Fat tail geckos or poison frogs?
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:41 PM   #1
SlammedDC2
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Fat tail geckos or poison frogs?


Okay so as some of you may know my wife is a 3rd grade teacher and likes to have some animals in her classroom for the kids to enjoy and learn from. Last year I set her up a 15g shrimp tank. That tank did well and the kids loved it. Some of the kids were even able to convince mom and dad to let them have a tank after learning how to care for one.

Well this year we have traded the 15g shrimp tank for a 20l planted fish tank. I also have a 30l I'm not doing anything with and was thinking of putting a couple geckos in the classroom as well. My wife has told me she liked having frogs a few years ago and would like to try to go back with some type of frog. She would really like some kind of poison dart if possible. I have never had any poison frogs and would like some input from you guys.

How hard are they to keep, high maintance or low? What can you tell me, plus or minus either way.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #2
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I'm looking at getting darts too, you probably want to join a dart frog forum.

From what I have been reading they seem to be super low maintenance apart from the need for live foods. They only need a small tank (45cm cube recommended minimum) but live plants are very much appreciated. For the commonly available beginner species like leucs and azorius the humidity needs to be very high but they do well at room temperature. A very interesting breeding project, especially as the froglets are quite expensive.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:51 PM   #3
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is she set on dart frogs?? i don't have them (yet), but from everyone i have spoken to, they are relatively easy to care for. as stated above, live food is the kicker. dart froglets like to eat flightless fruit flies and springtails, both which can be cultured very easily. just remember to make the viv "fruit fly escape proof"...lol if she wants something where she can pick up just enough food for the feeding, why not go for something like fire bellied toads? they are a nice colorful option. the darts may be secretive and they may not see them for days on end, but the fbt's will hang out all day so the kids can see them. AND, you get to build a really cool paludarium for them just remember a locking lid, they are better escape artists than harry houdini ever was.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:09 PM   #4
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dart frogs can be easy, except for the live food requirements. i think a pair would do nicely in that small tank. and enough fruit fly cultures for a pair of frogs would take up no space at all, and give an excellent option to teach about life cycles as the flies lay eggs, hatch larvae which pupate, blah blah blah. humidity is crucial. and fishies in philly is definitely right about making the dart frog tank escape proof for insects, lest fruit flies and crickets interrupt class. the feeder insects need to be dusted with a vitamin and mineral supplement (think shake-n-bake) before being fed to the frogs.

there is a lot of variability in both how shy vs. bold the frogs are, as well as how they inhabit the space (terrestrial vs. arboreal). this last distinction will determine how you set up the tank.

the price of the frog is closely related to how easy to keep and breed it is (with the obvious exception of newly introduced morphs). almost any of the less expensive frogs will be fairly easy to care for. the big blue tinctorius group are bold (like begging for food at the glass when they see you) and hardy, as are the yellow 'bumblebee' leucs. if you prefer the smaller frogs, the "tricolor" group of frogs are very hardy, and have a nice call, and are not afraid of people. you could keep a small group of the tricolors +-5, where the tincs should be kept as a single pair in a tank due to aggression issues.

Last edited by mack23; 10-25-2012 at 11:28 PM.. Reason: added bit about supplements
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:47 PM   #5
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hey slammeddc2, i just realized that i misunderstood your original post. i thought you were converting the 15 gallon for frogs. sorry.

is the tank a 30 gallon long, or a 30 liter? if it is a 30 gallon long, you could do a group of around 5 leucs, or 8-10 of the smaller tricolors. still just one pair of tincs, though.

one last note is that there are lots of really nice dart folks, and the tricolor group of frogs breed like crazy. you might find a local frogger with a big heart who would donate some to a classroom. if mine were still breeding like crazy, i'd be happy to mail you a group.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:57 PM   #6
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one last thing. keeping a "mixed tank" is very tricky and very frowned upon in the hobby. you really need to choose one type of frog, and set the tank up for their needs.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:30 AM   #7
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I would get the fat-tail gecko personally. Poison frogs are more for viewing purposes and not as interactive.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:00 AM   #8
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The term "easy" is different for everybody. I've heard that poison frogs can be a pain to keep because of the food. A guy I knew wanted to give his away. So [I]if[I] you plan to breed pinhead circkets or fruitflys, or know a very good source that always has them available, then they may be "easy" for you to keep.
I would suggest checking the size needed, but maybe Oriental Fire Bellied Toads may be a better option. You still get the colors, a small amphibian, yet they can take more easily available foods. You will need a larger water portion for them as compaired to poison frogs however.
As for geckos, quite a jump away from poison frogs, one can hold them much more often than amphibians, you won't have to worry about hard to find foods or water quailty. I think from a kid's point of view, the gecko may be more fun. How old are these kids again?
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:22 AM   #9
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Honestly feeding darts was always a pain for me. Fat tails on the other hand where a lot easier. It all comes down to personal preference.

If you go with the darts, do a living viv, with a running water fall and everything, there is one site where the family makes fruit fly escape proof glass cages, and makes them into living vivs as well.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:51 PM   #10
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I would do dart frogs personally.

I would say there are 2 good options for a classroom.

1. Dendrobates Leucomelas - they're big, they're bright (yellow and black banded) and they have a beautiful and loud call. They're technically "grouping" frogs but I've never had any luck keeping them that way. They're also cheap.

2. Ranitomeya imitator - they're smaller, but brighter than leucs and come in lots of morphs to choose from (but you can only choose one morph per tank). They also have a beautiful and loud call. Additionally, they'll raise their own tadpoles so you'll eventually have your pair plus a number of froglets hopping around in the tank. The downsides are that they're about 1/4 the size of a leuc and cost about twice as much.

Both frogs are bold and easily visible. I can get right in my imitator's faces to take macro shots and they don't shy away.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:08 PM   #11
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I'm voting for dart frogs too (obviously) Personally think dealing with fruit flies is so much easier to do than crickets. No need to make frequent trips to the pet store for crickets, extremely easy to culture fruit flies yourself. I would go with any of the tinctorious species for a classroom, all large and bold.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:25 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone for your responses, I guess I made this to kind of bounce ideas off of you, but I have settled on the dart frogs. Now I just need to get to building the viv and figuring out which species I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishies_in_Philly View Post
is she set on dart frogs?? i don't have them (yet), but from everyone i have spoken to, they are relatively easy to care for. as stated above, live food is the kicker. dart froglets like to eat flightless fruit flies and springtails, both which can be cultured very easily. just remember to make the viv "fruit fly escape proof"...lol if she wants something where she can pick up just enough food for the feeding, why not go for something like fire bellied toads? they are a nice colorful option. the darts may be secretive and they may not see them for days on end, but the fbt's will hang out all day so the kids can see them. AND, you get to build a really cool paludarium for them just remember a locking lid, they are better escape artists than harry houdini ever was.
She isn't dead set on dart frogs but she would prefer "frogs" over a gecko. She has some firebellys her first year and after a weekend away from the classroom she came back to an empty tank. I would rather not have them or any tree frog types as I don't want any escapes (I'm sure the administration would like to keep them all contained as well)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mack23 View Post
dart frogs can be easy, except for the live food requirements. i think a pair would do nicely in that small tank. and enough fruit fly cultures for a pair of frogs would take up no space at all, and give an excellent option to teach about life cycles as the flies lay eggs, hatch larvae which pupate, blah blah blah. humidity is crucial. and fishies in philly is definitely right about making the dart frog tank escape proof for insects, lest fruit flies and crickets interrupt class. the feeder insects need to be dusted with a vitamin and mineral supplement (think shake-n-bake) before being fed to the frogs.

there is a lot of variability in both how shy vs. bold the frogs are, as well as how they inhabit the space (terrestrial vs. arboreal). this last distinction will determine how you set up the tank.

the price of the frog is closely related to how easy to keep and breed it is (with the obvious exception of newly introduced morphs). almost any of the less expensive frogs will be fairly easy to care for. the big blue tinctorius group are bold (like begging for food at the glass when they see you) and hardy, as are the yellow 'bumblebee' leucs. if you prefer the smaller frogs, the "tricolor" group of frogs are very hardy, and have a nice call, and are not afraid of people. you could keep a small group of the tricolors +-5, where the tincs should be kept as a single pair in a tank due to aggression issues.
I think having the kids go through with the cultures would also help in teaching life cycle as well as responsability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mack23 View Post
hey slammeddc2, i just realized that i misunderstood your original post. i thought you were converting the 15 gallon for frogs. sorry.

is the tank a 30 gallon long, or a 30 liter? if it is a 30 gallon long, you could do a group of around 5 leucs, or 8-10 of the smaller tricolors. still just one pair of tincs, though.

one last note is that there are lots of really nice dart folks, and the tricolor group of frogs breed like crazy. you might find a local frogger with a big heart who would donate some to a classroom. if mine were still breeding like crazy, i'd be happy to mail you a group.
No I am keeping the 15g at the house with the shrimp. I have picked up a 30 long to house whatever in.
I will have to do some looking around for a breeder, I don't know of any but I haven't looked either.
As of right now we are leaning towards the dart frogs. I won't have a problem building the living viv, but the price of the frogs will slow things down a little. I'm hoping to get everything done this year so the kids have some time to enjoy them, but worst case she should be good to go by next school year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mack23 View Post
one last thing. keeping a "mixed tank" is very tricky and very frowned upon in the hobby. you really need to choose one type of frog, and set the tank up for their needs.
I would rather keep just one species to a tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisinator View Post
I would get the fat-tail gecko personally. Poison frogs are more for viewing purposes and not as interactive.
I would rather all of the animals in her classroom be for viewing purposes. between someone not being gentle enough, not washing their hands after or at the worst some parent come in freaking out that their baby is holding a lizard or frog and thinking the worst. Even something docile could get ugly with the wrong parent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acro View Post
The term "easy" is different for everybody. I've heard that poison frogs can be a pain to keep because of the food. A guy I knew wanted to give his away. So [I]if[I] you plan to breed pinhead circkets or fruitflys, or know a very good source that always has them available, then they may be "easy" for you to keep.
I would suggest checking the size needed, but maybe Oriental Fire Bellied Toads may be a better option. You still get the colors, a small amphibian, yet they can take more easily available foods. You will need a larger water portion for them as compaired to poison frogs however.
As for geckos, quite a jump away from poison frogs, one can hold them much more often than amphibians, you won't have to worry about hard to find foods or water quailty. I think from a kid's point of view, the gecko may be more fun. How old are these kids again?
One of the main problems with getting a gecko is that ther are nocturnal, I'd hate for them to always be looking for them in the hides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune_Gem View Post
Honestly feeding darts was always a pain for me. Fat tails on the other hand where a lot easier. It all comes down to personal preference.

If you go with the darts, do a living viv, with a running water fall and everything, there is one site where the family makes fruit fly escape proof glass cages, and makes them into living vivs as well.
I will definatly do a living viv, not 100% on the water fall but I like the idea and will look into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VicSkimmr View Post
I would do dart frogs personally.

I would say there are 2 good options for a classroom.

1. Dendrobates Leucomelas - they're big, they're bright (yellow and black banded) and they have a beautiful and loud call. They're technically "grouping" frogs but I've never had any luck keeping them that way. They're also cheap.

2. Ranitomeya imitator - they're smaller, but brighter than leucs and come in lots of morphs to choose from (but you can only choose one morph per tank). They also have a beautiful and loud call. Additionally, they'll raise their own tadpoles so you'll eventually have your pair plus a number of froglets hopping around in the tank. The downsides are that they're about 1/4 the size of a leuc and cost about twice as much.

Both frogs are bold and easily visible. I can get right in my imitator's faces to take macro shots and they don't shy away.
I like the bigger frogs and would hope that I would get some that are bolder and not so shy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Pro Breeders View Post
I'm voting for dart frogs too (obviously) Personally think dealing with fruit flies is so much easier to do than crickets. No need to make frequent trips to the pet store for crickets, extremely easy to culture fruit flies yourself. I would go with any of the tinctorious species for a classroom, all large and bold.
I would also rather deal with flightless fruit flies vs crickets of any size.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlammedDC2 View Post
I like the bigger frogs and would hope that I would get some that are bolder and not so shy.
You have lots of options then:

D. auratus (probably the least bold of this list)
D. leucomelas
P. terribilis (the most bold, AND is cool because they're the actual "poison dart frog")
D. "bicolor"
D. tinctorius
D. azureus (are these now classified as tincts?)

Last edited by VicSkimmr; 10-26-2012 at 06:46 PM.. Reason: incorrect spelling
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:38 PM   #14
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i just want to underline the point vicskimmr mentioned about auratus being shy. they are beautiful, but do have a natural fear of humans. i have a group which is really bold now, but the first years i had them i saw them very little. not the best option for wow factor for kids.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:45 PM   #15
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i can also share my recipe for homemade ff media. much cheaper than store bought, and i've been using it successfully for about 7 years.
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