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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started culturing flightless fruit flies for my dart frogs and I'm wondering what you guys do in terms of having some type of backup feeders available in case of a fruit fly crash?
I'm guessing that this is why I see so many videos of froggers who have containers full of springtails and isopods that can be utilized as supplemental / emergency food sources when there is a fruit fly crash.
PS- I did a search on "backup feeders" and was unable to find any previous discussion on this topic.
 

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It depends on the species. My phyllobates species will eat small crickets up to a 1/2 inch so that takes care of them in the event I have an issue with my cultures. For smaller species your best bet is to have more cultures than you need in case production drops. I’ve never found springtails or isopods to be reliable as a foolproof backup because the can have long recovery times compared to fruit flies. If you dump a full culture of springtails into a tank it may take a few weeks or more before they recover in numbers. The same goes for isopds whereas fruit flies can boom in higher numbers much quicker, It can work but I see it only a very short term solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It depends on the species. My phyllobates species will eat small crickets up to a 1/2 inch so that takes care of them in the event I have an issue with my cultures. For smaller species your best bet is to have more cultures than you need in case production drops. I’ve never found springtails or isopods to be reliable as a foolproof backup because the can have long recovery times compared to fruit flies. If you dump a full culture of springtails into a tank it may take a few weeks or more before they recover in numbers. The same goes for isopds whereas fruit flies can boom in higher numbers much quicker, It can work but I see it only a very short term solution.
Thanks. I am ordering a sexed pair of Dendrobates Tinctorius Azureus so they should be capable of eating some of the alternatives like pin head crickets, bean beetles and etc.
 

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I like to culture both melanogaster and hydei ffs. I suffer from random crashes occasionally because my basement is on the cool side, especially in the winter. So I keep backup ff cultures and freshly made cultures in another area of the house that has a much more stable climate. For me, this has been critical to success. I've never had a mass ff die off affect both areas of my house, and both species of fruitflies at the same time.

I do have plenty of springtail cultures going too, but I would not trust springtails to get me by until I could recover from a huge crash. I maintain springtails only to feed froglets too small to eat flies.
 

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I rear both melanogaster and hydei with hydei being my preferred. Melanos grow faster and last longer than hydei so I keep a culture of them as a backup.
A friend from the forum sent me some rice flour beetles. They last quite a long time and can be used in a pinch for certain frogs.

Ricky
Do you feed them as beetles or larvae? I've been wanting to try them as a fish food but am unsure if its worth it, are they particularly nutritious?
 

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I rear both melanogaster and hydei with hydei being my preferred. Melanos grow faster and last longer than hydei so I keep a culture of them as a backup.


Do you feed them as beetles or larvae? I've been wanting to try them as a fish food but am unsure if its worth it, are they particularly nutritious?
You are supposed to sort out the larvae. I have been feeding both, but the beetles do not taste great so some frogs may ignore them. I have been primarily feeding them to my Azureus by dusting them and tossing them into a petri dish so they cannot escape. The frogs are a bit hesitant, but I saw them eating both the beetles and the larvae.

As far as nutrition goes, I am not too sure I don't think they are that nutritious. The larvae are rich in fat which is good to fatten up frogs if you need that.

If you decide to get some be careful no beetles escape as they can become a household pest. They will not survive long in a humid environment, so not to worry about them once in the vivarium.

Ricky
 

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You are supposed to sort out the larvae. I have been feeding both, but the beetles do not taste great so some frogs may ignore them. I have been primarily feeding them to my Azureus by dusting them and tossing them into a petri dish so they cannot escape. The frogs are a bit hesitant, but I saw them eating both the beetles and the larvae.

As far as nutrition goes, I am not too sure I don't think they are that nutritious. The larvae are rich in fat which is good to fatten up frogs if you need that.

If you decide to get some be careful no beetles escape as they can become a household pest. They will not survive long in a humid environment, so not to worry about them once in the vivarium.

Ricky
Being rich in fat may be useful for fatting up my T. pictum juvenile's but I have not been able to get them to eat ff larvae so I'm skeptical they would eat beetle larvae being such timid frogs and all.

Also being a drygoods pest... we do store a lot of grain in our house....
 

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Being rich in fat may be useful for fatting up my T. pictum juvenile's but I have not been able to get them to eat ff larvae so I'm skeptical they would eat beetle larvae being such timid frogs and all.

Also being a drygoods pest... we do store a lot of grain in our house....
Yea you have extra careful when harvesting them. I use a small sieve to sift through the flour when feeding them to the frogs. And then knock them into a small cup, but make sure there is a larger container around that to catch anything that misses the cup.

Also the larvae can be quite large so depending on the size of the frog they may not take them.

The cultures last months which is cool and they are not messy. I just dump part of the culture into a new one or sift out beetles and dump them into fresh flour.

There are a lot of cool feeders out there. There are some mini roaches I had seen on a website, but I don't know if my girlfriend would want those in the house.

Ricky
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Rice Flour Beetle, Tribolium confusum, is a common pest in many grain-based foods. The traits that make it a pest species – namely, it’s short reproductive cycle, exponential growth rate, and tolerance to a wide variety of conditions – also serve to make the Rice Flour Beetle an ideal insect to culture for a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians that prefer smaller foods, especially Poison Dart Frogs.
Life Cycle
Rice Flour Beetles are a little over 1/8 inches long when adults, and can live for over a year. Adults lay eggs in Josh’s Frogs Beetle Batter, which take about a week to hatch into larvae. Within 6 weeks, the larvae pupate and become adult beetles. Due to their longevity and short maturation time, Rice Flour Beetles can quickly increase their population in a culture.
Culturing
We culture Rice Flour Beetles on a special media we make ourselves, in order to insure the Rice Flour Beetles we sell are raised on only the highest quality ingredients. Beetle Batter contains all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients Rice Flour Beetles need to thrive, as well as color enhancers that are passed on to your pet reptiles or amphibians.
Choose a container that seals well, but is not airtight. A plastic shoebox works well when culturing Rice Flour Beetles – this is the Rice Flour Beetle culture container of choice at Josh’s Frogs. Place Beetle Batter in the container, to a depth of about 2”. Add Rice Flour Beetles to the culture, and ignore the Rice Flour Beetle Culture for a few months. This wait period will give the beetles time to establish in the culture, before you feed any off to your pet reptiles or amphibians. Rice Flour Beetles are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, but will reproduce faster the warmer you keep the culture (up to about 85F). Do not provide a moisture source – they need a dry culture to do well, and excess moisture will cause the media to spoil. Every year, sift out all of the adult beetles and larvae using a sifter, and replace the old media with fresh Beetle Batter.
Feeding to your Pets
The beetle larvae are usually what is fed to your pets. The adult beetles have chemical defenses that make them unappetizing to many reptiles and amphibians, but some will take them. At Josh’s Frogs, we sift out the larvae and feed them to poison dart frogs, bumble bee toads, small tree frogs, and some smaller species of geckos.
The larvae need to be separated from the Beetle Batter before feeding. Use the following steps as a guideline to harvesting and feeding beetles to your pet reptiles and amphibians:
  1. Use a sifter to scoop some of Beetle Batter containing beetles and larvae.​
  2. Shake out the media over the culture. After the media has been sifted out, you will be left with a sifter full of adult beetles and larvae, and shed skin/pupae.​
  3. Set the sifter in the culture, allowing most of the adult Confused Rice Flour Beetles to crawl out of the sifter and back into the culture, leaving you with mostly larvae and shed skins.​
  4. Dump the larvae into a small bowl (half of a plastic petri dish works well) and place it into your pet’s enclosure. Your animal will chow down on the larvae and appreciate the added variety in it’s diet.​
Conclusion
Rice Flour Beetles are an ideal supplemental feeder to a variety of reptiles and amphibians that appreciate smaller foods in their diet. They are very easy to culture and feed out to your pet, making them a must-have for those of you with Poison Dart Frogs or other herps that enjoy small foods. We carry everything you need to culture Rice Flour Beetles for your pets!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I rear both melanogaster and hydei with hydei being my preferred. Melanos grow faster and last longer than hydei so I keep a culture of them as a backup.


Do you feed them as beetles or larvae? I've been wanting to try them as a fish food but am unsure if its worth it, are they particularly nutritious?
See my extract from Josh's Frogs below for a detailed explanation of Rice Beetles as a food source.
 

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I've offered RFB larvae to both thumbs and tincs with no acceptance. They apparently didn't recognize them as food (or just weren't hungry enough). Some training might be necessary.

I start small geckos on Hydei, RFBL and mini mealworms, and the RFBL seem to have more caloric density by far (which isn't a benefit for routine feeding of darts).
 
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