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Breeding frogs


For breeding, I’ll separate the frogs into three main groups. First, the larger frogs like auratus, leucomelas, and tinctorius. For these frogs place a petri dish or butter container lid in the tank and then put a flower pot or coco hut over the top to make a breeding hut. Also throw some empty black film canisters on the floor of the tank and attach a few up high. This gives the frogs a lot of options for breeding sites, and I have found that some frogs prefer cocohuts and others of the same species will prefer the film canisters. The males have distinct calls for attracting mates. The males also have a slightly more slender build and in some species, the males have very large front toe pads compared to females. Don't expect to be able to sex these frogs until they are between one and two years old. Probably the best method is by behavior. When the female is ready to mate she will follow the male around, stroke his back, and otherwise pester him. Then they go to the breeding hut or film canister where she lays 3 to 12 eggs, depending on the species, and he fertilizes them. Take the eggs away by removing the petri dish or by scraping the eggs from a film canister into a petri dish. Put enough water in the dish to barely cover the bottom and put a loose fitting cover on it. In two weeks the tadpoles hatch out. Place each tadpole in a separate cup because sometimes the tadpoles will eat each other (fruit fly cups work great). I feed them various tropical fish foods, frozen brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp, and spirulina flakes. I also use Hikari crab cuisine because it has extra calcium in it. Alternatively you can leave the eggs with the parents and let them care for them. This works great if there are pools of water in the tank or even film canisters full of water. The parents will take care of the eggs and then carry the tadpoles to water!! They will actually carry the tadpoles around on their back for a few days before dropping them off in pools. It is very cool! Once the tadpoles are dropped off, they are on their own. They take two to three months to morph into froglets. If you're taking care of the tadpoles yourself be sure to provide them a way to walk out of the water so they don't drown. For example, drain most of the water out of their cup and tilt it on it's side so they can walk out of the water. Don't forget to put a lid on the cup so they can't escape (with air holes, of course). Or put a bunch of tadpoles together into a plastic sweater box that has a little bit of water, but is tilted so the froglets can walk out of the water. The tadpoles won't eat each other after they have sprouted legs.

The second type of frogs are "facultative egg feeders". These are usually the small thumbnail species. These are often more expensive and aren’t considered beginner frogs, although they really aren’t any more difficult. For these frogs, throw some film canisters in the tank. Throw some on the ground and attach some up higher, typically horizontal. The frogs will lay eggs in these and you can either take the eggs away or let the parents raise them. If you take the eggs away, raise them exactly like I described above for the larger frogs. If you let the parents take care of their babies the process will be the same except that the care doesn’t stop once the tadpoles are dropped off in a pool of water. Instead, the mom will come back every day or two and lay an egg for the tadpole to eat!! Over a period of about two months the tadpole eventually turns into a froglet and just walks away.

The third category is the "obligate egg feeders". These are the Pumilio. With these frogs you can’t take the eggs away and raise them yourself. Instead, you MUST let the parents raise the babies. These frogs will lay the eggs on a leaf and then carry the tadpoles to bromeliad axils where little pools of water collect. The mom actually returns to lay an egg for the tadpole every couple days. The only difference between these frogs and the thumbnails described above is that the tadpoles won’t eat anything except the eggs that the mom produces. So if you try to raise them yourself they will starve. Over a period of about two months the tadpole eventually turns into a froglet and just hops out of the bromeliad.

Here's a typical breeding tank. This tank is a 20 gallon "high" standing on end. It contains a pair of bronze auratus. These frogs are thought to prefer cocohuts so I have two of those in the tank, but I also threw some film canisters on the floor of the tank, and sure enough, sometimes they use the film canisters instead.



Here is a Petri dish for holding eggs and a walk-out tub. I put the tads into the walk-out tub once they have four legs so they can walk out of the water after they absorb their tail. Notice there's only a few inches of water in the walk-out tub. I tilt them up by placing a plastic cup under one end.



Here's some leucomelas eggs developing:



Here's some imitator with a couple of eggs in a film canister:



Here's some green auratus carrying tadpoles to pools of water.



Here's an azureus doing the same thing in early 2008. There wasn't a place to drop the tadpole off in this tank, so I placed a cup of water in the tank. The next day the tadpole was in the cup! I left the cup in the tank for about two months with only a few water changes and only adding a little fish food about once a week. I could swear the mom was egg feeding because this froglet morphed out unusually large and healthy. This froglet currently has a terrarium to himself and he looks really great. I'm holding him back as a future breeder.



Here's a Pumilio carrying a tadpole and then some froglets morphing out on the bromeliad leaves: