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Can I use an old tank for a Dart Frog viv ?

right now i am just working on putting together a tank. I would like to know if I can use my old quarantine aquarium. It was treated with copper and has turned the bluish color that occurs when you do this. Will this be safe to hold dendrobates? I also have a 55 watt compact flourescent light thats around 9,000 kelvin. Would that work to keep plants alive? or is it too much? Please help a new guy out. I would like to get the vivarium up and running for a while before i place any frogs in it.

Welcome to DartDen I think your tank should be fine but I would bleach the tank before using it. The lights sound fine also. With my experience I have found that a planted tank is easier to care for, I think most would agree. How big is the tank? What do you want to keep in it?


I see you are into saltwater too. I have 58g reef, I think you will find the darts less demanding but just as much fun.


We wanted to get into darts because the reef is costing too much. This will give us (hopefully) a balance so that we will get bored with neither. The tanks is a 20 gallon long (30x12x12) 2 D. auratus is what we would like to keep, i really like the green and blue ones. (still not sure what to call the individual color morphs, newbie will hopefully learn soon). what dillution ratio should i use for the bleach? I really want to have a planted tank, as i think that will add to the aesthetics as well. here is what i was thinking i would start with, let me know if i should change anything: large gravel on the very bottom of tank, smaller gravel on top of that, and then the sphagnum moss on top of that (i dont like the idea of putting pvc or eggcrate underneath as the tank is only 12 inches deep, if needed I will use a turkey baster to pullout any excess water). I was going to get some cork bark to glue to the back for my background. (where is a good place to get the moss and cork bark?) Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for the replies!

Well I think the plan sounds good. Both of my tanks are set up with running water that circulates around the tank and are planted. I have planted plants that do well with water which allows me to keep the waste in the tank water down. I only mist my tank and add water as needed. If you plant your tank and then give the plants a little while to put down roots you should not have any problems with keeping the tank healthy as long as you dont over stock or over feed it. The frogs sound cool too. I am new to darts but have kept other frogs for about 6 years now.

I think you will find this site to be a great resource for information.

Good luck,


Sorry I missed the bleach question. I dont know the exact dilution but I would use alot. Just make sure you rinse the tank until the smell is gone.

Thanks for your help, Mike. If you get a chance could you send me some pics of your setup? I have been doing alot more research and I like the idea of running water through my vivarium. If I can do it, I want to have a waterfall on one side and a river going through the middle. Please email me and let me know capschamp9 at

i've made quite afew tanks i have 23 frogs, 2 blueberries d. , 3 lucs d. 3 mints p. 3 citronellas t. 2 galacs d. and 8 d auratus, green and black and bullseye morph. i have two 30 gallon fully planted tanks with running streams, along with a 29 gallon with a gravel and coco bed bottom (gravel first then coco on top) which is now growing moss like crazy. the tank setup you stated should work well, you only need a water resavour un der the gravel if you want running water. personally i would add some substrate over the gravel after putting down a mesh type of material, you can find some in the craft section of stores, not quite sure whats its used for though... another option over the gravel would be leaves, and moss, magnolia works great as its decomposes slowly. well hope this helped some, i got to go i am in my lunch period in school lol, well good luck!

In my experience and in just about everything I've read and everybody I've spoken to on the subject, I've found that a bleach solution of 1:10 bleach:water works well. I've used as little as 1:100 and had great success. As was said earlier, make sure to rinse the tank extremely well.

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