So, I’ve recently realized how absolutely AMAZING dart frogs are, and I desperately need some, but honestly, the dart frog market is somewhat overwhelming for a newcomer! I don’t really know that much about dart frog species, subspecies, phases and so on, so what would you recommend for a beginner? Is there even such a thing as a beginner dart frog, or is care pretty similar between species?
There isn’t really a ‘beginner’ frog. They’re all kept the same, bioactive, lots of plants, especially bromeliads! We use Arcadia lights as found them the best too! And high humidity!
We ourselves have had many different types, from tincs to terribilis and thumbnails.
We currently have colons in with a Williamsi.
Really depends if you want bigger frogs or smaller?
And you must of be drawn to one already I assume?
I’m kinda drawn to the Oophaga pumillio, Dendrobates auratus and Dendrobates leucomelas!
Had all them! All amazing.
Ours are Oophago pumillio colon Del drago. But had other types.
Our Leucs were very bold, but some can be very shy and not seen. And Our latest Auratus was quite shy also, but we’ve had a group that were very bold before and always out waiting for food lol.
Thing to remember also is the ratio. 1 female only, otherwise they will kill each others eggs or fight and harm/kill eachother!
You could have a group of males fine!
You can have 2 males, 1 female. 4 males, 1 female. Just only 1 female.
Unless you have a MASSIVE viv. You may get away with 2 females if they decide to take a side each
Closely following this one!
In reality, if you’ve never kept a creature like this, the only approach is a dead slow approach. Amphibians like dart frogs require a bioactive environment in order to thrive, based on a number of different requirements, and not just the enclosure type is important, there are many factors to keeping dart frogs, but mostly:
The need for cover, like what plants provide, and a lot of it, to feel secure.
The need for adequate hydration and humidity, which is much better achieved and maintained with a bioactive environment.
The need for space, and not just a single horizontal plane either. Dart frogs like to climb and will lay eggs up in plants and on leaves.
The need for proper nutrition, and an adequate feeding schedule. I feed mine, for instance, three times a week, and use a variety of different supplements and feeders at different times. In order to do this, I have to culture and raise flightless fruit flies, which is necessary if you aren’t able to continuously source them locally or online, and it’s not worth the risk to assume they’re always going to be available.
The right home environment, because they stress easy and can die from it, they need their own space, peace and quiet, with a proper and regulated lighting schedule. And because they breathe through their skin, the air quality must be excellent, no keeping them in a room you smoke or cook in, for instance.
This all being said, the start of your dart frog venture doesn’t begin with the frogs, it begins with the plants and clean up crew in your enclosure. There are many examples of how to set up tropical bioactive enclosures online, but the basics of it are settling in a drainage layer with a substrate screen above it, followed by a good layer of a decent growing substrate. You can use something like ZooMed’s ReptiSoil, for example, some people just use what they can find but I prefer what I know is safe for the application. There are many options to choose from, but if you’re unfamiliar with growing plants, and don’t know what type of plants you’re looking for, you can buy packages made for the enclosure size, and designed for dart frogs specifically, such as from Josh’s Frogs, or FrogDaddy. Also, your lighting needs to be set up for a 12 hour period, and you need something substantial to growing the plants, the supplements used to feed the frogs don’t require you to use UVB in an enclosure, and you also won’t get that to transfer through a glass top, which you’ll need to use to help retain humidity unless you buy an enclosure specific to keeping amphibians. Clean-Up Crew refers to isopods and springtails, which are insects and crustaceans (not in that order) that live amongst the enclosure, and take care of waste, mold and other forms of decay in the enclosure, which is inevitable over time. You have to be careful not to use a species of isopod that requires a high level of protein, as they can and will eat your frogs. Setting this up and allowing it to proliferate and grow takes time, months, before it’s ready for the frogs, and to be sure it’s working properly, this should not be rushed, this is also a test period for your humidity and temperature levels. It’s definitely not something you can rush into, or should, rather, but it’s definitely worth all the work!
Yes, I am familiar with clean up crews.
Choosing the frogs is another story too, but that’s based on your space available, mainly. There are different sizes of dart frogs, ranging from thumbnail Ranitomeya to the large Terribilis, and they all have different social patterns and needs, and if you combine the wrong sex ratios, you have the hazard of them fighting, for dominance or territory. Also, do not mix locales/species of dart frogs, they are the way they are because they come from very specific places, some islands, for example, and they are pure examples of the species. It’s not to say they can’t breed and hybridize, but on the subject of making genetic hybrids out of dart frogs… It’s frowned upon. But anyway, you’ll limit yourself to most mishaps if you pay attention to things like what species fight more notoriously, what species can have more males/females to a ratio, what species like to climb more, etc and different things like that, it’s definitely different across the board.
I believe pumillios are a bit trickier, so I wouldn’t recommend those until you have more experience. Dendrobates are easy and make great beginner species, I’m planning to get auratus as my second species (I currently have tinctorius). A 1.1 group is ideal and there shouldn’t be fighting. The care between genuses are similar (dendrobates, ranitomeya, etc.) but still vary. A group of 3 or less (depending on species, goldens for example will need more space) can be kept in an 18x18x18 or 18x18x24. When you set up the enclosure have it set up for months previous so you figure out the temperatures and humidity and the microfauna and plant roots can establish. Bioactive tanks are a must. The biggest mistake that new owners make is keeping them too hot or too dry. An ideal temperature is 70-80*F, they don’t need supplemental heat. The tank should have little to no ventilation (don’t use a screen top, use glass or acrylic). Locales and subspecies have the same care as the species but are different color forms. Different species, morphs, subspecies, locales, or phases should never be mixed together. They need fed nearly daily with a staple of flightless fruit flies (FFF) and sometimes a supplement of springtails or some other insects. They need dusted with a multivitamin, I use Repashy Calcium Plus. Dart frogs need complex enclosures and it took me many months to get everything right and I’m still waiting to add the frogs. So, feel free to ask with any and all questions.
What would you say is a good social group for Dendrobates auratus? I don’t want to breed dart frogs, so could I do a same sex group with them? Could I keep at least two of the same sex in an exo terra dart frog tank? I’m asking because my local reptile store recently started selling the dart frog tanks.
This^ BUT. Our latest auratus actually lived with our colons and before that our other frogs. She was a lone girl and kept herself to herself, was massive and chunky and ended up going to someone with the viv and joined a group Finally after years she found a family haha.
Also Tiny wax worms as a treat they love!!
Mesh top is actually ok if done right. We actually have ours in a 45x60x90 Exo terra atm that was recently done up and it’s perfect. We have a mistking on it also. I would recommend that to keep humidity up for sure!
Then again we’ve kept alsorts for years with no issues.
Also pumillio aren’t trickier in my opinion. Infact they were our first ever frog we started with, before moving on to other types and ending back up with them! Very easy! Just smaller, if you don’t want small then don’t get pumillio!
I would say tumacs are what I’ll be getting next, have a look at them! Absolutely beautiful colours
And you can make your own fruit fly cultures also to keep them going! But keep in mind when you’re out you will need to get more so as said make sure you can get them easy!
A mistking would make it easier and a glass top not needed but for a beginner I think a glass top would still be a good idea.
Another warning, dart frogs can be very addicting. They’re low maintenance, active, easy to feed bulk, relatively small enclosures that are stackable.
Dart frogs are amazing and I hope to have some one day…there are already several species I’m interested in. They are beautiful!!
Good warning! I’m pretty much planning to only stick to three species of dart frogs, but we’ll see how it goes I already have plans to keep almost every species of tree frog, so I’ll be hoping the same thing doesn’t happen with dart frogs
They won’t really interact much if same sex groups. So ideally mixed is better, and they like being in groups so 3+.
Auratus and Leucs you can have more than 1 female and they’ll be fine the other half said. May have a rare fight but nothing bad.
So you can purchase a group!
Will breeding occur if I keep both a female and a male in the same enclosure, cause I don’t want that
Yes but that’s what they do. Don’t take the eggs out to raise and you’ll be fine, you don’t have to raise the eggs. Just leave them where they were laid or dispose of them.
They’re social so need a group, same sex won’t interact and won’t be fun for them.
If you can’t or don’t want to give them what they need and want maybe look into another type of amphibian that isn’t very social in groups? May be better for you?
I mean Toads are cool! I have a southern toad and he’s amazing to watch, very grumpy looking!
I’d like Tumacs, may not breed but I know they like being in pairs, trios etc. So if I don’t want to breed I’ll dispose of eggs
Problem solved then! I don’t mind having eggs, I just don’t want to deal with the babies. I just want to provide them with what they need, and being able to see those interactions between individuals just makes me want to do it more!.
Breeding will occur so keep a petri dish (often under a cocohut) for them to lay eggs in. From there you can just freeze them.
If they lay in the dish and not the plants