New to the hobby

0 Replies, 1690 Views

Hey everyone,

Happened to stumble into this wonder forum. As my subject indicates, I'm new to the hobby. I went to the Repticon ICE convention in Myrtle Beach, SC a little over a month ago and saw the most awesome little frogs in the world and didn't know they were legal to sell. I've seen them at the many aquariums i've visited over the years and always said I'd love to have them. Well, my 2 1/2 year old son was even more mesmerized than I was with them. He's spoiled and gets what he wants (and if daddy wants it to, he really get it). My hopes are to work on my tank little by little until the next ICE convention next year if there is one. There aren't any pet shops near me that are worth anything (the only fish I have are guppies because everything else looked horrible) and don't feel completely comfortable mail ordering these expensive lil things and I always like to see what i'm buying. So, I've got a year to research and come up with as many ideas as possible to try and make things as perfect as possible. I do know what I want to do but there are other questions I do have.

Things I know I'm going to have and use other than typical things I've been reasearching:
-egg crated false bottom tank
-great stuff foam background
-I'm going to incorporate a drain tube coming out of the top of the foam out of the top of the tank so this will make water changes easier. I'll have a pump on the outside and just suck the water out this way when changing the water.
-the frogs I want are Dendrobates auratus 'Nicaraguan Green & Black' or the 'Panamanian Blue and Black' unless others have an objection and don't think this would be a good starter frog.

As of right now, I'm impatiently waiting for my parents to come on a vacation to see me to bring one (or 2) of my old fish tanks, that I have sitting in their shed, here to me. I really only have 3 choices from my fish keeping/breeding days. i have a few 10 gallons and 2, 29 gallons and 1 OLD 28 gal slate bottom tank. I know that I want at least 1, 10 gal for quarantine purposes. The slate bottom is REALLY heavy and don't want to move it (if issues arise) full of stuff so I'm wanting one of the 29 gals. I am going to keep it vertical this I do know. My first question is, should I use a glass lid or a screen mesh top and cover part of it with glass to keep humidity up?

My second question is what type of lighting should I use? I've done a reef tank so I do have a metal halide light that's currently being used as over kill, but perfect, for my turtles (no the turtles and frogs will not be in the same tank). I also have a few florescent fixtures. The metal halide puts of very hot heat. I had to remove my screen mesh top on the 20 gal long turtle tank as it was getting well into the 90's inside the tank. Just removing the mesh has lowered the temp by 10 degrees. Which would be best to use? If I do use the florescent, I'll be using a T3 bulb since I have one laying around that I'm not currently using.

I have a bunch of nice rocks, driftwood ect that i'm going to try and incorporate into the frog tank much to the dismay of my turtles that are currently using my prized piece of drift wood and some of my nicer rocks. If boiled, will these be ok? I've had the drift wood for years and has been submerged and dried out many times as I constantly change themes of my fish tanks and it still holds up great.

I'd really like to do a water fall and a decent sized pond which will be the entire length of the front of my tank and about 3-4 inches back. I know that these frogs don't need to have that much area, if any, for ponds as they won't use it. I just have a vision in my head of what I want and it's pretty difficult for me to even change my own mind when I want things set up a certain way. I'll keep the water shallowish by using gravel and java moss.

I've read other places that the water in the tanks HAVE to be RO water. I've never used RO water when specified for any of my fish and was very successful in keeping and breeding (this is one of my methods to making money in my teenage years). So, since I've never used it, this is one supply that I don't have and don't really feel like spending $300+ on a RO system. I can go get some from a pet shop that sells it but that's also over an hour away from me.

How do you guys get the moss going so nice? I tried years ago to do something similar to a vivarium but not nearly as nice. My land section (which wasn't much) I tried to grow moss I dug up in my back yard but it died not long after i put it in there despite of keeping it fairly moist.

Money for me is kinda tight so, my whole plan, once I get my tanks here, is to do things a little at a time over the next 10-11 months. Let me know if my steps are out of order here. My first step was to do the background and the false bottom as well as mess around with the water fall system. I've read that they can be a pain but I've done these types of things with partial land set ups for turtles, newts and many other reps and amphibians. If the ICE convention does come back to my area it shouldn't be until around September of next year so get my tank planted and introduce my micro fauna by May-June to let everything root and grow. This will also give me time to figure out my temps and humidity levels.

Comments, concerns and criticisms are very welcomed as you vets have forgotten more than I've read about the past month of doing hours upon hours of research and you tube videos.

Thank you in advance
1.0.6 D. Leucomelas
0.0.2 D. Azureus
Welcome to Dart Den Jon !

Dart Frogs are as easy to keep as tropical fish and a lot more rewarding and interactive, IMO.

Your post is huge! Take some time to navigate the forum and a few hours to click and read, it's as easy as that to start out. Just find the thread titles that seem interesting or contain an aspect of husbandry that you are unsure about and digest that thread. You can also tack your question onto an existing thread - it's actually easier that way because chances are, your question has already been asked and answered a few times over somewhere here on this forum. And if you don't see an existing thread, go right ahead and start a new one - no worries.

The big thing is to read and read and read. This forum contains a veritable Library of Alexandria of information. It's all here waiting to change you from a newbie to a well started hobbyist in a matter of hours.

Again, Welcome. I'll try to hit on a couple of your questions above and look forward to you posting more questions in the other forum sections.


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

I'll answer your moss question. Moss almost always 'dies' back for a few months when first introduced to a new, humid environment. Some moss can't handle it and will die permanently (like some true desert mosses and high altitude, cold weather mosses), but most are extremely adaptable and 3-6 months later, it will bounce back, generally more compact.

Experiment with various mosses and leave what appears to be dead. It may bounce back and if not, other moss species can grow over the stuff that doesn't make it. I have about 8 species of mosses through out my tanks, some tropical, some aquatic, and some local species. Most are thriving! I even have some cold weather and desert mosses that are growing well.

Once you get the moss to come back, it is usually there to stay, and can be transferred to other vivariums with little or no die back. It wont be long before you have people begging you to share your compact carpets of mossy goodness.

Keep in mind that you usually want some leaves or bark for micro-fauna to live. A tank that is 100% moss will not be able to house certain 'clean up bugs' as well as leaf litter. So make sure you accommodate for mossy areas, as well as areas of leaf litter, etc.

Good luck!
Hi Jon
Welcome to Dart Den.

I think your frog choice is perfect. Auratus are great frogs for any experience level. I have a pair of Costa Rican Green & Black. They are active and easy to observe. I keep mine housed in a 29g Vert style setup. I made my own vert kit. Note that Auratus do like to climb. While this could vary from frog to frog, mine spend a better part of their day near the top in a large brom. They come down to the bottom to sift through the leaf litter for FFs and other viv fauna.

In addition to all your reading, you should anticipate getting a fruit fly culture a few months prior to when you think you will buy your frogs so you can practice your cultivation skills.

Scott - North Dallas
thank you Scott, Craig and Phil

I'm Looking to be getting my tanks down here either next week or the end of December. Can't wait to start working on them. I have found a nursery near me that sells tropical plants and has many types of plants mentioned in this forum and in others so i'll be good on plants. I'm going to do a 10 gallon temporary tank just to observe them then I'll be using a 29 gallon but keeping it horizontal as i have lots of old stuff that will be of use from lights, to glass top ect.

Pet shops around here are very few and far between and the ones that are around are lame so my food will be an issue but will probably get a FF batch from petco and get some cultures started in the spring when i have things really coming together. I also found the Petsmart near me also sells pin head crickets. I don't like buying from either but my choices are limited.

I'm basically broke for now but will be spending $10-$20 a month to get things started. I found a tank set up on this site that my wife and I fell in love with so I will be doing something similar but with my own touch. I'll have it set up by next June then let my plants grow in before adding frogs probably about September if the ICE convention comes back to Myrtle beach.

I've looked through may of the discussions on here and have decided on a lot of things like my background will be foam. I'll be using a screen top but will have multiple pieces of glass cut to adjust humidity. For water, I have an old well that isn't hooked up to the house anymore but the pump still works so that's where i'll get my water from.

The only question that remains is my lighting. Will the metal halide be too strong for what I need or should i just stay with my florescent fixtures?

Thanks again and to anyone else who chimes in.
1.0.6 D. Leucomelas
0.0.2 D. Azureus
Metal Halide has no use in this hobby since its very $$$ and produces excessive heat - also because your on a budget, I recommend you get a strip light from Lowes/Homedepot for $10 - light of the americas is brand - 2 @T10's are only $7 for both. I just bought one of these lights for my new rack and it works great. Its not as beautiful as my Exo-terra hoods, but like yourself I need to watch my pennies, esp w Christmas around the corner.
Scott - North Dallas
i have the metal halide from when i used to have my reef tank up and running so it's just something i have laying around. it works out good for my turtles because it puts out the UVA and UVB rays that they need to digest their food plus gives them the heat for basking. i really wanted to use it for the frogs since it also has moon light LED's in it and thought it'd give the tank a special look at night.
1.0.6 D. Leucomelas
0.0.2 D. Azureus
The metal halides will be great for your plant growth. Since you have them use them. Above they were just saying that the frogs do not have any special lighting requirements. The only issue you will have is the heat that they put out.
I would not use MH bulbs. Anything close to 80F is not good for Dart Frogs. "Room temperature" surroundings is what works best. Heat also causes evaporation and loss of humidity - very bad as well. Dart Frogs have been cooked under more conventional lighting.

The last time I stuck my hand under a German MH bulb it was well over 110F....unless the Reef Hobby (lighting) has changed in the last 12 years and there are "cool" M.H.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

the MH fixture i do have is a compact design. Most of the heavy duty ones put off serious heat but this one is still hot but keeps my turtles basking rock which is about 6" away from the fixture about 90F which i know is still too warm for the frogs. I was looking more for the plant growth. Maybe I'll just use it so that the plants have a chance to grow in then switch over to my florescent fixtures once I get the frogs. Thank you very much for the input. I'm sure I'll have more questions once I get things moving.
1.0.6 D. Leucomelas
0.0.2 D. Azureus
Just raise it about 12" above the tank and use a small fan to blow across the glass top. That will eliminate any over heating issues and if you have a glass top you should not have any humidity issues either.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)