First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Vivarium Plan design, "Build Journals", DIY, Viv Maintenance Issues.
New_b0401
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First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 2:23 am

I'm new to keeping amphibians and would like to get into the hobby. I have been doing a lot of research, but the more I know the better! I have a 20 gallon high (24X13X17) sitting around that I would like to turn into a poison dart vivarium with live plants. I have a light with a colormax T5 18W and a6700K T5 18w full spectrum bulbs. I plan to use the substrate mix from Josh's Frogs and culturing isopods and springtails in the viv. I would like to keep a pair of 'tincs' in this viv and am leaning toward 'Cobalts', but am open to suggestions :D.

Here is a list of plants that I found that I would like to use in my viv. Obviously I will not be able to put all of these in this viv, but I was hoping I could hear other people experiences with some of these plants as far as difficulty and growth rate along with helping me choose which plants would go best together due to environment needs and contrast. I tried to choose plants that I thought could grow in the same viv all plants can be found at Josh's Frogs and that is also where I am getting my information for these.

Bromelids:
Neoregelia 'Mo Peppa Please'
Neoregelia punctatissimia 'Joao Marcio'
Neoregelia 'Pepper'

Background/Vines:
Philodendron cordatum
Tradescantia fluminensis 'Wandering Jew Tricolor'
Alocasia 'Tiny Dancers'
Pilea spruceana 'Friendship Plant'
Syngonium obtusifolia variegata
Calathea 'Velvet Touch'

Mid/Foreground:
Cryptanthus bivittatus 'Red Star'
Episcia cupreata 'Silver Skies'
Selaginella martinsii 'Jori'-Jori Spikemoss
Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Lemon Button Fern'
Macodes petola Jewel Orchid
Streptocarpella sp.
Columnea 'California Gold'-Goldfish Plant

I plan on using great stuff for my background covered in coco fiber. I plan to have a low corner outlined in medium to large river rocks so the water as a place to pool or at least drain to provide a damper area. I do a viv setup in mind will try to post pictures soon. It will have a large corner shelf and I medium piece of driftwood that is perfect from planting bromeliads! There will be another small shelf area and a large piece of drift that will be in the middle of the div.

Also post pictures of similar sized builds for inspiration! Thanks for reading and/or commenting :D

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 2:52 am

Here's what I was thinking for a setup. Thoughts? I will probably be removing the half log as it is the only non natural item in the tank. Does any one have any experience with placing an amethyst (pictured below) in the tank I would like it use it to add a unique factor :mrgreen:
Please don't mind the big black splotches I was trying to cover up the random items I used to hold the pieces in place. :lol: :oops:

Image

Image

Here's a drawing hopefully it'll make more sense this way...
Image




Individual pieces:
Image

Image

looking down view
Image
front view
Image

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joneill809
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby joneill809 » Sun May 17, 2015 12:58 pm

The friendship pilea and silver skies are favorites of mine and in the right conditions they will take over a viv. I had a few silver skies that got about six inches tall so with some aggressive pruning you could keep it in the foreground. I like trinervula for a foreground plant - simple and elegant and if you prune the new growth you can keep it low. It does take quite a while to get a nice carpet growing.

The wandering Jew is a fast grower and looks unruly IMHO so I would stay away. I have a pretty small plant list across 15 vivs - pilea, spike moss, silver skies, trinervula, African violets- that's it for me :). Broms are not necessary in tinc tanks but I have a few.

Good luck!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 2:09 pm

joneill809 wrote:The friendship pilea and silver skies are favorites of mine and in the right conditions they will take over a viv. I had a few silver skies that got about six inches tall so with some aggressive pruning you could keep it in the foreground. I like trinervula for a foreground plant - simple and elegant and if you prune the new growth you can keep it low. It does take quite a while to get a nice carpet growing.

The wandering Jew is a fast grower and looks unruly IMHO so I would stay away. I have a pretty small plant list across 15 vivs - pilea, spike moss, silver skies, trinervula, African violets- that's it for me :). Broms are not necessary in tinc tanks but I have a few.

Good luck!


Thanks! I like a lot of plant diversity in my tanks, but I don't want to over crowd. How much non plant covered space should I have? I will look in to some of the other plants you mentioned that I don't have listed :) Do you have any pictures of your vivs and plants I would love to see them! What substrate did you use and what lights are you using to grow plants? Do you have fans for air circulation and what did you do for ventalation? What is your misting schedule for plants? Thanks again and sorry about all the questions :P

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joneill809
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby joneill809 » Sun May 17, 2015 3:14 pm

My build threads are summarized here:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=8875

I actively vent my vivs. This build thread summarizes my venting experiments with data loggers:
http://www.dartden.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=7420

I tried internal circulation fans but opted for active venting. I use turface mostly as my substrate with pockets of ABG For my plants. I mist via a mist king 4 times per day for 30 seconds. That allows my active venting. I use a variety of jungle dawn bulbs in custom built hoods.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 3:34 pm

joneill809 wrote:My build threads are summarized here:
http://dartden.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=8875

I actively vent my vivs. This build thread summarizes my venting experiments with data loggers:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=7420

I tried internal circulation fans but opted for active venting. I use turface mostly as my substrate with pockets of ABG For my plants. I mist via a mist king 4 times per day for 30 seconds. That allows my active venting. I use a variety of jungle dawn bulbs in custom built hoods.


Great I'll be sure to take a look at those threads! Sounds like all your stuff is pretty high tech :wink: lol I personally plan on using a hand mister for my tanks. Do you think my current light will work for my plants? (It's listed in the first post). I've notice that some people do a lot for ventilation while others say it isn't necessary to just using no-see-me (i believe it's called) on the top of there tanks while the rest is covered in glass. I was planning on trying that approach as my tank doesn't have any ventilation like the exo-terras.

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joneill809
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby joneill809 » Sun May 17, 2015 4:34 pm

I dont know if I'd call it high tech - I'm just a data geek in my day job so I like looking for interest data sources - temp and RH are a good one in this hobby. I'm not a lighting expert (you can always ping Todd at lightyourreptiles.com for a good discussion on lighting) - honestly I just bought a bunch of plants, installed my lights and saw what plants survived :). In general I have been lowering my lighting levels to encourage my more reclusive frogs to come out more but I suspect limits my plant keeping to what I noted earlier. I am sure the light you have now will be fine.

I forgot to mention that I like "upside down fern" for throwing a nice canopy for shading the viv floor. Probably not an issue for cobalts :). Anyhow as you may have guessed I am not so much of a plant guy - I like what grows in low light and looks interesting while complementing my frogs.

IMO most people keep their frogs too wet. I like 80% RH as a target. If you can see condensation in the viv it's too wet, again IMO. I like active air movement through my vivs - I was surprised that I could drop the viv temp below ambient via active air flow (eg swamp cooler). Anyhow my frogs seem to like the air movement so it works for me. I advocate experimenting (without risking a frogs well being) with your own kit ideas and sharing with the hobby.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 4:44 pm

Thanks for all the great information! I will read through the rest of the second thread you posted as soon as I have time :)

What do you suggest for beginner frogs that are fairly easy to breed? I do really like the look of cobalts, but it's hard to choose with the amazing variety of tincs out there! How many tincs do you suggest I put in this tank I was thinking a pair or trio. I've read that it's not good to keep more then one female to a tank as they may fight over males.

I was wondering about RH I've read many different suggestions. I think I will see what works best for my plants and frogs :)

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 4:54 pm

Also I was wondering about quarantine? Should I quarantine if these are my first frogs? What am I looking for while they are in quarantine? Is there a way to set-up a simple quarantine that isn't a whole other viv? How long is the quarantine for?

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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby joneill809 » Sun May 17, 2015 4:58 pm

There's a sticky on QT here:
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4656
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Sun May 17, 2015 5:02 pm

Thank you! guess I should look before I ask :oops:

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joneill809
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby joneill809 » Sun May 17, 2015 5:38 pm

No worries! We are here to help! Welcome to the hobby and the board.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Mon May 18, 2015 10:31 am

Thanks for all your help and the warm welcome!

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Philsuma
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby Philsuma » Mon May 18, 2015 10:58 am

On plants...my .02

Avoid the common, fast growing stuff like creeping (running, more like it) fig as well as wandering jew, but don't be afraid to 'overplant' stuff - that's what they make scissors for! Underplanting is worse than overplanting , IMO, because there is a TON of stress to be had when they frogs are put into a new viv, especially with high lighting that seems to be common these days. Lots of broms for pumilio are key here as well. I try for 2-3 broms for every FROG.

Also my recommendation is pretty firmly 1 frog per 10 'gallons' of fishy tank space. A simplistic formula, I know, but it's the quickest way to get the point across to new hobbyists.

Welcome to Dart Den and...enjoy! Post often and join in.

New_b0401
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Mon May 18, 2015 12:24 pm

Glad to hear about the plants! Id rather have to trim more often and have more diversity any day! Plus you can usually make new plants from the clippings :) I've heard many different opinions about how many frogs can be kept in a 20 gallon high some say only 2 while some say 3 but ill probably go with two id rather give my frogs extra space then over crowd.

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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby Philsuma » Mon May 18, 2015 12:31 pm

Like Jim said, with Tincs you really don't have to have broms at all. When tincs are small, people have a tendency to overload an enclosure but they grow and get huge quick. The sexual aggression around the 1 year mark is notable too. The females can get so aggressive to each other AND males sometimes. That's another good reason for the 2.1 ratio - so the females don't beat the crap out of 1 of the males all the time. She can abuse 2 males a little more evenly. Heh.

Another load of your mind is the fact that almost all Tincs are easy to find another breeding partner for down the road, so should you get small froglets that grow up to be 1 sex or the other , you can easily remedy that down the road and acquire or trade ect.

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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby Frogopolis » Mon May 18, 2015 1:15 pm

My very first vivarium was a 20 gallon high. I housed three D. Leucomelas in it for quite some time before I bought a few more and moved all of them to a larger enclosure. I also kept my mated pair of D. Tinctorius "Azureus" in a twenty gallon high for almost two years.

In my experience Tincs will over time tromp all over the plants if you plant heavily on the ground. It's just their nature to move around a lot and they are a larger frog. My pair are currently in a Exo Terra 18x18x24 after heaving been in that 20 gallon high. Someone mentioned to me a little time back to use more hardscape with them.

Note: In the twenty gallon they were always heading to the top of the enclosure and actually jumping up to the glass lid and so I decided to move them into a taller enclosure. Now they never venture past the first six inches from the vivarium floor. Only time will tell if they start using the entire enclosure.

On plants - Four years ago I bought a Pellionia repens from Jungle Box and from that one little plant I've been able to keep it going since through at least twenty other enclosures.

Good Luck!

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joneill809
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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby joneill809 » Mon May 18, 2015 2:36 pm

Another consideration for tincs in smaller vivs are the dwarf locales, Bakhuis, Boulanger, Oyapok, or Lorenzo or French Guiana Cobalts (the latter two being more difficult to find in the US hobby). They are generally around 1.25 to 1.5 inches SVL and a 2.1 in a 20H would be a nice fit.

Check out this morph guide (translated) for a good sampling of available tincs:
https://translate.googleusercontent.com ... K8FSk5-YlA
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby New_b0401 » Mon May 18, 2015 9:00 pm

Ok so just to make sure I understand everyone correctly 10 gallons per frog is more of a general guide, but the recommendation would be a 2.1 ratio for this size tank if I go with tincs?

Thanks Jim I will look into the tincs you mentioned and take a look at that article :) Does anyone have any suggestions on what would be a better type of dart to keep in this size setup and it being heavily planted? Maybe tincs aren't the best choice? I want to make my frogs as comfortable and happy as possible :)

Also what does SVL stand for?

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Re: First Viv 20 Gallon High Build

Postby Philsuma » Mon May 18, 2015 9:10 pm

SVL = Snout to vent length. Measurement from the tip of the nose to the cloaca


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