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Newb with incoming froggies...


My buddies nympho-maniac dart frogs (the black with 2 yellow stripes down back (terriblis?)) says I have about a week or two before the tadpoles are ready for relocation to their new home. My home.

I need to setup a tank, simple, nice looking, low-maint, and quickly. Crash course in frog care. Be assured I love animals and will do everything I can to keep these creatures happy and healthy!

I have a ton of questions - first, gimme' the best links to FAQ's you have on terrarium setup, or *gasp* other forums with great start-up stickies.
Oh, and everyone with any little tid-bit of info or ideas or suggestions on any point please speak up even if this post gets focused by an (appreciated, still) intense debate on minimum tank size, substrate depth, or what-not. (Ya'll know what I mean? Thanks!)

My plan of action is: a 10 gallon, for 2 froggies. This is the biggest I can go, as I live with my girl and she is going to be a little less than happy that I'm taking on this project before the patio goldfish pond I've been planning with her! (Sorry babe, I don't have the $$$ for the pond just right now.)

I'm planning on using a reptile-fogger or ultrasonic (in tank, I hope) humidifier to keep misting to a minimum. I live in California, so I'm sure the temp will be great year round. I'm going to have a hygrometer in tank and adjust the covered area of the cover screen to get the best humidity.

Substrate: inch and a half to two inch of pea to marble-size pebble. I'm a freshwater aquarist of about 2 years, so I know a couple stores I can check for this. Next, a layer of moss(es.) My buddy can spare some of his tanks moss to start, but where do I buy this locally? What do I look for at home-depot or gardening stores? (I'm in San Diego, if there are any local's reading this I'm familiar with Pet Kingdom only for this type of product.) Am I missing any layers or basic info on the substrate? I believe this is what my buddy uses, and says he only occasionally has to use a turkey baster to remove excess water build-up from the bottom of the tank.

I'll put small potted plants still in their own container buried in the substrate for hiding spots and decor. How do I know if plants are safe for my terrarium? Can I use aquarium driftwood safely without going through the boil, rinse, boil, rinse, talk sweet words to, boil, rinse, boil, rinse that aquarists have to do for the wood not to mess with an aquarium's water. How do I know if random wood would be safe for use in my new pets home?

I'm going to use cork-bark or coco-bark for the background, with moss in spots for looks/design. I'm still juggling if I'll use a false background (not, not false bottom) three to four inches max depth so I can put the fogger and its water tray in the back, and give easy access to the substrate bottom layer for sucking out excess water. Maybe a small space with plastic mesh in the bottom, and random spots on the bark for fog to flow through, but to stop the frogs from venturing behind-the-scenes. Does this sound reasonable or ridiculous?

Oh yeah, once `tadpoles` (I'm sure there's a more accurate name) have ventured onto land with their new legs, do they need a pool to go back to? I wasn't planning on having any swimming pools in the final tank, will that be a problem for frogs fresh to dry land living?

Lighting I'll use somewhere around a 10-15w fluorescent, with a full spectrum bulb, for max plant growth and because it'll bring out the colors in the flora and fauna.

I'm going to stop for now - more questions sure to come. Thanks in advance for all pointers, tips, suggestions, thoughts, cash donations, everything!

Jay Why

FYI - I'm 29, a taurus, and I've been keeping a 20 and two 2 gallon freshwater aquariums for 2-3 years, keeping phasmids (stick insects) for 2 years, have a beautiful 3 month old Shit-all-over-the-floor-Tzu puppy, and kept and iguana about 10 years ago.

wow baby, so many questions at once!

here are a few suggestions:

set up simple containers for the froglets (no, they don't need to go back into the water)'s easier to watch and feed them until they are old enough to hunt well and you are sure they are healthy and strong.

i use a COOL mist ultrasonic humidifier from walgreens, just pipe in the fog through the top of the viv. it's cheap, doesn't add heat to the tank, and isn't as picky about water level as the in tank foggers. oh, just make sure there are no droops in the hose or water will collect there and cause problems.

as for wood, the tanic and humic acids are okay for the frogs, so the wash rinse would only benefit you if you have a water feature and want it to be clearer. ghostwood and cypress hold up best in the wet tanks, i have fine results from malaysian driftwood, but some folks report mold problems. grape vine is infamous for mold problems. to clean them use the search function on this site and do a search for "bleach" and you'll probably turn up some info. also look at "false bottom construction", it seems as easy as any technique, and has its advantages.

for plants, look at the black jungle website, aceking on this forum, and especially cloud jungle epiphytes site(lots of great pics, and really helpful with suggestions). all of these folks cater to viv keepers, so have done a lot of the homework for you. also look at 'saurian' and '' for great starter info on frogs and tanks.

anyway that's my 8 cents worth for now, but keep the questions comming.

mack Wrote:wow baby, so many questions at once!

I gotta' get this done quick and right! (Part of that post was me just running through what I needed to do, thinking out loud ya' know.)

mack Wrote:set up simple containers for the froglets (no, they don't need to go back into the water)...

Excellent - that'll buy me some time on setting up the final tank so it looks great also.

mack Wrote:i use a COOL mist ultrasonic humidifier from walgreens, just pipe in the fog through the top of the viv. it's cheap, doesn't add heat to the tank, and isn't as picky about water level as the in tank foggers. oh, just make sure there are no droops in the hose or water will collect there and cause problems.

I'm not completely against the idea - but I *really* want to use something that is contained entirely in the tank. I may have to figure out a solution myself or at least try my way until I give in and use yours! Smile
(Is the external unit even that big, I'm picturing a 12" x 12" x 6" container like the vaporizer my mom used to use when I had a cold.)
Oh, and would the external cool mist unit method work if the unit was on the floor and the tank was about six feet above it? I have a feeling my girl will appreciate the dart frogs replacing the stick bugs I currently have positioned in my studio/her dining room. Tongue

Great info on wood and plants for me to use as reference, thank you! Also I'll check out the false bottom to weigh the pros/cons (now that I've bought some time with your temp container idea.)

Keep the ideas rolling in everyone, I see you reading the post and I know you have something to offer! Throw me some scraps - whatever ya' got!


hey again,

i just don't know about other fogging options, nor do i know about a 6 ft. lift. my humidifier is about 1 ft below the tank and does fine...the other thing i use is a mistking system fro my other tanks. you can also hand mist with a bottle. remember to use R.O. water or distilled. good luck, and hit us with more specific questions when you have them.

Hey.... I'm just starting out myself. But I know of a GREAT place just north of San Diego where you could have most of your questions answered as well as supplies, decor. (and more froggies if you want!!) It's in Escondido... on Grand st., and it's called "LLLReptile". You may have heard of it.... but it hasn't been there too long. They sell reptiles, amphibians (i.e: adorable little dart frogs), insects, arachnids, and anything and EVERYthing that has to do with them. So, if you're looking for something other than "Pet Kingdom", you should go there. They also have a location in Oceanside. Man... even if you already have everthing set up you should still go there.... It's more like a miniature zoo with some of the most exotic little creatures you could possibly own without a permit for sale.

Awesome - always good to hear of shops. Pet Kingdom is good as long as you're not a newb - everyone that works there is obviously really sick of answering the same question day after day. Heh, I end up fielding questions from customers from just picking up a culture of fruit flies! `What are those?!??` `What do you feed them to?!?!?`

LLLReptile I'll have to check out... especially `cause you said they have insects. Like what? Mantids? Phasmids?

Thanks for the info...

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