new member/new frogger - Austin TX

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Hello everybody my name is Gunnar and am new to the den and dart frogs as well, however not a "noob" to animal care in general. I have had an aquarium(s) of some sort almost my entire life as well as several turtles, so I know what it takes to successfully keep pets happy and healthy. I recently discovered a profound interest in dart frogs after a visit to my local pet shop which happens to be Zookeeper Exotic Pets in Austin, Texas. I noticed it on the pet shop shout out thread so I'm guessing there are a few other froggers on here from Austin as well. I have been doing tons of research about the care and habitat needed to keep these amazing creatures happy and healthy and have decided to reach out to you guys for any other questions I may have. Currently I am deciding on what terrarium, plants, and accessories to purchase. I fully intend to have everything set up and monitor the temperature and humidity for at least several weeks before introducing the frogs into it. I look forward to this new venture and interacting with all of you in the near future.
Hey Gunnar! Welcome to the hobby and to DartDen! There are a few of us here in Austin, as well as great froggers in San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth (the good DFW Smile ). Zookeeper is a great local resource, especially for plants and flies.

Once again welcome!
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
welcome! I too am am a frogger in Texas. I am in the the DFW area. Shoot me any questions if you have any and I will be happy to help out like many others here will as well.
Thank you guys a lot for the warm welcome. I will be sure to message you if I need anything at all. I guess my first question is in regards to what terrarium size I should go with. I don't plan on having more than 2 frogs for my first viv so keep that in mind when I start talking sizes. From what I've read thus far most frogs appreciate ground space more so then vertical space. I was debating on getting an exo-terra 12x12x18 but will this be enough ground space for 2 frogs? I was also looking at the 18x18x12 which has tons of ground space but is 12inches too short for a viv? The 18x18x12 is 50% off at my local petsmart so I like that idea but if its not good for frogs I will pass. If you guys don't recommend either size I suppose I will look at 18x18x18 or 18x18x24. Thanks!
If you can swing it I would look at the 18-18 footprint over the 12-12. The 18-18-24 is good for two or three larger sized darts and the extra depth and height is good for hard scaping. You could get away with the 18-18-12 but it's a little short so your substrate design will have to be well planned out. I'd recommend 18" high for a minimum, and I prefer 24. That said I have a few 20 long grow outs that use a short false bottom (about 2") and I just have to drain them more frequently.

Check for online deals with petsmart too - sometimes you can get a discount online and pick it up in the store.
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
I agree with Jim on needing as a large a footprint as you can get and also having extra height. It will also depend on the frogs you are wanting. Do you have a frog in mind? Some are certainly more terrestrial (tincs and auratus) but many of the thumbnail species and leucs like to climb as well.
Ok I will more than likely go with a 18x18x24 since thats what you guys recommend. Is there a preference between the zoo-med or exo-terra brands? hun73r I am interested in either the azureus, auratus, or bumblebee leucs as those three are in plentiful stock at my local pet shop and I have read they all are great beginner frogs. I think they are all beautiful so there is no real preference over looks just what would fit my viv best. Originally I was set on azureus but after reading about the adult females liking to pick on each other I got nervous. Lastly is there a specific light setup you recommend? Thanks
I own both Zoomed and Exos. I like the higher front glass on the Exos that provides more room for substrate and any accidental viv flooding. The Zoomeds single door is nice for viewing. I've been buying Exo's lately because they have been cheaper and at this point I would likely keep getting Exos.

Those are all fine choices for a starter frog and they would do well in the 18x18x24. I'd consider building out a viv with tiered ledges to better facilitate climbing and to provide gradients in lighting and humidity. Ultimately I'd pick the frog you like the best - if they are tincs, then get the tincs and you can monitor for aggression as they grow out (assuming you are getting froglets).

I use custom build hoods with Jungle Dawn LED lamps (, sold through companies like NE HERP as well). They are nice lamps and I've been pleased with them so far. The number of lighting solutions out there are tremendous, so I'd float around the build sub-forums to get some ideas.
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
Ok thanks for the advice. I was kind of leaning toward exo-terra to begin with due to the slightly higher front glass for more drainage and substrate. I was also thinking of grabbing one of their light hoods to put on top of it. Just need to get some glass cut to place on top of the screen. It will all come together in due time.

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