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Discussion Starter #1
I believe I will take Mr. Yeager up on his invite to continue this discussion.

When referring to mixed enclosuresi the use of the word mixed is an inapt description as this indicates that the animals are together in a homogenized fashion. Because this is not what typically happens multispecies is a better description of the properly set-up enclosure.
Multispecies enclosures are becoming more and more common with the larger and better Zoos (including some of those at the forefront of dendrobatid breeding such as NAIB) and Aquaria. Many of the multispecies enclosures at these institutions have been present for years (some for more than a decade) with little to no problems and in some occasions house multiplegenerations of the animals on exhibit.

There are a lot of issues that are thrown when ever multispecies enclosures are brought up on various forums (not just this one) these include (and I am sure I missed a few),

1) the spatial requirements of the animals are violated
2) pathogens
3) stress

Spatial needs of the animals, this is a issue where some hard and fast numbers have become set in stone in the hobby. Usually, people speak about 5 gallons per frog. To make this simple, I am using the assumption that the 5.5 gallon tank is the standard for the 5 gallons that is the commonly used reference.
Within the 5.5 gallons of space, the space used by the frog (I am going to use a tinct as a standard for the larger dart frogs) is typically very different than the space "alloted". In a typically planted set-up the frog will only use the bottom of the tank most of the time so the actual used total space can be calculated by the surface area of the bottom of the tank (8 inches by 12 inches) and say 3 inches of head room for the frogs to hop. A 5.5 gallon tank contains 960 cubic inches so the frogs only really use 30% (288/960 = 0.3) of the available space or about 1.65 gallons.
What this means is that people have to pay attention to how the tank is portioned out for the frogs. With the set-up described above (5.5 gallon tank) there may be between 4 to 5 inches (substracting for bottom of the tank) of height in the tank that is not used by the dart frog. This would indicate that another species could inhabit that niche if the owner of the enclosure was so inclined. In a manner similar to aquariums, people can look at the enclosure as having an upper portions, a middle portion and a lower portion. In most of the smaller enclosures, this will only be two levels. The other space designates a niche that can potentially be used for a different species. This is where multispecies enclosure planning begins. The person needs to be aware of how much space is really being utilized in the enclosure by the animals. This will give you the first step on the path to the next choice if you wish to keep multispecies enclosures.

After comments (if any), next topic pathogens (last will be criteria to help make the correct choice).

Ed
 
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Woah! That makes allot of sence. This is why i think chameleons could be kept with tincs, in a 50gallon, or over. My tincs only use 1.4 foot by 2.8 foot of ground. The chams will use about 30 gallons worth of air.
 

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Your calculations make no sense what so ever, as many of us don't jsut have a ground level and backgrounds. We have hiding areas, branches protruding formt he background, the glass itself, etc. so the frog truly does use the full 5 gallons that given to it.

I've seen death traps ( I mean community tanks) are becoming more and more common, anyone care to join me in making one with a variety of frogs, turtles, lizards, etc.? Seems to be ok, been going on for a while now...
 

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P.S. I love how this was posted in the beginner section, as these are the people (beginners) who truley need to be thinking about mixing species.
 

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I think if you wanted to make a 15 foot high tank with trees in it and put darts and some sort of south american tree snakes in it than that would work but not much short of it. The only option I see for mixed species tanks is maybe some mantellas and leaf chameleons in a decently large enclosure. But I must agree with derek that this is not a beginner section topic.
 

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Ed,

I don't think this is a good area of the board to have this discussion is in the beginner's section. This is clearly an advanced topic and I think you are giving people the wrong idea that mixing species is ok.

Yes, multispecies enclosures are becoming all the rage. I have seen some very beautiful ones (NAIB comes to mind) and some others which looked as is all the frogs were going to die any day now: no more than dirt, some vines, a fogger and a ton of ground dwelling frogs. I do not want to get into the reasons zoos and institutions are modifying set ups, the reasons are too politically and emotionally charged, but often not all choices implemented are in the best interest of the animal - instead are designed to create a good show and give a facility a "Poison Dart Frog Exhibit".

The planning, $, care and space necessary for such works of art, are not within the realm of the beginning hobbyist. This is an extremely advanced topic.

Our stand on mixing is "Don't do it". The reason we want our beginning customers to be successful!!!

I think a lot of people will read your post; FrogKid already did, and will see that an "Expert" has said it is ok to mix. Regardless of all the disclaimers, people will do what they want to do...

I do hope people don't get the wrong idea from your post. I do think set ups such as these can be done, but I disagree with the area of the board it was posted.

Merry X-mas,

Melis



Ed said:
When referring to mixed enclosuresi the use of the word mixed is an inapt description as this indicates that the animals are together in a homogenized fashion. Because this is not what typically happens multispecies is a better description of the properly set-up enclosure.

Multispecies enclosures are becoming more and more common with the larger and better Zoos (including some of those at the forefront of dendrobatid breeding such as NAIB) and Aquaria. Many of the multispecies enclosures at these institutions have been present for years (some for more than a decade) with little to no problems and in some occasions house multiplegenerations of the animals on exhibit.
 
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Ed is Ed Kowalski the lead keeper at the Philly zoo. He is also one of the best biologists/herpetologists I know. His experience in breadth and time beats most of ours here, myself included.
j
 
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Also Ed, if you want, I can move the discussion, but I think it's relevant for everyone to see. Many beginners see tanks at pet stores, many of which are mixed (especially their 'displays'), so I consider this both an advanced topic as well as a beginner. The beginners are far more likely to have errors with mixing, so I think it's best they are assured of reading this as well.
j
 

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Well no shit Justin. ;)

What do you think my point was? :?

s

Yeager said:
Ed is Ed Kowalski the lead keeper at the Philly zoo. He is also one of the best biologists/herpetologists I know. His experience in breadth and time beats most of ours here, myself included.
 
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I was replying to your post to let everyone else know. We all know Scott is the social acolyte and knows everyone.... Just kidding, I miss your bald head already.
j
 

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Ed is Ed Kowalski the lead keeper at the Philly zoo. He is also one of the best biologists/herpetologists I know. His experience in breadth and time beats most of ours here, myself included.
This proves that ed knows what HE's doing. This doesn't mean he should advise others to follow him when they don't have the expereience of working at a zoo with many different animals. I think that mixing species is out of the question for almost all of us, like Melissa said.
 

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Ed,

I believe this is a function of poor terrarium design rather than an inability or preclusion of the animals being found at higher elevations in our tanks. Remember Dendro = tree and bates = walker; treewalker. I've found that even DENDROBATES TINCTORIUS will use the higher reaches of tanks if given a pathway that allows them to reach the higher parts of the tanks. Not just a thin stick, but something broader that they can walk up. It happens all the time in many of my tanks. And that's just the larger frogs, most of the smaller ones don't need much of a path way (or any at all) to access the higher parts of their tanks.

Then to the second part of your thesis - mixing species. Personally I think it is stupid to mix different frogs - the potential for stress and interbreeding is too high (and I tried it years ago). But to mix your frogs and smaller lizards or geckos is just fine in my opinion and I haven't noticed any undue stress in tanks set up for several years now. In several of my larger tanks I keep different species of smaller anoles with D. GALACTONOTUS and D. TINCTORIUS. I've seen the frogs hop up the branches to where the anoles hangs out and strike with their tongue at the eye of the anole because it moved. The anole did nothing but turned away; the frog hopped away looking for more food. Doesn't seem like stress to me.

All that said I would not suggest this for anyone who has not breed their animals for at least a couple of years. It is only with the experience of keeping one species well that you might recognize potential problems with mixing species. Also use a great deal of common sense - if not your experiment will end in disaster soon after it begins.

Best,

Chuck


Ed said:
Spatial needs of the animals, this is a issue where some hard and fast numbers have become set in stone in the hobby. Usually, people speak about 5 gallons per frog. To make this simple, I am using the assumption that the 5.5 gallon tank is the standard for the 5 gallons that is the commonly used reference.
Within the 5.5 gallons of space, the space used by the frog (I am going to use a tinct as a standard for the larger dart frogs) is typically very different than the space "alloted". In a typically planted set-up the frog will only use the bottom of the tank most of the time so the actual used total space can be calculated by the surface area of the bottom of the tank (8 inches by 12 inches) and say 3 inches of head room for the frogs to hop. A 5.5 gallon tank contains 960 cubic inches so the frogs only really use 30% (288/960 = 0.3) of the available space or about 1.65 gallons.
What this means is that people have to pay attention to how the tank is portioned out for the frogs. With the set-up described above (5.5 gallon tank) there may be between 4 to 5 inches (substracting for bottom of the tank) of height in the tank that is not used by the dart frog. This would indicate that another species could inhabit that niche if the owner of the enclosure was so inclined. In a manner similar to aquariums, people can look at the enclosure as having an upper portions, a middle portion and a lower portion. In most of the smaller enclosures, this will only be two levels. The other space designates a niche that can potentially be used for a different species. This is where multispecies enclosure planning begins. The person needs to be aware of how much space is really being utilized in the enclosure by the animals. This will give you the first step on the path to the next choice if you wish to keep multispecies enclosures.

After comments (if any), next topic pathogens (last will be criteria to help make the correct choice).

Ed
 

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I can agree with Chuck. I know of a large viv (maybe 4x1x4) which was designed so perfectly the tincs are almost always 2 to 3 feet off the ground. I was amazed when I first saw it, maybe this is an extreme example, most tincs tend to stay on the ground the majority of the time in my experience. I do agree that the larger frogs won't climb the glass or plants the way thumbnails do, but they aren't afraid of heights.

-Richard

Great topic btw. I look forward to the second installment.
 
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I'm in the process of setting up a 65 gallon vivarium for my 3 tincs. I'm thinking they are all males and aren't going to be breeding (unless I find a female, or turn out to be wrong... I've given up trying to figure out their sexes). I'm thinking I would like to put something else in the tank with them.

I was thinking of putting in some vents maybe 5 or so my other thought was to put a couple of day geckos in there. I would prefer to put something that would be found in the same habitat/region as the tincs. Anyone know where day geckos originate from? If not central/south america can anyone recommend something that would possibly coexist well ? or should I go with the vents?

I dunno I may just try to find a couple more tincs to add to the 65, though I'm a little concerned there could be some fighting if I did that.

-Tad[/code]
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Actually folks I chose the Beginners forum for the point that this is where people tend to inquire about mixed species exhibits so this is the appropriate venue for the topic. I am breaking this into parts as otherwise the single post would be huge running the risk of losing some of the important points.

Hi Chuck,
There are few basic items that are best illustrated with a simple set-up as opposed to a complex set-up. I intend to get to the potential arboreal part soon (and will include ideas such as visual barriers, refugia etc). (I intend to address some of the hybridization issues but anura is a large genera with some possibilities that preclude hybridization problems).
The whole point to this discussion is to hopefully provide some guidelines for the people who may be considering this venture.

On to the second part of spatial needs. The following paragraph is based on the absolute minum supplied by a simple set up. The most important point is that amount of space provided by the 5 gallon/frog rule begins to break down pretty quickly.

In enclosures larger than the 5.5 gallon tank used in the example, the space not used by a frog like a tinct can be much more dramatically different as in many tanks, the height increases faster than the length and width of the tank(although there are often tanks such as 20 longs that are not as problematic.
For example a ten gallon tank is 20 long x 10 wide x 12 high giving a total of 2400 cubic inches. However if we then calculate the usable volume of the tank using the same criteria used in the 5.5 gallon tank (in the first post) we get 3 inches high x 10 inches wide x 20 inches long we get 600 cubic inches or 25% of the total volume of the tank (and only a 50% increase of the usable space of a 5.5 gallon tank).
If we then go up to a 20 gallon high tank 16.5 high x 12 wide x 24 long we get 4752 total cubic inches with a usable area of 3 x 12 x 24 = 864 cubic inches. In a 20 gallon high tank the amount of usable space drops to a low of 18% of the tank (or a total of 3.6 gallons) yet the 5 gallon/frog rule has us then placing four dart frogs in the tank. In a 20 gallon long (approximate external dimensions of 30x13x12 gets 4680 cubic inches with a usable space of 1080 cubic inches a use rate of 23% or a total of 4.6 gallons).
When looking at even larger standard enclosures such as 55 gallon aquaria (48 x 12 x 20 = 11520 total cubic inches) with a usable space of 1728 cubic inches or a total of 15% of the tank space or a total of 8.25 gallons. (Or based on the 1frog/5 gallon rule 11 frogs which would each have 157 cubic inches each or a total volume of .68 gallons each)
So the usable space indicates that there is something wrong with this method of determing density of frogs as the actual density of multifrog enclosures exceeds the 5/gallons frog limit commonly recommended by the masses as the size of the tank increases (each frog has 300 cubic inches of space/frog (using the 5 gallon/frog rule) in a ten gallon, and 270 cubic inches in a 20 long as opposed to 157 cubic inches of space in a 55 gallon). (Using ten gallons per frog is slightly better but still suffers the same drawbacks).
This then raises the question, then why are we able to keep these frogs at these densities in larger enclosures?

Part of the reason why is because the large enclosures lack floor space, they provide vertical room for decorations that allow the frogs to use more of the volume of the enclosure (but still not an equivalent volume per frog). These decorations provide visual barriers allowing the frogs to escape one another much as they would on the forest floor.

Additionally, in the larger enclosures the minimal amount of floor space decreases but the total amount of space increases. It is this other space that needs to be considered for other species.

Any further questions/comments? If not, I hope to address some of the complex enclosures items.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Derek Benson said:
Your calculations make no sense what so ever, as many of us don't jsut have a ground level and backgrounds. We have hiding areas, branches protruding formt he background, the glass itself, etc. so the frog truly does use the full 5 gallons that given to it."


Actually Derek this is physically impossible as this would require the entire volume of the 5-gallons to be filled with the mass of the frog and/or the structures leaving out any space for air.

Ed
 
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