Archive for the Poison Dart Frog Care Category

Breeding Poison Dart Frogs

Posted in Poison Dart Frog Care with tags , on June 28, 2008 by joshsfrogs

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.


Poison Dart Frog Caresheet

Posted in Poison Dart Frog Care with tags on June 28, 2008 by joshsfrogs

About Poison Dart Frogs

Poison dart frogs are frogs of the Dendrobates group. These frogs are extremely poisonous in the wild, but loose much of their toxicity when kept in captivity due to the change in their diet. In the wild, the frogs eat ants that eat poisonous plants, while in captivity they don’t get to eat these ants. These frogs range in adult size from 2 and half inches to some that never get bigger than your thumbnail! These frogs can enjoy a long life (there are reports of these frogs living for over 20 years in captivity). As long as a few things are kept in mind when you are planning the acquisition of your new pets, Poison Dart Frogs make great pets.


Poison Dart Frogs should be housed in what is called a Naturalistic Terrarium. A Naturalistic Terrarium is an aquarium that has been designed to create a tiny ecosystem. In this ecosystem, there are plants, soil, and a drainage layer to keep the soil from becoming completely saturated. This ecosystem creates a balance in which the animals waste is used by the plants. This balance creates an environment where the maintenance involves adding food for the frogs and cutting plants out as they grow. No removal of waste and/or tank cleaning is necessary!

The rule of thumb is that you should house one frog per five gallons of tank space. More space is always better than less space. Giving your frogs as much space as possible leads to healthier frogs, bolder frogs (you’ll see them more in a bigger tank), and allows you more options when designing the terrarium.

Temperature and Humidity

Before you get frogs, you need a Temperature and Humidity Probe. This tool is a necessity. High temperatures and low humidity can kill a frog quickly. Your humidity should stay above 80% all the time and your temps should stay between 70 and 85 degrees. This is best accomplished in an all glass aquarium with a glass lid. Screen lids will be unable to maintain the correct humidity in the majority of setups. For the vast majority of setups, no heater will be needed as the lighting will create enough heat to keep the terrarium slightly above room temperature.


Poison Dart Frogs eat fruit flies, springtails, rice flour beetles, phoenix worms, and other small bugs. Before you get your frogs, you need to start culturing their food items so you get the hang of it. There is nothing worse than not having enough food to feed your frogs. You will want to dust your bugs with a multi-vitamin and calcium supplement every other feeding.

Poison Dart Frogs as Pets

Posted in Poison Dart Frog Care with tags , on July 9, 2007 by joshsfrogs

More and more people are acquiring exotic pets every year. A lot of these pets can get too large to be properly cared for by the average hobbyists and others can harbor diseases that can be passed on to humans. Still others require foods that are hard to come by, messy, or expensive. Poison Dart Frogs, on the other hand, are a great choice for an exotic pet.

Poison Dart Frogs come in all kinds of colors including blue, orange, red, black, bronze, yellow, and a host of other colors. There are poison dart frogs that reach an adult size no bigger than your thumbnail and others that are 2”-3” as adults. While bigger is always better when building a terrarium, these animals can be kept in pairs in tanks as small a 10 gallon aquarium.

While deadly in the wild, these creatures lose their toxicity in captivity due to the change in diet. In the wild these frogs get their poison from ants and beetles that eat poison plants. Without contact to these specific insects, Poison Dart Frogs lose their toxicity.

Poison Dart Frogs are fed a staple of fruit flies. The fruit flies used to feed poison dart frogs are wingless fruit flies or larger flightless fruit flies, so they are much easier to work with than one would think. When it comes to culturing fruit flies, they are far easier then other feeder insects.

Poison Dart Frogs are beautiful animals that are easy to care for, amazing to look at, and allow people the opportunity to own exotic pets with less of the drawbacks associated with other exotic pets.

Tadpole Care

Posted in Poison Dart Frog Care with tags on November 22, 2006 by joshsfrogs

In our hobby, we are turning natural selection upside down. Instead of one frog eating his brothers and sisters, we let them all live. Then we get rid of all the predators, (over)feed them, relentlessly clean their water, and give them a stable temperature to develop. We make it so the vast majority of eggs laid in our hobby turn into frogs that are bred and produce offspring for this hobby.

I think there are a lot of frogs in our hobby that shouldn’t have made the cut. We are watering down the frogs we have by continually adding weak frogs into the system. I have set a few guidelines for my breeding practices in an effort to get rid of some weak frogs while still maintaining the supply I need to make a living.

First off, I have stopped using Methylene Blue on my eggs. If the egg molds then it molds. I’m not babying eggs anymore.

Secondly, I’m not doing any water changes. And I don’t miss it at all. Could our constant water changes be affecting our frogs in the same way too sterile conditions lead to allergies in humans?

Finally, I have created a slope system (see Breeding) where only frogs with the strongest front legs survive. SLS comes in varying degrees, so I want to cull the frogs that show any signs. Could easy access out of the water be a contributing factor to SLS in the fact that frogs don’t need strong legs to get out of our water, so they don’t develop strong front legs?

I welcome your feedback.

Vent Hybrids???

Posted in Poison Dart Frog Care with tags , on August 7, 2006 by joshsfrogs

Last year I traded two 2-year-old male Citronella Tincs to a guy for a pair of “blue-legged vents” he had gotten from __________(I won’t use their name and will refer to them as X). After a few months in quarantine I went to the move the frogs to their new home, but instead I found out that one of the frogs had died.

I then began my search for a mate for this frog. Not wanting to mix frogs from different lines, I contacted X (the person who supplied the frogs to the guy I traded with) to find out what line they sold to him. This person patched me to another person they had bought the frogs from. That person could not remember who they got the frogs from.

This got me thinking. Are all “blue-legged vents” from the same line? I asked the question on Dendroboard and got no response. I then posted the same question on Frognet. The only person that responded was Tor Linbo.

He responded back to my question by saying:

I have 3 types of yellow vents… these have little information on where they are from… one from Dutch breeder, years ago, … another from an animal importer that I think is gone from the hobby… another imported by a reptile breeder who thought he was getting snakes and ended up with frogs… all standard yellows like the ones in Heselhaus… one a little more metallic…

He also referred me to his site where he lists 5 different morphs of yellow vents (not including the red vents). Of those five there is two with metallic bronze legs, one with metallic green-blue legs, and two with coppery bronze legs.

Tor sent another email saying:

There are at least 2 more lines in Europe… also an “albino” line that is from Germany that may still be in the US.

Later I bought some vents (never mixed them with the odd vent I already had) from Herpetologic who said his blue vents came from:

My blue leg ventrimaculatus come from a few sources, one is zoo stock and one is a European import.

This research leaves me with a bunch of questions. What is a “blue legged vent”? What is a “gray legged vent”? How many people know which “blue legged vents” they have?


Posted in Feeder Insects, Poison Dart Frog Care with tags on July 11, 2006 by joshsfrogs

I have decided to do my own Blog. In this blog I want to talk about my take on the care of the poison dart frogs, discuss my take on new trends in the hobby, and talk a little about the business aspects of poison dart frogs and supplies.

I’m on vacation this week, so I wanted to talk a little bit about the hobby on vacation. The first aspect a dart frog keeper needs to worry about is making sure they have enough to feed their frogs when they are gone, but also enough to feed their frogs when they get back. A lot of hobbyists find themselves in the awkward position of not making cultures before they leave and coming back home to find that they are in a fruit fly crisis. I recommend that hobbyists order a few freshly started cultures two weeks before they are planning on getting back (so they are teeming with flies when they get back).

The Second aspect that needs to be taken care of is vacation feeding. There are many options out there, but I prefer to use the easy method. I just take a fruit fly culture, drill a hole in the side, and pop it in the tank. I use older cultures that are near the end of their life so that the frogs aren’t overrun with flies.

The final aspect is someone to care for your frogs. You need someone to check on and feed your eggs/tadpoles if you are going to be gone for more than a few days. In most cases they will need to check temps as well. If a cold front or a heat wave comes while you are gone, you could come home to dead frogs.