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Trag   DJFrillies   Trag   DJFrillies  

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 Questions about future frilly enclosure:

Hello everyone..! I realize many of these questions have been at least partially answered in other posts but i want to be absolutely certain about things upon moving forward.. I have done quite a bit of research already and have decided on getting a beardie and a frillie for my first reptiles.. Possibly a breeding pair of frillies.. The beardie i will get soon but i will be waiting a year or two for a frillie in order to properly build a custom enclosure and dial in the temp/humidity perfectly..

I was planning on the dimensions being 48" wide and 30" deep with 60" of vertical climbing room.. Would this be big enough for a pair..? I could possibly add another 6" to the depth if i had to.. I was planning on going with a 6" deep bioactive substrate with sprinklers..misters.. and a waterfall.. as well as drainage.. which is why it will take so long to set up.. I would most likely add orange and white isopods.. springtails.. superworms.. earthworms.. millipedes.. and live plants/trees.. does anyone here have any experience doing this with frillies..? Also i was wondering just how good of swimmers are frillies..? Ultimately my plan would be to make a paludarium.. With an aquarium attached below along one of the sides.. I would have branches going down into the water so there would be easy things to grab on to.. Would i have to worry about a frilly drowning..? And would the occasional small fish be dangerous if consumed..?

I realize just how hard balancing everything will be.. If its even possible.. But i would be very interested to try anyway as long as it wouldnt be immediately dangerous to the frillies.. Any help regarding my plans would be greatly appreciated..! Thanks in advance and sorry for any questions already answered..

08/11/16  11:44am


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  Message To: Trag   In reference to Message Id: 2319275

 Questions about future frilly enclosure:

Welcome! and Kudos! for your plan listed in the first paragraph. If you plan to keep reptiles, start with something easy to keep, exactly like a Bearded dragon. They can be housed simply and are just a generally easy reptile to start out with, very docile temperaments.

Advanced Reptile Husbandry in order to succeed, requires a proper container so that a proper environment can be maintained. If you think about it, just how well would YOU thrive in the worst house you can imagine, versus the best one you can imagine? As these reptiles are going to be housed in these containers for their entire lives, we should strive to make that place as nice as we can. Inactive website but good info here.. Link

In the wild a Frilled dragon has a fairly large territory, so the larger the container the better. Dimensionally a minimum sized container should be at least 4’ H x 4’ W x 2’ D for a single adult Frilled dragon. A pair might get along or might not, most males will NOT get along once they are of juvenile or adult ages. You will likely need multiple containers, even if some are only temporary/hospital container types.

With that said and considering that the animals are confined in these containers, HYGEINE is of primary concern. Whether you make a container or purchase one, you need to make sure that you can clean it completely. Most wood containers are unsuitable for this as the wood can harbor pathogens (fungus/molds/bacteria). Even coated wood is suspect over time. So considering the time you need to keep the animal (a full life can be over 10 years), I can’t recommend a wooden container. The safest way to clean a container fully is with steam. A steamer is only 50-75 dollars.

Glass, PVC, aluminum, acrylic (not Plexiglas), stainless steel can all be used for good long-term fully cleanable containers. Screen material because it will not hold humidity is not recommended for a long-term cage. I do have a screen cage for outdoors sunning, for short periods when the temperature is nice. I have the AP cages, AP25 and AP35 PVC..Link

Again I think about hygiene first, so for substrate I don’t use a full bed of soil/coco/anything not easily cleaned daily. I actually am using artificial grass, tiles 1’ x 1’, lizards poops on top of the grass thatch, it sinks in, away from the lizard. I pull out that tile, and have a utility sink in my garage that I clean it off with very hot water, then put it back. Very inexpensive too, sometimes free if you ask for samples at the right place. I have extra tiles for any too soiled, and do not share tiles between containers. They can be steamed clean, dried in sun, etc.

I had the same idea about a waterfall/paludarium, but unfortunately a Frilled dragon sees water as a toilet. A waterfall or aquarium will just be circulating poopy/urated water. Water dishes must be changed daily, as they are both a drinking source and toilet. Lots of people will install an automated spraying/sprinkling system into the reptile container, that’s actually normal. Frillies swim quite well actually and do seem to like moving water, so instead of waterfall in the cage I have a "Dragon Spa" for bathing separately. Just a tote container, small submersible pump and a rock for the reptile to hold onto, put 90ish degree water in it so the rock stays partially out of the water and let the pump circulate the water. I believe that wild Frillies do eat small fish. If you insist on a paludarium maybe consider a water dragon..

Good luck with it all :)

08/11/16  03:41pm


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  Message To: DJFrillies   In reference to Message Id: 2319277

 Questions about future frilly enclosure:

Wow! Thank you very much for the detailed response.. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to do so, confirming much of what i have already learned.. Im almost finished a hard carved slate and glass enclosure for the beardie that is 2.5’h x 4’w x 2’d which should be relatively simple to clean.. Thanks for the tip about the steamer, I will definitely be picking one up as soon as possible..!

Regarding the frillie enclosure i completely agree that making it both hygienic and enriching for them is of utmost concern.. Which is exactly why im even considering such a project.. But now i see the scope must be even grander than i first imagined.. I will have to make two identical shells 5’h x 4’w x 3’d.. 2x4 construction insulated with waterproof sprayfoam.. both lined on the inside with brass sheet as it is quite antimicrobial.. glass doors in the front.. i will make one hypersanitary and very easy to disassemble and clean.. reptile carpet and stone substrate.. as well as lining the walls with a layer of cork bark over top of the brass.. this will be my failsafe habitat in case of catastrophic failure of the other more complicated ecosystem.. I will also be sure to construct smaller quarantine habitats of a similar sanitary variety in case a smaller problem arises..

However getting back to my original idea i must elaborate.. From my previous experience working with various fungi, rare botanicals and hydroponics i have learned there is generally two ways of tackling a hygiene proglem.. EXTREME sterilization.. which can be potentially quite dangerous for both you and whatever organisms you are eventually trying to keep alive.. As well as very time consuming.. Or the alternative which actually involves establishing colonies of beneficial or harmless bacteria, fungi and invertebrates which will fight off the more harmful varieties.. This can take a very long time to balance correctly and i would have no plans on introducing a frillie or two until i was sure it was not only stable, but be able to accommodate for the additonal waste and stress.. I realize a reptile is much more complicated to care for, but i hope to learn much while im constructing as i will have a beardie then.. So my opinion could very well change during that time..

Explaining the specifics would take far too long so i drew a quick diagram to help convey the idea.. Please excuse my poor paint skills..

The isopods and beetles in the soil and underneath the leaf detritus would do a good job of cleaning up food scraps and any other waste accumulating on the ground.. the springtails in turn cleaning up after them as well as anything else left behind.. the earthworms will do an amazing job of turning the soil and keeping it healthy and aerated.. if at this point there is still anything that could breed harmful bacteria or fungi it would most likely be washed down to the drainage layer.. (indicated by grey circles) where it can be removed from the tank if too much buildup occurs.. the first tank partition would be directly accessible by the frillies and would contain small fish.. as you mentioned it would be used primarily as a toilet.. the second and third partitions would contain a variety of snails and shrimp which would greatly help filter any waste or algae buildup.. a pump would be placed at the back of the third partition to stimulate flow in that direction.. the plants in the terrarium would go right through the substrate and drain layers and have the roots floating in the water.. I believe this would act much like a scaled down swamp.. Helping to filter and clean the water.. i would also have a drain hooked up to a charcoal filter system for if things got very bad.. or i could just dump all the water out completely..

I realize im mostly delving into unknown territory here, but thats why ill just have to build two enclosures i guess.. My greatest concern is obviously the wellbeing of the reptiles so i would remove them at the first sign of trouble and revert to tried and tested methods.. Im happy to hear that they are good swimmers as this was the only definite problem i forsaw.. But any more advice is always great as well..! :D I could very well be insane for trying something this complicated..

08/11/16  08:19pm


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  Message To: Trag   In reference to Message Id: 2319278

 Questions about future frilly enclosure:

Cage plan and materials are good it seems. Beardie should love that cage Cork bark on the container walls is a must for more arboreal space for a Frillie.

Doing the paludarium part, I think that to some extent you really have to look at the scale, trying to keep a small paludarium balanced is much harder than trying to balance a large one, as small fluctuations do make a larger difference in a smaller space. So for most success and stability in the biome you would want the largest size you could possibly have. Fish tank knowledge=more water is better, more stable temperatures and chemistry.

I have kept fish before and understand pumps and sumps and filtration well. A big part of a project like this can be tied to how deep your pockets are.

I might like to live in something like this Link if I was a reptile :)

But then do you care more about the look or the inhabitant? A full grown lizard (or fish, believe me) can tear up some plants and knock other things over..

Keep us apprised of your progess, DIY stuff is always interesting.

08/11/16  10:40pm

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