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How to Breed Red Eye Tree Frogs

Red Eye Tree Frogs are the second most popular frog we're asked about at Josh's Frogs (after dart frogs, of course).These colorful, nocturnal tree frogs are easy to kee, and relatively easy to breed. This article will walk you through the basics of breeding this fascinating species.The vast majority of red eye tree frogs sold in the United States are still wild caught animals, which typically come in with their share of diseases and parasites, and do not last very long in captivity. Not to mention the potential ecological aspects to removing so many animals from the wild. In short, we feel that the more captive-bred red eyes available in captivity the better, and we're willing to share some information we've learned over the years to help make that happen!

red eye

Conditioning the Breeders

First, make sure you have a handle on basic Red Eye Tree Frog care. Check out our blog on How to Care for Red Eye Tree Frogs!Red eye tree frogs have the potential to reproduce nearly year round, but there is some prep work you can do to increase the odds of a successful reproductive event.Start out a month or so before the planned breeding attempt by increasing the food intake of your animals by 25% or so. Make sure to offer feeder insects, such as crickets, that have been gutloaded and fed quality foods, such as Josh's Frogs Cricket Food, carrot, sweet potato, and collard greens. Feed the insects this enhanced diet for 2 days before they're fed to your frogs. Make sure to dust all insects with a quality vitamin/mineral supplement.In addition to diet, raising the temperature of the enclosure a few degrees (still making sure to stay under 80F), and misting more frequently can replicate a coming rainy season. The increase in humidity is much more important than a temperature increase. Alternatively, you can decrease ventilation to increase humidity - just be careful, as stagnant air can lead to bacterial infections.Start increasing the misting and temperature 2 weeks before the planned breeding attempt. If males begin to amplex females during this period, separate the sexes.Male red eyes are nearly always in breeding condition or will be within a couple days of being added to the rain chamber. Females should begin to take on a swollen appearance as they develop eggs. Large females with eggs swell out at this sides, so it looks almost like their backbone is sunken in. Eggs are sometimes visible through the belly on particularly gravid animals.Assuming you have both sexes that are in breeding condition, it's time for the rain chamber.

red eyes in amplexus

Red Eyes in the Rain Chamber

Red Eye Tree Frogs are bred in rain chambers, which are specialized enclosures that mimic the jungle during a torrential rainstorm.For help constructing a rain chamber of your own, check out our blog on How to Build a Rain Chamber.Check out a rain chamber in action with this video:[embed][/embed]When possible, try adding red eyes to the rain chamber with a storm front. The drop in barometric temperature really seems to help encourage successful mating.Introduce the frogs after the rain chamber has been running for a couple days to ensure everything is functioning properly. Have the rain chamber run mainly at night, with a couple hour break somewhere in the middle. Currently, we have our rain chambers set up to run for 3 hours after lights out, break for 2 hours, run for 3 hours, break for 4 hours, then run for an hour during the 12 hour night cycle.During the day, we have it rain for 15 minutes every 4 hours to help maintain humidity.The frogs are not fed while in the rain chamber and may remain residents for up to a week, so it's important that the frogs are well fed beforehand!In general, choose the largest, plumpest females red eyes you can. Larger males are generally more successful at amplexus than smaller males, but the more males the merrier - we generally attempt to have 2 to 4 males present for every female in the rain chamber. For example, we may have 3 females and 6 to 10 males in a rain chamber for a breeding attempt. You can be successful with fewer males, but in our experience, more males = better chance of success.Make sure there are plenty of perches for the red eyes to lay and hang out when they are inactive - both in and out of direct water spray. You'll also want to ensure the frogs can easily exit the water if they fall in, which they will.Remove the red eyes after eggs are laid, as the adult red eyes can easily knock or dislodge egg masses into the water, where they will drown. We typically find eggs 2-4 days after the frogs are introduced into the rain chamber. red eye tree frog egg clutch

Egg Care

After you have eggs, the wait begins! Eggs typically hatch 10-14 days after they are laid.You'll see development in the egg clutch rather quickly - after a few days, little green tadpoles are visible. These will steadily grow in size until they hatch out of the egg and fall into the water.

red eye eggs

Sometimes, a mass of eggs may be infertile. If the eggs start to fall apart or mold, after not showing any signs of development for several days, dispose of them. We see infertile clutches with new breeders, or when the red eyes have laid recently before.You'll typically see a few infertile eggs in a healthy egg mass. Ignore them unless the infertile eggs begin to mold, which could spread and ruin the entire clutch. If this is witnessed, remove the bad eggs (a turkey baster or slurpee straw is great for this).

Tadpole Care

After the tadpoles hatch, allow them to remain in the water at the bottom of the rain chamber until they are actively swimming - something that generally takes 3-4 days. At this point, their yolk should be absorbed, and it's time to move the tadpoles to a rearing tank and begin feeding.Tadpole care is pretty easy. In general, you want to maintain great water quality and feed often.Currently, we maintain clutches of tadpoles in 40B aquaria (about 100 tadpoles per tank), with 2 sponge filters and a heater set to 78F.We use R/O water reconstituted with indian almond leaves (until the water has a slight yellow tint from tannins) and change about 1/2 of the water volume daily. We also remove all visible waste and uneaten food from the tadpoles at the beginning of each day.Afterward, tadpoles are fed 4-6 times a day. We've had great luck with brine shrimp flake and Repashy Savory Stew, as well as our custom tadpole food.

red eye tree frog tadpoles

The tadpoles will quickly grow to about 1.5 inches and develop back legs in about 5-6 weeks.Within 2 weeks, they'll develop ""wings"", where the front legs are visible under the skin. Now is the time to ensure the tadpole tank has a screen cover to prevent the escape of newly morphed froglets, and make sure you have a firm grasp on froglet rearing (if not, watch our video on How To Take Care of Red Eye Froglets).


Following our guide on froglet rearing, you should be all set! Make sure to remove newly morphed red eyes as they emerge from the water.Most froglets will climb up the sides of the glass after morphing, but providing a few floating pieces of cork for easy egress from the water is always a good idea.Do not offer food to baby red eye tree frogs until the tail is fully absorbed - the newly minted frog will feed off of this for several days after leaving the water.Hopefully, the above guide will help lend to some success with breeding Red Eye Tree Frogs. don't forget - Josh's Frogs has all the supplies you need for raising red eye frogs and tadpoles, and also regularly has healthy, captive bred Red Eye Tree Frogs available.  

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