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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone, first time poster here. Long story short, I’m a first time frog keeper and I am having trouble with one of my two colonies dying off. Here is the general information:

1. Dendrobates auratus, “Ancon Hill”. I have had them for about 3 months or so, and they came from my local exotic pet store.

2. Day time temperatures are around 23 degrees C, night temperatures drop to around 17 C at the lowest. The lights are not too hot and are quite a distance from the frogs.

3. Humidity in the vicinity of the probe never drops below 95%. I can assume that in other areas the humidity is less, as the probe is in a sheltered location away from heat lamps. The tank is an exo-terra medium tall, 60x45x60 cm. The lid is full screen. There were 5 frogs in there, around 5 months old I assume.

4. I am feeding a mix of regular and small fruit flies 3 times a week. I try to feed so that there are only a few flies left by next feeding. I am dusting, rotating through repashy calcium plus, calcium plus, nutribal each feed and then repashy vitamin a (retinol) once a month. The supplements are 2 months old or so, stored in the fridge.

5. 5 frogs to start with, all bought at the same time.

6. Yes, when a frog is about to die they adopt a hunched stance with their body parallel to the ground, instead of sat upright. They become lethargic and stop eating, then go very thin and die. All this happens within 2 days. I had five frogs, and now have 2 with one in the process listed.

7. No, I don’t handle my frogs. Nothing has been sprayed or used near the tank.

8. I’m not sure how to add them (not the best with tech) so I will try to describe. I have a heavily planted tank with cork bark tubes stuck with silicone to the background, and several smaller pieces on the ground for them to hide in. There are plants in the openings of the cork bark pieces on the background, and many plants providing ground cover. I also have a large, horizontal piece of cork bark that sits around the first 1/3 of the tank’s height, wedged against the glass. They can also hide inside this. Finally, I have a thick layer of leaf litter that they can get into, and a small water dish.

Additional info:
All of the frogs appear to die in the same manner described above, one after the other. One died when I first got them, with a break of two months or so before the rest have started to go. I left the silicone for a week before I put the background in, and it was aquarium silicone. I got all the plants from a reptile store. According to the store the frogs were “wild farmed”. I have an automatic misting system. I also have another setup done exactly the same as this one, and none of those frogs are dying. I have not noticed anything unusual in their droppings.

I hope this information is enough to help track the issue down. Thanks in advance everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am using tap water which doesn’t have anything bad in it, I checked with the supplier. I treat the water with reptisafe before putting it in. I did not wash the plants, but as I said I did not do anything different to the other setup and there haven’t been any issues with that one.
 

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Unfortunately it is not enough. A necropsy and histology work up from an ARAV vet is what you need for an authentic answer to your question.

Healthy animals have been sustained in sub optimum appearing environments, and collections have fallen to pathogenic catastrophe in perfect design and monitor.

It is true that external influences impact but if you want answers and not good ideas, you have to get the work ups done.

Sometimes even these are not conclusive.
 

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I agree with Kmc -- get a necropsy done. You'll need to know what is going on even if you lose the whole group and want to reuse the viv without a complete tear down, or if you need to take precautions on your other group (which, BTW, you might want to minimize possible pathogen transfer to, by working in the problem viv only after working in the 'clean' viv, etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your replies everyone. I will look at getting necropsies done.
 

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I just saw your reference to heat lamps. Why are you using heat lamps?

It's entirely possible that the frog got cooked...
Or experienced wild variances in humidity from the combination of heat lamps and full screen top -- lots of convective air flow, I'd imagine.

There is moss on the horizontal ledge. Is that live moss, or dried? It looks to be crispy dry in the pic -- is that true?

When the frogs die in the position you described, what surface are they on? Is that surface more damp, or more dry?

What species of frog is in the viv that is set up "exactly the same as this one" but has experienced no deaths?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What do you mean? They’re only little 25 watt bulbs that sit in the canopy. As I also said, temperatures do not exceed 23C, and I don’t see why using heat lamps would be a problem provided they are controlled by a thermostat. As for the other viv, also D. aurautus.
 

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I added some edits above, while you were posting.

"There is moss on the horizontal ledge. Is that live moss, or dried? It looks to be crispy dry in the pic -- is that true?

When the frogs die in the position you described, what surface are they on? Is that surface more damp, or more dry?"
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, that moss is supposed to be live but isn’t doing too well. It doesn’t get much water where it is positioned from the mister. I usually find the frogs on the substrate, which is a soil mixture and is damp, but I have taken some of them out and put them is hospital bins with lots of damp moss, with the same result.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I added some edits above, while you were posting.

"There is moss on the horizontal ledge. Is that live moss, or dried? It looks to be crispy dry in the pic -- is that true?

When the frogs die in the position you described, what surface are they on? Is that surface more damp, or more dry?"
I understand what you mean now. No, the moss-looking stuff on that ledge is lichen on the cork bark. I was referring to the piece on the front stick.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Or experienced wild variances in humidity from the combination of heat lamps and full screen top -- lots of convective air flow, I'd imagine.

It’s also worth noting that here in the UK the RH is usually around 85%, so it never gets below that.
 

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RH in the UK might be 80-85% outside, but it won’t be anywhere near that inside. Heating etc will dry the air out and it’s more likely to be somewhere between 40 and 60 inside the house
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Regardless, I know that the humidity in the tank doesn’t drop below 95%, at least going off what the instruments are telling me which is all I can rely on.
 

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I'm from the UK and can confirm that in winter the lack of humidity indoors is something I really have to wrestle with. I'm keeping geckos though not dart frogs so I can afford to roll with the punch and just make our winter their warm dry summer and our summer becomes their cooler, moister winter. Maintaining humidity can be such a problem for me that I HAVE to include running water in some of my tanks.
Is that really a screen top? If I didn't have UV transmitting acrylic tops on my gecko tanks there would be absolutely no scope for me to maintain appropriate humidity in winter without misting alot more than they would be comfortable with as they don't like walking on wet surfaces. If that really is a screen top with 25w exo terra bulbs in a canopy over it there is absolutely no way your humidity is 95% and the instruments are broken. Hygrometers tend to be quite unreliable in my experience anyway.
 
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