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Your first dart frog and lessons learned
I would like to hear about people's experiences and lessons learned in getting their first frogs. Perhaps things you would or have changed for future frogs. thanks in advance.

Also anything on who to buy from? I am thinking of the Leucs. I was reading about quarantining new frogs but does this mean if I only buy two that will be in the same terrarium? Is the parasite epidemic a serious issue and something that is more common than not? I guess after paying $50 for a single frog I would hate to have to pay another $15 plus shipping to send in a stool sample for each one. Does anyone not do this?
My first frogs I purchased at a petstore and the store clerk sold me 2 different tinc morphs. If I would have done my homework before buying frogs, I would not have bought 2 different frogs to go in the same enclosure. I learned really quickly after purchase that its against hobby "rules" to mix species. Before buying my first frogs, I did do lots of reading, but it was mostly on vivarium setups, and I didn't catch the 'do not mix' threads.

On the quarantine question-I have never had a fecal done, but I do quarantine for atleast a month (in a plastic shoebox size tupperware)before adding frogs to their permenant enclosure. If I see what appears to be healthy frogs, Ill usually put them in the vivarium after a month.

You will hear many different opinions on this. The most cautious people quarantine for 3 months minimum and get 3 clean consecutive fecals before considering the frog ready to go in their home.

Im sure you'll form your own opinion on the quarantine and fecals subject.

[Image: Frank4.jpg] [Image: frank1.jpg]
What is the reason for quarantining your frogs when you first get them and how are yu able to tell if they are healthy or not? What type of setup do you need to have in the quarantine container? What is the point of fecals?
That is what I was asking...
A healthy frog is one that eats well, looks good, and is active. If it is just sort of laying in a corner looking lethargic, you might have problems.

That won't tell you if a frog has parasites, most likely. You can really only determine that from fecal examination (and then only if you know what you are looking for, find a veterinarian to do it). This is because most dart frogs will tolerate a fairly high load of parasites without any visual effect. From my own experience, I have had frogs that were the most heavily parasitized be the ones that looked the healthiest.

Parasites are common in the dart frog hobby. So you shouldn't assume frogs are 'clean'. This is the purpose of quarantine. Once you put them in their final home, the parasites will colonize the tank, and no matter how often you treat your frogs will still be re-parasitized. Again, this may or may not be a big deal to you. It probably is a fairly big deal to the frogs... You can assume that they would be parasitized in the wild, although that doesn't mean it is good.

There are a couple distinct camps on this. One insists on total eradication of parasites. I'm not sure this is entirely possible, but it seems a worthy goal. Another camp would have it that since you don't usually see any visible harm, there is no point in bothering. I'm not sure I buy that argument, by the time you see harm it would be too late to do anything, and it can't be comfortable for the animal. Personally, I have come to accept that there will probably be a few parasites in my frog collection, but I am trying as hard as I can to keep that as low as possible.
Why yes, I do have orchids you could grow in a vivarium... *grin* (orchids!)
Quote:I guess after paying $50 for a single frog I would hate to have to pay another $15 plus shipping to send in a stool sample for each one.

I'll reiterate what everyone else has said for the sake of redundancy, they're your frogs, and you don't have to quarantine at all. I know several impatient people that toss their frogs in a tank straight out of the shipping container, but after spending $100+ on getting your tank set up, and at least $100 on frogs (assuming 2 specimens + shipping) what's another $15 and a stamp? I also know of several people that have a good track record of keeping and breeding frogs that have never gotten a single fecal done, just a reasonable quarantine. As for me, I want to know that anything I put into a permanent home is relatively disease free, and won't transfer anything to their offspring.
you don't need to send fecals for each frog. if they are all one morph from the same seller, you can assume that they have been exposed to the same things. set them up in a spacious quarantine with lots of hides then collect samples the next day and get them to a vet. i'm saying spacious with lots of hides because i assume that if you're going for leucs you'll purchase a small colony (versus only a pair of the more aggressive species).

i personally get minimum 3 clean fecals before i put frogs in vivs. in the wild frogs have parasites, but they don't live in a few square feet standing in their poop, and thus their parasites, 24 hours per day. i also think that selling offspring of infected frogs without notifying the buyer is not ethical.
Quote:i also think that selling offspring of infected frogs without notifying the buyer is not ethical.

That's so true, but the problem is that everyone has such differeing opinions on the subject. If I sold frogs to someone, and was later notified that they had Lungworm or Coccidia, I would feel obligated to give them a refund, but I've been in that position with frogs that I purchased, and the seller basically told me to kick rocks.
maybe this is an unethical approach but don't all animals that live in the jungle or occupy the same habitat of dart frogs crap on the ground. Woudn't they be constantly standing in somebodies waste?
Yes, but unlike a zoo or an enclosed area it isnt so concentrated in such a small space. I think he was just using that as an example. Imagine yourself in a tiny apartment without ever being able to leave or open windows. That I think is his point although I shouldnt speak for him.

Anhow, who then is a good seller to buy from? I can see possibly doing one fecal per frog but 3?? Jesus that is more than the cost of the frog itself..

the difference is that in the rain forest, sunlight destroys many pathogens and rains wash things away. further, many parasites are species specific (say that 3 times fast!). it doesn't matter that there is lots of bird poop, for example, because most bird diseases can't be caught by frogs. in our tanks, however, anything which the frogs bring in with them are parasites which obviously can affect the frogs.

obviously people take different approaches, but i was just talking to darren meyer about what we hope is a 'new wave' in frogging wherein parasite-free frogs become the norm. the frye brothers were/are great proponents of this idea.

as for recommendations on cleaner breeders check frye brothers frogs, dane at junglebox, or darren meyer. there are no guarantees in the universe, but i know that the above mentioned folks try to maintain clean collections. there are surely many other breeders who keep clean collections, i've just talked to these folks and know their positions.

and even if the breeder works clean, i still get 3 clean fecals before i put frogs in tanks. the big difference is not having to medicate and then still need three clean fecals after however many rounds of meds.

read my first post above. it's just one set of fecals per pair or group of frogs. not for each frog, assuming that they were kept together in rearing tanks by the breeder.

right now i have 6 young intermedius in a 10 gallon quarentine tank with lots of plastic cups piled up and lots of leaf litter to hide in. i just take a random sampling of pieces of poop from that whole group and send it in.
Thanks for clearing that up. That actually becomes more reasonable (and sane). If you dont mind, what do you ship the samples in or does a local vet do the test?
i put samples on moist paper towel in a small plastic bag. the plastic bag is sealed with some air in it so that the samples don't get crushed into the paper towel. you can also use moist paper towel in film canisters.
Purchase dart frogs from a specialty event, like a reptile show and not your average "pet" store unless the pet store is a steller business.

Make friends or otherwise try to locate other hobbyists who are local - they will be worth their weight in gold when you need help or flies.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
The boards here are a good place to establish those kinds of contacts as well.

I think my first lesson learned was chossing the proper plant types. I spent alot of money ordering all kinds of stuff and fancy mosses before figuring out what did well and what would turn to mush (IE 90% of the types of moss and lichens I had tried)
"He that is slow to believe anything and everything is of great understanding, for belief in one false principle is the beginning of all unwisdom" LaVey

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