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How Do I Set up a Frog Terrarium?

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  • Written By: April S. Kenyon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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The purpose of a frog terrarium is to mimic the frog’s natural habitat within an enclosed space. To set up your terrarium, you will need to provide an enclosure filled with gravel or soil, called substrate, which varies according to the species of frog you own. Frogs thrive in warm, moist environments, so a heat source and humidity control are also essential. These, along with appropriate decor, are only the general items needed to complete a frog terrarium. Every species of frog will have different care needs and adjustments should be made accordingly.

An enclosure should be chosen based on the needs of the individual species and the number of animals being housed together. Terrestrial, aquatic, or semi-aquatic frogs do well in glass or acrylic tanks. Arboreal species will need an enclosure that is taller than it is long to give them room to climb. The terrarium should have a secure screen lid to provide ventilation and prevent the animals from escaping.

All frog terrariums require substrate to cover the floor of the enclosure. Substrate provides an anchor for plants and makes waste disposal more efficient. Gravel or sand is suitable for most habitats. If live plants are desired in the terrarium, potting soil can be used as substrate for terrestrial or semi-aquatic setups, and some frogs enjoy mossy environments as well. The soil should be a natural blend containing no added fertilizer or pesticides.

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Many species will require an external heat source. An under tank heater can be placed underneath the tank or on one side for consistent and even heat. Another option is to position a heat lamp above the frog terrarium. A ceramic heat emitter should be used instead of a bulb so the frogs are not stressed by bright light. A thermostat controlled glass tube heater or submersible heater should be used for species that require heated water.

Humidity control is vital for most species of frogs, especially those that are tropical in origin. Place a humidity gauge in the middle of the back wall of the frog terrarium. Some owners elect to install an automatic fogging system to maintain the humidity. Having a running water feature as part of a semi-aquatic habitat will also increase humidity levels.

Decor such as rocks, logs, live plants and branches will give the frog terrarium a natural look. They also serve a practical purpose by providing areas of shelter for the animals. This will help decrease stress, especially if the terrarium houses several individuals. It is important to only choose plants that are non-toxic to frogs and can be maintained in an enclosed space. Avoid decor with rough or pointed edges.

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