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Water feature considerations for Dart Frogs
#1
90% of all new hobbyists want them. They don't understand that Dart Frogs won't even "use" / need / enjoy it. Large water features are solely for the owner and not the frogs. Some considerations:

NEGATIVES:

1.It will cost an extra $70.00 (avg)
2.the water will discolour and turn brown from tannins and substrate leaking into it
3.the water will discolour due to excess supplement powder
4.the water will discolour due to dead fruit flies
5.the frogs will not be able to eat a portion of their food (fruit flies) due to them drowning in the water
6.the frogs will not be able to ingest some of their supplements due to the water / flies in the water
7.waterfalls are hard to place and scape in.
8.waterfalls and pumps, once hardscaped in, incorrectly, become a bitch to remove or adjust
9.the frogs will have that much less living space and room to move around due to the water feature
10.the water will "have a mind of it's own" and will suddenly change or go where it wants, F'ing everything up
11.water will soak your substrate
12.water will rot and kill your plants
13.the pump will be more noisy than you originally expected
14. a waterfall or large water feature will look goofy and cramped in a little tank (under 50-70 gallons)
15. It may turn out to look like a papier-mâché lump or concrete blob or that f'ed up volcano you had to build in 6th grade.
16. Constant wetness will give your frogs a bacterial infection.

The Positives:

1.If done right...it just may look "cool". Well, at least for the first 60-90 days, after which it will 'not' look cool due to one or more reasons above.
2.it will add some additional humidity
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#2
When I built my first viv, I built a waterfall. Never had one since. If done in a large enough enclosure, and done right, they can be really cool. Most the time, the ones I've seen are put in vivs way too small and take up too much room. Pain in the ass in my book Smile
Scott Bryant
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#3
I am just curious and want to play the devil's advocate. Where do drip walls fit in?


-B
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#4
Pretty much the same...it's hard to build and if you don't plan it right and have the background 'scaped correctly, it produces just as big a fail as a poorly done waterfall or stream.

I've had what I consider an excellent drip wall tank (I didn't build it) for @ a year now and it's quite cool, but as I said...someone that is more of a professional builder made it.
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#5
I think everyone wants them for looks. Flowing, dripping, trickling water just looks cool. I think the second draw is most water falls (and affected areas) will grow bright green mosses, which are also highly attractive. This CAN be achieved without the water feature though...

I 100% agree they can be a lot of trouble and add little to no benefits to the frogs at all. I have 5 vivariums up and plans for several more, but only one of these will have an actual water fall in it. The rest have no water features.

One of the biggest flaws with water features is they take up valuable space that the frogs simply wont use anymore. Its like adding a land feature or island to a fish tank... It might look bad ass but the fish aren't going to crawl out of the water to enjoy it...

So plain and simple, water falls are 100% for looks, which is why they are often asked about by people who are newer to the hobby and haven't quite figured out the optimum habitats for their frogs. This dose not mean that a carefully planed out water feature cannot be enjoyed by new and seasoned froggers.

I do like them when they are done with care but again, actual benefits are for the human eye and not for the frogs in any way. I wouldn't consider putting a water feature in a tank smaller then 3 feet in length.
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#6
Don't we all keep PDFs for their looks?

-B
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#7
Armson Wrote:Don't we all keep PDFs for their looks?

-B

Not all of us. Some of us like to create a perfect habitat for them, over a more selfish, human display...
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#8
My frogs always sit in the water fall. They do seem to like sitting in the water. They have been in the set up for over 3 years. Even had a pair give me some eggs and got one frog out of about 5 eggs. ( my first time )
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#9
I only have about 10 occupied vivs with non-obligates . But every single viv i have has 'standing water'. It could be a tiny pond or cluster of film cans (no running water ) , but water in each viv. There's no way possible for a tad to be transported and survive without it (not counting a theory I am working on about leaf litter in the wild). I have had tank raised offspring from pretty much every species I own now. I hate pulling eggs.

I don't build running waterfall type features any longer, but brown "discolored" water is tad tea , very high in tannins and good for the all around health of the viv.
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


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#10
Philsuma Wrote:
Armson Wrote:Don't we all keep PDFs for their looks?

-B

Not all of us. Some of us like to create a perfect habitat for them, over a more selfish, human display...

I think many of us try to balance the 2: Having a nice pleasing and serene display of tropical life, as well as the perfect home for a couple of dart frogs to thrive and enjoy life.

I agree that some can focus more on the visual side at the expense of the frogs, but I dont think every tanks with a water feature falls under this category. Some do.

I built a tank 9 months ago that focused on the water feature. Its was a stunning tank, but space for the frogs was limited and improper construction led to a few issues with stagnant water in an area behind the background... Yeah, I had incredible plant growth, creeping mosses, and an abundance of micro fauna, but it just wasn't optimal for the frogs. With that in mind, I tore it down before frogs ever set foot in the tank.

So again, I think the key is balance, with the welfare of the frogs taking priority over any other feature in the Vivarium.
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#11
Rich is there any issue with having a waterfall (leading to a standing "pond" that seeps down through river rock,weed barrier then hydroton to pump but having "agitation" in the water surface from a very slight waterfall) with obligates depositing tads or eggs in such a pond? Or should it simply be completely stagnant?

John Boyle



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#12
The title of this post is absolutely correct. I'm new to dart frogs and I'm currently on a build with a drip wall and large pond. I think coming from a purely aquatic hobby makes it worse.

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#13
Just saw some pics of a 'waterfall' / river / pond/ pallidarium 20 gallon. It was 'pretty' and asthetically pleasing to the owner and many people I believe, but it was patently WRONG for dart frog husbandry. The 'usable' living space in the 20 gallon long tank was cut down by at least half. The pond is more than capable of drowning a frog. The substrate was wet, sopping, wicking. FF will drown. Microfauna will not flourish.Plants will rot.

There could easily be a sticky on how an enclosure may 'look good" to you, but be bad for the frogs...
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#14
I think it may be possible to pull off a water feature in a larger vivarium. Certainly not a 20 gallon though. I personally have never built one and never will.
Jon
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#15
John1451 Wrote:Rich is there any issue with having a waterfall (leading to a standing "pond" that seeps down through river rock,weed barrier then hydroton to pump but having "agitation" in the water surface from a very slight waterfall) with obligates depositing tads or eggs in such a pond? Or should it simply be completely stagnant?

John Boyle



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Hi John,
Most all obligates prefer tiny water areas. Most likely so the tad does not have to look all over for feeder eggs, and one small area allows for one small animal.
I have head of one single person saying he found pums tads in his "pond" , but I have hard time believing it. I have not once found any obligate tads in any large body of water. Not in captivity nor the wild.

Rich
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


If tone is more important to you than content, you are at the wrong place.

My new email address is: rich.frye@icloud.com and new phone number is 773 577 3476
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#16
I do have a single waterfall for cooling one 160 gallon granny viv. It is unplugged and has been for a couple years now.
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


If tone is more important to you than content, you are at the wrong place.

My new email address is: rich.frye@icloud.com and new phone number is 773 577 3476
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#17
If one were going to go crazy and plans a mini water feature, what size pump? Is micro 60 gph enough? I'm guessing above disasters are frequently caused by the " bigger is better" phenomenon.
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#18
It's also the size of the enclosure. Planning a waterfall or similar 'active water feature' in a 10 or possibly even a 20 gallon size tank will most likely fail or turn out badly.

A large enclosure - 40-50, 100 gallon tank....is what I would personally feel comfortable with giving a go.
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#19
I know this thread is old an hasn't been looked upon in awhile. But I have small water feature in a 10 gallon tank with cork tunnel and Spanish moss hanging into it. This is my leucs grow out tank. They for what I see love it, the water just goes above their legs of that... But they will spend majority of their time their. One of them even "tucks" in at night in the cork tunnel while the other climbs up in the Spanish moss... Is this wrong? They seem to enjoy it a lot. I understand that yeah some FF die off in it but when I dust my FFs I put them in a petri dish and place it in the tank..
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#20
Not inherently 'wrong' Shane.....just some suggestions and shared experience in my first post of this thread. That's all.

When we talk about frogs drowning or getting a toe/leg caught in epiweb ect...it's the low percentage stuff. Can it happen ? Sure. Doe's it happen a lot ? Probably not, but it's a worthwhile cautionary tale that bears repeating and archived.
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