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Thread: Please help me I'm so confused.

  1. #1
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    Default Please help me I'm so confused.

    Let me start by apologising, you see I have posted a few times over the last few days and have been changing my mind more than my underwear about the set up I want. I have now DEFINITELY decided just today that I want to go down the natural path so have committed to it by ordering my drainage substrate and mesh.
    I only realised today after a bit more research that the effects natural plants/clean up crew will have will be the same effect my filters have on my fancy goldfish tank and I certainly wouldn't leave those off of there so this seems the right thing to go with now..... BUT I really need help with a couple of points.
    I have an Exo Terra 18x18x24 being delivered this weekend and I want to get all my supplies together before I start anything but I need help with the heating and lighting side of things.
    Could anybody help me with which light bulb I will need to keep the plants healthy and advice on UVB lighting for the frogs.
    As for heating I am also a bit confused now after reading a lot of conflicting opinions . Is a heat mat best or a heat bulb. If a heat bulb is best which type and strength would I need for a tank that size?
    If a heat mat is used does it go on the bottom (outside the tank) and will it heat through the drainage substrate, mesh and soil?
    As I say I am very confused with the heating and lighting. Everything else I think I am O.K on So I would really appreciate some help with these two points.
    Thank you.

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    100+ Post Member elly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help me I'm so confused.

    No, people change their minds all the time! It's understandable.
    If you want a light, you need to check and see whether a fixture came with your tank. If no, you'll need one. I have a 13 watt LED bulb, sold as a plant growing light. That's turned out to be just enough for plant growth, though some of my plants with colored leaves have grown spindly.

    For heating, I have a heat emitter, which looks like a lightbulb but doesn't give off light. I have it in a hanging fixture over the tank and I find that works. If you want to go the heating pad route, it might be best to put it on the outside of one side of the tank, but where it won't be near standing water inside the tank. I'd be careful of spraying that wall with cold water while it's active, just in case of cracking. Many people say that the substrate under a tank blocks the heat.

    Of course if you have a cold house, you might want to try investing in both a bulb and a pad.

    As far as keeping plants alive (you mentioned that elsewhere), I've found that as long as the drainage layer is a bit damp, I don't have to do anything to the plants. I doused mine in a bleach and water solution and then rinsed them off very thoroughly before planting. Many common houseplants are pretty tough and can take that.

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    Default Re: Please help me I'm so confused.

    I have ordered the Exo Terra tropical rainforest habitat kit which comes with the top canopy which I believe houses the little screw in bulbs.

    As for temperature in our house it is never cold in here. In the summer it is hot and it is still lovely and warm in the winter.

    I think I would like to have a heat mat but the only thing which worries me is whether the glass will be to warm and will the frogs get burns from it?
    Also it has just occured to me do frogs need a night heat source/bulb?

    I will look into a heat emitter, I hadn't heard of those. Something else I saw the other day was a heating wire, although I was thinking of that more when I was thinking of having fake plants. I would imagine that option could dry out the soil and plant roots so probably no good for a bioactive set up.
    The tip about the bleach and water solution was very helpful as I do want to have some kind of cleaning plan ready as I don't want to put anything nasty in.
    I have just edited this post as I have just seen online that someone suggested putting coco fibre matting inside where the glass will be warm to stop the frogs touching the warm/hot glass. I was wondering if this is OK or will the mat get to hot and also is coco fibre matting OK with constant misting over time or will it go rotten?
    Sorry, so many questions.
    Last edited by KayJoh; July 27th, 2018 at 02:44 AM. Reason: another question added.

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    100+ Post Member elly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help me I'm so confused.

    I don't know what effects the heating pad will have on the fibre, but coco fibre matting is supposed to be slow to rot. It may degrade over time though.

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    Default Re: Please help me I'm so confused.

    Thank you elly, you probably don't know how much your advice is helping (on this post and my other post).
    I have now decided I am a little worried about the heat pad option. My vivarium has the exo terra compact top which houses two bulbs so I will put a heat bulb in one side and a UVB bulb in the other side. I have also bought one of the light domes which I intend to put a full spectrum bulb in for the plants. The only thing left is heating for night time so I will probably have to buy another light dome for a night heat bulb, so I THINK I am set now but there will be time to change things here and there if need be when it is set up cycling (explained to me by Dan, THANK YOU Dan).
    I received my vivarium by courier on Thursday and was all excited to start slowly getting everything together and I was so dissapointed, It was smashed but thats another story.
    Thank you again for the help.

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