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Thread: Substrate question

  1. #1

    Default Substrate question

    I am new here to the site, but I must admit I have been referring to it quite often since we got our Green tree frogs, fire belly toads and anoles a few months ago. There is tons of information and your posts have been a big help!
    We currently have our little family in a 40 gallon aquarium with about 25% water area. We have a reptile filter in the water. The ground is I cant remember if it's organic top soil or organic potting soil. (But I do know it doesn't have the perlite in it) We also have some red wigglers in the dirt. On top we have Spagham moss (which we clean out and put fresh in once a week. Boiled first and cooled down before adding to the tank). Currently we have 4 live plants in there, and a fake vine thing hanging across the back (which I HATE). We also have 2 rocks that are in there. One is directly under the lights and one is in the middle partially under the lights. Then we have a rock in the water area as well. We made the water area with Lexan and aquarium safe silicone.
    I know it's not the best idea to mix species, but honestly they all pretty much stick to themselves. I guess the tank is big enough that they can all get away from each other.
    Currently we are feeding them crickets at about 700-730 PM and their lights go out about 1030 -1100 PM. I have seen each one of them get crickets, although the green tree frogs don't seem to eat every day, usually every other day. I also did put some rosy red (minnows I guess) in the water and I believe the firebellies got those.
    We spray down the tank usually 3 times a day. (Last one always after they've eaten, about 2 hours before lights out)
    So here's my question>>>>We have been doing a lot of research since we will be adding leopard geckos and bearded dragons to our home soon (in totally seperate tanks) and I have learned a lot about impaction. Recently I saw one of the fire belly and last night one of the tree frogs get some moss in their mouths while eating crickets. Both used their front feet to kind of pull the little bit they had in their mouth out. But now I am thinking maybe we should have something else in there instead????
    I worked in a pet store for 10 years, but we all know pet stores aren't the best place for gaining knowledge, and honestly they only had Anoles back then. I had toads growing up as a kid, but honestly I dot recall what we had for substrate. I'm kind of thinking something horrible like aquarium gravel?? (that was before computers, so who knew?) Anyway, would the coco fiber be better? (Not worried abouut messy water, I will gladly clean it out if it's better for them!) Or should I do a layer of moss on the dirt???

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  3. #2
    100+ Post Member Gnag the nameless's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substrate question

    Welcome to the Frog Forum!

    I definitely don't think it's a good idea to mix species. Firebellies secrete toxins that could potentially harm one of your Greens or Anoles, and it's best that you stay safe.

    Sorry if I'm rambling on a bit in the next part, I love talking about my amphibians

    I tend to feed my salamanders and frogs around that time too, though usually later. See, I like to have a kind of morning-day-evening-night cycle. For the most of the day, I keep the UVB lamp on, which gives my frogs their vitamin D-3 treatment. Around 5:00-7:00 I turn that light off and switch on the dim incandescent on the far end of the room, giving all the tanks a kind of evening look. This is when my amphibians will come out, and when I feed them. I feed my juvenile American bullfrog, Gnag, 5-8 crickets per night, with the occasional nightcrawler. Since she's a very calm frog, she doesn't mind me watching her eat. Bumpy, my smaller green frog, has the exact same diet, except with smaller crickets. I usually have to place the crickets on the driftwood in her tank and wait 'till I hear the small splashing which means she's hunting. She's a lot more skittish than Gnag, and won't hunt when she's being watched.

    I only yesterday obtained my Pacific Chorus frog, Chrome, and he's still settling in. I've yet to see him out and about, but he's been croaking, and swimming in his water bowl. As for my salamanders, I feed them pinhead crickets, and they only come out when I turn all the lights off (9:00-10:00). However, I know they're eating because many crickets often are gone the next morning. Like my PCF, they've only been in my care for a week, so I've been monitoring them constantly. However, they've settled in well, and are currently sitting in their burrows.

    I mist my salamanders and and Chorus frog's tank on the same basis as you do, but since my Green frog and Bullfrog's tanks are compromised of over 75% water area, I mist them only daily.

    To answer your question:

    Impaction is a big issue, and I've always been looking out for it. Avoiding it is the best thing to do.

    I definitely think you should switch the substrate. Moss, if ingested, can cause prolapse. In case you haven't heard of it yet, prolapse is when the intestines or gonads are pushed out of the vent due to the moss or an overload of food. I've yet to experience it, and I certainly don't want to.

    I definitely suggest cocoa fiber, it's safer and healthier. For the water area, use small smooth stones (not too small to be ingested). You may want to separate the water area from the coca fiber by using a divider. Here's a page with some examples:
    Caudata Culture Articles - Setups With Dividers
    My Amphibians:
    1.0.0 Rana Catesbiana (Bumpy Digtoad )
    1.0.0 Pseudacris Regilla (Levi )
    1.1.0 Ambystoma Macrodactylum (Urtham and Gargan )
    2.2.0 Bombina Orientalis ( Rosa, Sasha, Aleksis, and Dimitri )

    Rest in Peace, Gnag the Nameless, Chrome, and Thermidor

  4. #3

    Default Re: Substrate question

    What is impaction? Ive been doing a lot of research and this is the first i've heard of it.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Substrate question

    I have heard about mixing species, but also talked to many people who have had success with them as well. As I said so far we havent had any issues. Even with the filter I drain the water once a week to week and a half.
    I did see a picture of a bearded dragon with prolapse. Not good. Okay pulling out the moss now and replacing with coco fiber. Just another reason to go to the pet store!!! Thanks so much!!

  6. #5

    Default Re: Substrate question

    Oh and the divider between the land and water is about 1/8-1/4" higher then the land. There is a branch that is submerged so they can climb on land and then a rock close to the divider for the same reason. So far I havent had much more then leaves that fell off the plants in the water.

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