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Thread: Brown Tree Frogs - What Am I Doing Wrong?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    [New Zealand]
    New Zealand

    Default Brown Tree Frogs - What Am I Doing Wrong?


    Please forgive me if I break any decorum by posting this thread - I'm only here due to a little bit of desperation.

    I have (so far) been a successful reptile and amphibian keeper for about five or so years. In my collection of amphibians I have every species legally aquirable in New Zealand, which include axolotls, fire-bellied newts, golden bell frogs, and brown tree frogs. The tree frogs are the latest acquisition and thus far the most stressful. My bells have been easy - they're already bigger than they're supposed to be and both are about three years old.

    I'm struggling with the tree frogs, though. I know this is an international forum, which usually means mostly American, so I don't expect anyone to be an expert on this exact species, but I'm hoping my problems might be general enough that someone can help (finding anything online specific to New Zealand is very difficult, as the pet industry here is rather small and we can't get the same wildly exotic species as some other countries).

    So we have a fairly basic set up. The frogs themselves are about as large as a thumbnail, and don't get much bigger (about 2cm long at max size I believe). We have a soil substrate, a fairly large 'pond' with dechlorinated water, and a lot of sterilised driftwood and rocks for climbing. We feed them fruitflies, as houseflies are hard to come by at this time of year (it's winter in the southern hemisphere), but they do eat them. However, we have lost two out of four and a third is on its way to death's door. Only one seems to be coping.

    I can't say what killed them, as I don't actually know. They have no obvious signs of disease and they have a constant food supply. They have water to splash in. They're out of direct sunlight. I think the substrate might be too dry or something, but we use the same substrate for our bells and they're perfectly fine (granted, the bells have a much bigger tank and a lot more water, but they also spend a lot more time in the water than tree frogs do and frequently swim).

    I'm basically here to ask if there is any sort of "common" problem people have heard of when it comes to keeping tree frogs. I have heard from local sources that they are notoriously difficult to keep in captivity, but as with any pet owner I want to do right by them. The first one I can confirm died due to being underfed at the pet store (they were feeding them crickets that were about as large as the frogs themselves) but the second and the third (the dying one) I can't figure out. The second didn't move from a spot in the corner since the day we got him. I gave him a gentle prod to make sure he was alive for the first two days, and he was, and hopped away, but returned to the same spot later. Then this morning he was dead. I noticed some of the soil clinging to his skin - could this be a problem with the moisture in the air? Do I need to do more to keep them damp?

    Forgive me again. I may be rambling. I have a number of animals (reptiles, birds, rats, fish, etc.) so it's often very busy at home trying to keep everyone healthy and happy, and it's often difficult to organise my thoughts coherently.

    Again, if I haven't used the forum correctly I apologise, but hopefully someone has some insight I'm missing.

    Thanks to anyone who can help!

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