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Just starting - Some questions

Hello. I am VERY new to dart frogs and I have a 10 gallon tank set up with a bromeliad plant in the middle, a small water bowl, and ESU All-Natural moss substrate.I plan on buying 2 leucomelas in a couple of days from a Reptile store called "Underground Reptiles".

I was wondering if this set up sounds good ? and also, what automatic misters can you recommend ? I don't want a super highly expensive one because I am just starting out. I want one that's less that $80.00 , if possible. I would use a hand spray bottle but I'm afraid I would forget or just not spray as often as needed.

Oh and 1 more question...what are some good substrates that I could buy at a pet store ?

I've had a lot of luck with a 90% peat moss and 10% perlite for drainage, and as far as misters, they are very convenient but tend to keep people from checking on their frogs enough. Keeping Dart Frogs are a commitment that's for sure.

Dmoney2780 Wrote:Hello i am VERY new to dart frogs.i have a 10 gallon tank set up with a bromeliad plant in the middle,a small water bowl,and ESU All-Natural moss substrate.i plan on buying like 2 leucomelas in a couple of days from a place called "Underground Reptiles".Anyways,i was wondering if this set up sounds good? and also,what automatic misters would u all recomend? i dont want a super high quality expensive one because i am just starting out.i want one thats less that $80.i would use a spray bottle but im afraid i would forget or just not spray as often as needed.oh and 1 more question...what are some other good substrates i could buy at a pet store?

Hi D,

I use that jungle mix but i do not know if you can get that. When you are housing PDF's in a tank you must have a false button for drainage, that way the soil will not rot. I don't think misting should be heavy 2 times a day i would say it is more than enough.

Cheers and good luck.


i have been browsing through the photo album and i have noticed a lot of u have a ton of different kinds of substrates...i liked this one i was pretty flat and was a green on top.but it was like short moss on top.does anyone know what i am talking about? also,i didnt know about this "false bottom" that i need.can someone explain to me how to make it?

a false bottom consists of just gravel about two inches thick to alow the soil to work like a wick and pull the water up naturally this keeps plants watered but not to wet it allows for plenty of drainage if you look at my pic above it may give you an idea of how to do it. this is one method probably the most used but their are many different ways using eggcrates, clay pellets, ect.

yeah man, like Steve said. You just need a few inches of something in the bottom of your viv to allow for drainage of your soil. Here are a few links to give you an idea.
These should help get you started.

Personally, I have two to 3 layers of egg crate beneath weedblock, as a barrier, and jungle litter substrate. I used the egg crate depth to form the basis of my landscape. I have a waterfall with a small pool wich keep s the tank humidity high.I have a hand sprayer that, truthfully, I spray about every other day. sometimes I slip an d sometimes I'm on it every day. But I think the hand sprayer is best since, like someone else said, it keeps you in touch with whats going on with yoor frogs and viv.

ok.well it looks like im going to have to redo my entire tank.the people at the pet store told me the wrong things i guess.i mean,u all are talking about soil and drainage and all that,but all i have is just some ESU moss i bought in a bag for like $ can someone please tell me what i need to buy soil-wise? like what kind of soil and where i can buy it.also,what happens to the water when it goes from the top of the soil down thru the gravel and to the glass? do u have to empty it out every week or something? or is it fine to leave it in and just keep on misting?

I use ESU jungle litter soil mixed with some. sand and coco brick blolcks.
the H2o just settles in the bottom of yuor tank. depending on how draining your soil is depends on how much settels. (sorry, its late and my spelling is not up to par) I built a well into my subtrate. basically its a pit or ditch that goes down into the the drain that yuo can access periodicaly to suck the water out. I use a big syringe like a turkey baster to suck excess water . I use that water to water my house plants.
I'm not sure what the pet stoer told you, but if yuo just have som moss it'll load up wth toxins after a while.
good luck dude.

alright I think I'm understanding everything, but the thing is...I'm JUST starting out and I only have a 10 gallon as of right now (in the process of getting a larger tank), so what would you guys do if you only had a 10 gallon size tank and you just wanted two Dart Frogs ?

I would set up a small false bottom with some gravel( since it's only a 10g and it wouldn't be too heavy) as the false bottom with a separator like weed block or nylon screening and then some soil and a few plants. since you're new I won't get too complicated. I would make one small area that was deep enough to reach into the drainage water to serve as a small, shallow pond. a lot of the water would evaporate but you could suck out the extra. that is super basic . I'm sure some others will have some more advice, but that should get you started.



thanx a lot for all the help,the only thing more of a visual person...could u show me a site that has step by step pics? by the way,my name is Mike lol

Werd. Mike, nice to meet ya. I'm Eric.
Where are you that you're up this time of night ?
I'll try to find you some links but I'm getting tired.
I'll post them in a bit as i find them . I'll take a look real quick and get you what i got.


I'm in south Florida and I got tomorrow off so I don't have a real reason to go to sleep, PLUS I am supposed to go down and get my frogs tomorrow, so I want to get all the info i can asap.I appreciate your help A LOT.

No worries. I 'm planning on moving to FL in a few Months. Wow , getting your frogs tomorrow and and worrying about your set-up tonite is cutting it close.

Heres a new link I'm sorry it has no pix but hey, its 3 in the morning.

Do you have something you can keep your new frogs in in the meantime? what i recommend is take that mos you bought and a plant you can spare and stick it in a container you have around. a clean 5 gal bucket would work in a pinch for a day or 2. since your in FL the temp should be fine in your house. mean while you can fix up your tank.

Yea I have a few other 10 gallons that I could put them in, but why would I really need to do that ? Could you just set up the tank real quick and then go get the frogs ?

NO. I would set up a tank and let it grow in for a bit, but since it sounds like you're getting the frogs tomorrow you don;t have much time.

at least set the frogs in a spare 10 gal for a day or 2 and set up you tank the way you want it. you don;t want to stress out the frogs by putting them in a viv and then keep going in there everyday and rearranging it.
It's all about not stressing out the critters.

I had my Viv set up for 2+ months before i got frogs. The viv is a work of art, a home for your frogs, ideally you should have that set up first and then worry about what frogs or when you're getting them.

I understand you're new and perhaps you didn't comprehend the task before you. It's cool I'd just hate to see you venture into this hobby and plunk down a bunch of cash on some frogs and lose them and perhaps your enjoyment for the hobby/ lifestyle. ( i say lifestyle because once yyou're in it you are possibly hooked for life.) :lol:

well the thing is,i thought i was ready because the pet store told me what to do and i did it.i copied EXACTLY what they had.but obviosly they were wrong.but what i think im going to do is...make the 10 as well as i can,then put them in there for a little while...maybe 2 weeks.then im going to get a bigger tank and make that my "show tank".i know EXACTLY what u mean by obsessed with African Cichlids (fish if u dont know) and i spend soooo much money on them.its rediculous

Oh i know what you mean. African Cics are basd ass. it sounds like you have a plan for the frogs. Just make sure u strees them as little as possibel. make sure you have food for them and watch them closely.The first week or so is crucial to make sure thy're not stressed.
it sounds like you will be fine. if yuo can keep and maintian cichlids with a passion you'll enjoy the frogs. good luck. I'm tired. and i'll talk to you tomorrow or whenever.

If the tank is planted you should be ok with the new tank although it might be preferred to wait. I just bought a 20g yesterday for my 3rd viv.

As for substrates I am probably less then conventional, I just use large gravel with a layer of moss on top. The only peat is what the plants are in. I do have something that resembles a false bottom which I keep a water heater in. I know many people dont like heaters but I have found it to work well for my setup. I also do not mist daily,(again something many would disagree with). Part of the reason is my work and the underwater heater which keeps the humidity very high. I use to have a habba mist which I though could be used long term and it only worked for about a month before it died. When I have a bigger setup I will probably put in a automatic mister, I dont have any problem with looking at my frogs at least twice a day when I am around.

Good luck with the tank and welcome to DartDen.


DMoney go here there are lots of pics. ... ottom.html
A ten gallon is a ok tank to start with. You will have to keep a closer eye on temp as a change in your room temp in the house will easly be transfered to your tank. Dont let direct sun light hit it. Do you have fruit flys yet? If not, dont get the frogs yet. Get a few cultures going good and then get the frogs. That way you have plenty of food for them.

Soil: the guys have coverd what type you will need. Just make a mix it will be fine. Make sure that there is Arrow NO Chemical :!: in it you want all natural (organic). And since were on chemical dont spray anything around the tank. I dont even spray air freshner in the room. Chemical are really not good for frogs.

Plants: make sure that the store has not sprayed them with any chemicals too. In a 10 gal your kind of limited on size but there are many small plants you can use. Make sure you have a few hidding places for the frogs. You could take some of the very small clay pots lay them on the side an cover the top with some soil. It will make a cool place for th frogs if they get to hot and a good hidding place. Make you tank hilly not just flat that will make some hotter and cooler areas.

Good Luck and welcome to PDF life

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