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Sooo, this is my first post here despite relying on dendroboard heavily for vivarium setup advice for the past year or so; I just hate that it's for such a grim topic.

Back in Feb. I got three starry night reed frogs from Josh's Frogs. They're my first (vertebrate) pet since I was a kid (I have moved around way too much...) and they're so great. Cute little things, and fun to watch eating. Or to just stare at for hours even thought they don't move.

In September, they laid a huge clutch of eggs, which was exciting. Now, almost all of the tadpoles have at least back legs. I've been putting the ones with front legs into a 12x12x18 tank with clay balls for drainage, and sphagnum on top of that, and a water bowl that I've been changing/cleaning every two days or so. I seeded the tank with springtails and isopods from my adult reed frog tank to help with cleanup.

Anyway, the problem that I'm having is that I've had two tadpole deaths (with 4 legs but still a tail)/froglets in the past few days, and there are some froglets (mostly with their tails still) that seem to be pretty lethargic. I'm not sure what the issue could possibly be. I upped the temperature in the tank and they seemed to perk up a bit. I am a bit worried about "red leg syndrome" (which as I gather is just a catch-all term for septicemia?), but I hadn't noticed any lesions or sores. Could it just be bad luck?

Right now, my plan is to divvy up the froglets into individual deli containers and sterilize everything. Only issue with this approach is that I'm not sure I'll be able to heat those effectively (our house is pretty chilly at ~62 degrees) and I'm also not too keen on the idea of having 70+ deli containers in the living room, and having to feed and clean them several times a week.

So, do you have any idea what the problem might be? And if there's a better way to deal with it than what I proposed? As much as I love my reed frogs there is truly a dearth of info about them on the internet, and I feel like they are different enough from darts that a lot of advice for darts doesn't translate well.

Thanks in advance :)
 

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Do the froglets still have tails? Sometimes these froglets (with tails) like to stay in the water until they have fully metamorphosized. Once tadpoles have grown all of their legs but still have a tail, they don't eat at all (usually) and get all of their energy from their tail. Tadpoles use all of the energy that they gain back from "eating" their tail (they just absorb it). I think your problem may be that they have not yet developed lungs fully and are lacking oxygen/humidity/nutrients that they would gain from being in the water. More experienced froggers feel free to correct me!
Good Luck!

Gastrotheca
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Crested Gecko 0.2.0
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do the froglets still have tails? Sometimes these froglets (with tails) like to stay in the water until they have fully metamorphosized. Once tadpoles have grown all of their legs but still have a tail, they don't eat at all (usually) and get all of their energy from their tail. Tadpoles use all of the energy that they gain back from "eating" their tail (they just absorb it). I think your problem may be that they have not yet developed lungs fully and are lacking oxygen/humidity/nutrients that they would gain from being in the water. More experienced froggers feel free to correct me!
Good Luck!

Gastrotheca
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Crested Gecko 0.2.0

Yeahhh so I was also thinking about this. Some of the ones that are dying/lethargic have tails and some don't. I have a water dish in the froglet tank so they can go in and out as they please. When I move them from the tadpole tank to the froglet terrarium, I put them in the water dish, and most of them decide to immediately hop out, since their back legs are already pretty strong and they're pretty mobile. I tried to put one of the lethargic ones back in the water and it died like 30 min later so I'm not sure if it drowned even though the water is pretty shallow (about an inch) and there is a piece of wood leading out of the bowl as a ramp. I've been keeping it pretty humid in there as well and spritzing a few times a day, and the sphagnum is also very moist. But from what I understand, the lungs should be almost fully developed by the time their front legs have popped out.

From wikipedia: Lungs develop around the time as the legs start growing, and tadpoles at this stage will often swim to the surface and gulp air.
 

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I assume you've read these, but they imply somewhat different care for new metamorphs than you're providing:



I've not kept reed frogs, so I'm not making any claims here, just passing along the recommendations of others.
 

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I assume you've read these, but they imply somewhat different care for new metamorphs than you're providing:



I've not kept reed frogs, so I'm not making any claims here, just passing along the recommendations of others.
Hmm, yeah, I sort of assumed that since adults do well in groups the froglets would also. I could probably also try waiting a little longer before removing them from the tadpole tank but was mostly just worried about them hopping out and escaping, although the few that did fully morph into froglets were just hanging out in the rim of the tank/sitting on the filter well. I hadn't seen that dendro thread so thank you for sending it along.
 

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You have the tad tank covered, I assume?

The difference I noticed is that the practice seems to be keeping the metamorphs over water for some time, rather than removing them to a terrestrial enclosure. Are they only showing symptoms after pulling them from the tad tank?
 

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Well, I have some successful experience with this. A photo of the frogs and the water dish. The fact that you call it a dish does clue me into some factors.
 

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@ isaisaisa, are you using de-chlorinator for your water dish? Chlorine in the tap water may be the culprit.

Gastrotheca
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Africa is one of the most highly irradiated zones on Earth. This has been a feature of modality for me in naturalistic and corrective husbandry , per species, 'hobby' opinions non withstanding. Ive experienced consistant outcomes. However due to hobby politics I would prefer to discuss per PM.
 

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socratic - no I don't have it covered because the shape of the filter makes it impossible to cover properly.

Kmc -- attached. I have been swapping out the water dish with whatever small tupperware I have available every day or two. There's some commentary on the photos too. [edit: the photos posted out of order but you should be able to understand the comments still]

Gastrotheca - yes have been dechlorinating. I'm going to try taking water from the tadpole tank; might be some sort of acclimatization issue?

Another thing I noticed is that the frogs which seem to be having issues are the ones that are just moving from the tadpole tank to the terrarium. The already established frogs are fine. It seems to be younger ones, which makes me think I should leave them in the tadpole tank longer, or they're not acclimatizing well.

I'm just confused because I've been transferring them to the new tank for almost a month and this week is the first time I've had an issue. Could possibly be related to the fact that I was using a large tupperware tote with a similar setup until about 2 weeks ago when I started using the 12x12x18 because the froglets were climbing into the rim of the tupperware and threatening to hop out when I opened it.
 

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How are you declorinating. For clarity. You are using amquel, or Prime or other that removes chloramine as well just to cover basic.

Your set up , from the parts shown in photos is different in a way that i cant suggest modifying, except to offer that i like seamless demarcation from water to terra for emerging neos, and i like to minimize transfer Stages of environments.

Reed frogs like warmth and air. Plus a secret ingredient that dare not speak its name.

Im wondering if you noticed the sloughing before death? Or if it is just a decomp feature.
 

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For what its worth, not knowing if it could apply in your routine, but, a 5 gal bucket with a pitcher and a hand siphon is the easiest way to have a water supply of the same character for all of them. Kept in same room so it stays at a neutral temp.
I drill a couple holes in the lid, to keep stuff from falling in it but i dont want it leaning anaerobically.

I dont know if this is relevant to your needs.

Dont take this try to heart. And dont be afraid to develop your own style.

I have found field observations and wild studies of habitat more useful than i can say.
 

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Another thing I noticed is that the frogs which seem to be having issues are the ones that are just moving from the tadpole tank to the terrarium. The already established frogs are fine. It seems to be younger ones, which makes me think I should leave them in the tadpole tank longer, or they're not acclimatizing well.

I'm just confused because I've been transferring them to the new tank for almost a month and this week is the first time I've had an issue. Could possibly be related to the fact that I was using a large tupperware tote with a similar setup until about 2 weeks ago when I started using the 12x12x18 because the froglets were climbing into the rim of the tupperware and threatening to hop out when I opened it.
I'd consider humidity issues. Uncovered tad tank; difference between covered tupperware and 12 x 12 x 18, change in season (humidity here in WI is dropping fast)?
 

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I think i would address the temperature first.
They have plenty of moisture. Ie situ Water.

Laterally placed heat mats can warm up a tank with less micromanagement than radiant heat, though reeds will enjoy diligently applied warmth from a light source.

They like to bask and in SF, no attempts to hold in the humidy were made - they were kept with clean water and airy warm temps with areas well into the 80s.

They are a warm sp, Shade and unheated water included of course.
 

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Ok just going to address everything in a big post:



"How are you declorinating?"

API tap water conditioner, claims to remove both chlorine and chloramines.



"different in a way that i cant suggest modifying"

Can you clarify what you mean by this? Also the water was seamless with substrate surface.

I think you also brought up skin sloughing.... I think what you are seeing is bits of sphagnum sticking to its back. But will keep an eye out if any more die, because it's hard to tell from the pics.


As for tadpole tank conditions.... it's a 10 gal with a heater at 75. The grow out 12x12x18 is at ~79 in the cool spot with a side mounted heat pad and a small heat lamp for the warmer side, haven't measured how hot it is. Could probably have it a bit cooler. I have a dimmable CHE coming in the mail so that should help. I should probably just get a thermostat but I am adjusting to how winter temp regulation works in our new rental (i.e. we pay for heating here 😂) and it hadn't crossed my mind until now. Our room temp is a good 10 degrees colder this winter than last , hahaha.

I've been keeping humidity around 60-70% but it could be a bit more stable, will consider covering more of the screen on top. I have found that my adults at least will jump into water if the humidity drops by some fluke, but I think the babies are a bit dumb. e.g. They seemed to enjoy the increased temp when i added the heat lamp but weren't utilizing the warm side of the tank with the heating pad...

Anyway I think my action plan for now is going to be, as long as no more that I currently have in the terrarium die, be careful about water hygiene and use water from the tadpole aquarium in the water bowl. Let froglets grow out a bit more before moving them from aquarium to terrarium. And keep a better handle on temp/humidity.

Nobody seems to be worried that it's a pathogen, so I'm going to wait on divvying them up into more containers until they get a bit bigger/there are too many for the terrarium. Hopefully when they get bigger I can put them back in the tote without them shimmying under the lid. I will say I am encouraged by the fact that the older froglets are doing well! Fingers crossed and will continue to update.
 

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The swapping out of water features, and moving the tads to an in between env, may not be the best move comparing to keeping them in a shallows situ with simple graduations as they morph, as i think Socrates aluded to.
I am also wondering if they are able to locomote freely in the loose wet sphag, if perhaps the weaker ones had trouble.

I know everyone uses it, but there are other options. I dont like particulate sub with tiny babies.

I am reluctant to describe presently, without modality photos which i have and will blog someday or post when i have more energy. I have chronic pain frequent break thru hi level

I think you will do well with them the adults look good.
 

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Hi Folks,
I know nothing about this species, but these little fellas don't look terribly vigorous to me (again I may not be calibrated right). Does supplementation work the same in these guys as it does in darts? Might there be something about the supplementation of the parents that is preventing these guys from thriving. Sorry you are having this issue, OP.

Mark
 

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Hi Folks,
I know nothing about this species, but these little fellas don't look terribly vigorous to me (again I may not be calibrated right). Does supplementation work the same in these guys as it does in darts? Might there be something about the supplementation of the parents that is preventing these guys from thriving. Sorry you are having this issue, OP.

Mark
I think you might be picking up on the color/translucence of the froglets. The adults do change color and will vary from drab grey and translucent to the typical spangled coloration based on light conditions in my experience. When I turn on their light in the morning they darken within 10 minutes or so. The froglets and younger frogs are also usually very drab, from my experience and what I've seen on the internet, unless I got unhealthy frogs from Josh's. I just looked at what dart froglets look like and holy cow they are vibrant! So it might just be that that you're picking up on. I was very concerned that my guys were sickly for a while after I got them, but that's just how they are. pics below


In terms of supplements, do you mean in terms of vitamins/minerals? For the adults I have several dusts, don't quite remember what they are off the top of my head... I def have a calcium/vit d, vit a that I use once a month, and then I think a multivitamin? And I have been dusting the hydei for the froglets with the calc/vit d/multi as well. The tadpoles were given zoo med tadpole/aquatic frog food and started on sera micron. On occasion would also give them briefly boiled veg or once even small bits of chicken to vary the diet a bit, and they also have consistently demolished all of the duckweed on top. So hopefully that would be a varying and nutritious enough diet, but again, these are my first guys.
 

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Might I suggest (and I should preface, I have never kept these frogs) perhaps modifying the 10G aquarium the tadpoles are in, rather than moving them? I think you can likely allow for them to fully complete metamorphosis before moving them, as it might be stressing them with temperature and climate changes (or just the process of catching and moving them).

I might suggest getting a glass lid for the tadpole tank to keep it covered at this point, and once they start popping front legs, lowering the water level to an inch or so and giving them some areas to climb out on, such as larger pieces of wood, or even cork. Once their tails are gone, you can then move them with less worry, and begin feeding springtails or melanogaster as needed.
 
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