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Old 08-25-2007, 08:03 PM
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Default For those obsessed with their tadpole water

you might find the following pictures interesting. When I first started out breeding PDFs, I was obsessive about keeping the water clean but over time, too many tads and the desire to experiment led to the following. Basically the water has not been changed at all but merely topped off to compensate for evaporation.

Food regimen consists of Frog/Tadpole bites supplemented with Spirulina/Chlorella/Naturose once every 4 days. A portion of Indian Almond leaf is added to spring water and a 16 oz. deli cup is filled approximately 3/4 of the way full.

All photos taken today.







Needless to say the tadpole containers don't exactly smell like roses but they are producing good soon to be froglets.

Bill
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:32 PM
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Blimey :shock: kust one tad per cup? or a group? do you think volume of water has anything to do with it?
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Old 08-26-2007, 02:57 AM
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Nice development. What is the temp of the water? Are they kept in a container to help diminish evap? as that can affect temp. Second, What foods are you feeding the parents before breeding?
Nice job though, can save a lot of time. I have been experimenting with a set up like that from Brian's tropicals.
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:02 AM
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The water temps run in the low to mid 70s. The containers are mostly exposed to the surrounding environment though I have experimented with a small incubated setup and have not seen differing results between the two situations.

The parents are fed almost exclusively a diet of FFs supplemented with RepCal:Herptivite:Naturose (3:3:0.25) daily.

I was under the impression that Brian's setup provided for water circulation and filtration if you are referring to the setup I am thinking of that he offered for sale.

Bill
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ
Blimey :shock: kust one tad per cup? or a group? do you think volume of water has anything to do with it?
Paul,

With one tadpole eating and defectating you'll get a nasty mess within weeks but it seems to have its own equillibrium, presumably due to bacterial growth. I have seen similar nasty water yield good froglets out of broms and film cannisters but suspect the larger volume helps with the auratus/tinc/leuc etc. type tads.

Bill
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:10 AM
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I tried a similar experiment with some azureus tads using those same containers. The only difference was an oak leaf instead of almond.

Like you, I kept the water topped off just below the ventilation holes. The water was never changed over the entire 8 wks. of tad development. I fed them tadpole bites 3 times per week.

The tads morphed successfully and were the same size as those raised in water changed once per week.

The experiment definitely made me reconsider how clean the tad water really needed to be. For the time being, I have chosen to change the water at two week intervals (the unchanged 8wk old water stunk too bad to try again!) and I might switch to every three weeks which would result in two complete water changes before the tads morphed.

I now view the whole regimen of constant water changes as masochistic at best.
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:09 AM
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We have been working on a tadpole experiment for the past 2 years and found the above mentioned ideas Bill has posted, to be very useful.

I would like to share the results of what we have found...

For our water we use 5 gallon jugs of Ro water mixed with 35ml of Atison's Betta SPA for the conditioning. This is far superior over the Kent black water in a side by side 2 year test. Kent is a peat extract as Atison's Betta SPA is a wild almond leaf extract.

We then add 10oz of conditioned water + small amount of duck weed and 1 small oak leaf to a 16oz cup and set under a 4 foot shop light for 1 week to age the water.

After the water sits, it will start to form algae. This is the time we move to a large temp controlled container with heater set at 78 and a small powerhead for water movement. Water level is set just at the base of the containers to keep the temps in with the tadpoles about 73-75.

Next we add 3 tads per cup and a small amount of java moss to keep everyone happy.

Feeding consists of Frog/Tadpole bites twice a week, supplemented with Spirulina ever other week for the first 3 weeks. After that the algae in the cups provide all the food needed.

As for the water change, we never do. We just top off with conditioned water from the 5 gallon jug.

When we go to reuse the cups, we will lightly rinse, as not to wash out the good algae, and reuse for a second batch of tads but never for a third time.

I have added some photos to show the size comparison of the tadpoles and how water quality can vary the growth rate with our testing.

This first photo will show three cups in far left corner. The cleanest is changed 50% every 3 days second one is just a bit darker at 50% every 2 weeks, the darkest is topped off when needed and no water change.



The second photo will show 3 tads in a container. The one on the far right is the 50% every 3 days , the far upper left is the 50% every 2 weeks, the bottom left just topped off with tadpole water.



The last photo is of the no water change cup. Note how clear the water quality is.



After years of test and trial we are very happy to share this information
with others, in hopes this may help in some small way to preserve the species we work with.



Thank you for your time.
Kevin
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRM
Feeding consists of Frog/Tadpole bites twice a week, supplemented with Spirulina ever other week for the first 3 weeks. After that the algae in the cups provide all the food needed.
The Frog/Tadpole bites are fed all through the tadpole's life, up until they just start to pop their front legs. The Spirulina is the only thing stopped after the third week.

Sorry for the confusion, it was a late night of posting.

Kevin
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:23 PM
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Do they eat the duckweed and java or is this just to stabilize the env and soak up nitrogen?
Nice setups.
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogfarm
Do they eat the duckweed and java or is this just to stabilize the env and soak up nitrogen?
Nice setups.
We have found that the duckweed is used in 3 ways. First, it provides a sense of natural shelter for the tads when they are at the surface of the water. Next, from time to time they like to nibble on the algae that will form on the roots. Lastly, it aids in the control of organic waste matter in its own small but very good way.

As for the java moss, it too provides the same benefits as above, and
as the tads reach 4-5 weeks old they tend to regulate their own diet in the way they use the algae. They will go from the very dark to the fresh, light green forms of algae and back to the java moss for a more solid plant food matter.

With the combination of the duckweed, java moss and addition of Atison's Betta SPA to the water, we have found a more stable, stronger and healthier environment for our tadpoles.

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Old 08-26-2007, 06:27 PM
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Bill,

Have you had any interesting results using the java or similar plants in the cups?
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Ro water mixed with 35ml of Atison's Betta SPA
So where can one get ahold of this stuff?

Are the cups with the tads in it partially submerged in your setup or are they on top of the egg crate just above the water?

It looks lke a real nice set up. I am working one one similar to this but not with the Atison's you mentions, but with Kent's Black water.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:35 AM
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Kevin,

I've used java and other plants in communal setups for Epips and they enjoy munching on the plants. But I didn't see any real difference in results although I suspect the plants keep the water a bit cleaner.

Bill
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:37 AM
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dragonfrog,

You should be able to find Atison's SPA through freshwater specialty shops in your local area. If not, we have it available for sale on our website.


The cups are set on top of the egg create with only 3/8" of the bottom sitting in water.


Kevin
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:04 PM
 
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This has been a very informative thread to follow! Thanks for posting this information. I am not anywhere near close to raising tads of my own- but it's great to read about successful techniques for use in the future.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:36 PM
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Default tad growth

I have been doing some testing as well. I put a 10 gallon tank together. The only thing in the tank is java moss and one of those small wonder charcol sponge filters powered by an air pump. Temp runs between 69 and 72 degrees F. I feed the tads live black worms but only about twice a week. No water changes per say. I do siphon some of the poo off the bottom and top off as needed.
The cup frogs are placed in the small "salad" container. The water is pre mixed one teaspoon of tetra Black Water Extract to one gallon of water. No water changes just top offs. And I feed them live black worms. Temps are a little warmer as they cups are kept in a large container with a lid. Around 73-75 F.
WOW what a difference!! My 10 gallon tads are nearly 3 times the size of my cup tads. Not sure why but it's working and I've learned to leave well enough alone.

Just my 2 cents,
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:42 PM
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Every time these threads pop up I have to laugh a little bit, it always shocks people that tadpoles like it grungy. People used to make fun of me when I started (going on 9 years, scary!) because I kept my tadpoles so "dirty". I had kept fish for years, and kept my tads like my fish... the water was clear and clean, the tank wasn't pretty, but I had HUGE froglets morphing out, and growing fast. It was all about detritous! Grungy tanks make for happy froglets when done right.

One thing I have to mention as a major key to this system... a MAJOR reason why most people are told to do regular water changes - besides passing on what the person is just used to doing - is that the majority of keepers over feed their tadpoles just as much as their adult frogs :roll: Overfeeding, just like in fish tanks, fouls water quality - no amount of plants to keep the water clean will help that. What makes this system work has a lot to do with the keeper feeding less, and the tadpole grazing more... constant food is much better than feedings! By allowing these set ups to age well before a tadpole goes in them (well before the clutches are even laid!) you're setting this up.

This system takes a bit more time to set up due to preplanning, but pays off in the end
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:15 PM
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i agree....my philosophy has been if you clean out the container you are doing a disservice.....also found that phyllos and epips love munching mud and leaves more than anything in these "dirty" set-ups
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:25 AM
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This is the setup I finally came up with, and yes it looks like Brian's, but hey, it looked like a good idea. So far I like it. I think it will be much better when the "crud" grows in more. I put in some pond plants that float and had a lot of algae on their roots. The tads are loving them. And they have grown a lot in just one week. Their front legs should be popping any day now. Azureus, I think, possibly Cobalt. I don't keep track until they morph and you can see the colors.







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Old 08-31-2007, 03:29 AM
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I think this is one of the best threads I have seen on tad rearing. If it gets better, how about making it a sticky?? Kyle??
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:50 AM
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Has anyone researched if our tads get parasites. i know I`ve read, in one of ed`s posts, something about a problem w/ smilasca tads getting a nematode of some sort. I`m sure they could harbor protozoa and bacteria, etc.
does anyone think that these "dirty" setups that aren`t sterilized between clutches could build up unsafe levels of possible parasites?

Currently I`m raising my tads in solo cups w/ leaf litter and feeding about 3 times a week w/ tropical flake foods. I`m looking to find glass so I can sterilize and further reduce my waste here. I`m also experimenting w/ different leaves from around the property. i have been intrigued by black walnuts use as an antiparasitic. Still have to research whether it`s the leaves, bark or nuts that supposedly kills parasites and what types. so far I`ve noticed some oaks work great some don`t. Some are eaten wholeheartedly, some don`t decompose or get eaten but provide surface grazing area. Next I`m going to start some tanks w/ all the types of leaves I find on the property, everything from box elder, black walnut, ash(before the beetles move in) silver maple, sugar maple, shagbark hickory, beech, birch, poplar etc.
I`ll see what I find w/ springtail and woodlice preference. I`m sure it will relate to the calcium bearing substrate to provide more minerals and trace elements. i`m a little worried about doing this for the terribilis though. I was thinking about stuff like rhubarb leaves. I wonder if stuff like that gets into a terribilis` system if they could sequester and change the poisons?
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:47 PM
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I agree with others, great thread with a lot of useful information. Thanks to everyone who posted their experiences.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:03 PM
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dragonfrog - that's not what I'd consider a grungey system... the filter cleaning the water I think kinda tosses it out of the grungey category. A good grunge tank has no filtration whatsoever. That set up is basically like an automated way of doing water changes to clean water :roll: (while I like the idea, I dislike the carbon used in many of these filters as it removes the needed tannins and I use tadpole tea for a reason! I don't want it to be removed!).

Aaron - Any tadpole set up will have the chance of getting parasites in them... and the more things you put in the systems, the higher the chance of introducing something you don't want. Live plants that people put in these systems often are the culprits... but it can range from the substrate, detritus, plants, and even the tadpoles themselves.

I had an anthonyi grunge tadpole tank running for over a year with tadpoles constantly being rotated thru it. I didn't develop an obvious parasite issue... but I was careful about what I put in the tank, especially the plants. Substrate was initially cleaned before put in the tank. Leaves had been boiled for tadpole tea before being put in the tank, and thus were clean. I made an effort to put in only clean plants, but I don't remember what I did off the top of my head... a process used to remove nasty stuff from plants from tanks where fish had been sick type deal. ***All the tadpoles in the tank were from the same parent tank***

I think the last bit is important... eggs and tadpoles may in theory carry things from the adult tank, so what the adults have, depending on how you care for the eggs, the tadpoles may have. I don't cross contaminate my tadpole tanks by adding in tadpoles from other breeding groups... one tadpole tank per breeding tank of frogs.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:42 PM
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Default Tad Tank

How does the thought of an air stone or bubble wand appeal to keepers? I have been using them and they seem to be working well. Any thought?

Thanks,
Dan
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Tad Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanC
How does the thought of an air stone or bubble wand appeal to keepers?

If you are keeping tanks in the range of 2.5-10 gallons they work fine.

But if you are keeping containers 20oz or less there's really no benefit or need.
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Old 09-01-2007, 06:44 AM
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Dang, so my every other day water changes are not needed
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Old 09-01-2007, 05:39 PM
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^^^ Only if you're a masochist!
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Old 09-02-2007, 06:44 AM
 
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Since we're talking tad rearing, anyone have a list of what can and can't be kept in a communal tank?
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
dragonfrog - that's not what I'd consider a grungey system... the filter cleaning the water I think kinda tosses it out of the grungey category. A good grunge tank has no filtration whatsoever. That set up is basically like an automated way of doing water changes to clean water (while I like the idea, I dislike the carbon used in many of these filters as it removes the needed tannins and I use tadpole tea for a reason! I don't want it to be removed!).
I agree Kero. My hope is that even with the filter system it will get the needed bacteria to flourish. The main purpose of the filter is good water circulation which is also done by an underwater pump. As for the tannins being removed, I read two things, first, if you use charcoal in the filter it will remove the tannins but only for awhile until the charcoal ages and no longer performs as intended. The other thing (and what I do) if you use little ceramic beads instead of charcoal, you will not have this problem. I have since added two more tads to this tank and they are doing well.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonfrog
I agree Kero. My hope is that even with the filter system it will get the needed bacteria to flourish. The main purpose of the filter is good water circulation which is also done by an underwater pump. As for the tannins being removed, I read two things, first, if you use charcoal in the filter it will remove the tannins but only for awhile until the charcoal ages and no longer performs as intended. The other thing (and what I do) if you use little ceramic beads instead of charcoal, you will not have this problem. I have since added two more tads to this tank and they are doing well.
The thing I've done most similar to this was in a 5.5 using an undergravel filter... it provided low water flow with using the substrate as the filter and encouraged bacterial growth.... the bacteria that will clean the water at least. I did get some nice sludgey bacteria film growth - what the tads eat and a major component of the grungy tanks - and it was in large part because of the detritus and nutrient build up... much like algae, it's needs nutrients to grow... just gotta make sure they aren't the ones that will kill the tads!

IMO - I just don't like all the water movement... they live in puddles in the wild... the undergravel had very little movement, and anything strong than that seems too much too me. Having the charcoal have to go bad to not lose your tannins defeats any purpose of using it in the first place (which I don't anyways, but it's a waste of money and time). I'm not doubting the tads will do well, but definately not grungy, and not a set up that I really see ever getting really grungy...

True grungey has no mechanics!
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:40 PM
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Being a chronic over feeder I change my water but I have done some water temperature tests and found that I get more consistent results if I keep the water in the mid 70s. The problems seemed to happen in the winter months when the basement may dip into the high 60s and with heating the majority of my tads it cleared up the issues.
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:49 PM
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Like most people we used to change ours 1-2 times a week. Now, I set up the tads with a piece of spaghum moss in the container and feed 1-2 times a week with tadpole bites. Once I changed from fish food to tad bites, I stopped changing water.
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:57 AM
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Like Kyle, I use an incubator setup for tad rearing - the standard Rubbermaid type tote with lid, egg crate platform, and water heater. While my containers aren't "grungy" by this threads standards, I still only change the water a couple/three times during tad development.

I like Kero's ideas about tad "grazing" and having a constant food source available which may promote bigger frogs. I would like to give this a try and I have already set up several cups with the necessary plants, leaves, etc. under lights in order to get the algae buildup going.

I wonder, though, if the algae and plants will thrive once the cups are placed in the incubator since there is minimal light inside. Does anyone have experience with "grungy" setups inside tad incubators?

Steven
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:28 AM
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If you remove the lid to your incubator and lower your lighting to about 1' from the tops of the cups, algae will continue to grow and the plants will get the lighting they need. Keep the water level in the tote so that it covers 3/8" of the bottom of the cups. Only top off the cup water as needed. Put Methylene Blue in the incubator water (not the cup water) to prevent algae from growing in the tote.

We have yet to change the water in our tote since we added the Methylene Blue and it's been 3 months.

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Old 09-05-2007, 01:35 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, Kevin.

I went shopping for clear plastic totes yesterday and found several types that will work as tadpole incubators and allow light in for algae growth. With the new setup, I should be able to have the best of both worlds - a humid, temperature stable environment for tads and eggs, along with plenty of algae and "grunge" for the free ranging herd.

I hadn't thought about adding Methylene Blue to the incubator water to keep it clean. Great idea. Thanks.

Steven
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:39 PM
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Just wanted to make a quick note... while I'm all for grungey set ups, I'm not for algae growing set ups. That's not what these guys are really eating in the wild (puddles on the forest floor are not condusive to algae growing). I'd taken to keeping floating plants over tad tanks (duckweek, salvinia, etc) to reduce the light and outcompete the algae, while supplying the nutrient cleaning of plants, like in the pics Ben posted. Not enough light for java either. Lots of detritus. All surfaces are slimey with bacteria, not algae, exactly how I want it. The little algae that grows is quickly kept in check by the tadpoles, and I never get green sides...
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:46 PM
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But the same concept should work for floating plants, right? They need light to survive, and to use those setups in an incubator you would either need to remove the lid or use a transparent lid. The remaining grunge would buildup as tads were raised.

One other question: After a tad morphs, do you replace the water (leaving the grunge in place) or just top it off before adding the next tad? If you keep the existing water, how are any growth inhibiting hormones left by the previous tadpole dealt with?
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:53 PM
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I raised most of my tads communally - not with tinc group tads or thumbs, but those were usually left in tank anyways - and all I did was a partial water change, left the detritus, substrate, and everything there.

I didn't have a lid over my tadpole containers, and they just took the ambient light from the rest of the room, or the tank they were next to. Now I'd probably have to sit a light on them just because the floating plants I like to use now need more light, where duckweed grows just about anywhere with light lol.
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:22 PM
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Yes, duckweed is prolific if its anything! I tend to look at it as macro scale algae - give in a drop of water and a lumen or two of light and you've got a carpet of miniature lilly pads!

I'm eager to give this a try. I'm using duckweek and java moss for the plants and a leaf or two for "substrate". The new incubator should work nicely as well. Only problem is waiting for several months and a couple sets of tad clutches to see what sort of difference it makes.
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:33 PM
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Just beware if (ok, more like WHEN) the duckweed grows over, it may block enough light to keep the java moss from growing... handy for keeping algae levels down, not so handy for keeping java moss alive. I've got duckweed in my mudpuppy tank along with java moss, and I tend to have to thin out the duckweed to make sure the java gets enough light to do well. If you're not careful, this also gives algae the chance to do well! It can be a delicate balance :evil:
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