DartFrog .pet Info

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Micro fauna are small beneficial organisms that maintain your vivarium. As food, plant material and animal wastes drop into the soil micro fauna consumes these waste products providing nutrients for your plants. Cucs are an examples of micro fauna, C.U.C.S being clean up crews. CUCS typically include isopods and springtails.

For tropical humid vivariums your typical isopod is the dwarf white isopod. These are small, measuring a few millimeters, humid loving isos. They are ideal for dart frog enclosures in that they as well as spring tails are the right size as a food source. When looking to provide supplemental foods for your darts these two cucs are a good choice.

Collembola Springtails are tropical tiny hexapods, measuring only a few millimeters at most. They are omnivorous insects that are great at foraging for waste around the vivarium. Anything from deceased flies, frog waste, any decaying organic matter. When sourcing springtails make sure to locate tropical versus arid variety. Tropical will be more successful in your dart frog enclosure. Springtails are a food source to feed newly morphed, FOW (Fresh out of water) frog-lets. Note that they get their name for their tail that provides propulsion as they spring when frightened. Note they are sensitive to air gusts and can be moved in rushes of wind such as when opening their container or being blown on.

Often dart frog hobbyists maintain a culture of springtails and isopods outside of their vivarium. You should consider culturing CUCS which can be stored in anything from sealed deli cups, Tupperware or plastic shoe boxes. Culturing them allows you to periodically add more to your vivarium as needed or to keep producing as a backup or supplemental food source. Dart frog breeders often keep multiple cultures of springtails as a primary food source for frog-lets.

Springtail culturing:
In a sealed plastic container add RO or distilled water and a layer of aquarium charcoal. A quarter inch of charcoal is all thats needed. Have your waterline just under the top of the charcoal. Springtails thrive in water. To feed you can add brewers yeast a couple of times a week. It is important to open the container a few times a week. As cultures grow fresh air is needed. CO2 will build up and lead to their demise. You though will want to keep them in a sealed container to hold in moisture and preventing escape. Springtails eat wood and will damage wood if left the opportunity. Mites as well would love to enter and crash your culture. A sealed container is vital. You can provide small dehydrated fish pieces or dehydrated freshwater shrimp to provide protein weekly. Remove any excess after a week or less to prevent any smell build up. You can transfer springs tails by emptying water from their culture to the new destination or using a straw and blowing them from a corner of their culture to their new destination.

Dwarf white Isopod culturing:
A plastic shoe box container with a lid is ideal for culturing dwarf whites. For a habitat, add Coco bark plantation soil covering the base 2 inches. Add sterilized leaf litter (Oak) to the soil and mix it. This will be the primary food source for isos. Add leaves to the top to provide shelter and additional food. Add RO/distilled water saturated sphagnum moss in one quarter of the container on the top. Mist this area weekly till saturated. This is the wet spot that isos can go to get more moisture. This enclosure will need to be kept humid so make sure to mist often and keep moist. No standing water is needed or desired. They can be supplemented with certain vegetables sparingly. Since vegetables will be on soil if too much is provided or left too long mites may emerge and boom. Thinly slice vegetables and remove within a day or two. Veggies include sweet potatoes, cucumber, zucchini and more. Be careful when tossing food that their are no tiny baby isopods still attached to the food. Placing food on a leaf helps keep the soil below clean and makes clean-up easier. Discard leaf when it becomes "soiled" from food.

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