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Old 05-17-2004, 08:28 PM   #1
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Hi guys, I've got this 200 some-odd gallon hexagon tank (3 foot tall) that I acquired from my job at Petco, and I'm planning to make it a vivarium for blue poison dart frogs (Dendrobates azureus) It has a ventilated hood with fixtures for four 24" fluorescents, and 2 standard bulbs. It has a sliding glass front door and the stand is about 30" tall.

The best resource that I've found to buy the supplies I'll need is BlackJungle.com

Does anyone have suggestions on the best backgrounds to use (ie: coco fiber vs tree fern) as an anchor for epiphytic plants?

I'm also looking for a good place to buy large pieces of ghost wood. Like 30" long and a good 8" wide.

Finally, I'm curious if it's possible in a large vivarium like this to house several different species of frogs together. I like the D. azureus for sure, but I'd be happy if I could throw in some of the other Dendrobates like D. lehmanni, D. reticulatus, D. leucomelas... would there be a danger of hybridization? Also I'm interested in gold mantellas and the red eyed tree frogs. Sorry if this is a silly question, my experience so far has been in fishkeeping, and the general rule is, the larger the tank, the more you can get away with.
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Old 05-17-2004, 08:50 PM   #2
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When keeping Dart frogs it goes the other way.. the larger the tank.. the harder it is to feed your frogs... Just something to keep in mind.

There is always a risk of hybridization when keeping many species from the same genus together, but your main concern should be feeding, and proper care. Make sure you get frogs of similar size and feeding requirements.

I would check the forum at www.kingsnake.com for more detailed info.. definately a great resource for the kin dof questions you are going to need answers for.
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Old 05-18-2004, 07:46 AM   #3
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Sounds like an awesome tank! You could get quite a successful colony of azureus going in a tank like that.

Black jungle is no doubt an awesome resource for terrarium supplies. I have had personal experience with them on many occasions and have never once been let down. I must say that their selection and prices are not the best Ive found though. Check out cloud jungle epiphytes http://www.cloudjungle.com/ they have a gigantic catalog and pretty good pricing. I have no idea how their service is, but I will know in the next month because I will be ordering tons of plants and tree fern root for my 80 gallon viv.

I have no experience with either coco pannels or tree fern root but I am choosing tree fern root for my tank simply because thats what all the dutch boys use in their goregous tanks and I havent heard anything about coco pannels.

Black jungle is the only place Ive ever seen ghost wood.

My philosophy is to not mix species. Never ever put a tree frog or mantella in with a poison dart frog. They all require different vivarium conditions and could possibly trasmit dangerous toxins to each other. But if you did at most mix dart frogs, there is less chance of hybridizing if you dont mix the same Genus ,i.e., Dendrobates azureus with Dendrobates tinctorius but instead Dendrobates azureus with Phyllobates vittatus ect ect. It is less likely, yet still very possible, that frogs with different genus will mate. Keep in mind that if a male frog sees an unguarded clutch of eggs lying in the moss, he isnt always going to know what female laid them, and that wont slow his sperm down for a second.

Hope you have a blast setting up that tank and let me know of any other questions!

-David
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Old 05-19-2004, 12:10 AM   #4
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I checked out your link audiotaylor, and they do have a huge selection of plants. I'll be keeping them in mind when it's time to plant =) I didn't see much in the way of actual vivarium supplies besides the tree fern though.

What would you use to mold in some wood pieces and make a gradual sloping background? I mean I've got like a 4 foot diameter I have to fill, so I'm thinking of something like a "pond" in the foreground, right up to the glass so I can see the frogs swim. Might do some platys in there as well, since they're from central america. Then I want a large branch-type plant behind that at the base of the slope, and then the obligatory waterfall over some lava rock. I want to use black silicone to attach the tree fern and such to the back, but what could I use like plaster to stick the rock together that could be worked in a way as to look natural? IE: waterproof, non-toxic, durable.

I( think I will stick to just the Dendrobates azureus at this point, though the D. tinctorius are tempting.... How many individuals would you recommend?

And something that seems to be a major issue, what sort of techniques qould I use to feed them effectively in this size enclosure?
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Old 05-19-2004, 02:49 AM   #5
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Yeah, they are just plants; no supplies. Best price Ive seen on tree fern root though.

If you can find them, peat bricks would work well for molding a gradual slope in your tank. They would also support some brances as well. I have seen them here: http://www.vivaria.nl/ Thats the only idea I have for that.

If you can get your hands on it, check out this months REPTILES magazine. They did a great article on making waterfalls by using epoxy putty to hold pieces of rock together and concrete grout to fill in the spaces between the rock. I am using this method to create a large waterfall in the 80 gallon Im working on. I will try to get some pics of it uploaded tonight if I get a chance. Dart frogs do not swim and can drown if they dont have lots of places to easily get out of the water in case they fall/jump in. Im not in any way saying you cant have a large pool in your tank, just make sure to include lots of rocks/branches that extend out of the water that they can climb out easily. Also, I wouldnt use lava rock if you can avoid it. Dart frogs have very delicate skin and lava rock is extreemly abrasive. Im afraid they would get some nasty lacerations if they took a flying leap onto that. I used lace rock for my waterfall; looks similar to lava rock except for the color being grey and it is much smoother. Still has lots of cool gnarly looking holes in it though.

A heavily planted 200 gallon tank could comfortably house a colony of 15 or more adult D azureus.

Leaving a small piece of fruit on the ground in an open area of the tank is a simple way to keep most of the fruit flies grouped in one spot long enough for the frogs to eat them. Although a healthy dart frog shouldnt have too much trouble hunting down enough prey to stay fat and happy as long as you offer plenty for them to find.

Look for pics of my waterfall pretty soon, Ill either post them here or in a new thread. Talk to you later.
-David
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Old 05-19-2004, 05:16 AM   #6
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Heres a few pics of the waterfall I made with the epoxy putty/grout method. Its not much to look at yet because I still have some work to do on it and I will be attaching live plants.








-David
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Old 05-19-2004, 04:14 PM   #7
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Yeah I read that article (I work at Petco Sunday nights so I get to read all the cool reptile & fish magazines)

Lace rock is actually what I have hehe. Where did you get the grout & putty?

Your waterfall is looking sweet! Keep posting pictures, that's exactly the same sort of setup I'm after =)

I'm thinking of stealing my Eheim 2213 out of my 80 gallon aquarium and using it as the pump/filter for my waterfall.

How does a frog drown? lol... I thought they were amphibians The tadpoles will need a pool to grow up in, right?

Thanks for your info man, and long live underground music
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Old 05-19-2004, 07:58 PM   #8
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I got the grout from Lowes in the area where they have concrete. The brand is Rapid Set Cement-All. I wasnt quite sure how I was going to neatly get it between the thin gaps in the rocks but then it came to me. I mixed it rather thick and poured some into a ziplock sandwich bag. Then I sealed it up and cut a tiny piece away from one of the corners so It was almost like one of those things they use to decorate cakes. Worked great. You can find epoxy putty anywhere; hardware store, Lowes, Home Depot.

Canister filters are no doubt the way to go for a project like this. I bought a fluval 104 specificly for this job and I am so glad I did. No ugly water pump inside the pond and its SO much easier to do maintainance. Not to mention the awesome flow. I have to cut the flow rate in half or it makes my little waterfall look like niagra falls! :-)

Haha, yeah I guess your first thought about a frog would be that all of them are all natural born swimmers. But there are exceptions to that rule. There are frogs out there that could outswim some fish, its just you dont see them in pet stores that often. In fact most frogs that you are used to seeing in captivity can not swim. Yeah, tadpoles do grow in ponds but as soon as their lungs are developed, they can never breathe water again. Even the frogs that can swim need to come up for air every now and then.

Ill be sure to post updated pics of my water fall whenever I can. Talk to you later.
-David
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Old 05-19-2004, 11:36 PM   #9
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I checked your site, Im looking at your 40 gallon.

The false bottom method.. what are the benefits of this? I see it mentioned in a lot of vivarium galleries I've looked through, especially the dutch ones.

I'm going to be bringing the tank inside in the next couple days, whenever I can get my friend to help me take the jam off the front door to fit it through hehe. So the first step is to foam it I guess, what where can I get it?
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Old 05-20-2004, 03:19 AM   #10
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The idea behind false bottoms is to drain excess water. Plastic egg crate (fluorescent light diffuser pannels) are cut to fit inside the tank and elivated with several short pieces of PVC pipe. Screen is layed on top of the egg crate to keep the substrate from falling thru the holes. This method is supposed to keep the soil from getting waterlogged but from my experiences it does not. Every tank Ive made Ive had problems with the soil becoming saturated with water and the plants rotting. So in my new 80 gal, Im not doing a false bottom, but instead am being anal about water. I sealed off the waterfall so it drips NO WHERE except where its supposed to. I am going to stack lace rock as needed around the base of the falls so it blocks ANY water from splashing onto the land section. I am going to silicone a piece of plastic to the top of the glass divider so NO water can wick into the land section. This plastic will also keep any moss/other plants growing on the land section from making contact with the water in the pond. When I mist the tank, it will be no more than a minute a day (maybe only a few times a week) which will do no more than get the leaves of the plants wet.

Youll want to get a few cans of Great Stuff expanding foam. They have it at Lowes, Home Depot ect.
-David
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Old 07-25-2004, 11:49 PM   #11
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you could try the coco bedding methed to make a great abground hears how you make one http://www.blackjungle.com/gallery/talltank/page1.html, you use the ghost wood as the chanel for the watter fall, 200 gallons is pretty big, i would only keep adults in such a tank and no thumb nails(pumilio,vents,retics) they are to small and are not suted for beginers anyway,if you have azureus you can't have tinctorius, they will hybridize, you could have auratus,leucomelas or phyllobates terribilis, no mantels though, they like temps much cooler then PDFs, you could have red eyes or may other small to medeium sized tropical tree frogs but ask first
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