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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, my name's Ian. I'm from the UK, and have been keeping exotics, mainly snakes, for the last 34 years.
Currently I only have one exotic, a wild type Ceratophrys cranwelli. I did, until last week, also have 40 tarantulas and a a giant pede, but due to surgery on my foot (the x ray they gave me after looks like half a meccano kit in my foot!) I decided to rehome them all as their maintenance was just going to be impossible.
I had a trio of bumblebee darts a few years back which I had to move on as my other half was less than happy with free ranging fruit flies and microcrickets (I now know where I went wrong on that aspect!).
So I've decided to get darts again once I'm back on my feet (literally!). I've been reading through this forum and so far it's been extremely useful. I'm sure I will soon have some questions!
 

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Hi Ian, good to see another UK member.

So much information to be taken away from this forum.

Welcome back to the hobby, round two should see you learn from live food mistakes 😄
Yes - like replacing a mesh lid with glass and covering other vents with ultra fine mesh. Lesson learnt there!!
I'm fairly confident now that I've sussed how to culture fruitflies. I'm happy with my understanding of bioactive environments, and how to set them up. Lighting is the one area I'm reading up on now. The it's a case of choosing species. I'm aiming for 3, perhaps 4 enclosures over time. I'm looking at P vittatus, P terribilis, D leucomalus and albino D auratus
 

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Yes - like replacing a mesh lid with glass and covering other vents with ultra fine mesh. Lesson learnt there!!
I'm fairly confident now that I've sussed how to culture fruitflies. I'm happy with my understanding of bioactive environments, and how to set them up. Lighting is the one area I'm reading up on now. The it's a case of choosing species. I'm aiming for 3, perhaps 4 enclosures over time. I'm looking at P vittatus, P terribilis, D leucomalus and albino D auratus
Well they’re definitely lessons worth learning.

With regards to lighting something I have found really useful is the app Photone. Its essentially a light meter on your phone which when used with lights that are dimmable (really important imo) you can really dial in parameters to suit your frogs & then work with plants that will do well within the same.
 

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I'm happy with my understanding of bioactive environments, and how to set them up
I'd caution that not too much be taken from current "bioactive" practices (common US practices, at least) and imported to dart care.

One clear difference is in the water cycle. Since darts drink only through their belly patch, their viv is best provided with much more water than for any reptile. This necessitates careful choice of substrate (most "bioactive" substrates are going to fall short in some way -- usually in being too water-retentive). But since darts thermoregulate differently than reptiles (evaporative cooling vs thermotaxis) they are best provided with a generous amount of ventilation.

There are other knock-on effects of this difference, such as viv pests. Pests that may not become an overwhelming problem in a "bioactive" viv for, say, a corn snake -- snails, slugs, predatory flatworms -- can thrive in a relatively moister dart viv to the point that the keeper is motivated to a teardown (although pests like spider mites are not typically a concern in dart vivs). The "bioactive" hobby's disinfection procedures at set up (and ongoing, like the disinfection of leaf litter) seem to be too sloppy for dart keeping.

I'm not implying that you don't understand the differences between species' needs, of course, but some new keepers start with a generic "bioactive" viv and add darts -- rather than starting with a solid understanding of how the dart species of choice is ideally kept and build a viv to those needs -- and have problems. So these comments are intended to be helpful for future readers as much as current ones. :)

Relevantly, leucomelas are the dart species most tolerant of deviations from the ideal; terribilis are probably the least tolerant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd caution that not too much be taken from current "bioactive" practices (common US practices, at least) and imported to dart care.

One clear difference is in the water cycle. Since darts drink only through their belly patch, their viv is best provided with much more water than for any reptile. This necessitates careful choice of substrate (most "bioactive" substrates are going to fall short in some way -- usually in being too water-retentive). But since darts thermoregulate differently than reptiles (evaporative cooling vs thermotaxis) they are best provided with a generous amount of ventilation.

There are other knock-on effects of this difference, such as viv pests. Pests that may not become an overwhelming problem in a "bioactive" viv for, say, a corn snake -- snails, slugs, predatory flatworms -- can thrive in a relatively moister dart viv to the point that the keeper is motivated to a teardown (although pests like spider mites are not typically a concern in dart vivs). The "bioactive" hobby's disinfection procedures at set up (and ongoing, like the disinfection of leaf litter) seem to be too sloppy for dart keeping.

I'm not implying that you don't understand the differences between species' needs, of course, but some new keepers start with a generic "bioactive" viv and add darts -- rather than starting with a solid understanding of how the dart species of choice is ideally kept and build a viv to those needs -- and have problems. So these comments are intended to be helpful for future readers as much as current ones. :)

Relevantly, leucomelas are the dart species most tolerant of deviations from the ideal; terribilis are probably the least tolerant.
Thanks for this.
When I say "bioactive" would, to what I have read so far, be limited purely to springtails added to the substrate (originally I was of the belief that coir was suitable but having researched a lot more, I will be using ABG, which I have found is available over here). My understanding is that for darts "naturalistic" is a better term than "bioactive" in its truest meaning, would that be correct?
 

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Thanks for this.
When I say "bioactive" would, to what I have read so far, be limited purely to springtails added to the substrate (originally I was of the belief that coir was suitable but having researched a lot more, I will be using ABG, which I have found is available over here). My understanding is that for darts "naturalistic" is a better term than "bioactive" in its truest meaning, would that be correct?
I personally don't use the B-word unless I put scare quotes around it, since it can mean anything and nothing depending on who's speaking. Some people call a viv "bioactive" since they planted a pathos in it; at the other end of the spectrum, I caught a podcast a while back in I recall John Courteney-Smith saying something to the effect that a true "bioactive" viv is completely self sustaining and needs no food input and no waste removed.

I personally use 'Naturalistic' more in reptile contexts; a tub with paper liner and plastic hides and plastic plants is 'sterile' or similar; using sand substrate and cork hides and stone hardscape and live plants is 'naturalistic' (natural materials), and there is a continuum from one end to the other. The way darts are best kept -- with attention to species-specific uses of substrates (including those such as calcium clay that contribute to the frogs' overall nutrition intake), specific hardscape shapes and materials that take into account the distinct locomotion of various dart species, plant forms and functions (e.g. phytotelmata) -- doesn't have a general name that hasn't been appropriated and modified for some other use, so far as I can see.

That's just how I personally tend to use the words. I think hashing out details instead of using broad strokes and all-encompassing categories is the better way to proceed anyway, and that's a lot of what goes on here (looks a lot like nitpicking sometimes).
 
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