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Epipedobates tricolor & E. anthonyi
  • Difficulty: Novice (anthonyi) to intermediate (tricolor)
  • Location & History: Southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru, west of the Andes, 153-1769 m. (1)
    E. tricolor described in 1899 by Boulenger, E. anthonyi describe by Noble in 1921. E. anthonyi was made synonomous (the same species) with E. tricolor in 1992 (Henle) and 1993 (Duellman and Wild), but resurrected as a species in 1999 (Schulte) and most recently by Coloma (Per. Comm./in press).
  • Descriptions & Behavior:
    Notes: While on the small side, these animals prefer larger food items such as hydei and one to two week old crickets.
    - The reds in the coloration are diet dependent and to get as close to wild type coloration the animals need to have a wide range of supplimentation for color from the tadpole stage thru adulthood. SIs will take the longest to color up, often not becoming red until closer to two years of age, even with supplimentation.
    - These animals show color change from froglets to adults - the froglets will show markings but their base color will be a muddy brown, which around sexual maturity will slowly change towards the adult reds. As mud colored juvies they are extremely skittish but calm down greatly after the color change begins.
    - Age of sexual maturity, size at morphing, and general froglet health is highly dependent on tadpole care. Healthy tadpoles morph large froglets that will take hydei out of the water, and grow quickly, males starting to call as young as 3 months out of the water.

    Note: These morphs represent unique subpopulations in the wild that share general physical characterisitics, and for that reason different morphs should not be mixed.

    E. tricolor:
    Moraspunga - intermediate level frog uncommon in the hobby due to many difficultings in breeding. The true "tricolor".
    Highland - intermediate level frog, was introduced to the US hobby in the early 2000's. Dark red background with broad, iridescent "white/yellow" (think terribilis 'Mint) markings on the back. Very bold frog

    E. anthonyi
    Santa Isabel - one of the boldest and easiest of the two species, popular due to its bright red coloration.
    Salvias/Pasaje - this is actually a complex of morphs that all used to be tossed under the "Anthonyi" morph name - these tend towards the much darker, wine red background colors, pale blue to green stripes, and may or may not have flash marks. A little more skittish than the SIs, but become bolder as they become used to their conditions.
  • General Care:
    Temperatures from 68-78ºF during the daytime with a drop into the low 70s or high sixties at night. Tend to like it a little cooler.

    Like most other dart frogs, they enjoy high humidity above 80%, but tricolors are said to tolerate more fluctuations with humidity, considering they occasionally venture out to drier regions. Heavy misting temps the males to call.

    Groups, preferably male heavy (3.2 to 4.1) in a 20/25H. Pairs, and equal ratios have worked, but male heavy groups have always worked best for me, and Tor recomends this ratio (4.1) as well (2)

    Terrestrial, but due to breeding habits require equal hieght (for plants and calling spots) and floorspace - look for 20H and larger tanks with equal hieght and width. For breeding make sure to use plants with horizontally oriented, strong leaves (pothos and alocasia are highly recomended, broms are not), have multiple calling levels for males, and have a shallow "pond" present in the tank. Leaf litter is also highly recomended with these species, especially the more skittish morphs, all juveniles, and should be in the adult tanks if it believed froglets are, or will be in the tank.
  • Breeding & tadpole Care:
    Males will compete for calling spots in the viv, and develop a hierarchy around this (the highest frog gets the best spot) so set up "levels" of calling spots in the viv to reduce competition over these spots. They prefer strong horizontal leaves (pothos, alocasia, etc) for egg laying (occassionally horizontal film canisters as well). Male will guard eggs if they are fertile, and tadpoles will be transported to water if a pond is present in the tank, and if there is enough room the tads will morph in the tank with little to no help.

    Great communal tadpoles - tadpole care clearly relates to size and health of the froglets!!

    The tadpoles should be kept in cool, acidic, soft water with some leaves/ plants/ etc. for hiding spots. Keep it fairly shallow, about 3-4" deep. Tadpoles tend to cling to vegetation for easy access to air. Sickly froglets, small froglets, froglets of poor health, and later maturing frogs are signs of incorrect tadpole care - DO NOT FEED THESE TADPOLES ALGAE BASES TADPOLE MIXES. Algae should be completely left out of the diet, feed them high quality tropical fish flakes, leaf skeletons (wild almond and oak), and let them graze bacteria.

    When tadpoles developed front legs, put them in a critter keeper with a sloping gravel side so frogs can easily climb out. Put some moss in the water to prevent drowning. By this point, only have about a half inch of water in the tank.

    Froglets can brown at first and it may take up to two years for full color. There are testimonials/experiments that frogs will not color up properly unless a high quality supplement (with the key ingredient astaxanthin) is given while they are the majority of CB tricolor fail to meet WC coloration. One will need to experiment with different types of color enhancing fish food as there is no known "proven" formula.

    Possible things to try: Cyclopeeze, phytoplankton, marine fish foods, etc. are good starting points. Anything with a wide variety of caratenoids and astaxanthin are best.

    Froglets will readily take melanogastor fruit flies.
  • Links to related threads:
    Tadpole Diet and Color
    Canthaxantin and Color Enhancing Supplements
    Tricolor's Stripes and Color
    Coloring Up Tri Colors!
    Carrot, Beet, and Tomato Powder for Tricolor
    Phytoplankton Questions
  • Pictures:
    Santa Isabel:




(1) AMNH - Amphibian Species of the World 3.0 Online Reference
(2) - Tor Linbo's Frog Profiles

Doug (Rain_Frog)
Corey Wickliffe (KeroKero)
Bill (elmoisfive)
Kyle Kopp (kyle1745)
Photos by: Bill (elmoisfive)

If you would like to see any updates or modifications to this care sheet please let myself or a moderator know.

Last updated 12/30/2008
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