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Rain_Frog 01-22-2005 03:05 PM

tricolor's stripes and color
Well, I am struggling getting my McCormick paprika to stick to fruit flies. I tried a mortar and pestal, but to no avail. I just feed out Sandfire Dragon Ranch tree frog dust as my main supplement and has really shown good results in my tincs colors.

However, I'm looking into other potential solutions to color up my tricolor.

This paprika thing isn't working for me, as I just can't get it to stick. Unless there is another brand you recommend that is finer.

I do add this to my fly cultures, however, I have heard it is only effective if you feed the frogs the maggots, something that I cannot do unless I plan on having a bunch of fllies getting loose.

Anybody try beta carotene tablets, and grind them up? I'd just be a little nervous because of all the filler ingredients added.

BTW, what causes a tricolor's stripes to become narrower? Has anybody figured that out with F1s?

Ed Martin 01-22-2005 03:55 PM

I use "Pride of Szeged" brand. It is pretty fine but I still hit it with a mortar and pestal. I cannot get it as fine as repcal or herptivite. I ordered "Nekton" color and was going to try that once every couple weeks too. I have not opened it yet.

01-22-2005 04:04 PM

You could get a cheap electric coffee grinder. I would think that should be able to turn it to powder.

I was wondering if you could make ff mix out of yams/sweet instead of potatoes and if that would help


KeroKero 01-22-2005 10:05 PM

I've had peprika mixed in the powders I use while dusting, so they aren't the main ingredient, as well as had it in the FF medium, it kinda works.

The best solution I had to that issue was actually what I fed my tricolors, at the time I had my groups I was actually using very few FFs and almost completely pinheads I was raising up from the 2000+ crickets I was ordering a month for my gecko colonies. This was actually cheaper (since I had to order the adults anyways) and easier at the time for me because I was handling so many crickets. Gutloading the crickets was as simple as having a sweet potato and romaine lettuce diet and you could actually see the guts of the pinheads due to the orange of the sweet potatoes. This not only colored up my tricolors, but was actually how NAIB raised their pinheads (what they mainly feed) and the color change in some of their red pumilio was noticable as well.

Beware of beta carotine suppliments, its very strong and could be toxic to your animals if not used correctly. I think Brock is actually the one with a tank of BJ pumilio that he sparingly uses BC on to keep their color but I don't remember the schedule of supplimentation. I believe it was as little as once a month.

The slimming down of the stripes in F1s is actually a myth if not just miscommunication. Some bloodlines of the same morphs will have less broad stripes that others. Broad striped animals of certain populations are only variations in pattern, sometimes occuring in something like 10% of the population. This 10% occurence happens in at least one 'santa isabel' population, where the back is almost completely yellow, instead of having just the yellow stripes. I've also had a morph of 'anythonyi/salvias' where one of my adult breeders was a broad stripe (the rest were pinstripes) and I only had one froglet out of around 100 that had that pattern show up on, and not even out of that broad stripe female!

Are you breeding your frogs and seeing this occurance?

Rain_Frog 01-23-2005 02:16 AM

Now my previous belief is confirmed Corey. Like you, I raised an eyebrow about a tricolor's stripes were due to something in husbandry. I always thought it was just the locale, and personally I have always believed our "Santa Isabel" could potentially be a "mutt" between several locales. I have seen tricolors with very large, broad yellow stripes that could be labeled as "Santa Isabel."

In fact, all three of my tricolors have different stripes. Claire, my beautiful lil female, has the nicest stripes and nice red color. The other female has thinnest stripes and is more bubble gum pink, but she is biggest. The male is the reddest and has the whitest stripes, but the back stripe doesn't run his entire back.

I hope to breed them. I have raised them since August from Sean. They are probably 6-7 months old now, out of the water that is.

Corey, do you have any suggestion how I can get the maggots out of the culture? I have definitely noticed maggots fed on paprika in their medium have orangish pupae and yellowish themselves. Their stomach contents are visible, and they are a brown yellow color.

Everytime I go for maggots the flies run for the nearest exit, to my distaste.

If I wasn't ripped off by Worm Man, I would have a colony of lobster roach nymphs.

KeroKero 01-23-2005 03:40 AM

AHHHHHHHHHHH lobster roaches! LOL. That seems to be all I've talked about (another thread) the last 2 days on here. I NEVER talked about roaches as frog food before then. Weird. I never fed roach nymphs to my frogs. Of the rather long list, I can say thats one. Huh.

I have no special way of doing FF larvae, cuz I've honestly never done it. I did the pinheads with my tricolors (which I sadly have none of at the moment, something I hope to rectify) and that was the easiest and safest way I knew.

What I've heard on the subject is having a wet medium that gets the larvae to crawl up the sides of the culture. I nice rubber spatula scraper will get them off the sides and where you want to go. As for the adults, you can put them in the fidge for a very few minutes (doesn't take much) to slow them down (don't know how much that will help), feed them all out, dump them into another container then dump them back in after you are done (funnels help a lot for this).

The stripes are not hundbandry, but variation in pattern of populations. There are two lines I've worked with (one santa isabel, one anthonyi/salvias) that showed the "broad line" variation of pattern. The adults collected from the wild might have just been the "pretty" ones that the broad stripe was thought to be, but genetics showed the more common variations in the offspring. I don't believe them to be mutts, its just a pattern variation seen in the wild.

01-23-2005 01:42 PM

It is easy to feed maggots are the early stages of a culture.
Here is a method to gut load and feed larva.

bbrock 01-23-2005 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by KeroKero
Beware of beta carotine suppliments, its very strong and could be toxic to your animals if not used correctly. I think Brock is actually the one with a tank of BJ pumilio that he sparingly uses BC on to keep their color but I don't remember the schedule of supplimentation. I believe it was as little as once a month.

Actually what I'm using is canthoxanthin with my pumilio which is nasty stuff and is the same stuff used in Nekton color. The problem with it is that it is a very potent form of Vit. A so it is easy to overdo it. I bought some of those canthoxanthin tanning capsules and put 1/2 of a capsule into a full bottle of Dendrocare that I dust flies with once a week. This is a very, very, low dose and does seem to help although I'm starting to believe that, like Phyllobates, there is a window of opportunity for putting color on the frogs and after they reach a certain age, supplements can help but you will never get the really bright colors you can by supplementing at the tadpole or juvenile stage. Unfortunately, this also seems to be when the animals are most susceptible to overdose so it's tricky. As much as anything, it seems like the froglets that are left in the big breeding viv to grow up end up with vibrant wc looking colors while those I've pulled out to raise separately are pretty dull looking. I'm guessing it is due to the microfauna available in the larger viv. Unfortunately my wc male is a very orange frog so it's hard to know what is genetic and what is environmental. But the dull looking offspring are not even as pretty as him. They become a brownish orange when not supplemented and can be a brighter orange with supplementation. I've been too chicken to supplement them more to see if they could color up better.

When I've used paprika, I mix it with a little calcium powder to help it stick to the food.

Hopefully Ed K. is watching this thread but I think that beta carotene is actually a pretty safe form of vit. A or maybe even just a percursor.

*GREASER* 01-23-2005 11:03 PM

I just picked up 4 tri colors from black jungle about a week ago who are about 2 months out of the water. They were holding them back because they thought they lost there female. But recently found tads so they could finally give them up to me. I had seen the little guys at the shop the last two times I was there wishing they would sell them to me. So it was neat being able to see them when they were even younger. Its amazing how aggressie eaters they are and bold. They also bulked up lot and gained a bit of darker coloration as soon as I got them. I never saw them that plump when they had them and they were lookin skiny at the show. When is a good time to start dusting the tris food with paprika?

Richard told me that he was working on a new supliment to gain some color in his bastis. I dont remember well but I think it was somthing peeople feed parots to enhance there color? All I know is that it was very expencive for a very small amount of this stuff.

KeroKero 01-23-2005 11:52 PM

Ah, sorry brock, I had forgotten exactly what you had used, other than it was Vit. A, not to mention when you decribed how strong it was I decided I was too chicken to try it, especially when I was having plenty of luck with peprika and gutloaded pinheads. I find it interesting that the frogs kept in the viv were better colored... do they keep this color outside the viv after a certain age, after this window you were talking about? The window of oppertunity seems very probable from what I've seen of tricolor. Most of my santa isabels were very colorful when I got them, but I've had some of the "bubblegum pink" adults that had never been supplimented that never colored up like the others (fed sprulina only diets as tads), even though they were the same bloodline.

I personally have used "color enhancing' fish foods (usually betta flakes) with my tricolor tads with what I guess would be good success (froglets are a little maroonish, not completely mud colored) and tended to color up very quickly on the before mentioned pinhead diet. I had almost completely colored 2/3 grown calling males at 3-4 months of age, even with the santa isabels that supposidly took up to 2 years to get full color. The color enhancers in the flake food and the sweet potato pinheads used beta carotine as the main colorant source. Froglets sold to owners who didn't suppliment usually didn't color up much more than they already had, but with the santa isabels never faded to the bubblegum pink.

Greaser, what form of tricolor did you get? Pics are a must, I'm crazy about tricolor if you couldn't tell ;)

The stuff Richard is working with sounds oddly like what Brock was talking about, I thought that suppliment was originally used in canary suppliments for color (probibly the same used for parrots).

Dammit. I really want tricolor again now :cry: Its been way too long since I've had them.

*GREASER* 01-24-2005 12:11 AM

I just droped off some film today that is doing to be put on disc so ill I hope to have them up soon.

Kero, so what you are saying is. If you dont color them up by the time they are adults they may never really take to color suplimentation, that it could be to late if you wait to long? So it wouldnt be to soon to start adding paprika to there ff's at two months?

KeroKero 01-24-2005 12:37 AM

From my "supplimentation" diet of how I raised my tricolor, they got supplimented with beta carotine since they started eating fish flakes as tads. When they morphed, they were getting supplimented mostly via pinheads eating sweet potatoes (high in beta carotine) and FFs dusted with a mix of suppliments, peprika included.

So basically yeah, two months is not two early lol.

The bubblegum adults were already 4-5 years old when I got them, so I'm guessing at that point it had been too long lol. I honestly never tested this idea myself, as I just supplimented my tricolors at that point. I experiemented with raising up tricolor tads and diet (which turned out to directly relate to size of froglets, I was morphing out froglets the size of most people's one month olds) but not supplimentation, I just did it. I saw it as something missing from their diet that needed to be added, much like calcium and vitamins. It wasn't til later that the debate of supplimenting for color came to my attention.

I suppliment all my frogs with peprika and chlorella/sprulina in the dust with vits. and calcium, both are considered color enchancers. This isn't to get their colors really nice as much as add some good vitamins to the diet, but more wild type looking coloration makes me happy too.

Ed Martin 01-24-2005 12:42 AM

Corey, did you ever try butternut squash to gutload the pinheads for color? I just happened to have one and was going to use it to feed my next batch of pinheads.
I also feed the pinheads color enhancing fishfood. One of the ingredients in it is canthoxanthin. If I can ever get the eggs to stop molding over I'll feed it occasionally to the tads too!

bbrock 01-24-2005 12:58 AM

Yep, the parrot/canary supplement is usually canthoxanthin. It works but you have to be careful.

Ben Green recently posted pics of vittatus that showed one that was fed beta carotene fish flake food as a tadpole and another that was not. My experience with this same line has been that if you don't feed the color enhancing flake food, then you will never get the bright red-orange stripes no matter how much you supplement with paprika after they morph. Like Corey, I think the tadpole stage is really the key point to get the color on frogs. That's a little hard to do with pumilio.

As far as whether the bright pums keep raised in the viv keep their colors into adulthood, the jury is still out but it looks like they might. The first froglet I tried this with matured into a bright red female who was beautiful. I put her into a newly planted 20T with an F1 male and the next day I found her as a crispy critter on the floor. The top to the viv had gotten pushed back enough to leave an opening. So I didn't get a chance to see how long the colors last. The second one to come out of the large viv was also really bright and I put it into a rearing viv with some siblings. A few hours later I saw a male harassing it so I put it back in the large viv. I saw it for the next couple days looking normal but now I haven't seen it for a couple months. I don't know if it died from the ordeal or maybe it is still in that jungle and now indistinguishable from the adults. I have a third froglet that is approaching adult size and I got a good look at it yesterday. It looks marvelous. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Corey, did I send you that pub on rhodopsin and frog pigment? I'm not sure what to make of it and wondered if you had any thoughts.

Rain_Frog 01-24-2005 04:19 AM

Corey, I am crazy about tricolor as well, my fav dart of all time, next to terribilis and tincs.

Well, my tricolors are dark red, and slowly getting redder. One female is more of a bubblegum color, but the stripes are yellowish.

They were purchased from Sean Stewart, so I don't know what he fed the tadpoles, my tricolors are a deeper shade of red, and are turning darker. This is relative to John Gibeau's tricolors.

My tricolors are about six months old now. I know that Sandfire Dragon ranch's tree frog dust has color enhancers, and has definitely influenced my tincs coloration. My tricolors are not bright cherry red, but more of a maroon color to brick color so far. The stripes are yellow. Sometimes I wonder if the spirulina in the supplement of Sandfire dragon ranch has caused them to be more maroon or wine red. That's the color I'm really going for more than bright cherry red, more like moraspunga. :D

Later, I think I may want to get Highland or salvias. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to find moraspunga. :?

KeroKero 01-24-2005 06:37 AM

I feel so popular all the sudden lol.


I fed out squash to crickets but not with the intention of supplimenting and it was because I ran out of sweet potato (in short, I have no idea if it works as a suppliment). The hieght of my tricolor phase was just before college (had to sell them went I went off to school :cry: ) and I was basically following the NAIB regiment of raising lots of crickets for frogs and geckos (Sweet potatoes and romaine). By the time I really got around to testing cricket diets I had developed my allergy to them and switched to FFs mostly (wasn't working with geckos much anymore so I didn't need crickets as much). In theory, any of the red veggies/high in beta carotine would work.

In my tadpole food experiments (I had plenty of tricolors to test this with, it was originally to get larger, healthier, hardier froglets) I staid away from colored fish foods with canthoxanthin due to the warnings using it with birds. I check the fish foods to say Vit. A. in the form of beta carotine.

What substrate are you using that they are molding over? Sterile vermiculite (or another sterile dirt mix) might help, or more ventilation with the eggs?


Originally I looked into tad diets due to getting better froglets like earlier. Larger froglets did better, grew faster, etc. Now 4 years after the fact its interesting to realize how much is determined in this stage in many frogs (long term success, health, reproduction, coloration, etc). One of these days I'll actually have to get around to posting my tricolor tad formula lol.

I read the article, but I honestly don't remember what I thought. My frog stuff keeps getting side tracked by classes and what not :? Send it to me again and I'll get back to you.


I'll forgive the terribilis and tinc comparison (j/k! They're ok, but tricolors are better! I don't actually keep phyllobates or tincs).

John's frogs are the bubblegum color I keep refering to, and are what I consider the non-supplimented coloration.

I doubt the sprulina is what is making them "dark" as it never did that with mine (sprulina/chlorella was included in the supplimentation and tadpole diet as much as beta carotine about). They are still young and you aren't heavily inhancing their diet with beta carotine, and may not have gotten much as froglets (I'll have to check with sean on how he raises his tads). As froglets they are a mud color, no matter the morph, and this is the darkness you are seeing. The brown turns to wine red, then gradually fades out to the brighter red (or bubblegum). Your frogs are just young, and it can take a year or two to get the best red on them.

The dragon ranch powder only had Vit. A acetate listed as the Vit. A source.... maybe adding beta carotine (in the form of peprika) to your dusting may help?

Rain_Frog 01-24-2005 03:35 PM

Sandfire Dragon Ranch Tree frog dust contains marigold extract though. I remember when I had goldfish, I used Wardley's color enhancing food, and the main ingredient was marigold extract. It kinda sucked, because I had a fish that was all white, and then later turned bright, patchy orange. :x

I will say, this is a great supplement. I have used it on all my frogs from day one, including my juvenile WC mantellas, and they have grown large and colored up nicely. :D

I have cut back though on it and been using T-Rex supplement because tree frog dust stores better in the fridge, and I get lazy getting it out, as its best to apply every day or every other day (cuz darts eat more than tree frogs, and eat more often).

Corey, i have a question about tricolor maturity. My tricolors are roughly six months out of the water. I think I read once that they mature in six months or so. I haven't heard any calling, but I'm 85% sure that I have two girls and a guy.

I just hope its not too late to supplement. It shouldn't be. Honestly though, I'm going to have to look into another food supply, as my tricolors virtually ignore the melangastor. Throw in a rice beetle grub, and they stuff it down.

I had hydei at one time, but they all died off after a while. They didn't take well to my home made melangastor medium.

I'm just shy about trying to raise crickets. It seems really, really hard. I once got pinheads, but they all died within a day.

The only ways I can really supplement at this point are a few ideas. Here is one. Learn how to get those nasty, slimy, bright yellow maggots (after they consume paprika),

or, my favorite, get a rice flour beetle grub, wet it with water, or egg white (I don't know if that would be harmful to the frogs), and sprinkle paprika. I did a test today by misting some melangastor in a bin, and throwing paprika on them. It got a few grains to stick to them, but my tricolors only eat them when they get really hungry. They are healthy, but always like bigger game.

Rain_Frog 01-24-2005 03:42 PM

I think you misintepreted my comparison to tincs and terribs. Tricolors ARE the best, in my opinion. I will say, it is VERY unfortunate many of the rarer, beautiful morphs of tricolor like moraspunga are so rare. I almost bought a highland tricolor, and may do so in the future, but I didn't have money for them when Sean offered some.

However, second are tincs/azureus, and third terribilis/ bicolor for moi here. :D Green and bronze auratus is my favorite color, but I never got into auratus when I heard how shy they are. (I already know how shy mantellas can be, and now I'm glad I never chose auratus, despite many can be bold).

P.S. Corey: Is Justin Yeager your.....uh, honey? :lol: :wink: You are one smart chic!

01-24-2005 03:57 PM

the way i used to get paprika into dart diets was to boils my rice with tons of paprika for my springtails. then let it dry out once that's done i fed it to the spring tails and voila. im not sure if it has the same affect as dusting but it was simple.

my suggestion for a brand of paprika is to go to your local india grocery shop (most big towns have one somewhere) and get there stuff it so much more potent than the stuff you get at your local grocery store. I've been a chef for nearly 10 years and paprika sould be hot and spicy if yours is not hot as hell, it aint good stuff.

Rain_Frog 01-24-2005 04:37 PM

that idea would of worked back then, but like I said, my tricolors are only interested in big game. It is getting difficult to keep them interested in melangastor.

I just hope spanish paprika doesn't end up burning my frog's mouth.

KeroKero 01-24-2005 06:32 PM

Sorry, it took me a second to stop laughing and get back up off the floor after the Justin comment. Did i mention he said I wasn't allowed to go to school in the same state as him? I do his website. We annoy the crap out of each other. Plus I have my own rocker boy at the moment who's only a half foot taller than me.

Moras kinda went the way of some of the other really "common species/morphs of the past". They were the most common morph at one point, then you couldn't give them away, breeding groups broke up or died, and now you have a handful of people trying to get together what they have left and many aren't even getting their's to breed.

Thumbnails (imi group), other small epipeds, and truncatus are my other favs.

Most of what I learned I learned before getting into the hobby (yes, justin was the first person in the hobby I met, with Mike Shrom, back when Justin was only about 6') so if you are implying Justin taught me all he knows, you are sadly mistaken. But its ok, you love tricolors! All is forgiven :wink:

Tricolors coming out of the water for me never went for sprintails, they went for melanos right off (like I said they were sizable) and hydei pretty soon after that. These guys also loved termites, large aphids, and one week to two week old crickets (bigger than pinheads).

Work on getting hydei going for your tricolors. You might have to buy media for a bit, or talk to people about home made for hydei, because these are definately what tricolors go for. In the mean time you might just wanna order a big culture of hydei from ED's or something to get these guys fat and growing like mad.

I've written numorous posts on raising up crickets. Search my archive of posts through my profile and you should find the threads. Or PM me and i'll send you all the details. You wanna start with some adults like you might buy at your local petstore, buying pinheads usually results with your experience. They don't ship well, you just need to grow'm yourself! It mght take 5 crickets or so a week or two to get the pinheads/week olds you want, and a medium to large critter keeper.

The males don't start calling like full grown males do at the start. Its usually in the morning when the sun comes up, or maybe after a nice heavy misting you might hear a soft single chirp or two. Then over time it gets a little stronger, and lengths to a couple more chirps, and you start hearing it other times during the day. In a couple months if you do have a male you should hear him calling nice and loud.

*GREASER* 01-24-2005 06:35 PM

Im suprised the frogs dont reject food dusted with some thing so spicy

KeroKero 01-24-2005 06:45 PM

I was recomended to use the sweet peperika (also the cheap stuff) for supplimenting. I don't know if frogs could taste the spicey (birds can't, but that doesn't mean much in this case) or if the extra money is worth it? Does it have that much more Vit. A or is this a chef that wants the best for his frogs :wink:

01-24-2005 06:56 PM

a friend and I in montreal tested it on reticulatus' some were only giving the usual vitmamin dusted food and others were given paprika enriched food the difference was very noticible.

we then tested different kinds of paprika and i suggested the stuff i got from an india shop, again the difference was noticible not as prenouced as the first test but still a differnece was evident. the paprika i got at the indian shop was cheaper in price than the ones in the local grocery store (most spices are) they come in cheap plastic bags no fancy bottles.

it's even easier to get tads to take paprika just sprinkle it into the water but dont use too much.

Rain_Frog 01-24-2005 07:15 PM

thing is, many frogs can detect which insects taste bad in nature. Even if the frogs aren't bothered by the taste, how acidic, like our mouths, can really cause some pain. But frogs don't drink water, so I'd be a little cautious. :)

KeroKero 01-24-2005 09:46 PM

Cyberloach, I might have to get you to send me some of that stuff! Around here (MD) it is mostly asian markets (korean and chinese/japanese) so I don't think I'm as lucky as you. I could check the local health food/organic markets, but that stuff ends up being MORE expensive rather than less. I'd be really interested to try that stuff out in my own tadpole food (along with sprulina/chlorella and wild almond leave skeletons).

Have you guys had good success feeding tadpoles as a powder vs. flake? I've always used flake (even made some of my own) and never used powdered food before. I used flake size to determine how much was being fed and not overfeeding (how much they could eat in 15 mins) and the tadpoles went straight for them when dropped in.

I'm going to start a topic on tadpole foods in the beginner section (its a beginner/advanced topic but would be great for the newbs to learn) and would love you guys to put the tadpole related info on that thread as well.

01-24-2005 10:00 PM

the paprika i get is 2.99 canadian (about 2 dollars us) for 200 grams.

KeroKero 01-24-2005 10:13 PM

Yeah, when I get tadpoles going again, you're sending me some!

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