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Discussion Starter #1
i was wondering if people know if its possible to intergrate calcium into your feeder bugs without dusting. for example with springtails you could boil coscous with the calcium supplement then allow them to feed on this enriched food supply, thus the springtails would be "gut loaded".
i was wondering if anyone has tried this and if they absorb enough calcium to supplement the darts.

maybe i should of put this in advanced but oh well
 
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Discussion Starter #2
Wouldn't be enough. The calcium that the feeders ingest would be utilized in the feeder and not the frog.
 
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wow good point. how do darts get calcium in the wild? what bugs in their native lands are high in calcium?
 

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A couple of items to say about this first,
In most amphibians calcium can only be metabolized and used if there is sufficient D3 in the animal from exposure to UVB and/or dietarily. UVB supplementation is only effective if the lights are within 18 inches of the animal in question and the light does not pass through glass or plastic (so light from a window does not count). (Also ratio of A to D3 to E is important as these vitamins compete for uptake).

Simple calcium content is not enough to determine if there is sufficient calcium in the diet, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus also has to be taken into account. The ideal ratio is between 1 and 2 calcium to phosphorus ratio above that and you can get conditional deficiencies in other vitamins and the possibility of calcium salts forming in the digestive tract, below that and there is insufficient calcium.

That said, most soil (and as far as I can tell, only soil) arthropods have a positive calcium to phosphorus ratio (due to the high amounts of calcium in most soils (does not apply in most of out terraria as we use calcium low substrates like peat)) however what we tend to feed the frogs has a ratio of less than 1 calcium to phosphorus.

High calcium diets are possible to use to increase the levels of calcium but they have significant draw backs such as being labor intensive, increased mortality in the insects, and often only work for a particular life stage of the insect and are ineffective if there is insufficient D3.
For example, in crickets, the only stage at which a positive calcium to phosphorus ratio is achieved are pinheads, the crickets have to have the diet for 48 hours and only the high calcium diet as they will preferentially eat anything else, constant access to water (not fruit or veggies or they will not consume the calcium diets), and begin to die from the high calcium diet at 72 hours. (This is at 80 F (27 C), cooler temps mean you have to offer the diet longer and warmer temps moves the deadline for increased mortality up). Additionally the approximate times the calcium stays in the digestive tract is comparable to the length of time, the vitamin-mineral dust stays on the cricket.

Ed
 
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Discussion Starter #6
WOW, you should be a herpetologist if you arent, and if you are, your a good one. :shock:
 
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Sounds like Ed just studied. Either that or he is some sort of ecologist or entemologist.
 

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Does Lead Keeper in a Reptile House at a Zoo count? (I also have a background in biochem).

Ed
 

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A while back (can't remember where) I read of a frog keeper who raised their springtails on plaster of paris...I never considered that method, because I pictured a mess...but isn't plaster mostly calcium? Or does it have a lot of phosphorus as well...cancelling it out?
Might be worth looking into.
I'm not really sure this topic belongs in the beginner forum! :lol:
 

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Thanks for the compliment Brent.

I need to edit the following paragraph.
snip "That said, most soil (and as far as I can tell, only soil) arthropods have a positive calcium to phosphorus ratio (due to the high amounts of calcium in most soils (does not apply in most of out terraria as we use calcium low substrates like peat)) however what we tend to feed the frogs has a ratio of less than 1 calcium to phosphorus"

It should have read
That said, most soil (and as far as I can tell, only soil) arthropods have a positive calcium to phosphorus ratio (due to the high amounts of calcium in most soils (does not apply in most of our terraria as we use calcium low substrates like peat)) however what we tend to feed the frogs has a ratio of less than 1 calcium to phosphorus before we dust with a vitamin-mineral supplement.
 

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sprintails/plasterof paris

It may increase the calcium levels, some one will have to test it.

I do not know the calcium to phosphorus ratio in plaster of paris, that is a good question.

Ed
 

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Thanks, now I'll have to search for the culture instructions. One of the reasons I didn't like the idea of culturing on plaster, how do you see tiny white bugs on a solid white substrate?
Later,
 
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Ed,

Thanks for the calcium info. If UVB exposure is necessary for D3 synthesis and the UVB exposure needs to be direct and within 18" of the amphibian, why not suspend a UVB fixture in the terrarium for the animals? Of course it must be wrapped in a fine metal screen to prevent frog burning, but if the UVB creates D3 could you eliminate the need for dusting?

Has anyone tried this? (I can see the jokes coming now, would you only be able to look at your tank with sunglasses? How would you make sunglasses small enough to fit the frogs?, Do they make "Croakies" that size to hold the little sunglasses in place? Would the really cool frogs get wrap-around shades?)

Dave Willmore
 
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d

I do agree that the UVB bulb has to be within a certain distance from the animal, but that only is effective if the bulb is a certain wattage. (Larger wattage goes further). Dr. Coyle and I at WCU did a few experiments with UVB transmission with several UVB bulbs, including Mercury vapor, MEtal Halide, and several popular Reptile UVB bulbs. We did see that there was virtually NO UVB penetration past 24 inches, but that was with the big Mercury Vapor bulb (300 or 500 watt, I dont rememeber). That light was so bright it hurt to look in a tank with that above it. I cant see how that could be beneficial. I was surprised to see that the popular UVB bulbs made by Zoo Med and a few of the others had to be within 2 inches of the animal to get any UVB at all. Needless to say I wont be buying OR selling any of those in the future!

I'm not so sure that frogs need UVB. I'm sure they could benefit from it at some level, but the need for an animal that normally lives below some of the thickest canopy in jungles ever to get direct UVB just doesnt seem feasable to me. Why would a forest floor dweller need alot of UVB? Reptiles, as we all know, BASK in the sun to warm up and get UVB. Have you ever had a frog bask? They have a much more varied diet in the wild, that is why we have to dust with calcium. Fruit flies apparently arent near as good as those "myridae" beetles (I hope thats right!!) that they eat in the wild where they get their toxicity.

I just dont think UVB is a big enough issue to even try to tackle, since people have been raising these things for years and years with no UVB supplementation whatsoever. If UVB were easier to get in a small size that was efficient, then it may be worth the curiosity, but to get UVB to the bottom of even a 10 gallon tank, we are talking a big powerful light that would likely heat the tank to fatal temperatures.
 

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Re: d

wcumagic said:
I'm not so sure that frogs need UVB. I'm sure they could benefit from it at some level, but the need for an animal that normally lives below some of the thickest canopy in jungles ever to get direct UVB just doesnt seem feasable to me. Why would a forest floor dweller need alot of UVB? Reptiles, as we all know, BASK in the sun to warm up and get UVB. Have you ever had a frog bask? They have a much more varied diet in the wild, that is why we have to dust with calcium. Fruit flies apparently arent near as good as those "myridae" beetles (I hope thats right!!) that they eat in the wild where they get their toxicity.

I just dont think UVB is a big enough issue to even try to tackle, since people have been raising these things for years and years with no UVB supplementation whatsoever. If UVB were easier to get in a small size that was efficient, then it may be worth the curiosity, but to get UVB to the bottom of even a 10 gallon tank, we are talking a big powerful light that would likely heat the tank to fatal temperatures.
I have a couple of things to add to this discussion. First, I'll state that I ride somewhere in the middle on UVB but have come to the conclusion that it's a good idea for at least some frogs. It is NOT a substitute for supplementation however.

Three comments about UV exposure of frogs in the wild. The first is Raleigh scattering which tends to scatter and disperse short wavelenth radiation. The upshot is that UV can bounce around underneath a forest canopy leading to more exposure than we may think. Remember that the sun is a much stronger source than any bulbs we provide. Second, sunflecks. The majority of light on the forest floor comes in the form of sunflecks that are actually little bits of full sunlight dancing around on the forest floor. Through the course of the day, a frog on the forest floor could actually be exposed to more direct sunlight than you might think. Third, many, if not most, dart frogs do NOT live under the deep forest canopy as is commonly believed. Many of these frogs are more adapted to relatively open second growth clearings or live UP in the tree canopy where exposure to sunlight is more intense. The bottom line is that I don't think we can make assumptions about natural exposure to UV of wild frogs based on the idea that they are forest dwellers.

But... it's pretty clear PDF don't need UV since we've kept them for years without UV as others have mentioned. However, I've had a couple experiences with pumilio that have led me to start using UVB producing CF bulbs exclusively. The first was an actively breeding female who crashed with hypocalcemia despite being well supplemented with calcium and D3. She was treated and recovered but it made me start considering UVB supplementation as an added safeguard. The second incident was a few month old cb offspring that suddenly went off feed. I grabbed a UVA (not UVB) producing lamp and put it over the frog and within a MINUTE, it started vigorously feeding and is still alive and healthy many years later. Now this second one has nothing to do with calcium metabolism but does point to a potential psychological value to providing UV illumination.

My bottom line on UVB lights is this. We can't assume what the natural adaption of PDF to UV light is. There are bits of evidence to suggest a benefit from providing UV light. I use only CF lights and the newish 7% UVB bulbs are about the same price as the regular 5000K bulbs so what the heck? I also use solacryl or nothing at all between my bulbs and the frogs to assure that whatever UVB is produced gets into the viv.
 
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