New Frog Enclosure

enclosureThe 5 Green Tree Frogs have grown so much since July last year. They are quite messy and their current enclosure needs cleaning more and more frequently as they foul the water with waste. The size of the enclosure is probably better suited to 2 adult frogs.

Two of the plants in the current tank have done very well and not minded at all about having their roots in nothing more than water and gravel – the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and the Parlour Palms (Chamaedorea elegans). The Creeping fig (Ficus pumila) on the other hand is looking very sparse and ratty. It is still alive but hasn’t done much at all. My mini bromeliad and birds nest fern did not survive all the water and sadly rotted away. Some dwarf mondo grass lasted for a while but eventually died. See the “then and now” shots above.

The New Enclosure

This tank is big! Measuring 140cm long, 55cm deep and 60cm high it is well over 3 times the size of the current tank and just fits along a free section of lounge room wall.


I wanted to create a custom background for the tank that would be planted with various epiphtyes and hopefully include some sort of watering system. I searched various aquarium stores to find suitable pieces of driftwood that were not too heavy and whose shape would create interesting spots to attach plants and allow frogs to sleep.


I laid the tank on its back and put in place all the wood bits and tubing for waterfalls then sprayed expanding foam around them. I found this stuff hard to use – it expands and expands then expands a whole lot more! By the time I’d worked from one end to the other the whole thing was a puffy foam mess with many of the bits of wood virtually hidden. Fortunately once cured, the foam can be cut back with a knife. The white foam in the picture below is after the cut back!

Next step – all the foam was sealed with 2 coats of black non-toxic pond sealer to make sure the background was completely covered and waterproof.


To achieve a natural look all the sealed foam areas were covered with silicon and coco fibre. The coco fibre was pressed into the silicon while it was still wet. I could only work on small areas at a time as the silicon skins over in just a few minutes. I ran out of silicon and dry coco fibre at this step so the picture shows the back wall only half done.


Unfortunately my watering system/waterfall did not work properly and some leakage developed in the back wall. I sealed everything up with more silicon and coco fibre, allowed everything to dry and cure properly then planted the background with a selection of epiphytic plants.

Background with mini bromeliads, tillandsias and native orchids


Driftwood and rock were used to designate the land and water areas. The land area was filled with a layer of expanded clay balls so that the coco peat bedding is lifted above the water level. A layer of flyscreen helps to stop the coco fibre from falling through to the clay balls below. The clay balls are very light so weight in the tank is kept to a minimum.

Setting up land and water areas

Finally the plants were added, some gravel for the water area and a heater and water filter
( hidden away towards the back left corner of the tank)

Plants include mini bromeliads, Birds Nest fern, Peace Lily, Creeping Fig, Chlorophytum, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Native Violet, Ferns, moss, Baby’s Tears, Pearlwort, Parlour Palms and begonia.

Inside the planted tank

Finished Tank

Finished Tank

I will allow a few weeks for things to settle down and take root before adding my frogs. Green tree frogs are very rough on foliage. It will be interesting to see how everything stands up to them jumping all over the place.

17 Responses to “New Frog Enclosure”

  1. You have done a fabulous job on this tank..wish I was inventive LOL

  2. incredible job mate, well done!

    im looking at making an enclosure as well, i guarantee it will not look as nice as yours

  3. Hey Mike, Thanks.

    I’m sure you will come up with something just as good, experiment a bit. Remember this is my second go at this.

    Not all has gone well. The substrate in the new tank was getting too wet – I didn’t have enough clay balls in there to raise the substrate above the water table. Quite a dilemma really as I need the water to cover the filters and water pump adequately but at the same time not drown the land.

    I ended up ripping (gently) out the plants, adding more clay balls and replanting everything. The frogs have still not moved in as I want to make sure everything is OK first and the plants established. I’m not having any luck with the baby’s tears as a ground cover – it keeps dying off.

    Send me a picture of yours when its done. I’d love to see what ideas you come up with.


  4. Wow it looks just great!!
    Hope the glitches have been solved now 🙂

  5. Hi Celeste,

    Welcome back! 🙂

    Well, not completely solved. The soggy substrate is no longer an issue but I still can’t get the baby’s tears to grow. I’m trying moss now. I collected some very healthy bits from my mum’s garden so hope that will take. All the other plants are doing fine so I might introduce the frogs soon.

    My other concern is maintaining a suitable temperature as we head into Winter. I have a heater in the water but I think there is quite a bit of heat loss due to the large glass area and ventilated top. I’m thinking of getting one of those “space blankets” to drape over the tank at night.

  6. what a great new tank, would you be able to send me some information on how to create a tanke like that, send the info to …., thanks !

  7. Hi Jake,

    Thank you. The frogs seem to enjoy it 🙂

    You will find many tank or enclosure set ups on the web. Some are very sophisticated with mist and rain systems!

    I found the Black Jungle site useful and most of my tank set up is based on their guidelines.

  8. Your work is pretty amazing!! I am just in the process of setting up a tank for a gree tree frog that I found on some bananas when I went grocery shopping the other day!! I am suprised the little guy survived from where ever he came from!!
    I love your tanks especially the first one as it is simliar to the one I just purchased!!
    I am very new to this, never had a frog before!! So I hope I can ask you some questions about keeping these little babies.

  9. Hi Stacie,

    Thanks for your comments about my tanks. That first tank now houses my little green Dainty Tree Frogs. I even added a rain bar. They love it and are now calling constantly. One day I was surprised to find eggs on some foliage. Unfortunately they had dried out too much 🙁 so no babies yet. If the silly things spawn in the water, I may just have lots more little frogs!

    You are welcome to email me if you have questions. Email address at bottom of page.
    I suggest you join the community forum at
    There are many experts there happy to help and all sorts of great information on keeping frogs.

    You will need to check the licences and protection laws for your area as you may need to apply for a keepers licence if you wish to keep your little fellow.

  10. Hi i’d like to ask where you got that water table from cause it looks great as a divider and can you please teach me how to make a waterfall.
    Great looking enclosure!

  11. Not sure what you mean by “water table”

    The divider I used for the land /water area is just an interesting bit of driftwood I picked up at the local Aquarium shop. In fact there are a few pieces of driftwood, all shapes, placed end to end to create the shore line.

    I can’t help you with making a water fall but suggest you look here for ideas.

  12. thanks so much it is really hard to set a tank up that meets frog standard!!
    good luck with your tank


  13. Hi Sue,

    I love your tank. I have 2 little Dainty’s and I am wanting to redo their tank. I am having difficultity finding website sites that have good information about what frogs need etc. I have checked out the black jungle page but I am looking for some thing more detailed.

    I’ve had verdi & bruce since early 2008.

    How hard is your tank to clean? The main motivation for me redoing my tank is to create some thing easier to maintain. Working parent and all that.

    I love your website site, I found it full of all sorts of interesting information. I didn’t know you could create your own background.

    If you could pass on any information it would be appreciated.

    Cheers, Cherie

  14. Hi Sue,
    Your tank looks great, I would love to see some recent pictures of this tank, how do you keep the land area clean?
    Am thinking of creating a frog tank of my own & was wondering the best way to do this? Do you just pick up their poos with tongs or what? Your help is much appreciated. Cheers Sandra

  15. Hi Sandra,

    Well, after about a year or so I did away with the land area and water setup. For now I just have a plastic box in there for a pond and some pot plants and rocks scattered around. I’ll have another go at redecorating the tank when time permits.

    You could use tongs to help clean up. I just keep a box of disposable gloves on hand for messy jobs.

  16. hey there just wondering if you could still slightly smell the silicone or not ?

  17. Hi Warwick,

    I found the smell disappeared once the silicone had dried completely. After all this time the tank just smells of frog 😀