Updated date:

How to Make a Frog Terrarium


Frog Habitat

The frogs I co-exist with are happy little buggers! Here's how we make it work.

I had a big 55-gallon tank and we decided we wanted to use it to build a terrarium. You definitely do not need one this huge, I just didn't know what else to do with my tank.

The first thing you should do is get an under tank heater. We just recently took out our second heat lamp on top of the tank and put one of these heaters on the side of the tank instead of underneath. We pair that with a heat lamp on top of the tank and it works very well.

You also need moss, a hideaway, a soaking station, and plants.


How to Terrarium

When I am setting up my terrarium, I start with soaking a block of Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber Expandable Substrate right in the tank. I love this product. It expands enough so that one block of this can provide a covering of the entire bottom of the tank. I don’t spread it out evenly, but make hills, dips and clear spots where little pools can gather when I water the tank. After the substrate, we added real, live plants. I don’t know all the types of plants we have, but we purchased them in the terrarium section at Petco’s. Some of them are bamboo. We have about nine small plants. They all were meant to be used this way, and thrive in the tank along with the frogs. After they are all planted in with the substrate, I add a pack or two of Zoo Med All Natural Reptile Terrarium Moss Substrate.

After all that, you can add the extra things. We have two Fluker’s Castle Crib Reptile Hideaways, one on either side of the tank. They are perfect, they give the frogs a place to hide and a place to soak. We also have two long hanging fake plants that suction cup to the side of the tank. The frogs seem to really enjoy those, too. They are good to hide behind. The bonus item in the tank is a mesh hammock with a built in water dish (which our frogs use as a soaking station). It suction cups right to the tank.

Now that the tank is frog friendly, you should keep a few things in mind. When you get your frogs, make sure they are all relatively the same size. They can be different breeds, but you need to do your homework before throwing different breeds in the same tank. White's Tree Frogs can be aggressive, but a lot of times they will co-exist with frogs of other species if they are around the same size. Pacman frogs are not a good choice to mix with other breeds. Any frogs, even of the same breed, will try to eat each other if they are not the same size. It is also safe to add small lizards, such as Anoles.

Peter, green tree frog

Peter, green tree frog


What Frogs Eat

You also want to make sure you feed them crickets small enough for them to handle. It is best to put a calcium powder on the crickets prior to feeding your pet. You can also “gut load” the crickets. Pet stores sell cricket food that is high in calcium to feed to the crickets before you feed the crickets to your pet. We never use super worms with them. They seem to enjoy the hunting of crickets.

Watering the tank at least once a day is very important. Make sure you are using safe water, if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t expect them to. White’s tree frogs love to soak, so make sure they have a place to do that. My boyfriend made a way to water the tank without pouring in too much water at once, but being more effective than a spray bottle. He made tiny holes with a very small nail in the lid of a plastic bottle. We fill it with warm water and make it rain in their tank. The green tree frogs croak after a good rain or when the air in the tank is moist.

Fish Tank Aquariums


Heather Henley (author) from Buckfield, Maine on November 30, 2017:

Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge on the topic! I am sure readers will find the information very helpful.

Fox Terrier Fiona on February 11, 2017:

Hi, I've been raising wild Green Tree Frogs from tadpoles for 6 years now, but have been temporarily 'housing' them (& adult frogs) for much, much longer.

I've discovered that they LOVE variety & natural textures.

I've actually got a one eye frogged called Carl (whom I recently discovered was actually a female when I caught her 'spawning' outside!), who likes to 'winter' with me. I kept 'her' in a 100L plastic box, which has holes drilled through the lid...& once I release her in spring, she keeps hanging around come winter...long after the other frogs have 'gone to ground', seemingly asking to be brought back in for the winter (nice warm frog hotel with plenty of food!).

I too use that coco-peat, but I vary the terrarium by what goes on top of the flat cocopeat. I have a large 2 inch wide branch that sits diagonally across the bottom of the box. On one side I keep a large water dish, which has several large rocks in it (varying the height of the water), & the coco-peat around it is tiled with smooth flat river rocks. There's a shop-bought fake tree-log for her to hide in, but she also liked the large plastic yogurt container I used to keep in there for her.

Actually all the frogs I've temporarily held over the last 14 years were happy to use the plastic 1L yogurt containers to hide in. They also like terracotta...they loved the triangular 'tunnel' that was created when I placed one of those triagular roof cap tiles in there with them (which also created a large triangular 'rock' to hang out on top of). For smaller terrariums, I've had my hubbie drill entry holes into small cement plant pots (like terracotta plant pots), which I then place upside down into the terrarium.

When I started helping to raise the baby green tree frogs 6 years ago, I had to start experimenting with creating smaller, safer terrariums.

One important lesson I learnt was 'Don't use small fish tank pepples' as some of the tadpoles will eat the pepples & drown! Also, you have to make sure the tadpoles & baby frogs can't get 'stuck' under anything in the water...they're a bit dumb, & can have difficulty finding their way back out & therefore may drown.

If you have small frogs, &/or baby frogs, I discovered their FAVOURITE hidey-hole option was actually FREE. I have a huge tree that sheds bark twice a year, & much of that bark sort of 'rolls up' as it sheds, creating natural tubes. As with all locally resourced materials, I soak them for a day before adding to any tanks (to get rid of any possible contaminants), & then stack them atop each other in the baby frog terrarium.

The frogs also enjoy having the occasional fresh cut (& still very green) large soft leaf thrown in (to hide under & on)...& other fresh greenery. So you could try laying in some freshly cut (& well rinsed) long grass (removing it when it's all dried up & brown), or use other types of soft leaves, etc.

Changing out an assortment of different sized branches & rocks is also good...we have several large petrified-wood rocks that the frogs love!

Anyway, it doesn't have to be expensive (terrarium supplies from pet shops are notoriously expensive)..if you've got a few tools (or know someone who does), you could try drilling holes into wooden bowls (cheapest from charity shops), pvc piping off-cuts (call some local plumpers, or go to the plumbing supply shop). Those cheap 'discount variety shops' usually have an assortment of river rocks/pepples...along with cheap wood & cement items that can be easily modified for your terrarium...you could add interest by putting in 'unusual' cement garden sculptures (it's always a laugh to see your small frogs hanging out on dinosaurs, dragons or whatever strikes your fancy!).

Whatever you add to your terrarium, no matter where you got it from, should always first be thoroughly rinsed or soaked. Items should be checked for edges that are too sharp or rough (which can usually be fixed by thoroughly rubbing with sandpaper..& rinsed well after).

You should NEVER use water straight from the tap (unless you have untreated tank water), but I've been safely using treated tap water for years. All I do is fill a couple of large bins/boxes with water, then cover with a net-like fabric for 3-5 days, which allows the chemicals (like chlorine) to evaporate, whilst stopping the mosquitoes from breeding in it...after the 3-5 day wait, I start using it & put the lids on the rest of the containers.

Remember that you should NEVER take a frog from the wild to keep as a permanent pet! The longest I ever keep a wild frog for is the couple of months over winter, & that's only ever been if the frog is injured or sick (except for One Eyed Carl who now seems to ask to stay over winter...which is only 3 months..I release her once the other frogs start coming back).

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2012:

I've never tried a terrarium - this sounds interesting. Maybe I'll get out that old aquarium and re-purpose it!

Related Articles