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Thread: Habitat Set Up Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Habitat Set Up Advice

    Hi All, I am new so I apologize if I broke some rules (I did read them, I promise)

    I am a new Pac Man owner... okay, okay my 16 year old daughter begged for one for Christmas. She did research and brought it to me and we selected a frog.

    I am finding that there is a lot of conflicting information out there about caring for these guys so what we got for a set up might not be the best thing for the frog. As I do more reading, I find out more and more... I feel like I did when I was restoring cars, I am heading to the store every weekend and spending 50 to 100 bucks and still struggling to keep the humidity and heat where it should be (3rd light and heat set up now). I was hoping instead you all might be willing to offer advice.

    There are no problems with Muffins (kiddo named it) but I don't like that the tank humidity fluctuates wildly and that it dries out fast. I also am utterly confused with how to regulate the temperature and humidity aside from manually. I know it sounds stupid but I have bought so many things already that I would prefer a suggestion on how the whole thermostat system works. Below is the current set up. I would LOVE any advice on how to keep the frog happy and healthy. BONUS if you can suggest a specific product so I can just buy it on Amazon or whatever, since I no longer have any trust for the local petco (350 bucks so far and counting because they can't be bothered to have knowledgeable staff). I am not opposed to bioactive, or more expensive stuff either so feel free to suggest whatever!


    1. Size of enclosure-10 Gal traditional style with mesh lid
    2. # of inhabitants - 1 Pac Man
    3. Humidity- I try to keep it around 80, but if I keep the tank as hot as I should it dries out during the day, when I return home from work it can dip below 40 or 30%
    4. Temperature- Use an UTH mounted on the side, sized for a 10 gal tank. Thermometer reads between 75-80 with a drop of about 5 degrees at night, but I don't trust the one I have, it seems way hotter in there sometimes and it takes a lot for changes to register on thermometer. Any reccomedations on something that works with a thermostat??? I don't understand how these set ups work.
    5. Water - type - for both misting and soaking dish- Bottled Spring water for both
    6. Materials used for substrate- Eco Earth-about 2 inches.... stir once ever few days to aerate. I am thinking of upping to 4 inches though
    7. Enclosure set up i.e. plants (live or artificial), wood, bark and other materials.-Artifical plant, had a bark hide but it got moldy after three days so we tossed it. Eco earth was rehydrated with bottled water. I didn't know enough to clean the plants or water dish with anything. I did wash the tank with very dilluted distilled water and vinegar mixture (I am open to suggestions on cleaning mixtures).
    8. Main food source- Crickets (gut loaded with flukers orange and sometimes lettuce), I have gotten muffins to eat a few earthworms but its a battle. My husband refuses to let me bring roaches in the house but I will probably start doing it soon and just not mention it.
    9. Vitamins and calcium? Calcium, on probably every other cricket. I didn't know I needed a vitamin too, is there a non powder brand? I cant get stuff to stick to crickets as it is.
    10. Lighting- ZooMed Tropical Dual UVB dome with a UVB in one and a 60 watt infrared basking in the other with 12 hour timer. We were using a 60 watt daylight blue but three in a row died after a week of use. We added the dual dome because I couldn't get the tank up over 70 degrees (live in an old drafty house).
    11. What is being used to maintain the temperature of the enclosure- I only have a thermometer. I would love some schooling on a thermostat as I am a little intimidaded. They can range from afforadable to $$$$ and I have no clue which one to get.
    12. When is the last time he/she ate- I feed every other day as many crickets as Muffins will eat in 15 minutes (med size crickets half dusted with calcuim). I have gotten it to eat worms but its a struggle and I have to let it go without a few meals before the frog will take a worm, and that makes me nervous.
    13. Have you found poop lately- Muffins has been pooping less frequently and doing it in the water which is new, with larger poops. I am not sure if this is because the frog is growing or its too dry. Last night it had a giant poop baby.
    14. A pic would be helpful including frog and enclosure (any including cell phone pic is fine)- see below
    15. Describe frog's symptoms and/or recent physical changes; to include it's ventral/belly area. No changes aside from the poop thing above. It likes to cover itself during the day and then hang out on top of the substrate all night.
    16. How old is the frog- We got it 22 Dec, no clue on age, but it was marked down because it had grown "too big" according to petco. Frog is about silver dollar size now.
    17. How long have you owned him/her-A Monthish plus now
    18. Is the frog wild caught or captive bred-CB
    19. Frog food- how often and if it is diverse, what other feeders are used as treats- Kinda answered this in 8, but I would like suggestions
    20. How often the frog is handled- Don't handle the frog unless cleaning the tank (every two weeks) it gets placed in a tupperware with moist paper towels (no tap water) during cleaning.
    21. Is the enclosure kept in a high or low traffic area- Kinda half and half... in my kids room but shes in high school but gone frequently (also at her dads half of the week too) so nobody is in there during that time unless its to feed and mist Muffins.
    22. Describe enclosure maintenance (water changes, cleaning, etc)-water change daily, ot two days at the most. Feed every other, substrate change and tank scrub every two weeks.


    Name:  frog setup.jpg
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    What I wasn't anticipating with this lil' guy (well I think its a she) was falling totally in love with it. My husband thinks I am bonkers, but I finally get why frogfolks are well sooo into thier pets (I worked at a vet during college and I used to think herp and frog parents were nutty and now I am one).

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Habitat Set Up Advice

    I do want to point out that I tried to find Frog Forum - Pacman and Horned Frogs - Ceratophrys - Care and Breeding

    and the link was broken?? Is there an updated one?

  4. #3
    100+ Post Member DanDrobates's Avatar
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    Default Re: Habitat Set Up Advice

    First off kudos to you for making an informed decision and for showing a genuine commitment to your frogs care and well being. Adults often purchase frogs for kids on impulse and it’s reasuring to see that you and your daughter have put some thought into it.

    Now as far as the nitty gritty goes:

    I see you’ve lost faith in Petco. Good! They generally offer bad advise to new keepers and end up hosing you with expensive products that are essentially garbage and of no benefit to your animal. And yes there is a tremendous amount of conflicting information available on this site and in general.

    My advise to you is this. Keep it simple. Fretting over ambient humidity is a no win scenario. Particularly given that the hygrometer you have in your pic is Petco junk. Quality hygrometers are expensive and essentially unnecessary to the average keeper. As long as you provide a moist substrate with a bowl to soak in you are in the clear. If you are having issues with the substrate drying out cover part of the screen with a piece of glass as it will hold the moisture in and you’ll have less evaporation into the room. This is a simple way to maintain humidity in the enclosure. Cutting a piece of glass is actually easy but if you’re uncomfortable with the idea try a local hardware store. You may have to play around with it but generally covering 80 percent of the screen will allow ventilation but maintain moisture.

    As far as thermometers go get a temp gun. They are cheep and easy to use. This way you can get readings anywhere in the enclosure. You want to provide a gradient for the animal. Warmer on one end and cooler on the other aiming for mid 70s to low 80s. Ceratophrys (Pac-Man frogs) species will burrow to cool down so don’t use uth pads underneath. Using them on the side as you are is pointless as it won’t radiate the heat evenly. Ceramic heat bulbs are good as they won’t interrupt the day night cycle. However they get hot. So, here’s what you do. Go to amazon and pick up a herp stat ez1 thermostat. It’s about 90 bucks but it’s amazing. It uses a probe that will need to be positioned in the enclosure. It uses pulse technology to regulate the output of the heat source and it’s essentially fool proof. You can use uvb if you like but since this is not a basking species it may not show any benefit. Zoomed bulbs are the best and I’d go with a5.0 as the 10.0 is too intense. Change the bulb every 6 months. Otherwise a regular household bulb will provide ambient light.

    As as far as feeders go this subject is always a bone of contention here. Using crickets as a staple is fine but a variety of prey is preferred. Dubia roaches are a great addition and so are silkworms. I’ve had poor experiences with earthworms but some people swear by them. They are the only invert prey that actually contains a useable amount of calcium. If your frog prefers crickets then so be it . The flukers orange cubes are overpriced ****. I gutload with carrots, dandelions and oats and I dust with repashy supercal ever other feeding. avoid lettuce and potato. Gutload for two days before feeding.

    Otherwise if your frog is eating, defecating and looks to be in good general health don’t worry. Read as much as you can from reputable sources such as amphibian ark or frog log and talk to other keepers. Remember there are no rules per se. As long as your animal thrives that’s the only thing that matters. Good luck.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Habitat Set Up Advice

    Ohhhh dont get me started on pet store peoples

    You got some good advice already, i suggest a few things a bit different
    humidity - there is no way you could keep it where it needs to be in that kind of tank. So yes, you could do the glass, or you could cover the whole mesh with foil, then cut out the hole a bit bigger then your lamp to out it in.
    Uth does nothing for pacman frogs tanksunless they are big enough to cover the whole wall, uvb is not needed too, at least yours is not albino ..... and these things are expensive, if you can return it. In practice do use uvb for pacman frogs that are not albino only as part of mtb treatment protocol
    best as Dan said ceramic heaters.
    so return what you can and get:
    - a fogger ( zoomed one is pretty decent if you use distiled water for it)
    - dome lamp and ceramic heater (60w should be suffient for your tank)
    - zoomed hydrotherm ( humidity and temp controller) plug the dome lamp and fogger into it
    - forget about any problems you had with temp and humidity, that thing will keep your climate spot on with night drop in temps.
    all of the above you can get off amazon

    substrate is ok, you dont need to stir anything, just change once in a month

    water - bottled spring or conditioned tap water ( any fish tank conditioners will do, i like prime)

    cover 3 sides on your enclosure to keep frog stress levels down, i think you had covered one side, dont really see in the pic and i suggest to get another hanging plant ( prefferably silk) that would hand and fall down on a ground - they love hides like that.

    .... i am probably missing something..... please ask away, im here not that often, but other members hopefully respond, ill try to swing by too.
    ill check what is happening to the link you mentioned

    edit - and yes both your hydrometer and thermometer you can toss.... both are garbage
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    Moderator Lija's Avatar
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    Default Re: Habitat Set Up Advice

    http://www.frogforum.net/content.php...-Care-Breeding

    the care sheet you were asking about
    Save one animal and it doesn't change the world, but it surely changes the world for that one animal!

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    Default Re: Habitat Set Up Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Lija View Post
    http://www.frogforum.net/content.php...-Care-Breeding

    the care sheet you were asking about


    Thank you all! So very helpful! I can't really return anything so I will probably just turn off the UVB or look for a low light, I am guessing that too bright of light is a little stressful.

    I am looking for some more hides, is bark okay? I will take the advice and look for some hanging plants as well.

    I will start looking into your other suggestions as well. I was able to get him (it) to tong feed, so I we were able to get a few roaches in. I will keep on workig on the diet!

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