VIDEO: How to set up a Poison Dart Frog Vivarium

Setting up a poison dart frog vivarium is easy, and makes keeping poison dart frogs easier. A vivarium drastically lowers the work needed to take care of poison dart frogs. Watch this handy video by Josh's Frogs on how to set up a vivarium, and check out Josh's Frogs Poison Dart Frog Vivarium Kits. Our vivarium kits are designed to make housing and caring for poison dart frogs quick and easy.

Step 1: Make sure all parts of the kit are present. Each kit contains varying amounts of the following:

12x12x18 Kit 18x18x18 Kit 18x18x24 Kit 24x18x18 Kit
12x12x18 complete dart frog kit 18x18x18 complete dart frog kit 18x18x24 complete dart frog kit 24x18x18 complete dart frog kit

1. False Bottom (5 Quarts)

2. Substrate Barrier

3. Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) Mix (4 Quarts)

4. Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss (100 Grams)

5. Magnolia Leaves

6. Small Driftwood

7. Exo Terra Glass Terrarium (12x12x18)

8. Exo Terra Compact Top

9. Compact Flourescent Bulb (6500K)

10. Glass Top (10 ⅝" x 11")

11. Melanogaster Fruit Fly Culture Kit (Small Kit) - Deluxe

12. Tropical Vivarium Plant Kit (12x12x18)

1. False Bottom (10 Quarts)

2. Substrate Barrier

3. Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) Mix (8 Quarts)

4. Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss (100 Grams)

5. Magnolia Leaves

6. 2 X Medium Driftwood

7. Exo Terra Glass Terrarium (18x18x18)

8. Exo Terra Compact Top

9. 2 X Compact Flourescent Bulb (6500K)

10. Glass Top (16⅜" x 16⅞")

11. Melanogaster Fruit Fly Culture Kit (Small Kit) - Deluxe

12. Tropical Vivarium Plant Kit (18x18x18)

1. False Bottom (10 Quarts)

2. Substrate Barrier

3. Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) Mix (8 Quarts)

4. Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss (100 Grams)

5. Magnolia Leaves

6. 2 X Medium Driftwood

7. Exo Terra Glass Terrarium (18x18x24)

8. Exo Terra Compact Top

9. 2 X Compact Flourescent Bulb (6500K)

10. Glass Top (16⅜" x 16⅞")

11. Melanogaster Fruit Fly Culture Kit (Small Kit) - Deluxe

12. Tropical Vivarium Plant Kit (18x18x24)

1. False Bottom (15 Quarts)

2. Substrate Barrier

3. Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) Mix (16 Quarts)

4. Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss (100 Grams)

5. 3 X Magnolia Leaves

6. 3 X Medium Driftwood

7. Exo Terra Glass Terrarium (24x18x18)

8. Exo Terra Compact Top

9. 3 X Compact Flourescent Bulb (6500K)

10. Glass Top

11. Melanogaster Fruit Fly Culture Kit (Small Kit) - Deluxe

12. Tropical Vivarium Plant Kit (24x18x18)

Step 2: Rinse the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium well with water. DO NOT use soap!

Step 3: Dry the terrarium.

Step 4: Place the foam background in the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium. If you wish to construct your own background, read our HelpDesk articles on background construction.

Step 5: Place Hydroton/Hydroboalls/Josh's Frogs False Bottom in the bottom of the terrarium. Spread evenly to a depth of 1.5-2". Hydroton, False Bottom, and other Drainage Layer Materials are vital to the success of a tropical naturalistic vivarium. The Drainage Layer Materials are the ideal bottom layer of substrate for a living terrarium or vivarium. Josh's Frogs False Bottom is environmentally friendly, made entirely of recycled material, and light weight. Drainage Layer materials, such as Hydroton or False Bottom, retain moisture and provide a void at the bottom of your vivarium for excess water to go. Using Josh's Frogs False Bottom and other Drainage Layer Materials in a naturalistic vivarium foster a humid environment, healthy soil conditions, and superior plant growth.

Step 6: Cover drainage layer with a sheet of Josh's Frogs Substrate Barrier. Josh's Frogs Substrate Barrier is a vital layer in all successful naturalistic vivaria. Substrate Barrier fits between the false bottom and ABG Mix layers, and ensures that no ABG Mix falls down into the false bottom, disrupting water flow. Josh's Frogs Substrate Barrier also prevents a clogged false bottom and the wicking of water from the false bottom into the other naturalistic vivarium substrate layers. When these substrate layers become saturated, anaerobic bacteria grow, which create a smelly, very unhealthy environment. The only solution is to replace the affected naturalistic vivarium substrates with new ones. Josh's Frogs Substrate Barrier is simple, inexpensive, and effective way to prevent this situation from happening. Each peice of Josh's Frogs Substrate Barrier measures approximately 18" x 24".

Step 7: Add Josh's Frogs ABG Mix on top of the substrate barrier. Spread evenly to a depth of 1-1.5", making sure to mix the ABG together. ABG Mix is a premium substrate for tropical vivariums, made right here at Josh's Frogs! We have been making ABG Mix ABG Mix is a precise blend we've been perfecting since 2005. This quality naturalistic vivarium substrate is capable of lasting several years when used properly and is available at Josh's Frogs at an everyday low price. Originally perfected by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens of Atlanta, Georgia, ABG Mix will support a sizable population of microfauna while allowing plants to thrive. Josh's Frogs recommends wetting the substrate with distilled or reverse osmosis water before placing it in the vivarium.

Step 8: OPTIONAL - If you have springtails, mix them into the ABG now. Springtails (Collembola species) are soil isopods that measure approximately 1/32 of an inch. Springtails serve as vivarium janitors, consuming organic materials and making them available to plants. Springtails also will reproduce in the vivarium, and serve as an additional source of food for some vivarium inhabitants, such as dart frogs. Josh's Frogs offers temperate springtails that are bred at our facility. Temperate springtails are perfect for adding to the vivarium as janitors and an extra source of food. Temperate springtails reproduce faster than other springtail species when cultured outside the vivarium, cultured on charcoal. Check out Josh's Frogs Springtail Care Guide!

Step 9: Expand compressed brick of Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss in water, then ring out excess water and add a thin layer to the terrarium, completely covering the ABG mix. Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss lasts a long time in the vivarium, and has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It is placed between the substrate and leaf litter layers in a vivarium to prevent the substrate from adhering to the frogs, and to increase the suitable environment for microfauna.

Step 10: Place a layer of Leaf Litter over the long fiber sphagnum. Leaf litter is an integral part of a naturalistic vivaria. It slowly breaks down, providing both organic food for the microfauna and plants in the tank. Leaf litter also provides hiding places and visual barriers for the larger inhabitants of the vivarium. It is the final layer in the vivarium. Leaf litter may consist of Live Oak, Sea Grape, Magnolia, or a combination of the three, or any other non-toxic leaf that is chemical-free. Typically, southern or tropical varieties of leaves are used, as these tend to be thicker, and take longer to break down in the vivaria. Josh's Frogs is committed to providing quality leaf litter to our customers.

Step 11: Place any hardscape/wood in the vivarium. Make sure the wood is stable, and cannot easily be shifted. Our Dart Frog Complete Kits contain Manzanita wood. Manzanita is a very hard, durable wood from the arid regions of the western part of the United States. Our manzanita is legally collected from private lands in California, then sand blasted for cleanliness. Manzanita holds up very well in almost any environment, from an arid desert terrarium, to a humid rainforest vivarium, to even an aquarium! Once placed in a humid environment, manzanita quickly darkens to a dark brown color, fitting right in with a naturalistic vivarium. Manzanita from Josh's Frogs is perfect for providing a hardscape in your tank!

Step 12: Place screen top back on the terrarium, then cover with glass. Alternatively, use the single piece of glass contained in the kit on the top of the terrarium - there is no need to use the screen top with the Josh's Frogs Complete Dart Frog Kits.

Step 13: Add the lightbulbs to the Exo Terra Compact Top and plug it in. Turn the light fixture on. Compact Fluorescent bulbs can be used, but Josh's Frogs recommends upgrading to our LED lights. Make your plants pop and your frogs glow with Green Gro LED bulbs from Josh's Frogs! With a lifespan of over 10 years and an electrical usage of just 13 watts, save money and the environment with this innovative vivarium lighting system! Josh's Frogs Green Gro LED bulbs come with a moisture barrier that protects the LEDs from damaging humidity, and diffuses intense 6500K light over a wider area than other available LEDs. Our LEDs are also vented, which extends the life of the bulb. Josh's Frogs Green Gro LED bulb measures 8" long (7" after screwed into a socket) and 1.5" in diameter.

Step 14: Thoroughly spray down the vivarium with reverse osmosis or distilled water.

Step 15: Plant the vivarium. For tips on how to plant, which plants go where, etc, visit our HelpDesk Section on Terrarium and Vivarium Plants. Live Terrarium Plants provide many benefits when they are used correctly. Not only do live terrarium plants look amazing in a terrarium or vivarium, but they contribute directly to providing a fresh, clean environment for your pets. When costructing a vivarium with both plant and animal inhabitants, remember that the needs of both must be taken into consideration when designing and constructing the vivarium. Plants can easily become the focal point of a vivarium, with colorful leaves and showy foliage quickly stealing the spotlight from the animal inhabitants, such as poison dart frogs. All of the live terrarium plants sold at Josh's Frogs are pesticide and fertilizer free, and completely safe for use with animals. We do recommend gently rinsing the plants in room temperature water before planting them. Josh's Frogs cultivates over 300 different varieties of plants directly at our facility for use with a wide variety of animals. Our live terrarium plants have been used by numerous zoos, public aquaria, and thousands of private hobbyists to bring a slice of nature inside.

 

Still have questions? Visit our HelpDesk to read up on the topic, email us at info@joshsfrogs.com, or give us a call at 1 800 691 8178.

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