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I recently got a Marine-Land 30G Half Moon (27l x 27h x 18d) and have been trying to decide how I want to design it and that requires knowing what frogs I'm going to be putting in there. I've mainly been looking at tree frogs so far but want to consider dart frogs. I am looking for any suggestions on the species I should consider whether its tree frogs or dart frogs and also looking for ideas regarding the design of the tank. If anyone has, or can link me too, a vivarium in a similar sized and shaped enclosure for inspiration that would be greatly appreciated. I've been trying to find images of half moon vivariums and haven't had much luck.
 

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I recently got a Marine-Land 30G Half Moon (27l x 27h x 18d) and have been trying to decide how I want to design it and that requires knowing what frogs I'm going to be putting in there. I've mainly been looking at tree frogs so far but want to consider dart frogs. I am looking for any suggestions on the species I should consider whether its tree frogs or dart frogs and also looking for ideas regarding the design of the tank. If anyone has, or can link me too, a vivarium in a similar sized and shaped enclosure for inspiration that would be greatly appreciated. I've been trying to find images of half moon vivariums and haven't had much luck.
If you added some ventilation to the top, perhaps if you put ventilation in the back, still I don't think this is a good tank for darts, I feel as though if you added some ventilation mossy frogs would be fine in it. Do ye research. Also can you even drill acrylic? I've never tried. Also yeah top only opening tanks make me want to cry too.
 

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Welcome to DB, and potentially to frog-keeping. :)

If you'd like to keep frogs (lovely animals to keep), research species first. This will take some time, especially if you're not yet sure what family of frogs you're interested in.

Once you've narrowed down a species or two that you'd like to keep, then make sure you're up for all the care requirements -- is your home cool or warm enough; are you willing to deal with the feeders it requires; is it too noisy for your living situation; is it financially feasible (animals + housing + ongoing supplies + potential vet bills). Is it a species that breeds in captivity without intervention, and how might that be handled?

Then research what the ideal (not bare minimum) dimensions and design the viv should be, and purchase that equipment. In no case will the ideal housing for any frog species be a tall bowfront fish tank, I'm certain -- and skimping/making due with inadequate/inappropriate equipment makes the challenge of caring for delicate animals much more difficult.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I fully intend to do all my research before potentially getting any frogs. Any time I get new pets its always months of research and planning.

Then research what the ideal (not bare minimum) dimensions and design the viv should be, and purchase that equipment. In no case will the ideal housing for any frog species be a tall bowfront fish tank, I'm certain -- and skimping/making due with inadequate/inappropriate equipment makes the challenge of caring for delicate animals much more difficult.
I am curious as to the reasons why the bow front isn't ideal. Is it due to the lack of air circulation? Or potentially that the bow makes it more exposed so harder for frogs to feel secure?

I had been thinking about getting frogs for a couple of weeks and then I was able to get this tank for free. My thinking was that since it is a tank with more vertical space rather than floor space it would be a more suited towards tree frogs. The other alternative for this tank is to become a terrarium/greenhouse for some of my houseplants.
 

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I fully intend to do all my research before potentially getting any frogs. Any time I get new pets its always months of research and planning.



I am curious as to the reasons why the bow front isn't ideal. Is it due to the lack of air circulation? Or potentially that the bow makes it more exposed so harder for frogs to feel secure?

I had been thinking about getting frogs for a couple of weeks and then I was able to get this tank for free. My thinking was that since it is a tank with more vertical space rather than floor space it would be a more suited towards tree frogs. The other alternative for this tank is to become a terrarium/greenhouse for some of my houseplants.
Darts do poorly in stagnant air (so I've been told) And the lack of a front opening door makes maintenance hard, but if you wanted to do mossy frogs "the only frogs I keep" I feel that they would do fine as long as you added a little extra ventilation to the top. Mossy frogs means having water in the bottom and climbing surfaces ect.
 

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I am curious as to the reasons why the bow front isn't ideal. Is it due to the lack of air circulation? Or potentially that the bow makes it more exposed so harder for frogs to feel secure?
Yes, lack or airflow and the challenges in rectifying that.

Also, access from the top is difficult (it isn't the same as accessing a fish tank, as some folks seem to expect it to be). Removing water from the drainage layer would be very hard from above; drilling a drain would be virtually necessary (though this is nice to do in any case).

Also, the footprint shape isn't great for hardscaping -- and this is a place where novice keepers often come up short (it isn't much like fish tank design, contrary to some assumptions) -- and hardscape design is very important for frogs. A good hardscape for dart frogs in that tank will yield a viv from which the frogs are impossible to remove (frogs sometimes need a trip to the vet, or a dominant/submissive frog removed, or froglets pulled, or eggs pulled).

More, though, my point was that choosing a species first and then optimizing housing (etc) for that species is always going to lead to better results than shoehorning something in to a non-purpose designed enclosure for convenience's sake. This may not seem true, since there's a common sense but incorrect notion that simply "checking all the boxes" is sufficient, but it doesn't always work out that way in practice.
 

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With this dart frog hobby, you are going to want to be inside the enclosure for maintenance often. You will want to prune plants, feed the frogs, clean and wipe the glass ect ect. It is not impossible with a top opening enclosure but it downright suxs to have to stick your arm way down and feel around and not be able to easily see and coordinate your efforts. If you ever have a front opening enclosure, you Never go back to top.
 

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I’m going to disagree with some of what’s been suggested…

There’s something to be said for doing your own thing and working with what you have. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the tank you have and it can be made completely suitable for dart frogs with a bit of effort. My experience with most folks here is that, while they might have valid opinions, they are mostly averse to ‘out of the ordinary’ builds and approaches that take a bit more effort to see through; most want a plug-and-play system and choose materials and methods that they’ve seen others use, while expending as little effort as possible, which is not always the most interesting, or inspiring, approach in terms of end result. If you are an individual who enjoys the build process – and all involved – as much as relaxing and admiring the end result, then take on the project.

Front-opening tanks can be just as difficult to interact with and maintain as top-opening tanks – it has much to do with the hardscape layout in either case. If you accept the challenges that come along with a top-opening tank – and, again, I think there are just as many challenges present with front-opening tanks – then there should be no reason to keep you from doing what you want. Frogs can be, and likely are in most cases, just as difficult to remove from a front-opening tank as they are from a top-opening tank – if your frogs are easily removed from a front-opening tank, chances are you’re hardscape is poorly constructed and isn’t benefitting the frogs as much as you think. There are benefits and drawbacks present with both designs – it is not always as black and white as some may suggest.

You can achieve adequate ventilation by modifying your top to add screened openings and incorporating active circulation to ensure proper air movement within the enclosure. If necessary, draining can be done by adding an access point from the top of the enclosure down to the drainage layer via a tube (PVC or ABS pipe is commonly used here and can be easily obscured by background materials) from which a flexible tube can then be temporarily inserted to siphon excess water out (if you find the need to drain your enclosure with any sort of frequency that prompts you to incorporate tapped drains into the enclosure, then it’s likely that you are over-watering, have too much ventilation, or some combination of the two). This is all very simple and basic assuming you have the time and tools necessary. All of this information can be found by searching the forum, and while some may suggest that these practices are ‘outdated’ they are still very much applicable in this context. The simple idea that a specific tank shape is not ideal for use in the construction of a vivarium is bogus and overlooks the vast possibilities for modification.

1word4words, I think you have a very nice looking tank to start with and you could end up with a uniquely beautiful and functional display with a bit of creativity and thoughtful planning. I don’t think the hardscape layout will require a different approach than with any other tank shape/size, but I think you will find that the majority of it will be oriented predominately towards the center of the display (especially when incorporating hardscape elements that project from the background), while the bottom of the tank can still utilize the whole space (effective layering of hardscape elements will be key here).
 

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If it were me, I'd be using this as a plants-only tank. You could use it for housing your mother plants. Get them cleaned up, growing, and then you'd have plants from which to take cuttings, with no further need to bleach again before placing them in your future tanks (unless you get careless and contaminate it).

It's worth reiterating that when you do maintenance, because you'll have to reach in from the top, you'll probably have to remove the light to do so, which will make doing the work in the tank a little harder since you won't be able to see what you're doing, in addition to the physical awkwardness of it. Being such a PITA, this could lead to neglecting the tank, given that many people have a tendency to procrastinate unpleasant activities.

There's also some consideration for frogs' behavior here. There are older threads here about how feeding and interacting with the tank from a lateral position is thought to be less stressful than reaching down into a tank from above, which may appear to the frogs more like a predator coming for them from their blind spot. If you're coming in at their eye level, their peripheral vision is more likely to catch your movement while they still have time to consider their response, unlike coming in from above.

I have to say, I find these half-moon tanks aesthetically appealing, so I understand the temptation from that aspect alone.
 
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