Acquired: Online breeder / seller
Illinois, United States
Posted Oct 09, 2012
R. fantasticus is an absolutely beautiful frog that is endemic to Peru between 200 and 600m above sea level. Therefore, there are some lowland species and some highland species. The three morphs of fantasticus are lowland fantasticus, caynarachi valley fantasticus, and the copperhead fantasticus. All three are quite similar with subtle differences in pattern. They can be a very shy frog unless housed in a heavily planted vivarium.
Fantasticus is a dart frog that I'd suggest for those with more experience with dart frogs as they can be very shy, which makes it hard to keep an eye on their health.
They generally prefer a heavily planted tank, especially with a lot of ground cover. Offering bromeliads and plenty of places to hide is essential. Though generally quite shy frogs they can be very bold when breeding, especially when males are transporting tads to deposition sites.
As with all dart frogs the diet of fruit flies dusted with a high quality multivitamin/calcium supplement is essential. While providing springtails, isopods, and other invertebrates is a great way to vary their diet and are readily accepted in most cases.
For these frogs, a semi-arboreal tank is a great way to go as they will occasionally explore the upper part of the tank. Generally, a 20 gallon either vertically or horizontally oriented is acceptable for a pair of these frogs. Water features aren't necessary but can be used if desired. Using reverse osmosis, aged tap water, or treated water is essential as is changing water dishes often. It's key to provide a wet environment, especially for the lowland fantasticus, without keeping them in standing water. Using a few layer of leaf litter is a great way to keep them more comfortable, gives them places to hide, and attracts springtails and isopods to congregate for an easy snack.
The key in keeping these frogs successfully is to allow them to acclimate to their new tank while trying to monitor their health without disturbing them. There may be periods where you don't see them for awhile and this can be normal but can also indicate male on male aggression. Therefore it's a more advanced species for those that have a feel for monitoring without causing more stress.
Overall, this is a personal favorite of mine though I rarely get to see them. I suggest these frogs for the advanced hobbyist, and commend those who successfully breed these frogs as some have trouble with doing so.