Fire-Bellied Toad Care Sheet & Pet Guide
Also known as Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad or Fire Belly Toad (Bombina orientalis)
The Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad is one of the world’s most popular amphibian pets. It’s no wonder why, either. They have striking colors and patterns. The top of their bodies has an exotic green and black pattern while their underside is bright orange.
I’ll give you some basic information about the species in the section below. After that, I’ll go into detail about the ins and outs of keeping Fire-Bellied Toads as pets. I’ll give suggestions on tanks, habitat setup, lighting, heating, their diet, and more.
Fire-Bellied Toad Habitat Setup
Setting up a habitat for your fire-bellied toad might be more difficult than the upkeep and care for them. These frogs need water. A lot. So, naturally, their enclosure needs to reflect that.
An all-water bottom or 50/50 land/water is ideal. This can be accomplished by filling their tank with water and adding several floating cork bark flats or by laying slabs of rock in such a way that it creates a land area and a water area.
Many keepers take this setup as a great excuse to build complex
The number of frogs you’re keeping will determine the size of the tank you need. Aquariums or terrariums work fine, so long as they hold water. I recommend 10 gallons per frog
Here is a list of the things you’ll need:
- Aquarium or Terrarium
- Thermometer / Hygrometer
- Light for Day-Time (if no natural light is available)
- Water conditioner like ReptiSafe
- Branches, sticks, logs, cork bark, stones
- Calcium and vitamin supplements
There are so many different ways you can make a habitat for a fire-bellied toad. Most keepers recommend a partial or full-water bottom. You can get away with a large water bowl but it’s not recommended.
Also, live plants and moss are great for these frogs but they’re not a requirement. Should you decide to use live plants, you’ll want to use a low-powered UVB light.
Providing the correct lighting for your Fire-Bellied Toad will ensure they’re healthy and active. The type of lighting you need is debatable, however. Whether or not you need UVB lighting depends on who you ask, in most cases.
- 5.0 UVB light is recommended during the day.
The general consensus is that a low-powered UVB bulb certainly won’t hurt your frog. They’re exposed to UVB (from the sun) in the wild and I agree that providing UVB for them in captivity is a good idea, too. A 5.0 UVB bulb will suffice.
There are plenty of people raising healthy Fire-Bellied Toads that don’t provide UVB for their pets and that’s fine. Whichever you choose, be sure to provide them with light during the day. They need a constant day and night cycle.
A room with natural light from a window is great! Definitely don’t place them in a dark, windowless room without having a light turned on during the daytime hours.
If you’re keeping your frogs in a planted habitat, you’ll definitely want a 5.0 UVB light! Most live plants need UVB to stay alive.
One of the best parts about owning a fire-belly toad is that they don’t have high temperatures. “Room temperature” is perfect.
- 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Most people keep their house around 70 degrees year-round. Anything above the mid-80s is too high. Problems will quickly arise. Likewise, if the temperature gets too low they can develop problems as well.
Temperatures below 50 are too low. Chances are, however, this won’t happen unless you’ve lost power to your house for several hours during the winter months.
Regardless, it’s always a good idea to keep a digital thermometer/hygrometer in the enclosure. This device will display the current temperature and humidity within their enclosure.
Assuming you’ve set up the enclosure the right way, humidity won’t be an issue. It should stay within the correct range with a full-water bottom or 50/50 water/land bottom enclosure.
- 50% – 70% humidity level
Setting up a waterfall will add to the relative humidity. If for whatever reason, the humidity keeps dipping below 50% you can use a spray bottle to mist their tank. Some people use misting systems or foggers but they’re not a requirement.
With all amphibians, water quality is extremely important. Feces from the frog and dead feeder insects cause the water’s acidity to increase rather quickly. It doesn’t take long for the pH balance to shift into a dangerous range.
For this reason, it’s important to perform water changes once or twice per week. Water filters can help decrease the number of water changes you perform but you’ll still need to change the water when needed.
- Use amphibian-safe water conditioners to dechlorinate the water.
Using tap water can cause problems for your pet. The problem comes from chlorine, chloramine, and other chemicals used to treat the water. These chemicals are harmful to frogs, even in small amounts
One of the easiest ways to condition the water is by using ReptiSafe. It’s cheap and widely available at virtually any pet store. All you do is squirt some of the liquid into the water to dechlorinate it, making it safe for your pet. Read the instructions before using, of course.
Fire-Bellied Toads don’t require a substrate, either on the land or in the water. A full-water bottom with floating cork bark or slabs of rock is perfectly fine.
The bottom of the tank can be bare, too. You’re welcome to use rocks or gravel if you want. Substrates like coco-husk fiber are great as well. They’re just not a requirement.
Check out my substrate guide for more information and ideas.
Being that a fire-belly toad has a lot of water in its habitat means you have a good chance to keep the moss alive. Moss is a favorite among herpetologists that want a naturalistic setup.
Don’t be afraid to use products like Eco Earth on the land areas either. ABG mix, eco earth, and, plantation soil are all great substrates. The only problem you might run into is soggy soil.
Setting up a quality drainage layer will help the soil from remaining soggy for extended periods of time.
Fire-Bellied Toad Diet
There is a long list of insects your fire-bellied toad will eat. As always, having a variety of different foods in their diet will help them live long, healthy lives. Crickets should make up the majority of their food but you can offer them other things as well.
A list of the things your frog can eat:
- Wax worms
- Some Aquatic Invertebrates
Fire-Bellied Toads are known to be ferocious eaters. They will eat too much if given the chance. You should closely monitor their size. It can be difficult to judge how much food to give them at first.
Some frogs stop eating when their full while others, like these frogs, eat as much as possible. If they’re becoming overweight, dial back the amount you’re feeding them.
Neither wax worms nor mealworms should be given to your frog on a regular basis. Mealworms once every other two weeks and wax worms are best used as a treat – once a month.
Chopped-up earthworms are a good choice, too. So long as it’s still moving, your pet will likely eat it.
- Feed them 2 – 3 times per week (appropriately sized insects)
- 2 – 5 crickets per feeding
As I mentioned earlier, crickets should be their main source of food. Dust the crickets with vitamin and calcium supplements to help with strong bones and proper nutrition.
Calcium supplements can be used with every feeding while vitamins can be used once or twice per week.
The size of the crickets should match the size of your frog. Feed them crickets no longer than the width of their mouth. As adults, fire-belly toads are capable of eating full-sized crickets but it’s best to feed them medium-sized crickets to reduce the chance of them choking.
Another thing you have to consider is how you’re going to feed them. With an all-water or partial-water bottom, things can get tricky. Crickets don’t last long in the water and if they die there, it makes things more difficult for you. You’ll have to spot clean and change the water more often because of this.
One way to keep this from happening is to put the crickets in a container just big enough to keep them from jumping out of. Place that container in your frog’s enclosure.
Allow each of your frogs to eat the recommended amount of food before removing the crickets and container from the frog’s tank.
For more information, see our guide on what frogs eat.
Breeding Fire-Bellied Toads
Breeding fire-bellied toads can be a rewarding experience. Most keepers breed these frogs for the joy of raising little tadpoles. Whatever your reason for breeding them, I’ll do my best to help you in this section.
First and foremost, you need to have at least one male and one female. The best way to differentiate the two is by size and sound. Females are generally larger in size and the males are more vocal. They can be heard “calling” during mating season.
Male fire-bellied toads have nuptial pads which are visible when they’re full grown. Also, they usually have thick forearms in comparison to females.
Having several breeding pairs will increase your chances of success. In fact, having two to three males per female will increase those chances even more.
These frogs mate during the rainy season in the wild. In captivity, they’re less likely to mate because they rarely experience the seasonal changes that happen in the wild.
To remedy this, you might need to “cycle” the frogs. That means you have to mimic the winter months for a period of time (roughly eight weeks).
During this time, keep the temperature around 60 degrees. This can be accomplished by moving their enclosure to a garage or cooler part of your house.
After replicating the winter season, now you need to mimic springtime weather. Start by increasing the temperature back to normal. After that, add more water to their habitat and begin feeding them more often.
Mist their enclosure often and consider placing a dripper system to simulate rainfall. A “rain chamber” can be used if needed.
With any luck, your male frogs will be croaking, and eventually, they will mate. This should happen shortly after increasing the temperature, water, and food. Check on your frogs frequently to see if they’re in the amplexus position (male grasping the female around the waist).
Females can lay eggs as often as every two weeks. Also, they typically lay between 80 and 300 eggs at a time.
Remove the eggs from the parent’s enclosure within two days. Assuming the eggs are fertilized, they will hatch into tiny tadpoles within seven to ten days.
At this point, it’s like raising any other tadpole. Keep them in water at room temperature between 3 to 4 inches deep. Feed them commercial tadpole food, algae, lettuce, etc.
It will take up to five months for them to completely metamorphose into juvenile fire-bellied toads. As they develop legs and their tail disappears, provide a ramp or floating platform for them to climb on.
Handling Fire-Bellied Toads
As with all amphibians, it is best to limit the amount of time you spent handling them. Not only is it stressful for the frog but any chemical residue on your hands can be harmful to them.
That’s not the only reason, of course. Fire-bellied toads produce a mild toxin that can be dangerous to humans. The toxin is a defense mechanism that is potent enough to deter would-be (animal) predators.
It can be dangerous and irritating, especially if ingested. It should go without saying but don’t eat your pet. Don’t even rub your eyes without first washing your hands thoroughly.
In all seriousness, try to limit the amount of time spent handling your fire-bellied toad. They’re great display pets that will live up to 20 years or more when cared for properly.
In the Wild
When someone mentions a “Fire-Bellied Toad” they’re generally referring to the Oriental fire-bellied toad (Bombina orientalist). What you may not know is that the common name “Fire-Bellied Toad” is often used to describe a Genus; a Genus that contains eight different species. One of which is the Oriental fire-bellied toad, of course.
Here is a list of the other species in that genus.
- Apennine Yellow-Bellied Toad (B. pachypus)
- European Fire-Bellied Toad (B. bombina)
- Guangxi Firebelly toad (B. fortinuptialis)
- Hubei Firebelly Toad (B. microdeladigitora)
- Lichuan Bell Toad (B. lichuanensis)
- Oriental Fire-bellied toad (B. orientalis)
- Yunnan Firebelly Toad (B. maxima)
- Yellow-bellied Toad (B. variegata)
These species are found throughout regions of Europe and Asia. Like most frogs, they’re found in and around pools of water. They seem to prefer stagnant or calm bodies of water like ponds, pools of rainwater, or gently moving streams.
Fire-Bellied Toad FAQS
This section is meant to answer some of the most common questions about keeping fire-bellied toads as pets.
Fire-bellied toads are not beginner-friendly, in my opinion. Yes, they’re great display pets but they have a more sophisticated setup than something like an American Toad.
The typical lifespan of a fire-bellied toad is between 10 – 15 years in captivity, provided they’re cared for properly. Some hobbyists have reported their pets living up to 20 years.
They usually don’t need a heat lamp. Temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are adequate. If your home happens to get below 65 degrees, you will need a heating device.
Yes, absolutely. There is nothing wrong with housing a single fire-bellied toad by itself.
hello! I am looking into getting around 2 fire bellied toads (I still have a lot more research to do before getting them) but I was wondering if housing 2 males or 2 females together would be ok. I can’t find anything about them fighting but just want to make sure! thank you!
I just got 2 fire bellied roads gifted me. What is a good habitat for them that requires minimal cleaning?
I have a red eye and recently got a pair of fire bellies.
I know mixing species is frowned upon but to me, they seem like ideal tankmates. The red eye tank has areas of warmth and cool, is moist enough, same diet, one is nocturnal the other diurnal so they will both have opportunities to hunt without the other and similar in size so eating shouldn’t be an issue.
What I’m asking is, is there any reason the two would not get along? More specifically than the general ‘don’t mix species’.
I know several people who claim they have mixed them with no issues but is there anything major you can see that I might be missing?
Hi, Cory! The main reason for separating species is due to the toxins in their skin. Because they’re in such a small enclosure, it’s impossible for one species to avoid coming into contact with the toxins of the other species. Even if they don’t physically fight each other, you have this problem. I hope that answers your question.
We have 2 in a 15 gallon tank with mostly water, rocks on the bottom and about 1/8 of the tank has wet moss. We have a water filter in the tank and use ReptiSafe when cleaning the tank. When we first got them the tank stayed clean for a very long time, now it gets what looks like black algae growing on the rocks, it actually attaches to the rocks like a fur almost. Just wondering what it is and why it grows so fast after completely changing out the tanks water, rocks and moss??? Please help or please let me know if this is normal as they mature??? Thank you for your time…
When rearing tadpoles, at what point does their diet change to crickets?
About the time they transition to land. You can start by feeding them pinhead crickets or wingless fruit flies!
Do fire belly toads like heated water? I know I’ve seen a lot of air temperature recommendations of no higher than 78° but what should the water temperature be? I got a water heater that doesn’t go above 78° but I’m not sure if that’s to warm of water for them. Appreciate any feedback on this question.
The water temperature can be kept the same temperature as the ambient air. Recommended between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any advice on how to add a firebelly toad to am already existing tank that has only had 1 firebelly toad. I bought one today at my local pet store and I also figured I’d buy some crickets so both my existing toad and new one’s appetite are satiated. The one I had is slightly larger and after they both ate the crickets the larger one keeps attacking the smaller one.. it looks like it’s trying to eat it.. I’ve had to separate them 4x already in less than 30 min. They are in a 10 gallon tank, half water half land.. I’ve quarantined the bigger one in a pint container with water for now. Any advice would help..
Are they both full grown? You may not be able to house them together. If they’re both getting enough food but they’re still fighting it will likely end poorly for the smaller one. Having a bigger enclosure will help as well. 10 gallons is about the minimum size I recommend for a single frog.
Great and accurate information. I have two that are 10 and 13 years old. I’m hoping that they make it to 20.
I hope they make it to 20 as well! Thanks for the comment.
When cleaning your frog’s tank do you need to remove the frog(s) from the tank or can you leave them in the tank? What is the best product to use to clean the tank
For quick spot cleanings you can keep your frogs in their enclosure. For deep cleaning, I recommend putting them in a small container and sitting them aside. Some clean water and a few leaves in a small container will keep them comfortable while you clean their enclosure.
Don’t use any type of household chemical cleaners. I’m sure you already know this but just in case. Zoo Med makes a product called “Wipe Out” which is supposed to disinfect, clean, and deodorize. It’s meant for terrariums and small animal cages. I haven’t used it so I can’t recommend either way. Clean water and rags is what I’ve always used.
How often is a deep clean? I’ve not got any fire bellies yet, not had any amphibians all making sure I do lots of research first
It depends on your setup. A good bio active setup rarely needs cleaned, if ever. Otherwise you’re mostly caring for the substrate to make sure the acidity doesn’t get too high. Urine and droppings from your frog(s) is the cause for increase in acidity. It can effect the water as well. I hope this helps answer your question. There are a lot of variation in setups that determine how often you deep clean. Non bio active setups could be cleaned every 2-3 months depending on how bad it gets.
I have fired bellied tadpoles, they already have there back legs ,my question is after they grow there back legs, how many weeks until they need land? Today my Tads appear to be less active. Thanks for your info.
As their legs start to appear you can place an object into their enclosure which will act as land. It should be slanted in a way that allows them to easily climb on to it!
This information is super helpful! Thank you 🙂 I woke up yesterday to eggs, I’m so excited! I also noticed that I have a tadpole🤯 I have chosen to move mom and dad and leave all the eggs (thank gosh for having an extra 40 gallon tank haha). Any more words of wisdom for me would be greatly appreciated. I have had freshly morphed previously so I know what to do from there, but never tadpoles 🙂 thank you in advance.
Hey Tiffany! Thats exciting! Sorry for the late reply. Just keep an eye on the water and make sure the temperature is right. How are they doing now?
Great information I have 4 already grown 3 froglets I really enjoy. Thanks Shirley
Hey, thanks! They’re certainly an interesting species!