lots of plants are strong enough to support Ranitomeya, so their growth and their leaves is a great way to create usable area.
In hindsight, I guess most of my hardscape decisions were influenced by the fact that I keep Leucs.

I would worry the frogs would spend much of their time behind the wood, which would be nice for them but not so nice for anyone wanting to view them.
That's definitely a concern, yeah. I've read an old post by Fishguy about how placing the lights at the back of the tank to make it brighter there and the front part in shadows can help this to a certain extent.

I'm not particularly handy with power tools
Believe me that I would do this in a heartbeat if I could. But I already managed to cut myself just sawing off an inch to get the piece to fit.
 

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Do the pieces of wood that you have in mind have tunnels or holes? Or are they just branches and twigs that when used will always expose the frogs? Hardscape with holes and tunnels tend to be bigger and take up more space, do you think the the trade off is worth it?
I would say anything that is an inch in diameter is probably perfect. If it has holes, I wouldn't worry. It's not about forcing the exposure of the frogs, but creating usable space, and not blocking large areas from being viewable. The frogs will more often than not be more active and bold with lots of hiding spaces. That said, wood with holes in it can be a PITA when/if moving frogs around.

When you say this I'm assuming you mean terrestrial plants? What species of terrestrial plant would you recommend that gets tall but not too tall? So far I'm mainly intending to use shinglers so I don't have much knowledge regarding suitable terrestrial plants.
Yes, there are tons of different terrestrial plants you can use. Most types of philodendrons are great, many of which will shingle. Bromeliads might be nice too, if you don't plan on actively breeding these guys.

Am I correct in assuming that Fantastica sightings will be rare, not because the frogs are inactive due to the lack of potential hiding spots, but rather because the hardscape will get in the way of me actually seeing them? Do you find your shyer frogs utilizing a lot of the more open areas without any overhangs or plants above?
Fantastica can be shy in the best setup ever - they aren't Leucs by any stretch of the imagination...but yes, no sense in blocking off half the tank from being viewed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Went back in and cut a solid 8 inches off of the piece of the centerpiece driftwood to reduce it's width by about 2-2.5 inches and also removed some of the additional hardscape to free up a fair bit of space. The tiny branches will probably have to wait until the weekend when I don't have work. What type of Philodendron would you recommend if I want it to stay contained and not flow everywhere?
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Unfortunately my current plants are a bit dehydrated since I don't have the misting system set up quite yet.
 

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I've noticed my Fantastica do best when the vivarium is heavily overgrown with plants/vines that have flat horizontal leaves (like Hoya). Counterintuitive perhaps, but the more overgrown the vivarium, the more you'll see your frogs.
 
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