Dendrobates Auratus Care Sheet

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Dendrobates Auratus Care
Dendrobates Auratus Care, photo by brian.gratwicke

Info

  • Scientific Name: Litoria caerulea
  • Lifespan: 14 – 20 years.
  • Handling: Frogs of any species are not really supposed to be handled. All frogs have delicate skin and the oils and salts on our skin can cause them harm. Avoid handling unless necessary.
  • Size: 4 – 5 inches
  • Care: Easy
  • Community: They tend to do very well in groups. They can be housed singularly, in pairs, or in groups. When they become sexual maturity at around 10-11 months old, females may eat each others eggs.
  • Lifestyle: Diurnal, active during the day.

Tank Size

Dendrobates Auratus Tank Size
Dendrobates Auratus Tank Size

You need to make sure you have the right size tank for Dendrobates Auratus. A tank too small can be very stressful for your frog. Use the guidelines below to help determine the best tank size for your frog:

  • 1 Frog: 10 gallon tank
  • 2 Frogs: 20 gallon tank
  • 3 Frogs: 30 gallon tank

For every frog you get, add 10 gallons of tank space.

 

Dendrobates Auratus will not climb as much as other varieties of dart frogs, and prefer a horizontally oriented tank. I highly recommend the 18x18x18 Exo-Terra terrarium for up to 3-4 frogs. If you are wanting to keep a larger community of them, I would recommend the Exo Terra terrarrium 24 by 18 by 12-Inch.

Tank Setup

In order to keep your Dendrobates Auratus healthy and happy, you should try to set up the tank as best as possible to mimic their natural environment in the wild. Use the guidelines below to help determine which items to get.

Substrate

Dendrobates Auratus Substrate
Dendrobates Auratus Substrate

Knowing dart frogs need a very humid environment, a drainage layer should be used. The drainage layer will act as an area for excess water to be collected rather than being collected in the soil causing the still water to rot the substrate. You can easily make a drainage layer using Zoo Med HydroBalls and a screen layer. Once your drainage layer is in place, you can start adding the substrate.

 

A very good substrate for dart frogs is a mixture known as ABG mix, which is a blend of tree fern fiber, charcoal, sphagnum peat, long fiber sphagnum, and fir bark. The mix will help live plants thrive, support a good size population of microfauna, and will last many years without having to be replaced. On top of the ABG mix, a nice layer of new zealand sphagnum moss will help aid in keeping humidity levels high. The last layer on top will be leaf litter which helps provide hiding spots for frogs and microfauna. Something like Oak leaves from your backyard or Magnolia leaves will be fine. If you decide to use leaves from your backyard, make sure to wash them thoroughly and dry them out before putting them into the vivarium. The last thing you want is to introduce bacteria and unwanted insects into the vivarium. Make sure to replace the leaves every 4-6 months as this is the time they start to break apart.

 

Once your substrate is in place, you will want to seed it with plenty of microfauna like springtails and isopods to eat any mold growing and to add additional supplemental food for your dart frogs.

Plants and Vines

Dendrobates Auratus plants
Dendrobates Auratus plants

Foliage helps keep your dart frogs feeling secure and comfortable. A good variety of fake plants for dart frogs are the Exo-Terra Bromelia and scindapsus plants. As for vines, the large Exo-Terra jungle vines are my favorite for creating very cool walkways across a vivarium.

 

Generally, dart frogs are kept in naturalistic vivariums with live plants and little to no ventilation. If you decide to use live plants, make sure you have the appropriate lighting to help keep the plants alive and thriving. Some good live plants to keep in a tree frog’s enclosure are Pothos and Bromeliads. Make sure to always do research on live plants before adding them to your frogs enclosure as some may be toxic to frogs.

Lighting & Heating

Dendrobates Auratus lighting
Dendrobates Auratus lighting

While there is little data to show whether the use of a UVB bulb in a dart frog’s enclosure is beneficial or not, it may not hurt to add a UVB bulb, as it may help aid the frog in processing calcium and other beneficial vitamins. If you are using live plants in the enclosure, you will definitely want to add a UVB bulb to help your plants thrive. Depending on the type of fixture you get, you may decide to go with a fluorescent bulb like the 18 inch Zoo Med ReptiSun fluorescent bulb or a mini compact fluorescent bulb bulb like the 13 Watt Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0.

 

Once you get a UVB bulb, you will then want to add a heat lamp to add additional heat if the ambient temperature is too cold (anything below 70°F). A bulb like the Exo Terra daytime heat lamp will be good. Choose the wattage based on the amount of degrees that you have to raise the tank’s temperature. The more degrees, the higher the wattage.

 

Night temperatures can reach as low as 68°F without needing a heat source. If temperatures drop below that, you may want to consider adding a night time heat lamp like a Zoo Med ceramic heat emitter.

Temperatures

Dendrobates Auratus temerature and humidity levels
Dendrobates Auratus temperature and humidity levels

When measuring temperatures, it’s best to use digital thermometers. Dial thermometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.

 

For temperature and humidity readings, you can go with a 2-in-1 digital reader like the Exo Terra digital combination thermometer/hygrometer.

Day Time

An ambient temperature of 70 – 77 °F.

Night Time

An ambient temperature of 68 – 72 °F.

Humidity

Dendrobates Auratus Humidity
Dendrobates Auratus Humidity

Dart frogs need humidity. The best way to calculate how much humidity you have in the tank is by using a hygrometer. Digital hygrometers work best. Humidity levels should be at about 80%. You can reach these percentages by misting the frogs enclosure twice daily; once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. If the levels are still not being reached, just mist a few more times throughout the day. You can get a manual mister like the Exo Terra spray bottle or an automatic mister like the Exo Terra Monsoon RS400 Rainfall System.

Feeding & Diet

Dendrobates Auratus calcium
Dendrobates Auratus calcium

The primary diet of a dart frog will consist mostly of fruitflies, rice flour beetles, and small phoenix worms, along with the supplemental feeding of microfauna in the vivarium which include springtails and isopods.

 

Their feedings must be dusted with supplements as follows:

Haven’t started culturing your fruit flies yet? Here are some supplies to get you started. This will help you save money, rather than buying cultures every week. All you need to get started are wingless fruit flies and a culture kit.

Hydration

Although most care sheets say “you don’t need a water bowl for dart frogs”, I always add a small dish like the small exo terra dish. This way, it gives the frogs an easy way to self regulate their moisture content. They sit in it and uptake what they need. You still need to maintain high humidity in the tank. It just provides another option for them and a little more insurance for you.

 

The depth of the water should be no higher than the height of your dart frog’s mouth when resting.

Water that is safe to use:

  1. De-chlorinated water
  2. Tap water that has been left out for 24 hours uncovered, allowing the chlorine to evaporate
  3. Bottled water

Dendrobates Auratus Care Questions?

If you have any other questions regarding the care of a Dendrobates Auratus, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

 

Note: The information on this Dendrobates Auratus care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.

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