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Choosing The Right Terrarium For Your Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad

Tips on selecting the right enclosure for Bombina orientalis.

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The minimum enclosure size for up to four fire-bellied toads is a 10-gallon terrarium with a screen top. A 20-gallon tank or larger holds six or more fire-bellied toads and makes a more interesting display.

Shoreline terraria: Being semiaquatic frogs, fire-bellied toads are best kept in shoreline vivaria. Make sure you have open areas of water/land interface so your fire-bellied toads can easily access the water area.


Island terraria: Although island terraria are not the best choice as a system for keeping fire-bellied toads, small groups of these frogs can fare well in terraria with up to 6 inches of water and islands made of stacked rocks or large sections of driftwood. Fire-bellied toads will live happily enough on the emersed land areas (those that are above water). Island terraria work best in relatively large tanks at least 24 inches long with one or more islands providing at least 6 by 4 inches of above-water surface. The sizeable volume of water helps maintain water quality and allows you to combine these frogs with small fish species.

Forest terraria: This kind of system allows you to include terrestrial or arboreal herps such as anoles, geckos, forest skinks, and treefrogs. To setup a forest terrarium, place a layer of drainage substrate such as pea gravel or, preferably, expanded clay pellets used in hydroponics on the bottom of the tank. Next, add a layer of peat-based potting soil with no perlite and no fertilizer or pesticide additives. Bury a shallow water container or plastic food storage container (at least 4 by 6 inches) into the substrate. Plant the land area with a variety of terrarium plants and landscape it with cork bark, wood, and rock. Use a sponge filter run by an air pump or a thin submersible power filter (such as a Duetto filter) to maintain water quality in the container. Enthusiasts who already have a tropical forest terrarium and wish to add frogs usually adopt this method. In this terrarium setup, keeping the small volume of water in the shallow container clean can be problematic; you must regularly remove the container to clean it and replace the water.