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Thread: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

  1. #1
    rosaphile
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    Default What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    As part of our terrarium setup I want to include a small PVC pipe extending up through the substrate, for siphoning off water from the false bottom. I want to color it in some way so that it will be unobtrusive, but I want to be sure I use a material to color it that will be safe for the frogs. Is it safe to use a spray paint such as Krylon Fusion, or should I coat it with a dark-colored silicone instead?

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  3. #2
    100+ Post Member MikeM670's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    You can use a acrylic paint or silicone for covering the pipe. If you silicone it just cover the wet silicone with peat or coco fiber to really help it blend in.
    1.2.0 Dendrobates tinctorius 'Azureus'
    1.1.0 Dendrobates Lamasi 'Orange'
    1.1.0 Dendrobates Ventrimaculatus 'Understory Line'
    0.3.0 Dendrobates leucomelas

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    As always your mileage may vary!
    I may or may not know what I'm talking about!

  4. #3
    rosaphile
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Ahhh! Excellent idea, I will do the silicone/coco fiber thing. I've seen folks do that for their backgrounds and such but I didn't make the connection here. Thanks!

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    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Make sure you have something to cover the top of the PVC so your crickets don't find themselves down in the drainage layer :-)
    I uses a small piece of aquarium siphon hose with an adapter to connect another hose to for draining. I just cover it with a stone when not in use.
    1.0.0 Red Eyed Leaf/ Frog - Agalychnis callidryas
    1.1.1 Bumblebee Dart Frog - Dendrobates leucomelas
    1.1.0 Dendrobates truncatus - Yellow Striped
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    1.1.0 - Dendrobates tinctorius - Powder Blue
    1.1.0 - Ranitomeya vanzolinii

  6. #5
    Badger
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    The paint question is a question for sludgemonkey, That's his strong suit. I use GE Silicone II, GE Silicone I is also usable, it's rumored to be safer. There is a huge controversy over which one to use or which is safer. Silcone II came in more colors, so I used that.

  7. #6
    rosaphile
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Tee hee! That would be so gross. Crickets drowning underneath the egg crate... blech. I was just thinking of getting a PVC cap. My thought was to use 1/2" PVC pipe, then on top of that a 3/4" PVC cap so that it fits just loosely enough to give me access when needed. If it's too loose I could always put a thin film of silicone on the inside of the cap to reduce the size just a hair.

    Good to know about the types of silicone, Dalton. I thought I had read something to that effect but I couldn't find it again. Maybe I will try starting with the GE Silicone I and see if the eco earth gives good enough coverage so that the color of the silicone doesn't matter, on such a small area. PVC pipe is so cheap, I'm sure I can experiment a bit to see what I like best.

    Can you all tell I am totally geeking out about making a frog habitat?? I'm trying really hard not to start planning another one already before I even do the first one...

  8. #7
    Badger
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Lol, I had the same problem. I am now planning one for tincs...I think.

  9. #8
    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    This is non-structural, so any silicone rated for exposure to weather that does not include fungicides is fine. As for paint, any Urethane or Acrylic enamel is fine. Truth be told, I just use matte black acrylic primer on my PVC drains.

    As for the cap- if you use 1/2 inch PVC, use a 1/2 inch PVC cap. Anything else is asking for trouble. Use a bit of sandpaper on the pipe end to make the cap slide on and off easily. Also, Paint it with the cap on after you have sanded the pipe, or the paint will "glue" the cap on permanently, even if you think the paint is dry.
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

  10. #9
    Lady medusa
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    I heard the acrylic paint called folk art is ok to use as long as you seal it afterwards. Theres a new type of paint out im trying out on my new cal king set up im doing and i may use it on the mantella set up im working on as well. Its called soy paint and its made of soy beans. Its 100% eco friendly and is non toxic. But im still sealing it because i dont want it to chip.

  11. #10
    rosaphile
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Thank you both, that helps! I will poke around and see what I can find in the stores.

  12. #11
    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    The make up of the actual paint is not the issue. It is the pigments used.

    Many colors use toxic metals and oxides of heavy metals. Cobalt and its various forms are extremely common. Copper, Copper oxides, Cupric silfides, and Pthalates are also very, very common. ALL are toxic to animals in enclosures and should never be used, even if sealed.

    In general, avoid greens, blues and violets. Use red and yellow with caution. Brown is also a tricky one, so read the labels and look up what the pigments are. NEVER use metallic paints.

    Acrylics and Urethanes are normally safe. ALL Spray paints should be avoided. Epoxies are superior, if aquaculture rated forms can be found.

    Titanium based whites and blacks are fine, as are ochers and umbers. Siennas are also fine. Carbon blacks are my personal favorites.

    Personally, I only use seven colors. I just mix and match on the fly to get the desired effects.

    I use Liquitex BASICS brand (read that as I am a cheapskate!)

    Mars Black

    Titanium White

    Raw Sienna
    Raw Umber

    Burnt Sienna
    Burnt Umber

    Yellow Ocher

    For sealer, I use either aquaculture rated epoxies, potable water rated epoxies without anti fungal and bacterials, and my personal favorite Krylon semi-gloss aerosol clear urethane.



    A good rule to follow is that if you cannot pronounce the pigment, skip it.

    In other words, When in doubt, leave it out!


    There is a huge controversy over which one to use or which is safer.

    Yes there is, however the controversy is misguided.

    Truth be told, the formulas for GE silicone are nearly identical. The differences are in percentages of the mix, and the presence of UV stabilizers and anti-fungals. For structural builds, like tank walls and bottoms, you must use aquarium rated silicone. Period. It has the highest tensile strength of any consumer grade silicone. The recipe has nothing to do with it being aquarium grade. For non structural building, like glueing stuff to tank walls, any silicone that does not have anti-fungal/bacterials added is fine.

    As for the bit on "outgassing" I hate to say it, but they all outgas the same stuff. This myth is a result of folks allowing insufficient curing times. For aquaria and vivaria, my rule is, let it cure by the instructions, then add a month to that, just to be safe. The "thicker" you apply these adhesives the longer you need to let them sit. (This is one of the reasons many of my build projects take months to finish!)

    The existing controversy is a direct result of the poorly informed discussing things they never even bothered to research for themselves and then making statements based on anecdotal information and hearsay with absolutely no ground or facts to back them up. (Not to insult anyone, but I actually took the time to personally contact the manufacturers on this topic quite some time ago.) Need proof? Look up the MSDS for the products and start there. By US law, they have to list things like the ingredients, toxicity, effects on aquatic life, etc. If you still are unsure, do not be afraid to contact the manufacture. Again, in the US, you have "The Right to know" and they must provide toxicity data free of charge on request.

    it may take a few weeks to get an answer, but in my world, I long delay is always better than dead critters.
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

  13. #12
    rosaphile
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Thanks Johnny, that's very informative! I will definitely keep this info in mind when planning more involved vivarium builds (oh yes, there will be more ). For this time, since I'm just doing the drain pipe, I will look for the matte black acrylic primer you mentioned earlier. I've ordered a 10-gal aquarium with screen lid from Wal-mart ($25 including shipping, and the reviews are all positive!) to use as a temporary habitat if we end up with froglets. I have a very strong feeling that at some point in the future that will become an aquaterrarium for fire bellied toads, and I'd love to do some "viviscaping" at that point.

  14. #13
    Monty
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Johnny, thank you for this great info! We're looking to build our own wall/background from something like (what do you call it in English?) Great Foam(?).
    Would a layer of aquarium rated silicone be enough to make it waterproof? Or should we be looking at other things? We want to make sure what we'll use is safe for our fire bellied toads of course

  15. #14
    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by rosaphile View Post
    Thanks Johnny, that's very informative! I will definitely keep this info in mind when planning more involved vivarium builds (oh yes, there will be more ). For this time, since I'm just doing the drain pipe, I will look for the matte black acrylic primer you mentioned earlier. I've ordered a 10-gal aquarium with screen lid from Wal-mart ($25 including shipping, and the reviews are all positive!) to use as a temporary habitat if we end up with froglets. I have a very strong feeling that at some point in the future that will become an aquaterrarium for fire bellied toads, and I'd love to do some "viviscaping" at that point.

    I should clarify that after some research I found that the Acrylic matte black spray PRIMERS are safe to use (as I stated to avoid spray PAINT in the previous post!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Monty View Post
    Johnny, thank you for this great info! We're looking to build our own wall/background from something like (what do you call it in English?) Great Foam(?).
    Would a layer of aquarium rated silicone be enough to make it waterproof? Or should we be looking at other things? We want to make sure what we'll use is safe for our fire bellied toads of course
    When it comes to the urethane foam products like "Great Stuff", there is no need to waterproof them. Once fully cured, they are by nature waterproof. While I no longer use aerosol foams like these due to their long term instability, the secret to working with them is to use small amounts over time for proper curing. If a large mass is created, it can take months (and in one case here in my project room), years to fully cure. The real need for sealing urethane foam products is that they are extremely susceptible to degradation due to ultraviolet exposure. These foams quickly disintegrate into a sand like particulate that is hazardous to amphibian digestive cycles.
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

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    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    I currently have a long term experiment going on the viability of DTM type epoxy mastics for vivaria and aquaria use. Once they fix the spectrum analyzer at the University, I will be able to show some interesting data on the effects of long term immersion and high humidity on the commonly used materials in the vivaria hobby. As of right now my results are incomplete, but when I am able to process the remainder of water samples I suspect an interesting trend will continue.
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

  17. #16
    vixxy
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    ok, so dumb question then....basically anytime a silicone says "mold/ mildew resistent" on it that would mean that is has the harmful fugisides, right?

  18. #17
    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Not necessarily! As silicone does not actually support mold growth, it all is technically "resistant". Fungi will grow on the layer of bacterial matting that forms on the surface of the sealant though.

    As a result, many products designed for kitchen and bath use have additives to kill bacteria, mold and mildew that attempt to grow on the filthy surface of the silicone over time.

    As a general rule, if it says kitchen and bath anywhere on the label, I do not use it. The various brands and versions I use are normally rated for exterior window and door use. If you are really lucky, you can find versions specifically designed for pond and water garden use. (Buy these if you find them!)

    On that note, never use versions rated for HVAC use. They always have antifungals and antibacterials. (Thank you Legionnaire's disease...)
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

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  20. #18
    Monty
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    Hmmm... Would it be better to make to background out of styrofoam with somekind of a coating to make it waterproof and pretty?

  21. #19
    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    In my opinion, yes.
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

  22. #20

    Default Re: What silicone/paint would be safe for frogs?

    What would be a good coating to waterproof a carved Styrofoam background? I have heard of a couple that people have used. Habecrete, Tile Grout, Silicone, One that looks particularly interesting was multiple layers of Drylok. Which of these are ok to use and which are no-no's?

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