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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a lot of useful feedback when I made a similar thread about tadpole mortality rates that effectively brought my tadpole losses to zero, now I've lost my first froglet and would like to do see where I can improve.

I am currently housing fresh morphs in a small plastic shoebox seeded with springtails, a few cuttings, and leaf litter (see photos). When a tadpole starts to absorb its tail, I'll move its delicup to this bin, slant it at a 30-45-degree angle (also shown). Once they climb out, I remove the delicup.

After about 1-2 weeks in this shoebox, I'll move the froglets to a bigger 10-gallon tank. The smaller shoebox lets me more easily observe them, and ensure that they're getting food in their first few weeks.

Today though, I found one of the 2 froglets that is currently morphed-out dead and submerged in the tadpole water (there's a tadpole in there that you can quite see in the photo). I noticed he had been hanging out on the wall of the delicup the last few days, so I'm not sure if he was eating.

I know I will lose froglets, but I just want to make sure I'm doing everything possible to prevent losses, so any feedback is welcome!

Temperature range: 68-78F.
Food items: sprintails, abundant
Age: ~1 week OOW
Ventilation: Passive, vented lid, pictured

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Froglet in question 2 days ago (note, this was taken right after a light misting):
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once they leave the water I've had quite good success with my Ranitomeya uakarii froglets. my setup is similar to yours. i use a 9L bin, with a large ventilation strip on one end. substrate and then lots of leaf litter and springtails. after 2 days out of the water I start feeding with dusted fruit flies.

After a week out of water then they go into a 10 gallon tank.

It could very easily just have been a weak froglet that wasn't destined to make it no matter your husbandry
 

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In my experience, a lot of what happens as a tadpole impacts what happens in the first week out of water.

While the tadpoles can be extremely hardy, the froglets can be sensitive if they are not leaving the water in prime condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unfortunately I came home today to find his sibling also dead in the substrate. He didn't seem particularly skinny or anything, and there should be plenty of springtails and other little critters in the substrate anyway. I also had added a small number of fruit flies this morning.

I think I'm going to discontinue the use of this container until I can figure out what's going on. Maybe I should switch to a moist paper towel and a few leaves at least for the first week?

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That sucks, im sorry. I recently had a imitator froglet die but it was quite obvious something was off. Yours did not look like that. Where did you get the leaf litter, it looks like it could be moldy/fungus infested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, I don't see any fungus on the leaf litter, but I also don't remember if I boiled these leaves myself (or if I bought them from someone who said they boiled them and took them at their word).

In any case, I have boiled up a new batch and am setting up a new bin with just sphagnum and leaf litter.

Other factors worth noting in maybe getting to the bottom of this:
  • When I was adding springtails, it's likely that some brewers yeast was added as well, as this is what I'm using to feed the springtail cultures
  • I actually see very few springtails in the container now (I added springtails as recently as yesterday), despite knowing I've added copious amounts -- I wonder if something is killing them off, and this too is affecting the froglets.
  • Temps have been between 72--78 this week. There's an AC nearby that turns on once or twice a day for about an hour to keep temps below 78. I also have a digital thermometer on this shelf, and that data doesn't have any excessive drops from cold blasts of air, or any spikes above 78.
 

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I use those same sterilite bins, but only once they are two weeks out of the water or so. I also don't vent them, so I can keep humidity up easily. I feed once a day which gives a bit of air flow.

The first bins I use I actually put the deli cups in once they look like they will be emerging. They are much smaller 2L bins. I put a max of 3 froglets in these, and move them once they are two weeks old or I can see them actively hunting. These bins have some sphagnum moss in the corner, maybe some small disposable plant clippings and a couple of leaves. This makes observation easy. I will feed fruit flies right away, but only tiny amounts. In addition, I always leave a small cup of water + moss in the enclosure. The young ones sometimes go back to it and sit in or around it.

Try letting them emerge in their enclosure, instead of moving them. Maybe it's causing some stress or something.
 

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Throwing out ideas:

There's a light on the shelf underneath. What is the actual temp in the bin? Any warm spots that an IR gun sees in the bin?

Your AC only runs a couple hours a day? Ours runs pretty much all day. Sounds as if there's no air circulation in the room, and so with only a few holes in the top, no ventilation. Increasing ventilation -- perhaps drastically -- might help troubleshoot. I realize this is contrary to what many people do with these bins.

A question:

Do you have other successful bins, or is the only one? I ask because if they're all set up the same and this particular one is just some idiopathic failure, perhaps there's some contamination problem (something unique to that bin, rather than to the design of it). Like you mention, simply trying a new bin might work.

A comment:

Don't get discouraged. I know from raising other (non-frog) species that finding a breeding method (considering everything from conditioning the adults to egg laying and incubation and hatching and getting the young through the fragile stage) that works for me is often a ridiculous amount of trial and, sadly, error. There are popular and supposedly simple to breed reptile species that took me three full years to figure out.

An example -- I tried five different gecko egg incubation media, and also a purpose-built egg holder, and only one works at all for me (one that almost everyone else says doesn't work well). The special egg holder was a complete failure for me, and I still struggled somewhat until I got a $600 (!!!) incubator. Sometimes I think "this is supposed to be simple; everyone does this and no one says it is complicated" only to realize some people stumble onto a method early on, and many try and fail and quit and are never heard from again.
 

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Sorry, man. This is part of the hobby, but it can really be disappointing. The only things I can think of have to do with environment. You said that the AC is close. Any chance that the air is blowing directly on the bin and drying the air out in there? The plants sure don't look like that's the case. The only other thing I could think of was the possibility that direct sunlight is coming through a window and hitting the bin while you aren't seeing it. This might cause an enclosure like this to heat up quickly and then cool before you see it. Other than that, I would look at the possibility of contamination by some toxin. Unfortunately (for diagnostic purposes), nothing stands out to me as out of line in the way you are keeping your froglets. I would say something is up, though, because you shouldn't be losing multiple healthy-looking froglets like that.

Best of luck,

Mark
 

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How long has that tub been used? Generally after a clutch morphs and moves on I toss the substrate and materials. Froglets that are sitting around in old substrate, waste, much will be more likely to be exposed to bacterial and likely to get ill.
 

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Rotatation of duplicate set ups from used to fresh worked for me. Expedient encounter and no 'middle man' container needed.

I also tried to mitigate the feeder numbers put into modest footprints but they were easy for the froglets to find. I used packed, fine ground Peat. They had a dryish corner kept. The aspects of all the tanks were made same. Same dryish corner, same cover amount and placement, same light over all, same size uptake water and placement.
It was a successful formula.
 

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Slope dryer corners for amphibians. It is a natural dynamic to seek in ascent the dryer zone. It is also natural for "higher" zones to be dryer.

Having a dryer, warmer, well lit zone had zero mortality over many groups of tinc mostly froglets and mantellas though the mantella were in a different situ and area of the department. Some of the darts were acquired way too young. It wasnt my job to tell the owner what to do. It was my job to keep them alive. I knew if I did I would be able to apply more control over their fate, ie who they could be sold to, env set up ahead etc, i also needed to cement his support for the ethical demeanor and policies of the herp department. So i just did my thing. The froglet situation was intrinsic to that. Im sharing because of outcomes. Someone will benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

The tub had only been in use for a few weeks, and just for one other froglet. I did notice when I opened it again the other day that I could see spores flowing out from one of the leaves, almost like smoke. This was probably triggered by the sudden flow induced by me opening the lid, and I'm not sure if there's any correlation between this fungus/mold and the mortality of the frogs.

In any case, the froglets that morphed out this week into my new tub with just sphagnum and boiled leaf litter seem to be doing fine. Only time will tell though!
 
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