One of the joys of keeping Poison Dart Frogs is breeding them. I have taken what I have learned from other froggers and read many books and articles to develop my methodology for breeding Poison Dart Frogs. I tweaked this method based on what I observed as I have bred thousands of frogs over the years. The following is my methodology.
Getting Frogs to Breed
Sometimes I think this is the hardest part of the whole process. It begins when you buy froglets. I recommend that you ask tons of questions when you are purchasing your froglets. You want to make sure that the frogs are healthy and that they were not weak frogs that were allowed to live. Buy frogs from reputable breeder. When buying frogs, keep in mind that most species of frogs do not produce a 1:1 ratio of males to females. The ratio can be as much as 1:8 with some species. And either sex can be the majority depending on the species of frogs. So, I recommend that people buy at least 5 froglets if they plan on breeding. After the frogs have matured and can be sexed, a pair can be separated and the others sold or traded. This is also a great investment as sexed adult frogs can be worth as much as double what you paid for them as froglets.
Once you have a pair of frogs, you must setup a tank that is conducive for breeding. This includes:
Heavily planted tank – Frogs feel more secure in more cover and have less interruptions.
High Humidity – I do not have any vents on most of my breeding tanks. I want humidity as high as possible in those tanks.
Breeding spots – Note that it is plural. I find that frogs breed better when there are more options. They know the best places to lay eggs that lead to the best chance for healthy frogs. You don’t want to force them to breed in a mediocre spot. Breeding spots for larger frogs is a cocohut over a Petri dish and for smaller frogs, a film canister is the best option.
The next step is for you to induce breeding. In the wild, some of these frogs are seasonal breeders. While frogs will usually breed right after a storm, it is also possible to “trick” the frogs into thinking the wet season has arrived. There are many theories out there on how to do this. I have found a method that works pretty well. What I do it mist the tank once every other day for two weeks and follow that with two weeks of misting twice a day. I will also not feed as much during the light misting and more heavily during the higher misting frequency.
The best indicator of breeding success is the health of froglets. Froglets that are strong and healthy will be better breeders. Therefore, it is important that you acquire healthy froglets and continue the regiment of supplementing the frogs.
What to do with eggs
Sooner or later you will get eggs. Usually you will get a couple of clutches of eggs that will go bad and mold over. This is normal. Bad eggs will swell up and get cloudy. In developing eggs you can actually see the tadpole develop in the egg. When I get eggs, I take a paper towel, wet it, and place it in the bottom of a 24 oz Ziploc container. I then take the Petri dish and place it on the paper towel (I do not put the top of the Petri dish on Petri dish). I then add enough RO water to just touch eggs. If the eggs are laid on a film canister, I scrap out the eggs and put them in a Petri dish and add water so it just touches the eggs. Finally, I put the Ziploc lid on and mark the top with species of frog egg.
The tadpole will fill the egg and assume a C position. When the tadpole’s tail is straight again, you know it has hatched. It is now time to take the tadpole out of the petri dish. I use a turkey baster to get the tadpoles out. I place the tadpoles individually in tadpole cups. I add 1″-3″ of Reverse Osmosis water and a small piece of Java Moss. After a couple of days, I fill the cup up entirely. If you do not have a Reverse Osmosis System, I recommend that you use some of the water treatment products.
I feed my tadpoles a variety of tadpole foods. I feed once a week and I NEVER do water changes.
Once the tadpole sprouts front legs, I pour out all of the water, get rid of the java moss, and add an inch or so of Reverse Osmosis water back into the cup. I then use a dixie cup to prop up the cup. This creates a sloped area where the frogs can climb out. When I see a frog completely out of the water, I move the froglet into a froglet tub.
Froglets get put into tubs in pairs. The tubs are a 190 oz container with sphagnum moss, some terrarium plants, and a film cannister. I seed all tubs with springtails so the froglets can have a variety of food. I feed all froglets every other day.