Welcome to the housing Mantella Frogs section, this area is divided in to several separate sub sections – the Mantella Frog care sheet, the housing Mantella page (this page), temperature and humidity, feeding Mantella Frogs and breeding Mantella sections.
Housing Mantella Frogs
As we mentioned earlier these are tiny frogs and will require a tank or vivarium around 24 inches x 18 inches x 18 inches high, this will be large enough to maintain a small colony of around 4 to 6 Mantella.
They are highly territorial frogs and each one (particularly males) will patrol their chosen living area, if the tank is too small then they may become stressed by the invasion of other frogs in their territory.
Conversely, if it’s too large they may never meet each other and breeding will be affected.
As they thrive on humidity the tank and contents will need to be sprayed 2 or 3 times a day with clean water, if your tank is too large then keeping the humidity level up will be difficult.
Setting up the tank or vivarium
Whether you’re using a fish tank or a tailor made vivarium the basic internal set up will be the same, here is a list of items you will need:
The tank – see above
Under tank heater and thermostat – preferable to overhead heating
Sphagnum moss or other substrate – for base
Small water container – 10cm deep max & 15cm diameter
Some rocks for effect
Some bogwood or driftwood logs for effect and hiding places
Optionally some suitable plants either real or artificial
The actual set up of the tank should be as simple as possible because it will need completely cleaning out and everything removed for washing every week, this is because although Mantellas are small they excrete a lot of waste which needs to be removed at least once a week otherwise bacteria will quickly develop in the warm moist atmosphere.
The base of the tank should be covered in 3 inches of fresh moss topped with rocks, logs and leaves for effect and hiding places.
Alternatives to moss include a mixture of orchid bark, sphagnum moss and potting compost or alternatively smooth pebbles look good and will evaporate water well.
A water dish should be provided that is at the most 1/2 inch deep, although Mantellas are frogs they are very poor swimmers and if you ‘pool’ is too deep they may drown in it.
That’s it, the heating will be under the tank in the form of a heated sheet and the lighting from above from the tank hood – see heating.
Cleanliness in a warm, moist tank
Cleanliness is next to godliness and your tank or vivarium is no different. T
his will need emptying of contents once a week (more often if you have a large colony) and the rocks, logs etc will need thoroughly cleaning to remove the waste from the frogs.
The moss (which can be difficult to obtain) should either be replaced or it can be thoroughly rinsed through with clean water.
It must be replaced completely every three weeks at least otherwise it will harbor bacteria and health problems can occur.
Probably one of the easiest substrates to use is smooth pebbles, these will help evaporate moisture and are easily rinsed in clean water as well as looking good.
If you are using living plants in your tank or vivarium then these too will need to be wiped down to remove the droppings.
Good plants include Phalaenopsis orchids, bromeliads and ferns.
You will also need to clean the inside of the tank by wiping it with a clean cloth soaked in a non toxic anti bacterial liquid, remember that frogs skin is very, very thin and will absorb whatever it comes in contact with so it is important to use a non toxic cleaning agent such as Dettox.
The tank and any items which have been in contact with the Ark Klens should be thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove any traces before re introducing the frogs.
The water in the dish should be replaced with fresh water at least twice a week as this too will become contaminated with the droppings of the Mantella.