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Frog Safety 101

Frog Safety Tips:

Handling:If you must handle your animals, Wash your hands! With good antibacterial soap. It is a good idea to wash your hands before and after handling your animals. As well as between animals. This eliminates the possibility of spreading disease or bacteria.

Handling in general is not recommended. If you need to catch your frogs use tools like frog catchers and small containers to catch animals when needed. People have also had luck with plastic bags, as long as it is a very short term thing... Remember to take your time as these animals are small and very fast. Often frogs are injured or lost when trying to be captured. It takes a bit of acquired skill and experience to get it right.

  • Well Sealed lid or door: The general rule of thumb is if a Fruit Fly can get out then a small or young frog could get out.
    Some ideas correcting this:
  • seal the back half of a lid in place with silicone
  • Use no see um or woven wire mesh, siliconed in place over ventilation areas.
  • Use all glass lids, and do not use acrylic or Plexiglases. Both can flex and bend over time due to the heat of the lights and humidity.
Long drops, and Large Vertical tanks, can work as long as there are not a lot of clear long drops. Many times when startled the frogs will leap from any height and can break or dislocate limbs. If you provide enough leaf cover in the middle they may not need to go as far or may not move at all.
[*] Paludariums, can make for a great looking tank, but many times are not idea for many frog species. Most Dart Frogs do not need large pools of water and normally are better with more floor space than these tanks provide. If you are still convinced this is the thing to do here are some pointers.
  • Create as much land area as possible, and use as large of tank as possible. A 20gal is not big enough...
  • Have a beach type land section with sticks or branches to help the frogs get out of the water when they fall in. It is not uncommon for the frogs to downed in these setups.
  • Plants growing in and out of the water will also help the frogs in getting out of the water.
  • Watch feeding as many of the ffs will go in the water and die, which means the frogs will not have them as food. You may need to use fruit to keep the food where the frogs can get to it.
  • A good filter on the water as many times these tanks will be difficult to do water changes with the size and height.
Substrate, and moss: Many items sold in pet store or home and garden stores are NOT suitable for your frog tanks. This is not to say that these stores do not sell items you can use, but that you need to be careful.
  • Store bought dirt, normally will not work in frog tanks as it will become over saturated and rot. There are some orchid mixes that can work but most are made with fertilizes which can also be bad for the frogs. It is best to make your own or purchase a product like Fir & Sphagnum Peat Moss from Zilla.
  • Many dried mosses are coated with insecticides or salts to keep insects out of them. Neither of these are good for the frogs. Low grade sphagnum from some home improvement stores is also treated in this fashion and is not recommended for use with the frogs. It is best to buy sphagnum from one of the sponsors on this site to ensure you get a quality untreated product.[/*:m:2o3zsfsl]
Gravel vs Leca, this has been debated over and over again and it basically comes down to weight. If you even see yourself moving the tank and it is larger than a 10-20 gal, stick with leca as gravel is extremely heavy and will most likley cause you to break the tank down to move it. Whichever you chose always rinse before adding it to a tank. Preferably in hot water.
[*] Plants, will normally be in small pots with dirt or moss, which normally has been treated with fertilizers. Before using these in a tank it is a good idea to rinse off all of the dirt and the over all plant before adding it to you enclosure.

Exo terra Fogger, or other ultra sonic foggers are normally not a good idea to use in a dart frog tank. They can shock or heat up the water and hurt or kill the frogs. Here are links to some discussions on the topic.

What to do when you break a lid:
  • Get the big pieces out first, and move slowly... broken glass is about as sharp as some things get and in these situations many times you want to rush. Its better to take a deep breath and go slow.
  • Get the frogs in a temporary container, many times it is beneficial to get someone else to help spot or cover the tank while you prep the temp container. If you are alone something as simple as a misted plastic cup and lid can hold them long enough to catch the rest and clean up. If you have time it may also be a good idea to grab some gloves and shoes.
What to do when your AC breaks:
  • Turn off the lights, the frogs can go without them for some time.
  • Assess the situation is it something you can get fixed in a day or is it going to be weeks. Frogs can handle a little heat for a short term as long as it is not a quick swing. You don't want the internal tank temperature to get over 85 for most species. Some can handle 90 but if they were in the 70s the swing could be enough to kill them.
  • If you can get it fixed fast the frogs should be fine as the tanks will take a bit to heat up with the lights of. If not then you may need to look into getting the frogs to a friend or family members house for a short time.
  • Other methods... People have had success with reverse light cycles, so the lights are on at night when it is cooler, rather than during the heat of the day. You can also get a bowl of ice and blow a fan over it. A similar option is to put ice on the lids. Careful with the last method as change in temperature could cause the glass to crack or break.
What to do if your Heat breaks:
  • Assess the situation is it something you can get fixed in a day or is it going to be weeks. Depending on the time of year and where you live you will need to figure out how much of a problem this could become. The frogs can handle into the 50s but again large quick swings are normally not good for them. You can wrap the tanks in blankets and move them ot a room with some heat, either a fireplace or space heater. It will take some time for the tanks to cool down, and if you can get one room with enough heat the the tanks should be fine.
  • If needed you can pack the frogs in small plastic containers with sphagnum and put them in a cooler. This will allow you to transport them or enough time to get the heat fixed but only go this route if you have to as it will be stressful on them.

Kyle Kopp (kyle1745)

If you have anything you would like to see added or changed in this guide please send me or a mod a PM.

Last Updated: 12/2/2007
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