How To Set Up A ​​10-Gallon Pacman Frog Habitat

When building a Pacman Frog Habitat, you don’t need to be an expert! In fact, you don’t even need a gigantic enclosure, your frog will be perfectly happy in a 10-gallon tank.

You’ll be surprised to know how inexpensive and simple this setup actually is. If you’re an avid amphibian fan, then you’ll know how the price can add up. 

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From heating to lighting and front-opening terrariums, the prices can become exponential. However, you don’t have to worry about that here – this one is as cheap as it gets. 

With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about setting up your 10-Gallon tank habitat ready for your Pacman frog. 

Let’s get straight into it!

What Do I Need For A Pacman Frog?

At first glance, the shopping list for a Pacman frog can seem somewhat extensive and overwhelming, 

Luckily for you, we have composed a short list outlining all the necessary items you’ll need to start setting up your Pacman habitat. 

These include:

  • A 10-gallon glass terrarium (keep in mind the size is dependent on how many Pacman frogs you wish to keep)
  • Hideouts
  • Substrate
  • Lights
  • Shallow fish of water
  • Hygrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Screen lid
  • Fogger/ Misting system
  • Plants (optional)
  • Small stones (optional)

The Cost Of A Pacman Frog Setup

When keeping a Pacman frog, there are a number of factors involved which can become a costly expense. 

Although, the habitat itself is a one-time cost. Once set up, you don’t have to worry about creating a new habitat anytime soon. 

Therefore, the total cost of habitat will take into account all the necessary items and accessories required to keep your Pacman frog happy and healthy. 

When purchasing all the necessary items, you can expect the cost to range between $100-$535. 

How Much Space Does My Pacman Frog Need?

Depending on the age, size, species, and number of frogs you wish to keep will determine the perfect-sized terrarium for your pet. 

When looking at Pacman frogs, it is best to keep these creatures alone in a tank since they tend to be aggressive and carnivorous to other frogs. 

When choosing the best terrarium for your Pacman frog, the tank itself shouldn’t be smaller than 10 gallons.

In order to move around, catch their prey, hide, and so on, they require an enclosure with between 10-20 gallons of space. 

Moreover, naturally, female Pacman frogs tend to be larger than their male counterparts, so it’s best to keep this in mind, too. 

Generally, female Pacman frogs can reach a length of up to 7 inches, whereas the males tend to only reach 4 inches in size. 

Setting Up A Basic Pacman Frog Habitat

In this section, we’ll explore everything you need to know about setting up a small terrarium for your Pacman frog – outlining all the necessary items and how to achieve the perfect habitat to keep your pet healthy and happy. 

This Isn’t A Bioactive Setup!

It is important to keep in mind that this guide doesn’t cover a bioactive setup. This type of terrarium includes microfauna to control waste – the setup outlined below, doesn’t.

Microfauna is a type of bioactive tank that includes isopods and springtails – these survive within the biological matter that is found in wood, leaf litter, and soil.

These are required in these types of enclosures to help with decomposition – regulating the pH balance found in the substrate. 

In this setup, you’ll find no microfauna. Therefore, as your Pacman frog defecates/ urinates, your soil (substrate) is likely to become more and more acidic. 

As a result, you’ll want to occasionally replace the substrate in the terrarium. Ideally, this should be done every 3-4 months. 

Choosing a bioactive setup is an ideal choice, however, it can be complicated to set up.

Since it requires a higher-quality substrate, drainage later, build and live plants, which can become a costly setup. 

Keeping live plants would require special light to help maintain their help, therefore, this guide doesn’t consider this type of terrarium. 

If you would prefer this type of terrarium, then we encourage you to research more into the enclosure.

Otherwise, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about building a small enclosure. 

Is A 10-Gallon Tank Ideal?

While a 10-gallon enclosure may be more on the smaller side, it is generally acceptable for this type of frog species. 

While we encourage you to purchase the best and biggest tank for your pets, we also understand that not everyone has the means to achieve this.

Therefore, in this case, we have created this guide to help you make the most out of your 10-gallon enclosure and transform it into an appropriate habitat for your Pacman frog. 

Since Pacman frogs are considered ambush predators, they are likely to burrow in the substrate and wait for their prey.

Unlike other amphibians, they won’t utilize the entire enclosure – therefore, a 10-gallon enclosure is more than enough!

How To Set Up A 10-Gallon Pacman Frog Habitat

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Now that we have outlined all the basic information you need to know about setting up a habitat for your Pacman frog, it is now time to get into the nitty-gritty details. 

Below, you will find a step-by-step guide on creating your own Pacman frog enclosure. 

Before getting started, ensure you have all your supplies ready. A simple checklist, such as the one mentioned above, will ensure you have everything you need. 

Let’s get started! 

Step 1. Attach The UTH (Under Tank Heater)

Pacman frogs require a temperature in the daytime ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (or 24 to 29 degrees Celsius).

To achieve this you’ll need a UTH (otherwise known as an Under Tank Heater), or a heat lamp will work just as well. 

Although this is a small, 10-gallon tank, a UTH will work fine. These are designed to be placed underneath the glass tank. 

When using these types of heaters, you should keep in mind that you need to avoid placing them on wooden surfaces.

This is because they have the tendency to become hot and potentially skald or cause further damage to a surface. 

Although, the damage is more likely to occur with large, high-wattage under-tank heaters.

Nevertheless, always read the instructions to your UTH and use your best judgment before proceeding. 

To regulate the UTH, we will be using a thermostat here. You’ll find this later in the article. But for now, don’t worry about using your UTH. 

Simply ensure that you don’t skip this step since heat is essential for Pacman frogs. 

Step 2. Add The Substrate

Next, you’ll want to start filling your tank with your chosen substrate. We recommend using a coco-husk fubar substrate, this could include Zoo Med’s “Eco Earth”. 

When adding your substrate, ensure it contains a depth of at least 3-4 inches. This step is essential.

This is due to the fact that Pacman frogs love to burrow which helps them attack and ambush their prey. 

Likewise, we also have placed a UTH at the bottom of the enclosure.

As such, you’ll want to avoid having a shallow substrate since this can cause health-related issues for your frog. 

Step 3. Decorations, Branches, And Logs

When decorating your terrarium, you’ll want to make sure that it is as close to the frog’s natural habitat as possible. 

You should add a branch (otherwise known as Mopani wood) or a flat piece of cork bark. While your pet won’t use these for climbing, they create a full space, perfect for hiding. 

However, that being said, any decoration is merely for aesthetic purposes since your Pacman frog will spend most of its time burrowed under the soil. 

Step 4. Small Dish Of Water

In one of the corners of your frog’s tank, place a small water dish. Since these frogs enjoy a humid environment – this dish will help replicate that. 

While they enjoy being nestled in the damp substrate, if it gets too dry, you may notice them hanging around the water dish. 

As such, it’s important to have a clean dish of water available to your pet at all times. 

Step 5. Moss And Fake Plants

The most important part you should take away from this step is to include a clump of moss into one of the corners of the enclosure. 

Moss helps to absorb any excess water – essentially, working as a sponge! The results are a habitat that is much more humid for your frog. You should never forget that these frogs love humidity. 

Hence, you should always mist the enclosure at least once a day. In between misting, the moss will help to retain as much moisture as possible. 

Likewise, you could also include fake plants. While this is, of course, optional – it adds to a more tropical feel in the terrarium. 

Although, if you choose to include plants, ensure they are placed near the wall.

This is simply because Pacman frogs love to burrow, keeping plants away from these areas will ensure that nothing is knocked over in the process. 

In this step, fake plants are recommended since the coco-husk fiber substructure isn’t great for real plants. Plus, live plants require additional lighting to grow. 

Step 6. Add Your Hygrometer And Thermometer

One of the most important tools needed for a successful Pacman frog enclosure can be found in the form of a hygrometer and a thermometer.

A hygrometer is used to read the humidity, while a thermometer reads the temperature. 

It is essential to keep both of these factors in the recommended ranges. To monitor this, ensure you get a high-quality thermometer and hygrometer. 

Zoo Med, Exo Terra, and Zilla are all brands that make ‘combo meters’. These can be used to read both the temperature and humidity of an enclosure. 

The results can be easily read using the digital display (which can be adjusted to perform in Celsius or Fahrenheit, and they are quite inexpensive – well worth your money!

Here, you’ll want to place the device at the same corner of the UTH (under the tank heater), and about ½ an inch below the substrate. 

If you choose to have a separate thermometer/ hygrometer, then we recommend placing the hygrometer above the substrate and near a plant. 

This is because when droplets come into contact with the hygrometer, it will sometimes produce an inaccurate reading. 

Having said that, this isn’t a huge deal since, eventually, it will simply dry off and display the correct reading. 

Step 7. Setup The Thermostat

Thermostats are very important when it comes to Pacman frog enclosure.

Essentially, what they do is regulate the temperature by either turning the heating element on or off based on the current enclosure temperature. 

In this case, the thermostat will shut down the UTH when the enclosure gets too hot for your frog. 

Another great thing about using a thermostat is that it will prevent any damage by automatically shutting down malfunctioning heating devices. 

Below, you will find a brief overview of how to set up your thermostat. 

  • Plug the UTH into the thermostat via the power socket.
  • Then, position the thermostat to an area where you can clearly see the reading. 
  • Plug your thermostat in. 
  • Following the instructions, program the thermostat to switch off the heating element once the desired heating has been reached. 
  • Then, make sure the heating element is switched on (some contain an on/off switch, you need to make sure that it is on). 

The general rule of thumb is that the UTH should be switched off when the temperature reaches approximately 81 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Step 8. Keep The Enclosure Misted

The last step you’ll want to do before welcoming your new friend is to mist the habitat using water. This makes a huge impact on the amphibian you’re homing. 

Since amphibians contain semi-permeable skin, they are easily able to absorb chemicals through them. As such, you should avoid using water straight from the tap.

This is because most municipal water supplies are treated with chloramines or chlorine to make them safe for human consumption. 

However, chlorine isn’t safe for your Pacman frog.

As a result, we recommend that you use RO (reverse osmosis) water,  bottled spring water, or tap water that is treated with a dechlorination agent such as ReptiSafe. 

Once you have found a safe source of water, then the last step is to spray the enclosure all around generously. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re an amphibian lover, then you may be contemplating purchasing a Pacman frog.

Not only do these make the perfect pet, but they are generally considered quite low-maintenance, too. 

However, before you purchase the frog, you have to ensure you have all the necessary items needed to set up its enclosure.

There are a few steps that go along with this process, however, once completed you’ll have to perfect a home for your Pacman frog friend. 

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with everything you need to know about setting up a habitat for a Pacman frog.

Dorothy Razo