- Great Beginner Frog
- Bright Yellow Coloration
- Easy to Breed
- Moderately Loud Call
- Great in Groups
Name: Belonging to the family Hyperoliidae, the Blue Back Reed Frog is scientifically known as Heterixalus madagascarensis. Sometimes referred to Spotted Reed Frogs or simply 'Blue Backs', these frogs are so named for their contrasting yellow and black pattern, which resembles the sky on a clear night.
Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 4-6 Blue Back Reed Frogs, but we recommend a 20H or 18x18x18 Exo Terra Glass Terrarium, as it will allow for easier cleaning.
Temperature: They can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 85 F, but prefer temperatures in the mid 70s. Temperatures over 90F are dangerous. A low wattage basking spot, with a temperature of 85-90F, will be utilized but is not absolutely needed.
Humidity: Like most frogs, reed frogs prefer a humidity range of 70 – 100%, but can tolerate humidity down to 50% for short periods of time if the frogs have access to water. Low humidity levels, especially without access to water, can quickly be fatal. Blue Back Reed Frogs occur in the marginal areas between water and land, referred to as the riparian zone. As such, they require high humidity paired with substantial ventilation.
Size: Adult female reed frogs are larger, measuring in at approximately 1.5 inches. Male Heterixalus madagascarensis are a bit smaller, averaging about 1 inch at maturity.
Age: Heterixalus madagascarensis is capable of living over 5 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 2-3 years is more common. Active breeding shortens expected lifespan down to 1-2 years.
Feeding: At Josh's Frogs, we feed our reed frogs dusted crickets. At 3/4", juvenile reed frogs can easily take 1/8" crickets, and 1/4" crickets as adults. Make sure to dust all prey items with a quality vitamin/mineral supplement. We place the crickets in floating food bowls in the reed frog habitat, to preven crickets from drowning and fouling the water.
Sexing: Heterixalus madagascarensis is not sexable until 6-8 months of age. Male reed frogs tend to be smaller than females, which often appear both longer and wider.
Color/Pattern: A very variable reed frog, all Blue Back Reed Frogs are primarily a light blue coloration. The amount of black, white, and yellow spots can vary widely among individuals. Spots can be large in some individual reed frogs, leading to an almost netted appearance, while many adults lack spots completely. Adult Blue Back Reed Frogs tend to have orange feet. Please keep in mind that juvenile reed frogs sometimes take a few months to develop their adult coloration, and may appear cream or brown colored at first. At night, reed frogs may appear pale in color when they are active
Social Behavior: These frogs do well housed in groups their entire life, as long as enough space is provided. We recommend purchasing multiple frogs if you are interested in breeding them – this greatly increases the chances of getting a pair. Please refer to the chart below to see your chances of getting at least one male and one female out of a group. We recommend purchasing at least 4-5 reed frogs at a time.
Breeding: Reed frogs are very, very easy to breed - just house a male and a female together! When housed in a proper environment, Blue Back Reed Frogs are very prolific, laying clutches of 50-200 eggs every 2-3 weeks. Eggs are generally laid right above or below the water's surface, and quickly develop into very small, delicate tadpoles.
Natural Range: Heterixalus madagascarensis are native to Madagascar. They inhabit riparian zones, where a body of water (mainly a pond) meets the land. Among emergent vegetation, reed frogs spend the day sleeping on the underside of leaves. With their limited range and the seemingly imminent destruction of their native habitat, maintaining this species in captivity should be of the utmost importance.