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Old 03-25-2020, 02:17 PM
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Default Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

Below is my effort to share my experience with breeding a frog that has been really tough (at least for me). My goal is to share my experience so that maybe other people can start breeding these gorgeous frogs. Also, I want to show folks that sometimes breeding dart frogs is hard, there can be lots of bumps along the way, and that it's a process learning how to do it effectively. I wouldn't say I have been very successful, but I am getting closer all the time. If you have experience with breeding Abiseo or other pepperi, please let me know so I can learn from your experience, too. You will see that I still have a long way to go.

I have had a pair (started as a trio but lost one of the females) since Summer of 2017. Breeding has been an absolute uphill battle. First, the second female just wasted away and died - could have been aggression or some sort of ailment, but fortunately it didn't seem to transfer to the other two. Following that, I had a pretty long time where they would lay eggs but only occasionally would they be fertile. I upped the Vit A and changed around some supplements and after a year or more, they started to lay fertile clutches much more often. Then, it was a matter of figuring out how to raise the eggs up to tads and froglets. For a long time, the eggs were fertile but I didn't do the right things with the tadpoles. I tried raising them in cups like I do all my other dart frogs. That didn't work very well, though I did manage to raise 3 healthy froglets that I have since given to a breeder who already had one or two males (sex on the froglets was unknown). Following that phase, I had another problem where the eggs were fertile and I would leave them in the tank for the male to take care of (as, I understand, Ameerega are supposed to do). Well, I lost maybe three clutches due to what I can only assume was egg eating. I have no idea who was doing it or why (there is only one female in the tank!), but I lost a lot of good eggs that way.

Several months ago, Tijl posted his Hahneli thread here on Dboard and that gave me some clues as to what to try next. Not everything has been the same with how Tijl (very successfully) raises his Hahneli, but there were enough similarities that I was able to sort of use some of his techniques to figure out arearing method that seems to be working for me. I now have maybe 4 - 5 young froglets, 12 older tads in the water and another 10 that have hatched recently. The conversion rate from egg to healthy froglet is still not what I would like, but I am getting some froglets for the first time in 3 years.

Here is what is working for me:
1) My pair are in a 90 gallon (18x48 footprint, 24" tall?) with a running water feature. It's a stream that they have access to that runs maybe a foot and a half kind of along the back of the tank. Here is the build thread:

https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pa...lon-build.html

I almost always DO NOT recommend that people put water features in dart frog tanks, but most (all?) Ameerega live along streams and I had read that running water stimulates breeding. I don't know if this is true because I haven't tried to breed them without it, but I do know that they have breed in this tank with a running water feature :-) The water feature and the fact that the tank opens at the top makes that tank much wetter than most of my dart frog tanks. I also have extremely bright light on this tank just coincidentally and it grows a lot of moss, baby tears, and bromeliads, among other things. I don't test it, but I am guessing humidity is usually in the 80s and 90s. I have an internal fan blowing all the time and I have vents in the back up near the where the fan is, but I keep them partially covered. The tank also has a canopy that has fans blowing in and out of it to control temperature of the lighting.

2) I feed them every other day - mostly melos with some hydei and occasional bean beetles. I am currently supplementing them with a rotation of TincMan's calcium and Egg Rite (Vit A) one day and DendroCare with Natural Rose (natural pigment/vitamins) on the other day. I supplement them every single time I feed. I think if I rotate Repashy products in there, I would probably be fine, too, but I have been having good success with this regime, so I am sticking with it.

3) They breed about every 6 weeks or so, I am guessing. I haven't really kept rigorous records. When the male starts calling a lot, it usually means that breeding is going to happen soon (or that there is a front coming through). I don't see the male quite as often as I see the female. When they are going to breed, I will see the male in the hut (half coconut with a butter lid under it). If I see him in there, he is usually either sitting on eggs or he will be in the next day or so. Once the eggs are in there and he is sitting on them, I lift the hut off and he bolts. I then replace the butter dish and steal his eggs. He had his chance. He probably resents me for it, but he should have been doing his job and he didn't, so it is what it is. He can take it up with the frog board of ethics.

4) I leave the eggs on the butter lid and put the lid in a plastic container with a flat bottom. I fill the container just enough to come up over the lip of the butter lid. I also put water in the lid. I cover the top with plastic so that it's basically sealed. I want the water level to stay as close to the same as possible so that I don't have to disturb them by putting more water in. I also don't want to forget to top it off and have them dry out so I just try to seal it for a couple of weeks. At this phase, I will commonly lose 10% to 50% of the eggs depending on how good the clutch was. Clutch sizes start around 20-25.

5) After a week or two (see above about my lack of rigorous record keeping), the eggs will hatch on their own, every time. I know that Tijl has to poke the eggs to free his Hahenli tads. I don't seem to have to do that. They all seem to hatch on their own without my intervention.

6) After they hatch, I leave them in the butter lid water for a couple of days so they can get their bearings. They seem very fragile at this stage and transferring them to the tad tank too early seems to be hard on them. Plus I am lazy and don't get around to transferring them right away sometimes. After a couple of days, I take them and move them to a 10 gallon tank I have set up for this purpose. This tank has maybe 3 inches of water in it and an internal pump that circulates the water and is the bacteria medium holder. I have it turned way down. The tads are really awkward and can't control their movement very well if the current is too strong, especially at first. So, for the first week or two, I will put them in a breeder net, inside the 10 gallon. This is so that they don't get blown all over the tank and so that the larger tads don't eat them. This happens with my Terribilis tads, too. They are super vulnerable to predation for the first week or so, then it's all good. This is another phase where there is a bit of attrition. Maybe 25% of the little bitty tads will die in the breeder net. The ones that remain seem more solid, though.

7) The next part is pretty standard. I feed the tads a combination of Dart Frog Connection tadpole bites I got from Taron at a show and TincMan's tadpole bites. The tads will eventually pop back legs then front legs. I have to be pretty vigilant when they get close to popping front legs because they don't seem to appreciate any of the places I provide for them to climb out of the water. I have to fish them out with a net and move them to a tilted de-tailing tank. Again, there is some attrition while they are growing as tads. I don't have enough clutches under my belt yet to figure out what this attrition level is. I can say that for my last couple of clutchs, I am guessing the total attrition rate after hatching is maybe 50% to 75%. It seems to be getting better as I figure things out.

8) Once the little fellas make it to froglets, they are pretty much like any other froglet I have raised. They have their own 20 Long that I put them in and they seem to grow fairly quickly. They are pretty shy, so I don't see them often. No idea how many remain in the tank at this phase. They are gorgeous, though, much more attractive than their parents.

My goal for the froglets in the foreseeable future is first, for them to be given to anyone that already has Abiseo so that we can deepen gene pool. Second, I would give them to anyone that has a proven track record in breeding (non-Chrome Bassleri) Ameerega. If you or someone you know falls into that category, please don't hesitate to contact me. If you ever see me offering these for sale, that will hopefully be a good sign because it will mean that I have given away enough that I don't worry as much about them disappearing from the hobby (or, pessimistically, I wasn't able to find ideal homes for all of them...).

Tijl, I want to again say thanks for sharing your experience with the Hahneli. Hopefully you can see where your methods helped me and you might be interested to see where I do things differently.

Mark



My Abiseo would think that this last pic looks delicious!
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

I'm glad my topic was helpfull for you!

You should defenitly feed your tadpoles Algae wafers. IMO the best are from the brand Hikari. Tadpoles that grow up in running water are adepted to eat algae of rocks. When providing them the algea tablets, the tadpoles get everything they need and thus your number of froglets will increase. When you give 'regular' tadpole food, your tadpoles only get a minimum of algea.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

That's a good suggestion, Tijl. The tank gets a little bit of random sun through the window which grows algae on the glass. I have seen the tads grazing on the glass where the algae is, so what you say makes sense.

Mark
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

Adopted from my human diet philosophy, the whole is greater than the sum of its individual components. Giving supplements is less effective then receiving micronutrients via whole products. I think the same can apply to fresh food vs dried foods. A more nutrient complete diet would be fresh algae. You could grow your own as a feed source(see algae scrubber(reef forums)) would be a lot more effort than wafers of course but may result in higher success rate. This is mostly speculative claims based on what Iíve seen in other domains, but may be worth the experiment.

Do you give special attention to the temperature(keeping it on the cooler side)?

Great post btw looking forward to your continued improvement.


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Old 03-25-2020, 10:42 PM
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I'm not sure this results in higher succes rate since you would be only offering them a one sided dieet from a single source.. I agree that 'fresh' food would be better, but we can never recreate or mimic their natural environment. That's exactly why supplements and other are super important in captivity. Hence the hikari products since they provide this.

Btw, the human diet is as artificial as our pets diet for many years now.. Vegetables, meat,.. everything is manipuled. Even the bio products..
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

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I'm not sure this results in higher succes rate since you would be only offering them a one sided dieet from a single source.. I agree that 'fresh' food would be better, but we can never recreate or mimic their natural environment. That's exactly why supplements and other are super important in captivity. Hence the hikari products since they provide this.

Btw, the human diet is as artificial as our pets diet for many years now.. Vegetables, meat,.. everything is manipuled. Even the bio products..
How many species of algae do they consume in wild/how many species species even exist in the average stream. A quick look through a couple papers pointed towards a minority(<30%) of streams contain two or more species with as maximum of six species. Microfauna is often shown to be very diverse but its likely not the case with algae. Food being under selection pressure(domestication) for certain traits does not falsify my claim of whole foods being a better source of nutrients than processed food where nutrients are provided by adding in food like equivalents. Going through Hikari ingredients there are a lot of products(vitamins) added in the fashion i describe as a food like product but ends of not being all that consumable(generally not applicable to anything fat soluble). Even more concerning is that there is soybean meal and wheat flour, which i have a real hard time claiming they provide any benefit, I'm more inclined to say they are likely harmful based on other animal/human studies. In this specific case where the natural diet is probably limited(in terms of algae) i'd say that gives a bit more weight to my argument. That being said i would still likely supplement with algae wafers if i was feeding a fresh algae diet, also i accept you have for more experience in this hobby and specifically with this species. All that being said my point was to give an alternative perspective on food options and point out a pervasive and flawed thinking i see about diet(whether human or animal).
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:52 PM
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I 100% agree we should look at different angles when it comes to foodscourse and you have a very good input and arguments, don't get me wrong. I would love to try and feed them live algae if i had the time and place to grow it.

My point is :

Breeding Ameerega has been proven very difficult, so I hope Mark Will have a lot of succes with this! The hobby could realy use some Ameerega breeders, Ameerega offspring and the 'how to' reports.

That is why I would advice him to get a hang of raising the froglets first by doing it they way I was able to raise them. That already is more work than usual dartfrog care. Lots of potential grow problems when it comes to Ameerega froglets. In my growreport I described giving froglets a big variaty of the smallest insects for example. Fruitflies and springrails are not enough for them.. The froglets absolutely need a big variaty of ver small (supplementen) insects.

So I just suggest to Mark he will try the easy way with his tadpoles before making it even more difficult by adding more work in raising these.
We don't even know for sure they will eat the live algea.. we do know they are easely raised and healthy on just the algae wafers..
So I would try and make the best of the eggs and tadpoles first while the parrents still breed..

This is actualy the same advice everyone is giving when it comes to fruitfly media &#x1f604;.. Try the easy excessible media first, later try to invent your own good media.. haha
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:16 AM
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I can also tell my experience with breeding Yellow/Gold Pepperi. I am by no means and expert, but I have had some pretty good luck up to this point.

Let me begin by stating that getting these frogs was my biggest challenge. I was looking for Abiseo and I literally contacted EVERY SINGLE PERSON who had posted information about them on social media. I live in Canada and I was even willing to pay some big import fees to acquire them from either the US or from Europe. After almost two years of searching I found only one person who had two males in Canada and only a handful elsewhere who had any, but no one would export. I was not surprised. Finally, it was Mark Pepperi himself who helped me out. I think he knew how badly I wanted them, so he gave me his last five yellow/gold breeding group. To this day I am still stunned. After I had success breeding them, he has also given me some of his Silverstonei, and Altamazonica Sisa and Copperbacks. I am pretty lucky. I have had luck with the silvers so far, but that can be for a different thread.

After acquiring the frogs (they were given to me on top of everything), I housed them in a Exo Terra 36x18x24. I put in a small pond area, but to this day I don’t think they even know it is there. Not one has ever gone near it. My group was also made of three males and two females.

For several months I had no luck. I tried to let them settle and acclimate to their new home and not stress over breeding immediately. I heard calling pretty early on and I still think it is one of the best calls imaginable. I found that they were fairly bold, especially the females. One male was a little skittish, but I could easily get close and observe them.

After several months I began to increase the misting in hopes of encouraging breeding. After a while I noticed that the males began to call more frequently and much louder. This has been true every time they breed. It could take a few days, but once this behaviour began, eggs wouldn’t be long behind. It is an amazing thing to witness. The calling just gets more intense over several days and then the day the breed it is climatical chorus of calling.

I have a coco hut and Petri dish in the tank for breeding. They have alternated between using the dish to deposit their eggs and just laying them in the leaf litter. My clutches have always been furtive, but I have had mixed results with clutch success. On the advice from Mark Pepper, I have always left the eggs in the tank until I saw signs of development. At that point I pull the eggs. I have gotten anywhere from 10% to 90% egg success rate. It is often how they have been laid that helps the chances of success. I find that they breed about every six weeks.

Once the tads hatch I have raised them individually in 16oz deli cups using distilled water and an oak leaf. I used Sera micron and Josh’s Frogs Tadpole pellets. I know this is not the best way to raise Ameerega for a lot of people, but my froglets look very healthy and they have developed a far brighter yellow and a larger percentage of yellow on their backs than any of my original group or most I see online. I am extremely amazed by how much yellow I am getting.

As of right now I have 18 froglets and about 20 more tads. I have lost egg in development and a couple of tads along the way. Once the egg has hatched the success rate is quite high. I have lost only two froglets. One had just come out of the water before I left for a ten day vacation and I couldn’t monitor it and another drowned in a small water cup I had for emerging froglets.

These are truly amazing frogs and I feel a lot of pressure to get my offspring into other breeders hands. My goal is to get some out to breeders in Canada first, but I have already made plans to export into the US. This may take some time.

Hopefully I haven’t gone too far and hijacked the thread, but I thought my story would help in this discussion.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:22 AM
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The first pic is one of my female breeders. The next pics are of some froglets. The first two are froglets about two months old and the last is probably 8 months old.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

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The first pic is one of my female breeders. The next pics are of some froglets. The first two are froglets about two months old and the last is probably 8 months old.

Great job!

How many froglets have you been able tor raise now and how long do you have these frogs? Just the 18? You should realy raise the tadpoles on running water! you will have no more loss of tadpoles.
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:52 AM
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These are all the ones I have raised so far. I have about 20 more tads at the moment. I have had the frogs for a little over a year and they took quite a while to start breeding. My clutch sizes have not been huge, but once the eggs have started developing my success rate has been pretty good. Here is a pic of a clutch I obviously just missed. This little guy refuses to deposit the tads in the pond or water dishes I provided.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:20 PM
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Ok great info.

Yes, Ameerega don't deposit in still water. That's another indicator why it's important to raise the tadpoles in running water.

I'm happy to read your so dedicated to this species. I'm crossing my fingers for you to get the tadpole count up!
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

Thanks for posting about this fantastic (but challenging) species. I believe i provided the hobby many of the Abesio-- I was fortunate with my breeding group. Unfortunately, my females have passed, leaving me with just two males. I'd like to give it another try and would welcome a private discussion.
Let me know,
Scott Menigoz
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Old 04-02-2020, 10:50 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

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Ok great info.

Yes, Ameerega don't deposit in still water. That's another indicator why it's important to raise the tadpoles in running water.

Where did you hear this from?

Iíve bred a large amount of different Ameerega, and all of them used still water to deposit their tadpoles.


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Old 04-02-2020, 11:04 PM
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Default Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

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Let me begin by stating that getting these frogs was my biggest challenge..
This makes me sad.

I left the hobby awhile back, due to personal reasons, and gave away/sold a lot of my Ameerega.
Now that Iím attempting to get back in, and getting back in touch with these people and they donít have them anymore. Not even UE is working with them much.

Iím in the process of trying to locate my Orangehead breeding group, and possibly my standard Oranges.
(If anyone knows who has these; let me know).

But yeah. I canít find any Ameerega anymore. Thatís a shame. Especially since it seemed like I was the only person working with them in volume, let alone breeding them on a regular basis.

In my experience, Ameerega are very seasonal, and need a defined wet & dry period.
They definitely need to be ďcycledĒ.

I also kept a ďpondĒ in all of their tanks as well, and I truly believe that attributed to their willingness to breed. I had to shut them all down, bc I was drowning in offspring between all of my different Ameerega tanks.

If you need any advice, Iíd be more than happy to share my experiences with you.


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Old 04-03-2020, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

I've got a 1.2 proven pair (and 1 female offspring) of A. pepperi Yellow/Gold that I've had success breeding. I bought the proven pair from a fellow a few years ago, and they gave me their first clutch exactly one year (to the week!) after I got them. I was originally looking for Abiseo, but couldn't find any, and these guys were pretty darn close. I really liked their look and coloring, and their call sold me.

The male calls most mornings and evenings at dawn and dusk, and I tend to only get clutches from them at the end of the year - October/November. I think the young female laid once as it was only about 4-6 eggs, but they were fertilized and I got a couple good froglets from that one.

I've got them in a 60g corner bowfront tank and keep it pretty wet. I designed a small pool in the front (which is just drainage water) where the male deposits the tadpoles every time. I've actually left many in there (instead of taking them out) and they've grown and emerged just fine.

I was told (and experienced myself) that they have a high mortality rate when morphing into a froglet. I raise the tads communally in a plastic shoebox bin. I've found many drowned with all 4 legs and a tail still. Once I see their front legs have popped, I'll transfer them to a crawl out bin with a shallow pool and easy slope to help minimize the drowning. The ones that I'd left in the tank's pool seem to crawl out just fine, as that has an easy slope to the land portion.
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Old 04-03-2020, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

Great pics & setup!

You are correct, Pepperi neomorphs/froglets are pretty sensitive. That was my experience as well. Probably why their clutches are so large ... by the time theyíre 4mo ootw, you might only have 3 - 5 healthy froglets. Lol


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Old 04-03-2020, 05:00 PM
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Yes if they have no other choise.. the tapoles will be deposited buy the parents, but the tadpoles will almost never make it to froglets.

I've done my research and in the past I contacted field researchers and also other breeders for confirmation if they depost in running water or not.. Good breeders always shared the same experience with me.

I just recently spoke to wildlife guide Angel Chulutalli who lives in Tarapoto, Peru. He send me photo's of a small pond with a small stream were A.Hahneli come to deposit tadpoles.
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Old 04-03-2020, 05:03 PM
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I hope you are able to find your breeding group or at least some Ameerega to start breeding again.

Try raising your tadpoles on running water in the futures. You will see you wint have just 4 froglets from each +-30eggs clutch, but you Will have +-30 froglets. &#x1f609;
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Old 04-03-2020, 05:39 PM
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Just a quick update on my recent clutch.
After about four days my male finally deposited 8 tads into a deli cup of still water. I have no idea how many tads they laid.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

I didn't mention much on the tadpole raising part, so I'll add more here. I've had success both pulling tads and leaving them in that small pool inside the tank. No running water in either scenario. Either way, I never pull the eggs as I feel so bad since the male is so steadfast in guarding them 24/7. I just wait for him to deposit them in the tank's pool and pull tads from there. I usually pull around half and leave half in.

For the ones I pull, I mentioned I keep them communally in a plastic bin. I use tadpole tea made from RO water and Blackwater Extract (and a tiny bit of methylene blue), and add java moss and sometimes throw in an indian almond leaf if I think about it. I feed them a rotation of Repashy Soilent Green, freeze dried blood worms, Omega fish flakes, and tadpole bites (ZooMed maybe?). I rarely have any tadpole deaths until they get their front legs. That's when they seem to be the most vulnerable and fragile. Once I see all 4 legs I pull them from the bin and put them in a crawl out tub.

The ones I leave in the tank, are just in about 1.5" of standing drainage water. I mist that tank pretty heavily, so there is always water in there. I'll siphon drain it when it gets too high, and it always seems to stay clean, clear and never gets stagnant. I feed those the same rotation of food, and there is already lots of moss and roots from the plants in the pool.

Both groups seem to grow about the same rate, and have the same success rate of ones to fully emerge. I'll pull the 4-leggers out from the tank as well, but also miss a lot that still seem to make it on land without my help. After most have fully morphed, I usually find several froglets hopping around in the tank over the next couple weeks.

All in all, I'm getting most of the eggs that hatch to successfully develop into frog-hood. I've come to see that their most critical time is right when they get their front legs. If I keep an eye and get them out, they're usually fine from there.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

Hey guys, I can only share some information on macero, as they are the only Ameerega species I keep atm. But I'm gonna get some pongoensis in a few months. =)

As for keeping the tads in running water. It's not necessary, at least for macero. I have had the same experiences as Gibbs.JP. I raise themcommunally in a plastic bin with lots of leaf litter, java moss and riccia and a small filter. So there is some current.
Once, the communaly bin was a bit overcrowded (they can be a bit too prolific at times), so I decided to throw the freshly hatched tads into the water pond in the viv and all of them made it.
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

I know a guy who breeds successfully many different Ameerega species (silverstonei, macero, cainarachi, pepperi, pongoensis). And his approach is very minimalistic.

He keeps the tads communally in a plastic bin with a lot of clay and very low water level of 2-3 cm (1 inch ). No filter, no water change, nothing and it works.
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Old 04-03-2020, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: Ameerega pepperi 'Abiseo' breeding and care

If anyone has orange heads, Iím looking for a female for my 1.0.1
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