Dendroboard banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lately I've been focusing my builds on the no soil method, where you basically build the shape of the ground out of egg crate and mesh (or foam) then cover it with moss, leaf litter, and anything else you would normally top off the soil with, and plants are kept potted and placed on top.

Anyone ran into any drawbacks to this method? I still keep confined soil areas for isos, and I've found it easier to manage overall. I'll post my latest build process below.

Table Desk Rectangle Wood Gas

Rectangle Wood Flooring Floor Composite material

Rectangle Plant Flooring Urban design Gas

Plant Terrestrial plant Grass Aquatic plant Pet supply

Vertebrate Plant Organism Grass Aquatic plant

Rectangle Output device Television Organism Plant
Plant Rectangle Organism Grass Terrestrial plant

(I continuously drain the water to keep the front of the viv below 1/2" deep)
Plant Flower Flowerpot Houseplant Terrestrial plant

Here's how the philos have grown in. Microfauna populations are also thriving, no darts have moved in yet.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Please don't take this the wrong way. That tank is not suitable for dart frogs, in my opinion.

There's very little land mass for the frogs to use and what land mass there is, is soaked or covered with wet moss.
I've actually run tests on almost every part of the tank. There's a solid moisture gradient from the marshy area to the moss under the log, to the inside of the log. Not all moss is touching, I've placed gaps so it doesn't all waterlog, which is beside the point as there is plenty of surface area off the ground. It dries out fully between misting and some of the ground area rarely if ever gets wet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Still, from what I can recall, water bodies are effectively useless to dart frogs as they can't swim, and moss in general is a waste of space, since even when not actively wet, it sponges up more water than dart frogs tend to prefer. Leaf litter is a far more ideal ground covering for frogs, and should cover most of the floor surface of a viv, at least where plants/hardscape aren't already occupying said space. Air flow is also a big concern with top-opening vivariums. Without a fan, the air can and does get stagnant.
Someone more experienced than I, can of course correct me if I'm wrong
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,908 Posts
Still, from what I can recall, water bodies are effectively useless to dart frogs as they can't swim, and moss in general is a waste of space, since even when not actively wet, it sponges up more water than dart frogs tend to prefer. Leaf litter is a far more ideal ground covering for frogs, and should cover most of the floor surface of a viv, at least where plants/hardscape aren't already occupying said space. Air flow is also a big concern with top-opening vivariums. Without a fan, the air can and does get stagnant.
Someone more experienced than I, can of course correct me if I'm wrong
@ParrotAlex has it all correct. Great advice 😃
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Still, from what I can recall, water bodies are effectively useless to dart frogs as they can't swim, and moss in general is a waste of space, since even when not actively wet, it sponges up more water than dart frogs tend to prefer. Leaf litter is a far more ideal ground covering for frogs, and should cover most of the floor surface of a viv, at least where plants/hardscape aren't already occupying said space. Air flow is also a big concern with top-opening vivariums. Without a fan, the air can and does get stagnant.
Someone more experienced than I, can of course correct me if I'm wrong
1. I live in an arid climate where most keepers use shallow water bowls, I just build mine into the tanks

2. Most of the tank is leaf litter, everything behind the philos, which makes up 70% of the ground space. And moss is one of the most common substrate additions in the hobby, I wouldn't call it a waste of space

3. There are 2 fans
@ParrotAlex has it all correct. Great advice 😃
@ParrotAlex has it all correct. Great advice 😃
Correct in a general sense, but with no information on the tank's specifics. I have measures in place for all 3 of your concerns. Even if water features are unused space, there's more than enough sq footage remaining for the number I'm keeping. I have leaf litter and fans in place. Any response to that? Or would you rather just keep high-fiving eachother about basic knowledge with no concern for specific context?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
4,523 Posts
Anyone ran into any drawbacks to this method?
Or would you rather just keep high-fiving eachother about basic knowledge with no concern for specific context?
With all due respect, if you ask for people's suggestions/input/thoughts, you will get people's suggestions/input/thoughts.

If advice is asked for, and then slapped away, this whole forum thing simply ceases to work.
 

·
Registered
Ranitomeya and Oophaga
Joined
·
86 Posts
I recently posted some photos of a no soil (with the exception of calcium bearing clay) build but it is dramatically different then this (mine is sponge filter foam partially topped with charcoal/clay, topped with leaf litter). My goal was to reduce ground-level moisture content relative to my other conventional ABG builds. I have had very poor results with any use of terrestrial moss and luckily learned this lesson and re built a viv before ever obtaining dart frogs. If the goal is to house darts I agree and would either remove the water feature and moss or build a new viv.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With all due respect, if you ask for people's suggestions/input/thoughts, you will get people's suggestions/input/thoughts.

If advice is asked for, and then slapped away, this whole forum thing simply ceases to work.
And I'm happy to hear them, but their I have measures in place for their concerns they may not have known about. I created the post to discuss soilless builds in general, my tank was just an example
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I recently posted some photos of a no soil (with the exception of calcium bearing clay) build but it is dramatically different then this (mine is sponge filter foam partially topped with charcoal/clay, topped with leaf litter. But my goal was to reduce ground-level moisture content relative to my other conventional ABG builds. I have had very poor results with any use of terrestrial moss and luckily learned this lesson and re built a viv before ever obtaining dart frogs. If the goal is to house darts I agree and would either remove the water feature and moss or build a new viv.
I have had success with terrestrial moss, provided it's topped with generous leaf litter. And as I said earlier in the thread, I've run moisture tests on every part of the ground. There are dry parts. There are wet parts. It was my goal to create a moisture gradient so the frogs can self regulate. I don't see how all of you are so content telling someone to take their tank apart without having run any of your own tests. I've kept darts for years, I've run my tests, and the parameters have been met. I didn't create this thread for critique, I wanted to discuss substrate and soil preferences.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,908 Posts
2. Most of the tank is leaf litter, everything behind the philos, which makes up 70% of the ground space. And moss is one of the most common substrate additions in the hobby, I wouldn't call it a waste of space
70% of the ground space has leaf litter, the ground space making up what 50% of the floorspace that would be available if there weren't moss and water features?

Unless this tank is MUCH larger than it appears (looks to be a 20G long tank to me) that's not remotely enough space USABLE floorspace for dart frogs, in my opinion.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
4,523 Posts
the parameters have been met
This might be part of the friction here.

There's one way of approaching animal care that is "meeting the parameters" -- all the measurable stuff like temp and daylight hours, and all the less measurable stuff like amount of cover and number of sticks to climb and the like. Put that all together, and add animals. Like baking a cake.

There's another approach, which is: "optimize everything for the needs of the animal being housed, and then improve on that some more, and then still don't be quite satisfied". This approach assumes that all the basic parameter stuff isn't the goal to be achieved, but the basic bare minimum framework, the mere skeleton, on which to build. This approach recognizes that, for example, the space recommendations given are hopelessly minimal (literally one thousand times smaller than wild home ranges -- the math is simple to do), and having some wetter and some drier areas is not nearly ideal microhabitat choice (since animals need wet and warm, and cool and airy, and wet but airy, and dry and warm but away from cagemates, and so on). This approach also recognizes that starting with a less than ideal box -- a fish tank, that doesn't ventilate nearly as well as a vivarium, which itself doesn't ventilate anything at all like wild habitats (and this is known to lead to frog deaths, and that's what many folks here have in the backs of their minds) -- makes all this even more imperative.

There is a lot that can be said, that needs to be said, but won't be said in the first ten posts of a thread. These things take time to flesh out, and being ready to discuss helps that happen.

Here's a smile since it feels good to think about frogs this way. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
70% of the ground space has leaf litter, the ground space making up what 50% of the floorspace that would be available if there weren't moss and water features?

Unless this tank is MUCH larger than it appears (looks to be a 20G long tank to me) that's not remotely enough space USABLE floorspace for dart frogs, in my opinion.
Incorrect. This is a 40 breeder. Even considering the water and moss as unusable, there is a remaining 3 sqft of leaf littered ground area that will house only 2 frogs. Your lack of information on the build is exactly why I dismissed your concerns.
This might be part of the friction here.

There's one way of approaching animal care that is "meeting the parameters" -- all the measurable stuff like temp and daylight hours, and all the less measurable stuff like amount of cover and number of sticks to climb and the like. Put that all together, and add animals. Like baking a cake.

There's another approach, which is: "optimize everything for the needs of the animal being housed, and then improve on that some more, and then still don't be quite satisfied". This approach assumes that all the basic parameter stuff isn't the goal to be achieved, but the basic bare minimum framework, the mere skeleton, on which to build. This approach recognizes that, for example, the space recommendations given are hopelessly minimal (literally one thousand times smaller than wild home ranges -- the math is simple to do), and having some wetter and some drier areas is not nearly ideal microhabitat choice (since animals need wet and warm, and cool and airy, and wet but airy, and dry and warm but away from cagemates, and so on). This approach also recognizes that starting with a less than ideal box -- a fish tank, that doesn't ventilate nearly as well as a vivarium, which itself doesn't ventilate anything at all like wild habitats (and this is known to lead to frog deaths, and that's what many folks here have in the backs of their minds) -- makes all this even more imperative.

There is a lot that can be said, that needs to be said, but won't be said in the first ten posts of a thread. These things take time to flesh out, and being ready to discuss helps that happen.

Here's a smile since it feels good to think about frogs this way. :)
I agree. All I'm saying is that my tank, at the very least, meets basic requirements. We're all making an effort to improve further and go beyond basicrequirements, but you all didn't show up saying constructive criticisms. You showed up saying "take your tank apart, it's unsuitable"
It's not unsuitable, it could use improvements, all of ours tank could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Good points on both sides here. Though I would say, from a vivarium design perspective, having the only really suitable space towards the back of the viv is gonna end up so that your frogs will never be spending time out in the front of the viv, where they'll be visible. Fine for some, but for the purpose of viewing, it won't be ideal unless you prefer watching the viv from the side or above. Not to mention, 3 square feet of space DOES seem like quite a lot on paper, but these animals have massive amounts of space available to them in the wild, more than could reasonably be approximated in captivity (with the expectation of still seeing the frogs regularly, at least) As such, it stands to reason one would want to make every possible inch of space fully ideal for the frogs, to give them as much space as is possible to roam freely.

Good to hear there's fans. Nevertheless, I'll say that the presence of the pond is still overkill for keeping up humidity, even in an arid climate- I live in Arizona currently, and I've seen other Arizona keeper's vivs, and none of them have really large water dishes. The bigger concern in a hot, arid environment is keeping the room temperature in the 70s. Have you got a good AC system? A backup to the AC? And of course, can't forget the backup to your backup, haha! As for humidity, what I've learned is that keeping a high humidity percentage isn't the real goal, but rather, enough moisture to make things wet periodically, with a dry phase in between. Smaller, damp spots in secluded places for the frogs to go to when needed. Think of the brief, but nevertheless daily, rainshowers of rainforest uplands, rather than the flood-prone riparian zone of the Amazon. You might get the occasional torrential downpour, but that aside, there's time in which the forest floor is still relatively dry, perhaps with the odd leaf filled with water.

Mind you, this isn't to say the vivarium is terrible and needs to be torn down- far from it! It's absolutely gorgeous, and the water pool is incredibly well done. You've definitely got a really solid grasp on separating the foreground from the background and making a visually dynamic and interesting build, something I still struggle with, to be frank. The primary point from folks here is that it might not be ideal for dart frogs specifically in it's current state. Perhaps there's some other, more aquatic species, which would benefit from it more? Someone else might have more advice in that regard.
Hope this is helpful/insightful!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
582 Posts
I agree. All I'm saying is that my tank, at the very least, meets basic requirements. We're all making an effort to improve further and go beyond basicrequirements, but you all didn't show up saying constructive criticisms. You showed up saying "take your tank apart, it's unsuitable"
It's not unsuitable, it could use improvements, all of ours tank could.
You came here asking for our advice and input and then rejected everything we said. Even if you have enough area covered by leaf litter (You don't). Even if unfiltered water features weren't a haven for bacteria (they are). Even if moss wasn't majorly problematic for ground cover (which it is) you have still failed to give the frogs what they need. Instead focusing on whatever you find pleasing to your eye. In this case, a very small swamp. 40 gallons isn't big enough to take up considerably space with a useless pond.

You have received sound advice from people with far more experience than yourself. You have fought back against all of it. It's clear you're not going to listen to any of it. We'll be here to offer advice again if your frogs get foot rot or have other health issues because of your poorly designed tank(s). Hopefully they don't die.

In the future, don't ask for advice if you're just going to argue against it. The standards for these frogs are laid out pretty well on this forum and you'll receive consistent advice from everyone here.

Hoping the best for your frogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited by Moderator)
You came here asking for our advice and input and then rejected everything we said. Even if you have enough area covered by leaf litter (You don't). Even if unfiltered water features weren't a haven for bacteria (they are). Even if moss wasn't majorly problematic for ground cover (which it is) you have still failed to give the frogs what they need. Instead focusing on whatever you find pleasing to your eye. In this case, a very small swamp. 40 gallons isn't big enough to take up considerably space with a useless pond.

You have received sound advice from people with far more experience than yourself. You have fought back against all of it. It's clear you're not going to listen to any of it. We'll be here to offer advice again if your frogs get foot rot or have other health issues because of your poorly designed tank(s). Hopefully they don't die.

In the future, don't ask for advice if you're just going to argue against it. The standards for these frogs are laid out pretty well on this forum and you'll receive consistent advice from everyone here.

Hoping the best for your frogs.
You're missing one thing here. I didn't ask for advice. I asked if you all preferred soilless builds or not. My tank was just an example. I didn't once ask for your design input. And your don't know me. You have no idea of my experience level.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You came here asking for our advice and input and then rejected everything we said. Even if you have enough area covered by leaf litter (You don't). Even if unfiltered water features weren't a haven for bacteria (they are). Even if moss wasn't majorly problematic for ground cover (which it is) you have still failed to give the frogs what they need. Instead focusing on whatever you find pleasing to your eye. In this case, a very small swamp. 40 gallons isn't big enough to take up considerably space with a useless pond.

You have received sound advice from people with far more experience than yourself. You have fought back against all of it. It's clear you're not going to listen to any of it. We'll be here to offer advice again if your frogs get foot rot or have other health issues because of your poorly designed tank(s). Hopefully they don't die.

In the future, don't ask for advice if you're just going to argue against it. The standards for these frogs are laid out pretty well on this forum and you'll receive consistent advice from everyone here.

Hoping the best for your frogs.
And by the way, the reason I've fought back against all of this is because what you've said is incorrect due to lack of information. 3 sq ft of leaf litter is appropriate for 2 frogs. The water area is filtered with an internal sponge filter and has been cycled. Moss is a common ground layer according to everyone but you. And the water only takes up .5 sq ft out of 4.5 sq ft total. Water bowls are a good insurance policy in case of power outages. Every you're claiming is either your opinion or false.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Being a plant dude I try to give my plants plenty of room to grow. If a plant grows good in a pot...great! But I want them to have plenty of soil to root into. Also, I'm a sucker for seeing a crazy wild root system at the bottom of my tank. But that's just me. Tank looks good, however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
582 Posts
And by the way, the reason I've fought back against all of this is because what you've said is incorrect due to lack of information. 3 sq ft of leaf litter is appropriate for 2 frogs. The water area is filtered with an internal sponge filter and has been cycled. Moss is a common ground layer according to everyone but you. And the water only takes up .5 sq ft out of 4.5 sq ft total. Water bowls are a good insurance policy in case of power outages. Every you're claiming is either your opinion or false.
Everything you are doing are the practices this hobby has eliminated over the past 20 years because it was detrimental to the frogs.

Again, we'll be here to give you health advice when your frogs have problems. Even though you've scorned every piece of advice given to you.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top