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Thread: Advice on a Green Frog/Leopard frog tank build

  1. #1
    jpownall
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    Default Advice on a Green Frog/Leopard frog tank build

    Hello everyone--

    I am an environmental educator in Newark, NJ. The organization I work for serves those students in the surrounding urban areas (Newark, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, etc). I am researching the best way to create a setup for a few native frogs for a new program we are developing. I would like to make it look as naturalistic as possible, but still have the students be able to view the frogs easily during the program. (And don't worry--the students will NOT be handling the animals!) I have a background in animal husbandry but have never created an enclosure myself, so I'm looking for some advice! I have quite a few questions, so please bear with me. I started some research a few months ago & may have posted then, but due to some staff changes the project got put on hold. I finally got the go-ahead to start researching & planning again, and am hoping to make this my major summer project.

    We were originally hoping to have three green frogs (Rana Clamitans) in one enclosure. Iíve been having trouble finding captive green frogs, however, and was thinking of instead substituting leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala) instead. From what Iíve read so far, the setup & care is the same. We want to use a native species, because we try to focus our programs on species that the students come in contact with on a regular basis (no red eyed tree frogs in Newark!). We have bullfrogs in our small on-site pond, but since these tend to be messy and require a lot more room, greens or leopards seems to be our best bet for the tank. If anyone had any other suggestions, though, please let me know! Does anyone know where I can purchase captive bred green frogs? If I canít find greens, I may end up getting leopards from Carolina Biological, unless someone has a better suggestion.

    I was told a 40-gallon breeder tank set up as half land/half water would be a good place to start, and should provide enough room for three frogs. I was going to get a piece of plexi-glass to make a divider in the middle with aquarium sealant. Comments/suggestions?

    Should it be a 50/50 ratio or should one of the sides be larger? What is the best substrate to use for the land side? What types of plants do you recommend? We have a lot of native plants on site & in our greenhouse that I would be able to use if they would be ok for the frogs. Do you think it would be ok to pull some lily pads directly out of our on-site pond?

    How deep should the water be? Should I use gravel on the bottom of the water side, and to make a slope from one side to the other? Iím a little worried about doing that because I keep reading that it can get impacted if they eat it. Any recommendations on what type of gravel to get?


    Is there an aquarium heater anyone recommends? Also, what temperature should I try to keep the water at?

    I'm thinking that it would probably be easier to breed crickets for them to eat, rather than have to buy them every few days. Any advice on this? Also, any "accessories" I might not be thinking of (thermometer, humidity gauge, etc)?

    Will they need a specific type of light or is just standard hood with the florescent bulb ok to use? Would it be better to get a screen lid than a glass lid? Also, should I get one long light or a several ďspotlightsĒ? Remember, we are actually displaying these to the public.

    I know this is a lot of questions, but I am trying to make this as attractive as possible for the students without stressing out the frogs. Like I said, itís also my first time creating a tank from scratch, and I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. I am quite excited for this project, though! I welcome and appreciate ANY advice anyone can give me. Thanks for reading this far!!

    --Jess

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Advice on a Green Frog/Leopard frog tank build

    Hello Jess! Don't keep Rana; but here is a care article for the Leopard frog: Frog Forum - Leopard Frog Care - Rana pipiens (Schreber, 1782) and R. sphenocephala (1886). The explanation on care and habitat pretty much applies to the Green (AKA Bronze) frog. There is good info here on the Green frog natural habitat: AmphibiaWeb - Rana clamitans.

    IRT getting frogs, you can post a note with your needs at the "Wanted" forum section and hopefully someone can get you frogs or tadpoles of desired species. Good luck !
    Remember to take care of the enclosure and it will take care of your frog !​

  4. #3

    Default Re: Advice on a Green Frog/Leopard frog tank build

    You might consider collecting a few tadpoles if you can't find captive bred Green Frogs (check the legality of this in NJ). Watching the transformation is pretty educational.

    I also can't give you much advice on housing Ranids, but since you seemed open for other suggestions check out the care info for Gray Treefrogs Frog Forum - Gray Tree Frog Care and Breeding In my opinion Gray's are the most charming of our native frogs and one of the best ambassadors for our local frog populations (I'm in Ontario- our native lists have a large overlap). Red-eyes are well known exotics and the poster child for environmental issues (and as you say aren't up for consideration), and I can't tell you how many people are surprised to learn that we actually have tree frogs living so much closer to home. Or how everyone has heard their trilling call but had no idea what it came from.

    They have the drawback of being generally inactive in the day, but if you can arrange feedings of flying insects (wax moths are a relatively easy source), nothing brings out a smile faster than watching a Gray fly through the air after it's prey. It may also be hard to find captive bred Gray's though. Something for you to consider

    An American Toad, Bufo americanus, might also be a good choice, mostly because they are hilarious looking. They're also another non-ranid option and will give you more diversity (I'm considering your on-site bullfrogs).

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