Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

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Philsuma
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Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Philsuma » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:09 pm

There are reasons a lot of the more experienced hobbyists will post to discourage any sort of water feature for new hobbyists just starting out. The placement and construction have multiple issues that require more planning, maintenance, cost and detract from the overall goal of the new hobbyist - to focus on the animal and keeping everything simple.

There will be plenty of time to graduate to waterfalls and other features, but in the meantime, culturing fruit flies, humidity, planting, correct hardscaping and temperature issues are challenging enough without adding something else that is known to be difficult to the mix.

There is also a very common misconception that dart frogs are physiologically similar to tree frogs and climb, or enjoy water like most North American frogs such as Bullfrogs or other Ranidae. It's not hard to think of them as pond "enjoying" animals since they look a little similar in shape and skin texture but it's far from accurate. Dendrobatid frogs enjoy periods of high ambient humidity and condensation / rainfall. There are some species that are found in and around streams (epipedobates) but I don't think they actually spend any significant time in the water.

This is also why we employ a "False Bottom" in our vivarium construction - to allow the sprayed and misted water adequate drainage and not have the soil become "soupy" and waterlogged. Continually wet soil kills most vivarium plants, breaks down wood and leaf litter at a tremendous rate ,erodes the soil and does not allow for microfuana to flourish. The frogs do not take advantage of a water feature.

Finally, the space that a water feature takes up is most likely a large percentage in an average person's enclosure selection. 20, 30, 40 gallon tanks that have water features, have that much less "usable" space for the frogs to roam, forage, breed, ect.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby EntoCraig » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:34 pm

I just tore down an entire tank because of few issues caused by some oversights with my water feature. Do it right the first time!

I would say only do a water feature in a tank that is 30+ inches long.

I do think they can be beneficial if done correctly as they help add humidity.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Philsuma » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:48 pm

Water features done right can be aesthetically pleasing and appropriately placed...sure. But it should be way down the list in terms of priority for new hobbyists.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby clayn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:51 pm

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't the water that collects in the false bottom serve the same purpose as a water feature as far maintaining humidity goes. Its just not as visible.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Philsuma » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:56 pm

clayn wrote:Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't the water that collects in the false bottom serve the same purpose as a water feature as far maintaining humidity goes. Its just not as visible.


I feel it does. The live plants help hold / maintain humidity as well.

It's mainly the "wet ground" thing with water features. Very hard to 'scape around that unless you have experience setting them up and knowing how the tank dynamics work.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby EntoCraig » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:06 pm

It does, but flowing water has much more gas/water vapor exchange then stagnant water, specifically since its under a inch+ of soil. In a vented tank it could be ideal, but in a sealed tank or minimally vented tank, probably not so much.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby clayn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:47 pm

As the tank warms during the day from lighting etc. the air will hold more moisture if available. As the tank cools after the lights are turned off the air cant hold the moisture which falls back to the substrate. While moving water does evaporate at a higher rate than stagnant water I am not sure the volume of water being moved is enough to make a significant difference. I wonder how much of a difference placing a small powerhead in the bottom of an eggcrate type false bottom would make?

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby EntoCraig » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:54 pm

That is a good questions. I have often wondered myself. However I think we run into humidity issues so little that no one ever tries these things...

One major benefit to well designed water feature is some aquatic plants can be grown emmersed.

Im finding that a water feature is pretty much 50/50. There are some great pros and visuals, but there are some serious cons.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby fieldsmith » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:55 pm

I agree that water features are mostly an aesthetic feature, not a practical one. Some keepers feel that moving water helps initiate breeding in some species, but for the majority of darts it is not necessary. I used to do waterfalls and ponds in all of my tanks. Yes they looked cool, but they can quickly become a hassle. If one feels it is necessary to include a water feature, consider doing a dripwall without a pond. You will have the benefits of a waterfall (humidity, circulation) without the wasted space of a pond...and it allows for the inclusion of some bog plant species. Just make sure the pump is easily accessible. Basically, all darts will appreciate the extra space that would be used up by a water feature, while a very few (if any) will truly appreciate a water feature.
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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby clayn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:31 pm

I think for most the moving water is for them, not the frogs. I am new to this hobby but from what I understand frogs need live food, high humidity and enough plants and leaves to give them a sense of security.

Field which species are rumored to appreciate a water fature?

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby EntoCraig » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:36 pm

I think its more of a broad assumption. you would think that frogs would be more willing to breed if they know there was ample areas to deposit healthy tads. This is an assumption and I have no idea if there are any specific species that this falls under or if there is any documentation. Just pure speculation.

I know in the fish world, spawning can be induced by factors like increasing water flow or change in temperatures. I guess its possible something like this could be an aiding factor in frog breeding. Again, just speculation though.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby clayn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:06 pm

In my experience fish spawning is induced by large water changes and feeding live food. To be fair I have kept Cichlids almost exclusively so other species may be different. I do know that with Plecos a large water change with cold water to simulate Spring rains helps to induce breeding.

Your idea may very well hold water. Is the water held in leaves enough for breeding? Even if a small body of water is required you can make a depression in the front corner to mak a small pond. You can do that without a pump and waterfall.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Philsuma » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:10 pm

The analogy of water changes with fish breeding does "hold water" (heh) here as well, but it's AMBIENT humidity and misting / spraying, not waterfalls or pump driven ponds.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby EntoCraig » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:14 pm

clayn wrote:In my experience fish spawning is induced by large water changes and feeding live food. To be fair I have kept Cichlids almost exclusively so other species may be different. I do know that with Plecos a large water change with cold water to simulate Spring rains helps to induce breeding.

Your idea may very well hold water. Is the water held in leaves enough for breeding? Even if a small body of water is required you can make a depression in the front corner to mak a small pond. You can do that without a pump and waterfall.


Nailed it. I am more referring to the sound of the water flowing, rather then the actual presence... Im not sure which on is the greater factor, if they even are factors.

All I know is i just ripped out a 29 gallon viv over a poorly designed water feature. It was a great learning experience though.

My official opinion is that the water feature itself is unnecessary, but not necessarily pointless.

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby fieldsmith » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:52 pm

clayn wrote:Field which species are rumored to appreciate a water fature?

If I remember correctly, some people believe that Epipedobates ssp may show a stronger breeding response when exposed to moving water (even though they breed readily without the moving water). It was a few years back, wish I could remember more.
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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Juand15 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks for the Bumpo! Great Read there!
Frog less but working to get started again! 2/5/16

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby frogfreak » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:59 am

I don't know if would classify these as "Water features" but I have a small water area in every tank we build. The original idea behind it was to help with FF escapes and it does, but has since given us much more. A small water feature can be used as a Tad deposition site. Every tank we have has produced at least a couple of froglets. It's a very rewarding experience to see a Tinc froglet come onto land with no help from us. I also think it adds to the display to have a few tads swimming around. 8) We also use it as a barometer to gauge a frogs health. It we see excessive soaking the frog may have an issue.

These pics are when they were fairly new and the rocks are now covered in , well, scummy stuff. The water is dicoloured and looks more like water with a lot of tannins in it. Just thought I'd toss this one out there...

Image

Here's a single tank

Image

Best
Glenn

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Philsuma » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:08 am

Interesting issue Glenn....is an "overflow" or cut-out ect really considered a water feature ?

I would think not.

My idea of a water feature is a large area and most likely moving water - stream, pump, waterfall, cascade, drip wall,large pond...that type of thing.

I think a relativley small corner of the viv with "incidental" drainage or access to the false bottom is fairly common and it is smaller and not taking up a lot of the surface area...

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby frogfreak » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:20 am

It's funny you say that. I don't know how may times I've heard 'I really like the water feature" :wink:
Glenn

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Re: Water Features - Necessary for Dart Frogs ?

Postby Philsuma » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:13 pm

frogfreak wrote:It's funny you say that. I don't know how may times I've heard 'I really like the water feature" :wink:


I'm sure it means different things for different people .Far be for us to enforce a silly definition on "the Hobby". Heh :wink:


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