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Leopard Gecko Tankhood

My Crickets and Fire Belly Toads

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Just a small notary of the other animals I have in my tankhood. I have hyla tree frogs I caught from my back yard I more or less successfully breed. Really, they do it on their own, I've yet to ever catch them between fat females and eggs in the shallow water bowls. I also just recently got fire belly newts but they're babies so I dunno how well they'll do yet.

Cricket Breeding

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Of the menagerie I have two tanks like this of breeding my feeder crickets. I've tried everything in the world to make a successful tank of them.

What I finally came down to was a half inch or so of gravel with water filled to gravel level, topped with peat moss mixed with perlite, moist and pressed firm. A thin layer of sphagnum moss over that, add a potato cutting and a hide or egg crate. They have a single light bulb, 15wat - 120volt incandescent that turns off at night and a screen top lid that is extra lined with mosquito mesh netting to keep unwanted fruitflies and spiders out.

I mist them every morning just to give them a little extra drink and I feed them a handful of pondfish pond pellets every week. They chirp and breed for a while and pinheads arrive as the adults just clunk over from their ripe old age. Pinheads aren't really as easy to catch so I have a coconut shell half in there, that way I can just take the ones that collected in the shell, shake them into a cup and then feed them to tiny fellows like the newts, froglets and any forthcoming baby geckos.

I gut load the crickets with a high nutrient like fish food instead of something like catfood so I don't actually have to try to powder down pinheads with repti-vits and calcium. The cricket will already be nutritious from eating that way itself. It's a far less hassle and mess from culturing fruitflies in my opinion. If my crickets escape, the house spiders will get them, or really, I don't have to worry about them invading the human food.

Fire Belly Toads

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.<BR>
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I have two males and two females though technically in a 20gal tank like the pic shows, I could keep 12 at the most before overcrowding. They live for about 10 years but I got these just a few of years ago as company for my first and she lived well around 15yrs.<BR>
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They were in a 10gal at first, then I changed them over to this 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. This summer they gave me viable eggs and I'm presently rearing the tadpoles hoping they make it to froglets. <BR>
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I'm feeding the tadpoles very finely sprinkled fish flakes and a half to full cup of algae green rain water every day. They seem to survive fine in a half-land, half-water set up with just an air pump, no special heating. But, I did have to remove the majority of molded eggs if not all by the time they were tadpoles, and I should have added a fine sand to the normal fish tank gravel because they were small enough to dig through and then get stuck in the river stone granules. When they get legs and start hopping onto land I will most likely have to transfer them again, so the froglets won't eat the remaining tadpoles.<br>
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Someone has to be removed or the adult frogs will eat the tadpoles. It is allot easier to just move the adult frogs into another tank from the eggs, but I used a large bottle and a large hose that normally goes with an aquarium gravel vacuum hose or gravel syphoner. Taking the larger end off, I syphoned the eggs from the tank into the bottle and then poured that into an aquarium fish net before moving into their new tank. Since fire belly toads are slightly toxic skinned, I didn't want them to have too much of the water from the tank of the adults even though I filled it a number of times just to be able to syphon out as much as I could see for viable eggs. <br><br>

Some might have become viable but turned white on me during the process. I'm not certain, but I think moving them around might have turned them bad. You can have plenty of eggs but if the sperm never got to them, well.<br><br>

Viable eggs are in embryo and look like little peanuts that occasionally twitch, they'll become tadpoles in about 3 or so days but seeing peanuts is the time to get the adults out of the way. As long as the water in the new tank for tadpoles is the same temp as where they came from, they should be fine. Getting them away from bad, whitening eggs as much as possible is a good idea, as the mold being developed there may transfer to the good eggs and make them bad. It's a difficult task because they are so gloobed together in a wad of clear jelly. Don't think, just syphon. <br><br>

A small fish net would work too in gathering the eggs themselves, but I found it clumsy and impossible to get eggs or last standing tadpoles out of nooks and crannies without just taking everything out of the water, or pretty much changing the frog environment with allot more mess and fussing going on than I think my toads really deserve to have to put up with. Overall, I think next time I'll be relocating the adults until there are tadpoles and then just syphon them out. <br><br>

I love my toads, but they only like me if I have crickets when they're hungry. I think they're better off partial feral anyway, happier or more active about being wild, alive little things rather. I believe they honestly think they're in the wild just with some ogre who comes by, maybe with crickets, but who cares? We're toads!
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The toads aren't unable to tame more than they are though. I use a fish net for any taking them out of the tank to keep allot less stress on them. I never try to chase them with the net or my hand. You can 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 when you do it, 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.<br><br>

Fire belly toads aren't terribly easy to sex but males develop breeding pads on their fingers to help them grasp the females in breeding. I've heard other things like bigger webbed feet, smaller size, but the only real sure way is that the males croak. One of my croaking males is extremely obvious because he's really fat and his croaking sack is loose skinned. The frogs can be fooled into a breeding season by allowing their water level to lower naturally and then draining most of that before refilling it with cool, distilled water to a slightly higher level than it was before, as if to suggest it flooded like a rainy season. Feed them fewer, smaller crickets at this time, but more often, like every day or so. <BR>
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Normally my fire bellies only really need to be fed roughly 20, gut loaded crickets that are around 4week or 1/2inch, twice a week. They can go a really long time without food but they'll live longer being fed regularly and not too much. Frogs are pigs.<br>
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Fire belly toads also molt, which looks like a clear, glooby thing trailing off of them and for the most part they'll eat the shed to regain nutrients. <br>
<br>They also have very slightly toxic skin which will eventually make their water too irritable for them to live in. They're 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. <br><br>

Without adding more to the shrinking level, allow it to become around one to two inches shallower than the normal level, more or less. Drain that to half or better from the tank with the syphon. Then add the distilled water to the original, normal level, including an extra bit by half an inch. I hold the bottle of water higher than the tank and syphon this in as well just to save me the bother of pouring water in that'll move the gravel around and stir up clutter. The sorta flood will suppose the rain season. Even if you aren't thinking of them breeding or just have one, they like the arrangement and might chirp about it anyway.<br><br>
As far as the clutter build up in the gravel, I've never really had to completely clean out a tank, where you move the frog, take everything out and rinse the gravel. If you deem it necessary you can do it once a year but I think a water filter and/or adding activated aquarium carbon to the gravel is enough, like any fish tank. Besides, it also acts as nutrients for the plants like a marmio moss ball or my toads really like the nymphaea zenkeri water plant.

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This is the tank the tadpoles are in. Also a fairly typical 10gal semi-aquatic tank or half land, half water.

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A 15gal tall tank, semi-aquatic. This one is land kind of wrapped around the water. I used mosquito mesh netting to hold back the peat moss land build and mostly hid the mesh with gravel. It's a much nicer scenery than what my frogs have now and I plan to move them into it sooner or later.