How to Setup a Dart Frog Vivarium

Written by nicole galipeau
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How to Setup a Dart Frog Vivarium
Dart frogs are colourful little creatures that live in the rainforest. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Dart frogs are a tropical species of exotic pet known for their bold, vibrant colours and fun personalities. They are relatively easy to care for in captivity, but do require a carefully established vivarium to help meet their physical and psychological needs. Housing should keep your dart frogs safe and secure while attempting to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 30 gallon (or larger) aquarium
  • Natural cork bark
  • Clay pellets
  • Coco fibre
  • Frog or Java moss
  • Plants and other decor
  • Spray bottle
  • Full spectrum light
  • Aquarium timer

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  1. 1

    Cut pieces of natural cork tile to fit the back of the tank (leave about six inches bare along the bottom to allow room for the substrate later on). Arrange the cork and use the aquarium silicone to attach the pieces to the glass. Let the tank rest on its back for 48 hours to dry before continuing.

  2. 2

    Set the tank upright and fill with about 2 inches of clay plant pellets followed by another 4 inches of reptile-safe coco fibre.

  3. 3

    Add additional coco fibre to create slight hills and terrain changes for interest in your vivarium.

  4. 4

    Soak the frog moss or Java moss in water for 20-30 minutes while you work on the next steps.

  5. 5

    Arrange your plants in the tank while they are still potted. Good plants for dart frog vivariums include bromeliads, ferns, and orchids. Once you have figured out where you would like your plants, dig a hole slightly larger than the plant's pot in the substrate, wiggle the plants into the hole, and backfill with coco fibre.

  6. 6

    Remove the moss from the water and place pieces around the bases of plants and along the back wall of the vivarium. The moss will grow and fill in the spaces over time to create a lush green carpet in your tank.

  7. 7

    Water each of the plants, and thoroughly mist the leaves and mosses to ensure that the whole set-up is lightly dampened.

  8. 8

    Add additional water to create a one-inch reservoir in the bottom of the tank. The clay pellets will act to draw the water up into the soil to keep the vivarium humid and moist.

  9. 9

    Add additional decor and hiding places for your dart frogs, such as halved coconut shells, pieces of cork bark, branches, and rocks. Make sure any decor is clean and sanitary before adding it to the tank.

    How to Setup a Dart Frog Vivarium
    Small bromiliads make for a visually appealing display in your vivarium. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)
  10. 10

    Set a full spectrum fluorescent plant light over the tank with an aquarium timer to keep it on a 12 hour cycle.

  11. 11

    Mist the tank daily to maintain humidity, and water the plants as needed.

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