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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! I'm a biology teacher at an at-risk type high school in Texas. My husband and I have been keeping various species of dart frogs (purely as a hobby)for about 5 years now. I have been DYING to keep a couple frogs in my classroom for about 2 years now, but have been hesitant because:

1) my classroom is a little cold about (low to mid 60s if I had to guess) so I'd need reliable heat control/temp monitoring for both the frogs and the fly cultures.

2) 9th graders, as a whole, are VERY immature and destructive. If I had a substitute in my classroom, something might happen to my "babies". Whatever enclosure they'd be housed in, has to be portable enough for a teacher neighbor to move the whole tank to another room.

3) as most of you know, teachers aren't rich. Having pinhead crickets and other live supplies shipped is very expensive. Luckily I have a few tanks and tank construction supplies available just from previous use at my house.

4) in order for my students to learn from the frogs (which is my ultimate goal) they have to be interested and the frogs have to be social enough to not hide every time somebody walks by.


I really think I can make this work, but I need help from all of you wonderful people at Dendroboard. If it does work, I think it would be an amazing opportunity to spread some knowledge about these GORGEOUS creatures and their struggles. Please help with suggestions about tank size/setups, feeding, which species to keep, etc. Whatever you can think of to help in my classroom. Thanks in advance!!!

Jamie
 

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Hi Jamie...I think it's a wonderful idea to bring darts into the classroom. As for your questions...

#1 - I'll leave this one to someone else. None of my tanks/cultures require additional heating beyond room temps, so hopefully someone with experience will help you out.

#2. Perhaps instead of making the tank "mobile" each time you are away, you should consider investing in a lockable tank. This would be much easier than hauling the tank around, and you could leave the key available to someone who you would previously instruct on how to feed/mist in the event you are out for a while. I know there are at least a few out there...I believe Exoterra has one, Tetrafauna just came out with a new one, etc. Do a little searching, I'm sure you'll find one that suits your needs.

#3. You don't need to have live feeders shipped in continously. Learn how to culture fruitflies, springtails, isopods, etc and you're set. This would also enhance the children's learning experience.

#4. I'd like to recommend tincs. They are on the larger side, extremely visible and bold, and don't have to be extremely expensive.

Best wishes for your venture! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wendy, thank you for the great advice! I'm actually thinking have a 40L with a place for a lock. I'd have to modify the top with some glass though. What are some other feeder insects I could breed in my classroom?

Casper, I live and teach in The Houston area. I've been looking for local df enthusiasts to converse with, but no such luck. :)
 

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I put together a tank with a lot of the things being donated for a Montessori school. I'm housing them over the summer and will bring the tank over in the Fall. Anyway, I am writing a little booklet on the care and husbandry. You can have a copy, and use it as is, or you can pose the questions and let the kids research the answers. I think the more you involve the kids, the less chance you have of them destroying anything.

Being a former teacher myself, 9th graders should be able to do everything, from culturing the flies to the feeding to the raising of the tadpoles, etc.

I have more ideas, but I'll get back to this when I have more time.

Brian
 

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Wendy, thank you for the great advice! I'm actually thinking have a 40L with a place for a lock. I'd have to modify the top with some glass though. What are some other feeder insects I could breed in my classroom?

Casper, I live and teach in The Houston area. I've been looking for local df enthusiasts to converse with, but no such luck. :)
Your other most common feeders that can be easily cultured in your classroom would be springtails and isopods.
Read my care sheet on culturing them. When your viv is set up, send me a letter on school letterhead, verifying that this is an "in class" viv. Then I would be pleased to send you out a plethora of feeder "starter cultures" for free. Of course I would ask you to pay shipping. With Phase 22 temp control paks that will be around $15. I will be able to set you up with 3 or 4 types of isopods and 3 types of springtails. Here is a link to my culturing sheet. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/food-feeding/66991-how-culture-isopods-woodlice-springtails.html
 

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Doug, you're the man.

For making the setup 'mobile', why not just put the whole thing on one of those carts w/ wheels that're always floating around high schools holding 1970s reel to reel projectors?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Brian, great! I'm excited to hear from somebody who has some experience in the classroom with these guys. I have the experience at home, but the classroom is a whole different story, as I'm sure you know having been a teacher yourself.

Doug, I will study those caresheets thoroughly, and hopefully get the hang of culturing something in addition to my fruit flies soon. I will definitely get you that letterhead as soon as the viv is set up. Thank you so much for the generous offer!
 

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I am a high school teacher as well. I have had reef tanks and frog tanks in my classroom. My students aren't all high risk, but I do deal with the lower 1/3 of the students usually. I found that if I took the time at the start of the year to explain to the students how fragile the ecosystems were in the tank (i.e. throwing a penny into the reef tank could kill everything in there, handling the frogs is more dangerous to them than it is to you) and how important it was to me, I had very few problems with students messing with the tanks and animals. I also keep the tanks up front. Don't stick the tanks within arms length of where the students sit. It's just too tempting to easily distracted students.

1. They make heating pads for reptiles that the tank just sits on. If you have a water feature in your tank, you can put a small aquarium heater under the false bottom. My room gets below 70 in the winter. You would be surprised how much the lights can heat up a tank.

2. If you make the tank theirs I don't think you will have a problem, but a 20 gal tall tank is pretty portable (easy for two people) and big enough for a pair of azureus or some other tinc morph. You could also keep the tank on a lab cart with lockable wheels.
I find that students usually live up to their teachers expectations. If you assume they are going to mess with your tanks they usually will, but the opposite is also true.

3. All you really need are fruit flies which are easy to culture and dust with calcium and vitamin supplements.

4. You really can't go wrong azureus for this situation. I mean a blue frog that is out in front of the tank most of the time and if they are not, will come out to feed as soon as you put in the flies. How can you beat that!.

I think a 20 gal tall tank is just about perfect for a pair of azureus. Its easy to light, relatively easy to transport and won't cost you too much to set up and plant. A 40 gal has a lot of area to fill with plants and decorations. If you want to use a 40 gal, you might look into keeping a small group of bicolors (terribilis would be great too, but they may be too expensive unless you can get them donated). If you go with the bicolors you will need to supplement with crickets. Azureus don't need (or even want) crickets. Azureus also don't have a call that might bug students who are taking tests or just get annoyed by sounds like that.

I feed my frogs 4 days a week. I don't feed Wednesday or on the weekends. They do great. The 20 gal is small enough to take home over the summer. (The reef tank wasn't so I had to go back to school 3 times a week to take care of the tank. :( )

My students are usually very interested in the frogs for a couple days. After that there are usually 2-4 students who will come up to check on the frog a couple times a week. The rest of the students think its neat that we have frogs in the class but aren't motivated enough to come take a look (or maybe they think it would be uncool). We also collect some eggs from the tank at the start of the year and watch them grow to froglet size.

Its been fun for me to share the hobby with my students. I'm not even teaching biology anymore, but it is amazing how much physics and earth science you can demonstrate with frog tanks and reef tanks.
 
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Hey guys! I'm a biology teacher at an at-risk type high school in Texas. My husband and I have been keeping various species of dart frogs (purely as a hobby)for about 5 years now. I have been DYING to keep a couple frogs in my classroom for about 2 years now, but have been hesitant because:

1) my classroom is a little cold about (low to mid 60s if I had to guess) so I'd need reliable heat control/temp monitoring for both the frogs and the fly cultures.
put an under tank heat pad when needed and moniter closely. I have a tank in a school and temps are tough bc they turn off or extremely adjust the temp on weekends and holidays. Hasn't been too much of a problem but have had to moniter it a bit
2) 9th graders, as a whole, are VERY immature and destructive. If I had a substitute in my classroom, something might happen to my "babies". Whatever enclosure they'd be housed in, has to be portable enough for a teacher neighbor to move the whole tank to another room.
Joshsfrogs carries acrylic hasps and latches and you can put a lock on the like.
3) as most of you know, teachers aren't rich. Having pinhead crickets and other live supplies shipped is very expensive. Luckily I have a few tanks and tank construction supplies available just from previous use at my house.
Culture fruitflies and put it into the biology dept budget as lab studies
4) in order for my students to learn from the frogs (which is my ultimate goal) they have to be interested and the frogs have to be social enough to not hide every time somebody walks by.
Sounds like you need phyllobates. They'll be fine in the cooler temps(watch it in summer time if it's like our local schools) and they are very bold. I have a 33gal long with 7 gold bicolors with 4yr olds. It's perfect.

I really think I can make this work, but I need help from all of you wonderful people at Dendroboard. If it does work, I think it would be an amazing opportunity to spread some knowledge about these GORGEOUS creatures and their struggles. Please help with suggestions about tank size/setups, feeding, which species to keep, etc. Whatever you can think of to help in my classroom. Thanks in advance!!!

Jamie
Best of luck!
 

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If you use a heat mat, consider putting a Ranco Electronic Temperature Controller on it. It has a temperature sensor probe you would put in the viv. It would then turn the heat on and off as needed. They are about $55 on eBay. NEW Ranco Temperature Control ETC-111000 120/240 Volts | eBay
Here it is on their site. ETC Supply
These are used rather widely in the reef tank hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for all of the great ideas! Phil, have you ever gotten companies to help with the costs? Doug has already offered to help with starter cultures (thank you again!). I'm just afraid some of the accessories (lighting, heating, etc) are going to get expensive very quickly. Our biology budget won't be able to cover much of the costs.
 

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It's not begging if you are a school. Don't be too proud to put up a thread entitled "School looking for viv/frog related donations". Put up a list of whatever you could use help with. For instance: Looking for help with the following: Heating mats/ heater control, substrate/ABG mix, Plant clippings, ghost wood/viv wood, fruit fly culturing materials, leaf litter, lighting, misting system,
Good luck and let me know if/when I can help!
 

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There might be some pet store supply wholesalers in your area that would probably be willing to set up an account with your school.

For the most part, I buy most of my supplies with my own money. That way its mine and things don't get confusing when I start taking things home or selling froglets and/or plant cuttings. There are several things that they can fire a teacher for on the spot and money mix-ups is one of them.

Lighting systems don't have to be expensive. A 24" or 48" shoplight from Home Depot or Lowes would work fine over your tank. You can probably have your metal or wood shop teacher have one of his teacher aides make you as stand for your lights.

Also, don't be afraid to post on dart frog or reef tank bulletin boards (like this one) and ask for things. Reef guys especially are always upgrading their lighting systems from CF to T5s or T5s to metal halides or LED and can't sell their old lights because no one else wants them either. I have seen lots of nice systems donated to schools on boards like ReefCentral.com. Just tell them you are looking for a 24" (or whatever) Compact Fluorescent fixture or single or double bulb T5 HO(high output) fixture and let them know what you want to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ooo, you're right Phil. I really need to take advantage of all the teacher discounts and benefits out there. I'll be posting soon to try to find some more supplies. I really appreciate the insight.
 

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I am in about the exact same position! I teach 10th grade General Biology in West Virginia. I would LOVE to have some of my frogs in my classroom. However, I've decided not to for these reasons...

- temperatures: my room can be cold occasionaly but is typically way too hot, we have laser measured our lab to be in the 90sF several times and once even up to 103F. (stupid Board of Education controls our temps through a computer, so we can't do anything about it)

- sharing the lab: I share my lab with another Biology teacher and I am not comfortable with students that I don't know possibly having access to my frogs

- feeding: weekends! holidays! snow days! etc I have gone one or two weekends in the past year where I went out of town and didn't feed my frogs. They were fine but noticeably skinnier. I really don't think it is a good idea and maybe not even possible to not feed your frogs every weekend

- students: I had some students put food coloring in my fish tank last year when I had a sub... the fish were fine but the concept of 'vandalism' of an animals environment is not okay - frogs are also a lot more sensitive than guppies and tetras. (ps - other students told on him and he finally confessed - his punishment was to clean the tank out)


These are the reasons I do not keep frogs in my classroom. Let me know what you decide to do and how it works out for you, good luck!

ps - Food supply of the frogs would be so easy in the classroom, and very educational. Fruitflies (both hydei and melanogaster - different sizes, and development rates) as well as springtails would be great as a food source and for students' education/responsibility.
 

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one more thing - I bought a large Critter Keeper that is grown in with moss, plants (I just throw my clippings and overgrowth in it), and a cocohut. This is my temporary tank for moving, visiting family out of state, and to bring into the classroom. The couple days I brought the frogs in were a lot of fun and the students loved it. But I didn't let those frogs out of my sight for a second!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Rachel, thank you so much for your input. I have to say that we're both thinking on the same level as far as concerns. One of my fellow teachers kept fish in her room one year and someone dumped white out into the tank while she was gone one day. I've heard other teachers talk about how people would put gum in the tanks and other various objects. I have to say that, this is what makes me the most nervous.

I think I've decided to give it a shot though. I'm just hoping I can plan as much in advance as I can and figure the rest out as I go along. For starters, I'm looking for a way to modify a normal glass-hinged aquarium top to include some kind of locking mechanism. Hopefully this will help with the substitute problem. The frogs are going to stay in my room, RIGHT next to my desk so I can keep a close eye on them too. As for the weekend feeding issue, I'm going to seed the tank with springtails and other isopods to hopefully provide a food source over the weekend. Of course, I will feed them right before I leave on Fridays too. I feel your pain with the temps, except whoever controls our thermostat is a polar bear of some kind because it gets COLD!
 

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You may want to PM Chesney here. She too is a teacher. As I recall, Science, middle school alternative. She just received permission to set up a dart frog tank at school to generate interest with the kids.

I don't know the specifics of her set up but I do know that she went/is going with two male Azureus.

PM me with an address and list of needs. I am certain that some thing(s) can fall in to a box.

Finally, thank you for being a teacher. One of the most under appreciated jobs on this earth.
 
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