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Frog Supplementation - The Next Step

So, you've had dart frogs for awhile now, and they're thriving! You have a wonderful vivarium with growing plants, and are routinely providing appropriately sized feeder insects. You also ensure you dust your feeders with a quality vitamin and mineral supplement, such as RepCal Calcium w/ D3 and RepCal Herptivite, or Repashy Calcium Plus. Still, you want to make sure your frogs are as healthy as they can be. If you're wanting to breed your frogs (or maybe already are), you want to make sure your pets have the nutrition they need to produce a healthy new generation of bouncing baby frogs. What else can you do to ensure your frogs live long and prosper? Let's find out!

yellow terribilis with fly on nose

  1. Replace Supplements every 6 months - Supplements, like all good things in life, have an expiration date. They tend to degrade after about 6 months of being opened. So, write the date 6 months from now when you first open the supplement container on it's lid, and be sure to dispose of it and order replacements before you need them. The expiration date printed on the container is accurate only if the supplements remained unopened and stored at an ideal temperature, and should not be used to determine if your supplements are still good after they have been opened.
  2. Refrigerate Supplements - Keeping your supplements at a lower temperature helps keep them intact for longer. Keeping your supplements in the fridge door is a great way to ensure your pets are only getting the best.
  3. Use a variety of Supplements - Use different brands of supplements. While any reputable brand will contain what your pet needs to live, many brands use different sources for nutrition. Animals can use these different sources differently (for example, there is some evidence amphibians may not be able to effectively derive Vitamin A frog a beta carotene source, but can can efficiently convert retinol into Vitamin A). At Josh's Frogs, we rotate between RepCal Calcium with D3, RepCal Herptivite, and Repashy Calcium Plus as our 'primary' supplements. We're currently experimenting with the addition of DendroCare into our rotation.
  4. Add specialized Supplements to your Rotation - There are several specialized supplements on the market, primarily aimed at correcting a specific deficiency. The two most popular specialized supplements currently used with dart frogs are Repashy Vitamin A Plus and Repashy SuperPig. Vitamin A Plus contains retinol (pre-vitamin A) and beta carotene sources. Too much vitamin A can be harmful, so be careful using this supplement. At Josh's Frogs, we supplement with Vitamin A Plus once a month with regular breeders, and twice a month with problem breeders (bad eggs, tadpoles, etc). Repashy SuperPig contains a lot of natural pigment and color enhancers, and can greatly improve the appearance of captive bred animals. We use Repashy SuperPig once a month in our feedings. In addition to these commercially available supplements, we also grind up high grade Folic Acid and Zinc supplements into powder form, and dust with the mixture once a month when feeding our breeder dart frogs.
  5. Gutloading Feeder Insects - Many feeder insects commonly used with dart frogs, such as fruit flies, have such a short digestive tract they cannot really be gutloaded. Probably the best candidate for gutloading are pinhead crickets. Feeding pinhead crickets a quality diet for a couple days before feeding (such as Repashy Bug Burger or Josh's Frogs Cricket Food), coupled with a bit of carrot as a water source, can go a long way towards providing a nutritious diet to your frogs.
  6. Feeding a Diverse Diet - Feeding a wide variety of feeder bugs can really improve the health of your pet frogs. For dart frogs, we feed springtails and isopods (seed the tank with these, then add additional bugs every month or two), fruit flies (the bulk of the diet), pinhead crickets (fed to our breeders once a week), bean beetles (one to two times a month), and extra small black soldier fly larvae and rice flour beetle larvae (once every 2-3 months). Each species of bug is different nutritionally. By feeding a diverse diet (coupled with proper supplementation), your frogs will get the nutrients they need to thrive.
Sample Diet and Supplementation Schedule: Sample Diet Supplement Schedule for Poison Dart Frogs

Please use this article as a base for forming your own diet and supplement schedule for poison dart frogs. Keep in mind that a variety of husbandry conditions may affect your animal's health, and you may not experience the same results that we do. Research , observe, and adjust!

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