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Tall Vivarium or Wide Flat Vivarium ??

There are three basic 'sizes' of Dart Frog enclosures:

1. Tall(er) / High

2. Wide(er) / Flat or 'long'

3. Cube or complete equal size square

Which do I choose???? What is best for what frog????

Basically, there are roughly two different body shapes and sizes of commonly kept ADULT dart frogs:

1. Tinctorius and 'Tinc type' frogs - These frogs, when fully grown, are large and heavy bodied. Phylobates genus also falls into this category. SELECT AN ENCLOSURE THAT IS MORE 'FLATTER' THAN IT IS TALL.

2. Pumilio and thumbnail  -  These are smaller bodied and more 'compact' size frogs. SELECT A 'TALLER' TANK.

BOTH categories above WILL climb, especially when young and small. Most dart frogs will also seek to 'roost' up high at night - this is a defense against predators like spiders, scorpions and centipedes all of which prowl the lower layers of leaf litter in the wild. But our frogs are CB and thus 'domesticated' so one would think there is NO need for that defensive roosting behavior right??'s in the frog DNA. I doubt the built in defense is going to be bred out unless we log in years and years of manipulation like the bearded dragon hobby, but I digress.

So I'm STILL confused! My newly bought small tincs absolutely do like to climb!! I think they will enjoy a high tank!

Tincs and heavy bodied frogs will indeed climb BUT they will utilize the flat and horizontal low surfaces MORE than they will climb. MUCH better to give them the lower, flatter, wider tank.

Smaller bodied frogs will likewise, use the mid to higher reaches of a tank . Now there are ALWAYS exceptions in life. R. reticulatus is a small, tiny frog that seems to utilize the lower leaf litter a BIT more than most frogs of that size.

The point is, if you are new(er) to the hobby and have found this Website, Forum and Thread and are looking for advice from an experienced member who has kept many, many different species of dart frogs, then here it is. The above is my enclosure size and type general recommendation.

Happy Froggin' !

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

Great post Phil! I'd add that we should move away from volume as a metric for keeping frogs and think in terms of usable square inches. Our frogs cannot take advantage of airspace; we need to be mindful of how we can make the upper portions of a viv usable by the inhabitants. Using upper ledges provides great usable space, and it casts shadows down on the viv floor. This provides a variety of lighting conditions for your frog to choose from, and creates pockets of different humidity levels that they can move in and out of.

Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata

The commonly used and referenced enclosure size metric is still the ubiquitous 'fishy tank' or aquarium based solely on it's common availability and cheaper price.

That said, dart frogs obviously cannot make use of 'air' or the gaps in the enclosure where it is not planted or hardscaped, so it is fundamentally important to learn how to correctly appoint, or 'hardscape' your enclosure or 'Vivarium'.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

I would like to add a fourth "size", if I may.

4. Huge.

I am starting to explore very large tanks. (8' wide, 4' tall, 2' deep). These offer both height and width to accommodate almost any species. The size will allow most terrarium plants to grow to full size. Realistic water features can be created without crowding the frogs. One of the most exciting things is the possibility of a "Life Cycle" enclosure where frogs can play out all aspects of their reproduction without our "aid" or intrusion.

Surely there will be challenges with enclosures this size, but I see nothing but benefits when pulled off properly.

Chris Sherman
One big methane burp from the ocean could make everything here obsolete.

chris's post reminds me of the tank mr. frye made years ago for pumilio. I think it was one of those mini greenhouse things.
I think the biggest thing stopping the frogs getting the right "size" is space on a rack. can get more tanks on a rack thinking.

Horizontal. ALL dart frogs roost at night or at other times climb but look at the shape and bulk of the animal and as you spend countless hours observing it....ask yourself where it spends most of it's time and more importantly, where it acquires it's food.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

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