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80 Gallon Frog Terrarium (vivarium)

Ever wonder how a professional makes those wonderful terrariums and vivariums that you see at museums and parks?

This series of pictures have been submitted to this website by the Curator of an exotic animal museum. His name is Trever Messenger and he gives us some pictures and insights into how he makes these vivariums.

They are terrariums/vivariums for frogs and it currently houses 3 tiger leg monkey frogs and 6 african dwarf frogs.

If you want a professionally made Terrarium/aquarium/vivarium you can contact Trever by


Here is what Trever has to say about how he made this Terrarium.

So it's an 80g aquarium I used GoodStuff expanding foam (7 cans) for the background, in which I layed pots for plants and wood to use as ledges. After it was dry I cut and shaped it to look the way I want it to. After which I spread silicon (black so you can see what you have and haven't covered) all over the foam ( in sections to insure that I get even coverage and befour it drys) then you use coconut fiber and press it into the wet silicon.

I then siliconed in 2 plates of glass to make a pond. After it was all dry I began planting all my plants and filling in the land sides. I did use a false bottom on the two land sides.

After 11g of water and 25g of substrate I put in all my branches and bio vines. I also made a fogger which comes on twice a day. I used a ultrasonic humidifer from walgreens and attached a hose which goes into the top of the tank. Right now it houses 3 tiger leg monkey frogs and 6 african dwarf frogs. I hope you and your readers like it.


A Note from Will: There are some great tips here including the use of Great Stuff to form the landscape and the use of a fogger to keep the moisture level up. I particularly like how the pots were embedded right into the foam so plants could be planted right in the structure.


A terrarium

The next picture shows how Trever applied the Great stuff to the interior of the terrarium and shaped it to give a natural look. Notice the plant pots embedded. He has also begun to apply the coconut fibers to it. Thats the brown area on the right.

The shape in the terrarium

This closeup gives you a good look at how this section was made.

Closeup of terrarium

This picture shows the two glass plates siliconed in place. That center section will hold the water for the frogs.

Overhead view of terrarium


The soil and plants

Next is a matter of placing the soil, the plants, biovines and wooden branches.

Here is a look at some of the plants and biovines in the terrarium.

Here is a picture showing the fogger at work!

The fogger



Great stuff

Here is the Great Stuff that is used to create the landscaping in this project:
Dow Chemical Co. 157901 Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealant for Gaps & Cracks


Want to see another project made by Trever? It is an interesting Poison Dart Frog terrarium with a waterpump and a light box.


Interested in Oak Tree Village? Here is what Trever has to say about it:

We are a 14 acre family park with an exotic animal museum, outdoor animal park and petting zoo, trout ponds, jumpers, pony rides, train rides we have lots of shops and a restaurant and bakery with our famous mile high 5 lb apple pie. Were located at 38480 Oak glen rd. in Yuciapa Ca, 92399 and our phone number is 909-797-4420. Visit the Website

If you want a professionally made Terrarium/aquarium/vivarium you can contact Trever by



Natural terrariums book

Natural Terrariums (Complete Herp Care) This comprehensive guide profiles several types of terrariums--sandy desert, rocky desert, woodland, rainforest, and others--and which animals would be suitable for each. Step-by-step instructions guide the reader through the terrarium design and construction process and suggest where to purchase materials.

Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs

Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)

Terrarium keepers will find advice from two of the country's leading experts on amphibians, their housing, care, and breeding in this helpful title. This book is a title in Barron's extensive line of Complete Pet Owner's Manuals . Heavily illustrated with color photos and instructive line art, these books present information on housing, feeding, health care, the title animal's traits--and where applicable, on grooming, training, and breeding. Each book is individually written by a trainer, breeder, veterinarian, or other animal specialist. The titles cover virtually all animals that are kept as pets, and include a wide selection of dog and cat breeds, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, small mammals, and even some insects and arachnids.


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