Archive for May 2014

End of May Update

Just waiting for the Tinc tank to fill up with moss, and wishing the Veradero tank didn’t grow so fast! The Azureus are fattening up nicely. They were a little on the thin side when I got them, but they have a big appetite and are putting on weight.

Azureus-Brom-May-31-2014

The moss is starting to take off, but it seems pretty slow anyhow. I’m probably going to re-landscape a bit and move some of the fern moss to a different tank, and give some of the tropical moss (in the picture below) more room to fill in on the floor. I love the fern moss, but it seems a bit difficult for the frogs to maneuver over.

Azureus-May-31-2014

This vine has quickly become one of my favorite plants! As much as I like the rainbow Selaganella, that corner needed a little more depth, and this vine is perfect. I believe it is Cissus amazonica.

bluevine-May-31-2014

Here’s a full shot of the Tinc tank. I temporarily have the young frogs growing up together in here, until I get a new tank built for the Matecho pair. Several new plants have been added, including a small philodendron (dead center) and Ficus sp. “Panama” (just left of the waterfall) from glassboxtropicals.com. Some tiny begonias have started to sprout from leaf cuttings tucked around the edges, so the next shot may have a bit more foliage. The jars in front contain a bunch of plant cuttings that are rooting or waiting for the next tank.

TincTank-May-31-2014

The Varedaro are happy in their tank, and fattening up as well. Judging on body type, it looks like I may have 2 males and 3 females. So far, I can only confirm one male, but I’m keeping an eye out to try to confirm a second. I plan on splitting the group up soon to help determine the genders, and give the pairs space for when they start breeding.

veradero-A-May-31-2014 veradero-B-May-31-2014

New Tinctorius

I got new frogs last weekend at the reptile show in Renton Washington. I decided to go for something pretty simple and got a few new Tinctorius. I bought two Azureus and one Matecho, but only because they only had one! I probably would have bought several if they’d been available.

The Azureus are settling into the 40 gallon tank nicely. These guys climb a lot, so they’re exploring every inch of this tank. I may have to secure some things a little better to prevent the frogs from dislodging the plants, but so far so good.

tinctorius azureus

Action shot! You can even see the springtails in his mouth!

I decided to put the new Tinctorius in the 40 gallon tank because the water feature is a bit too deep for the Varadero. There are too many ways for such tiny frogs to get in trouble. The new Tinctorius are big enough to manage the water without issue, and too big to squeeze into some of the tiny holes that concerned me with the Varadero.

tinctorius azureus

I’ve seen a lot of belly shots, but what I really liked about this shot is the toes. You can kinda see through the little knuckles where the bones are a bit translucent. It’s amazing how tiny their ‘fingers’ are. Plus, those colors. I know Azureus are pretty common, but there’s a good reason they remain so popular. Just look at that blue!

tinctorius azureus

I have yet to get a shot of the Matecho that does it justice. The lights are causing some overexposure and blowing out the faint orange around the eyes. Beautiful frog. I need to get out my good camera! This little guy is living in a temporary home until I get something larger build for him. Obviously, he’s not even half of his full size yet, so I have a little time to work on that. And the good news is, I get to build another tank!

tinctorius matecho

Another attempt at a photo… The point and shoot really can’t handle his colors.

tinctorius matecho

And just for fun, a bad shot of the Varaderos as well. Water on glass makes photography difficult.

Ranitomeya imitator Varadero

How Long Does it Take a Dart Frog Tank to Get Overgrown?

About 30 seconds.

Tradescantia fluminensis wandering jew dart frog tank

Ok, a couple weeks longer than that. This tank was put together 7 weeks ago, and now the tallest terrarium plants have hit the top and are growing sideways. I’m going to trim them in the next day or two and root the trimmings for another tank. This is a pretty good example of how choosing the right terrarium plants for your tank can affect the upkeep necessary.

A lot of these plants are considered common or beginners’ plants, so I’m going to address this post to newer amphibian keepers. Although I’m keeping dart frogs, these plants are suitable for many other amphibians and some reptiles as well.

If you want your tank to fill in quickly, several of the plants I put in this tank may be the right choice for you. These plants will also do well with tree frogs and ground frogs. I’ve kept several of these terrarium plants with Tomato Frogs, Big Eyed Treefrogs (a couple different Leptopelis species), Fire Bellied Toads, and a variety of others, even including Whites Tree Frogs. Whites will crush these plants, so they’re best used as a filler around branches or heavier plants, but they will recover quickly, so they can do well with the larger frogs.

The predominant plant in this tank is Tradescantia fluminensis, commonly referred to as “Wandering Jew”. It’s a very common plant for dart frog keepers, frequently found as a house plant, and considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, including the Southeastern US. As you can see from my tank, if it likes the conditions, it explodes.

Also in this tank are two small ferns (one is visible on the right side of the photo if you look closely), an unidentified Columbian Peperomia, an unidentified small Philodendron, Selaginella kraussiana, Pellionia repens, and Ficus pumila. All of these are great terrarium plants.

Here are some pictures of a few of the plants before they were put in the tank.

philodendron dart frog tank

I always thought this philodendron would get larger as it aged, but so far this is about as big as the leaves get, making it pretty suitable for terrariums. If you have a larger tank, other more common Philodendrons will work too. I have kept some larger Philodendron species in a 55 gallon tank with Whites Tree Frogs, and it worked out pretty well.

small ferns dart frog tank

I imagine these ferns will eventually outgrow the tank, but they grow quite a bit slower than any of the other plants in there. These were purchased at a nursery and carefully treated to remove any chemicals over a few weeks time. Plant nurseries often carry terrarium plants and may have a section dedicated to them, like the one near me has. Keep in mind that these plants may have been treated with chemicals, such as bug spray or fertilizers. Wash them carefully before exposing your frogs to them.

pellionia repens terrarium plant

Pellionia repens is often called “Watermelon plant” or “Watermelon vine”, which is pretty ambiguous. Google “watermelon vine terrarium” and you’ll get a dozen different species on the first half of the first page. This is a good example of why I prefer scientific names (when I can remember them!).

Pellionia repens will take over a tank as well, just not quite as fast as Tradescantia fluminensis (Wandering Jew). This cutting was given to me by a fellow dart frog keeper. You can find vendors who will sell and ship it to you with a quick google search. A similar species, Pellionia daveauana, has been available at Home Depot in my area recently. It will also work, but be aware that it may be treated with chemicals and wash it before use.

peperomia sp columbia pellionia repens terrarium

This Peperomia was collected in Columbia and given to me at a reptile show. It has large leaves, but remains pretty leggy, so even when it takes over (which it will try to do as well), it doesn’t choke the tank up quite as bas as Tradescantia fluminensis. 

Many Peperomia are commonly available. While you may not be able to find this specific type, there are hundreds of Peperomia species, and many are suitable terrarium plants.