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Making a Glass Top

You're setting up a new vivarium or terrarium that requires high humidity. You want to provide your animals with the conditions they need to thrive, yet you don't want to mist the tank every hour. Being the smart, suave herper you are, you know frequent misting or fogging will result in a soaking wet tank, unsuitable for your pets. You know what you need to do - get a glass top! Vivaria needing a glass topYour best bet for poison dart frogs, or other critters with similar needs, is a glass top. If you already have a tank, or are taking advantage of Josh's Frogs Tankless Dart Frog Kits, your best option is to have a local glass or hardware shop cut glass for you. Google or are great resources for finding a glass shop nearby. Often, this will cost you less than half of what you'd pay for a glass top at a pet store!First, you'll need to decide what kind of glass thickness you need. In general, 1/8"" thick glass is fine if you're not going to be drilling holes for automatic misting. If you are going to be adding a MistKing system or something similar, you'll want to go with 1/4"" thick glass (1/8"" glass will crack over time, as the misting nozzles vibrate slightly when in operation). If you are installing a MistKing System, you may want to ask the glass shop to drill the holes for you. For nozzle assembly, you'll want one 5/8"" hole, oriented towards the front of the tank.Measure carefully and record the length and width in inches, rounding down to the closest 1/8"" of an inch. Then, plan how your door will be oriented (if this is a top for a front opening tank, such as an Exo Terra Glass Terrarium, skip this step!). You'll want the door to be on the side the tank is facing, typically the long side. So, for instance, say you have a 20H aquarium (24"" L x 12"" W x 16"" H). You'll want a top that measures approximately 24"" L x 12"" W (this is not a real measurement - make sure to measure carefully before getting your glass cut!). At Josh's Frogs, we've found a top opening that runs the length of the tank and about 5"" wide. You'll also want to leave out 1/8"" to account for a hinge. So, in this example, you'd want one piece of glass that measures 24"" L x 5"" W (door), and a piece that measures 24"" L x 6 7/8"" W (top back piece). Whenever getting glass cut, ask the shop to sand the edges. This way, you won't lose any fingers when handling the glass! Make sure to plan ahead - you may have to wait a few days after placing the order to pick up your glass.


After you've picked the glass, make sure to rinse it well with water and dry thoroughly. The glass may have tape residue or cutting compound left on it that will prevent hinges and the like from being adhered. Select your door pull or handle, and appropriately sized hinge. Prep the surfaces as specified the Josh's Frogs Blog "" Acrylic Parts and How to Use Them"", and silicone your acrylic pieces to your newly minted glass top with 100% vivarium safe silicone. Allow to dry in a well ventilated area for 1-2 days, until all of the silicone/vinegar smell has dissipated, and your new terrarium top is ready for use! A Special Note on Top Venting:In regards to dart frogs, vents are not required on a vivarium to keep your frogs happy - but there are many vivarium plants that will appreciate the added airflow, and chance to dry out a bit between waterings. Ideally, a top vent is coupled with a vent along the front of the vivarium, such as in Exo Terra Glass Terraria. In that situation, position the vent towards the top back of the tank. That way, as air is warmed it will rise from the lower front to the top back of the vivarium, creating a minor cross breeze. When adding a top vent, simply cut your back top piece of glass a little narrower (1"" is fine), then silicone in No-See-Um mesh (mosquito netting) or fine stainless steel mesh after the glass is in place.  


don't Forget - All Josh's Frogs Complete Dart Frog Kits come with a Glass Top, already precut for a perfect fit!

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