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A Couple Questions on Mixed Species Tanks

Discussion in 'Poison Dart Frogs' started by giveuptheghost, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. giveuptheghost

    giveuptheghost Well-Known Member

    So I've been reading and wanted to clarify my understanding on a couple of things. I know most people's answer to the uber frequently asked question of 'can I get different species of dart frogs for the same tank?' is a resounding NO. There are a few reasons commonly given and I am a little confused about some bits.

    One reason I see is the risk for cross-contamination of pathogens from frogs of different geographic areas. This makes total sense to me if the species are wild-caught, but is it still an issue in captive bred specimens? If they are born and raised in the same captive environments, on the same food sources and housed in similar setups, would they still carry illnesses unique to their species and contagious and dangerous to others?

    Two, there is risk of cross-breeding and hybridization which some people feel very strongly about. Would this be a relevant issue to someone who has no intention of breeding the frogs anyway? Also, couldn't this be avoided depending on which frogs you put together anyway? D. azureus could mate with other tincs, but could it mate with a Strawberry Dart or a Reticulated Dart? I was under the impression that is couldn't, in which case, what would be the concern in housing some Strawberry Darts with some Blue Darts (for the sake of example, and I'm picking those because I know D. azureus hang out on the ground for the most part and, if I recall correctly, Strawberry Darts hang out up in the upper areas of the tank more, which brings me to my next question-- though I could be mistaken about Strawberry Darts, in which case, substitute them for a different, more arboreal inclined species). Although again, if one isn't intending on breeding anyway, why would the 'risk' of interbreeding even matter at all?

    Three, following on the above, if you selected frogs that would consistently occupy different areas of the tank based on their natural inclinations, would it be possible to mix species?

    Anyway, the reason I'm asking is just that I was perusing another forum reading about dart frogs and it seemed like this issue was a constant hot topic, but none of the above questions which popped into my mind while reading seemed to be answered very clearly anywhere. So...I thought I'd ask here, since y'all are always so helpful.

    Thanks!
     
  2. NoahGotHerpsDewd

    NoahGotHerpsDewd Well-Known Member

    bump. very awesome questions man, made me very curious lol.
     
  3. Lizz

    Lizz Well-Known Member

    I'd like to know as well. I'm planning a dart frog vivarium and would love to have something terrestrial and something arboreal if possible. I've been searching for a species of dwarf day gecko that can handle the higher humidity, so far I haven't found one. I actually made a thread about it in the gecko catagory:
    Dwarf Day Gecko To House With Large Dart Frog? | Herp Center
    But if I could put in another species of dart frog, that would be the best way to go to keep everyone happy, I think (as far as similar requirements go, it doesn't get any more similar than that!). I'd love to hear answers to these questions. And honestly, unless I can find other reasons, besides the ones you have out lined here, which actually make sense, I might just try it even if nobody answers (at that point, I'll have a back up plan to separate them if for whatever reason it doesn't work out), because I mirror your skepticism.
    And I'm not totally opposed to hybridization myself to be totally honest. As long as they are sold under the correct name, er, names, so that there is no confusion going forward as to what they really are. And I have lots of critters who would love some little frogletts as a meal. Circle of life. So I could cull out however many I need, if I needed. I personally could not just kill a bunch and throw them away, but this is different, it will go to a good purpose, adding variety to my other critters diets and keeping them healthy, I'm getting off topic..
    Oh man, I hope I don't get some nasty reply about that. Anyway, sorry for getting your hopes up because you probably thought this was an answer to your question(s) when you saw this alert on your profile.
    I will now eagerly await some answers with you.
     
  4. Lizz

    Lizz Well-Known Member

    This is the second time I've replied to an old post without noticing how old it is until afterwards. But! I still think someone shoud answer this if they can, cuz these are really good questions. So I guess, bump.
     
  5. Frogsrule

    Frogsrule Active Member

    All of those statements are valid reasons. Wild caught frogs can transmit pathogens. For cross breeding, a frog can usually breed with most frog that are in the same genus. These hybrids are STERILE. You must think, these frogs can live for 20-25 years and here you might be with lots of little froglets on your hands and find yourself having to give some away. This could very easily pollute the genetic lines of frogs which take many years to be established. Thats the second biggest reason I would avoid mixing species. All dart frogs will utilize all areas of a tank, no matter the preference. The biggest issue i see with mixing is temperment. Each species has a different behavior and they will stress out other species by fighting for food. Some frogs are much more agressive than others. That is why it is best to keep dart frogs either in a male female pair or in a 2:1 female to male ratio and same species. (Females fight for males in the dart frog world)
     
  6. Helios

    Helios Elite Member

    Since these went so long unanswered, I'll chime in/affirm what Frogsrule said:

    1) Your thinking is correct: Wild-caught specimens could transmit pathogens; however, even specimens of the same species could cause this if one is carrying something. Captive-bred specimens that are healthy could be at risk for this issue as well if for some reason one isn't. This would not be a factor in mixing species in and of itself.
    2) Hybridization and Breeding: As someone who breeds, let me stress that even if you have no intent of breeding your animals it makes very little difference in the case of frogs. If you keep males and females, odds are they will breed, with few exceptions.
    There are a couple of reasons that hybridization is a big deal to the dart frog community.First of all, it creates an issue that many hobbyists do not want to deal with and that is generally regarded as not altogether ethical. Cross breeding dart frogs on the surface seems innocuous because your getting more dart frogs right? The reason it's not that simple is that it if you were talking about doing this with another type of animal the actual gap's importance between species is a little more evident. IE breeding a crested gecko with a gargoyle gecko.
    Muddying the genetic lines of dart frogs is also a big deal because IF you are disseminating the offspring and those offspring happen not be sterile and end up breeding with other frogs you really have no clue what you're doing to the genetic makeup of the animals over time. That's an issue because wild-caught dart frogs are only brought into the hobby with very rare exception. It's important to preserve the genetic integrity of the animals we're working with for ethical and practical reasons.
    Moreover, what are you gaining by doing it? This isn't the same practice as generating morphs. Dart frog hobbyists aren't interested in hybrids. If you hybridize, you are responsible for the birth of animals that you will be obligated to keep since there is no demand for hybrids and you're likely going to have an uphill battle selling the offspring. In the case you do find someone, you have an obligation to let them know the animals are hybrids. IE LLL Reptile just stopped doing all business with a company, USA Frog I think, that was hybridizing darts.
    3) The idea of animals relegating themselves to one specific area of a tank simply will not happen. The needs of "arobreal" and "terrestrial" dart frogs are not different enough that you would never see either of them cross whatever boundary you think you've established. If species are mixed, they will end up interacting. You have to keep in mind, keeping reptiles and amphibians, while steeped in scientific practice, is also an art. As living organisms with the capability to behave, they aren't going to follow one set pattern all of the time and never deviate. The more variables you throw in, the more likely you are to experience situations you won't expect, and may not want to deal with.
     
    DwarvenChef likes this.
  7. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Adding a bit to the first question...

    Even captive bred populations carry pathogens from their community. Ordering frogs from one company even has dangers as most sellers get frogs from many sources, sure these issues are less of a problem that from buying all over the place, but the issues still pop up enough to be a concern.

    When I'm setting up a breeding program I like to get animals from different sources to diversify the blood lines and have to keep close eyes on them. once in a while I'll loose a partner or both a few weeks after introduction. Few where "stress" related...

    Not saying this happens a lot, but it happen enough to be concerned.
     
    Helios likes this.

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