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Thread: How do i create a natural enclosure?

  1. #1
    Callmeumaster
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    Default How do i create a natural enclosure?

    I have a 55 gallon tank that im planning on converting into a large naturalistic frog enclosure with live plants and the works. Im hoping to pick up some red eye tree frogs at the repticon atlanta show in july for the enclosure. Ive kept a few frogs in the past so i have a little bit of knowledge but my main question is how should i go about making this enclosure. I mean the whole 9 yards, substrate, what live plants, how i should have the water in the cage etc. Sorry if im being a little vague. Any pics or words of advice would be beyond appreciated. Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Leefrogs
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Welcome fist off!! There's a great thread, most informative thread contest, there's more than a dozen builds in there, all dif styles. Some water falls in there too. But red eyes only need a water bowl, unless you hope to breed.
    A word on plants, always buy ones with the full name on it, research to make sure they're not toxic in anyway. Double/ triplle check if you're going to buy ficus, or shefferella. There's many kids and very few are non toxic. Besides all that you can use almost anything from Walmart or from your local florist. Floists have starts they use for baskets that sell at 2/3$ a piece. Perfect size for a viv.

    The search engine here is great. You can look into false bottoms for a water feature
    And drainage layer for just a planted bottom. Good luck!!

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  5. #3
    100+ Post Member MikeM670's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callmeumaster View Post
    I have a 55 gallon tank that im planning on converting into a large naturalistic frog enclosure with live plants and the works. Im hoping to pick up some red eye tree frogs at the repticon atlanta show in july for the enclosure. Ive kept a few frogs in the past so i have a little bit of knowledge but my main question is how should i go about making this enclosure. I mean the whole 9 yards, substrate, what live plants, how i should have the water in the cage etc. Sorry if im being a little vague. Any pics or words of advice would be beyond appreciated. Thanks!
    Your looking at the Red Eye Tree Frog so you really need a vertical enclose for them. How are you planning on using the tank? Horizontal or vertical. Either way the build really follows the same concepts as far as the structure. Plants and water needs vary with the species you want to house. I built a 55 Gallon for Darts so the tank is oriented in the horizontal position. You can see my build article here on the forum. Here is a link to it.

    http://www.frogforum.net/vivarium-te...ium-build.html

    You can find many fine examples of building vivariums right here in the forums. Just do some research and get some ideas. Then the members here can help you with specific questions. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as needed.
    1.2.0 Dendrobates tinctorius 'Azureus'
    1.1.0 Dendrobates Lamasi 'Orange'
    1.1.0 Dendrobates Ventrimaculatus 'Understory Line'
    0.3.0 Dendrobates leucomelas

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

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  7. #4
    Callmeumaster
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Thanks for the info so far! I didnt relize how much work there is in building these crazy naturalistic enclosures! Well now i feel kinda dumb :P
    For starters the 55 gallon used to be a old salt water fish tank so i cleaned it out good and decided i wanted to make a nice frog enclosure. I geuss i need to make a vertical enclosure, i didnt know where where so many options and ways of going about this. I assumed id figure out a good bedding, how to setup the water and pick some nice plants to go inside but i now see there is ALOT more to it than just that. I havent kept frogs in a while and im more of a snake guy ( Burms and Womas ) so this is pretty new to me at the moment but im doing some research and look forward to keeping some red eye tree frogs! I got 3 1/2 months till the show to get this enclosure setup and to be honest i dont even really know where to start.. even after looking at all the beautifull enclosures in the forum! I thought it would be fairly simple but looks like its going to be a adventure
    And a side question, could i use a blacklight at night for the enclosure or would that irritate the frogs? Thanks for being so supportive and understanding everyone!

  8. #5
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Its really not bad and actually fun to build if you have the right materials up front and a good plan in place for the build. Drainage, screen, substrate, and a planned background are the main building blocks. Where to put the plants and which plants should be somewhat decided before hand also.

    Tree frogs need good ventilation so top ventilated with a small strip of vent at the lower front creates good air flow. Your going to find that Agalychnis callidryas are not going to spend much time on the substrate and most of the time up in the leaves and vines.

    Provide higher and lower plants so they can move leaf to leaf to travel the viv. I use a small water dish since I only catch them on the bowls edge and never actually in the water. I'm sure they take a dip but not when I ever see them.

    Also, the lighting you decide on will be for the plants since these guys don't need specific lighting and are night dwellers whom sleep all day.

    Don
    1.0.0 Red Eyed Leaf/ Frog - Agalychnis callidryas
    1.1.1 Bumblebee Dart Frog - Dendrobates leucomelas
    1.1.0 Dendrobates truncatus - Yellow Striped
    1.1.1 Dendrobates tinctorius Bakhuis Mountain
    1.1.0 - Dendrobates tinctorius - Powder Blue
    1.1.0 - Ranitomeya vanzolinii

  9. #6
    Callmeumaster
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Unfortunately i lack most of those building blocks.. But hey thats why im here to figure out what i need to do etc. My funds are also rather limited.. Thanks for the advice Don, and as for lighting im going to have lighting that benefits the plants but i mean i want to also have a blacklight that i can turn on during the night so i can enjoy the frogs more IF it wouldnt disturb them..

  10. #7
    Leefrogs
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Youre better off with blue led lights, you can see so much more. If you want the blacklight, use only the frog kind, the other kind irritates them, maybe hurts their eyes? The frog one is super dark, lucky if you see a shadow. I keep mine going for a needed heat source at night.

    I know your delema, I've done only a cheesy builds, no foam or backgrounds. I'm going to challange myself this summer and do one. My babies are growing and need an up grade.

    Don, Grrrit, Mike, and Eric all did great builds, nice step by step process. Making an entry to your pumps is the biggest challenge, making it frog and cricet proof a whole nother thing. I have simple builds with natural plants. I'd olny do the foam for a water feature, but all my vivs are simple and very overplanted.

    55 gallon tanks are usually real narrow, so I don't know if I would crowd it with a background, others would say it would be ideal. Personal prefrance, I guess. And it depends on vivs location, if it's a central feature to be viewed all around, you may not want a background.

    Your conversion kit on line is going to cost 40-60 dollars. I built my own kit for 12$. Most of that was Laybor for the screen guy to build that little frame. I'd guess a 55 gal home kit would cost 20$? Foaming your background, silicone, substrate, plants, soil could run another 40$, and pump and filters are kinda cheap at 30$? You can check my thread-- being green and saving money-- might help.

  11. #8
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callmeumaster View Post
    And a side question, could i use a blacklight at night for the enclosure or would that irritate the frogs? Thanks for being so supportive and understanding everyone!

    Depends on the frogs. Mine only come out when its dark but my computer screen doesn't seem to bother them from 6 inches away. Go figure. I add a blacklight and they are gone.

    Many of use are like you and only into frogs just recently, others, forever.
    But you do bring with you some care background so you'll catch right on, get the bug, and have a house full of frogs :-)
    1.0.0 Red Eyed Leaf/ Frog - Agalychnis callidryas
    1.1.1 Bumblebee Dart Frog - Dendrobates leucomelas
    1.1.0 Dendrobates truncatus - Yellow Striped
    1.1.1 Dendrobates tinctorius Bakhuis Mountain
    1.1.0 - Dendrobates tinctorius - Powder Blue
    1.1.0 - Ranitomeya vanzolinii

  12. #9
    Callmeumaster
    Guest

    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Yeah it is rather narrow so i dont think ill be doing a background. Im geussing im going to try and get a good substrate and put lots of plants in. Hmm where would i get one and how much do blue led lights usually run for? Whats the best way to go about planting the plants inside the enclosure?.. I just joined but i can already say that i like this forum. Informative, quick reply, and friendly!
    What would be the best "top" for the tank? Since they need ventilation im geussing one of those screen tops would work well? I read that the rule of thumb is 10gallons per frog so im geussing i could house 5 or 6 red eyes in the 55 gallon? I plan on doing lots of research on what plants i want but does anyone have any favourites/recommendations?

  13. #10
    Leefrogs
    Guest

    Default Re: How do i create a natural enclosure?

    Ya, a screen with plexi or glass over the top like Don said.
    I would build a hill with a drainage layer, you can buy hydro balls, or like me, use styrophome packing peanuts. Make the hill, glue screen over layer, you'll need to suck up excess water with a turkey baister. 2 inches of coconut fiber, then plantation soil(or bed-a-beast) don't buy dirt from a regular store, fertilizers in all of it, it will kill them. Don't trust it even if it's organic, and moss over that. You can buy leaf litter or live moss on line.
    Plants, rinse leaves well, soak roots overnight, remove most(90%) of the dirt. Leaf shines, and fertilizers are toxic.
    Plant favorites---
    Phothos vine, corn plant, prayer plants, snake plant, drecanea, peace lily, bamboo, bromeliad, and orchid. Sweatpeas and African violet if you want an easy growing flower. Broms and orchid are harder to keep growing.
    You can use natural wood, that'll save you allot$
    Led lights are pricey, and only found on the net. But you can really see...

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