Group / Communal tadpole rearing threads

Eggs, Tadpoles, Froglets
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Group / Communal tadpole rearing threads

Postby joneill809 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:09 am

I saw this topic come up on another forum / thread and it was "off topic" so I figured I would do some digging and pull together some interesting threads to spur conversation on group tad rearing. Most folks use the cup method for rearing non-obligate tadpoles, but there are many instances of hobbyists having success with group rearing.

Casper aka "ghostvivs":

Glenn aka "frogfreak":

Jon aka "Rusty_Shakleford":

Marcus, SNDF (based on a phone call with me)

Jim aka "joneill809" initially discussed here, but I'll add details below:

Interesting comment from Stu on a Dutch contact using communal trays but isolated tads:

I'm not suggesting everyone should just go and abandon their cups and switch to group rearing tads, but I wanted to get a dedicated discussion going on alternative rearing methods and discuss the benefits or concerns with the approach. I have been raising tads in groups for almost a year as of this posting. This was not my idea; Marcus Breece of SNDF and a long time, large scale D. tinctorius breeder talked me through his group rearing methodology over the phone last summer. He said his not-so-scientific study found his tads reared individually in a shoebox container did not morph out as large as groups of tads in the same containers. After his initial experiments he moved to group rearing of all his tads.

As for me, at this time only my Lorenzo and Robertus are raised in these group tanks - my other morphs transport and tank rear. Here are photos of my setup:

Four of my 12 grow outs. Tads are grouped by clutch, or occasionally sets of clutches. Tadpoles are sorted by morph and in some cases, pairings.

Shot of a single tank. You can see a Lorenzo froglet that is perched on the cork bark floating in the tank. I can quickly check all the tanks each day by scanning the cork floats for newly morphed froglets.

Robertus grow out. For the most part things are peaceful in the group rearing tanks. The Robertus are so prolific that their densities are higher than my Lorenzo grow outs.

You will see the occasional spat. I have not seen any cannibalism yet, but I only group tadpoles from clutches that hatched within 4 weeks of each other. This has worked well for me so far.

Each tank is 2.5 gallons, with about 1" of Turface for substrate, a layer of saturated leaf litter (I use mostly Magnolia leaves), and a few pieces of floating cork bark that newly morphed froglets can haul out on. Each tank has a small 1" solar screen vent on the back and a glass lid to help keep evaporation down and prevent froglets from crawling out. I change about 50% of the water every other week - quick siphon of the old water and replacement with RO water. I feed 3 to 4 times per week.

The benefits are:
  • reduced tadpole grow out footprint
  • no cup management
  • no "jumpers" from shorter cups
  • no tilting cups or worrying about a froglet crawling out unexpectedly

The potential downsides:
  • hormones? I have not witnessed slowed growth, nor have I seen any studies on it, but the subject seems to come up a lot.
  • you have to get comfortable not having an exact count on tadpoles. I'm OK dumping a clutch in a tank and seeing what morphs out 3 to 4 months later. I feel like this approach is the next best thing to in-viv rearing. I have not seen substaintial tadpole losses with this method, but I have seen the occasional newly hatched tadpole not make it (likely a tad that would have not made it in a cup either).

Obviously I'm a bit biased as I like group rearing tads and my methodology is working for me. I'd love to see others' experiences with this and discuss the pros and cons in more detail.
Jim from Austin
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Re: group / communal tadpole rearing threads

Postby DianeCarter » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:09 am

I used this method last year for my cobalts. This was my first year for cobalt reproduction, so it's not a really scientific test, I have nothing to compare it to. I didn't raise any in cups, so I can't compare. It was easier to raise them in groups, instead of cups, for sure. Only about 1/3 made it, and I think that percentage would've been better in cups. And they took waaaay longer than they should have--but I think that's because of the timing, not the methodology. I got most of my tads in August, and they didn't morph until February, and I'm sure that's because of the time of year. I haven't lost a single froglet, and they are growing fast and furious! They are gorgeous! But if I had grown in cups, I don't know if it would have been any better or worse.
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Re: group / communal tadpole rearing threads

Postby Philsuma » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:04 pm

The presence of 'hides' or areas to get away from each other is needed to prevent cannibalism.

The MAIN way to deter cannibalism is to provide adequate food - especially PROTEIN.

Those two issues will go a long way to preventing alligator attacks.

I'm still a member of the 'single cup' camp. heh

Last bumped by Philsuma on Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:04 pm.

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