My Fire-bellied toads care sheet

This is general Oriental FBTs (Bombina orientalis) care sheet about how it works in my care and my personal experience only. Other breeders can do it different.

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Toxins

 

 

FBTs make toxic peptide Bombinin as protection against harmful substances. The toxicity of these frogs dictates that you should never handle a fire-bellied toad without washing your hands afterward. Unlike Dart frogs who get their poison from their food, like ants, in the wild but are relatively harmless in captivity, Fire-bellied toads make their own toxins. Their skin secretions can cause severe discomfort if you were to touch your eyes after handling a fire-bellied toad. I don't recomend mixing another species with FBTs in this type of terrarium like mine about the toxin.

These frogs are some of the most popular in breeding ever for their activity and not too loud croaking.

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Housing



Frogs of the genus Bombina are semi-aquatic amphibians and their housing should reflect this. I use glass terrariums (60x40x40 cm for group 3-6 adult frogs or 90x40x40 for group 5-10 adult frogs) with fresh air screen cover as ventlation, with about 5-10 cm of local (Prague) dechlored tap water with small islands maked from burned clay, cork bark and pots with flowers like Philodendron, Chlorophytum, Asplenium, Pothos, Acorus, Dracena, Aglaonema...

Special lighting is not necessary, but occasional sunbathing for frogs is very  recommended. If you wish to grow real plants, lighting of a suitable spectrum is advised. Daylight spectrum fluorescent tube lamps are appropriate, and these are usually marked by color temperature  6500 or 6700 K are the best. I use Chihiros LED light serie A  and it works very well.  These frogs are diurnal, it meaning they have activity during the day. A suitable photoperiod is 12 hours per day and this can be accomplished using a plug-in timer. If you use lights like bulb beware for overdrying and overheating the tank!

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The best temperature is about 18-24 °C (home temperature). I don't use

water filtration in my tanks. I change all water and clean tank with scrubbing brush about once per month or often if it needs, and recomend water drain for easy working. These frogs are relatively good climbers, keep a safe tank to prevent escape.

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Feeding

Feeding Bombina orientalis is easy, they are grateful eaters. They will accept most
proportionally large live feeder insects, including small earth worms (Lumbricus terrestris), crickets, mealworms, waxworms, small roaches... 


I use vitamin and calcium dusting supplements like Dendrocare, Reptivite, Plastin, Repashy Vitamine A + Carotene supplement for frogs bred in captivity for once per week (dusted crickets). Make sure the calcium supplement has vitamin D3, so calcium can be properly absorbed, otherwise your toad might develop calcium deficiency. Toads with this health problem can develop partial or complete paralysis of the hind limbs. An animal suffering from this illness has a poor chance of recovery and must be treated by a veterinarian.


I recommend that you feed your adult frogs twice or thrice a week (about 1 small earth worm (Lumbricus terrestris) and 2 medium sized crickets each) total per week. Tongue feeding is recomended for your overview how much each frog eat.

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Breeding
 

FBTs can live more then 20 years in captivity. They are adults size usually in age about 3 years. They are long-lived animals, there is no reason breed them sooner. The most important requirement for breeding B. orientalis is a winter cool down period called Hibernation lasting at least 8 weeks. Spring or summer changes in weather and more frequent changes of fresh water in tank are stimulations for breeding.

 

 

Hibernation

 

My successful method is stop feeding, only animals in good shape! in 10 days before involves placing the frogs in a plastic container (40x30x30 cm) with wet moss, cork bark and first placing the container in cooler room with about 14 °C for week and after these days replacing them in a cellar with 10 °C. Eight weeks (December-January) seems to be sufficient time to condition the toads using this approach. 

 

During this period the toads are not fed. I check frogs once a week if they are OK. When their time in the cellar is up, replacing then to cooler room 14 °C for few days for acclimatization and  back to a tank that is kept within the normal temperature range. They should receive a heavy feeding regimen that consists of earth worms (Lumbricus terrestris), crickets, mealworms, three or four times per week. I skipped every first winter hibernation. I hibernate only 1,5+ year old and older frogs.

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Offsprings

 


After 2-4 months after hibernation females will attach eggs, either singly or in clutchs, on objects in the water, such as water plants or rocks. The emerging tadpoles will feed from the yolk in their bellies for a few days after hatching. 

I recomend remove the eggs or tadpoles carefully to a simple plastic tank 30 l (40x30x30 cm) with dechlored tap water and aquarium air stone for about 30-40 tadpoles. I start feeding tadpoles after see them swimming around. they are alltime eaters and I feed them twice per day with small portion of fish & algae flakes TetraMin, frozen cyclops, daphnias... and change all water every day or two. 

The froglets, will begin to metamorphose about 30-45 days after hatching. Small frogs I keep on wet paper towels, moss or low water setup with islands in a terrarium or plastic container (30 l) 40x30x30 cm for 15 frogs with fresh air screen cover as ventlation for first 4 months, and clean it (change water) every few days. Fresh  Bombina froglets are very adept climbers, so use a secure! Fed them well with reasonably large food - 
micro crickets (Powder size 2 mm)  with calcium and vitamine powder, live tubifex & fruit flies or FF larvae.

 

On beginning feed them once or twice per day. If young frogs are bigger then large crickets (3,5 cm) they have to be introduced to the adults. In age 6 months they have about 3,5 cm. In this size they can eat 1 cm cricket with no problem.

Occasional direct sunlight (UVB) for young frogs is very recomended. Most of captive bred Oriental FBTs have yellow bellies. It is due to lack of carotene in food. After some weeks/months of feeding Daphnias or red pigments powder like Rephasy Superpig or Nekton the color changes to orange. All offsprings are brown/gray, final coloration depends about genes, it can takes weeks or months to final coloration.

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