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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't believe a thread has been started regarding this subject and feel it is an area that has had many scratching their head at one time. I would like experienced breeders to chime in with possible reasons for bad eggs and then list methods attempted (Does not mean successfully received good eggs)) to obtain good eggs. Please keep this related to non egg feeders.

Reasons for bad eggs:

1. female/male too young
2. Excessive high/low temps
3. Improper feeding
4. Improper supplementation
5. Inadequate lay sites
6. Excessive laying by female

Those are 6 that came to my mind. Please list others that you feel contribute to reasons for bad eggs. I will now list various attempts to find a solution to the above listed problems.

#2 Excessive high/low temps - - During my first year of frogging I noticed what I feel was stress in the frogs during late June, July, August and early Sept. due to heat. The frogs began to hide more often in 'unusual' areas. Amanda and I began to use a reverse light cyle with our lights coming on at 6:30pm and turning off at approx. 7:00am. This has helped immensly. It is about the end of August now and we have the most tads and eggs now that we ever had before. Using a reverse cycle creates a lower temp. in my frogroom than in the frog tanks too.

#4 Inadequate Supplementation - - - An odd trend I have discovered with some of my female is the laying of eggs with a concave shape - similar to a red blood cell. I have seen this with fantasticus, orange amazonicus and standard lamasi. At first, I thought it may be young age, so I gave it some time. In talking with some other froggers, it was suggested that I give it time and it will work itself out. Time was given and this concave yolk look was still present. I began to reflect on my supplementation. I use both Herptivite products - the calcium supplement and the multivitamin supplement. I use them seperately, the multivitamin 3 days a week and the calcium once a week. With the fants, st. lamasi and 'orange' amazonicus I increased the calcium to twice a week, while maintaining or lessening by one time a week the multivitamin. This seems to have had a positive affect on both the fantasticus and 'orange' amazonicus. I have two 'orange' amazonicus females. Three months ago, one never produced good eggs and the other produced clutches that were 50% good at best. Witht he increase in calcium, the 'producing' female is up to appropx. 75% of her clutch being good and the non-producing female now has 25 - 50% of her clutches being good. Similar results have been witnessed witht he fantasticus, but (unfortunately) the chance has had no affect with the st. lamasi.

#5 Inadequate lay sites - - - IMO this is a 'fun' problem because it requires the frogger to reflect upon the locations that the frogs 'prefer'. I enjoy watching breeding activity - male calling away, female following or looking for him and then finding... no eggs. Why? I enjoy creating lay sites of different types and watching what inpact the changes might have had. Some call it dialing in. Try canisters, broms, excessively humid areas, overlapping leaves.

#6 Excessive laying by female - - - I created this one just for the vents! They are laying machines but I notice the rate of good tads at the beginning of a 'laying binge' was much higher and diminished as time went on. I purposely removed all broms and film canisters as an attempt to keep them from breeding. Well, it worked - no eggs. I now will give the frogs about a two week break and then introduce a film canister when wanting eggs. So far it has worked very well as the rate of good tads w/o SLS is very high.

I could probably list other methods, but I think at this point you get the idea. I would ask that this thread not include egg feeder issues. I believe Rob has an experiment up and running. Please add your EXPERIENCES. I will print this thread and at some point try to create some sort of 'master' posting. Of course, it will evolve.

Jon Werner
 

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Great thread

I just have to say that this is a wonderful thread to get going...these are the types of discussions that I immensely enjoy reading and diving right into. It's an incredible way to share experiences, trials, successes and failures...it is silly for everyone to have to start from scratch and have to make all the same mistakes.

Thanks for beginning this most excellent topic...I hope lots of people participate. :)

Sorry I can't provide any input as I'm still in my research phase. :) haha

Kristen
 
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Very good post Jon.Ok, I have a trio of 1.2 bicolors that have matured and for quite awhile I was finding clutches in some hard to reach places and none of them had developed.I recieved a suggestion from Scott M. to not mist their tank as much and make it so the coco hut was the area with the most humidity in it.Well, right before NWFF I found a clutch right where they were supposed to lay them,thanks again Scott.
Anyway, when I got back the clutch had gone bad.I kept the method up since I got back and last thursday after quite awhile of high pressure in our weather a nasty line of thunderstorms came thru and I think it helped matters while it was storming out I misted their tank alot to help simulate the condition we were experiancing.We got about 2" on thursday and 1" friday night so the low helped trigger them.
My male called like crazy on friday after I misted them and the females were chasing him everywhere.Today I found a clutch of 7 that look like they will be good.I'd suggest people watch the weather and when changes come try to simulate in by more misting.
I have noticed it during the winter here with my imitators too,if it was snowing like crazy I would mist them alot and they seemd to like to lay then.Hope this helps.
Mark W.
 

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One more thing to think about is what are the percentages of good vs. bad eggs in wild frogs. I would imagine it is different per species but would venture to say its not 100% all the time. Maybe some of the guys who have spent a lot of time in the field can comment on this. When I am getting an excessive amount of bad eggs the first thing I look at is vitamins. How long have I had the vitamins I am using? How long were they sitting on the vendor's shelf? Vitamins have a shelf life and will loose their effectiveness over time. I always buy the smallest containers so that I have a better chance always having "fresh" vitamins.

I know you want to exclude egg feeders but I think in terms of getting good fertile clutches, the same things will apply. Raising tads, deposit sites, etc. I agree are for a different thread.
 
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I agree that I think a lot of it has to do with vitamins and environmental conditions. In the wild Dendrobatid eggs are very difficult to find-- they are almost always in leaf litter and finding them is pure luck. With other eggs, like Hylids or Centrolenids, there is usually a very high hatch rate (that I've seen at least). I've honestly not had a lot of bad eggs (other than first clutch stuff) in captive frogs in the past. When stuff would happen, it would be some sort of terrarium insect eating them, fungal problems, or just a female laying too many eggs and not having enough gel. I think a lot of what you guys have mentioned are very important things.
j
 

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Great thread!
I currently have Yellow Backs and Azureus laying and some action expected with my Leucs as well. The YB's have been laying every other week for 4 months now and I have yet to get anything beyond a few tads that have had short femur syndrome. Most eggs disolve after 48 hrs so I assuming they have not been fertilized. The Az's just started laying last month so I wasn't expecting anything from them yet. All frogs are healthy and get calcium and vitamin supliments daily The sup's are 1.5 yrs old at least so I was wondering if they are too old as John has suggested. My only other thoughts were that my frogs are young and that the temps are averaging in the mid 80's.
 
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I concur, great thread.
I would add stress, bacterial/fungal destruction, and the general health of the parents to the list.

Stress can takes its toll. It effects the output of eggs, I am taking a leap here and speculating that , though its effect may be much less in comparison to other causes, this is a contributing factor in the overall health of clutches. Theory.

Bacterial/fungal destruction has been witnessed by us all. We use Methylene Blue from collection to hatching , even adding a few, diluted, drops to tad water. Bacteria and fungus scare me to no ends, they can be great destroyers.

General health of the parents. This is one reason why I wish everyone would get a fecal done on every frog in your collection. If you have , say a 90 gal with six breeding terribilis, it will cost you $15-$20 for one fecal taking care of the whole tank. There is not a reason I can think of to justify not having fecals done. Know as much as you can about your frogs. Parasites draw from your frogs. Sap is also a word I could use. No symbiosis. These little guys can handle a large worm burden, it does not meam that they are thriving. I have seen fecals with four or five different NASTY worms from frogs that appeared to be fine externally, all the while being destroyed by worms. I would find it very hard to speculate on the cause of bad eggs if I did not know the general health of my frogs. Please get fecal done. Please use whomever you trust, but get them done.

I would love it if we either expanded this thread to include differences in species production, centering on numbers produced, frequency of clutches, temps for specific species, ect. or perhaps start a new thread touching on these all together.
Once again, great thread, I look forward to talking to you Jon.

Rich
 

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Hi Jon,

How about experience + guess (hypothesis)? I saw my fantasticus female laid down on a brom leaf and "cleaned up" a spot where she laid her eggs a few hours later. She rubbed her body against the leaf...

I think, in the wild, these frogs clean up their egg laying spots physically AND chemically. They use their toxin to "sterilize" the spot... or at least to inhibit the growth of other organisms.

If that's true... then it's a matter of increasing their toxin productivity...

This may not be the answer for all the problems though... especially when the frogs producing funky egg shape.


SB
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Things are looking good, but I was really hoping more would chime in seeing that about 200+ views have occurred. Tim mentioned size and Dr. Frye mentioned quality of the parents. This reminds me of when I use to breed dwarf monitors. I was told by the monitor breeding guru himself that size has more to do with breeding that age. The feed-em and breed-em approach. Small size and young age on the females half might result in a few bum clutches. Quality of parents is another thing. This begins when they are froglets. I've heard of some very experinced breeders that do not supplement their food for their froglets. This surprises me, but it could be out of fear of overdose. I am not experienced enough to elaborate on this subject because I have not bred F2, F3 and so on. Supplementation schedules for froglets is another thread. I agree with Dr. Frye to a certain extent that parasites can impact reproduction. The first thing I would have to say is that parasitic load to some extent is natural but at some point must impact the quantity/quality of egg. Sounds like an experiment for someone. I do feel a key piece of information that is needed is the ratio of good egg vs. bad egg. I have asked Rainer to chime in on this. His experience with 'native' frogs would be great to compare with results we see here in captive stock.
 

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Jon,

Don’t be disappointed by the lack of responses so far to this subject. I know I have revisited this thread multiple times today, and mulled over my response to your excellent topic for most of the evening.

What has been daunting to me – is you have touched on many of the issues most hobbyists & breeders experience - so it has been difficult to formulate a response.

I think your point about overlaying by females is a valid point, but another way to look at this is a male who gets worn out, and can not reproduce enough sperm to keep up with the female. We have such a situation.

I keep our vents in a breeding group. The group is a 1.3, and the male just can't keep up with all the females in this group. Currently, only 30% of the eggs laid by this group develop into tadpoles. There have been days when I have pulled out film canisters with 29 eggs in them. Only a small portion of them will be fertilized (thank god!!!).

This is the only group of frogs we have such a poor fertilization rate. The difference I think is caused because the females lay too many eggs for 1 male to fertilize.

Some things I have done to give the guy a rest include:
1. Not keeping film canisters in the cage at all times.
2. Once a week, I add 1 - 2 film canisters. I remove them the next day, and usually have 20 - 30 eggs in the canister(s).

Since changing this I have been getting a higher ratio of good, fertilized eggs.


Does any one have any experience with inexperienced male frogs who just don't get the idea of depositing sperm over the eggs? All of us know it sometimes takes new breeders a few times to get things right, but I wonder if any one has experienced this as an ongoing issue.

I have some additional ideas I will post in the next day or so. I look forward to reading the responses on this thread.

Melis






JWerner said:
Things are looking good, but I was really hoping more would chime in seeing that about 200+ views have occurred. Tim mentioned size and Dr. Frye mentioned quality of the parents. This reminds me of when I use to breed dwarf monitors. I was told by the monitor breeding guru himself that size has more to do with breeding that age. The feed-em and breed-em approach. Small size and young age on the females half might result in a few bum clutches. Quality of parents is another thing. This begins when they are froglets. I've heard of some very experinced breeders that do not supplement their food for their froglets. This surprises me, but it could be out of fear of overdose. I am not experienced enough to elaborate on this subject because I have not bred F2, F3 and so on. Supplementation schedules for froglets is another thread. I agree with Dr. Frye to a certain extent that parasites can impact reproduction. The first thing I would have to say is that parasitic load to some extent is natural but at some point must impact the quantity/quality of egg. Sounds like an experiment for someone. I do feel a key piece of information that is needed is the ratio of good egg vs. bad egg. I have asked Rainer to chime in on this. His experience with 'native' frogs would be great to compare with results we see here in captive stock.
 

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I think I have this exact issue. I have 2 pairs of cobalts. I used to keep them in a group (they were all siblings raised together), but once I started to find eggs, I separated the pairs. I left the active male and a female in their original tank and took out the other pair. It took a while, but the pair I moved finally started laying and are now producing good eggs. However, the original pair has produced nothing but large clutches (6-12) bad eggs. They lay eggs about once a week, sometimes more. Now this seems like an overproduction problem, but every single egg turns bad.
I decided to leave the bad eggs under the coco-hut thinking maybe they may "learn" that something is wrong. Well, the mood struck and this time they laid eggs on a bromeliad leaf. I was able to watch them. As the female laid the eggs the male was all over her, but didn't deposit any sperm (at least I think he didn't since I didn't see him do anything). He later left the female and never returned to the eggs and of course the next day they all turned white.
I don't know how to slow them down, I've reduced their food, I've tried to lower humidity and nothing has worked. My vitamin supplement is about a year old now, so that may be an issue. How do I help to teach this male a thing or 2?
I'm a little perplexed, but I guess that I'm happy not to have millions of tads since I don't have the space to raise them all.

-Ben
 

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We've always had problems getting good eggs from our azureus clutches, and the male has been fertilizing them and doing all his male duties. They develop about halfway, and most will be bad by the next day. These usually look deformed. This pair has been laying for about 8months and the eggs really haven't gotten much better since the second or third clutch. We probably get about 3 clutches a month from them. I'm thinking inexperience is still the issue but you would think the eggs would start getting better.

We have run into a more interesting issue recently. Our vittatus usually put out nearly flawless clutches, but then the tadpole in the egg would start dieing in their final stages of development. We keep our tadpoles in petri dishes, and noticed the clutches were turn out perfect if you open it up to circulate air every day. The petri dishes we use do allow limited ventilation, but obviously not enough. So apparently lack oxygen/fresh air has an affect on the eggs.

This brings another thought to mind. We keep our eggs about half submerged in a methylene blue/water solution, I am also thinking this might inhibit the proper oxygen exchange to the eggs. I am considering swithching to spraying the methylene blue solution on the eggs everyday. This all makes sense to me except, we keep our terribilis eggs in the exact same condition but they have only had a handful of bad eggs out of hundreds.

Just some thoughts. Later
 

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Kevin,

I have had this issue before as well - this is what I did to solve it.

I stopped using plastic petri dishes and switched to glass. If you have ever had the opportunity to look at glass petri dishes, they have a raised area around the rim to allow for air circulation. This has been very helpful.

I keep all our eggs in a rubbermaid shoebox. I place a papertowel on the bottom and make sure it is moist at all times. Then I stack the petri dishes in the container and turn the lid of the shoebox over, so it sits on top of the container.

I check the papertowel daily to make sure it is moist to keep the humidity up. 1 time a week, I remove everything from the shoebox and clean it using virosan (novasan) solution, then set it back up for another week. In addition, I do use MB on the eggs, and only add additional water or MB when some has evaporated around the eggs.

Again, this is what has worked for me, it won't work for everyone.

I think I had posted pictures a few months ago of this setup, I don't know if the links to the pictures are broken or not...can someone let me know if they are?

Melis

khoff said:
We've always had problems getting good eggs from our azureus clutches, and the male has been fertilizing them and doing all his male duties. They develop about halfway, and most will be bad by the next day. These usually look deformed. This pair has been laying for about 8months and the eggs really haven't gotten much better since the second or third clutch. We probably get about 3 clutches a month from them. I'm thinking inexperience is still the issue but you would think the eggs would start getting better.

We have run into a more interesting issue recently. Our vittatus usually put out nearly flawless clutches, but then the tadpole in the egg would start dieing in their final stages of development. We keep our tadpoles in petri dishes, and noticed the clutches were turn out perfect if you open it up to circulate air every day. The petri dishes we use do allow limited ventilation, but obviously not enough. So apparently lack oxygen/fresh air has an affect on the eggs.

This brings another thought to mind. We keep our eggs about half submerged in a methylene blue/water solution, I am also thinking this might inhibit the proper oxygen exchange to the eggs. I am considering swithching to spraying the methylene blue solution on the eggs everyday. This all makes sense to me except, we keep our terribilis eggs in the exact same condition but they have only had a handful of bad eggs out of hundreds.

Just some thoughts. Later
 

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Interesting thread... thanks Jon!

Anyway, I have a few ideas that no one has mentioned or barely touched on. For instance, light. When incubating eggs I have found that they develop much better if they are kept completely in the dark. I accomplish this by placing a thin, dark colored towel around the incubator. I have also noticed that incubating at cooler temps allows for much better hatch rates = less room for bacteria and fungi to grow.

Here is a much more complicated thought. Why do frogs or any animal for that matter have sex? Ok, stop laughing now. Basically, the guess is that the genetic recombination as a result of sex that occurs in the offspring is to thwart parasites. I like Matt Ridley's explanation best... think of an animal's genes as a set of locks. The parasite has the keys. Once the parasite finds a key that works it can infect the host. Therefore, the parasite can become more abundant and if they are successful their offspring can go on to infect more hosts. However, by recombining genes through sex it changes the locks and the parasites are left looking for the key yet again. An arms race is how it is usually described.

So how does this relate to darts? This is the importance of keeping good pedigree info on all of your frogs. By inbreeding frogs essentially we are making sure that there are fewer "locks" = creating an environment for parasites to just run rampant. The effects of high parasite loads can easily reduce the health of the animal as well as its reproduction. The eggs produced can be irregular and undernourished. If Dr. frye is correct about his statistic that 90% (forgive me I don't know the actual stat) of frogs in the hobby have parasites than I can only ponder if some small fraction (or large one) of this is due to inbred frogs.

Ok, I'll stop as i see myself going out on a tangent here.

Justin
 

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The reason for sex doesn't have such a simple answer. Living things that don't have parasites (complex single celled organisms, for example) have sex. Some parasites themselves have sex. Even plants have sex. Flowers are plants' sexual organs. Think about that next time you go to the florist or pick a daisy. Some plants can self pollinate (like corn and dandelions), but they do so only as a last resort.

The theory is that since having sex recombines the genes from the parents, the recombinations (and mutations that can happen) makes the offspring more adaptable to the pressures of its environment. Parasites are one of those pressures, but there are others. Predation, environmental change, competition with others in the same species, competition with other species, and so on. The reasons for having sex are wide and varied. Even most animals that ar hermaphrodites (such as worms and slugs) have to have another individual to mate. If you think about it, sex is really a bother. The organisms have to find an individual of the opposite sex, make sure it's the right species, and go through the mating process (where both of them are usually quite vulnerable). But the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Having two sexes (or at least individuals with both pairs of sexual organs) is a powerful adaptation in a world where the motto is adapt or die. So powerful that through hundreds of millions of years, single sex reproduction in organisms other than single celled organism is the exception rather than the rule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just got home from work and have a response from Rainer.

Hi, Jon,

we have problems with eggs in the field at several stages: predation by ants (imi eggs) and a strange bloating up of the yolk in a REDDISH rust color with total loss (D. variabilis). Then we have fungal attacks which cause the venter yolk sac of the embryo to EXPLODE and so on.
Put dry Oak or Avocado (Palta) leaves in the water or as a substrate to put eggs on (they have antibiotical factors) and keep the Terrarium clean: parents with fungus on the feet may sit on the eggs and infect them!!! There are also flies attacking eggs here and WASPS. Quite a struggle. If you RETRIEVE egggs from the terri, use sterile or clean vessels to raise them.
I would recommend also to cut out BAD EGGS- as fungal infections extend from bad eggs to good ones. You might use a light anti fungal medicine for Aquarium fish- or the blackwater concentrats they sell for fish. Torf (PEAT) in the water hinders also fungus coming up. Those are the recommendations I can give.

Cheers,

Rainer
 
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I realize I'm new here and this is my first post on here (I'm guilty of lurking for a long time) but I've been reading this thread with fascination too. My cobalts just recently started breeding and I've done things a litte bit different and I'll share with you what I've done and how things have worked out...but I don't have enough data to tell you the total outcome be it as my first tads are not totally out of the water yet. So if I'm doing something wrong, please tell me now. My other darts should be reaching breeding age in a few months.

My cobalts have been suplmented with Rep-Cal everyday and Herpvite about twice a week and started breeding at about 13 months of age. The first clutch produced 8 eggs 7 good. Which surprised me because I thought all first clutches were bad. I reared them out of the tank the plastic lids they were laid in spraying them with a mixture of water and Liquid Fungus Cure (10 drops to 32 oz). I eventually lost 4 more in development because they simply died. Three survived and hatched out of the 1st clutch and fed right away very active.

The Cobalts continue to lay clutchs of 5-8 for me every 5-7 days. All of the eggs survived to hatch after that. I'm using a homemade tadpole food mixture of Spirulina Algae flake food (3 part), Pure Spirulina (1part) , Tetra Min Rich mix Tropical Granuels (3 part) and Freeze Dried Daphnia (1 part) all ground together. And they are raised in a homeade tadpole tea using peat/rain water. So far I havn't lost any tadpoles but like I said, I've not done this long enough to get one out of the water yet.

Thank you for starting this thread. I have learned a lot so far even though I've had my frogs for a few years. Hopefully I'll get to post more. If anyone has questions ask away.
 

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Hi Jon,

When Rainer said "we have problems with eggs in the field at several stages..." did he mean that the eggs were collected from the wild or at a frog farm, inside a terrarium and produced by parents that were fed ffs?

added:

I guess the reason I am wondering is because he mentioned eggs predation by ants.. which is likely happening in the wild... and then went on and said to keep the terrarium clean..

Is it just me or others are not sure about it either?



SB
 
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