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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
So it has recently occurred to me that there are alot of common herp-keeping practices that are not very eco-friendly. For example, I think everyone uses alot of electricity lighting or heating enclosures.

My question is what are some eco-friendly, sustainable husbandry practices that you utilize?

Now, from a conservation stand point, the breeding of frogs and the selling and buying of captive bred animals have an obvious positive effect on wild populations. As we all know, when we buy captive bred animals we lessen the pressure on wild populations.

Personally, I breed all my own feeders, eliminating the need for them to be shipped. Many of my feeders are also fed food scraps which would otherwise take up space in landfills.

I"m also fortunate enough to be able to house many of my herps outdoors, so no/little electricity is required.

Finally, I'm experimenting with running an aquaponics system (the growing of plants in a closed system that is watered and fertilized by fish water) that utilizes frogs and tadpoles (as opposed to fish) in order to grow some of my own vegetables and herbs.

Anyway, I feel that it is of great importance for us as amphibian keepers to use husbandry practices that have the least amount of impact on natural environments as possible.

So, what do you all do that would be considered eco-friendly frogging?
 
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This is probably more for my pocketbook than being eco-friendly, but, I use ambient light for my tanks during most of the day. On weekends the plants get better light.

It's also because I'm afraid my 12 year old AC will go out on me when I'm not there and at least the frogs won't have hot lights beating down on them. :p
 

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My lights are just normal CFLs, which if I believe the hype are pretty eco-friendly. I don't use extra electricity for heat (I think it's only a rare few who actually have any need to heat their frogs). I do my best to culture my flies in house. I keep hearing about how good these LED bulbs are and I'd think that they probably use even less electricity.

I will say that I really really like the look of tree fern panels, but I'm told they are eco unfriendly. I don't have any in my tanks, but I still like the way they look.

I compare this to when I kept tortoises. With my torts I had a heat pad, large 160 watt-ish mercury vapor bulb, and another separate heat light (it was a large enclosure). I also ran a humidifier into the enclosure. I'm sure that keeping them indoors was a whole lot more taxing on both my electricity bill and the environment than the frogs are.
 

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.


Now, from a conservation stand point, the breeding of frogs and the selling and buying of captive bred animals have an obvious positive effect on wild populations. As we all know, when we buy captive bred animals we lessen the pressure on wild populations.
Actually this is a very questionable conclusion see for example the discussion starting here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/sc...e-bred-conservation-efforts-2.html#post576511

. Finally, I'm experimenting with running an aquaponics system (the growing of plants in a closed system that is watered and fertilized by fish water) that utilizes frogs and tadpoles (as opposed to fish) in order to grow some of my own vegetables and herbs.
Are you only using one locality of animals for the system or are you housing multiple taxa in this system? The reason I ask is how are you dealing with the potential exposure to novel pathogens.

Ed
 

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I think one of the biggest things a person can do, which is often overlooked, is to be careful with wastewater, materials, etc. so as to not harm native amphibians with your pets' pathogens. If you unknowingly carry something like chytrid in your collection, then dump out water or old dirt, etc. from your tanks, you could be putting the native frogs at risk of getting a devastating disease.
Bryan
 

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I think one of the biggest things a person can do, which is often overlooked, is to be careful with wastewater, materials, etc. so as to not harm native amphibians with your pets' pathogens. If you unknowingly carry something like chytrid in your collection, then dump out water or old dirt, etc. from your tanks, you could be putting the native frogs at risk of getting a devastating disease.
Bryan
Ok, in addition to not running my lights during the day, I also do the stuff posted above. It's a pain in the neck but small price to pay for the rewards of having frogs. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually this is a very questionable conclusion see for example the discussion starting here http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/sc...e-bred-conservation-efforts-2.html#post576511



Are you only using one locality of animals for the system or are you housing multiple taxa in this system? The reason I ask is how are you dealing with the potential exposure to novel pathogens.

Ed
Interesting read. Thanks for the link.

Would it then be more appropriate to say that genetically responsible captive breeding is helpful in terms of conservation?

Personally, I feel that animals bred in captivity specifically for the pet trade, that are not intended to be released in order to re-populate a species, are a much better option than wild caught animals. This is strictly in terms of decreasing the pressure put on wild populations due to over-collection, however.

As for the aquaponics, I assume you mean any animals in the system being exposed to pathogens, correct? If so, Im only using locally collected cuban tree frog tadpoles at this point while Im in the experimental stage. If things go well, I may try other varieties of frogs, but never more than one species or local at any one point. The systems are also indoors, so I have better control over it. Ultimately, I'd like to incorporate aquaponics into rain chambers, but Im working on the logistics of it.

I've had great success with aquaponics using locally caught tilapia and other cichlids, but so far the plants have not responded too well to the amphibians. Im thinking their waste is of the wrong ph for the plants.
 

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Interesting read. Thanks for the link.

Would it then be more appropriate to say that genetically responsible captive breeding is helpful in terms of conservation?
Maybe, how does it directly or indirectly benefit the wild ecosystem that the frogs are from?

Personally, I feel that animals bred in captivity specifically for the pet trade, that are not intended to be released in order to re-populate a species, are a much better option than wild caught animals.
It doesn't have to mean that animals for the pet trade have to be unsuitable. That is simple an artifact from how it is done and managed.


This is strictly in terms of decreasing the pressure put on wild populations due to over-collection, however.
For the vast majority of animals this has yet to be seen.. for example, one would expect that with the massive number of captive bred ball pythons, that exports for the pet trade would have shown a steady decline but this isn't the case if one looks at the reports in the CITES Trade database.

For this to work, it means that the cost for a wild caught animal has to be higher than the cost of a captive bred animals starting at the point of collection (it has to be unprofitable versus captive bred stock), unfortunately since the populations are unmanaged for genetic diversity,typically wild caught animals of even widely established types are valuable as new stock for outcrossing.

As for the aquaponics, I assume you mean any animals in the system being exposed to pathogens, correct? If so, Im only using locally collected cuban tree frog tadpoles at this point while Im in the experimental stage. If things go well, I may try other varieties of frogs, but never more than one species or local at any one point. The systems are also indoors, so I have better control over it. Ultimately, I'd like to incorporate aquaponics into rain chambers, but Im working on the logistics of it.

I've had great success with aquaponics using locally caught tilapia and other cichlids, but so far the plants have not responded too well to the amphibians. Im thinking their waste is of the wrong ph for the plants.
Yes, that is what I am referring to, the fish and the amphibians should be from the same locality ideally to prevent novel infections (as examples look up ranaviruses).

The pH shouldn't be the issue as the vast majority of anurans produce ammonia as the wast main nitrogen waste product. The amount of ammonia (and subsequent nitrate) may simply be too small in comparision to tilapia (biomass).

There are concerns with utilizing a recycling system as you need to control baterial levels as well as nitrogen levels.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For this to work, it means that the cost for a wild caught animal has to be higher than the cost of a captive bred animals starting at the point of collection (it has to be unprofitable versus captive bred stock), unfortunately since the populations are unmanaged for genetic diversity,typically wild caught animals of even widely established types are valuable as new stock for outcrossing.
Yes, unfortunately, like everything else, money talks. Which is why I feel it is important for us as the consumer to select captive bred to the point that wc is no longer profitable. I do appreciate the need, however, for the occasional import to deepen the captive genetic pool.


Yes, that is what I am referring to, the fish and the amphibians should be from the same locality ideally to prevent novel infections (as examples look up ranaviruses).

The pH shouldn't be the issue as the vast majority of anurans produce ammonia as the wast main nitrogen waste product. The amount of ammonia (and subsequent nitrate) may simply be too small in comparision to tilapia (biomass).

There are concerns with utilizing a recycling system as you need to control baterial levels as well as nitrogen levels.

Ed
To be clear, the system either uses fish or tadpoles, never both at the same time, although if I were to, technically the fish and tadpoles are from the same biotope, being that they were all collected from the same stretch of a Miami canal system. Gotta love the invasives! The plants show signs of low ph, so naturally I attributed that to a more acidic waste product from the tadpoles. I have not seen signs of lack of nitrogen, but Im no botanist so it could be a matter of bio-mass

As for the bacteria, at least the bacteria that account for the nitrogen cycle, the water is tested every couple of days for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates to be sure that the bacteria levels are were they should be. I think you might be referring to pathogenic bacteria, tho. In which case, yes, it is a concern.

At any rate, I dont want to de-rail this thread too much. I want to stay focused on, for example, who reuses their fruit fly cups, haha!

Thanks for the input, Ed.
 

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I wash and reuse my lids and cups..

I recycle the cups that eventually split. When I've shipped things, I've given a discount if the box and phase change panels are mailed back to me so they can be reused.

Ed
 

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I wash and reuse my lids and cups..

I recycle the cups that eventually split. When I've shipped things, I've given a discount if the box and phase change panels are mailed back to me so they can be reused.

Ed
I do the same. However I am pretty sure that the washing fruit fly cups is my least favorite part of raising PDFs!

Sally
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
However I am pretty sure that the washing fruit fly cups is my least favorite part of raising PDFs!

Sally
Agreed!

What about water conservation? We do use a good deal of water in this hobby. Anyone doing anything interesting to cut down? I try to use as much rain water in my tanks as I can. I always put out a few collection containers out when i know its going to storm.
 

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Agreed!

What about water conservation? We do use a good deal of water in this hobby. Anyone doing anything interesting to cut down? I try to use as much rain water in my tanks as I can. I always put out a few collection containers out when i know its going to storm.

Rainwater can be problematic due to the large number of things that get washed out of the atmosphere. See for example this paper discussing atrazine content of rainwater http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241446/pdf/ehp0111-000568.pdf

Waste water from my frog tanks is collected, bleached, neutralized and then used to water the garden that aren't used for food production. Waste water from the RO system is also used for the garden.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thanks again for the article. Man, tryin to do the right thing is tough! I've seen similar articles that speak of hermaphrodism in populations of smallmouth bass due to contaminants. Environmental Estrogens or Xenoestrogens are Ubiquitous

Being from Philadelphia, I've always been aware of possible (or likely) contaminants in the rainwater. So much so that when I lived up there, using rain water was not even an option.

I now live in the Florida Keys where I feel better about the purity of the rain water. I have no evidence to really back this up, but being so far from major farms or polluters must equal cleaner rain, I would think.

Our tap water is piped in from a source up in central Florida and the spring water that is offered locally has been accused of being nothing more than tap water, rain water might be the best option here. In fact, rainwater was recommended to me by my vet, Dr. Doug Mader, who is an authority on reptile and amphibian medicine.

That being said, I should add the disclaimer that some, or maybe most, areas might not be suitable for using un-filtered rainwater.

Thanks again for the insight.
 

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You sir are very lucky to have that vet :) I don't know many vets, but I have heard plenty about Dr. Mader being awesome and I know many people who use his books as references.

Sorry for the off-topic. I'm just a bit jealous. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You sir are very lucky to have that vet :) I don't know many vets, but I have heard plenty about Dr. Mader being awesome and I know many people who use his books as references.

Sorry for the off-topic. I'm just a bit jealous. ;)
Haha, yeah, his practice is here in Marathon. Nice guy, too. He does alot of volunteer work for the sea turtle and marine mammal rehabilitation facilities in town. He really knows his stuff.

But dont be too jealous, he's not cheap! jk!
 

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I now live in the Florida Keys where I feel better about the purity of the rain water. I have no evidence to really back this up, but being so far from major farms or polluters must equal cleaner rain, I would think.

Except down there you have issues with pollution from overseas which it turns out is the one of the major reasons there are so many consumption advisories for fish in Florida see for example Florida State University's Research in Review

Ed
 

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We grow nearly all our own plants,buy one make the rest
We use filtered rainwater i except that there might be risks,bleech frog waste water dilute then utilise it on the plants in the garden (thanks Ed).We use old sweetjars (trash from sweetshops) to culture our ff's and try not to buy many in,4 cutures so far,2 of which failed straight away due to mite infestations that they came with. our frogs diet is suplimented heavily with wild caught local food.Same with 3 types of iso and a wild culture we are experimenting with. springtials i need to source more of.Nearly all the ingredients for our iso cultures are picked up ...leaflitter,rotton plum wood leaves,and a bit of bought charcoal,some i make. All the wood in our vivs is local sourced mainly oak but a bit of native lonicera(we are in England by the way),all dead when found,then i pop it up in the air probably for months untill usage. most of the glass in our vivs, which we make ourselves, is rubbish sourced from glaziers or old greenhouses,(oh and its a nightmare to clean and cut,but it can be done...well most times:D) i have to buy the optiwhite though but use mostly offcuts but that doesn't really count here as i guess that could be recycled. We use mainly leds, which are cheep to run,but i don't know about manufactuing costs) supplimented by t5tube lighting for the uvb side of things.We compost everything we can and grab frog grub here too,again i except there might be risks.Ha my frogroom floor is constructed partly of rubbish out of a skip on a building site,the double glazed window secondary glazing unit was made totally out of rubbish,but i had to buy 8 screws:D A good portion of our tads diet is sourced from too big old waterbutts bloodworms/midge larvea,duckweed,carrying algea, risks here i guess too but maybe not more than buying in bloodworm plus associated transport costs ect..
Does this make any difference in the big ol scheme of things,probably not much,but a tiny tiny bit less ends up in landfill,for quite alot of extra effort and time,but maybe a lot of tiny bits will one day add up. Does this realistically offset bringing a dartfrog from america to canada to germany to england because i adore them and am selfishly infatuated with them TOUGH for me to say but i guess,not!! But i might just be able to put a miniscule bit back to my little phib friends by selling a few frogs that we breed,getting rid of the associated travel to england and chucking say a tenth (which is totally my intention), at some clever guys working in conserving darts or their habitat.
Do i think we can do ecofriendly frogging,big question, that wonderful nieve kid in me ruddy wants to.... but realistically,as a 47yr old nah i don't think so,but maybe we can do just a bit,and i suppose thats the essence of it!
bring it on
Stu
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Except down there you have issues with pollution from overseas which it turns out is the one of the major reasons there are so many consumption advisories for fish in Florida see for example Florida State University's Research in Review

Ed
"...long-range atmospheric transport of elemental mercury". Ugh. You're such a killjoy, Ed. ;)


... maybe a lot of tiny bits will one day add up.
I think that's about all we can hope for at this point. You have some interesting ideas. Thanks for sharing.
 

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In addition to many of the practices already listed I choose glass over plastic whenever possible (fly rearing, tadpole rearing, petri dishes etc.).
Melissa
 
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