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DART FROG Caresheet
Common Name: Dart Frog, Tinc, Dyeing Poison Frog, Arrow Frog
Scientific Name: Dendrobates tinctorius
Origin: South America including most of French Guiana and parts of Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname
Size: Up to 2 inches.
Lifespan: 15+ years
You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.
Native to the tropical rainforests, Dart Frogs like to be near water, tending to live on the ground in proximity of streams and ponds. They find protection in the leaf litter, rocks, tree roots, mosses, and the like, though they occasional climb on the base of trees and low hanging vines.
One adult can be housed in a minimum of a 10 gal tank or similar like a 12" x 12" x 12" glass enclosure. If you want to have a group of 2-3 frogs, at the minimum, you'll need something like Exo Terra's 18" x 18" x 12". You will want to have plenty of foliage and vines/branches for your Tinc to hide in. Many people use live plants and/or moss in their terrarium. However, if you are not up to caring for plants, there are a lot of lifelike fake plants out there that really help dress up your tank, as well as providing the cover your frogs need. Check out our plant page. For substrate, Zoo Med eco earth or Zilla jungle mix work well with some sphagnum moss layered on top.
LIGHTING & TEMPERATURES
Dart Frogs need a temperature gradient to thermoregulate and control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot and a cool side to your enclosure. All the lighting and heat elements should be on one side and the other will be the cool side. This way your frog can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.
A warmer area of 80-82 degrees should be provided. The rest of the enclosure can be in the 72-75 range. At night, temps can drop to as low as 70 degrees. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer. The easiest way to increase the heat in your frog enclosure is with an under tank heat pad like Exo terra or Zoo Med, which are reliable brands. In addition to heat, dart frogs need some UVB lighting to help absorb calcium and to synthesize vitamin D3. In the wild, a lot of the UVB lighting is filtered by the tree canopy, so you'll want to use a 13 watt UVB Exo Terra 100 on top of a screen to filter some of the rays.
Always provide a nice sized water dish with fresh water. Change the water at least once a day. Try for humidity around 40-60%. Misting the enclosure at least once or twice a day will usually provide enough moisture, but a nice humidity gauge can help you in this area. Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don't care to remember to mist, an automatic mister like the Exo Terra monsoon is a nice option. Exo Terra bowls or Flukers rock dish are nice naturalistic non-porous water bowls. Frogs drink by sitting in their water bowls and absorbing it through their skin. DO NOT used distilled water for the water bowl or swimming area. Distilled water has no salts or minerals in it as such it messes with the frogs ability to regulate the water in it's cells. A process called, osmotic regulation. Death can result from this as well.
Feed your Dart Frog fruit flies or pinhead crickets 2-3 times a week. Make sure to augment your frog's insect diet at least once or twice a week with a calcium and vitamins supplement such as Repashy Calcium Plus or Zoo Med Reptivite with D3.
Captive bred dart frogs are not poisonous. Those in the wild are poisonous to predators due to their diet of insects found in the rainforest. A pet frog living on fruit flies and crickets is harmless. Active during the day, they explore their environment and search for food, even while you observe them.
The fact that they are diurnal--coupled with their variety of stunning bright colors, spots and patterns--makes Dart Frogs one of the most attractive of the pet amphibians.