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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting ready to set up my first viv in a 10 gal tank. I'm not sure on the substrate, though. I've read that, generally, leaf litter is the substrate that dart frogs encounter in the wild. However, I dont know alot about its use in captivity. Does anyone have any info on this? What type of leaves to use, pros/cons, maintenance, etc? What do you all use for substrate?Thanks alot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. Any other opinions/suggestions on this? I'm looking for all the first hand information i can get! Thanks again.
 

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Substrate

I use one or two inches of leca (expanded clay) pellets on the bottom. On top of this I use a mix which is used at the Atlantic Botanical Garden. Their "recipe" is:
2 parts fine orchid bark
2 parts fine tree fern fiber
2 parts milled sphagnum
1 part fine charcoal
1 part peat moss

This makes a fluffy substrate which holds moisture, but allows good air exchange and is slow to compact. You can top dress this with moss or any number of ground covers that grow in wet environments.

The leca pellets create a resevoir for your water, and make it easier to siphon out of the enclosure. This also works well for false bottom construction.
 
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this may be a dumb question, but where would one get things like charcoal, milled sphagnum and fine tree fern fiber? are they all readily available? thanks.
 

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Substrates

Searching for substrate components will bring you dangerously close to another expensive hobby, orchids. These components can be found for a fair price at http://www.calwesttropical.com/. Look under their potting soil section. Charcoal can usually be found at any garden center or home improvement center in the garden department. This is charcoal used specifically for horticulture. The one ingredient which has always been difficult to find is milled sphagnum. Often this is referred to as seed starter or NoDampOff. I have used regular long fibered sphagnum torn into shorter pieces, and this has worked just as well. There is a site online at http://www.dansgardenshop.com who sells it for $4.29 for a small bag.
 
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I've already got a thing for orchids. I've only got a couple now, but I think I'm about to break and start adding to my small collection. I'm also becoming pretty obsessed with chondros, and will probably get a hatchling from one or two of the incredible breedings that are going on right now. with orchids, dart frogs and chondros, I'm going to be broke in no time.
 
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