Featured Vivarium
Alon Coppens
 
 
 
 
planted vivarium
Planted enclosure (10 gallon all-glass) with false bottom, waterfalls, cave and hut
blue D. auratus
Blue Dendrobates auratus
Mantella aurantiaca
Mantella aurantiaca in planted enclosure
reed frog
Reed frog basking on watery perch
Alon writes: 
     My interest in plants predates my interest or knowledge of frogs and I was at one time a member of both the American Gloxinia and Gesneriad Society and the American Orchid society.  Right now I'm working with common grocery store tropicals for the most part.  I especially like the crenelated peperomias which come in green and a reddish brown.  They do well in relatively low light, and grow from a crown, like african violets, so they can't get leggy.  Their lush foliage seems to provide excellent cover. I am also having success with asparagus fern, Croton (the tiny 2" pot ones), Sheffelera, Ficus pumila, Sanseveria, and a few small bromeliads (Cryptanthus).  Other plants, including Pilea and Fittonia are doing well but somewhat long and leggy so that trimming them leaves more stem than leaf.  My selection is greatly limited by the small size (10 gallons) of most of my tanks. 
     I'm working my way up to flowering plants and trying to figure out a way to provide them lots of light in an economical and decorative fashion and without disturbing the frogs to the point of never coming out into the open. I also read somewhere that strong light keeps at least some frogs from reproducing optimally, and that is on my mind as well.  I think that the answer for me is going to be to apply the inverse square law of light attenuation with distance and end up with some taller tanks, peperomias on the ground level and orchids and gesneriads higher up and closer to the light source.  I used to have a really great setup for sprouting gesneriads from seed and leaf and believe that the terrarium environment is similar enough that it should work pretty well. 
     None of my vivaria currently contain more than one species.  The pictured vivarium contains blue auratus. The terrarium also contains a Ludisia (Haemaria) discolor dawsoniana, a jewel orchid whose growth in the terrarium is just a bit faster than I would like for a ten gallon.  It also contains an asparagus fern which looks very much like the day I planted it there, an indication that terrarium conditions are far from optimum for it.  Its slow growth (or lack thereof) and its unique appearance make it an ideal choice as far as I'm concerned.  Aesthetically, I find it easy to plant a terrarium that looks great the week of it's creation, but to keep the proportions of the initial planting a great challenge.  Overgrown terraria are considered by some ideal for the frogs, but I strive rather for a visual fantasy which allows the eye to roam as if over a landscape.
 
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