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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just wondering how the majority of froggers out there are feeding and supplementing, I personally feed and supplement every day, is this too much?am I overdozing my PDFs and do I need to feed everyday? cause all my Azureus eggs are bad. if I decide to replace one animal, which one? I have no clue which one is the problem child, I used to have 2 females but once they started laying, I traded my extra female. (the moral of this story is always keep your extra PDFs until you get some good eggs) by the way anyone want to buy a pair of sterile Azureus? lol :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dave,

Did you ever start dusting with a human grade dry vitamin A supplement?

Ed
Not yet Ed, I've looked for it at Walgreens and Kmart and they only have soft gel 8000 IU, also I have tried to PM you today and for some reason the PM doesn't go through so I have emailed you. hope you get that. on the dry vitamin A 25000 IU, I'll have to find a vitamin shop or a GNC store at the mall.

I've also PMed Kyle about my PM issue.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ed, just recieved the Dry Vitamin A today from the Viamin Shoppe, do I just supplement with just the vitamin A alone or do I mix it with the Herptivite and Rep-Cal or just the herptivite? and how often should I use the Dry Vitamin A?

Thanks
 

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Hi Dave,

Don't mix it with anything. If you have a morter and pestle handy, you may want to regrind it to get it to stick better.. but dosing should not be more frequently than once a week. I've had good success in reversing issues with D. ebracattus and R. ventrimaculatus by simply using it twice a month for three months, in your case you may want to at least twice and maybe more.

Ed
 

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My human grade vitamin A did not stick well until I reground it. If you don't have a morter and pestle you can try a spoon and a plastic/nylon cutting board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok will do, now I just recieved a pair of R. ventrimaculatus yesterday and as you can see in my signature I have more darts to feed, as I usually feed all at the same time, will it be ok to supplement them all with Dry vitamin A or just the Azureus pair that I'm having the egg issue?

Thanks Guys
You advise is always appreciated :)
 

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Hi Dave,

I used to use the Rep-cal and herptivite and had problems with eggs. I have been using Allen Repashy's Calcium Plus and Superpig supplements and things have improved greatly. I will be adding the Vitamin A as Ed has recommended as well.

Good luck, Richard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Dave,

I used to use the Rep-cal and herptivite and had problems with eggs. I have been using Allen Repashy's Calcium Plus and Superpig supplements and things have improved greatly. I will be adding the Vitamin A as Ed has recommended as well.

Good luck, Richard.
Hi Richard, I was also using Repashy Calcium plus ICB and I'll still use, I just got to figure out what my routine is going to be, but my #1 concern is getting the Azureus's Vitamin A levels within normal limits. what is Superpig? I have heard of it, but from the name of it I just though of them as steroids for frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ok I regrinded the vitamin A , are the FF suppose to still climb very quickly up the side of the feed cup, or did I not regrind it enough? because when I dust with herptivite and rep-cal they can't climb very well or not at all.
 

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The other supplements contain superfine particles that stick to the sides of the dusting cup which makes it difficult for the flies to climb out. You would have to really work the dry vitamin A to replicate this effect. If you are losing flies, dust the cup with a straight calcium carbonate dust (no vitamins in it) and then pour out any extra, there will be a small residual on the sides that will keep the flies from climbing out while you dust them with the vitamin A.

Ed
 

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Hi Dave,
I've been working on an article that I will post on DB. Elements cover this important topic.

This is a portion of the info.



FEEDING TIME


DUSTING THE FLIES BEFORE FEEDING FROGS

Dusting the flies before you feed them to your frogs is important for the long-term health of your frogs and their offspring. I dust at every feeding and rotate my dusting powders at each feeding. At one feeding I will dust with multivitamins, at the next the flies are dusted with a calcium / vitamin D3 mix, then lastly I dust is with Astaxanthin.



MAKING YOUR OWN DUSTING POWDERS
Many folks use a product like Herptivite, Repashy Calcium, and Superpig. These are good products, but if you are on a tight budget you can make your own. I make most of my dusting powders from over the counter products. I actually use a coffee grinder to grind up multivitamin tablets. Coffee grinders can purchased for $8.00 to $12.00 at Walmart, Bi-Mart, etc. I purchased my grinder used much cheaper from the Salvation Army. I paid about $4.00. That’s half to a quarter of the price of a medical Pill Crusher or a Mortar and Pestle.




Grinding and making your own supplements is a safe / effective alternative to the more expensive products. If you have a large collection of frogs you know that their vitamin supplements can be rather expensive.

On the other hand, if you have a small collection of frogs, grinding your own is an inexpensive way to keep your dusting powders fresh. Anti-oxidant vitamins llike A, B2, B3, C, and E are subject to oxidation. This oxidation changes or destroys the vitamin’s effectiveness and health benefits. Vitamins in the powdered form will oxidize and degrade much quicker than they will in a pill form because oxygen is exposed to everything all at once.

This is why it is recommended that you replace your dusting vitamins every 6 months or so. If you have a small collection, throwing out large unused portions of vitamin powder can seem rather wasteful and expensive and we don’t therefore tend to throw out our dusting powders. We can’t see any change in the powder, so we keep using it, but the change is there. If we don’t use fresh dusting powders, our frogs are not getting the benefit that we think they are as we are dusting their food which can affect their health, and the health and viability of their offspring.



THE DUSTING POWDERS DESCRIBED



Multivitamin
A good multivitamin supplement is essential for a frog’s good health and that of their tads.



I will put several tablets into the coffee grinder, close the lid and start grinding.

Shaking the grinder while it is running will help the pills to be ground up into a super fine powder. If you don’t shake it, the pill fragments are so light that larger chunks will be left whole as they float around in the whirlwind vortex. I then sift the powder through a fine mesh tea strainer to get rid of any chunks that don’t get pulverized. The resulting power is so fine that it sticks well to the flies.




Calcium / Vitamin D3
Calcium and Vitamin D3 are also essential to a frog’s good health.



Calcium is required for bone growth and D3 is required because it binds with calcium, which helps the body to absorb the calcium properly. If you have a UV-B bulb in your tank you may be able to get by without supplementing D3 because the body makes vitamin D3 in the presence of UV-B. You can get calcium / Vitamin D3 powder (Rep-Cal with D3 or Miner-All), but I once again use the coffee grinder to grind up calcium / vitamin D3 tablets to keep my calcium / D3 dusting powder fresh.



Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is the best color supplement available to us today. It absorbs much better than the paprika and red chili powders that we have used in years past. While it is similar in structure to the beta-carotene that is found in canthoxanthin, it does not convert to Vitamin A so one does not run the risk of liver, and kidney damage from Vitamin A toxicity. Astaxanthin greatly increases the carotenoid content of the flies, which in turn helps your frog’s color approach that of their wild caught ancestors.





Besides helping boost a frog’s colors, It seems to numerous health benefits. It is a super-antioxidant that has 100-500 times the antioxidant capacity of Vitamin E and 10 times the antioxidant capacity of beta-carotene. It boosts the immune system, protecting cell membranes, and it seems to be involved in nerve health. To date I could find that are no known toxic effects of Astaxanthin in either humans or animals, even at high doses.


Astaxanthin is naturally produced by microscopic plants: the micro-alga Haematococcus pluvialis, but most Astaxanthin is not actually extracted from the marine plants but is chemically produced. Astaxanthin can be found under several other synonyms: Lucantin Pink, Ovoester, AstaREAL, and BioAstin and it is found in product names like Naturose, and Carophyll-pink. It can also be found as a vitamin supplement, but most all of the Astaxanthin vitamin supplements that I have found are the soft gelcap form because the oil form is the easiest variety to extract.


In reading through the manufactures data sheets, I did find one thing that folks in the frogging community has not talked about. The manufacturers recommend that the best way to store Astaxanthin for the long term is to put it in the freezer, preferably being stored at around minus 20°C. At this temperature, it is supposed to remain stable for at least one year. While our freezers do not get this cold, it may be best to keep the Astaxanthin that we are not presently using to dust the flies with in the freezer. I keep a small amount in a dusting container with the rest being store in the freezer. If you store it this way, common sense says to let it warm up completely before you open it so that water doesn't condense in the powder causing it to clump. Synthetic Astaxanthin is supposed to be stabile for about two years and if you store it in the freezer it will last quite a bit longer.


More to come.
 

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Dave,

The literature does show that astaxanthin has a provitamin A activity in anurans.

The other thing about the homemademix is that in just using astaxanthin, you are missing out on a number of other carotenoids that are commonly found in anurans.

When using a spice/pill grinder you have to be careful to not let the vitamins warm up during the grinding process as this starts breaking down the vitamins.

Ed
 

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Hi Ed,

Dave,

The literature does show that astaxanthin has a provitamin A activity in anurans.
Can you cite some of the references to this. In my researching I have seen a great deal of information that astaxanthin does not have provitamin A activity, but this may be mainly related to mammals. Many sources of information state that astaxanthin does not have provitamin A activity, but these may be aimed at studying the affects on mammals, ie selling astaxanthin to people.


Astaxanthin Description

Pub Med Article

Journal of Nutrition

Healthy Body Daily

Nutrition Science Article

Astaxanthin, a Carotenoid without Vitamin A Activity, Augments Antibody Responses



I was able to find one study that indicated that fish could convert astaxanthin into Vitamin A.


Fish Able to convert Astaxanthin to Vitamin A

I have not been able to find anything that refers to whether frogs can convert astaxanthin to Vitamin A.



The other thing about the homemademix is that in just using astaxanthin, you are missing out on a number of other carotenoids that are commonly found in anurans.
I value your input. Any suggestions on a combination / mix that would be best for our frogs? What kind of proportions?

I chose astaxanthin because it seems to absorb better than the paprika or chili powders that we used to use. Also the data that seemed to indicate that astaxanthin doesn't convert into Vitamin A thereby reducing the likely hood of creating Hypervitaminosis A toxicity and all of the problems that can create.

Hypervitaminosis A

All of the research I have found indicates that there is very little down side to it's use as it is presently found to color salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and birds. When added to frogs diets, their colors seem to come closer to that of their wild caught cousins.

When using a spice/pill grinder you have to be careful to not let the vitamins warm up during the grinding process as this starts breaking down the vitamins.

Ed
Agreed. One of the other benefits to using the high speed coffee grinder that works kind of like a blender.
 

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Is there a way to quantify the amount of dust that actually adheres to the flies?
I know it will be quite variable, depending on the dust particle size, and time from dusting.
I have access to an analytical scale accurate to 0.1mg and tried a variation of Ed's method for determing the weight of dust on melanos, but wasn't very satisfied with the results. Doing the calculations, my melanos averaged 0.83mg; which wasn't very different than Ed's calculation of 0.753mg
Dust weight came out to 2.8% of the fly weight. That seems excessive to me.
I'll give this another shot tomorrow, unless someone already has this data.
All of my frogs are juvenile or subadult and I've been dusting exclusively with Repashy Plus daily. Each frog consumes on average 20 flies a day.
Is the quantity of vitamin A in Repashy Plus known?
I guess my thinking is...If Repashy Calcium Plus does not offer enough Vitamin-A or astaxanthin, why wouldn't he simply add more to his formula?
 

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Dust weight came out to 2.8% of the fly weight. That seems excessive to me.
I'll give this another shot tomorrow, unless someone already has this data.
If I remember correctly, the only other study on dusting and fruit flies was done by Dr. S. Donoghue in an unpublished study referenced in her chapter on Nutrition in Mader's Reptile Medicine and Surgery. She referenced a concern that fruit flies could retain more supplements in relation to thier body size resulting in a risk of overdose if the frogs were overfed (or gorged themselves due to a surplus of flies). Howver as this is a complete supplement, the amount of vitamin A actually absorbed is dependent on several factors. The approximate amount of vitamin A absorbed is dependent on several factors as both D3 and E compete for uptake with vitamin A which reduces the amount of A actually absorbed, the amount of fat in the diet at the time of ingestion also affects the absorbtion of those vitamins. The amount of fat also affects the absorbtion of carotenoids (which can also compete for uptake).

At this time we do not know the exact RDA for vitamin A (or any other vitamin) for frogs, what we do know is that thier RDA falls within the values established many years ago for domestic animals. The issue with vitamin A probably would never have occured if a person in the early 1990s hadn't decided (with no information) that vitamin A in the supplements available at that time was what was causing the death of chamelons and posted this on the web where it went viral. This resulted in the majority of herp supplement manufacturers no longer using retinly palmitate in thier supplements and using 100% beta carotene as thier source of vitamin A which is what brings us to today where it appears that frogs have issues with converting suffiicent beta carotene to retinol to supple all of the metabolic needs (but those needs are also affected by how we keep the frogs (for example reproductive for most or all of a year)).
Now we do know that tadpoles can use a pathway that converts astaxanthin to a form of retinol for thier metabolic needs but they can also convert other carotenoids as well. At metamorphosis the pathway for conversion of carotenoids changes from astaxanthin (which is retained in the eye of at least some adult anurans allowing for more efficient vision) to other carotenoids. Most of today's supplements do not contain the wide variety of carotenoids that anurans can use for pigmentation and/or provitamin A sources.

So where does this bring us.. the only way to determine the actual amount of vitamin A needed by a frog is to amass a large number of that species, feed them on a formulation that starts out with no vitamin A (or what every vitamin or mineral you are testing for) and after a period of time sacrifice (ideally when they show signs of deficiency) all of them and have them analyzed for that nutrient. Repeat this with different amounts of the nutrient until you are seeing toxicity issues and then go back through the data and find the range where you no longer see the signs of deficiency or toxicity and this is the range from which the RDA is calculated... This is prohibitively expensive, time consuming and potentially ethically challenging given that virtually all animals respond to the same ranges as seen in domestic animals (vitamin needs tend to be heavily conserved across taxa). Instead formulations are based on the prior data and then tweaked if something shows up to be deficient or excessive. This is what we are seeing with some of the supplements such as the Repashy.

Repashy recently came out with a new formulation for thier supplements which not only contain a variety of carotenoid sources but a decrease in beta carotene and an increase of retinly palmitate. This formulation is new and whether or not it solves all of the issues with hypovitaminosis of A needs some time to for reports to come in... ON a purely anecdotal basis, there are a number of good reports starting to filter out.. (I must note, that this is hard to discuss without causing the appearance of feedback... so bear with the circumlocution. ) Prior data indicates that most supplements show significant variations in make-up not only between brands but between batches (in part because they are not regulated), we do not have neutral third party analysis of the newer supplements in part directly due to threats of lawsuits that resulted from the prior study. As a result conventional wisdom is to rotate more than one supplement to deal with the deficiencies between brands and batches but this may be a disservice to newer brands who are more conscientious in thier formulations but again we do not have a neutral analysis of the newer brands. In addition, most of the supplements on the market still use beta carotene as thier sole source of vitamin A which is in part why we still see issues with hypovitaminosis requiring an additional supplementation to bring the frogs back to the correct baseline.

My fingers are getting tired.. so if you wish to discuss this some more let me know.

Ed

PS: It was great to see my data wasn't that far off with a different method (I was using wingless flies for my calculation).
 

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Hi Dave,

I have a whole article on it in the TWI's Leaf Litter which discusses all of those points. As it is a recent issue, I'm not thrilled about posting the information and references here as it discourages people from either purchasing the magazine which is one of the main funding sources for TWI.

See for example
Collins, F. D.; Love, R. M.; Morton, R. A.; Studies in vitamin A; visual pigments in tadpoles and adult frogs; Biochem J 53(4):632-636


Ed
 
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