Responsabilities of animal ownership
Animals can bring a great deal of enjoyment to our lives and watching them flourish and grow in our care is very satisfying. More and more exotic pets are becoming popular subjects and for good reason. Many do not shed, they don't need to be walked, and in general can be less labour intensive than conventional pets.
Over the past several years reptiles and amphibians have become much more accessible. These animals although they are cold blooded demand as much respect as any other animal. All too often when I am visiting the local pet supply store I witness the new owner returning with the dried remains of their latest victim and demanding a refund. Simply put if your new pet dies more likely than not it was your fault directly. Reptiles and amphibians come for extremely varied habitats and cannot just be tossed into a tank with some plants and expected to thrive.
Having a show tank or a vivarium is great and can really bring enjoyment and life into the home. One thing that everyone should do before deciding on a new pet is research and with the Internet at our disposal there is no excuse for ignorance. Google will provide thousands of pages of information on these exotic pet prospects all that is required is for you to do some reading.
After you have chosen a prospective occupant and made a checklist of its requirements you can begin the planning stage for the vivarium. The enclosure and its contents should be catered to the animal occupant. You are essentially attempting to recreate a small replica of their natural environment. It is very satisfying to be able to incorporate the same type of plants that would be found naturally in their habitat but if this can not be done there are many that will do as substitutes that can be found at building stores and even some well stalked pet shops.
Some reptiles and amphibians are easy to care for and make great pets, others are more difficult and should not be attempted by the first time owner. Dart frogs fall into the latter category and are not easy animals to care for in any respect. They have very specific diet requirements and their maintenance and their food supplies maintenance is a chore in itself. If you still think you need a dart frog I would encourage you to first try a fruit fly culture or two before you bring your new pet home. A few years ago I built a terrarium to house several Dendrobatid frogs but before I made any animal purchases I made sure that I could breed fruit flies. Breeding fruit flies is not terribly difficult but to have the constant supply that you need you must have multiple cultures on the go at once. After a month or two of breeding the flies I decided I would have to wait until I had more time to dedicate to the frogs than I do now. To this day the terrarium is strictly plants and I am proud of my decision. All to often we get excited and loose track of the complete story, remember there is an animals life at stake.
I don't want to crush anyones ambitions of owning these animals but remember they come first. Please do not allow them to become a novelty or a last minuet addition to your set up. If you have questions about what species make good pets please ask. Remember that this forum is for the discussion of terrariums, terrariums being enclosed or semi-enclosed systems that focus on plants. Vivariums are a totally different story and these are animals that depend on us entirely for their survival.