Its been about 2 months since I finished the vivarium and it is time to add frogs!
I have known for a while now that I would be getting tincs but which morph?? I am pretty familiar with a lot of the bigger breeders having researched things the last few months but also from that research I learned its significantly better to buy from a local breeder if you can help it. Not only is it less stress on the frogs, but you also get to make a local connection with someone if you find yourself in a jam one day.
Fortunately there is actually a 'Virginia, DC & Maryland Dart Froggers' facebook group. I made a post there asking around for breeders and was informed that Dr. Sean Stewart lives in Ellicott City (the same city I live in). I had never heard of him before being new to the dart frog hobby. But apparently he has been working with the National Aquarium In Baltimore for some time and is responsible for (among other things) the importation of 'True' Sipaliwini frogs. That he is literally 12 minutes from my house was too cool to turn down. I contacted him through an email on his website
and after a little delay (he is a medical doctor and dealing with the pandemic) was able to purchase a producing pair of True Sipaliwini frogs 18 months out of water. I originally wanted younger frogs but ultimately didn't want to gamble on sexes, so I decided to just go with what I knew would work.
Leading up to my actually picking up the frogs, the vivarium itself has evolved slightly. All of the aquarium plants (anubias, java fern, and amazon swords) got zapped pretty hard when I dried out the vivarium a few days after starting it up. I was concerned about the humidity level at the time and really took things too far lowering the humidity with plants that were just placed. They might not have made it anyway but /shrug its hard to say.
I also took out one of the rabbits foot ferns as it was frankly crowding my background too much. The hair grass 'carpet' on the other hand never really took off. I got it to grow but it didn't form a dense enough mat. I decided instead to try Creeping Jenny and so far that is working great. Its definitely one of those plants that can take over the world so I will need to keep trimming it but that is not a hardship to me. I only have one vivarium after all.
Here is what the vivarium looks like shortly after introducing the froggies:
And here is a close-up of one of the froggies:
The male frog my 3 year old daughter promptly named Oreo. My wife named the female Biscuit. I have been keeping track of them by markings on the top of their head so given the angle not quite sure which is pictured.
Meanwhile one of the main tasks I had in preparation for the frogs arrival was squaring away my fruit fly supply. I had read on the forum that it was important to get your supply up and running well before frogs arrived so you could get a handle on fly production. This sounded like good advice. I did a lot of research into fruit fly media recipes both on this forum and elsewhere. What I concluded was that there are a LOT of ways to make media. At its core the only things you need to make a media is a starch, a protein, (and usually an anti fungal). Typically the starch is ether potato flakes or oatmeal, and the protein is yeast. This will make a functional fly media but in my research I also came across the idea of a 'nutritious' media to make a nutritious fly. Specifically there was a study
that found the addition of carotenoids in fruit fly media increased the successful production of tadpoles. There was a mention in this same study that feeding fish food to feeders of a different species of frog (not a dart frog) had a similar effect.
After reading this I decided I didn't want to just make any ol random fruit fly media but rather a nutritious fruit fly media. At first I planned to buy the various components to add appropriate levels of carotenoids but it quickly became apparent that this was going to be far too expensive. I switched gears and decided to add color enhancing fish food instead (since this already has the very same carotenoids I would be adding in a more pure form). In the end I settled on the following recipe.
1000 ml of Quick Oats
200 ml of Color Enhancing fish Food (I settled on Aqueon Cichlid Food Color Enhancing Pellets
200 ml of Distillers Yeast (at the time of purchase I could not find regular active bakers yeast due to everyone deciding the pandemic meant baking was awesome)
50 ml of methyl paraben
All of this was ground up in a blender till it was a fine powder.
Here is a look at the 'active' ingredients:
So why do this instead of just buying Repashy Superfly like everyone else?
Well I decided there will always be folks that want to DIY their own media (I being one). I also decided that most diy recipes care nothing for nutrition. This was my attempt at making a DIY recipe that would be nutritious while also trying to save as much money as possible.
The cost breakdown is this. The oats cost me 2 dollars. The fish food cost my 5 dollars. The yeast cost me 10 dollars and the methyl paraben cost me 20 dollars. The yeast and methyl paraben will last me a while though. This produced enough media to last me for 20 cultures. My best guess is that each culture costs me 55 cents. These are 1/4 cup cultures. Through trial and error I have found that 1/4 cup of media plus 1/2 cup of water produces a reasonably dry culture which lasts more then a month. At the end of a month the culture is actually gone, the flies have eaten it all. So far nothing has gone to mold even when I let the cultures go into week 5 or 6. Fly production dropped a lot though (I suspect due to lack of media).
I have been putting my cultures in an open container with diatomaceous earth on the bottom and eggcrate on the bottom as well to hold the cups just above the height of the diatomaceous earth. Here is what that looks like:
So far no mite issues.
And that brings me up to current! In the weeks to come I am looking forward to taking more pictures of the frogs as they become more accustomed to my presence.