Firebelly Toads as Starter Frog

This is a quick and basic rundown of how I keep firebelly toads. There are many things you can improve on and you can change but this will give you a place to start. Following my lead will give you a good start but you will change and improve it with time and your growing understanding of the toads.

Week 1 - Gather the following materials.

1. A 20 gallon aquarium that is clean, clear, with a good rim and does not leak (test by putting the tank on some paper, filling with water and leaving it overnight).

2. A small aquarium submergible pump (possibly a powerhead) or better a pump specifically designed for vivariums or water falls.

3. Aquarium safe tubing that fits on to the out flow of the pump (if there is an inflow that can be connected to a tube then you will need more tubing for it and screening on a foam block to keep gravel and dirt from entering the pump with the water).

4. Water rooting plants (like some people keep on window-sills, growing from a bottle or a glass of water) or bog plants from a aquarium store (sometimes these plants are rooted in rock-wool and that is fine).

5. Bag of aquarium gravel or washed pea gravel (likely 10-20 lbs).

6. A dozen or so different sized aquarium safe rocks. These are rocks that will not dissolve or leach material in to the water. If you are not sure test by putting the rock in hot (boiling) water (in a metal pot) and see if the water changes color or if the rock breaks down.

7. From a pet store- an Ammonia test, a Nitric test and an aquarium thermometer.

Set up the tank similar to this one

Stylized side view of a firebelly tank. Blue is water , green -plants, and gray -rocks.
Top view of the same tank. Notice it is a combination of both dry land and open water. These images are obviously just to give you an idea of how to set up the tank. Your tank should not have the open cracks which the toads might wedge themselves in to.

To setup the tank add a few of the largest rocks to the aquarium and then 3 inches of water. Add the pump, making sure it's fully submerged, and plug it in. Manipulate these elements, adding more rocks and the plants as you go. Don't rush it. Find a position where the rocks are stable and aesthetically pleasing to you. When you find something that works, that you like, then fill in cracks with gravel and also put a thin layer of gravel on the bottom of the pool. Add 2 drops of ammonia to the water and let the tank run for a week. Look, daily, for any obvious problems.

Continue on to Week 2

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