Housing the poison dart frog

Source: De Pijlgifkikker, een temperamentvolle Zuid-Amerikaan, Stichting Sauria, 2005
Posion dart frogs can be kept in a terrarium or in a paludarium (a frog tank). These tanks can be purchased or they can be made by a handy do-it-yourselfer. Different species of poison dart frogs can best be housed separately.
The size, shape and interior of the tank should of course be adjusted to the number and the kind of poison dart frogs that are kept in it. The different kinds of poison dart frogs have different needs regarding their housing. Dendrobates like to have large chunks of wood and/or rock where they can rummage around. Epipedobates and Phylobates prefer large plants and brooks. Smaller kinds of poison dart frogs like to have many bromeliads at different heights in their tank.

For a group of poison dart frogs (5 frogs of average size or 2-3 large frogs) a tank of minimally 50x50x50 centimetres is required. The humidity has to be high, between 75% (at daytime) to almost 100% (at night). This can be achieved by atomizing water with a high pressure spray, by putting an atomizer on a time clock or by installing a water reservoir that has a permanent temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. The atomizing water keeps the humidity at the right level. The bottom, however, should not be too wet.

The frog house should also have an exact temperature. During the day it must not exceed 28 degrees Celsius, and at night it must not go below 17-18 degrees. The temperature can be increased by means of heat radiators or lamps.

The temperature and humidity can be monitored with a thermometer and a humidity meter.

The tank should contain some shallow water (the frogs like to swim) and a ‘mainland’ part. The bottom of this part should be covered with peat with, for example, baked clay pebbles beneath to prevent the peat from becoming too wet. Plants provide shelters for the frogs and a natural look. Good lighting is necessary for the plants, but there must also be enough shaded areas.