Dart Frog FAQs

How long do poison dart frogs live for?

Though this is not very well documented, dart frogs in captivity have been known to live up to 10-20 years with optimal care.

Are dart frogs poisonous?

In the wild yes, but in captivity they are harmless.

Dart frogs obtain alkaloids from their prey. We do not provide them with the types of prey which would facilitate this (such as ants or termites).

Are dart frogs difficult to care for?

Dart frogs do not require care that is difficult. However, it is important to make sure the proper parameters are provided for them to thrive. If you provide an optimal enclosure for them and make sure they get adequate supplementation they are very low maintenance. For more info see sections below on caring for your dart frogs and designing your enclosure.

How do I care for dart frogs?


Dart frogs thrive in the low 70s to lower 80s. They tend to be comfortable at room temperatures so it is very easy to cool or heat a room for them. Their tanks tend to be a few degrees hotter than the room they are in. They can live fine slighly outside of this temperature range, but sudden swings in temperature or extremely low/high temperatures can be fatal for the frogs. An infrared temperature gun can be very useful to measure the temperatures inside their enclosures.


A primary food source for dart frogs is Drosophila fruit flies. There are several varieties readily available and easy to culture. The most common include are Hydei and Melanogaster flies, which are selectively bred so they cannot fly. Hydei are a bit larger, so if you are caring for a smaller frog Melanogaster is preferred.

Vitamin Supplementation

In captivity we provide a less diverse and nutricious diet than the frogs get in the wild (mainly because flies alone are not very rich in nutrients). To offset this we dust their prey items in vitamins such as Calcium and occasionally Vitamin A. Repashy Calcium Plus' and 'Repashy Vitamin A Plus' are well known dart frog supplements that I use to raise very healthy frogs and froglets. Dusting flies with Calcium plus everyday and Vitamin A once every two weeks is a good routine. It is important to keep these supplements in the fridge so they do not degrade quickly also make sure to replace them every 8 months or so.

Choosing Inhabitants
When raising dart frogs it is important to consider the species and number of frogs you will be caring for. Many frogs are very territorial which would lead to aggression between frogs of the same sex. A common practice is to keep species in pairs (male and female) to avoid such conflict or provide a good amount of space so the frogs to reduce such conflicts. If there are multiple frogs of the same sex in an enclosure it is important to monitor them to make sure one frog is not getting outcompeted by the other.
Avoid Handling Frogs

Dart frogs are very sensitive creatures and it is important to avoid handling the frogs unless it is necessary. Handling the frogs can lead to stress and their skin is permeable which allows contaminants such as oils to pass from our hands into their bodies. If you do need to handle the frogs it is recommended to wash your hands well, or use food safe gloves to avoid hurting the frog.


It is important to use quality water for the frogs. RODI/distilled/spring water are all ideal options. Poor quality water (such as tap) has chemicals and other contaminants which will cause various issues for the frogs and can even lead to the frog perishing.


Providing a good enclosure for the frogs is important to make sure they are healthy and comfortable. See section below on the basics of designing an enclosure.

How would I design my enclosure?

Dart frogs being amphibians have very sensitive skin and need moisture to survive. It is important to provide them with a humid environment so they do not dry up. However, you also want ventilation for the frogs to prevent any infections. A common practice is to use a glass enclosure such as an 'Exo Terra' or 'Zoo Med' and cover the screen lid partially with glass.
The size of an enclosure will vary depending on the species of frog and how many frogs you will be keeping. An 18"x18"x18" enclosure is a recommended minimum, but will not be enough space for larger frogs.
If you are not sure how large of an enclosure to get I am happy to assist.
A drainage layer at the base of the enclosure is important to prevent substrate from fowling up by being constantly wet. Above that you want to have a substrate that is airy and drains easily. To maintain the humidity in the tank there will be frequent misting required and other types of soil would hold too much moisture. And finally ontop of the substrate plenty of leaf litter which is crucial for the frogs and replicates the conditions in their natural habitats.
Another important factor is the hardscape of the tank which is driftwood, cork bark, or other items the frogs will climb on. There are various methods to secure hardscape to the glass, but you can also use these items without securing them provided they are not able to easily be knocked over onto the frogs.
Plants are another important consideration to make when setting up an enclosure. Certain species of frogs such as Ranitomeya and Oophaga benefit greatly from epiphytic plants called Bromeliads. Plants that fill in the background and provide cover or perching areas for the frogs are beneficial. The frogs will be more bold and confident if they have plenty of cover to use to hide. It is important to make sure the plants you incorporate into your enclosure are pest free. It can be very tedious to remove pests they are present in the enclosure.
Lights are mainly important for the plants you want to grow in the tank. The frogs will not care too much about the quality of lights, but it is important to give them a consistent time when the lights are on and off for their circadian rhythm. Quality lights will tend to allow your frogs to become more bold since the plants will be more dense the frogs will be more comfortable.
LEDs are a good option because they are energy efficient and do not produce an excess amount of heat which could be problematic for the frogs.
Further Questions?
Above is a quick overview of what goes into designing an enclosure for the frogs.
I am happy to go into further detail if you have any questions please feel free to Contact Me.
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