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Old 08-28-2005, 04:40 PM
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Default why arent Mantellas more popular?

i had to make the 8 hour round trip drive to sell my small family of Degus yesterday and i stopped by one of my favorite petstores. they had exactly 3 Mantellas left for sale. one M. betsileo which was much prettier than pics i have seen on the net and 2 M. laevigata one of which was skinny. they were on clearance for $20 apiece so i bought them since i figured the smaller one of the M. laevigata was skinny cause they were feeding crickets to large for him to eat. other than the one being skinny they look to be in excellent health. they all pigged out on fruitflys this morning which, the skinny one being a real hog, which makes me think i have the right idea about him. they are in a small holding cage at the moment and will go into a 10 gallon before long. they werent the M. madagascariensis, M. expectata or M. cowanii i was really hoping to find but they are a start and with 10 gallons comfortably holding a small group they are a good sized frog to fit in with our smaller house and i will get the others at some point.

so why arent these guys more popular? i know the dart frog hobby in general from the attitudes captive bred individuals are pushed heavily which is great but all CB animals somewhere down the line started as WC. plus it appears these guys will be just as endangered as any of the darts in another 5 years. they are smaller than most darts but not any different than the thumbnails.
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Old 08-28-2005, 05:10 PM
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That always crossed my mine. I mean they look just as nice as darts and they are at a fraction of the cost! I saw a painted mantella in petco once for 30 bucks... I was going to get it, but that was a few years ago and I didnt really know to much about keeping tropical frogs back then. But if I saw that now.. I would definitely buy it. But thats a really good question...
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Old 08-28-2005, 05:49 PM
 
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I wish I knew the answer to that one too. Frogs in general are tricky to care for for some people. I want to slap the person who invented that stupid "surf frogs" set up. There are a few reasons that I can think of.

Mantellas have huge egg production numbers, like a 100 or so per clutch, so unlike dart frogs, it is possible to have a few hundred froglets in a short amount of time. With so many frogs available the price of them has to go down so people can move them.

I still baffles me as to why we need to export Mantellas today. There are some really talented Mantella breeders in Europe and the States (Devin Edmonds, Ed Parker to name a few) Madagasgar is one rainforest depleted country. So while I am glad that these animals are available to the US. Do they need to be? Mantella numbers in the wild are still high, and the trade in them is cheap. Sad but true. Obviously when imported to many pet stores employees have limited knowledge regarding how to keep these amazing frogs. As a fruit fly vendor, I am still amazed at how many new people enter the hobby insisting on feeding their frogs crickets. Are crickets important? Yes very much so, but not for every feeding. Fruit flies are not hard to find if you look around, but the crappy examples that are readily available at Petco and Petsmart are determined to be the norm. They look like junk, and turn people off to working with them.

Mantellas have a bad rap because they are temperature sensitive frogs. Unlike dart frogs, Mantellas are high elevation species of frogs. They like it cooler, much cooler than dart frogs in general. 75F is the maximum temperature that M. aurantiaca can safely handle. Mark Stanizewski (sp?) has reported being in Mantella habitat where the temp was 7C. Cold indeed! I was told as a newbie all the time in pet stores to treat Mantellas like dart frogs. So after a few days at 78-82F the frogs have a bad outcome. A story I'm sure has been repeated many times. I think that this is one reason why Mantellas have a label as being a difficult frog to keep. Which is simply not true! Plus, bland orange frogs (like golden mantellas) that are hard to tell apart in a group can be frustrating/dissatisfying for keepers.

But the truth is these are easy to keep and very rewarding frogs. I love my golden Mantellas.

Dave
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Old 08-28-2005, 06:55 PM
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the temperature area is one place where Mantellas should really shine over Darts in my house. i like growing Nepenthes, especially highlands plus we like to sleep on the cool side so our house almost never reaches above 75 degrees during the day. 60 degree nights are the norm, 50-55 isnt uncommon. to help out my Darts during the day i have them sitting on the shelf directly above where most of my Highland Neps are so the tank gets bottom heat from the flourecent lights i use. it keeps the tanks at about the right temp for the darts.

i am hoping to put together my own bloodlines of several of the Mantella species from imports. CB doesnt seem to be too common here in the states with the exception of Goldens which i plan on getting some CB from Rich at Insular Exotics next time they are availible. so all in all i am excited to finally start working with the genus.
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Old 08-28-2005, 06:56 PM
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Ahh,
the old cricket vs fly debate.....


snip "They like it cooler, much cooler than dart frogs in general. 75F is the maximum temperature that M. aurantiaca can safely handle. Mark Stanizewski (sp?) has reported being in Mantella habitat where the temp was 7C. Cold indeed!"

I have kept them (M. aurantiaca) get as cold as 3.3 C with no ill effects. I have also kept them as warm as 26 C for several weeks with no problems but over 26 C I did see signs of heat stress. One of the items that is often overlooked is how these temperatures are reached in these animals. If the temperature rapidly increases over 75 F and the frogs are acclimated to 68-72 F then yes you will see stress/mortality in these frogs. If the change occurs over a period of weeks to a month or more then the frogs can take it a little warmer (in my case 79 F). The same goes with lower temperatures. There are critical upper and lower temperatures but these are often increased or depressed depending on the temperature at which the animal is acclimated and how rapidly the temperature changes.

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Old 08-28-2005, 08:16 PM
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Default Mantellas

I have been keeping and breeding mantellas for about 9 years the reason I think they are not as popular Is alot are drab and not as appealing to the comercial market.They are cheap and despensable in alot of importers eyes.Ed is right about the temp issue yes they are a little bit more sensitive than PA but like he said if it is done gradually they can take 78 plus degrees for limited amounts of time actually mine breed better with temp flucuations it is natural another issue is food.My mantellas out eat my PA by far they need alot of variety.I dont care what anyone says termites help them out alot when I get wild caught the first thing they eat is T-mites it can bring them back almost from death then I change it up fruit flys,field sweepings,baby spiders,etc.Also cowanii are not beginner frogs they are really heat intolerant nothing above 75 they will die real quick with elevated temps so if you do get some which you never know you may make sure you have the right setup first no impulse buying with them they are way to delicate WC. Right know I am feeding about 62 Milo tads and they are from one group?
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Old 08-28-2005, 08:26 PM
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thanks for the info and i will definatly keep your advise about M. cowanii inmind. may i ask what species you are keeping and breeding? winters are fairly long and harsh up here which limits food variety for 5 months out of the year but i will have fruitfly, springtail, isopod and hopefully termite cultures up and going in the next few months which hopefully will be enough variety to get me through the winters.
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Old 08-28-2005, 08:48 PM
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Default mantellas

laevigata,bernhardi,haraldmeieri,nigricans,milotym panum(green,red,yellow) aurantiaca(rubra).That is about all as far as mantellas go hopefully you will have enough food also I cannot stress it enough try and get larger groups.
later
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Old 08-28-2005, 09:10 PM
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yes i will be getting larger groups. i got these cause i could see that for the most part they were quite healthy, they were the last 3 mantellas that the pet store had, if they had more i would have purchased them. M. viridis is about the only species i am seeing on any dealers lists that were recommended to me at the moment. i am not terribly interested in M. viridis, atleast not interested enough to dump $200 on getting a decent sized group.

if you ever have CB laevigata availible i would be extreamly interested in purchasing CB individuals in the future.
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Old 08-28-2005, 10:54 PM
 
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I hear what you are saying about temp acclimation, and it is true. But how many beginner hobbyists are going to do this? Very few, save the saavy ones who have done their homework. But the real question was why are mantellas not as popular? Someone said it earlier, they don't have the pretty colors the others do. Ergo, the lack of Colothesus in the hobby as well.

Anyone who has some CB M. madagasgarensis can PM me anytime.

Dave
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Old 08-28-2005, 11:06 PM
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None, if no one tells them about it....

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Old 08-29-2005, 12:02 AM
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i just thought i'd pop in and stick up for the petco ff cultures Now no doubt ed is a great ff guy and his cultures are gonna be bigger and better (by all accounts...i have no personal experience with his YET)... But anyways when i first started with Dart frogs i had to rely on petco and petsmart cultures...at my local petsmart stores they only ever sold the hydei cultures which did well for me but they are tiny cultures and expensive and you need several a month to keep your frogs alive(i think in a one month period i actually had 75dollars worth of cultures goin at once for 4 frogs...insain)...both petsmart and petco cultures that is.

the petco cultures here were the mela's and the price was about the same but the culture was a little bigger and ofcourse more prolific then thehydei...but i will say i was impressed by the amount of flys they produced and how long they lasted, i had some last a very long time. Currently im using black jungle's bulk media and cultures mostly seeded from flys i got from them several months ago. I think media in the petco cultures is better...it seems to produce more flys for the same amount of media.

Now in the intrest of disclosure i did work for petco recently for about a month (then got a much higher paying job)...but trust me i have no loyalty to them. I think their cultures are fine for seeding your own or in an emergency but buying media in bulk and/or good cultures from people like Ed is definately the best long term solution. Biggest problem with the petsmart and petco cultures is they tend to sit on the shelf for along time and you gotta be in there alot or luck into finding them when they are fresh. OK i've said my peace oh and Ed...i think im gonna try your stuff on my next media order
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Old 08-29-2005, 01:25 AM
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I personally don't see why mantella's are not as popular as Dendro's. Many species of mantella are very beautiful, some ranking up there with many of the dendro's in my opinion. I think one of the main turn offs to mantella's though is that they are so SHY!!! This I have found is only true in their vivarium is setup incorrectly. A general rule of thumb I have noticed with all my mantella's is that the more hiding spots they have, the more you will see them. Also with the temperature issue, there are many species that really can tolerate high temperatures. M. laevigata, expectata and betsileo do come from much warmer regions, betsileo and laevigata even come from some islands (not sure if these are exported into the states though). So like darts, not all of them are highland species. expectata lives in a very dry arid region where temperatures sometimes get up to 95degrees F. While i was moving my collection this summer after I got married, my expectata was the last tank at my moms house, and one day the A/C gave up, the house got up to 98 degrees !!!! and I found my expectata still hopping aroudn like it didn't care. I am not saying to expose your expectata to these temps, but it is an example that some are heat tolerant. Laevigata is a species that has never shown symptoms to HRMSS (Heat Related Muscle Spasms).

It is also true that a lot of mantella's do produce a lot of eggs, but as typical with higher numbers, you do suffer more casualties generally. Most have egg clutch sizes ranging from 10 up to 120. Aurantiaca and viridis I believe are the only species that lay up to 120 eggs. Then for laevigata, I have never gotten more than 10 eggs out of one girl, but this species is very different and they scatter their eggs around instead of laying them all in one spot.

I would personally love to see more people successfully breeding mantella's, all species and not just aurantiaca. The hobby is going to need it, and the forests of madagascar REALLY need it. It is just the same as the dart frog hobby, ten years ago you could purchase blue jeans and histro's at the local pet store for $25, now look at how much they cost. I am very sure the demand of mantella's will be very high in the next few years, due to the limits of exportation being lowered more and more.

Anyway, enough with the rambling, if you have any more questions about mantella's, direct some my way, or Devin Edmonds can help you with anything as well. There is also a mantella group at groups.yahoo.com, named Mantellahobbyists if you are looking. On a side note, I have been very successful with breeding M. laevigata, and should have more froglets within the coming months. Good luck with your new specimens, and take care.

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Old 08-29-2005, 11:54 PM
 
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Quote:
i just thought i'd pop in and stick up for the petco ff cultures
I will spare you my diatribe on Petco, partly because I am a hypocrite and use them when my local fish supplier is low on aquatic supplements and such that I need. Even though Petco doesn't want people to know that other pet stores, like mom and pop businesses exists. But I will say this. If Petco FF cultures work for you *shudders* then use Petco FF cultures. I am always one to say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If they give you what you want and you are happy with the results, then great! That's the point right? When it all boils down what's most important is that your frogs get fed. Erin and I have even recommended Petco FF's to people (usually on a friday when we can't ship or overnight) across the country who are in a pinch and "need fruit flies now!" Just know that there are better choices out there.


Ed, once again I appreciate your posts on Mantellas. I hope that you stick with them because we need them in this country, and without people like you, and Devin and Rich, (and a few others I am forgetting at the moment :? ) we would lose a valuable area of the frogging community. I cannot recommend Mantellas enough, but personally I would say that they can be tricky. Hopefully hobbyists will make more break throughs with these frogs and more people can appreciate them. I guess that's where you come in.
Dave
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:17 AM
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ya petco ff's have their uses but stuff like ed's is the way to go. I was suprised at the lengths petco TRIES to do right by their animals....thats assuming that each store actually follows the corporate guidelines...but unfortunately half of what the employee has to do is fairly usesless...such as changing all the substrate and cleaning cages weekly. Sounds like a good idea but each cage in the rack isnt sealed off air/water tight from the next so unless we actually completely disinfected everything perfectly which is nearly impossible in that type of system, we actually do little to prevent the spread of parasites and/or disease between species wc and/or cb. Ofcourse each store's setups may be different then the ones at my local petcos. And alot depends on the actual employee doin the job...but usually we just ended up throwing away alot of good substrate for no good reason We did have a wellness room though where all animals were treated with medications and seperated from the main groups of animals and we were required to take animals to the vet. Also petco does endorse and actively tries to adopt out dogs, cats, small animals and herps...which ya gotta give them a lil credit for that. Well intentioned company but suffering from a lack of effective policies and knowledgable people.
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:35 AM
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Mantellas are a specialty frog not because of difficulty breeding them because of coloration simple and true there are alot of good books articles etc although very few here but they do exist get Marc Staniszewski's book mantellas it is without a doubt the best book for beginners and so called pros alike.Rattler it is really cool that you like mantellas not many people like them if so only the colorful ones my haraldmeieri arent very attractive physically but they are awesome frogs.
later
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Old 08-30-2005, 01:50 AM
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not to be a stickler, but this topic headline has nothing to do with petco, lol

ed parker
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Old 08-30-2005, 11:13 AM
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Nice thread, many good points have been brought up. One that I think should be mentioned though, and a reason that I think mantella keeping has never grown into what the dart frog hobby has, is the monetary value of mantella frogs. The general impression that I get is that many view mantellas as “the poor man’s dart frog”, or a cheap substitution for dendrobatids. That certainly is how they are often marketed by dealers and pet stores, unfortunately it seems to stick with them even when you talk to some of the serious dart frog enthusiasts. Rather than being thought of as an interesting and challenging genera of frogs to keep, they are more often simply considered to be a $10 replacement frog for those not able to keep dart frogs. I wonder, if Mantella pulchra sold for $70, would more hobbyists be interested? Not to say that their cheap cost is the main reason most dart frog hobbyists avoid them, but just that it’s one of many that attribute to their lack of popularity in the hobby.

The time when mantellas are available in bulk wholesale lots as wild-caught frogs is running out. We’ve seen species that were commonly imported by the thousands every year literally disappear from private collections. Madagascar is not a stable country, not one that has the resources to manage its wildlife well. If there is any hope that the variety of mantella frogs that are available now will be available to us in ten years more people need to catch on and give mantellas a try. And not just try keeping them either, it doesn’t do a rare frog any good to be looked at in a cage, cycle them and get more mantellas breeding.
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Old 08-30-2005, 03:12 PM
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wow this has turned into a better thread than i thought it would. my main gripe was i cant really find the species im looking for though thanks to this thread i may be able to purchase some CB individuals later this year. i really dont get the argument they are less colorful than darts. i dont particularily find some of the thumbnail species locales very attractive. while most of the Mantellas are actually pretty. even my "brown Mantella" looks quite nice IMHO. i guess the "cheap" label and the fact they are slightly more temprimental than averge darts are the leading causes.

as far as the petco portion. no biggy. heck the guy i talked to at Petco this weekend new more than some mom and pop stores when it came to Mantellas and darts. i stopped there cause they have the hay my chinchillas like. their fruit fly cultures looked fine if 1/4 the size of Eds Fly Meats. they are also the only place within a decent driving distance that has the Exoterras. while i wont purchase most critters from them i dont have a problem with them in general. infact i even saw a whites tree frog up for adoption, a critter they could have easily thrown in a tank and sold.
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Old 08-30-2005, 05:42 PM
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I can see where uusing one of those beverage refridgerators (as mentioned on a thread) to make a Viv for mantellas would come in handy.


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Old 08-30-2005, 07:55 PM
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That really isnt needed,I live in florida and the temps so far have not gone below 90.All I do is keep temps at a comfortable level until winter months then all my tads go outside even if temps are in the mid 80 water temp stays at around 75 which is fine for most mantella tad's except cowani.Mantellas are in fact some of the coolest frogs I have had the pleasure to work with and they will never be second rate to me.
later
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Old 09-01-2005, 08:58 PM
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Default Mantellas vs. Darts

Years ago, I kept golden Mantellas and at another time D. azurius, and D. auratus. I am thinking of "doing" small frogs again, but can't make up my mind. I want something that is not "shy". When I had "darts", they hid in the plant all the time except for feeding. The golden mantellas were awfully small. I was thinking of either the P. terribibilis or the Mantella viridis. Its not the hassle of fruit flies, in fact it easier than going to the store for crickets. But I would like to alter the diet on occasion for some variety. Any input would be appreciated to help me decide. Any other sugestions? I have the large Exo-Terra all set up with some of the modifications mentioned in this forum. Thanks for the "Heads up".
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Old 09-01-2005, 09:45 PM
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I would recomend golden mantellas any day of the week also if you want try some pumilio they are bold once established and they are beautiful.
cya
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