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Old 10-23-2009, 12:19 AM
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Default Dis-biotopic displays

In talking with people who have traveled to areas of Central America and visited populations of D. auratus and O. pumilio, one of the things I noticed is there comments about how they would often find frogs in trash piles and among human debris (some of the highest population densities I've heard people recount were in piles of garbage). These species seem pretty adaptive to disturbed areas and things like bottles, cans, bedpans--pretty much any vessel that can hold water--become excellent tadpole deposition sites.

In an attempt to make aspects of my pumilio and auratus enclosures as biotopically correct as possible, over the last year I've been experimenting with adding various bits of garbage and refuse. I started with some old beer bottles, but the water in those would turn rank as they didn't get washed out frequently enough and would fill up with dead fly carcasses. Old pieces of metal debris, however, rusty and aged with moss and lichen, have worked out really well and add an interesting element to the enclosures. The vast majority of it is just for looks, but in some tanks the only suitable deposition sites are cans, tins, etc. with collected water in them.

I recently set up some new vert tanks and had my camera, so I thought I would share a few images. Things will obviously look better when things start growing in and start looking nice and grungy:









Sometimes, turning over cans and pieces of metal, you find one of these:



This is a peek inside a 30 gal tank that has been going for a while. You can see some fairly recently added cans and debris, but there are other pieces that have become completely covered with moss and epiphytes:

dvknight, doncoyote and cbreon like this.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

That's pretty interesting Ron. Do you do anything to sterilize the trash or do you just add it in as is?
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

I like the trashier one on the bottom
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

I think that's really artistic and cool, it totally reminds me of an Alexis Rockman painting.

Not going to be copying that idea into the new display cages though .

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Looks very neat.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

do the frogs get tetanus shots
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Very cool idea! Reminds me of garbage and old junk in the ocean. I always get excited when I find old bottles underwater because they're always home to cool fish and other neat things.

Same thing when in the woods........old boards and other stuff are often the best place to find herps.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:15 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

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Do you do anything to sterilize the trash or do you just add it in as is?
I collect a lot of this stuff along rocky riverbanks, yanking it out from between stones and under roots. If a piece has a lot of sand/dirt/spiderwebs and whatnot on it on it I'll rinse it off a bit with some water...but no, I don't really worry about sterilizing it.

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I think that's really artistic and cool, it totally reminds me of an Alexis Rockman painting. Not going to be copying that idea into the new display cages though.
Wow, that's a huge compliment. But be careful with those new cages...I might sneak a rusted out coffee can or two into them at some point.

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do the frogs get tetanus shots
No...but I've gotten pretty close to needing them.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

What a novel Idea. Now I can stop paying for trash pickup and spend saved money on more frogs therefore using more trash
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

One of the first threads on dendroboard tht I am completely.... speechless? Interesting idea that's for sure. Everyone has a trashy side, I like to keep mine for parties with young girls, you like yours in your frog tank designs.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

they look amazing, but aren't you a little scare that the rust woudl be harmful to the frogs?
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

I just got a tetanus shot, i might give that a try.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:32 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

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Originally Posted by skylsdale View Post
In talking with people who have traveled to areas of Central America and visited populations of D. auratus and O. pumilio, one of the things I noticed is there comments about how they would often find frogs in trash piles and among human debris (some of the highest population densities I've heard people recount were in piles of garbage).

I wonder how many insects these trash piles produce, maybe that is why they find them so appealing. I love the tanks. Very different and cool idea.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

I wouldn't worry about the rust, iron oxide is a natural product anyway. Many rainforest streams are loaded with iron oxide, its not really a big deal.

What would worry me would be traces of petroleum distillates/hydrocarbon solvents found in paint cans, waxes, and other hazardous products. And the older the container, the more likely it had toxic componant in it, ie lead, arsenic, etc. To top it off, I've seen many a completely disintegrated container that has holes in it and all, and yet the chemical inside is still there.....so traces can definately still be present.

If I was going to use trash, I'd at least get it out of streams where it's been washed for decades :-)
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:41 AM
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I wonder how many insects these trash piles produce, maybe that is why they find them so appealing.
That could be part of it, but I think (and I thought there were some studies out there, but can't recall them specifically at the moment) that a large reason is available deposition sites. I know for auratus, and possibly for pumilio as well, that they tend to have a preference for secondary forest and areas of disturbance over the pristine primary forest areas we usually think of.

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What would worry me would be traces of petroleum distillates/hydrocarbon solvents found in paint cans, waxes, and other hazardous products. And the older the container, the more likely it had toxic componant in it, ie lead, arsenic, etc. To top it off, I've seen many a completely disintegrated container that has holes in it and all, and yet the chemical inside is still there.....so traces can definately still be present.

If I was going to use trash, I'd at least get it out of streams where it's been washed for decades
That's a good point, Josh. And actually, the piece you see in there with the piece from the wax can, etc. I just put in there today and am rather wary about it. I will probably remove it, actually. Most of the rest are old tin cans (probably held food items) that were tossed down on the riverbank from my house probably sometime in the 1950's. Actually, the vast majority of it is stuff I've fished out of the river while snorkeling...so it's been thoroughly washed.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

i have to say its more "natural" than a coconut hut!
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Another image of various tanks:

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Old 10-23-2009, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

I feel like your vivs are what I'd be more likely to see were I trekking through the forests of South America (or most forests for that matter). While it's sad that there are refuse piles so numerous that they've become preferred homes for PDFs I must say that I'm happy to hear that fauna is adapting to the less than ideal conditions we've altered their homes to be.

Anyway... Your tanks are surprisingly appealing! Very cool idea, and very original idea .
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:44 PM
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One of the first threads on dendroboard tht I am completely.... speechless? Interesting idea that's for sure. Everyone has a trashy side, I like to keep mine for parties with young girls, you like yours in your frog tank designs.
That ain't no lie either!
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Only pumilio are in those, what morphs? I use those same shop lights, the amount of light they reflect is ridiculous
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:01 PM
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Only pumilio are in those, what morphs?
The goal with my collection is to focus primarily on Central American species. The bottom row has three forms of pumilio (Cayo de Agua, Chiriqui Grande, Isla Bastimentos). The tank on the top left has R. summersi (an exception) and the other two tanks are just growing in and getting established for future inhabitants.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:05 PM
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I think that's really artistic and cool
Couldn't agree more. Nice work
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Very different! I've got to say... I really like the look of it.
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Who knew trash could look so nice!
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

I love these cages. Can't say that I am opposed to it. I have been trying to do a Mayan or ruins type cage design for awhile. Tho this is different, it's kindda in the same vein of a ruined landscape taken over by nature. I love this. Very nice.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

They use old ships to form reef's why not this.
Very cool.
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:10 PM
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Practical Fishkeeping magazine (UK) had an article a couple of months back on a British biotype housing sticklebacks that featured bricks and a discarded drink can! Quite a quirky idea and certainly nice to see a positive spin on humananity's worst habit.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:56 PM
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Just because there are hi pops doesn`t mean it`s the best environment or healthiest populations. I think the trash feeds higher insect pops which lead to pop explosions. the opening that`s created by the trash making for better habitat than thick forests may be another reason. Our trash also makes for good water holding vessels but can water may be less then optimal for long term health of tads deposited there.
Look at LA and new york city, they may be dense pops but I don`t think they are the healthiest. I think it may be the same thing going on. Because there are ports there is room for hi pop densities in spite of the higher pollution value.
Nice looking tanks.
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:26 PM
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Only pumilio are in those, what morphs? I use those same shop lights, the amount of light they reflect is ridiculous
What shop lights are they? Where do you get them?


These tanks have a unique look...
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Old 10-25-2009, 06:18 PM
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What shop lights are they? Where do you get them?


These tanks have a unique look...
These at Home Depot Lithonia Lighting - 4' Diamond plate Work light - 1241DPGESB - Home Depot Canada
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:26 PM
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Just because there are hi pops doesn`t mean it`s the best environment or healthiest populations. I think the trash feeds higher insect pops which lead to pop explosions. the opening that`s created by the trash making for better habitat than thick forests may be another reason. Our trash also makes for good water holding vessels but can water may be less then optimal for long term health of tads deposited there.
Hi Aaron, I'm a bit confused by your comments. The reasons you give as to what may be contributing to population success are general population factors of success: ample food supply and suitable breeding sites. Disturbed areas and garbage piles have both, which would lead to higher success and densities of populations.

Quote:
Look at LA and new york city, they may be dense pops but I don`t think they are the healthiest. I think it may be the same thing going on. Because there are ports there is room for hi pop densities in spite of the higher pollution value.
I'm still confused...what do you mean by the term "healthy?" Assuming a population has a large density and continues to do so, one would infer that there is a plentiful enough food source and variety in territory and suitable breeding sites for it to remain viable and successful over the long term.

I recently talked to an amphibian researcher who recalled visiting family in the Manoa valley frequently as a child, and he said the best spots for him to find auratus were a dump, a used tire pile, and a dumpster. In all of these locations were containers holding water (and immense mosquito populations). He posited that a critical component to auratus successfully establishing on Oahu was the fact that when the introduction of the species was made in 1932, fewer people lived in the valley but those that did were mostly from lower income groups and refuse piles were more common then that they are today. Along with a few plant nurseries that were also in the valley at the time of introduction, this created an abundance of tadpole deposition sites needed for them to establish a solid population.

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Nice looking tanks.
Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:52 PM
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Different... but unique. I like.
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:13 AM
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Hi Ron, Has anyone ever done studies on how long the animals in the dump live? I`m saying that life expectancy may be shorter and health problems may be higher if they are being reared in rust water or areas of hi toxin concentrations. Just because they are plentiful doesn`t mean that they live long and don`t suffer health problems not seen in more natural areas. We know they can reach maturity at under a year and breed quite prolifically. Lack of predators can also lead to higher densities than in their home environment. High densities mean good depo sites and food, not necessarily health. Iguanas fed from dump sites are plentiful but not necessarily healthy. I understand that more relates to nutrition found in the food we dump, but the situation could relate.
Funny, I was just watching "bones" as I was typing and she stated that crocadilians raised in clean water had larger genetalia than counterparts raised in polluted water. Until the dump raised are tracked and compared to natural populations as to thei life expectancy, resistance to disease, parasites etc. you can never know.

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Originally Posted by skylsdale View Post
Hi Aaron, I'm a bit confused by your comments. The reasons you give as to what may be contributing to population success are general population factors of success: ample food supply and suitable breeding sites. Disturbed areas and garbage piles have both, which would lead to higher success and densities of populations.



I'm still confused...what do you mean by the term "healthy?" Assuming a population has a large density and continues to do so, one would infer that there is a plentiful enough food source and variety in territory and suitable breeding sites for it to remain viable and successful over the long term.

I recently talked to an amphibian researcher who recalled visiting family in the Manoa valley frequently as a child, and he said the best spots for him to find auratus were a dump, a used tire pile, and a dumpster. In all of these locations were containers holding water (and immense mosquito populations). He posited that a critical component to auratus successfully establishing on Oahu was the fact that when the introduction of the species was made in 1932, fewer people lived in the valley but those that did were mostly from lower income groups and refuse piles were more common then that they are today. Along with a few plant nurseries that were also in the valley at the time of introduction, this created an abundance of tadpole deposition sites needed for them to establish a solid population.



Thanks!

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Old 10-26-2009, 12:53 AM
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Very nice...if you were to lay them on tanks would the tubes be hitting or the lip on the sides? That was kind of hard to understand...what im trying to say is if you put them on a flatt surface where is the weight of the fixture being distributed?
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:59 AM
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Hi Ron, Has anyone ever done studies on how long the animals in the dump live? I`m saying that life expectancy may be shorter and health problems may be higher if they are being reared in rust water or areas of hi toxin concentrations. Just because they are plentiful doesn`t mean that they live long and don`t suffer health problems not seen in more natural areas.
I understand you better now. I don't think rust (i.e. iron oxide) is anything to be worried about as it is contained in the vast majority of tropical soils (hence the red/rust color) and many streams have a high iron oxide content. Also, I don't see any reason taht a can with water in it in the rainforest is going to be any less "clean" than a plant axil: both are getting washed out and refreshed, housing similar microbes, etc. Obviously toxins could be a concern that might be leaching out of the specific debris...but beyond that, I don't really see much of a difference (do you think debris piles have higher levels of "baddies" that could cause frogs illnesses...more than the various parasites found in the 'natural' rainforest?).

But you're right: until side-by-side studies are done, we just won't know. But just because something seems more unnatural to us, assuming fairly equal factors, doesn't necessarily mean it's harmful to the organisms involved.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

Bromeliads could aid in keeping nitrogen levels lo, making for larger froglets or froglets that morph quicker.
I`m not saying that the iron oxide is going to be a problem. I`m saying exposure to oils, solvents, etc. in a dumpsite could lead to reduced immunity to pathogens. Fertilizer runoff causes reduced resistance to the parasites that cause leg malformations in frogs(along w/ higher snail pops which harbor the parasite responsible). In a dump under abnormally high population, you could see higher instance and load of certain parasites from them being more in contact then in their natural densities. There is higher chance for disease to spread in abnormally dense populations. There are many possibiliteis when creating an abnormal environment.


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I understand you better now. I don't think rust (i.e. iron oxide) is anything to be worried about as it is contained in the vast majority of tropical soils (hence the red/rust color) and many streams have a high iron oxide content. Also, I don't see any reason taht a can with water in it in the rainforest is going to be any less "clean" than a plant axil: both are getting washed out and refreshed, housing similar microbes, etc. Obviously toxins could be a concern that might be leaching out of the specific debris...but beyond that, I don't really see much of a difference (do you think debris piles have higher levels of "baddies" that could cause frogs illnesses...more than the various parasites found in the 'natural' rainforest?).

But you're right: until side-by-side studies are done, we just won't know. But just because something seems more unnatural to us, assuming fairly equal factors, doesn't necessarily mean it's harmful to the organisms involved.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by frogfarm View Post
Hi Ron, Has anyone ever done studies on how long the animals in the dump live? I`m saying that life expectancy may be shorter and health problems may be higher if they are being reared in rust water or areas of hi toxin concentrations. Just because they are plentiful doesn`t mean that they live long and don`t suffer health problems not seen in more natural areas. We know they can reach maturity at under a year and breed quite prolifically. Lack of predators can also lead to higher densities than in their home environment. High densities mean good depo sites and food, not necessarily health. Iguanas fed from dump sites are plentiful but not necessarily healthy. I understand that more relates to nutrition found in the food we dump, but the situation could relate..
Hi Aaron,

One can't compare captive lifespans with wild life spans as the pressures affecting longevity are very different for wild populations......
Also the rate of maturity in captive populations which are kept under "ideal" conditions cannot be used to determine the rate of sexual maturity in wild populations... the rate of maturation in wild populations tends to be significantly delayed when compared to captive animals.. (for a extreme example, look at turtles where box turtles can take 8 years or more (and often 10-15) for a female become sexually mature yet this can happen in captive populations in about 2 years..)
With respect to the rust, this does not appear to be toxic by itself based on the literature.. and once the rust forms, this significantly limits the amount of iron dissolved in solution (iron oxide is fairly insoluble in water..) which reduces or limits any risk of toxicity.

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Funny, I was just watching "bones" as I was typing and she stated that crocadilians raised in clean water had larger genetalia than counterparts raised in polluted water. Until the dump raised are tracked and compared to natural populations as to thei life expectancy, resistance to disease, parasites etc. you can never know.
The polluted water reference was inexact as this is caused by excess endocrine disruptors in the water...

Ed
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:37 AM
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Hi Aaron,

One can't compare captive lifespans with wild life spans as the pressures affecting longevity are very different for wild populations......
Also the rate of maturity in captive populations which are kept under "ideal" conditions cannot be used to determine the rate of sexual maturity in wild populations... the rate of maturation in wild populations tends to be significantly delayed when compared to captive animals.. (for a extreme example, look at turtles where box turtles can take 8 years or more (and often 10-15) for a female become sexually mature yet this can happen in captive populations in about 2 years..)
With respect to the rust, this does not appear to be toxic by itself based on the literature.. and once the rust forms, this significantly limits the amount of iron dissolved in solution (iron oxide is fairly insoluble in water..) which reduces or limits any risk of toxicity.



The polluted water reference was inexact as this is caused by excess endocrine disruptors in the water...

Ed
Doesn`t certain plastic leach estrogen mimicking compounds or endocrine disruptors or something of the like. Anything reared in that plastic could lead to similar problems?

I wasn`t comparing anything to captive pops other than the dump sites mimicking the excess amounts of food and breeding sites seen in our captive pops which could lead to higher population densities. I was comparing wild natural pops to unnatural wild dumpsite populations.

Last edited by Roadrunner; 10-26-2009 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:17 AM
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Doesn`t certain plastic leach estrogen mimicking compounds or endocrine disruptors or something of the like. Anything reared in that plastic could lead to similar problems?

I wasn`t comparing anything to captive pops other than the dump sites mimicking the excess amounts of food and breeding sites seen in our captive pops which could lead to higher population densities. I was comparing wild natural pops to unnatural wild dumpsite populations.
Hi Aaron
yes certain plastics do leach endocrine disruptors but this is very dependent on the plastic and not all plastics leach.. It is a interesting idea but if the effects were occuring it would depress the frog populations (see http://underc.nd.edu/east/education/...evelopment.pdf and cited references) as it would inhibit either sexual developement or even metamorphosis.. A item to consider is that concentrations of inhibitors in the deposition sites unlike rivers, lakes, streams or even many captive rearing situations are flushed with regularity with rain water which can reduce or eliminate the leachates and over time, the leach rates of the plastics will lower or disappear...

If you aren't basing the rate of sexual maturity on captive populations, on what are you basing the one year reference? Outside of that, if you weren't referring to captive populations, then do you have any reference for how long, D. auratus normally live in the wild? Off hand, I think O. pumilio has something like a average of about 3 years.. but I could be misremebering..

Sorry if I misunderstood.

Ed
(welcome back.. your first post in a while and of course you and I have to have a discussion... )
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Dis-biotopic displays

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I was comparing wild natural pops to unnatural wild dumpsite populations.
Also, just to clarify, I originally was just mentioning disturbed areas...not trash heaps. I don't think we can set natural utopias against unnatural wastelands and have those be the only options: there are many phases in between, and the frogs do very well, regardless of how we may or may not like the aesthetics.

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Doesn't certain plastic leach estrogen mimicking compounds or endocrine disruptors or something of the like. Anything reared in that plastic could lead to similar problems?
Then all sorts of things become suspect: what about people using film canisters for deposition or plastic containers for tad rearing? Or petri dishes for eggs and/or water pools? Or the INIBICO project nailing plastic jugs to trees to acquire tads?

I have to agree with Ed: so much dilution takes place in the wild that the aquatic ecosystem in most of these containers (natural or otherwise) should stay pretty "clean" and any possible toxins will most likely decrease over time. All that aside, all the debris I've placed in my tanks so far is metal:

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