Stu & Shaz's Dart Frog Room

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Hi guys, before I start bombarding you all with questions, we thought it would be fun to try and put a bit in to the forum.

Firstly an apology because I put up a little thread to say Hi and can't find it...DOH!!! So to anyone that replied sorry.

A bit of background:

When i was little I kept various amphibains for several years they did ok they all seemed to live long and happy lives er that was about 30erm plus years ago. About a couple of years ago my darling started to become quite ill she is a busy person so we talked extensively and decicded to convert our spare bed room into a from with the intention of specialising in darts,(the warmth is good for her and the duties light,i.e no heavy lifting and of course the frogs enthralling and absorbing.
Our chosen room is on the north side of the house keeps a stable but cool temperature,I know the measurements exact in meters(we line in England ) but say around 9x 11 feet.I had to remove and replace the floor and also fitted a secondary double glazed window ,so its now triple glazed,all of this was pretty much done out of rubbish,we like recycling stuff,and it helps with the budget too!!

our first start though was to get some plants in and breed the hell out of them,for several reasons,cost,pesticides well you know here are some
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Meanwhile the research continued
we decided on a German design for our vivs and racks
The vivs are again made from scratch using recycled glass for most of the tank, frustrating and time consuming but doable if you want it enough one of our vivs half constucted
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and with some background type stuff going on
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We also made our racks up from scratch,here are a couple of pics of work in progress
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and the rack on the other wall
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Ha we also set about trying our hand at the old frog grub malarky,we are doing ok on this front sloly getting it all nailed down, we went quite overboard on this but with good reason we don't want to have hungry frogs and i guess one day we will have quite a few to feed
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well thats some of it anyway.
As you have guessed we are quite serious about this this will not be just a flash in the pan thing,although progress is painfully slow finally in February of this year we got our first frogs...just shy of 2 years from the off....5 leucs.

Will post this now and then get back with a few pics of where we are at now, just like to say thanks to Phil for his kindness getting us here...cheers dude!!
It's my pleasure having you both here and Thank YOU guys for hanging around an posting a GREAT Frog Room thread.

I know of at least 4 guys are are going to be jealous of that sleek aluminum Euro- Rack system ! Looks great.

Your "HI" post is located in the "Introductions and Announcements" forum:


it's about the 5 or 6th one down....

Are those FF cultures, Glass jars ?

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Here are our current vivs hmm taken a couple of weeks ago,we use expanding foam,rockoflex and elastopur for the backgrounds the plants were made here :lol: substates vary as i am a fussy sod and still not happy,leaves are english oak and clematis armandii vivs are seeded with springtails and tropical woodlice way before frogs come,anyway enough some vivs
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We have anothe 3 vivs outside awaiting completion,one i would like any ad vice you can offer on,it will be for basti pums some time way in the future but the layout of my room dictates we set it up soon ,no bad thing of course to get a good culture of feeders way in advance,and the viv properly grown in.
Will show you some frogs soon but thats enough for one night eh?
Take care all
and be lucky
Philsuma Wrote:It's my pleasure having you both here and Thank YOU guys for hanging around an posting a GREAT Frog Room thread.

I know of at least 4 guys are are going to be jealous of that sleek aluminum Euro- Rack system ! Looks great.

Your "HI" post is located in the "Introductions and Announcements" forum:


it's about the 5 or 6th one down....

Are those FF cultures, Glass jars ?
Thankyou sir,ha that racking is one hell of a job to make though phil but worth it ,one doesn't notice it just the vivs and also easy to clean and will not warp which i had concearns over as i have done a bit of woodwork before :lol:
Now Phil, these are Sweet jars,i don't know whether you have them over there in the US,we have old fashioned sweetshops dotted about here and these they throw away,more recycling :oops: i guess they are about a foot high and say 6/7" across at the top so very easy to clean,we have had good succes (i think) with hydei using the very simple recipe I posted the other day and now we finally have a decent mel starter culture same with these,although we have cut back a little bit as we don't have many hungry mouths to feed,well not yet anyway.
Thanks for the tip about where i put the Hi thread Big Grin
This little bit i guess really links into our Questions about red basti pums or the cematary morph,thanks Phil Tony and Rich for the education. So here is the start of what we were initially after,their home a good while,frogs,but need this one up and running beause of the way our room is being designed.
The viv 1/2 built to roughly ent's design is aprox 2" high note cork at a higher level than normal (infront of the ditch),to aid with a deeper substrate,virtually bare floor ie maxing said subs. ."clouds " will be used to hang vines from our english oak,which, has been predrilled to aid with brom pup placement. Background will be expanding foam hence the siliconed glass for adhesionbackground will be planted out with large leaf climbers and the obligatory ficuses i gues ..'cause we love em :lol:
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oh and while we are at it here's the beginnings of our next auratus viv,we were really lucky to find this piece of wood,again good ol' English oak,the hiding places will be largle created by over hanging plants behind the branch and of course the wood,a couple more planters will come laterbut they are already finished,you'll see.
Oh both vivs will be finished in rockoflex then epoxyresin,with our peat/ecoearth mix
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belucky guys
Citronella viv,the last in our trio under construction ,this again uses our english oak,this is just before the foam stage,I am hoping to nail all 3 foam wise together,once all the silicone has cured
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The top of the oak stump was drilled out using a holesaw so it will act as another planter
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We will come back as these progress as we might do things slightly different to you guys in the US,hell it appears we do things slightly different to guys in the UK :roll: :lol: take care all
I like that cork back ground, havent really seen that. Simple, but i like it.
Again, thanks for posting, you've got some good ideas Stu.
1.5 kids and a bunch of frogs
DKOOISTRA Wrote:I like that cork back ground, havent really seen that. Simple, but i like it.
Again, thanks for posting, you've got some good ideas Stu.
Thanks Derek,one has to be careful that the cork utilises no nasty glues, its the tiles that use heat and the corks own resins to create the adhesion for the tile, that we are after. Its used here and on the continent.The plants seem to like scrambling about onit and we have one fern that puts out little runners that roots into it. In a way i would like it to hold a bit more water,but I am warming to it.We have great fun creating the vivs ,Shaz works out a design for one and i do the next. She comes out with some great little layouts,which I wouldn't be able to come up with.We are very fortunate i guess to both be totally nuts about this,ha 2 froggers for the price of one.
Glad you are enjoying it mate,you have a wonderful resource of knowledge there/here,we have only been about for a little while and have had some wonderful thought prevoking advice,very cool
Rushing as always,here we go 3 vivs foamed,our foam requires dampness to harden so we spray with water before and after, one can also mould said foam just as it starts to harden,but wear gloves just in case. Also wear safty glasses,last time i did this i managed to get the gun cleaner in my eyes as i relaxed just a bit too early,and ended up in hospitol,please be careful with this,our eyes are very prescious
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be lucky guys
Love watching the progress on these!

I am however a little confused as to the glass on the bottom... Do you not have a false bottom? It just looks like angled glass. I take it that is to allow the water to run off?
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Great builds....we're all jealous over here.

Did you buy or make those "Euro tanks" ?

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
itskris Wrote:Love watching the progress on these!

I am however a little confused as to the glass on the bottom... Do you not have a false bottom? It just looks like angled glass. I take it that is to allow the water to run off?

Hey Kris,thanks for the reply. Yes this is a false floor,although not quite the same as your false (egg crate) floors.This is a german design,basically the drainage chanel at the front is fitted with a raised drain,the false floor runs excess water into this,so as we mist all excess water runs slowly through the substrate and flows out through the raised drain,so there is always water at the front, constantly changing) giving a tad deposition site,bathing site,humidity resevoir at the front of the viv.I think there is a picture earlier in this thread that shows a half built viv which maybe paints this picture clearer. Kris when i was a child i kept a few phibs,some things i hated then have stayed with me:i hated looking at a cross section of the substrate in the viv i had,lovingly created (this water feature at the front bypasses this) i also hated not being able to see my charges because of condensation,on the front glass. This viv design utilizes a front vent(underneath the doors) which helps,to keep the doors clear,and a top vent providing a throughflow of air. and finally i hated getting into the tank from the top as it seemed to scare my little friends, well untill they understood it was only dad coming to look out for them,probably with food :lol: ,and of course these vivs are front opening. The problem with seeing this half built ( it is much easier for me practically to do it this way as i am doing the whole job from scratch) ,is not all these features are yet in place. To me these vivs were a eureka moment,just like a mini rainforest powered by a constant through flow of water,in at the top through the subs,out at the bottom. If there is anything more i can do to help make this clearer shout buddy and i'll see if i can find some pics to illustrate.

regards Stu
Philsuma Wrote:Great builds....we're all jealous over here.

Did you buy or make those "Euro tanks" ?
Ahhh Phil you're so kind to us.
The biggy mate is these are TOTALLY made out of rubbish,well glass wise anyway,guys over here call old hippies like us eco warriors. :lol: We live in the vale of evesham,its renouned for growing food: there is lots of glass here so we find an old greenhouse find the owner and ask if we can have the glass, (this stops it ending up in landfill) its very difficult to cut,but if one persevers it can be done,although its time consuming,and frustrating!!!,it is usually 3mm(sorry i can't convert that for you) so we double up the base. We then go to a glazer and ask if he has any old 4mm windows which we strip down and which we utilise for the doors,as this fits our runners.We will buy one peice of new glass for each viv. This is because we are learning...this bit of glass is a low iron glass,its called optiwhite, here,its is important because it lets uvb through,it will go at the back of the viv behind the top vent. so the frogs can go sunbathing if they so desire,and get away from it if they don't need the uvb,it will be their choice.
I can't access my photos for some reason,I'll try and show you what I mean,sooner or later!!
I can tell you this though if you are working with silicone if you cut a bit of softwood to a chisel shape and soak it in water,with a bit of washing up liquid,for a few days, one can use this as a spreader and also get nice straight joints as the silicone doesn't stick to the wood. an old bit of glass can be cut by gently tapping the back of your scratch,so slowly opening up the controlling the break.
Phil when i said we made the racks i didn't mean we stuck some precut bits together.... we did the whole shebang,cuts all the miters,rivited bits of angle to bits of tube all that malarky,man thats some graft there,we make stuff,its our only way of doing this....evrything is being done on the tinyest of budgets,none of the wood is bought,only one of each plant is bought,so when you guys think we are doing ok,you can imagine what a massive boost it is to us,thanks mate.
A quick run through of a viv build using rubbish old glass,so total cost will be minimal,ie mesh silicone and plastic runners and angle. of course cut glass to size........ we cut 2 bits for the floor one is slightly bigger sidewise,so there is a little overlap(rebate) to carry the sides.these are predrilled using a template,and a little moat to hold water for cooling and lubrication
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floor siliconed together showing rebate
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side glued in ...note tape for securing(ha and extra pr of hands) and square to keep right angles
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template again being used to mark out front vent and ditch
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oh a backtrack here is theside sat in the rebate
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the glass work at the front
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the front vent under construction
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Its at this stage that I leave the glass work and move to the background,sometimes i add the back top bit behind the vent first
all sharp edges are removed using an oilstone
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cork surround in place andthe top back
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cork notched out to carry top vent supports(this ofcourse is after the background is sorted!!)
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and the glass strips which sandwiches the mesh is added
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and the top predrilled and the mesh are all popped in place
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runners are added(note bit of plastic of same thickness as glass doors being used for correct alinement
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alittle plastic angle cover strip is addedto make the top purdy Big Grin
and of course i have missed you floor Khris...DOH here is a shot looking down on the front drain hole and the ditch and the false floor
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So there ya go one dirt cheep viv made of recycled goodness lmao
We use rockoflex a product from germany(we are in the uk) as a grounding product for our epoxy background,this is water based and sets hard,with the epoxy as well it give a very strong background
The 3 above vivs, in rockoflex
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this takes 24 hours to cure but we will wait 48 at least.

A few shots of our guys
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All I can say is that you sir, are an inspiration.
Thank you Stu.
1.5 kids and a bunch of frogs
I agree Derek. Great Viv construction - literally from scratch, AND great designs too.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Ha thanks guys, in this one for the long haul,so we are trying to think hard about each design and try to maintain discipline and cater for each frogs needs as best 2 beginners can, occassionally a bit overwhelming but we love a challange. This frog stuff is pretty much all we do at the mo.I guess you might say we caught the froggers bug, what is really great though for us now is having some little guys here at last, as its the stockmanship side that we really are about, we have both looked after birds as a job but because of Shaz's health we can't do that. These frogs are what fills that gap and we adore them. Actually we are loving all the surrounding learning as well (although i wish my old brain would imput a bit quicker :? ) its a joy this thing.
ha, you guys inspire us
Thanks for the kindness,
Ha BOSH BOSH off again once the rockoflex is cured we coat this in epoxy resin,with a colourant in,and whilst still wet push in a mix of ecoearth and peat.
the citron viv got a fake rock,because we saw it half way though and went,again the only difference in creation is a covering of rockdust from a polystyrene....rockoflex...epoxy...dust
ha an impromtu rock
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and the rest of it
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and the auratus viv prior to clean up
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and with the good ol english oak
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and finally thanks for the help and thoughts on this one guys
cematary basti viv this was a mare to do but its sorted we masked up the wood so i could really get a move on before the epoxy started to cure and ripped of the tape as soon as the build was finished leaving this
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then today added some of our native lonicera this can be easily removed if it fails over time,there is only one blob of silicone holding it in place,the rest is sprung loaded in place as it were
here ya go Phil the start of the frog highway!! Planting will do the rest eh?
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also managed to get the top on with its vent and all the misting ventilation holes,but no pics as no light by the time i had finished,and anyway I am shattered take care guys
Sorry not been about too much guys ha good and bad last couple of weeks but lets have a right bash on the good eh? me darlin's mending...OOORRRAAA, 3 vivs SORTED OOORRRAAA , new frogs OORRAA
vivs then
here 's the pum viv in its rack
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preplanting,and another shot with the bare bones of the planting sorted out
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and the auratus viv
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and with its plants
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and finally the citronella viv
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and again with its plants
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All of the above have a bit more to do yet but these show where we are heading, while we are on these a couple of shots of the rack as it now stands,its amazed me how much of a difference these have made to the room as a whole its really staring to look like i have done something,still a monsterous amount of work to do yet but as always bring it on.
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Actually quite chuffed as one 3 litre wood louce/iso cuture sorted all 3 vivs with a real good start,i have decided to wait till nearer the time(frogs) with the springs as i am playing a hunch!
Speaking of which because of my car being a pain its likely that we won't be able to go to the FIRST uk frog day,so took a chance and in a fit of peak traveled not too far for these,4 panama special auratus
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and a pair of citronellas
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and i know i've said this before but
spiderfrog,spiderfrog,does what evr a spiderfrog does :lol:
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seriously I am slightly concearned that the male doesn't seem settled in his QT tub,at all,i have been told that citrons and regina are not happy about being moved,but both are moving well and feeding well so hopefully every thing will be ok,with a good diet and plenty of tlc.I would also like to say cheers guys for opening my eyes to the benefits of QT i still hate them being in these tubs and haven't yet nailed a fecal exam, work in progress, but from the observation side it rocks

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