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Jun 10, 2021 10:45 PM CST

I've been working on building a bioactive vivarium for housing dart frogs. All that means is it's a terrarium with springtails, isopods, and one day, dart frogs! I was very excited to start and bought several plants for it without doing a lot of research about how well any of them would get along with the environment. A philo moonlight and a (regular?) fern died. I left them there as food for the springtails.

But the pothos which I split up, a raindrop peperomia, and a bird's nest fern survived. The peperomia dropped one of its four leaves but since then has grown a tiny little new one and seems happy. It's been about two months since I replanted them so I'm cautiously optimistic!

The soil is ABG mix on top of a substrate barrier and a LECA layer. Above the soil is an admittedly sporadic layer of leaf litter. The temp stays between 69-74 and the humidity varies a bit but doesn't drop below 80 or go over 90 if I can help it.

My question is, does anyone have suggestions for plants that will like the conditions that these plants like or you think would look nice together? And if anyone has general advice for making sure these plants don't suddenly drop dead like all my other ones seem to I would greatly appreciate it!
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Jun 11, 2021 5:56 AM CST
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 38 years
Aroids Region: Florida Tropicals
My tanks are identical in substrate to yours. My temp is probably about 72-75. This is a list of some things I have in mine.
Syngonium rayi
Racinaea crispa, undulata
Oil fern
Bulbophyllum orchids
Marcgravias
Piper clypeatum
episcias
Dracula orchid
Chiritas
Neoregelia bromeliads
Philodendron burle marx 'Fantasy'
unusual begonias that need high humidity, like pteridiformis and Rajah
Labisia
Scindapsus
Cissus amazonicus
Dischidias
Jewel Orchids
I also have some high humidity requiring cool growing high elevation anthuriums like A. lutheri, A. cutucuensis, and Philodendron furcatum
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Jun 13, 2021 3:49 PM CST

Gina1960 said:My tanks are identical in substrate to yours. My temp is probably about 72-75. This is a list of some things I have in mine.
Syngonium rayi
Racinaea crispa, undulata
Oil fern
Bulbophyllum orchids
Marcgravias
Piper clypeatum
episcias
Dracula orchid
Chiritas
Neoregelia bromeliads
Philodendron burle marx 'Fantasy'
unusual begonias that need high humidity, like pteridiformis and Rajah
Labisia
Scindapsus
Cissus amazonicus
Dischidias
Jewel Orchids
I also have some high humidity requiring cool growing high elevation anthuriums like A. lutheri, A. cutucuensis, and Philodendron furcatum


Thank you! That's very helpful Smiling
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Jun 14, 2021 8:04 AM CST
Name: TK
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6b)
Region: Ukraine Cactus and Succulents Sempervivums Adeniums Bromeliad Tropicals
Aroids Hibiscus Sedums Container Gardener
I've had great success with different varieties of pothos and tillandsias in my gecko terrariums. I've grown some different ferns as well, including a staghorn fern I have growing in my gargoyle gecko terrarium. It's seemed quite happy.

I've had a few peperomias and scheffleras do well in them too. The scheffleras will require some height though. These were growing in terrariums with lower humidity than yours though, so may not be the best option.

Bromeliads are great for frogs too. They have tough leaves that can support the weight of small animals resting on them, and frogs like resting in the central vase where water collects (in the wild, they'll use them to rear tadpoles).

Some other good options for dart frog setups are:
- Syngoniums
- Spathiphyllum
- Some philodendrons if you have a larger setup
- Orchids
- For Bromeliads, Neoregelia in particular are a good option for terrariums.
- Anthuriums
- Most ferns (ex. Rabbit's foot, bird's nest...)
- Selaginella
- A variety of moss species. They tend to do well in high humidity setups. I've found them a little tricky to maintain though.
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Last edited by Macrocentra Jun 14, 2021 8:07 AM Icon for preview
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Jun 14, 2021 2:56 PM CST

Macrocentra said:I've had great success with different varieties of pothos and tillandsias in my gecko terrariums. I've grown some different ferns as well, including a staghorn fern I have growing in my gargoyle gecko terrarium. It's seemed quite happy.

I've had a few peperomias and scheffleras do well in them too. The scheffleras will require some height though. These were growing in terrariums with lower humidity than yours though, so may not be the best option.

Bromeliads are great for frogs too. They have tough leaves that can support the weight of small animals resting on them, and frogs like resting in the central vase where water collects (in the wild, they'll use them to rear tadpoles).

Some other good options for dart frog setups are:
- Syngoniums
- Spathiphyllum
- Some philodendrons if you have a larger setup
- Orchids
- For Bromeliads, Neoregelia in particular are a good option for terrariums.
- Anthuriums
- Most ferns (ex. Rabbit's foot, bird's nest...)
- Selaginella
- A variety of moss species. They tend to do well in high humidity setups. I've found them a little tricky to maintain though.


Thanks for the suggestions! Orchids and bromeliads seem to be very popular with dart frog keepers but orchids are a bit intimidating for someone totally new to plants like I am. And I never got the bromeliad hype! (probably because I just don't like red plants lol) But I might end up settling on them because I know they're good for humidity and it will be nice to have plants the frogs won't demolish.

I generally prefer leafy over flowering so syngoniums are right up my alley. My dream vivarium would have a climbing plant to run up the background. Maybe a shingle plant, but I haven't had much luck on dart frog forums about keeping them in vivariums.
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Jun 14, 2021 3:51 PM CST
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 38 years
Aroids Region: Florida Tropicals
Frogs like bromeliads. I am not sure about DART frogs specifically, but I have tree frogs here that use the cups of my bromeliads out in my yard as nurseries. They lay eggs in the cup and the tadpoles hatch out and eat the mosquitoes that come to lay eggs and other stuff that falls in. Then when they are ready they just hop out
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