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talk to the frog / Setup / Advice on green frog/leopard frog enlosure
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jpownall
Member
3 posts
3 posts

# Posted: 17 Jun 2013 18:52


Hello everyone--

I am an environmental educator in Newark, NJ. The organization I work for serves those students in the surrounding urban areas (Newark, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, etc). I am researching the best way to create a setup for a few native frogs for a new program we are developing. I would like to make it look as naturalistic as possible, but still have the students be able to view the frogs easily during the program. (And don't worry--the students will NOT be handling the animals!) I have a background in animal husbandry but have never created an enclosure myself, so I'm looking for some advice! I have quite a few questions, so please bear with me. I started some research a few months ago & may have posted then, but due to some staff changes the project got put on hold. I finally got the go-ahead to start researching & planning again, and am hoping to make this my major summer project.

We were originally hoping to have three green frogs (Rana Clamitans) in one enclosure. I’ve been having trouble finding captive green frogs, however, and was thinking of instead substituting leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala) instead. From what I’ve read so far, the setup & care is the same. We want to use a native species, because we try to focus our programs on species that the students come in contact with on a regular basis (no red eyed tree frogs in Newark!). We have bullfrogs in our small on-site pond, but since these tend to be messy and require a lot more room, greens or leopards seems to be our best bet for the tank. If anyone had any other suggestions, though, please let me know! Does anyone know where I can purchase captive bred green frogs? If I can’t find greens, I may end up getting leopards from Carolina Biological, unless someone has a better suggestion.

I was told a 40-gallon breeder tank set up as half land/half water would be a good place to start, and should provide enough room for three frogs. I was going to get a piece of plexi-glass to make a divider in the middle with aquarium sealant. Comments/suggestions?

Should it be a 50/50 ratio or should one of the sides be larger? What is the best substrate to use for the land side? What types of plants do you recommend? We have a lot of native plants on site & in our greenhouse that I would be able to use if they would be ok for the frogs. Do you think it would be ok to pull some lily pads directly out of our on-site pond?

How deep should the water be? Should I use gravel on the bottom of the water side, and to make a slope from one side to the other? I’m a little worried about doing that because I keep reading that it can get impacted if they eat it. Any recommendations on what type of gravel to get?


Is there an aquarium heater anyone recommends? Also, what temperature should I try to keep the water at?

I'm thinking that it would probably be easier to breed crickets for them to eat, rather than have to buy them every few days. Any advice on this? Also, any "accessories" I might not be thinking of (thermometer, humidity gauge, etc)?

Will they need a specific type of light or is just standard hood with the florescent bulb ok to use? Would it be better to get a screen lid than a glass lid? Also, should I get one long light or a several “spotlights”? Remember, we are actually displaying these to the public.

I know this is a lot of questions, but I am trying to make this as attractive as possible for the students without stressing out the frogs. Like I said, it’s also my first time creating a tank from scratch, and I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. I am quite excited for this project, though! I welcome and appreciate ANY advice anyone can give me. Thanks for reading this far!!

--Jess

Sandy_Bear
Member
1842 posts
1842 posts

# Posted: 17 Jun 2013 23:02


I was going to get a piece of plexi-glass to make a divider in the middle with aquarium sealant.
Don't use Plexiglass, go to a glass cutters and get glass cut and have the edges filed down so the frogs don't get cut on it. Plexiglas won't adhere to the sealant properly and will eventually let go.
Make sure any silicone you use actually says on the bottle "aquarium safe". Despite what the internet says, GE Silicone II is not aquarium safe. I lost my collection of Leopard Frogs to this last year. Let it cure for a really really long time, longer than what the bottle says.

Should it be a 50/50 ratio or should one of the sides be larger?
50/50 is fine, you can also do 30/70

What is the best substrate to use for the land side?
Cocofiber and Leaf Litter

What types of plants do you recommend?
Small ones, as a 40 breeder isn't that big. Duck weed, water lettuce, water hyacinth, Chamelon Plant, Pothos, slavina, etc...

Do you think it would be ok to pull some lily pads directly out of our on-site pond?
These plants are actually quite huge, if you cut them, they will just end up rotting in the tank. I'd go with Water Lettuce instead, looks similar but is more manageable.

How deep should the water be?
4-8" should be fine

Any recommendations on what type of gravel to get?
I prefer a bare bottom tank myself, it's much easier to keep clean. If you go with aquatic substrate, get small pebbles (a little bigger than sand). Larger substrate will hold more gunk and bacteria which will make the frogs sick if it's not properly cleaned often. Check out the Geo Systems line by Hagen.

Is there an aquarium heater anyone recommends? Also, what temperature should I try to keep the water at?
Room temperature should be fine for Leopard Frogs or green frogs, I wouldn't bother with getting one.

I'm thinking that it would probably be easier to breed crickets for them to eat, rather than have to buy them every few days. Any advice on this?
Crickets are a pain in the butt to breed. They will take up a lot of space and time if you decide that you want to do this. I recommend getting feeder roaches instead if they are available in your area, Dubia are a great beginner species of roach.
You could also breed vermicomposting worms, like Red Wrigglers, European NIghtcrawlers, or African Nightcrawlers instead.

Will they need a specific type of light or is just standard hood with the florescent bulb ok to use?
No specific lighting needed

Would it be better to get a screen lid than a glass lid?
Screen

Also, should I get one long light or a several “spotlights”?
One long light, T5's do a nice job. No spotlights, no basking lights

Charlie
Moderator
5432 posts
5432 posts

# Posted: 18 Jun 2013 00:38


I agree with the gravel thing, its a hassle to pull the rocks and wash them several times a month. Aesthetically, I like them though.

You could also get slate-like pieces to line the bottom which are a little easier to wash, or some sort of sloping decoration rocks that they can hide behind, and climb onto as another alternative.


We can never go back to the way it was...
Charlie
Moderator
5432 posts
5432 posts

# Posted: 18 Jun 2013 00:42


If you dig through some of the previous posts, there are several design options, and photos of tanks that members have built over the last 10 years or so.

There's a lot you can learn, and ideas to use, by looking at some of our previous projects.

Leo's are swimmers, I'd favor water-space over land-space myself. 70/30 is great. With strategic silicone, and branches, you can make your land section extend over the water to give more dry surface, while still maintaining a large water section.


We can never go back to the way it was...
Charlie
Moderator
5432 posts
5432 posts

# Posted: 18 Jun 2013 01:51


You could also add small land sections in the opposite corners by adhering barriers in the corners either with square edged pieces placed vertically to make triangle islands.

Alternatively, and my preferred method is to cut pieces in the shape right triangles, then lay the pieces in angled to form a 1/4 pyramid in the far corners of the tank. Mark the piece(s) at the level you want the slope to plateau at then remove and cut to shape a trapezoid, then replace and seal the edges that contact the glass. This will leave you a pyramid in the corner with the top cut off.

You can fill that triangle section with dirt or rock, and use it to plant plants that will break up the edges of the tank, and overhang the water. Even you choose not to put plants there, it gives your frog somewhere to escape the water on the far side of the tank.

I can mock up a cardboard demo of what I typed above if needed and photograph it. My directions make sense to me, but then again, I have the picture in my head already. ;)


We can never go back to the way it was...
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