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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering getting a pair of retics, and looking for input.

I'm planning an Insitu Amazonia, calcium clay substrate with UVB, set up more with ramps and ledges than branches as these guys are said to be a bit more ground-oriented (though I'm not sure how to pull this off exactly given my build habits, which don't include backgrounds, and I'm skeptical about drilling an InSitu for anchor points). I might try including some elevated leaf litter zones for more forage space (upside down cork half rounds mounted up off the substrate, full of leaf litter?).

A 24 x 18 x 24 Exo provides about 10% more footprint, but I don't know if I can stomach an ExoTerra build after having a couple InSitus.

I'm thinking of providing film canisters in lieu of broms so I can raise the tads in place (feeding and changing water as I would in tad cups), allowing the fresh metamorphs to take advantage of a familiar, well-established viv for a couple months (hence the clay and UVB).

I think I can make an extra warm spot (per @npaull's advice :)) available, too.

Anything that sounds off base here, or that I'm not considering? Not too much info here on this species, but I know a couple of you keep them. ;)
 
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I think you will find them just as vertically inclined as most other Ranitomeya. Footprint in the In-Situ's is more than enough for a pair.

Not sure you need the UVB, but give it a go as I know you know what you are doing ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. :)

I've been running UVB (metered, with an understanding of baseline conditions and end goal in view) on two other InSitus with imis and vanzos in order to improve on the sturdiness of the froglets. For readers who aren't familiar with this use of UVB, it is for froglets that are (either because of size, or because they morph in the parents' viv and have competition for dusted FFs or simply are raised in the presence of a good supply of springs) eat primarily springtails for some time and need UVB to metabolize the little bit of calcium that is in the springtails (which is boosted, so it is thought, by the provision of calcium rich clay as substrate). Note that none of this applies to any 'beginner' species of darts (and that's part of what puts frogs in these categories), and providing UVB to darts as a matter of basic care is questionable at best, ill-thought-out bandwagon jumping at worst.

So, this sort of design is ideal? Any thoughts on the film canister tad cup plan?
 
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Thanks. :)

I've been running UVB (metered, with an understanding of baseline conditions and end goal in view) on two other InSitus with imis and vanzos in order to improve on the sturdiness of the froglets. For readers who aren't familiar with this use of UVB, it is for froglets that are (either because of size, or because they morph in the parents' viv and have competition for dusted FFs or simply are raised in the presence of a good supply of springs) eat primarily springtails for some time and need UVB to metabolize the little bit of calcium that is in the springtails (which is boosted, so it is thought, by the provision of calcium rich clay as substrate). Note that none of this applies to any 'beginner' species of darts (and that's part of what puts frogs in these categories), and providing UVB to darts as a matter of basic care is questionable at best, ill-thought-out bandwagon jumping at worst.

So, this sort of design is ideal? Any thoughts on the film canister tad cup plan?
If you want to breed them, I would leave film canisters and avoid any bromeliads or water holding plants. Set up the tank as you would any other Ranitomeya tank IMO.
 

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Those look good SM. Leaf litter leaf litter leaf litter as you know. I found em low in the forest floor in amongst leaf litter and scruffy looking terrestrial growing bromeliads. I don't think they climb like a fantasticus but they'll use a few feet of vertical height (as will any "terrestrial" frog). Shady and hot as hell in the wild (actually really not that crazy hot, 85-95, just like 100% humidity) as we've discussed ha ha. I think quite low light is important to seeing them. And if you can get a thermocline of 75-85 while maintaining crazy high humidity that's what I shoot for with mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yep, I figured they'd climb but want to make sure I maximize what they use most. Sounds like maybe a bit more substrate growing plants than I"m used to using -- that's cool. And I don't even need an excuse to get more leaf litter. ;)

I knew about the low light thing in general, but that's a great reminder to design the viv for it. Not having any Neos that call out for coloring up will make that easier.

Not to open yet another can of worms, but how do you maintain those high temps? I am planning to put this on top of a stack of Animal Plastics enclosures with RHPs running about 90F, though I just learned that AP is running 5-8 month lead times right now. :(
 

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Not to open yet another can of worms, but how do you maintain those high temps?. :(
I keep retics in in the same temps as my imitators with daytime highs in the bright areas of the tank as high at 85 (rarely days near 90) and shadier areas lower-down 5-10 degrees cooler. Night time temps drop into the mid-upper 60s in winter and 70-75 in summer.

Although I have not yet raised tads to adulthood, they are producing tads (the parents just reached adulthood this spring) so this temperature regime seems to suit them. You might not need to sustain 90+ temps to keep them happy.
 

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I think if you put their cages on those AP cages with heat panels they’d get right up there with lights etc. in the past I’ve also used heat tape. Im considering talking with Spectral Designs about a “retic light,” a fixture with lots of low vis color (reds or moon light kinda thing) that can be run at highish power to give some decent warmth, but be appropriate for a relatively dim vivarium. Not sure if it’s feasible.

definitely don’t think sustained 90s is target. I think sustained low 80s with a slightly cooler escape and maybe a slightly hotter zone at the top or something, WITH super high humidity is the ticket for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Related to environmental parameters: retics are sympatric with imitator, but are they syntopic? That is, they both live around Iquitos, but do they both live in the same microhabitats? I've not done much to manipulate temperatures with any of my frogs (yet...) but imitators seem to be relatively unfazed by dry conditions IME.
 

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I don't think they are even strictly speaking sympatric. R. reticulata is right around Iquitos but I think imitator is substantially farther southwest. The Huallaga canyon is 300 miles away, for example.
 

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I don't think they are even strictly speaking sympatric. R. reticulata is right around Iquitos but I think imitator is substantially farther southwest. The Huallaga canyon is 300 miles away, for example.
I agree, they are not sympatric.

I'd also suggest that trying to mimic the high humidity/high temperatures of the wild is likely not needed. These frogs breed and thrive in much lower humidity and temperature levels than the wild. Just because they deal with them in the wild, does not make them necessary in captivity. I'd go so far to say that it may be dangerous to try and mimic some of these conditions in anything less than a 200-300g enclosure, as there is no room for error or escape.

Just my thoughts anyway.
 

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Yeah that may be right (SM and I have a long history of discussing this very thing) but I suspect that many "difficult" frogs, and retics are a great example, are actually "difficult" under the "standard" conditions for darts. Froglet fragility of retics in particular is something I wonder about. I have not amassed the requisite experience to feel confident in asserting this for sure, but it is my suspicion that retic froglets are fragile at lower temperatures. I CAN state with confidence, as I have before, that retics natural habitat is very very hot and very very humid.
 

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You guys have some excellent info in this thread! I wish I had had it available when I got mine. Anyway, I make no efforts to keep the adults differently than the other frogs in my collection. However, I may have lucked out because I have my 0.0.4 in a skyscraper. They are routinely found all the way up at the top, but they are definitely most commonly found toward the bottom. I think having so much height might provide the heat/humidity gradient that you guys have mentioned, as well as providing lower light at the bottom.

Regardless, they seem pretty comfortable in the tank and breed readily. I use black film canisters mounted horizontally and just set on the hardscape about 4 to 6 inches off the leaf litter. They lay usually 2 eggs about every week or so and I remove the canisters and raise them like my other Ranitomeya. Mine prefer the film canisters to the broms that I also have in the tank. In fact, one of the most dangerous operations I perform is removing the film canisters when I know there are eggs. The little fellas like to hide in there with the eggs sometimes and that has led to them hitting the floor several times before I finally learned to look carefully first!

Once they hatch, they are tiny and they really need springtails for quite a while (though I also offer dusted flies just in case there are any prodigies in there). They grow slow in my experience to the point where I really don't like to sell them until close to a year old. I still have a lot of learning to do, and I still have a higher mortality rate on these than my other frogs, so maybe you guys are onto something with the clay and UVB. I can say that the froglets that make it past that initial tiny phase for me seem just as hale and hearty as my other froglets.

Thanks for the thoughtful info provided in this thread. I may have to try some things I have read here!

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'd also suggest that trying to mimic the high humidity/high temperatures of the wild is likely not needed. These frogs breed and thrive in much lower humidity and temperature levels than the wild. Just because they deal with them in the wild, does not make them necessary in captivity. I'd go so far to say that it may be dangerous to try and mimic some of these conditions in anything less than a 200-300g enclosure, as there is no room for error or escape.
I agree more than 100% -- as I've pointed out in the past, and will continue to do. ;) Hearing that experienced keepers think these conditions may help in captive care, though, is a different matter that I think worth considering, at least.

Mark, following from all the info you've shared, do you think the in situ tad raising and metamorph care I'm considering is a good idea? Any suggestions on fine tuning that operation? The things you mention about new metamorphs being tiny and fragile are something I want to address in the most successful and least stressful (to me and them) way possible.
 

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I agree more than 100% -- as I've pointed out in the past, and will continue to do. ;) Hearing that experienced keepers think these conditions may help in captive care, though, is a different matter that I think worth considering, at least.

Mark, following from all the info you've shared, do you think the in situ tad raising and metamorph care I'm considering is a good idea? Any suggestions on fine tuning that operation? The things you mention about new metamorphs being tiny and fragile are something I want to address in the most successful and least stressful (to me and them) way possible.
I honestly don't have a clue. I have never tried it the way you are suggesting. I don't know about how well the eggs do in an in situ environment, nor do I know how well the parents will be able to pick out deposition sites. I imagine it varies by individual. I wonder, too, if I would need to have a lot of deposition sites and whether the number of sites limits their production (in a healthy way). It sure sounds like what you have planned is similar to how I and most other pumilio keepers are set up to breed. In my case, I even have a tank that Doug (pumilo) made that has the clay in the substrate. The pumilio froglets in that tank come out super strong, so maybe there is something to it. I do supplement that tank with a lot of springtails regularly, too.

Maybe I will try dropping a couple of canisters in and a bowl or two for water and see if mine are willing to try it. Could be a lot easier and more natural if it works. Does anyone know if the tads are cannibalistic? I have always assumed so and raised them separately, but it would be a lot easier to have a single water bowl in the tank rather than a bunch of them.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I assume the tads are cannibalistic (though a quick web search and Google Scholar search turns up no support for that assumption); if they are, this will contribute to the feeding of existing (older) tads at some point (as it does in some other Ranitomeya species both in captivity and in the wild). I had intended to provide a good number of film canisters for deposition sites (in addition to empty ones for laying sites) and add some pelleted food and flush water occasionally as I would for tads raised ex situ. They're said to breed in terrestrial bromeliads, so I assume they'll deposit in water filled film canisters like other thumbs.

Yes, I'm currently using the clay substrate method for my facultative thumbnails for the reason you mention regarding pumilio froglets.
 
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I assume the tads are cannibalistic (though a quick web search and Google Scholar search turns up no support for that assumption); if they are, this will contribute to the feeding of existing (older) tads at some point (as it does in some other Ranitomeya species both in captivity and in the wild). I had intended to provide a good number of film canisters for deposition sites (in addition to empty ones for laying sites) and add some pelleted food and flush water occasionally as I would for tads raised ex situ. They're said to breed in terrestrial bromeliads, so I assume they'll deposit in water filled film canisters like other thumbs.

Yes, I'm currently using the clay substrate method for my facultative thumbnails for the reason you mention regarding pumilio froglets.
The tadpoles have been observed to be cannibalistic (Aposematic Poison Frogs of the Andean Countries, Brown et. al), which is also why the males deposit them in different locations.

You may find they don't lay their eggs in empty canisters, but instead will lay them in overlapping leaf litter that remains damp. Unless you are planning on pulling eggs, the empty canisters are likely not required. Once deposited, I would likely remove them and raise outside the tank if you want to see higher success. There is some anecdotal accounts of egg feeding from R. reticulata, but nothing proven. I would suggest you don't count on any parental care.
 

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Yeah that may be right (SM and I have a long history of discussing this very thing) but I suspect that many "difficult" frogs, and retics are a great example, are actually "difficult" under the "standard" conditions for darts. Froglet fragility of retics in particular is something I wonder about. I have not amassed the requisite experience to feel confident in asserting this for sure, but it is my suspicion that retic froglets are fragile at lower temperatures. I CAN state with confidence, as I have before, that retics natural habitat is very very hot and very very humid.
This is fair, these guys are likely one of, if not the, hardest to raise. It's likely due to their small size.

It might be worth trying to have the film canisters intended for deposition with a small layer of calcium bearing clay on the bottom. It should stay in place, and provide some calcium levels for the tads to absorb and may provide slightly stronger froglets. Spring tails are a must here, as mentioned. If you can get a light coating of supplement on them without killing them, that may help too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There is some anecdotal accounts of egg feeding from R. reticulata, but nothing proven. I would suggest you don't count on any parental care
No, I wasn't thinking they'd egg feed. I was thinking of the intentional cannibalism of R. variabilis , and the fact that tads in non-egg feeders may well be deposited in an occupied canister, replicating the effect of the natural behavior of variabilis. I presume that while the vanzolinii group knows enough to stop breeding when caring for eggs, the fantastica group might well not (no adaptive reason to), and will thus end up feeding their earlier tads. But no, I wasn't planning to count on that, and plan to provide food.

It might be worth trying to have the film canisters intended for deposition with a small layer of calcium bearing clay on the bottom. It should stay in place, and provide some calcium levels for the tads to absorb and may provide slightly stronger froglets.
I like the aim of this, though I wonder if there would be some more effective way to approach it. The Ca in clay is what, CACO3, CaSO4? Neither are very soluble in water. There's some data available on SLS and Ca levels in tad water -- I'll try to dig it up if no one beats me to it -- that gives target levels that I'm certain I can replicate easily -- not that SLS is exactly the issue here, but therapeutic levels for SLS prevention must be somewhere near suitable for general use.

This reminds me of the 'mud bath' method that @Fahad and @Tijl have advocated. I might consider working this in, too.
 

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No, I wasn't thinking they'd egg feed. I was thinking of the intentional cannibalism of R. variabilis , and the fact that tads in non-egg feeders may well be deposited in an occupied canister, replicating the effect of the natural behavior of variabilis. I presume that while the vanzolinii group knows enough to stop breeding when caring for eggs, the fantastica group might well not (no adaptive reason to), and will thus end up feeding their earlier tads. But no, I wasn't planning to count on that, and plan to provide food.


I like the aim of this, though I wonder if there would be some more effective way to approach it. The Ca in clay is what, CACO3, CaSO4? Neither are very soluble in water. There's some data available on SLS and Ca levels in tad water -- I'll try to dig it up if no one beats me to it -- that gives target levels that I'm certain I can replicate easily -- not that SLS is exactly the issue here, but therapeutic levels for SLS prevention must be somewhere near suitable for general use.

This reminds me of the 'mud bath' method that @Fahad and @Tijl have advocated. I might consider working this in, too.
I haven't necessarily found that the vanzolinii group stops breeding to care of tads...in fact I often see many stages of development all at once, egg laying, deposition and tad care. It drains them if you can't put a stop to it with a dry spell or lack of food to make them try and stop.

I have no idea what Ca is in the clay...nor how soluble it is in water to be honest. Lots of good ideas to try though!
 
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