Poison Dart Frogs

Poison Dart frogs make awesome pets! They are just about as difficult to keep as gold fish. They don't stink, you only have to clean their tank maybe once per year, and they are cheap to feed. Mine are called Dendrobates Azures (blues).

The first thing people ask is if they are poisonous, the answer is no. In the wild, their bodies don't synthesize the toxins from the fire-ants, centipedes and mites they eat. Instead their bodies store the toxins as a defense mechanism. Frogs in captivity are only fed flightless fruit flies, and thus don't develop the toxicity.

More information, and the best place to buy dart frogs: http://www.joshsfrogs.com/

Since poison dart frogs are happiest with humidity between 80% => 100% and temperatures between 70 F => 80 F, I want to be notified if the vivarium outside that range. Temperatures above 85F for more than a couple hours are dangerous for them. Also humidity below 50% without access to water can be very unpleasant for the frogs.

Even in the dry air of Utah where I live, the humidity inside the tank rarely drops below 75% as long as I keep their waterfall running. The real concern is the tank getting too hot in the summer while I"m at work. Someday I'll add a heat / cooling source that can be triggered remotely.


There are multiple temperature and humidity sensors on the market. I went with the DHT11 because

1. Extremely cheap ($5)

2. Only 1 wire needed

It has an accuracy of +/- 5% which is good enough for a vivarium. The next model up (DHT22) has an accuracy of +/- 2% but costs twice as much. (~$12)



There are several hosted sites that will store your sensor logs.




You can also just store data in google sheets.

If you look in my github repo linked on the left, you will find some ugly example code for all 4. I settled on data.sparkfun.com because it was the easiest to implement. Sparkfun's datastore is also opensource and can be hosted on your own servers. Hosting services like voltr start at just $5 a month. (Full disclosure, I get credits if you sign up with this link)

All told, I think Xively and adafruit both have pretty interfaces, but the one was too hard to implement with the python library, and the other is still in private beta.

You can see my frogs actual temperatures / humidity readings here. Updated once per minute:



Numerous is a fantastic iPhone / Android app that polls data from your favorite sources. It integrates with pretty much any data stream you can think of. It also can notify if data goes above or below a certain threshold.

Checking in on the frogs. 81% humidity is very comfortable.

Turning the phone sideways shows history of data

Send an alert to my phone if the temp / humidity crosses a threshold

Happy Frogs

So far it works great. I can check the temperature / humidity from anywhere in the world. And if the temp gets too high, or the humidity gets too low, I get a notification on my phone.

Future Project ideas:

- Sunrise Sunset LEDs controlled by Rpi

- Automated food dispenser

- Rain / lighting simulator (they only breed during wet season, you have to trick them)

( All Ideas I got from this guys vivarium ):