Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis - Dendroboard
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:57 PM
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Default Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

One of the tensions I've found with terribilis care in different DB posts and across different websites is compensating for 1.) they seem more prone to foot rot than other PDFs and 2.) they are voracious and may tend to consume greater amounts of substrate when there's not a barrier between the frogs and soil, leading to increased instance impacting.

As I'm planning a habitat for mints, I've read descriptions of setups on one hand that include a layer of peat moss on top of the soil and beneath leaf litter ostensibly to reduce substrate consumption and on the other I've read terribilis keepers specifically discouraging this practice due to moisture retention and increase risk of foot rot. For the terribilis keepers out there, what practice do you use?

For the context of my setup: I will have 2 circulation fans on top of an In Situ Amazonia, there are also vents at the top and bottom of the tank. Given this my plan was to add that extra layer of peat moss. I've never had a herp with foot rot but I have dealt with impacting before so that problem is more visceral for me and that's my bias approaching this question. I do recall reading a post by Ed that seemed to suggest that going overboard to prevent impacting isn't necessary (I can't find it now, but I remember the thread was not specifically on terribilis).

Thanks for your thoughts,
-Jack
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

First, I'll say that I have never kept Phyllobates terribilis, however, I've never seen any of my frogs consume any substrate. I use a thick layer of leaf litter and feed in spots where the litter layer is especially thick, this helps to prevent the frogs from consuming the substrate.

In my tanks you essentially can't see any substrate because the leaves are piled thick and overlapping.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

I kept terribilis back in 2009 and again recently (3 groups at the moment) ... as above, a thick layer of leaf litter goes some way to preventing substrate contact. However:

My terribilis are all active foragers and inevitably churn up substrate and entertainingly trash the place with wild parties.

I use leaf litter on top of calcined clay and you would think thatís a recipe for disaster, but the odd time Iíve seen a frog tag a piece of substrate it has instantly and expertly spat it out.

People with more expertise than I have also posited the question as to how these frogs deal with substrate fragments in the wild; a valid question. I have seen posts about frogs with strange impactions, the oddest being what looked like an actual twig .. so itís certainly possible.

If you really want to go all in on risk management, you could consider using lots of leaf litter on top of open cell filter foam. No substrate = no problem. Some keepers in Europe and the US now go this route.

I would never use sphagnum moss in any dart frog tank, IMO husbandry has moved on from that, and I especially wouldnít use it for terribilis.


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Old 07-31-2020, 07:02 PM
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Agreed my Terribilis tank is also aquarium/pond filtermat + only leaves. They need dry feet.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

The term "Impaction" is sophistry. Obstructions are more complex than what internet pet application of "Impaction" implies.

Theyre often chronic, accumulative, and/or partial.

eg I was a direct caregiver (tube feeding for client) to a young monitor lizard that after more than 18 months of Davis University apon necropsy was found to have a linear obstruction of long black human hairs that torqued segments of the intestinal tract.

I have also been privy to other obstruction subjects both confirmed and suspected. Removal of continued ingestion and theraputic hydration + warmer temps aided passage of material which was flushd thru seive to confirm, with no re occurrance (years in) once modality and sub ingest potental removed.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:22 AM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

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Originally Posted by Fahad View Post
I kept terribilis back in 2009 and again recently (3 groups at the moment)

My terribilis are all active foragers and inevitably churn up substrate and entertainingly trash the place with wild parties.

I use leaf litter on top of calcined clay and you would think thatís a recipe for disaster, but the odd time Iíve seen a frog tag a piece of substrate it has instantly and expertly spat it out.

People with more expertise than I have also posited the question as to how these frogs deal with substrate fragments in the wild; a valid question. I have seen posts about frogs with strange impactions, the oddest being what looked like an actual twig .. so itís certainly possible.

If you really want to go all in on risk management, you could consider using lots of leaf litter on top of open cell filter foam. No substrate = no problem. Some keepers in Europe and the US now go this route.

I would never use sphagnum moss in any dart frog tank, IMO husbandry has moved on from that, and I especially wouldnít use it for terribilis.
Thanks for your thoughts. I will avoid peat moss and go heavy on leaf litter. That seems to be the consensus: foot rot is the more pressing concern. I'm not sure I'll ditch the substrate entirely, but I definitely don't need a lot of it soaking up water.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

In addition to heavy leaf litter I also like to dump their food onto a Petri dish inside their viv. While it doesn't keep all of the flies in, it does limit their spread and most are eaten within the dish.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

Peat itself passes. It is a flat, fairly fragile fiber.

CoCo fiber is the most deceptive of 'milled' substrate materials. Its sturdy and burly AF, resistant to manual and solute manipulation and impacts. Its only resemblance to natural stratum is its color and superficial tactility and appearance.

Mishaps, accidents, including the inadvertent ingestion of matter or objects that are consequentially incompatible with peristalsis, have happened in wild situ, with fossil example of mortality mishaps. The variabilities of circumstances are endless, and a closed system exacerbates the potential factor of many risks.
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:32 AM
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Default Re: Foot Rot and Impacting Mitigation in P. Terribilis

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[snip]
Mishaps, accidents, including the inadvertent ingestion of matter or objects that are consequentially incompatible with peristalsis, have happened in wild situ, with fossil example of mortality mishaps. The variabilities of circumstances are endless, and a closed system exacerbates the potential factor of many risks.
Fair enough. There are plenty of examples of 'wrong place, wrong time' and other ill luck for wild organisms.

And as you point out (a recurring topic here on Dendroboard) closed systems are neither as robust nor forgiving as wild habitats, within specific contexts.
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