terrarium setup for frogs with a waterfall

tgoldade(z3 ND)August 4, 2004

Basically I was hoping somebody had some ideas for a terrarium setup with a waterfall. I originally though about getting some piece of glass cut and siliconing them in to create separate land and water parts, which I still may do, but I am looking for ideas on creating a waterfall. I looking at making this at least a 20 gallon aquarium, long profile one, maybe 40 gallon breeder tank if I get some really cool ideas. anyways, having problems trying to figure out what I am going to do for a waterfall. What kind of material could I use to build at waterfall that wouldnt be toxic to frogs and fish? Could I shape something out of clay or some sort of plaster? Any ideas on an terrarium setup would be appreciated.

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pieces of slate, preferred by angelfish breeders, would be my preference over glass. to me, glass sounds too dangerous
to those baby soft skins. you could set it up much in the way the pond people do. give the water somewhere to pool. then have the slate overlap the edge in such a way that the water will "fall"
the thing about being an individual is everyone comes up with so many cool ideas. whatever yu decide will be too cool. as for the silicone, use silicone aquarium sealer. i believe it also needs to cure so that anything "toxic" will evaporate, or whatever it does (a.k.a. the vinegar smell)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 8:31PM
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tgoldade(z3 ND)

Did about 5 hours of searching last night on stuff and figured out what I need to do. I'll do a false bottom setup and use a non-toxic mortar that they make specifically for vivariums. I figured I would do the clay pellets and then some sort of peat, spagnum, or coco stuff (cant think of what its called right off hand). My next question is which should I use? I found a site last night that was talking about some sort of peat or moss something or other than had dormat spores in it and was really easy to grow moss with quick, but I forgot to bookmark it. Any help on that would be great. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 12:27PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Depending on the kind of fish you want to keep, you should use either clay pellets or coconut husk chips for your substrate. If you want to keep fish that like soft, acidic water, use the c.h.c, and maybe some peat. If not, use the clay pellets. Don't use sphag. or coir (coconut husk fibre), as they will break down and become a soggy mess and need replacing too often. If you want a water area and a land area (a paludarium), then a false bottom is probably not the answer. If you just want a pond, then it won't be big enough for any fish. To make your waterfall, you can use slate (I did) 'glued' together with black aquarium silicone (black shows less than the 'clear' stuff, which turns white), or you can use expanding foam called 'Great Stuff' to sculpt your own. You can also use Great Stuff to make rocks with planting pockets for plants or anything else you need. Do some experimenting with it first though, since from what I've heard, it expands more than you think it will, is sticky, and yet trying to stick rocks or peat or other things to it to make it look more natural doesn't seem to work very well. You can always paint it once it's dry though, so that it looks like rock or wood or whatever.

The moss you're talking about is probably sphagnum moss, but don't use that as the moss in your tank, as it grows very tall and thick for such a small tank, and it also being over-harvested in the wild, and is not being cultivated (except in New Zealand).

Read the old threads on this forum for more ideas.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 2:14PM
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the false bottom set up is a good idea, i have a few of them for frog tanks, on one of them i used peices of feild stone, basically slate, and peiced together a small waterfall. Another idea that i used on my most recent tank is a peice of drift wood that the water will run down. You need a type of wood that can endure moisture without getting moldy, i got mine from black jungle (www.blackjungle.com) i used ghost wood, but cypress works also. i would post a picture of it but i dont know how. what type of frogs are you getting?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 3:40PM
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tgoldade(z3 ND)

think I am going to make a waterfall out of terrarium mortar, terra5 designs makes a non toxic mortar thats suppose to be awesome. As for frogs I have a banana tree frog and a whites tree frog.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 11:57PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Different species of frogs should really not be kept together, and they should have a tank that is taller than it is wide (being TREEfrogs and all).

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 11:52PM
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tgoldade(z3 ND)

Typically yes, different frogs should not be kept together, however these two are fine, have had them together for about a year now, never had a problem. Depends on the species and the temperment. Oddly enough the whites never scales the sides of the aquarium. He always just hangs out on the ground. The banana is a different story.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 12:26PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I think that White's frogs are so cute! They're always 'smiling'. =) Maybe he doesn't climb because they are so clumsy and big?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 7:56PM
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tgoldade(z3 ND)

Before mine got a little chunckier he didn't really climb either. He was always extremely clumsy. I had to hand feed him crickets for a long time because he had no aim when jumping for them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 11:04AM
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homer_zn5(z5 IN)

You can really do all sorts of things to set up a waterfall with a false bottom system. I have a picture montage of how mine went together (not ideal picutres, but enough to give you an idea). Click on the link below to see the option I decided to use.

As for using the mortar stuff, you will want to be VERY sure that it dries completely (dry for well over a week) before using, as some people have had problems with similar stuff rehyrdating and becoming mushy. I personally think that it is just so easy to take pieces of flagstone and arrange them into a waterfall that I wouldn't bother trying to make something unnatural look natural.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dart Frog Waterfall Setup

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 6:09PM
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genomik(z10 SF 9 SM Cal)

Use aquarium wood. I think it is called cypress, but not sure. Pretty common in aquarium stores. From big trees. Often you can find a 12" piece that is sorta hollowed out which would make a perfect natural wwaterfall. They are sort of crescent shaped when viewd from end. Lay it at angle with perhps hose drilled into top end. I have used these, they look great and very natural.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 6:15AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

you can find all sorts of different shapes! Some of it is called mopani wood, and it is really roots from these trees, and other pieces are actual wood. I used mopani wood in my terr, because my husband used to have a planted discus tank with this wood in it, and we saved the wood (and the tank, it's now my terrarium). It is working well so far, not rotting or molding or anything. It's only been 8 months, but hey, time will tell!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 12:45PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have you thought of using the expanding foam? I made my 24x22 inch high waterfall from it and it works great. Only uses 5 inches of space at the bottom and 3 at the top. Will
adhere tightly to a vertical surface,weighs almost nothing and can be formed into any shape you desire. I used some to make cataracts in a tank and with a little care you can keep the walls under two inches!! Strong enough to resist
600 gph current and also the flow over the top, I have not tried a "pond" from it so i'm not sure if it's waterproof.
But with a false bottom wouldn't matter if it seeped anyway. I used it to make a waterfall 4 feet high using stryofoam for the general shape add pooling areas so the water falls in several directions. The 4x2 foot falls cost less than 6 bucks and weighs 8 ounces!! It cures to a soft texture much like a rubber eraser.No shap edges at all.
It is completely non-toxic ,cures in 30 minutes and will adhere to any surface including glass. A side benefit
is if you decide to remove it just slide a putty knife under it and it will pop off in one piece.
I have heard that it will eventually deflate and will lose its adhesion quality. The oldest I have is from last Feb and has not happened yet.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 6:07AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Gary: why would the expanding foam eventually deflate? Doesn't it cure, and therefore become innert? I wonder what would cause it to deflate. . .

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 6:17PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have no idea ,was just told this by a fellow customer at HD.lol He was using it for its intended purpose to fill spaces in walls. Between plumbing lines in his case. He said that after 3 years he had to buy more as it had shrunk away from the pipes. He also told me it could not be kept constantly wet.So far have not noticed any difference between material underwater,constantly dry and constantly wet nor has there been any loss in adhesion.
It will setup and cure underwater though adhesion is very poor. It's also a lot softer and spongier.
Even if this proves to be true I don't see any problem.
How could a terrarium go 3 years without a major overhaul anyway??lol
I'm helping a friend create a rockface for Rift lake cichlids using the super expanding type. All kinds of caves and crevices at the touch of a button and the really great thing is almost no weight. This tank is 96x24x24 deep so you can imagine how much rock that would require.Not to mention the cost!! It is going to be difficult to paint where it adheres to the glass used a layer of black silicone
before the foam which will be trimmed around the faces.. You could use various colored silicone to get a more mottled effect but went with black as he thinks it looks fine.
Would love to try it to make Coral platforms for marine setups. Imagine having the exact size and depth and stability. So far nobody will allow me to use it in their reeftanks lol. Have found no chemical reactions in FW in 3 months. Personall,i believe if the swings are going to occur they would happen in the first week. Have not had a single fatality of plant or animal.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 6:30AM
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I am also creating a setup for dart frogs. It seems that my temperature is too high. 90 degrees with the lights on and 82 degrees with the lights off. The humidity level is around 65. What temperature do you keep your tank at for dart frogs? How can you lower the temp?



    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 6:37AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Gary: what a perfect use for the foam! Cichlid tanks are sweet, and yes, it would cost a fortune to buy enough rock for it! So you're actually going to do it underwater, with the fish and everything still in the tank? Interesting! Let me know how it works out! As for saltwater tanks, the salt may interfere with the foam somehow, and of course the foam would not be able to do any biological filtration or be of any practical use at all, really. I'd rather use live rock. Would help make a fish only tank look nicer though. May as well have fake rock if you also use fake corals!

Md: You will probably get better response posting your questions on a separate post. You can also find the info. you need in the web. Just search for 'poison dart frog care' using Google or your preferred other search engine. I do know that your humidity is way to low for PDFs, and I don't think the temps are too high. Could be wrong though, it's been a while since I looked into that. You can keep the temps. down by adding some air flow, such as a small computer fan. Be aware that this will also decrease your humidity, which I think is more important. Do you have a screen top or a glass top? You should have a glass top. The glass will also help insulate the tank a bit from some of the heat put out by the lights.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 2:22PM
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I am rather new at tank setup and I have a plains lepord frog who hibernets at times.But he likes Wet weather as well. I would like to provide a much needed half and half tank the kind with a pond on one end. However I have been told you can filter using a wall of larger rocks and gravel, and use a pump to keep water flow moving to avoid bacteria and growth. As well as using a submergable heater in the pond for even temp in the water. My question behind this is this a good way to make your own? And what type of pump would you use? Is this something you buy in piece's and put together or in one piece ? And also would you reccomend a secondary filter ? Or do you have a better idea for a small pond ? I have a 10 gallon tank however the frog is quite small yet. I am working in creating something he can grow into. But then when he is done with, I can also use later. Because I would also like to either get a gree tree frog or a african great white. This pond would make for great humity level in such a small area.

Thanks So Much

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 11:48AM
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If you're interested in ideas, this might be of some use.

Although it's a standard 100 gal., I don't see why the essentials couldn't be used for something smaller.
I'm actually, planning a large one of an undetermined size.
Something from 500+ gal to, hmm...
Perhaps, making one of those 19,000 gal. ones! ;~)
I'm optimistic!!

It's actually very low-tech and very low maintenence.
Up and running for 5-6'ish years with no problems.
Not even during long power outages.

There are two pumps.
One small one for the falls and watering higher plants.
One larger one for circulation and pushing detrius toward the screened off partulate filter.
The plantings do the actual water filtering, plus it's stocked lightly.
I use a base of clay, from one of my ponds, and a deep bed of sand as a second layer.
The falls could be higher and have been before.
I just prefer to have the water at this level.

By the way, Gary, parts of my filtered area with foam is begining to pull away from the glass.
I just noticed this the other day.
It hasn't caused any problems, yet, but I'm not crazy about it.
It has been holding for many years, but it's something to keep in mind.
All of the silicon is still holding with no issues.
Most of my rock structure was relatively stable w/o the foam addition, so nothing should fall.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:57AM
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