Beautiful! Love to hear that the tank is producing new frogs!
It's quite the little factory actually. When I took it apart yesterday I found 3 different batches of eggs (that means I missed 2 batches when they were laid on leaves in positions I couldn't see - the third batch was the most recent and on the petri dish, where it should be gosh darn it).
Speaking of taking it apart...
As mentioned in my previous post, it was time to completely redo this tank. I've learned a lot about terrariums since I first built this tank, some of it being dramatically different to the approaches I first employed here.
Since this was going to be a complete redo, I removed the frogs and put them in a temporary tank, then removed all the plants and hardscape. Here is how it looked:
The substrate in this tank is the 'classic' method for making a vivarium. It has ABG mix, charcoal, and window screen separating it from drainage layers. This is how vivariums have been built for decades.
It's also essentially an inferior method to a few others now being adopted by the dart frog communities.
The first method is using filter sponge as substrate. Literally the same stuff we use in our aquariums, but used instead as something to stick plants into. Leaf litter is then added to hide it from view. I decided not to go this way.
The second method is using aquarium substrates. This is what I have done in both my frog grow out tank and my gecko tank. It is both very very simple, and also extremely durable. Instead of having layers, you just fill the whole thing with the same stuff.
In other words, no window screen, no drainage layers.
This is especially easy to get away with in this tank which comes with a sloped bottom and a drain for water removal.
The substrate is a mix of 2 parts Safe-T-Sorb and 1 part Aquasoil type substrate.
Anyway, I'm getting slightly ahead of myself because before I could add substrate I first needed to take all the existing substrate out of the tank. I then grabbed handfuls of the background and pried it off. This background was made using the titebond method (wood pulp and tightbond wood glue mixed together). It definitely made a very durable background, but the pieces of cork bark I used were quite small and did not look very natural. Plus I was never able to get the background to grow much in the way of plants on it. All moss died, and most vines as well.
Once the background was removed I took the whole tank outside and hosed it down and scrubbed it reasonably well.
Then I brought it back in, laid it on it's back and began siliconing large pieces of cork to the back glass. Once the silicone was dry and the cork was firmly in place, I started to stuff the cracks between the cork with re-hydrated sphagnum moss. I forgot to take any pictures of these steps until shortly after I started adding the sphagnum; here is how it looked:
Once all the cracks were stuffed with sphagnum moss I had a background that looked like this:
This is the same type of background that is in my gecko tank. The dart frog forums call this a 'cracked cork mosaic'.
I like it because it is by far the easiest and most natural looking background you can stick in a vivarium. And since everything is a natural material, it 'should' have the best chance of growing plants.
Once the tank was back in position, it was time to add the substrate:
Kind of hard to tell from this picture, but the substrate has a decent slope going towards the back.
Now I could start playing with the hardscape. This time I wanted the hardscape to be mostly about the wood (as opposed to last time where I had a LOT of stone in the tank) to preserve as much space as possible for plant growth and frog room. I was somewhat limited with the wood I had on hand, but even so, I had quite a few options available from that.
After many false starts I came up with this:
The idea being that it would look a little like the stump of a tree.
When The Wife saw it, she was not impressed
The work continued.
Eventually I came up with this:
Similar idea but the spiderwood provided a nice platform for the frogs to be able to climb on where as the mopani wood in the front provided a little more hiding room for when the frogs were feeling skittish (and a place to put the egg laying petri dish out of sight).
The Wife wasn't around when I figured this one out so I decided to just go with it
I first tried to add back in the "tiny dancers" plant from the previous tank which is no longer tiny.... In fact, it is now frankly too huge for the tank and I quickly decided to make it into a house plant instead.
The next biggest plant I had on hand was the bromeliad. Once in place I stuffed the lemon button fern I had previously removed from the back corner, back into the back corner (It grew there on it's own as an offshoot of the original plant and I really liked it in that position!). I found some places for the two remaining tillandsia:
The only other plant to make it from the original tank was a single Biophytum sensitivum
that I've had in there for more then a year. I keep hoping it will reproduce but so far no joy.
I needed some new plants now that the tiny dancers was not going to be a part of the tank, so I took a ride to Lowes, my favorite place for cheap tropical plants. Seriously, some of the plants I find at Lowes are sold online for 10x the cost for one quarter as nice of a plant.
From Lowes I bought an Alocasia sp (not sure, but it could be Alocasia Lauterbachiana
) and a plant that was simply described as "tropical shingling plant" but after some searching online I think is Rhaphidophora hayi.
I also picked up some Creeping Jenny while I was there as well.
I planted everything. Then I took some leaves I collected a few years ago during the fall and added boiled them for a few minutes to kill anything that's been making their home in my surplus leaf box, then added the leaf litter to the tank.
By this point I was almost done (for now), here is how it looked:
I was now at a point where I could add the frogs back in and decided to do so.
I lived with the tank for a few hours before deciding I was already unhappy with the Creeping Jenny. It was just too big leafed to be used as groundcover in this tank. I tried Creeping Charlie once before and while it grew, it never did great and was annoying to maintain. The Creeping Jenny is such a similar plant, I decided to not go further with it and pulled it.
I immediately replaced it with a plant I got from a nursery that was not labeled but was instead called 'false baby's tears', which doesn't really corospond to any one particular plant so it could be anything
Meanwhile, I had previously ordered for this tank 2 additional plants that just came in. One is a cutting of a really cool vine called Solanum uleanum. I have very bad luck with cuttings, so that guy is not in the tank at present. It's in an enclosed cup on some sphagnum moss under a grow light. If it roots I will move it into the tank. If it lives it will be a centerpiece plant (it's a big purple vine).
The other plant that came in is begonia ningmingensis
which is supposed to stay low growing, which would be a nice change of pace from... well pretty much everything else
That plant went right into the tank.
At this point the main things left to add is a bunch of moss, but I won't get that in there for a few days most likely. So I am basically done for now. Here is how it looks:
And frog picture for the joy of frogs:
And that brings me up to current.