Frogs, Frogs and more ... fish?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A science adventure we have (accidentally) had this years is an accumulation of frogs in an aquarium in my room. Thankfullly, they have mostly stayed in the aquarium! It all started back in March. My 13 year old decided to buy 2 live Fire- bellied Toads to add to my frog collection. I have no idea when my frog collection started, but it consists of stuffed, carved, plastic, magnet and even a beaded key chain frog. However, I have always told the kids we didn't have the right set up or time for live frogs. I recall catching live frogs and toads all summmer long - as a child. My brother would catch them also and charm them and make them sleep in his hand. It was a yearly challenge to catch the large bull frog that lived under the boat lift at my grandparent's lake cottage.

Well... back to my current frogs, David let my son buy the frogs for me and so the adventure of owning live frogs began!

The Fire Bellies seem to be very easy to care for. At first I had an almost dry habitat with live plants and water bowls, but they were not happy and started to turn brown- which is a clear sign they need something to change! The crickets were very happy in this habitat, but the frogs just sat around and hardly ever made any noise. The crickets even climbed on top of the frogs! So, next I made their tank 1/2 rocks and coconut fiber and 1/2 water. Of course the water is brown because I didn't think it through, but everyone seems happy and it reminds me of a more natural habitat.

In April, I felt the frogs were bored. Though, they seemed very happy and made plenty of noise. In fact, we often thought a dog was barking off in the distance. (I love the noises they make, but am not sure if David does. Since he is the one that allowed Felix to buy them,  I guess he *is* fine with it!) I read they sometimes will eat fish. So, I went and bought 2 of the very cheapest and very smallest fish I could find. One went belly up in the first week, but the other is still thriving 6 months later and I have never given it any fish food whatsover! I couldn't bear to buy food for a fish I bought to be food! Clearly, my Fire Bellies only like crickets (well, they like flies, too, but they can get out too easily and I had to put my foot down on that food choice).

One day this summer, I was waiting to get crickets at PetSmart and struck up a conversation with a lady about what kind(s) of creatures she needed to feed  crickets. Turns out, she also had Fire-bellies. However, my 9 yo heard her say she also caught lizards and other frogs- including tree frogs and even a toad- and added those to her tank. Well, that did it! For months, I had told my children "NO" to tree toads because I did not believe they would be compatible. Turns out the frogs completely leave each other alone. We have had a huge Tree Frog population this summer. We also found one little cricket frog. He is the only frog with a name. We call him "Itty Bitty". The toad from the garden was put back because he eats ALL the crickets he can no matter how many we put in. When we let him back outside I don't think he can even hop he was so rotund!

The original fish is still swimming around and is quite happy. None of the frogs ever try to eat him. Today I added a Rubber Lip Pleco and a Yellow Mystery Snail. They have already worked to almost completely clear the algae out of the tank! I had to add a lot more water for these fish, though. The crickets apparently, don't understand they can't swim and so we have had more cricket loss! They have been laying eggs and reprocing in the peat moss and so we hope that will help with the cost of keeping these froggies fed! I have found a place online that offers good prices on crickets and free shipping. However, we haven't had success with keeping crickets live in a separate area. So far, they have been accidentally let out- in the house! Then someone added a toad and Praying Mantis to the second batch and this last batch the substrate was too wet and the bin started growing mushrooms and mold! Someday, I hope to have pictures, but I want to move them all to a much bigger tank. However we need to make a lid for that tank.

Currently, we have a ban on bringing any new frogs into the house. One tree frog came in on his own, jumped on my face in the middle of the night, and got himself added to the tank! Originally, I thought he escaped, but in the morning, I counted and found he was an extra! Guess he heard about the unlimited cricket buffet and came to join in!


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