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Mixing Species Help!

11228 Views 132 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  dravenxavier
I am a beginner to the world of dart frogs, and am in the process of setting up a 12x12x18 vivarium. Ive heard a lot about the danger of un "pure" frogs and hybrids and am wondering why no one buys them/why they are a big deal? on a side note what would be a good number/type of dart frog (I dont want auratus :) )
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So really? A first post that includes so many inflammatory topics? Someone that appears to have read enough to ask about mixing and then doesn't know not to put desired frogs in a 12x12x18? Really?
Along these lines, if people bothered to check out his cp page, one can readily see that he has checked out the thread to see if the flame war has started....

As far as I can tell, we have one troll starting the war and another one starting a second front.... intentional or not...
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Seems most hobbyists would rather have say a dozen 40 gallons setup nice with the pairs. Its not like it would cost any more to do.
These spatial "needs" arguments are getting tedious.

When your packing tinc pairs into tens it comes out to very little space per frog. Once plants, hides, soil and whatever else gos into the viv there is no space. Most give a thumb pair more space. We as a hobby for the most part have expressed its not for the best as it does increase the risk of an elevated parasite load. Air circulation, humidity and drainage issues also occur regularly.

Michae l
Spatial needs of the frogs are based on resource allocation. You can actually end up with less usable space per frog in a larger enclosure if a person isn't careful..., a simple argument on space isn't valid... as an example, a 30 foot by 30 foot enclosure with no shelter on the floor except for a small 12 square inch spot which is the only area kept moist in the enclosure is less usable space per frog than many smaller enclosures.

With respect to the parasite argument, on what is this based? How do you know that there won't be the same density in a larger enclosure? On what are you assuming that larger enclosures won't end up with higher densities of parasites such as lungworms which have a freeliving reproductive form?

The whole "most give" argument is a problem as "most" isn't even a percentage...

The whole larger is better argument is usually presented without explaining how resource allocation works. It is simply tossed out there as a "minimum spatial need"argument and passed along with many other folklorish beliefs in the hobby. It is usually cited without any valid supporting information only a mishmash of beliefs by rote repetition of adherents.

There is a long history of using ten gallon tanks both by the hobby and by institutions that is consistently being ignored by many of the bigger is better crowd.. there has been success with many dendrobatids for a much longer time than most of you have ever been in the hobby. Those tanks were the standard for going on more than 20 years.

Can larger enclosures be better, yes, if they are designed properly.
Can they be worse than smaller enclosures? Absolutely.

As I have stated in the beginning, the whole spatial argument is getting very tedious.. if anyone is going to make the argument on spatial needs, then they should also be able to explain what it means and why instead of spouting unsupported "facts".
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As usual in these threads, a flame war has started, personal grudges have been pulled out into the open, disparaging comments tossed about..all for what benefit?

Anyone feeling better about themselves yet? Counted coup yet?
Holy Crap!!!!
I thought this thread was done when I went to bed last night and it only had like 6 posts.
Anyone besides me notice that the OP hasn`t posted?
Looks like we have another winner.

*Edit- of coarse, I only added to this nonsense with my post.

hi John,

I commented on the fact that he logged in as "new" and checked it more than an hour afterwards. I'm sure he/she is reading it without logging in and being amused.
Though I bet you ran right back to Rich to tell him about my post.

Believe me, I am not running from you (as you are unimportant to me). How I keep my frogs is MY business and not the business of the profundly misnamed "Dart Breeders Union". You keep your little club up in the rafters where it belongs!

I would say a lot more, but this is not in the Thunderdome.


How does this help the thread? It is clear that both you and Poison Beauties have an axe to grind.. but is this really the thread to grind that axe?
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With that out of the way, I can't see 10 gals being successful for many of the morphs I keep with regards to breeding and rearing successful offspring.
Hi Chris,

How do you know that this isn't an artifact due to a poor understanding of one or more needs of the frog?
For example, it is documented in the literature that some obligate eggfeeders populations due to available resources can have reduced territories (see Lotter's book for a picture of this with pumilio) and much higher densities, yet the hobby has little understanding of how this works in the wild or an ability to recreat it.
As a second example, the issue with some obligate froglets having a high mortality rate before the age of 6 months really speaks towards a lack of understanding of some requirement. In reality froglets should be able to be treated similarly to adults. The fact that this doesn't tend to be the case, speaks to our lacking some understanding of thier needs.
There are a few debates popping up in here at once, but I'm most intrigued by the tank size debate. Maybe there's just something I'm not seeing, but what are the actual benefits of smaller? It seems that it makes for a much more sensitive system with the lack of temperature and humidity gradients, and perhaps more stress for the frogs involved. But the argument for it seems to be if you're careful, it can be done. But in that case, what's really the point of doing it? Why not just give them more space? I'm not sure I see a down side in that.
where to stop...
I'm willing to have a reasonable discussion on it. The thing that is most commonly skipped over is that a well set up smaller enclosure can be a lot better for a frog than a poorly set up larger enclosure. Now don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate for larger enclosures but the level of dogma around this topic is becoming very tedious.

We can start with some history.. up until about 2004, the iron clad rule that many in the hobby dictated was 5 gallons/frog particularly when setting up groups of frogs in larger sized enclosures. At that time, virtually all of the commonly used enclosures were aquariums which were designed for an animal (fish) because they used 3 dimensions. To cut the explanation short (you can read the whole argument here as the size of the enclosures increased, the available area for the frogs decreased due to larger volumes of space that were not accessiable to the frogs (as they can't float or fly).

In reality, the territorial needs of an animal are determined by how seperate different resources are needed for the animal. In this case we are looking at egg deposition, calling perches, (in some species) mate guarding, and tadpole deposition sites. Dendrobatids do not appear to guard feeding areas.

The closer these are provided to one another, the smaller the resulting territory as there is less need to defend a larger area (saving important metabolic needs) from other competitors.

This is why it is important to understand why resource allocation is important when setting up an enclosure.

If the frogs are provided with shelters in which they can hide, then stress is typically not an issue.

One of the bigger issues, is that people may ignore the needs of the animals and set up aesthetically pleasing enclosures which are often considered to be a status symbol in the local hobby with both unofficial and (occasionally) official competitions. These enclosures often are planted to the point that primarily leaf litter species are obstructed from being able to move readily.

That should be a good starting point.
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Look at all the complaints about tincs being tiny compared to years past. It could be caused by any number of deficiencies in husbandry but cramming them into the smallest viv possible certainly can't be helping the situation.
On what basis is placing them in a ten gallon tank going to induce a smaller size? Hwo is this not like the pet store employee telling someone that a burmese python will only grow to the size of the enclosure...

I would suggest looking at feeding, humidity, photoperiod, and planting before we look at size of the enclosure.
my point here is that if it's simply your opinion, then one shouldn't be treating it like holy writ
Hi BM,

I don't think this poster was acting like it was writ. He was actually asking why to get information.

The person in question here has already been banned from Db once for harassing me with precisely the question he puts forward here (yet again attempting to harass me). I have no intention of allowing him to defame me on Db by suggesting that I am not a good frogger. My house is open to anyone at (almost) anytime.


Then instead of whacking around with an ax in a thread in a totally OT manner, either invite them to the dome or take it up with a moderator. Neither of you should have been throwing axes while others who have no part of the problem are in the way.

The forum has a rule about treatment of others, baiting and both of you have violated it in my opinion. Be glad I'm not a moderator...
If anyone has a better idea on how 10 gallons should be managed for tinc breeding Im all ears, My idea on it is they should not be used. Its simple, you can not tell me that a larger viv say 20-55 gallons is not easier to maintain. There will be aggression/ territorial issues, stagnant water and drainage issues, ventilation issues as well as may fewer options for plants and other viv decor. You can not do any better with a ten gallon than a larger viv. Again if it cost you a couple hundred bucks for the frogs and you cant afford a bigger viv maybe this hobby isnt for you as its a hobby that costs with the needed diet and other supplies involved. The viv is just about the cheapest part of this hobby especially when there are $1 per gallon sales at petco.

The problem is that this presents the whole idea that a larger enclosure regardless if it is properly set up or not is better than a smaller enclosure.

Let us look at your comment on ventilation.. the current standard in the hobby is to reduce the ability of the enclosure to exchange air with the outside of the enclosure to maximize humidity so we can discard the ventilation argument. Even if we consider ventilation, why can't vent(s) be added to a ten to resolve the issue?

The territorial argument, is moot as I understand the discussion has been around pairs and not groups.

Drainage is readily addressed by raising the false bottom and/or plumbing the tank. The false bottom can be deeper as the frogs don't float or fly. This isn't setting up something for fish.

Plant issues.. as I understood it we are mainly discussing tinctorius which do not need plants. Reduced selection isn't a big deal for them unless you are cramming the tank full of plants so the frogs can't move.

Vivarium decor.. is this for the frogs or the person? If it is for a pair of frogs, what decor is considered something that the frog's can't do without?

Richard thunderdome or not keep it up and I wil hurt your feelings on this. Do I need to pull up the videos from recent wars? You just said its your business what you do with your frogs and vivs yes but when your using them as examples and you value yourself as a teacher to new hobbyists and outsiders who form opinions on this hobby easily expect counter points on the subject. You can not tell me you have better outcomes with you frogs in tens than you would larger vivs. You seem to be based more as a business than a hobbyist as far as I can tell by your practices. Im very surprised your not keeping tinc pairs in 190oz containers so you can stack them in and get more of them. Good luck with it Im out.,.

What I just said about Richard and the axes applies just as much to you Michael. The issue between the two of you should not be here on this part of the forum.
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All good points. Part of the differences in opinion may stem from different groups of frogs being kept by different people. A 40 gallon breeder with leaf litter and some sparse planting would be far more useful for a pair of terrestrial frogs vs. a 40 vert with a heavily planted back wall, which would be more useful for a pair of Oophaga or thumbs.

This being said...if a particular person is prone to setting up an improper larger tank, then what would the odds be of the same person setting up a proper smaller tank, which is more sensitive and less forgiving in it's various parameters. Meaning, if someone could set up a 10 gallon that could (for argument's sake) work for a pair of tincs, then the same person should, in the best assumption, be able to set up a larger tank that would also be well suited (better suited?) to the species.

To me, it then comes down to a "we can, but should we?" sort of thing. I feel like it almost boils down to a competition to see who can keep and breed their frogs in the smallest given space, which just doesn't sit right with me. Or, fitting the largest number of frogs in the allotted space, which also doesn't really sit right with me. Again, though, all opinion.
I'm going to pare this down a little for brevity's sake. If I missed something you felt was important, it wasn't intentional.

I don't think it is a competition on who can do x in the smallest space as the standard for more than 20 years was ten gallon tanks for pairs of tincts etc. In reality it is a competition on who can provide the largest space for the frogs and others follow suit with a keeping up with the Joneses mentality and people who don't follow it are given grief for violating the dogma.

I agree a person who can successfully do a smaller tank can do a larger tank but that is not how the rule is passed down to others. Newer people are told things like "I don't consider that a suitable tank for x,y,z)".. even if that type of frog was maintained in those size enclosures for decades...

On these same lines, a person who doesn't understand why they are doing something are as likely to make a poor set up in a larger tank as a smaller one. This is why it is crucial for those advocating a larger enclosure to understand and be able to explain resource allocation and how it has to function with the frogs.. They should also point out that overplanting a tank so it looks good may not be in the best interest of the frogs...
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I didn't say that it was, only that it was a possible contributor.
And I asked you to justify that statement. Please supply an argument by which that would reduce size in a dendrobatid...

Simple common sense dictates that a larger space will be more stable than a smaller one, taking longer to accumulate waste products and providing more surface area for beneficial microfauna.
What waste products? Where is it accumulating?
What do you mean by beneficial microfauna? It seems like you are implying beneficial bacteria but I'm not going to take liberties with guessing.

People say common sense but are then unable to support thier argument.. just like the old adage that by following a rule of 5 or ten gallons/frog you will provide more space in larger tanks... It was common sense that more frogs could still be housed in larger tanks because larger tanks provided more space.....

As has been brought up already, someone who can't design a suitable large viv won't be any better at designing a small one, but at least the larger one will be better to a small degree simply by the increased surface area.
Actually this is an incorrect assumption. To use an extreme example, I have a 30 foot by 30 foot room in which I place a pair of frogs and I only place leaf litter and plants in one area which is 10 inches by 10 inches and that is the only area that I supply water how is this better than a ten gallon tank that is set up properly?

Also see the multispecies thread I linked above that shows that with larger enclosures you may not get more room/frog.

A small enclosure is at best a neutral factor in husbandry, but more likely to be a negative. Why not push for something better than "probably good enough"?
It is often a neutral factor but if you are comparing improperly set up larger enclosures versus smaller properly set up enclosures it no longer is neutral but a positive.

As I stated above I am actually an advocate for larger enclosures. My issue is that there is a lot of folklore and dogma associated with the larger is better recommendations and we have already seen a host of them in just this thread.
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I have no interest in arguing semantics over common sense. Of course a 30'x30' room with a 100 in^2 area of leaf litter would be inadequate, but that is an absurd example of arguing just for the sake of arguing and I won't waste my time.
Actually it isn't an argue over semantics, you threw an "reason" into the ring on why smaller tanks are inferior and were asked to justify it. Now you are dodging the question by claiming it is semantics. At this moment your example has as much validity as claiming it is because they put a traffic light outside of your room.

Is it any more "absurd" than your contention that a larger enclosure is always better? I simply cited an example of how your position on larger enclosures breaks down...

When it comes down to it, I will take advice from guys like Chris K. and Rich Frye who actually have results to show over theory. Froglets trump "theoretically good enough", and if that's not good enough because they haven't been published in a journal that charges $15 to read each article then so be it, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Interesting, if you are claiming froglets are the bottom line, then you are validating the 20 plus years those enclosures were used to churn out froglets .... so again your position breaks down.

With respect to journal citations, this is an addition in an attempt to throw the trail into a different direction and has no validity in the discussion.

I've read this entire thread only because I have some time to kill before work. Sure did bounce all over the place...

Nobody will ever convince me that a 10g tank is ok for Tincs. Bigger is better IMO. Short and sweet. You can argue about it all week long.

My 2 cents

And I have said bigger is better several times.. I'm simply breaking down the unsupported dogma that people cite as reasons on why. Some of the participents are clearly taking that personally...

Hey Ed,

Yeah I know some people are successful with pumilio in 10 g's, one guy in PA used to get pretty good production out of lots of pum morphs in 10 verts, I wouldn't do it myself though, some people also report production from them in qt containers and deli cups during transport, so who really knows.

I was talking more about the histrionicus/sylvaticus, SO MUCH anectodal stuff from the people with the most experience with them (as well as an anecdotal euro study) shows that the only real way we know of so far to get steady successful CB adults out of them is for the most part leaving the froglets in the tank with the parents until at least 5-6 months (or in some rare cases, leaving them in the tank they morphed in which is another discussion), one of my pairs can produce sometimes 5-7 froglets out of the water within a month of each other, the only way I can feel comfortable is with them in a larger tank (obviously set up correctly) - as well as seeing that they always choose the largest of broms to sleep/deposit in - they may choose the smaller ones or film cans if given no choice though, so anyway like I said I can't really picture any real kind of success with those in 10 g's.
I get it and I don't have a problem with it. It's just the dogmatic and parroted arguments and reasons that get to me...

I was just pointing out that this success often stops people from thinking about why the wild populations can be much denser and successful while captive populations are not.... We as a hobby are missing a large piece of the puzzle here... and we shouldn't stop trying to figure it out.

With all due respect, then why are we arguing or trying to prove that a 20 is better than a ten. It's not something that can be proven now is it... So all this arguing is pointless then too...

It's simple, they have more elbow room...Anyone that looks at a pair of Tincs in a ten can see that they could use some more room.

I don't get this at all...

It is fine to suggest that a larger enclosure is better but the reasons that people cite are often at best baseless or even contradictory. The main thought is that larger is always better; even when this is patently not the case. A larger poorly set up enclosure is no better than a smaller badly set up enclosure and is worse than a smaller properly set up enclosure. People have to get out of the mind set that bigger is always better.

In this thread, we have had many baseless comments about enclosure size affecting the size of the frogs, buildup of waste, ventilation, etc and all have been unsupported.

If people are going to suggest larger enclosures then they should also show due diligence in providing direction on proper set-ups.. not simply throw out that is too small yada yada yada....
I seperated this on purpose..

I think we can readily discuss and come up with reasons why a properly set up larger enclosure is better than a properly set up smaller enclosure, however we have to recognize that properly set up is not going to be the same for all species.

Right off the bat we can put out there that for primarily terrestrial species, leaf litter is important and moss is unimportant except for aesthetic purposes.

for the tinctorius group, bromeliads are not needed in the enclosure.. some form of hut for courtship and egg deposition is needed...

There are a lot more of these...

Why? Like I said before, all you have to do is look at 2 Tincs in a ten and see that they could use some more room. So, if people say a ten is to small, why to they have to back it up?

My wife and I sleep in a queen size bed. A double is to small. Do I have to prove that too?

Just saying...

and off to work I go

Hi Glenn,

So the fact that tens were standard and successful for more than 20 years doesn't have any weight in this discussion?

How are you seperating out anthropomorphism from the decision process?

Why do they need more room? Food is provided so foraging is out, egg deposition sites are provided, shelter is provided, the rooms are temperature controlled so they don't have to look for microniches to avoid extremes. So why?

See my post above here
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