Do you want instructions? See this Step-by-Step terrarium setup guide.
Some people have asked me what kind of home to get for their frogs. Your new friends will spend their entire lives inside a world you create, and they deserve a life that’s almost as beautiful and complex as their lives would be outside. That’s why I try to give them lots of space, lots of plants, and ample places for them to perch.
This person has some nice vivaria that, like mine, don’t have foam backgrounds. They are minimalist in a way, but also have a lot of plants.
Brief vocabulary lesson
A terrarium is a single glass box where plants live. Terraria is the plural of terrarium. A vivarium is a terrarium with a frog in it. Vivaria is the plural of vivarium. Read all the way to the bottom to learn a bonus vocabulary word!
Ideally, you will have a glass terrarium with front opening doors. It should be big enough to let you be creative in setting it up, and to allow some tall items for your tree frogs to climb and hang out up high. They also love having a little space on the floor to hunt and chase bugs — and it’s fun to watch them hop.
You can often find these for sale on Craigslist. Sterilize any used terrarium – think about why the person might be selling it, and make sure you are eliminating any potential pathogens before putting your new friends inside.
Here are some I can recommend:
The 36″ wide, 18″ high front opening terrarium is my favorite of the ones I own. I’d love to get a taller one someday soon, but the frogs really seem to have a good time in the one I have. Here it is on sale at PetSmart (but make sure you select the one that’s 18″ high from the drop-down list; 12″ might be OK, but I’m not sure and they are currently more expensive). (You can also check out ExoTerra for terrariums if you don’t want to support PetSmart.)
One reason they love it, I think, is the little trickle waterfall I set up (using a $14 pump and some _very_ carefully arranged rocks – more on that in a separate page).
These smaller hexagonal terraria are also very good. It helps that they are a little taller at 22″ high. I’ve been able to put small water features in them, too, but a ceramic dish “pool” is fine as long as you change the water regularly. Below are some examples with the plants I love (sorry it’s so dark – I’ll try to put a better photo up).
Another interesting, and maybe less expensive, option is converting an aquarium tank into a vertical vivarium/terrarium using a kit. There are several different businesses selling them on Etsy and elsewhere (Etsy, you used to be so fun), but these from I Heart Geckos are prominent.
The key for me, even more than size, is lots of plants and hiding places, some kind of perches, plus a more open flat area also. I also usually hang some fabric on the outside back so they can go back there to feel safe if they wish. Some people put large back walls made of cork or foam inside, but I try to avoid adhesives, anything that can fall, and taking up space I don’t need to take up.
They are often on Craigslist, too, but you’d want to sterilize the heck out of a used one, and check it for leaks.
— smaller and also good —
These also work well with lots of plants:
— pretty but maybe not great —
I don’t heartily recommend this curved-front one because of the small front-back measurement. With enough plants and some covering of the back and a corner, it could possibly work, though.
Here’s a fun (for me, anyway) video showing a close-up of my 40 gallon vivarium.