Are christmas cactus safe for frog terrariums?

Are christmas cactus safe for frog terrariums?

Postby coiseam » February 8th, 2014, 12:31 pm

I'm looking at some of my mature houseplants for my upcoming terrarium. A large jade and spider plant is already going in, but I'm wondering could I add the christmas cactus too? I know it's not poisonous (or at least they don't tell you to watch your children around them), it doesn't have spines, and it's a 'tropical cactus' so it should do well in the humidity of a terrarium. Is there any danger to the frogs to live with a christmas cactus?
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Are christmas cactus safe for frog terrariums?

Postby easter9 » February 8th, 2014, 12:36 pm

"I'm much more concerned of the possible consequences if a frog eats a cricket that nibbled on the cactus before being hunted down"

When it comes to frogs, any time you are concerned or unsure about something, it's best to avoid it all together. Better to have a safe, alive frog and an unused plant, then a sick/poisoned/dead frog.
As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - this is something good to practice with frogs.
I would trust a plant that I've owned for 10 years, more so then one just recently bought.

As for the cricket eating the plant, it would probably depend on how many crickets the frog has eaten that have eaten the plant. It really depends on the toxicity of the plant. Personally I would avoid using it, "just in case", but then again, you may never have a problem with it. If you decide to use it, I suggest making sure that your crickets are well gut loaded before you feed them off, and leave a small dish in the tank with a piece of carrot or apple or fish flakes or something like that for the crickets to eat. They will probably go for real food over the plants. You may want to check the plant the first little while you have it. Check it for cricket bite marks. If you notice that they are eating, take it out.

Another suggestion for live plants, is that you can grow your own from seeds. I know a few people that grow food plants in their tanks for their frogs, herbs like mint, oregano, basil, also small fruit and veggie plants too. Mint plants are supposed to look really attractive as well, and they grow like weeds.
It depends if you have been using any fertilizers or chemicals on your plants. If the plants have been treated with chemicals, then I wouldn't recommend using them in the tank.

A Christmas cactus is fine to use with animals that won't eat them, and provided it hasn't had chemicals on it, then it should be safe for the frog to use. There is a danger for the plant though, if your frogs are large, they could damage the plant. This cactus will enjoy the extra humidity.

How to "clean" plants for a frog tank:

1) You will need to wash the roots free of any dirt/potting soil.

2) After the dirt has been removed from the roots, you will then need to bleach the plant. Do do this, fill up the sink/tub with water and do a 1part bleach to 10 parts water ratio.

3) You want to submerge the whole plant, roots and all, into the bleach water. Soak the plant for about 2 minutes, and then rinse it really really well.

4) You then need to re-pot the plant in materials that are safe for frogs. Using a mixture is best. I use Coco-Fiber, Peat Moss Dirt (make sure that it has no added chemicals to it - it usually doesn't), and Worm Castings.
You can also use materials like bark chips, aquarium pebbles, or LECA pellets for drainage. These materials would be buried at the bottom, so the frog would not actually come into contact with them.

These plants are safe to use:
Spider Plants
Snake Plants (Sanseveria sp.)
Dwarf Schefflera
Ponytail Palms
African Violets
*Just a note though, that Orchids don't always do well in terrariums. They don't like their roots being too wet.

Please check out the links below, they are from Melissa Kaplan's web site about using live plants:
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