Caring for live plants in a dart frog terrarium.
There is a vast selection of live plants that are great for dart frog set-ups. Dart frogs use live plants as a place to hide, rest and even lay eggs and raise young in. They are also vital for helping your tank to stay bio-active, they provide food for your clean up crews and help maintain humidity. We are going to list some of the most popular and easiest species of plant to grow in your terrarium.
Bromeliads are a large and diverse group of plants. We mostly stock Neoregelia species as these tend to be relatively easy to grow and do not die once flowered like other species. This species of plant is often a home and breeding site for Ranitomeya and Pumilio dart frogs. The 'vase' which is the centre of the plant should not dry out for more than a day and should be flushed with rain water or soft water such as RO water do help prevent rot from forming inside the cup of the bromeliad. As this species often grows on other trees it gains water from the airs humidity and from the water in the centre cup so regular misting is important for plant health and colour but these plants do not like to sit in water or water logged soil as this causes root rot. These bromeliads like good quality lighting and prefer dappled light not harsh direct lighting. They can be tied to any surface such as cork and some moss can be packed around the base of the plant to help encourage roots to form. Plants with little or no roots will take in water from the vase where as plants with larger root systems will use these as an anchor and to also take in water. Plants can be tied with simple twine making sure not to tie too tight can cause damage to the plant. With care these plants will produce 'pups' which grown off of the mother plant.
Ferns are perfect for shady areas of your terrarium and often enjoy damp areas of your terrarium. These come in many varieties and their broad leaves are great for dart frogs to rest on. Most can also be planted in backgrounds or cork along with bromeliads to create living backgrounds or tree sections in your tank.
Climbing figs are a great choice if you want something to grow on a background or cover the surface of your terrarium. They are fairly slow growing and will like good lighting. They do not like to dry out so placing them near somewhere that gets misted regularly will help the plant thrive. These plants create a great hiding place for dart frogs.
Epipremnum and similar species are a great choice if you want a fast growing plat to provide cover and a breeding site for dart frogs. Its broad leaves are regularly used by some dart frog species as egg sites as well as places to sit and rest. They are very tolerant of most conditions and like strong lighting, they are better suited to larger terrariums as they do grow fast. The leaves can be easily trimmed and cut back if they grow out of control.
Elaganis is a good choice if you want a taller plant that wont spread out too wide. It usually grows in tall clumps and creates a nice canopy effect in the terrarium, creating areas of shade.
Java moss is a very versatile species of moss that can grow underwater and on damp areas of land. It dose not like to dry out so is best placed around water or areas that get misted frequently. It likes the light and will grow fast once established creating a carpet of moss. It is also very handy to use if you are raising tadpoles as this will help with water quality and help provide food for tadpoles.