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New Exo-Terra Large-Tall Terrarium
#1
Hello Everyone,

I am planning on designing a dart frog vivarium with my Exo-Terra PT2614 Large/Tall 90 x 45 x 60 cm
36” x 18” x 24” (WxDxH) and I am new to the frog hobby. I am not just planning on keeping Dart frogs but breeding them and designing a self sustaining ecosystem. I would like to make it look almost exactly like the picture on the Exo-Terra (Large-Wide) model if you are familiar with it. If not you can see a picture of it on the exo-terra website. I wish I knew the steps they used to make that vivarium. I don't understand why Exo-Terra hasn't came out with some how-tos showing people step-by-step instructions for doing this. I plan on using the LECA (ABG) method with lots of big bromiliads and a few ferns in the background and moss covering everything. I'm thinking about designing a stream to run from the back into a small pond or just purchase the Exo-Terra large waterfall. I would rather make the stream but if that proves to be too big of a challenge then I will go Exo-Terra. One of my questions is, can I make a stream using the LECA method or do I need to use the egg grate false bottom method?
Another question I have is will the Exo-Terra large light strip be enough to grow these plants? The one I have holds 4 26watt cf lights. They also have the fixture that holds two 40w linear tubes. Is this enough or do I need to purchase a T-5 or what not? Remember that the light system needs to fit the dimensions of the Exo-Terra large terrarium.
Is there a good place to purchase a substrate kit with all the necessary components for this size terrarium including ABG mix, hydro-balls, leaf litter, ect...? How do most people compensate for the lost humidity through the top screen? I was thinking cutting glass the exact dimensions of the rectangles in the screen would work best.
Anyways, I am really excited to design this large exo-terra vivarium for dart frogs and any advice would be helpful. How do I make this project successful and thriving? Thank you!
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#2
You have most issues nicely in-line already. It appears you have done quite a bit of research and that's awesome.

Your tank, design, components and lighting are fine....you are right on track there, IMO. Your light "amount" should be fine for growth as well. Try to use a 6500 K bulb if you can - bulbs that do not throw a lot of heat.

Make a template and have glass cut to size and just lay on top of the screen - cheap, easy, works great and you can adjust and modify as you go / further down the road.

I would strongly advise no stream or pond, especially for your first viv. Only a small percentage of hobbyists have streams, waterfalls, moving water or big ponds. Dart Frogs don't use them. Most newbs are under the impression that dart frogs like the water and use it, but it's really not the case and takes up valuable room that the frogs could otherwise use.

Excellent start to the hobby though.....cheers !
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#3
I would use eggcrate b/c leca will only add to the weight. I'm guessing that once you have this thing filled with plants, soil, etc its going to be pushing 50-75 pounds. Add the Leca and I'm sure you'd be adding another 10-15.

I would also adivse against a water feature for the same reasons Phil said.

As for the glass top, a local Lowes or Ace cuts glass and it should only cost you $5-10 if its a lot more than that they are ripping you off.

I would also look into drilling the tank for drainage, I currently have several of the exo's and zoomed's 18x18x24 and wish I would have drilled them all before hand. Be careful though, a crack would make for an expensive mistake.

If you are not in a hurry to get frogs, I would put in the false bottom, abg, and background, get your mosses and plants in first and let them grow. Then put your broms in. Also, seed with springtails and isopods and let them get established for a couple months. This will help your viv be more successful, but it would seem that only a few of us (myself included) ever wait this long...
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#4
Thanks for the replies! I do plan on waiting for a long time before getting any frogs so letting the Viv establish is a great idea. I am not sure how to drill the tank for drainage. Where do you make the hole and how do you set it up? I'm guessing PVC pipes?
I have never made a false bottom before but it doesn't look too tough. How would you suggest I design the false bottom?
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#5
Do a search for drilling tanks, I know Philsuma has personal experience with drilling exo's and zoomeds, but you want to put in a bulkhead...

Do another search for false bottom construction. There are a number of variations, I usually use some of the vinyl mesh screen from a hardware store, egg crate, and some short pvc fittings to put the eggcrate on top of. I'm sure there are some step-by step posts on both topics.
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#6
I was curious on one point:

By self sustaining do you mean self feeding for your frogs?
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#7
Could I use a Eheim filter for this purpose?
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#8
No not self feeding. Just a thriving vivarium.
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#9
here's a good "build thread" to whet ur appetite...

enclosures-setup-and-construction-f23/d3monic-s-super-build-thread-t4282.html
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#10
tkaz0718 Wrote:No not self feeding. Just a thriving vivarium.

Gotcha :wink:

tkaz0718 Wrote:Could I use a Eheim filter for this purpose?

I have used Eheim filters in a few setups that needed water falls, but these were paldariums and ripariums that had no frogs.

It should be 100% viable to use one in a frog tank. A few things to make sure you have figured out is complete control over the water flow and drainage. I made a water fall and assumed water would go one way but it went several, causing a mess down the road.
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#11
Sounds like an interesting project, tkaz...
You should do a build thread and some pics on this forum. Big Grin
I know I speak for a few folks when I say we all love that large size tank...
and I for one would love to follow along as you set it up! :mrgreen:

Cheers,
Todd
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#12
I would love to do a build thread. Where can I buy a good bulkhead besides online? I am about to leave the library now so I wont be able to reply till tomorrow since I don't have Internet at home Sad but I appreciate everybody's replies and hope you all have a good night! I am glad to be a part of this forum.
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#13
So how does the bulkhead idea work exactly? What components are needed to make it work? (Besides the drilling of the hole and installation.)
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#14
Is this what you seek ?

enclosures-setup-and-construction-f23/drainage-bulkhead-what-do-you-use-t4916.html?hilit=bulkhead
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#15
Yes, I want to do a bulkhead since its such a big cage.
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#16
Tank..Enclosure...Vivarium...Viv.....no "cages" please. Pet peeve...sorry.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#17
Philsuma Wrote:Tank..Enclosure...Vivarium...Viv.....no "cages" please. Pet peeve...sorry.


Funny, I thought the same thing, I kinda cringed at the word 'cage'
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#18
Dang all I want is a little information on how to do this correctly and you guys are giving me bs because I used the word "cage" instead of tank, viv, vivarium, terrarium? What is up with these forums. I always ask simple questions and all I get is negative feedback or no feedback at all. I don't get it, arnt you all here to help newbies to learn and grow in there passion for frogs???? Yes I accidentally said "cage" which unfortunately doesn't sound as benign as tank, vivarium, terrarium, etc whatever, but I didn't mean anything by it and you know it. And on top of that you didn't even bother to answer my question. Maybe you all should rethink your reason for being on this forum and not pick on the novices that do not know any better or know the right lingo to make you happy. You all are supposed to be here for me and others that are new to this hobby so don't get it twisted.
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#19
I'm sorry if you don't like some of the things here. You haven't been picked on or treated badly whatsoever.

We've helped hundreds of new hobbyists since 2004 and we will continue to do so.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#20
tkaz0718 Wrote:Dang all I want is a little information on how to do this correctly and you guys are giving me bs because I used the word "cage" instead of tank, viv, vivarium, terrarium? What is up with these forums. I always ask simple questions and all I get is negative feedback or no feedback at all. I don't get it, arnt you all here to help newbies to learn and grow in there passion for frogs???? Yes I accidentally said "cage" which unfortunately doesn't sound as benign as tank, vivarium, terrarium, etc whatever, but I didn't mean anything by it and you know it. And on top of that you didn't even bother to answer my question. Maybe you all should rethink your reason for being on this forum and not pick on the novices that do not know any better or know the right lingo to make you happy. You all are supposed to be here for me and others that are new to this hobby so don't get it twisted.

Whoooooa....relax dude. I've been helping you and giving advice, we were just commenting on cage. Don't take it personally. We are here to help, why else do you think I replied to your posts. We want you to have a good experience and enjoy the hobby as much as we do, thats why I take the time to respond to questions/posts like yours. Cage is generally not accepted but no one is ready to blast you about it. Although, I would say your response is pretty pointed for a relatively calm comment on the word cage, i.e. no triple !!!'s etc...

We're here to help you, lets move forward 8)
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