Pacman Frog Substrate

Substrate is one of the most important decisions you are going to make when it comes to providing a comfortable home for your Pacman frog. Substrate, is also known as bedding and is placed at the bottom of the enclosure.

Because Pacman frogs spend so much of their time burrowed in the substrate, you want to make the right choice from the start to ensure you promote a healthy environment for your amphibian pet.

Substrate Requirements for Your Pacman Frog

There are six important factors you will want to take into consideration when it comes to selecting a suitable substrate for your Pacman frog. These factors include:

  • Retain moisture to promote high humidity levels
  • Encourage digging and burrowing
  • Reduced risk of accidental digestion, which can lead to impaction
  • Easy to maintain
  • No sharp edges to reduce the risk of injury
  • Looks natural in your terrarium design

Related –Ways to maintain high humidity levels and prevent mold in a Pacman frog enclosure

Best Substrate for Pacman Frogs

Coconut Fiber

Coconut fiber is the preferred substrate for Pacman frogs. It is known for its excellent moisture retaining properties, making it ideal to maintain the high humidity levels your Pacman frog needs to be healthy and happy.

This substrate is one hundred percent natural and should not cause impaction. It offers easy maintenance and it’s recommended that you replace it monthly to ensure your Pacman frog enjoys a clean environment to thrive.

Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate is a reliable substrate choice that is ideal for natural design while helping to improve humidity levels. This all-natural product is made from coconut husks.

The Exo Terra Plantation Soil is another excellent choice to improve humidity, stimulate burrowing, and is one hundred percent natural. Easy to use and maintain, create a thick layer to encourage digging and burrowing.

Coconut Husks

Coconut husks are the same material used in the popular Pacman frog substrate option, Coconut fiber. The husk is larger than the fiber and while it enables digging, it’s a bit heavy for burrowing.

This is a natural product that offers excellent moisture absorbency. It is excellent at increasing humidity levels and is easy to maintain, but the sharp edges can result in injury to your frog. There is an impaction risk with coconut husks.

Prococo Chips-N-Fiber Premium Coconut Huskis a one hundred percent natural product that you can use to create a humid environment for your Pacman frog. This is made of compressed coconut chips and husk that is eco-friendly. It offers excellent moisture absorbency while resisting mildew and mold.


Moss is a must in your Pacman enclosure. It offers a natural look while offering excellent moisture absorbency to boost humidity levels.

You place the moss over the substrate to help improve humidity. There is no risk of sharp edges and it is very easy to use and maintain. Simply rinse to clean and replace.

Zoo Med New Zealand Sphagnum Moss is a top choice for Pacman frog terrariums. This moss is able to hold up to twenty times its dry weight in water, staying moist for longer. This moss makes an excellent top substrate that is long-lasting. Simply remove, wash, and reuse.

Alternatively, there is Zoo Med Frog Moss, which is another of the top moss options for Pacman frogs. Place the moist moss over your substrate to improve humidity in the enclosure and provide a moist environment for your frog, helping to improve overall health.

Tree Bark

Tree bark for terrariums is mostly made from the fir tree, which is safe for your Pacman frog. Tree bark is excellent at holding moisture, though not the best for digging and burrowing.

There is a risk of impaction, so it’s recommended if you choose tree bark, don’t use it where your frog hides and eats.

Maintenance is very easy, though there are sharp edges to be aware of, which could cause injury to your pet. Tree bark is one hundred percent natural.

If you want to use tree bark, then there are a few options available, including the Exo Terra Reptile Bark, which s a one hundred percent natural fir bark offering excellent absorption and humidity benefits.

The Zoo Med Repti Bark is also one hundred percent fir bark that naturally decorates the enclosure and is reusable. It is very easy to use and maintain.

Leaf Litter

Leaf litter is an excellent addition to your substrate floor, use it the same as moss and only cover your chosen substrate to create a welcome camouflage.

In the wild, the Pacman frog uses leaves to hide. The leaves offer a natural look while helping to improve humidity levels.

Magnolia leaves, which are the favorite choice, are non-toxic to your frog. Maintenance is easy, simply replace with new leaves as needed.

Aquarium Gravel

Aquarium gravel is not the best choice of substrate for your amphibian pet, even though there are reports of frog owners using this gravel as their substrate.

Aquarium gravel is the ideal and easy choice for temporary housing while you clean your frog’s enclosure, but other than that, it is not recommended due to the risk of impaction and the fact that it doesn’t encourage digging and burrowing.

The Pure Water Pebbles Aquarium Gravel is one of the gravels available, which have an acrylic coating and is non-toxic.

Pacman Frog Substratae Usage and Maintenance 

Can I Mix Different Substrates?

It is not uncommon to mix substrates in a Pacman frog enclosure to achieve the right humidity levels of between fifty and eighty percent.

The most common combination is coconut fiber covered with a layer of moss to boost absorbency and humidity.

How Deep Must the Substrate Be for a Pacman Frog?

Pacman frogs love digging and burrowing. They spend most of their time buried in the substrate with their horn sticking out waiting from prey to come past.

Therefore, its recommended that your substrate should be at least four to six inches (10cm to 15cm) thick. Using a moist substrate at this thickness will offer excellent humidity in the terrarium.

How Do I Prepare / Sterilize Substrate Before Use?

Coconut Fiber

Following the packaging instructions, you will soak the fiber in water, allowing it to absorb the moisture and create a moist earth which can be easily placed in the enclosure.


Moss is very easy to prepare and is very absorbent. Simply take the amount you want to use and soak it in water.

Gently squeeze it like a sponge now and then to help it absorb as much of the liquid as possible before a gentle squeeze and placing it where you want in the enclosure.

Leaf Litter

Leaves should be carefully inspected for insects and rinsed thoroughly. Once clean you can leave soaking in water for a while before placing in the terrarium to create a natural floor and good humidity levels.

Aquarium Gravel

Aquarium gravel has a lot of loose particles; therefore, you are going to want to rinse the gravel well and keep rinsing until the water runs clean.

How Often Should I Change the Substrate?

In order to maintain humidity levels and reduce the risk of mold and unwelcome insects and parasites, it’s recommended to change your substrate monthly. Daily checks should be carried out to remove any dirt and mold.

Can I Reuse the Substrate?

Some of the substrates, such as the moss states it can be reused. It is preferred to use new substrates every time you carry out a thorough clean, which should be once monthly.

My Pacman frog often eats substrate. What is the best substrate for my frog?

Coconut fiber is completely fine when it is eaten. We recommend using coconut fiber such as Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate or Exo Terra Plantation Soil because it can be digested.

How to Prevent Mold and Pests?

You will want to monitor the enclosure regularly to look for mold and unwelcome pests.

If you are struggling with mold while maintaining humidity levels, you can consider using springtails, which are a clean-up crew for your enclosure. They eat any decomposing leaves, mold and left-over food.

Pacman Frog Bedding in Summary

With such a wide variety of substrates available on the market that can improve humidity levels, the two favorites that stand out is coconut fiber and moss.

Combining these two substrates have proven to provide a natural and comfortable enclosure for your frog with optimum humidity levels.

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