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Old 05-25-2020, 02:25 AM
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Default Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

There are many dart frog keepers who have previous or ongoing experience keeping aquariums -- reefs, planted tanks or general FW community tanks. Some folks take up dart frog keeping after burning out from the expense and maintenance of aquarium (usually reef) keeping. Beginning dart frog keepers sometime cite aquarium experience as relevant to, or even offering advanced placement in, dart frog keeping.

I've always had from one to seven aquariums at a time (always at least one reef) for going on 30 years, long before I kept darts. Though I had a decade or so of herp experience before keeping darts (and lean on that experience in keeping frogs), I think I see a few factors from aquarium keeping that feature into some people's approach to dart frog keeping. These factors, I submit, are detrimental to dart keeping but are assumed by some to simply be the norm because they are the norm in almost all types of aquarium keeping.

They are:

(1) Community animal housing for display purposes. Aquariums, for all but serious species keepers (e.g. discus and some other cichlid keepers, serious breeders) are fundamentally displays. A display perceived as best has lots of animal diversity (many species, though possibly from the same "biotope"), optimization of space to fill (e.g. fish in different strata of the tank, schooling/shoaling fish that will group with their own but not other species), and maximization of different microhabitat populations (as many algae eaters/bottom feeders/surface feeders/midwater feeders as possible). Many animals are chosen mostly on the basis of size, color, acceptable community behavior.

(2) Technology as solution to stocking and design problems. If tank is to go in cool room, heating capacity is increased. Reefs, especially in warm rooms, are chilled. Increased (excessive) bioload is offset by increased biological filtration equipment and/or increased water changes. In reefs, coral placement issues (local aggression) can be addressed by added/altered flow; chemical aggression is solved by increased carbon/exchange resin filtration.

These are methods of animal keeping that -- regardless of whether aquarium keepers should embrace them -- should not be a part of responsible frog keeping, and need to be unlearned by those with experience in the aquarium hobby.

(1) I'm going to gloss over the obvious problems with this (please don't be that guy who gets this thread locked, OK?) to focus on an issue that doesn't come up much: the reason a person keeps frogs. It might be acceptable to house frogs simply as pretty display animals -- they certainly are beautiful and fun to watch. But I think this misses 95% of the value of frogs as captives: their fascinating breeding behaviors, 'social' interactions, and species-specific everyday behaviors that are lacking in group housing environments, or any viv that seeks to maximize frog population. Keeping a bunch of darts because they are one's favorite colors is buying a vintage Ferrari to make Home Depot runs. We live in a culture where simply having a desire and the means to fulfill it supposedly legitimates that fulfillment -- but still, what a waste.

(2) In aquarium keeping, throwing money and equipment and labor at a problem (caused by shortsighted planning, or by one's own insatiable desires overcoming judgment) can work -- the hardware exists. In dart frog keeping this is simply not usually the case. Heating vivs much more than a handful of degrees above ambient is not remotely a standardized process; cooling them is even less so. Ventilation issues are better solved by design than by fans; active cooling is simpler and less likely to become unbalanced or simply fail than passive cooling (and a frog cannot get chopped up in a screen top). Simply putting more powerful lights on a viv of poor dimensions (too narrow, too tall) is much less effective and causes secondary problems (heat, shading, light loss over distance) than simply designing an enclosure of realistic dimensions.

So, I'd like to offer this as the start of a discussion about the ways in which aquarium keeping methodology does not translate well into dart keeping methodology. What else do fish keepers need to unlearn to be good frog keepers?
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

Probably the biggest difference I have seen just from doing research into frogs and coming from an aquarium background is in breeding. With fish if you have the same species but from different locations and they breed in your tank it's just more fish. No one cares if you mixed locales instead its a question of how they look. Does this new fish have better colors then the parents? If not then its probably not a great breeding strategy, but if it has better colors well then its an improvement. Whole new and accepted 'breeds' of fish are made this way. One of the most common fish in the freshwater hobby is the betta. Yet the wild form of this fish probably makes up less then 1% of the bettas in people's tanks. The rest are bred to look VASTLY different from the wild type.

This same act with frogs is taboo.

The second biggest difference is in measuring animal happiness. With fish, breeding is generally considered the best indicator of animal happiness. If they are breeding then they have the right environment, right water parameters, etc. If something is off they won't breed.

Frogs from what I have been seeing on this forum are not the same. They will breed even when they have a space most would consider too small, with food that is not healthy enough, and with a tank otherwise not well designed for their needs. This seems to confuse a lot of folks coming from the aquarium hobby who do not do enough research. They see frogs breeding and assume they are fine and then wonder why their froglets have deformities or are surprised when folks tell them their tank is too small / not set up properly.
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:00 PM
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Definitely agree with the point on technology. With reefs if you didn’t design properly there’s almost always something to buy to help correct the issue. Algae issues, tumble some gfo in a reactor. Not enough flow, throw a mp-10 in. Tanks heavily stocked, do a extra water change... not knocking it, I always told
People when I had reefs, the more you spend the easier it is.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

Hi SM. What a very nice, well considered, and thoughtful beginning to a thread! Having kept both aquaria (though never salt water - too much hassle) and herps, I agree there are lessons both ways. I'd even argue that the core of your point is applicable across a broader set of taxa. What do different keeper/grower cultures find acceptable, and what purposes are considered valid.

For my part, I have no hybrid plants. I know, I know there is an entire separate discussion to be had about whether and how differently we do or should view plant keeping from that of keeping animals. I don't want to distract from your well constructed topic to get into that. Just that my motivations for keeping species plants are similar to those you state for keeping single species dart frog tanks.

This leaning I have also motivated my efforts when I decided to get an aquarium again a few years back. I was drawn by Endler's livebearers in no small part because you can find a whole community of people who keep "N-class" lines, which are pure species that in the best cases can have their lineage traced back to a collection point and year in their limited native range. Yes, there is line breeding as was pointed out with betas, but there is in dart frogs as well. Human desire can't entirely be extracted from our motivations for keeping animals.

In deciding to get these fish, I put together a system with a 46gal bowfront aquarium, an over sized trickle filter, and planted it heavily, all for the happiness of wild type guppies, who don't "need" that space. The aquarists I know thought I was nuts. I have no CO2 injection for lush plant growth (not safe for fish if something goes awry), and the plants are allowed to wander to where they feel comfortable growing (via runners, etc.). It's definitely not a display tank, but it suits the fish and me just fine. The tank was setup and planted for just over a year before I could get the fish I wanted (too many suspect "native class" fish out there). Something else the aquarists I know found odd; "you have a fish tank with no fish in it?!" Yes, it is a "community" tank of sorts as I have CPO (a species of dwarf orange crayfish) in there as a clean up crew, which can breed on their own as well. I liken this to isopods in a dart tank though.

I suppose my point with this is two fold. The first is that I think there are people who no matter the arguments are simply motivated to keep other organisms in their homes for different reasons. For my part, I want to know more about them, and indeed, get to know them. As much as possible I also hope their being in my care is as easy for them as it can be. The second reason is that I think there are pockets of interest that are not based on display alone in all areas. Some Endler's folks do that in tropical fish. (Back to plants, sorry) I also enjoy keeping carnivorous plants. There are oceans of hybrid Sarracenia and Nepenthes with devoted followers. Indeed in both cases the hybrids are more commonly kept than the species. I have tried to understand that interest. I have. It seems I am just not wired that way. Luckily enough for me, there are others who approach these plants the same way as I do. Those who want to listen to the story that each species, and sometimes location, has to tell about themselves.

I hope I have not taken this topic too far down the garden path. The core of what I wanted to point out is that keeping fish could be like keeping darts. And in my case I hope I am accomplishing that.
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:44 AM
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It sometimes looks like any wood object or terra shelf or arch must always be a platform for an epiphyte or plant instead of being available for the frogs to forage over.

Sometimes the spaces look crowded with flora that cannot support subject weight or have cover or climbing value in what is already a limited format. And it does remind me - of how corals are showcased in opulent arrangements but like too much exquisite furniture in the multi purpose room.

Plant idiot here disqualifier with a white flag, just saying. As a frog walk watcher.
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

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It sometimes looks like any wood object or terra shelf or arch must always be a platform for an epiphyte or plant instead of being available for the frogs to forage over.



Sometimes the spaces look crowded with flora that cannot support subject weight or have cover or climbing value in what is already a limited format. And it does remind me - of how corals are showcased in opulent arrangements but like too much exquisite furniture in the multi purpose room.

Agreed! In my latest build I've specifically left a whole bunch of the hardscape as forage area for the frogs
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:38 PM
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Lighting? Do reefers use as bright of lights as it appears?
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:44 PM
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Lighting? Do reefers use as bright of lights as it appears?
Ah, yes, that's a good one. Yes, it is as bright as it appears.

For an 18" cube reef, I think a reasonable LED is a Radion XR30W G4 -- 95w, with optics (lenses to direct the light). On an 18" Exo I would put a regular SD panel -- 32w, no optics. In both cases, the lights would likely not run at full power, but still that's way more than 3 times the light on a reef.
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:45 PM
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Lighting? Do reefers use as bright of lights as it appears?
Gosh yes, brighter really. A good off the shelf freshwater aquarium plant light might have 50 par/ppfd 24 inches down in the water. A really good one might do 100. Vivarium lights are similar of course.

Some corals easily need 500-800 par. And a lot of those reef tanks are big.. and deep..
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:42 PM
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This is a great topic. I have wanted to jump in but have been super busy. Now, much of what I would have said has already been said. The main thing I would say is that I believe I have done my last water change on a fish tank and the thing I have to learn most now is what to do with all the time that I used to spend mucking about with my fish tank! Seriously, the difference in maintenance between my 90 gallon when it was a planted tank and now when it is a frog tank is amazing. I think it maybe even more pretty now, too. So, you can see where my bias is :-)

It is a really interesting comparison between the dart frog hobby and aquariums (and between darts and reptiles, which is a whole other topic). There are tons of ways this is true, but the "community tank" culture, as has been stated already, is the biggest difference, I think. The fact that a community tank is the absolute norm in aquariums is profoundly different than what we advocate on this board for the dart frog hobby. It is just absolutely assumed in the vast majority of cases that you will have fish from every corner of the globe and their aesthetic value is what determines whether they are purchased. This was certainly true for me when I kept fish. I just didn't know any better. If I went back to fish keeping, I think my attitude would be very different after frogging.

I think that there are a couple of reasons for this. For one, I think that fish behavior is a bit more subtle and it's tougher to see if a fish is stressed than if a frog is stressed. Yes, you can look for fin clamping and other behavioral cues but I think it's tougher to see it standing out from the background behavior in fish than in frogs. In frogs, it's pretty easy to see if a frog is skinny (at least for me - maybe I am speaking from experience more than I know) and frog aggression is pretty obvious, too, again if you know what you are looking for. Regardless, I think that there is stress going on in community tanks, it's just tougher to see and I think this factor, along with how cheap your typical freshwater fish are, that has made aesthetics rule the day in the (especially freshwater) fish world.

Another factor in play might be that many kinds of fish die fairly routinely compared with frogs. Folks are tempted to just move on rather than trying to figure out why a fish dies. I know that was true for me. What that probably means in practicality is that there is a lot of background stress in a fish tank that doesn't need to be there. The fish culture, though, doesn't really see this as a bad thing to the point where this kind of tank is prevalent.

So, what I had to learn after coming from fish is that the animals are the most important thing and I need to invest energy in learning what they need and making their little lives as close to nature as is practical. There is a whole range of how to interpret that, but for me I needed to come back toward an animal-centric view as opposed to purely aesthetics. This board has taught me a lot about that and I appreciate all of the zealous advocates for frogs on this board that take so much time to write about how to best take care of our wee friends.

Mark
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:07 AM
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Recovering Discus addict here. I have been 6 years, water change free. I still dream about Discus and sometimes wonder about that 120g in the shed with a couple of fluvals in it, but no. Not until I retire, whenever that might be.
I got my first Discus when I was 14 and have had them, on and off, the majority of my life. I love the wild types. I hate the Asian, Wattley, pedestrian hybrids. Who names a fish after a cigarette, for pity's sake? (Marlboro Reds for those who don't know about Discus). The wild strains remind me of our wild type frogs. Beautiful, exotic and able to make the toughest guy pause and marvel at what a world we come from. Maybe you can outdo nature, in a narrow aesthetic, but the story will never be the same. See this blue frog? That's an Azureus tinct, and looks exactly how Mother Nature made it.
If anyone ever develops a glow in the dark dart frog, I might give up my pacifist ways. There are aquatic aberrations that exist in the aquarium world, because it is main street commerce, catering to the lowest common denominator.*
We want to share our love of these animals, but with folks who can appreciate a premium rarity. And who are willing to be diligent enough to keep them that way. It's not elitism, it's discretion. We are frog connoisseurs, not snobs.
That is a good description of, at least, how I view our curated amphibian hobby. And the one thing frogs do that no fish does- is sing. To have a hobby that includes both sight and sound is pretty special, in my book.

* I'm not suggesting that their are not highest denominator aquariaists, there are. But the attitudes that many have developed, are based on the exploitation of cheap, flashy, disposable fish.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:36 AM
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It's not elitism, it's discretion.
This!!! So much this!

(If I may use social media vernacular for a moment.)
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:09 AM
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I'm a cross over from sw aquariums to frogs, and I used my aquarium technologies to aid in managing my frog habitat perfectly. I did come here for help and was pretty much shut down. My biggest hurdle was temp control. I needed a 10 degree bump during the winter and a 4 degree drop for the summer.

Using a temp controller was 1st, with heating equipment choices of a ceramic heater suspended to give an overall ambient increase, with a cable underneath to give an added boost. the winter temps were perfect and the frogs thrived. Again with the use a temp controller added with humidity controller for the summer. It's already 84 degrees in the room with my frogs. Temp controller is set to 79.9 and humidity at 85. I mounted a thermo-electric chiller which gently maintains the temp of the tank. A fogger to spring into action if the chiller brings the humidity down too low. The main mister is a mistking. The temp and humidity have remained perfect, and the frogs are active and thriving.

I enjoy creating the environments and this has been alot of fun, it may not work for everyone, but it has worked for me. I started in sw aquariums 35 years ago, and did alot of things that were discouraged, which are now commonplace. While you can warn about equipment failures, your whole house equipment can fail as well. I have alarms when temp and humidity get out of range and a number of quick replacement equipment if need be; and a generator, portable ac's, portable heaters. I've been doing this aquarium thing in the desert of LV for a long time so I've been prepared. I lost my ac over 4th of July weekend one year, didn't lose one fish or coral.

The frog hobby could learn alot from the aquarium hobby. So far I've found a huge mortality rate, and some of the reasons is the lack of support to new hobbyist.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:31 PM
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I'm a cross over from sw aquariums to frogs, and I used my aquarium technologies to aid in managing my frog habitat perfectly. I did come here for help and was pretty much shut down.
Huh. Looking back at that thread I see many helpful suggestions from a number of users. Even I -- who have a tendency to err toward negativity -- gave some useful info about heat pads. Not sure what else we could have done.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:16 PM
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I have alarms when temp and humidity get out of range and a number of quick replacement equipment if need be; and a generator, portable ac's, portable heaters. I've been doing this aquarium thing in the desert of LV for a long time so I've been prepared. I lost my ac over 4th of July weekend one year, didn't lose one fish or coral.

The frog hobby could learn alot from the aquarium hobby. So far I've found a huge mortality rate, and some of the reasons is the lack of support to new hobbyist.
Sorry you felt like you were shut down. I am assuming you are talking about your thread about controlling the heat of your tank. If it was broader than that, I am really sorry. It is never the goal of anyone on this board to make people feel unwelcome.

I don't feel like this quote is very fair, though. We focus heavily on supporting new hobbyists on this board (in spite of how you may feel you were treated). Part of that support is providing easily-followed advice that can be replicated by the greatest number of people possible. That list of equipment you have is not something most beginners are going to have lying around. Controlling the temp of the room is so, so much easier in most cases than trying to micro-manage temperature and humidity on a tank-by-tank basis. Don't get me wrong, I am really glad you found a solution that works and that allowed you to tap into your considerable knowledge about fish. Plus, we figure that you will eventually get bit by the bug like most of us have and you will be having to duplicate that solution on a lot more tanks :-)

Most of us that have been here a while write things that we assume will be read numerous times over the next several years by people that will never post. That means that we err on the side of caution and assume that people are truly new to the hobby. That may mean that some unorthodox (at least to our eyes) ideas are not immediately embraced, but I think it saves a lot more frogs to pitch to the lowest common denominator. When it comes to husbandry techniques, we are a pretty conservative group, by and large.

Now that you have tried out your solution and found it successful, it would be really helpful if you go back to your thread and post a write-up about what worked, what you might have changed, etc. Now, it is no longer theoretical and maybe other folks can benefit from your experience.

I would ask you to cut the folks on the board some slack, though. They are usually trying to serve more than one purpose with what they write because the audience is always much larger than just the original poster.

Best of luck,

Mark

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Old 05-29-2020, 03:56 PM
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They are usually trying to serve more than one purpose with what they write because the audience is always much larger than just the original poster.

Best of luck,

Mark
The above encapsulates a motive of reply purpose I see here, and find myself following to perhaps an extent that could use a little decorum sometimes, but I truly do 'forget' the OP person almost every time in my focus on topic at hand. Topics are searched and input becomes permanent inscription.

I thought that people respectably engaged with you Cougareyes, on that thread. I hope you take it as a rite of passage, a bitter rim on a goblet robustly passed, a nerd gang beat-in, if you will.

Returning to Encyclia's point, and directing it openly thats why its so important to title topics relevantly.
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:00 PM
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nerd gang beat-in
We need a subforum titled exactly that.
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:03 PM
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nerd gang beat-in
Pretty sure that's a punk band.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:45 PM
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Pretty sure that's a punk band.
It is beauteous. But I cannot be accredited with it, tempted though I may - it was in a body of text on a field herping forum thread, describing the culture dynamic of sciencey discussion board newcomer social dynamics, a small segment of a sentence in a reply that Stuck. I should research the author of this warm gem.

Ah but it is perfect, isnt it?
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:52 AM
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Here I go again, bordering on derailing SM's great thread. Forgive me.

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a nerd gang beat-in
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describing the culture dynamic of sciencey discussion board newcomer social dynamics
Kmc, I think that you are absolutely on to something here, and I swear it relates to the thread. Stay with me.

Nerd beatings are part of the scientific process (not to be confused with the scientific method). Think peer review. Scientists love to find holes in each others ideas like perhaps no one else (with the possible exception of philosophers - but then again science was born of "natural philosophy" so perhaps there is an inheritance there). Scientists rarely mince words about this either. The feedback tends to be direct and challenging. It is something we have to train graduate students to deal with as, more and more, they are not trained by society to cope with this important part of the process. I believe it to be the second most challenging aspect of the process of doing science to instill in people.

To me this suggests that nerd beat-ins for groups with scientific interest may be borrowing from the culture of science itself. I would not find that surprising in the least as these groups are what I think of as science adjacent, if you will, in their interest. Here is where I believe it relates to this thread. From what I am hearing there is a large portion of the community in fish keeping that views their hobby as art. The aesthetic and design rule the day. Whereas, what is being argued for dart frog keeping is more science adjacent: learning about the frogs, their habitats, behaviors, etc., then designing the enclosure to suit.

Perhaps the heart of this thread, and some of the tensions I have seen here in my short tenure, are driven by this art and science divide. Not that it is necessary to focus solely on one in exclusion of the other. Simply that the driving motivation for each can, even if they lead to similar results, create a philosophical division in purpose. This is why I think those were such astute observations, Kmc.
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Old 05-30-2020, 03:57 AM
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Theres no art lost in mechanics of nature. Theres nothing but awe there as well.
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

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From what I am hearing there is a large portion of the community in fish keeping that views their hobby as art. The aesthetic and design rule the day. Whereas, what is being argued for dart frog keeping is more science adjacent: learning about the frogs, their habitats, behaviors, etc., then designing the enclosure to suit.
I think this is a very astute observation. Inside the freshwater aquarium hobby there is not much agreement on what the hobby should even be called. It is simply referred to as "The Hobby". This is because different people pursue it from very different angles. There are aquascapers who focus on the layout and design of hardscape and plants, there are fish keepers which focus on the fish and their needs as primary. And then there are breeders that focus on breeding fish. There is of course a LOT of overlap in these different areas and then whole sub sets of each. You could have breeders that only keep guppies or aquascapers that are only interested in dutch style tanks etc etc. Saltwater is its own animal completely apart from all of this even.

The frog hobby from my observations thus far is not nearly so diverse. Most people seem to be generalists that are doing a little of everything. So when comparing the two it can be awkward because the fish hobby is broader, aquascaping is considered an art by those that practice it. But if you told a die hard 'fish keeper' that 'fish keeping' is an art they would likely vehemently disagree with you, etc.
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:20 PM
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A big school of tetras - any type - in a broad and deep tank blows the mind like colored lightning. They outlive their community tank counterparts in their tiny "schools" of 4 or 6 among other fish and grow unexpectedly big with age. They can easily live a decade.

As humans, we have all the opportunities in the world to Do Art. Strategizing a captive space for pleasant exertion, enrichment and security, can exist without strain along with artistic inclinations. Indeed, intuition and a kind of mental transference is often at play when building environments for animals.

Otherwise it is more like flower arranging or a decorative pursuit. It is much harder putting animal realities first but thats what makes it an art of living truth rather than an illusionary picture.
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:58 PM
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If there is a peeve or undertaste of judgement noticeable in my post up there it is there. I cant disguise it as an aftereffect of having to work with animals under the heavy hand of human motive, along with my own inner questions about my part.

Its a very serious thing, keeping animals. We have to consciously be aware of our selfish human character.

The art of generosity to those of extreme vulnerability to our whim.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:35 PM
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Inside the freshwater aquarium hobby there is not much agreement on what the hobby should even be called. It is simply referred to as "The Hobby". This is because different people pursue it from very different angles. There are aquascapers who focus on the layout and design of hardscape and plants, there are fish keepers which focus on the fish and their needs as primary. And then there are breeders that focus on breeding fish. There is of course a LOT of overlap in these different areas and then whole sub sets of each. You could have breeders that only keep guppies or aquascapers that are only interested in dutch style tanks etc etc. Saltwater is its own animal completely apart from all of this even.

The frog hobby from my observations thus far is not nearly so diverse. Most people seem to be generalists that are doing a little of everything. So when comparing the two it can be awkward because the fish hobby is broader, aquascaping is considered an art by those that practice it. But if you told a die hard 'fish keeper' that 'fish keeping' is an art they would likely vehemently disagree with you, etc.
I find that a really interesting and accurate observation about the fishkeeping hobby. I guess I never noticed because I unconsciously considered, say, aquascapers and L-number pleco breeders to be engaged in two different endeavors -- both a part of aquarium-keeping, I suppose, but about as related as skin divers are to submariners.

The aquarium hobby is large enough (many niches, many keepers, a longer history) that someone with a dedicated Tridacna tank doesn't even cross paths with someone who breeds African cichlids. (When I worked in an LFS, if I got caught by a customer in the cichlid room, I pled ignorance, disinterest and fear and went to get another employee to help them.) The forum availability is similarly diverse, and compartmentalized.

The dart frog hobby isn't so large that it can partition itself so readily. Even more, it is small enough that it could be engulfed; it seems that many people want it to be the core of the likely-to-get-larger "bioactive" viv movement (big scare quotes there), and not everyone is excited about that. Well, I'm not, anyway; keeping darts has nearly no relation to keeping a rosy boa in a glass viv with plants and bright lights and springtails -- the history of, and the reasons for, the husbandry methodology is completely different. Charitably, it is convergent evolution (though the adaptations are to far different selection pressures in each case), but realistically I think it is just pitiful imitation motivated by novelty.

And maybe that is part of the resistance I feel to dart-keeping being something like a terrestrial version of fish-keeping: it ain't. Dart keeping can be ridiculously simple (box, plants, frogs), hopelessly low-tech (an LED light and a hand sprayer), and marvelously focused (a pair of frogs, period). There are corners of aquarium keeping that are like this -- the very rare old school fish room guy has this kind of hobby, and maybe betta keepers -- but they are not remotely the norm. And these corners of the hobby are on the way out; trace the development of the reef hobby from Robert P.L. Straughan to the very typical keepers now who have Apollo 11 levels of hardware to keep $400 "Australian donut corals" that they don't know even the genus of, or care. Much of this change was motivated by "improvements" in the hobby, but very much has been lost, too.
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Old 06-01-2020, 05:51 AM
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I was actually talking about this subject earlier today with a fellow reefer! While there are a lot of differences, there are also a lot of similarities; people who enjoy creating/sculpting/setting up habitats for their own enjoyment and interest. I personally have both, starting to get back into dart frogs finally because I am just now starting to have enough time in my military career to be able to do these things, and I got back into reefing a year ago. Being able to see these different habitats and being able to create a piece of your own relaxation in your home whether it be terrestrial or underwater is very rewarding, and like I said very relaxing (when things are going right of course)
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Old 06-01-2020, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

I've found this to be mostly a pretty useful and thoughtful thread. Fixation, or unthinkingness, is a bad, bad habit or trait.

One thing I found maybe a tad off-key:
Quote:
The dart frog hobby isn't so large that it can partition itself so readily. Even more, it is small enough that it could be engulfed; it seems that many people want it to be the core of the likely-to-get-larger "bioactive" viv movement (big scare quotes there), and not everyone is excited about that. Well, I'm not, anyway; keeping darts has nearly no relation to keeping a rosy boa in a glass viv with plants and bright lights and springtails -- the history of, and the reasons for, the husbandry methodology is completely different. Charitably, it is convergent evolution (though the adaptations are to far different selection pressures in each case), but realistically I think it is just pitiful imitation motivated by novelty.
I find that consciously, intentionally distinguishing between "why", and "how", is useful in many aspects of life. I think the above excerpt focuses more on "why", but I think many people come here looking for help on "how" (perhaps either not having thought about their own personal why, or wrongly assuming theirs is shared by others). I'm not throwing rocks, by any means - I totally respect SM and always appreciate what he has to say, and really just love the goofy irony of the handle.

While mostly I advocate for personal liberty, and broad latitude to pursue one's personal "why", I also really identify with this:
Quote:
Its a very serious thing, keeping animals. We have to consciously be aware of our selfish human character.
It really is. We really do.

I also share the disdain or dismay I sense in some others, of those whose personal "why" might tend more towards mere "gadget geekery" (or perhaps, internet exhibitionism?) at the possible cost of the animals. Like, "look at my awesome all-automated nano-ditto-dicko-whatever". Hello target fixation - too small is just too small, even if your lights can re-create moon phases and lightning shows. I feel like that is some ugly shit coming over from fish-land. Mostly I appreciate industry providing solutions to stuff that used to be a real hassle (overnight frozen mice? are you kidding!) but sometimes we need to remember to not let the tail wag the dog.

Oh yeah, this.
Quote:
I did come here for help and was pretty much shut down. My biggest hurdle was temp control. I needed a 10 degree bump during the winter and a 4 degree drop for the summer.
I remember the discussion from when it was happening. I really don't recall thinking "damn, that dude just got shut down". (There's little enough of that here, that it's memorable when it happens.) Sorry you found us unwelcoming. I'm dead certain it wasn't intentional. I think you bring value and thoughtfulness, please stay.

Anyway - a few reactions to what you all are talking about. Like I said, mostly I like it. Not that anyone anywhere needs anyone else - least of all me - to like them or what they think or say. Nobody should be out hustling for "likes" - that's not IMO a legit "why" to be here.
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:10 PM
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I'm super new, dont even have frogs yet. The thing it seems that I should take from the reef keeping world is to do as much research as possible before getting an animal.
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

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I'm super new, dont even have frogs yet. The thing it seems that I should take from the reef keeping world is to do as much research as possible before getting an animal.
Welcome to the board! I would also add that it's best if you look into the requirements of the animal you plan to get and build your enclosure with those requirements in mind :-)

Mark
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

Coming from a reef background, I really enjoyed reading through this thread. I think most of the observations are spot on. I have a few of my own...

I truly appreciate the push that a lot of frog keepers do to get people to keep only like species and like morphs together. Although I believe some people go way overboard about it, I do appreciate the mindset. In the saltwater aquarium hobby, the fascination with morphed out clownfish is quite disturbing to me. While the issues to not do it are vastly different from dart frogs, it has always seemed to me to be a bastardization of the species. And believe me people pay ridiculous amounts of money for them so it isn't going to stop any time soon.

I agree with the observation about technology making up for overcrowding and other husbandry issues as well. It is too easy to be successful with a saltwater aquarium these days if your wallet is big enough to make up for your small mind.

I always built my tanks, from 20g up to 300g, with the inhabitants health in mind. That transferred over to my vivarium. It is a converted 130g reef tank and I only did that because I spent $2300 on the tank and didn't have any place to put it when we moved. So I did a lot of research and decided to make it a happy home for some bumble bees.

I am enjoying the frog hobby much more than the reef tank hobby. (My wallet is too)
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Things I had to unlearn as an aquarium keeper

excellent talking points! I have FW Pakat Betta tank and a 60g marine tank w/ fish and coral, and recently started up my first viv earlier this year. My trusted LFS owner also raises frogs in his store which prompted my interest.

naively, I went in thinking I could do exactly what I do w/ my fish tank. add different color frogs for a 'display' look. I quickly learned (mostly on this forum) that strategy is a no-no in herp husbandry.

I've been reefing for a little more than two years and, after lots of $$, time, and a serious tank crash, I reverted back to as simple a setup as possible, and it's been rock solid ever since. I don't have a sump, I don't use filter socks, I don't dose (all of which i was doing before). Just water changes and regular maintenance. i.e. K.I.S.S.

I applied this logic to my viv, and it and my three Powder Blue's and plants are thriving.
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