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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The most curious question about tropical frogs: Why is over 82 degrees in the home vivarium potentially harmful, when temperatures in many of the natural habitats for Dendrobates and Hylidae is somewhat around 90-100 degrees with around that much humidity?
 

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Rain_Frog said:
The most curious question about tropical frogs: Why is over 82 degrees in the home vivarium potentially harmful, when temperatures in many of the natural habitats for Dendrobates and Hylidae is somewhat around 90-100 degrees with around that much humidity?
Those 90 - 100 temps are actually taken at meteoroligical stations following standar protocols. This means that the stations are out in the open with full sun etc. The measurements taken at those stations is often very different from the same measurements taken in the shade of a primary or secondary forest canopy. In other words, the frogs are typically found in slightly different climate habitats than what the "max temps" for the area would suggest. However, I don't get too excited if the temps climb up to 90F but anything peaking above the low to mid 80's seems to shut down reproduction. If my max temps are 85F, I'm happy. If they max out at 82F, I'm even happier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So you're saying Brent, that the temp in your vivarium has reached 90 before?!? :shock:

Somebody once said that they had three azureus die in a week, from temps in the mid eighties?

I'm getting contradictory things in my mind....it is true though, that in the shade, around water, constant rain, and daily fluctuations (lower in morning, higher in day, eventually cooling off) will have a significant effect than constant temperatures experienced in a house with a vivarium under strong lighting.
 

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One theory is that when a closed system like a viv gets warm, bad bacteria (etc) populations get out of hand.
Another possibility...Maybee if it reaches a certain temp, "good" bacteria that normally break down waste, substrate, etc very slowly, break it down faster...like a compost pile...one by product of decomposition is CO2...maybee the frogs get gassed, rather than dieing of the heat directly.
 

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Rain_Frog said:
So you're saying Brent, that the temp in your vivarium has reached 90 before?!? :shock:
Well into the 90's. I use to live in Kansas with hot summers. Daily temps into the 90's were not uncommon before we got AC installed. I never lost anything to the heat - just no breeding during that time. I thought the azureus report was for frogs that topped 100. But I've also heard people report that Phyllobates are more sensitive to heat but I can include two species of Phyllobates in the frogs that have seen temps in the 90's. I'm not recommending allowing frogs to get that warm, just saying that for short snaps they can usually take it.

I've never heard the theory about good and bad bacteria reacting to temps. I can think of no bioligical justification for this hypothesis so I'm not buying it. The CO2 thing may have some merit. If plants get too hot, photosynthesis shuts down which means no CO2 gets absorbed or O2 released. At the same time, bacterial growth increases so more CO2 is released through microbial respiration. Europeans don't like using aquarium tanks because CO2 is heavier than air and sinks to the bottom where it has no place to go in a fish tank. It would be interesting to see if drilling a few small holes at the low spot of the substrate would increase heat tolerance in the frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting. A little off topic, but many commercial Xenopus breeders (http://www.xenopus.com) state that temps over 78 degrees are harmful in general (due to natural climatic conditions), but information from various sources state that it is from bacterial bloom. I have been a fanatic of pipids, and lost my frogs due to heat stress, and many others. They definitely will take warm temps, but whether or not it was from bacterial, temperature, or a combination of both, I do not know.

When I order my Xenopus again, I will ask them to find out, if they know.

My tinctorius experiences temps around 80-84 on a daily basis. I have always noticed he's especially active around 76-82, less active and hiding mostly above and below that. The cooler temps are in the earliest part of morning, while the warmest are midday.


You know what Brent, perhaps this might be a good strategy for seasonal breeders like tricolor, if I'm not mistaken. (although I know as a fact tris don't like temps too high, cuz they are montane animals). The cooler, wetter temps coincide with the arrival of rain the wet season...but I forget if its drier and cooler, or cooler and wetter. (at least that's what Xenopus and other South African frogs respond to).
 

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So here's another question...slightly off topic.
Just because a frog is "most active" at a certain temp, I'm guessing that doesn't necessarily mean we should control our vivs to be that temp all the time.
Perhaps that temp "triggers" them two hunt (etc) because the temps correspond to a time of day when conditions are favorable for hunting.
Perhaps it would be best for the animal to see "natural" temp variations, thereby giving the animal a break?
Maybee far fetched, but there could be something to it.
 

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Interesting topic. Is the activity of the frogs temp related or time of day related? My tanks range from 72 overnight to near 80 during the day. The activity is biphasic one active period in the morning about 2 hours after daybreak and another mid afternoon/evening. The temps peak in midafternoon/evening. It's a tough call since I usually mist and feed around the same time of day too. If I feed early the frogs aren't as excited as an afternoon feeding. Hmmmmm


Mike
 

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Yeah, all of my auratus are most active during the morning...I don't know if it's temp, time, or that they know I usually don't get up till 10!
My imitators are most active just before the lights go out.
Perhaps I'll try to note the time/temp if I think of it.
 

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Dancing frogs said:
So here's another question...slightly off topic.
Just because a frog is "most active" at a certain temp, I'm guessing that doesn't necessarily mean we should control our vivs to be that temp all the time.
Perhaps that temp "triggers" them two hunt (etc) because the temps correspond to a time of day when conditions are favorable for hunting.
Perhaps it would be best for the animal to see "natural" temp variations, thereby giving the animal a break?
Maybee far fetched, but there could be something to it.
I think there is more that just "something" to this. First, I agree, active at high temps may not be good. If I try to walk barefoot across black asphalt on a 110F day, I get pretty darn active! But if the frog activity is something like the males get horny and the females get horny, then you might say the activity is in response to temps they like.

But I do think there are many subltle changes in natural climates where these frogs live provide important cues that guide their life rythms.
 

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I was going to ask basically the same question as the OP, but I'd love to hear Ed chime in on this one....
 

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I was going to ask basically the same question as the OP, but I'd love to hear Ed chime in on this one....

Luckily I saw this one.. I almost skipped over the thread.. If someone wants to hear what I may know shooting me a pm or e-mail often helps.. I can't read (nor do I want to...) every post..


I'm with Brent, I don't get concerned unless it is really going to spike fast and really hot... but then I also don't utilize any enclosures that do not have at least passive air exchange with the room and in a number of enclosures have high and low vents to actively draw cooler air into the enclosure. Anurans have a number of methods in which they can reduce thier temperature with respect to the enviroment. For example, a number of tree frogs reflect infra-red (see https://typo3.univie.ac.at/fileadmi...lutionsbiologie/Hödl/sztatecsny_etal_2010.pdf). Other frogs (particularly terrestrial species or species in contact with damp substrates can utilize body orientations and evaporative cooling methods (see below for qualifiers), sorry no free pdfs.. JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie and JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie. It should be noted that evaporative cooling can reduce body temperatures as much as 10 C over enviromental temperatures. If the frog is in contact with a damp substrate so water can be actively taken up through the drinking patch, unless the rate of evaporation is too high continually reduce thier body temperature in this manner.

Where we run into problems is how many people typically house frogs to maximize humidity, activity and breeding periods. The sealed enclosures prevent air exchange with the enviroment outside of the enclosure and as a result can prevent the frogs from being able to behaviorally controll thier body temperatures (for example an enclosure that is sealed to maximize humidity at 85-90% is going to prevent a frog from being able to effectively employ evaporative cooling as a method of avoiding critical thermal maxima....

Ed
 

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Although the thread is very old, the relevance holds... Thanks for digging it up, and thanks to Ed for being so gracious!

JBear
 

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I've temperature gunned hourglass treefrogs perching in spots in enclosures where the temperatures exceeded 100 F and I've temperature gunned a truncatus with a surface body temperature of over 90 F actively foraging for food in an area of an enclosure.

Ed
 

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Theres no reason that under normal room condtions a frog viv should ever get to the point where the temp kills the frogs. Many of these frogs come from elevations or regions where the temp rarely breaks 80, and any region even if it does have temps consistently in the 90s have a thermal gradient and cool shaded areas that probably hover in the upper 70's to low 80s.

Vivariums should offer a thermal gradient as well. It is important that the frogs can move from warmer areas to cooler ones so they can regulate their body temperature. Even my 20xh (which has the same footprint as a 10 gallon only taller) has about a 5 degree thermal gradient during the day. When its warmer the frogs hang out lower in the tank and vice versa.

Most lights have legs that can be put on them to prevent them from sitting directly on a glass lid. Even an inch or two off of the glass should be more than enough to keep a cfl or t5from over heating a tank. I use a tropic aire system on my larger viv which supplies fresh humid air constantly keeping the temp around 76-78 during the day and 68-70 at night. It would be easy to make one of these out of normal house hold items too. A two liter bottle, a cheap aquarium air pump, a sponge and some airline tubing is all it takes. Even the store bought version only costs 20 bucks, well worth it imo. If you are having temp issues you could always do a reverse light cycle and run the lights at night when the ambient air temp is lower. Or you could add a small computer fan relatively easily and inexpensively.

I guess my point is that there are a number of inexpensive ways to keep vivs in the correct temp range. I understand the point that in natural environments there are sometimes temps that are not ideal.,.. but theres lots of things in the natural environment that may not always be ideal (predators, disease, floods, droughts etc.) our job as keepers of these animals is to provide them with the absolute best conditions possible so that the animal can thrive, not to recreate conditions in the wild.
 

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I'm hampered by using free pdfs in this comments... When looking at average temperatures, people often think most of these species inhabit undisturbed primary rainforests when this is not the case for a large number of species. Many species (including some egg feeders) are actually more dense in edge or gap areas (look at some of the discussions in Poison Frogs by Lotter's etal) and this is before we get to species that do not inhabit rainforest areas like some of the Epidobates..

As some examples lets look at the temperatures in the Sipaliwi Savannah where a number of species of dendrobatids near and dear to the hobby originate if one looks through the literature there are numerous references to median and maximal temperatures for this region (and not taken at a weather station at an airport).. for example see the graphs here http://library.wur.nl/isric/fulltext/isricu_i00006641_001.pdf where the median monthly temperature was above 78 F and the average maximal temperature was well over 86 F and approached 93 F (as part of the average high) and the average humidity ranged between 60-80%.. or here http://www.sipaliwinisavanna.com/docs/vegetation_sipaliwini_savanna.pdf
in a premontane (which is still different than a lowland tropical forest) in Costa Rica (http://wilkes.edu/PDFFiles/WEISS/Fetcher/Fetcher et al IJB 1985.pdf) we see under the canopy temperatures running from a low of about 72 F to around 77 F, canopy temperatures running as high as 82 F however the gap and clearing temperatures are much higher running about 82 F while the clearing running closer to 88 F as the highs (keep in mind this is premontane and not lowland forests..).

In the large majority of the cases for temperature recommendations, there has been a shoehorning of frogs into a relatively narrow range of temperatures considered safe (as opposed to ideal) typically based on consistent reproduction and activity levels that are often inconsistent with wild frogs or thier habitats. As I noted above, a lot of this is in no small part driven by the goals of maximizing humidity (often much higher than the relative humidity of the region in which they are from) to maximize growth (for froglets), reproduction, and activity. This goal as we can see every year often in direct conflict with attempts to control the temperatures in the "ideal" narrow window. These do not have to be competing desires as a simple automatic misting system can drive down temperatures and be set to keep the relative humidity high in the enclosures while supplying higher humidity microclimates for the frogs...

As another random comment.. chytrid doesn't kill frogs if they are kept at 75 F or higher and at higher temperatures, it is possible for frogs to clear infections of chytrid..

Some comments bordering on a rant...

Ed
 

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"...our job as keepers of these animals is to provide them with the absolute best conditions possible so that the animal can thrive, not to recreate conditions in the wild."
I agree with this, and will add that I have seen my dart frogs as far more hardy and tolerant than "the books" would tell it.

JBear
 

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This is SOMEWHAT true, not entirely. Dart frogs some from cloud forests, which are a very cool, humid rain forest. On the tops of trees , temperatures can reach mid 90's sometimes, but not too often because the cool mist that floats in the air in cloud forests block out a lot of sun, which is why many tree dwellers, for instance, a Red eyed tree frog, need some ultra violet b lighting but not as much as you might think is because of the dense clouds/mist. Temperatures in rainforests are taken from either the bottom of the rainforest, or the top. Almost no reptile or amphibian could withstand such outrageous temperatures, they would quickly die from heat stroke.
 

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This is SOMEWHAT true, not entirely. Dart frogs some from cloud forests, which are a very cool, humid rain forest. On the tops of trees , temperatures can reach mid 90's sometimes, but not too often because the cool mist that floats in the air in cloud forests block out a lot of sun, which is why many tree dwellers, for instance, a Red eyed tree frog, need some ultra violet b lighting but not as much as you might think is because of the dense clouds/mist. Temperatures in rainforests are taken from either the bottom of the rainforest, or the top. Almost no reptile or amphibian could withstand such outrageous temperatures, they would quickly die from heat stroke.
Where did you get the information that A. callidryas "requires" uvb and that it's needs for vitamin D3 cannot be met with supplements?

If you bothered to read the papers I cited above, you will see that there were temperatures taken at different levels...

In addition what temperatures would rapidly cause "heat stroke" and what sources are you using for that information?


Ed
 
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