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Fire Belly Toads Vivarium

Facts, Feeding

Facts, Feeding
Problems and Illness
The Tank Water
Making the Vivarium
From Breeding to Tadpoles
Frog Links and References

Some Facts

Fire belly toads live for about 10 years but I got my four just a few years ago as company for my first, and she lived well around 15yrs. I've read elsewhere they can live even up to 30 years in captivity care. They become adults in 2 to 4 years but ready to breed within 1 year though the eggs will be fewer and smaller.

They molt just like reptiles and all other amphibians do as their version of our flaky skin. It looks like a clear, glooby thing trailing off of them. They shed the entire skin in its whole more like a snake, usually within the hour. For the most part they'll eat it to regain nutrients. If they don't eat it, it's a good sign the water needs to be changed more regularly or for some reason they might be ill or over stressed. During successful breeding, there's all kinds of clear, glooby things in that water, so it's impossible to tell if someone didn't eat a shedding. More than likely the toad(s) would not have breeded and shed at the same time since it's a rather taxing, sensitive process. They wouldn't want anyone hanging all over them while they're trying to get this stuff off.

They also have very slightly toxic skin which will eventually make their water too irritable for them to live in. It's really not much worse than some if not most pet trade, poison dart frogs. Unless you were allergic with a resulting mild rash or itchiness it would go unnoticed, but you still must wash your hands, especially before you put them in your mouth or rub your eyes. Like with reptiles, poop also means salmonella.

Because of the toxicity, Bombina's are never ideal for any other creature other than another fire belly toad to live with. Depending on how many you have in what size of a tank determines how often you should change the water out. Generally for four in the 20gal is the same for one or two in a 10gal, you can change the water once a month.


Normally my bombinas only really need to be fed roughly 20, gut loaded crickets that are around 4week or 1/2inch, twice a week. Something like 4-6, 1/2inch crickets per toad. They can go a really long time without food but they'll live longer being fed regularly and not too much. Frogs are pigs, in the wild they eat thousands of insects per day.

Among crickets they can eat a variety of things, virtually anything that moves, including their own tadpoles. In a regular diet though, you can include mealworms, sowbugs, small fish like guppies, ghost shrimp, earth worms, or smaller red worms since feeding frogs worms tends to make the tank smell pretty bad, pretty fast, if enough parts go uneaten.

Mosquitoes and their larvae during the summer months make a good alternative. They'll also eat small slugs and perhaps the occasional snail.

Live food like the crickets and sowbugs should be given a more elevated piece of dry land on the land part of the tank, like a large piece of tree bark or bit of driftwood. This will enable them to get away from most of the wet and live a little longer, though I've had some crickets, mealworms, sowbugs, very small worms and snails dig in the sphagnum moss or any soils beneath and live just fine without ever getting caught. Things like leaves and bark though will also allow much smaller insects like springtails thrive on the wood and leaves, providing the frogs an alternative, potential snack.

A nice thing about bombina's is you can leave feeders in there vivarium, indefinitely, as long as they aren't over populated by them. Something like 2 or 3 crickets have survived. Perhaps the biggest problem there would be too many deaths of uneaten feeders pretty much spoiling the land and water and increasing a potential your toad could gather a disease or unwanted parasites.

I don't like seeing any dead crickets, mealworms ect, much less having to take them out, because a drowned feeder is pretty gross, but the toads do get their finicky periods and these particular feeders can't swim worth a darn. Just give the toads less in a regular feeding, they should become a little more enthusiastic about getting them before they drown or make themselves at home on the land side.

There really isn't such a thing as too many sowbugs (isopod) and they will indeed pretty much survive long enough to breed, given some bark and leaves as dryer spots to get away. They are very slow to breed and long lived. Having them in there as an alternative, they really shouldn't be all that many, perhaps a dozen. A toad might chance across them here and there between regular feedings and they make up a sort of clean up crew themselves eating rotting woods, algae and some mosses. Gathering them from the backyard can be dangerous for the frog if the sowbug carries any intestinal parasites, so I have my own colony of sowbugs in their very own vivarium. Asellus, or the aquatic sowbug would work too.


Fire belly toads are very social with each other if you keep them together early. It doesn't always work out if you have one or two and then try to introduce them to more but it's possible if you just make a whole new tank and intro the old to the new rather than visa versa.

I have four, two males and two females that were in a 10gal at first, then I changed them over to a larger tank which they made a very obvious show of loving allot better than cramping in a ten gallon tank. A ten gallon is fine for one or two really. They've began to give me viable eggs and I'm presently rearing the tadpoles.

The toads aren't impossible to tame through regular care and feeding. I use a fish net for any taking them out of the tank to keep allot less stress on them. They seem to prefer it as well, staying more still for me with a fishnet than me sticking my hand in there. I never try to chase them with the net or my hand to keep things calm.

You can also hand them food like a cricket or worm to eventually just holding it in the palm and letting them hop into it. Stop by and hang around the tank once a day, so they see you regularly, and give them hides under the water that they can dip down and swim into, like a coconut shell hut (they sink). There really is no such thing as tame, so much as keeping things nice and calm and routine.