Like most tree frogs, red eyed tree frogs breed during the wettest part of the year. This wet season usually follows a somewhat dry season in the wild, when temperatures are cool and the humidity remains low. To breed red eyed tree frogs in captivity, most find it necessary to recreate these conditions.
Start by simulating the dry period. The temperature should remain cool, preferably somewhere between 70°F (21°C) and 80°F (27°C) during the day. In addition, the humidity level should be kept low. The substrate can be allowed to dry out, but always provide access to a bowl of water so that the tree frogs remain hydrated. It may also be helpful to cut back on feeding the tree frogs slightly, reducing both the quantity and frequency with which they are fed. The dry season can last 4 or more months in their native Central America, but captive red eyed tree frogs may only need to be exposed to these dry and cool conditions for a few weeks to be prepared to breeding.
Following the cool period, redeyed tree frogs should be warmed back up, misted heavily, and fed frequently. Male red eyed tree frogs will begin to call from elevated perches and, if fed well, the female red eyed tree frogs will produce eggs. At this point, the tree frogs can be moved to a rain chamber, which should be fitted with broad-leaved plants suitable for females to deposit eggs on. In one night, females may lay multiple clutches, which can range in size from just 11 eggs to over 100. The number of eggs in most clutches usually falls somewhere between those two extremes. Sometimes eggs are laid on the side of the rain chamber instead of on plant leaves. These can be removed with a smooth, flat, plastic object like a credit card, or can simply be left to develop in place, provided there is water below for the tadpoles to fall into.
Red Eyed Tree Frog Eggs that are deposited on plant leaves should be removed by snipping off the leaf on which they were laid. This should then be moved to a separate container and suspended a few inches above shallow water. Ensure that the humidity stays very high in this enclosure so that the eggs do not dry out. Alternatively, eggs on leaves can be left in the rain chamber, and the resulting tadpoles can be raised in the bottom water reservoir.
A week or so after the eggs were laid, tadpoles will start to emerge, falling down into the water below. Use a submersible terrarium heater with a thermostat to maintain a stable water temperature around 75°F (24°C). As the tadpoles mature, the water depth can be increased. Once the tadpoles are a week old and actively feeding, it may be preferable to move them to a different, established terrarium where they can continue to develop. The tadpoles will feed well on tropical fish flake, but may also rasp at algae that grows naturally in the terrarium.
In 1 to 2 months, most tadpoles should develop arms and complete their transformation into an arboreal frog. Newly morphed frogs will scale the glass to leave the water and can be plucked from the side of the terrarium and moved to a terrestrial setup as they are noticed. To prevent drowning, float a few pieces of cork bark in the water, or grow emergent plants that the frogs can use to climb out of the water. Keep newly metamorphosed frogs in simple setups, with a moist paper towel or bare bottom substrate, a potted plant for hiding, and a shallow water dish. Food for the young frogs should be composed largely of small crickets, although flightless fruit flies can be fed occasionally as well. The tiny red eyed tree frogs are very fragile at this age, and it isn’t unusual for a number of deaths to occur while they are maturing. However, if you are a conscientious keeper, most of your froglets should grow into healthy juveniles.