Supplies Needed For Keeping Dart Frogs

I am often asked to provide a list of items needed to get set up for keeping dart frogs. The first of the following two lists pretty much sums up what I think you should have on hand when you get your first frogs. The next list is of materials needed to setup your first terrarium. I suggest going for a modest setup the first time around, you will learn a lot, and can apply this knowledge to your next tank.

This list, along with the knowledge of your frogs basic requirements, is all you need to get started, if you are purchasing juvenile frogs. Your terrarium can be setup over the next couple of months, while your juvenile dart frogs put on some size.

*A Sterilite Sweater box or two, depending on how many frogs you will have. (Figure on putting no more than two frogs in each box)

*Substrate for these containers, such as “hardwood bark mulch”, gravel, or paper towels. *Dead leaves or Pothos type cuttings for hide areas- Pieces of bark or any other hide spots can be used, just make sure there is only an inch or two clearance between the bottom of the wood and the substrate, so the frog feels secure.

*Fruit Fly culturing kit or other food source.

*Rep Cal and Herptivite, or good quality supplements -Click here for information on Calcium deficiency, a very common, and entirely avoidable, ailment in dart frogs (Kevin please put link in to this caresheet)

Basic tank setup materials for your first small tank

*Ten to twenty gallon aquarium

*Glass lid cut to fit inside rim of tank. Top can be either two pieces, one fixed and one smaller piece for the door…or you can just have one piece. You can silicone a wooden drawer pull to the glass to make opening it easier, or use some packing tape to form a tab.

*Twenty pounds or so of aquarium gravel. I prefer something natural looking, such as red flint, which is available in the midwest. Go for a size a little larger than a bb.

*Plants….One of our terrarium plant assortments should get a ten or twenty gallon of to a good start. You can get more expensive specialty plants for your next terrarium, when you have a little more experience with the plants and the tank.

*Terrarium decorations, such as moss, wood, river rocks etc. An assortment of such material is available in our terrarium store.

* A digital thermometer with a remote probe is a good idea, we offer one for about $12

*Some kind of background. Smaller tanks such as ten gallons, which are going to be in areas with high traffic would probably benefit if the back ground extended out onto the sides. This is particularly true when you first set the tank up, as the plants will be smaller and less developed. The back ground can go inside the tank, like the tree fern panel or cork bark that we offer, or it can go on the outside and be made of paper. Many fish and reptile stores offer attractive rainforest scenes on paper backgrounds.

Lighting…for your first lights, I suggest you use the inexpensive under cabinet lights that are sold at large hardware stores. These slim fluorescent lamps are under ten dollars each, and one to three should do the job, depending on tank size. While you are at the hardware store, I suggest the following…..

A grounded timer, and a power strip if you plan to plug in more than one device for your tank, such as pumps or fans. A hand sprayer can also be picked up at the hardware store, and don't forget to pick up some vinyl tubing to fit the pump for your water feature, if you are going this route.

If you wish to set the tank up with the water feature, as described in my tank setup page, then the pump I have used for this with good success is called a mini-jet. See a pet store that deals with fish for this or another good submersible pump. These are usually about fifteen dollars. Avoid units with filters, as you will most likely locate the pump in a location that will make cleaning the filter difficult. The gravel substrate will act as a filter, and over time will develop a nice biological filtering capability.