How to change out dart frog substrate for new
Once you have decided to change out your established dart frog vivarium’s substrate it is time to put that intent in motion! First thing to do is to order the supplies. Here are the things you will want to order.
- Terrarium cleaning sponges
- Live Oak Leaf Litter
- Magnolia Leaf Litter
- Substrate Barrier
- False Bottom
*** In many cases, if the the false bottom is in good condition, still it can be simply rinsed off with RO water and put back in. If you are changing your substrate due to an infestation or due to health issues, we recommend changing false bottom regardless of condition.
List of other things to have:
- RO water
- Wet/dry shop vac
- Paper towels
- Remove the Animals! Animals should be removed and placed in a holding container. For most frogs, you can use a clean Tupperware container that has a little sphagnum at the bottom and is misted with RO.
- Remove the Plants! Established tanks generally have plants with plenty of roots. Carefully pull out each of your plants. Rinse them off and place them to the side. It is best practice to keep them in a humid container such as a large tote in an effort to reduce dehydration and stress on the plants.
- Remove the upper substrate! Pull up each corner of the substrate barrier. In many cases you can roll the substrate into what looks like a very dirty swiss cake roll. Make sure your trash can lined with an extra tough trash bag is right up next to the vivarium. Then you can lift the roll out and toss it in the trash.
*** We have found it best to dispose of the substrate and false bottom separately as they are very heavy and rip through trash bags easily.
- Remove the false bottom and remnants! Use a clean dust pan or other scoop to remove the majority of the false bottom into the trash. Once the majority is out, then use a shop vac to remove as much debris as possible around the base of the vivarium.
- Clean It! Use RO and the Terrarium cleaning sponges to clean the sides of the base of the vivarium. Stubborn and large debris on the glass can be removed using a window scraper razor blade. As you are cleaning, use the shop vac to remove debris periodically.
- Sanitize it! Use ReptiSan Habitat Disinfectant and Cleaner to sanitize it! Follow product guidelines.
- Rebuild it! Now it’s time to rebuild it just like you did when you set it up. If you need a refresher on this, the blog Bioactive Substrate in your Dart Frog Vivarium is a great walkthrough of the process and all the tips and tricks!
*** After a major change like this, always watch your temperature and humidity to ensure they do not fluctuate outside the acceptable range for the first few weeks. Generally, humidity is the most affected by changing out substrate so you may need to increase your misting until all of the substrate has settled in and is fully hydrated.
This Josh's Frogs video may be of interest to you: