How To Setup A Tree Frog Habitat? [Step by Step Guide]

How To Setup A Tree Frog Habitat

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

As a low maintenance pet, tree frogs are one of the considerable pets for beginners. Tree frogs can be a great choice if you are willing to adopt a pet friend that will accompany you for a long time.

Ensuring a proper habitat for any pet is mandatory for their well being and increasing survival rate. Tree frogs are not indifferent to this factor. You’ll have a brief but trustworthy trip of suggestions and guidelines in this article before setting your tree frog’s home.

When we are saying “tree frog”, that doesn’t indicate only one species with certain features. Almost 800 species of tree frogs, containing different types of characteristics, are available for adoption.

You can either set an artificial environment or you can choose a bioactive set-up for your tree frog.

Bioactive system: Bioactive system refers to a vivarium that has its very own ecosystem. Everything will be dependent on nature’s rules.

Artificial system: An artificial environment based vivarium’s system will be manual which means you have to control everything (temperature, humidity, soil, lighting) by yourself.

While developing a bioactive vivarium is tough and time-worthy as well as maintaining, most people go for the artificial one. It’s not that tough and bad for your pet either.

Things to consider depending on the species characteristics before setting an artificial enclosure for your tree frog:

  • Space management
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Decoration
  • Lighting
  • Compatible fellows

Here is a step by step process to set the enclosure properly:

223776466 2090608504436526 8515434614918184803 n How To Setup A Tree Frog Habitat? [Step by Step Guide]
Setup Pic From Annette Milbank

Step 1: Choosing The Correct Vivarium

To choose your correct vivarium, you need to look forward to the number of frogs you have and their ultimate body growth.

As mentioned before, a huge number of tree frog species exist on this earth. They have different body sizes and growth. So to speak with an example, a lion can not adjust in a cat’s cage.

A 12″ x 12″ x 18″ enclosure can ensure 1-2 Red-eyed tree frogs proper living space with their full-body growth. The 18″ x 18″ x 24″ enclosure can contain three to four tree frogs.

A minimum 10-gallon tank is preferred to start your journey with tree frogs. As tree frogs love to jump, you need to make sure the minimum height of 18″ for their home.

Another thing to consider is, if you want to keep other species with them as well, you should think about it first. You can add tropical lizards or same sized species together but it’s always preferred to provide them with an individual place.

Also, make sure that the vivarium has a screened lid as tree frogs love jumping. You don’t want them to hop out of the tank, do you?

Fact:  Here is a list of popular pet tree frogs’ ultimate grown body size:

  1. American Green tree frogs: 2.5 inches
  2. Pacific tree frogs: 2 inches
  3. Red-eyed tree frogs: 2 inches

If you are just starting out, I’ll highly recommend going for a starter kit like Zilla Vertical Starter Kit. With this starter kit, you’ll get almost everything you’ll need for setting up the tree frog habitat.

It comes with Hinged screen top, locking latch, locking pin, textured background, halogen dome, 25W mini halogen bulb, feeding dish, humidity & temperature gauge, coconut husk bedding, & complete setup guide.

Step 2: Buying Necessary Elements And Decorations

After getting the right tank, a few items need to be collected in order to set your pet’s desired home. 

You can either collect them individually or buy them in packages as kits. Here is the list of necessary items which are required to purchase.

  • Distilled water and towel. (To clean the tank)
  • Fresh, non-chlorinated water (for the water dish)
  • Substrate 
  • Medium filter for drainage (Only if extra water or mist may cause high humidity in the tank)
  • Branches, sticks or logs. (Any of artificial or non-artificial)
  • Plants and vines.
  • Small shallow water dish.
  • Lights, thermometer
  • Mist.
  • Heat pad
  • Basking light
  • Automatic misting system
  • Froggers

When you are making the list, make sure you have researched enough on the frogs’ needs. Different species requirements are different.

Make sure to buy firm quality products as these amphibians are very active. Or else, they can face accidents such as crushing themselves under e rock or log.

Step 3: Setting The vivarium

Cleaning The Enclosure:

Cleaning the enclosure is a mandatory thing before putting everything inside it. Use a towel and distilled water to remove dust. Don’t use any chemical substance in order to protect your pets. Chemical products can make your pets ill.

Selecting The Spot

Set your vivarium in a permanent spot or else it will be tough to replace it later after setting it up. You don’t want to move a heavy thing from here to there consisting of different types of mechanical devices, decors as well as electrical connections, do you?

Adding The Drainage Layer

If you have a custom waterfall, misting system or any other sources which can cause high humidity, you have to add a drainage layer.

Process: You’ll need a medium filter to set a drainage layer. For example, hydroballs. Add a 1.5-2 inches layer of hydroballs on the bottom of the tank. Add a mesh screen on top of that as a substrate barrier which will separate your substrate from the first layer and let the water flow through as well.

Keeping substrate in a white paper towel will make your cleaning work easier. It will also help you to detect poops and unusual parasite overloads.

Adding A Background

Add a dark green background behind the tank. Usually, you will get a plastic foam background while purchasing the vivarium. You can also attach cork bark slabs on the back wall with a suction cup.

These will add a nice natural green touch and more jumping space for your frog.

Adding Substrate

Then you need to add your substrate. Any mulch-type substrate can be used such as Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber, bark bedding or Zilla Moss Bedding.

Gravel and artificial turf should be avoided because they can be too harsh for your frog’s skin.

You have to line the ground of the tank with 2 to 3 inches of bark bedding or coconut fibre.

Adding Climbing Decors

Now you need to add some logs, sticks or branches . Try to arrange them in order so that your pet can have enough space to climb and rest in those branches.

Arboreal Species as tree frogs spend the majority of their time on trees and plants naturally. So, it’s a must to add some climbing spots to the vivarium for them.

Try to get hardwood if you are setting a high humidity terrarium. Moldy texture or breakage due to moisture can cause extra pain for you. So, it’s better to get a better one in the first place.

Here’s some of my recommendations:

Adding Plants

The next step is adding plants and vines. Apart from ensuring hiding and climbing spots, they ensure a sweet spot as your pet’s sleeping area. You can bring any artificial or non-artificial leaves and plants.

But with natural plants, you have to arrange some extra things for them as well. You will require a low powered grow light which must be with less than 5.0 UVB. Your frogs would prefer drinking water from the leaves more than from the water dish.

Their natural process of absorbing moisture from the habitat is through their skin. So, always mist the plants and ensure spreading water all over the tank.

Put A Water Container

Put a water container with shallow water. When we are saying the word “shallow” that means the size of the container is not a thing to consider but the depth of water is.

You can add pebbles to the container as well. Make sure to change the water on a regular basis.

Frogs are not excellent at swimming and they love to roam in shallow water. Still, make sure that the tank does not have any chlorinated water or tap water.

Drinking from the water dish is the last choice they would make. They will haunt every last water droplet in the plants but still not go to the water dish. It’s a place where they spend a very short amount of time.

Remember that enough water supply is a must for your tree frogs or else they will dry out and may even die.

Adding Necessary Gadgets

The very last step of setting up your vivarium is adding the necessary gadgets such as lights, thermometer, hygrometer, automated misting system, froggers, heating pad, basking light etc.

These are the products that depend on your frogs’ natural needs. If your frogs need special lighting, adjust the lights.

Tree frogs are nocturnal but in order to make them realize the day and night circle, you may need a lighting system of 12-hour cycles. During the summer, you can increase this cycle up to 14 hours.

Make sure to add some dark space as well for your frogs. This will provide them scopes of hiding themselves willingly.

Temperature conditions have different requirements for every species. However, you can adjust the temperature low at night compared with the daytime.

Hygrometers and thermometers are cheap in comparison but they will provide you with huge facilities by letting you know the humidity and temperature level of the tank. If you want to measure both humidity and temperature in one device, get Exo Terra Combometer.

You can place the combo pack in the top corner and install an individual thermometer at the bottom left. This will help you to acknowledge the environment of the tank because the top and bottom levels have different temperature ranges.

All the devices mentioned in this step are totally dependent on your frog’s needs. So, if your frog doesn’t need one, you can skip it.

We can have a common example of green tree frogs.

What Do Green Tree Frogs Need In Their Tank?

A green tree frog enclosure must contain (75°-80°) F constant temperature, UVB lighting, slightly moist substrate, moss (if there is not enough humidity), plants and barks, shallow water bowls with chlorinated water, hygrometer, thermometer etc.

A glass enclosure normally works fine for green tree frogs as it allows the heat to escape the tank. The temperature should always remain constant and should not raise more than 80°F. 

Creating a temperature gradient will help your frog to decide its positions according to its body needs. When one part of the tank is highly heated and the other part contains low temperature in comparison, it’s called ‘temperature gradient’.

A basking lamp is highly effective to create temperature radiance. Put a basking lamp at least 1-2 inches above the enclosure lid which will protect your frogs from facing any unusual accidents due to high heat.

Hygrometers and thermometers are needed as it’s a must to maintain both temperature and humidity.

You have to install a UVB lighting system with 5-6% UVB tube or similar compact light as green tree frogs receive some amount of UVB in the wild naturally. Also, if you have natural plants inside the tank, they will need UVB to survive.

Green tree frogs need fresh water. So, it’s better if the water is non-chlorinated. Adding moss will help you to increase the humidity level.

Step 4: Misting The Enclosure

After you are all done with setting up the vivarium, mist the whole tank including the plants, vines, branches, leaves etc. Being stingy isn’t an option here, get everything moist and wet.

You can check your hygrometer’s activity in this case as well. If the humidity range is too low within a short time, make sure to cover a part of the screen lid with a piece of plastic or glass. This will increase the humidity range of the tank.

Step 5: Introduce Your Friend To His New Home!

Are you excited to introduce your friend to its marvellous terrarium? But hold on! You have to be patient and calm in this part.

Let your frog get familiar with the place on its own. Let them adapt to the new environment. Don’t rush and try to handle them. Just let them enter the tank, and if you see they are hopping on their own, silently close the terrarium.

Make sure you do not handle them more than once in a week, don’t touch them after using hand sanitizer or any other chemical products and try to use a glove before touching them as they have super absorbing skin.


So, we are putting a full stop here. This whole process will lead you to successfully set a terrarium for your tree frog. You are all done after following these steps.

Make sure your frogs are healthy, happy and taken care of. Overall, a long term buddy needs enough appreciation indeed!

About Muntaseer Rahman

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