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Thread: Paper towel substrate

  1. #1
    Greenhorn
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    Default Paper towel substrate

    Paper towels, easy to clean, holds moisture, and makes feeding a breeze. But what about burrowing? I would switch to coconut fiber but my frog is doing so well on paper towels, eating 4-5 medium/large crickets per day and he's just a little bigger than a quarter. What are your thoughts?

    Also, he's in a plastic tub with a pothos vine cutting for added security. I replace the paper towels daily or when I see that they have been soiled.

    What is the purpose of burrowing behaviors? Thermoregulation? Sleeping?

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  3. #2
    Sublime
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Well the only situation I could see frogs being on paper towels is for a quarantine process i.e., make sure the frog doesn't have any illness' and exposes it to the rest of the frogs and or reinfects their self. Paper towels don't hold moisture as well as coconut fiber and will make you have to spray down continously throughout the day. Replacing daily could leave your frog with stress if you're constantly switching out his bedding and handling him or her during the process.

    Purpose: Instinctual - their built with strong hind legs, rest, aestivate (hibernation), thermoregulate.

    The only advantages I could see using paper towels is easy to clean and easy to keep track of food that you are putting in their. Other than that it's not really recommended (stress-related).

  4. #3
    Greenhorn
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    Interesting, paper towels were recommended by the breeder who sold me the frog. They may not hold moisture in an aquarium with a screen top, but they do quite well in a plastic shoe box tub. I live in Florida where humidity isn't usually a problem.

    I feed using forceps and change the bedding immediately after. I would agree that this might cause stress, but again, he's eating so well.

    Not eating is usually an indicator that your frog is stressed.

    I know that coconut fiber is THE best substrate, and obviously I would never try to estivate a frog without it.

  5. #4
    Greenhorn
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    If it's needed for rest I'll put him on it, I would just hate for him to lose his healthy appetite at this point. You have to understand this concern. I feel like all I see are "my frog won't eat" threads.

  6. #5
    dsmalex97
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    I personally find threads like this interesting. I just recently switched my Pyxie to water and she's been doing so much better then when on coco fiber. I'm not saying water is the answer for pac's, but the change just made me question coco fiber in general. I wonder how much they "require" a burrowing type substrate. I can't argue that they aren't built for it, but wonder if there's other ways of housing them with fewer issues. I keep my pac on water/moss/gravel and he doesn't burrow down like he does when hes in coco fiber. He loves his swimming pool, and just digging half way into the moss. Keep in mind I feed in a separate bin. When I had him in the coco fiber he would disappear. I feel like they get some kind of instinct to go down deep in that stuff because it's so fine. I'm not sure what the best is, all I know is I question coco fiber.

  7. #6
    Greenhorn
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    Default

    Love the water, moss, and gravel idea. Do they do okay feeding in a separate enclosure? do you use sphagnum? The green sphagnum moss is really attractive looking.

  8. #7
    dsmalex97
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    Love the water, moss, and gravel idea. Do they do okay feeding in a separate enclosure? do you use sphagnum? The green sphagnum moss is really attractive looking.
    My frog loves it so far. I just don't like the idea of feeding on it. That's really the only drawback besides water maintenance. My frog is very outgoing and doesn't seem to mind as long as I'm really gentle. I try to have everything ready so I just got to plop him in the tub, and feed him. I do this everyday mind you and all has been well. I like to rinse my hands with some hot water before I handle him to be on the safe side. It's only for a second I'm not holding him for any kind of long period. Here's a video of it in action. And yes I do use sphagnum :] Pacman/Pyxie Water Setup - YouTube

    I think feeding in a separate bin depends on the animal. My guy has no issues with it, but yours might who knows. Also, I don't recommend the whisper filter that I'm using currently. There is actually a thread called "switching to water" up right now in the african bullfrog forum about filters, and water setups. Might be of some help to you.

  9. #8
    Sublime
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    @Green Oh yeah, Florida shouldn't be a humidity problem during most parts of the year if not at all. When I first joined the forum I was strong headed about what was right and what was wrong, but I've lightened up a bit and know that people are entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. However; to me, I do consider paper towels to be a temporary substrate or bedding for these guys. Wish we had as much humidity as you guys down here in California even though it feels hotter haha. You're correct about them not eating is more than likely an indicator of stress.

    @dsm Yeah, you know I actually do believe that whatever people find that works best for them there's no arguing there. I just like to implement some of the natural bedding they would have provided in the wild. The bedding I use is a 50/50 mixture of coconut fiber and additive free top soil to give it more depth and fight bacteria/fungal growth. I like to stay away from moss and other bedding that's an impaction risk because I just feel more comfortable sleeping at night, you know what I mean? They do love to soak and are great swimmers so I can see why a couple of people including you have found all water setups working best including maintenance. Also I saw how you feed your pacman on the moss by moving it, the way you do it is completely safe and is good that you practice that.

    It is kind of funny to debate which setup is actually the 'best' for african bullfrogs since some people swear by coconut fiber and other swear by all water setups. IMO, the best ideal setup is a half land-half water if you can pull it off without the dirt clogging the filter with a divider or ramp. Hopefully soon once I buy my boy a 40 gal breeder I'll be able to do this.

    Also I feed my pixie in a seperate Sterilite bin; it has worked out great for me. I get consistent-timed feedings and don't have to worry about leftover crickets or decaying dead invertebrates in his tank. Also, I don't worry about him eating too much dirt since they're sloppy eaters and he's just eating in a plastic tote.
    Last edited by Sublime; November 4th, 2011 at 12:43 AM. Reason: Haha, repeated the same line in a sentence. Fixed.

  10. #9
    spencerburgo
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    Paper towels, easy to clean, holds moisture, and makes feeding a breeze. But what about burrowing? I would switch to coconut fiber but my frog is doing so well on paper towels, eating 4-5 medium/large crickets per day and he's just a little bigger than a quarter. What are your thoughts?

    Also, he's in a plastic tub with a pothos vine cutting for added security. I replace the paper towels daily or when I see that they have been soiled.

    What is the purpose of burrowing behaviors? Thermoregulation? Sleeping?
    there is nothing wrong with paper towels, i have to young pixies on paper towels as i write this, all my young frogs have been started on paper towel, like you said its easy to clean you can see when they have soiled it, it holds moisture for them an most of all when there at that small size you have not got to worry about thenm ingesting substrate, as these young pixies get a bit frisky at feeding time trying to grab at there food, i would say for now if he is that small continue with what your doing until he gets a bit of size about him/her then that will give you plenty time to research and decide what setup/substrate to go with,

    cheers spencer..........

  11. #10
    spencerburgo
    Guest

    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmalex97 View Post
    I personally find threads like this interesting. I just recently switched my Pyxie to water and she's been doing so much better then when on coco fiber. I'm not saying water is the answer for pac's, but the change just made me question coco fiber in general. I wonder how much they "require" a burrowing type substrate. I can't argue that they aren't built for it, but wonder if there's other ways of housing them with fewer issues. I keep my pac on water/moss/gravel and he doesn't burrow down like he does when hes in coco fiber. He loves his swimming pool, and just digging half way into the moss. Keep in mind I feed in a separate bin. When I had him in the coco fiber he would disappear. I feel like they get some kind of instinct to go down deep in that stuff because it's so fine. I'm not sure what the best is, all I know is I question coco fiber.
    im like you i dont like coco fibre, your method sounds great and your taking precautions for him not ingesting substrate,

    cheers spencer....

  12. #11
    Super Moderator flybyferns's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Reply to all,
    I use paper towel only. Going on 2 years. I started, day one, with a well planned traditional layerd bottom, and quickly became concerned of loosing track of feeding. Plus, I could not stand the muck.
    I house tree frogs, change it every other day ( sometimes 3 days) . If you make that layer thick enough humidity is never not a problem. I change it during the day- they never know I was there !

    FYI- I have an experiment going. I raise my own crickets. I have purchased -very thick- 100 % cotton quilting fabric. ( quilt batting- it is the thick fabric that quilters use between the 2 layers of a handmade quilt) I have little pieces of the fabric in with the crickets right now. If the crickets do not eat it I am going to start using it as substrate. The actual size of the batting is like a single bed sheet. If this works, I will be cutting/customizing the sizes for my bottom of my enclosure. My plan is to re-use it. I will have many, many pieces and be able to wash it ( hot water in the washing machine ) and dry it in a nice hot dryer !!! Well' see?

    Lynn
    Current Collection
    Dendrobates leucomelas - standard morph
    Dendrobates auratus “Costa Rican Green Black"
    Dendrobates auratus "Pena Blanca"
    Dendrobates tinctorius “New River”
    Dendrobates tinctorius "Green Sipaliwini"
    Dendrobates tinctorius “Powder Blue"
    Dendrobates tinctorius "French Guiana Dwarf Cobalt"

    Phyllobates terribilis “Mint”
    Phyllobates terribilis "Orange"
    Phyllobates bicolor "Uraba"

    Oophaga pumilio "Black Jeans"
    Oophaga pumilio "Isla Popa"
    Oophaga pumilio "Bastimentos"
    Oophaga pumilio “Mimbitimbi”
    Oophaga pumilio "Rio Colubre"
    Oophaga pumilio "Red Frog Beach”
    Oophaga pumilio "Rio Branco"
    Oophaga pumilio “Valle del Rey”
    Oophaga pumilio "BriBri"
    Oophaga pumilio "El Dorado"
    Oophaga pumilio "Cristobal"
    Oophaga pumilio "Rambala"

    Oophaga “Vicentei” (blue)

    Oophaga sylvatica "Paru"
    Oophaga sylvatica "Pata Blanca"
    Oophaga histrionica “Redhead”
    Oophaga histrionica "Blue"
    Oophaga lehmanni "Red"
    Oophaga histrionica "Tado"

    Ranitomeya variabilis "Southern"
    Ranitomeya imitator "Varadero"
    Ranitomeya sirensis "Lower Ucayali"
    Ranitomeya vanzolinii

    http://www.fernsfrogs.com
    https://www.facebook.com/ferns.frogs

  13. #12
    Greenhorn
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    Quote Originally Posted by spencerburgo View Post
    im like you i dont like coco fibre, your method sounds great and your taking precautions for him not ingesting substrate,

    cheers spencer....
    Sounds good Spencer, thank you

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  14. #13
    dsmalex97
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate





    You inspired me lol

    I wasn't happy with the quality of the water so I took him out of the setup he was in. He seems to be liking it so far. Plopped himself under the plants and hasn't moved lol

    I plan on doing this until he starts putting on some decent weight. Keeping humidity good so far too. The trick is to just use a bunch of paper towel rather then just a layer. I also love not having to be worried about him getting impacted.

  15. #14
    MonsterPyxie
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmalex97 View Post




    You inspired me lol

    I wasn't happy with the quality of the water so I took him out of the setup he was in. He seems to be liking it so far. Plopped himself under the plants and hasn't moved lol

    I plan on doing this until he starts putting on some decent weight. Keeping humidity good so far too. The trick is to just use a bunch of paper towel rather then just a layer. I also love not having to be worried about him getting impacted.

    my only real problem with this is no padding for the frog. Dogs when forced to sleep on hard floors grow callus / big knob's on there joints and stuff from the hard floor, and there built more robust then a soft squishy fog.

  16. #15
    Super Moderator flybyferns's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Greenhorn,

    He looks very comfy!
    These are good discussions.
    Maybe we could start a 'paper towel substrate' craze?

    They do get soft when they are wet. How about a thicker layer in the area where he like to sit?

    I sure use a lot of paper towel though. I 'm still on a search for a substitute.
    My cotton batting experiment did not work-the crickets ate it.
    I had a feeling they would. We'll see, I intend to keep trying.
    Maybe some other fabric. I'm considering sewing mats-just the right size for the bottom that could be washed.
    The great thing about the towels is that they hold quite a bit of water which is difficult to duplicate.

    photo:
    Paper towel substrate on the left and covered water on the right.
    I just visited before the lights come on. I know exactly what they ate ( one little cricket left) and they are all up in the plants starting to snuggle in for the day.



    Enjoy !
    Lynn
    Current Collection
    Dendrobates leucomelas - standard morph
    Dendrobates auratus “Costa Rican Green Black"
    Dendrobates auratus "Pena Blanca"
    Dendrobates tinctorius “New River”
    Dendrobates tinctorius "Green Sipaliwini"
    Dendrobates tinctorius “Powder Blue"
    Dendrobates tinctorius "French Guiana Dwarf Cobalt"

    Phyllobates terribilis “Mint”
    Phyllobates terribilis "Orange"
    Phyllobates bicolor "Uraba"

    Oophaga pumilio "Black Jeans"
    Oophaga pumilio "Isla Popa"
    Oophaga pumilio "Bastimentos"
    Oophaga pumilio “Mimbitimbi”
    Oophaga pumilio "Rio Colubre"
    Oophaga pumilio "Red Frog Beach”
    Oophaga pumilio "Rio Branco"
    Oophaga pumilio “Valle del Rey”
    Oophaga pumilio "BriBri"
    Oophaga pumilio "El Dorado"
    Oophaga pumilio "Cristobal"
    Oophaga pumilio "Rambala"

    Oophaga “Vicentei” (blue)

    Oophaga sylvatica "Paru"
    Oophaga sylvatica "Pata Blanca"
    Oophaga histrionica “Redhead”
    Oophaga histrionica "Blue"
    Oophaga lehmanni "Red"
    Oophaga histrionica "Tado"

    Ranitomeya variabilis "Southern"
    Ranitomeya imitator "Varadero"
    Ranitomeya sirensis "Lower Ucayali"
    Ranitomeya vanzolinii

    http://www.fernsfrogs.com
    https://www.facebook.com/ferns.frogs

  17. #16
    Jcal
    Guest

    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Interesting. My pac does like to burrow but i do get annoyed by coco fiber. I shook things up with my abfs and they love it. Maybe its time for a switch with my pac.

    I think l will do alittle test with him:
    Remove all substrate and have paper towel
    Offer him a cup to burrow if so desired.
    Offer him a bigger water dish.

    After he shows me what he likes i will go from there.

  18. #17
    dsmalex97
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    I think if you offer a large shallow pool with a few layers of paper towel, they'll be just fine. Just make sure to add lots of cover with plants, and maybe a background. I think my guy seems pretty comfortable actually lol. I have a three layers, and it's more then enough for comfort in my opinion. Let's keep in mind these are wild animals, and don't know what "comfort" even is...I can't see keeping them on paper towels detrimental to their health in the slightest. They don't have knobby elbows, and have a fat belly to keep them comfy haha. I personally think it's a good idea, and is working great for me.

  19. #18
    Contributor SludgeMunkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Personally, I dislike the paper towel method. First and foremost after working in the industry for a few years, I came to know a bit too much about paper and the paper making process. A bit of research on how the paper for paper towels is made will explain my worries here. My other big personal peeve against paper towel substrates is the absolutely stunning fungal growth wet paper toweling supports. I genereally only use paper toweling for short term and hospital enclosures.

    But, these are just my personal opinions. I know of many folks that use them with success.
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

  20. #19
    dsmalex97
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    Quote Originally Posted by SludgeMunkey View Post
    Personally, I dislike the paper towel method. First and foremost after working in the industry for a few years, I came to know a bit too much about paper and the paper making process. A bit of research on how the paper for paper towels is made will explain my worries here. My other big personal peeve against paper towel substrates is the absolutely stunning fungal growth wet paper toweling supports. I genereally only use paper toweling for short term and hospital enclosures.

    But, these are just my personal opinions. I know of many folks that use them with success.
    Hmm, that's interesting. What happens in the paper making process, now you got me worried man lol

  21. #20
    Sublime
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    Default Re: Paper towel substrate

    @dsm To answer your question:


    Let me google that for you

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