So you’ve set up a vivarium, introduced dart frogs, and basked in your glorious accomplishment. Now what? What do you need to do to keep your vivarium running smoothly and looking pretty?
Below, you’ll find a checklist of what you need to keep up on to ensure your vivarium is around for a long time to come. Please note – this doesn’t include tasks needed to keep your dart frogs healthy, such as feeding.
Depending on the amount of ventilation your vivarium has, you may need to mist 1-2 times a day or as little as 1-2 times a week. Pay attention to your humidity levels, and make sure you mist whenever humidity threatens to fall below 75%.
Make sure to heavily mist at least once a week to push frog waste down to the substrate where it can be consumed by springtails. Don’t forget to water epiphytes and out of the way plants.
Draining the False Bottom
Never let the water level in your false bottom exceed the level of the drainage layer and flood the ABG layer. This will cause your soil to spoil, and facilitate a need to change out the substrate.
Drain water out of your false bottom whenever the water level is within an inch of the top of the false bottom layer.
As plants grow they may need to be clipped back to make sure they don’t take over the vivarium. Some plants, such as wandering jew, will grow quickly and need more frequent trimmings. Make sure to use clean, sharp scissors when trimming your plants.
Check on your plants monthly, and expect to do a pretty heavy trimming every 6 months or so.
Maintaining Microfauna Levels
Frogs will love to eat any springtails or isopods present, lowering the microfauna population. Make sure to keep a healthy amount of these tank janitors present in your bioactive vivarium. Josh’s Frogs Clean Up Crew Cuisine, offered on a regular basis, can help keep your numbers up. Adding springtails once a month can help, too.
You should be able to dig into the soil or flip some leaf litter and see microfauna in your vivarium.
You’ll want to use one of our Terrarium Cleaning Sponges to wipe your glass on a regular basis. Frog poop, algae, and other material will pile up on the glass over time, making it difficult to observe your frogs.
Keep in mind that cleaning the glass may startle your frogs and make them hide for a day or two.
Adding New Leaf Litter
As leaf litter decays you’ll want to add more. Leaf litter typically lasts 4-6 months. When leaves become soft and start to break down, simply toss some more leaf litter on top.
It’s perfectly normal and healthy to see various fungi in your vivarium, especially within the first 6 months of setup. After this, you’ll see mushrooms and such pop up from time to time. Adding a bit of Josh’s Frogs Bioactive Booster can help give your vivarium cycle a jumpstart, and ensure healthy fungi are present in your vivarium.
So there you have it! Keeping your vivarium maintained and healthy is the first step towards keeping your frogs healthy, as well. We recommend making a maintenance schedule for your vivarium and sticking to it. By making sure your vivarium husbandry is kept up on, your vivarium (and your frogs!) should be around for a long time to come.