The fire-bellied toad is a fascinating creature part of the bombinatorid family. They are a group of six different species of small toads. These toads have an interesting pattern with attractive colors. They are known for being peaceful but do have certain risks as tank mates. The fire-bellied toad is known to secrete a toxin through their skin called bombesin. This toxin is isolated from the skin of the toad and binds to bombesin receptors. This makes them dangerous to humans and they should be handled with care.
Since the fire-bellied toad releases toxins if they feel threatened by other creatures in their presence, it is difficult to keep them with other types of amphibians and fish. It is not uncommon for the toxins to build up and cause harm to fellow tank mates. With strict procedures in place, you may be able to keep your toad with some friends.
Best Tank Mates for Fire-Bellied Toads
1. White Cloud Minnows (Tanichthys albonubes) – Most Compatible
|Minimum Tank Size:||10 gallons|
|Temperament:||Community (Should be kept in groups of 6)|
White cloud minnows are an interesting shoaling fish. They have attractive colors and are quite hardy which allows them to tolerate living with a fire-bellied toad. White clouds seem to withstand the slow-released toxins from the toad if frequent water changes are done. These two species rarely seem to interact with each other and are peaceful.
2. Mystery Snails (Pomacea bridgesii) – Best for Small Tanks
|Minimum Tank Size:|
Another classic favorite tank mate for the fire-bellied toad is mystery snails. These are adaptive snails that grow large and come in a variety of attractive colors. They do not eat live plants but will eat algae, debris, and decaying plants. The toxins may begin to irritate the snail if it reaches high levels. This is a sign that a water change must be done to dilute the toxins.
3. Fancy Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
|Minimum Tank Size:||5 gallons|
|Temperament:||Community (Should be kept in groups of 5)|
These are colorful and playful shoaling fish that look stunning in a fire-bellied toad enclosure. They are a little more delicate than other fish and water chemistry is an important part of keeping them healthy. It is best to get either a male or female group since mixing the two genders will result in mass breeding and guppies can quickly overpopulate a tank.
4. Chinese Fire-Bellied Newts (Cynops)
|Size:||3 – 4 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||20 gallons|
The Chinese fire-bellied newt has a similar name to the fire-bellied toad. Both are amphibians and have similar habitats. They get along well together and enjoy slow-moving bodies of water. This makes it a great idea to add a small stream in the enclosure. Keep in mind they have different diets and should be fed separately.
5. Common Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
|Size:||8 – 12 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||55 gallons|
|Temperament:||Playful (Should be kept in pairs)|
Feeder goldfish can make a great addition to the body of water in the fire-bellied toad’s enclosure. Goldfish are hardy and can tolerate mild levels of toxins in the water. The goldfish should be dewormed and treated for parasites before being placed in the toad’s enclosure. Since goldfish get large, they are only suitable for very large fire-belly toad enclosures.
6. Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis)
|Size:||5 – 6 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||20 gallons|
|Care Level:||Experienced keepers only|
The anole is a tree-dwelling species native to the southeastern United States. They look great with fire-bellied toads and make quite the fascinating pair. However, anoles require a more experienced owner who can provide the right conditions for them even with a tank mate.
7. Diurnal Geckos (Phelsuma)
|Size:||8 – 10 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||29 gallons|
This is known as the giant day gecko. They are native as a species to Madagascar and have a bright green coloration with orange on the head. Hence the name, these are some of the gecko species that are most active during the day. This makes them beneficial to live with fire-bellied toads and you do not need special night lights to see them.
8. Tree Frogs (Hylidae)
|Size:||2 – 5 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||20 gallons|
|Temperament:||Peaceful and inquisitive|
These are small amphibians that do great with toads. They have the same setup and both the tree frog and fire-bellied toad enjoy spending the majority of their time in branches and hiding amongst leaves. They have similar moisture requirements which makes them excellent for an enclosure with a body of water.
What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Fire-Bellied Toads?
The best tank mate for a fire-belly toad would be another amphibian. This is because they seem to get along quite well. Fish are another good tank mate but can easily be killed by the toxins leaching into the water. Most toad owners will keep a mixture of amphibians and fish with their toad. This is because the fish live in the water column, whereas the amphibians and reptiles will hang around the vegetation and occasionally take a swim to rehydrate.
Where Do Fire-Bellied Toads Prefer to Live in the Enclosure?
The fire-bellied toad prefers to live near the bottom of the enclosure. They enjoy hiding in the moist substrate and taking cover under a nice leaf. The bottom of the enclosure seems to hold the most moisture and this prevents the frog from drying out. Fire-bellied toads will sometimes climb towards the middle of the enclosure depending on where they prefer to eat.
Fire-belly toads are semi-aquatic and live both on land and in the water. They grow up in the water as a tadpole and eventually adapt to living above the surface, but they still make visits to small pools in their enclosure, so it is important to ensure the water quality is good. The ammonia and nitrite should be between 0ppm to 0.25ppm (parts per million) and nitrate should be kept below 30ppm. The water should be dechlorinated before being placed in the enclosure.
Fire-bellied toads are not very big. They get to an adult size of 2 inches (6 centimeters). Since they are so small, they can do well in smaller enclosures. 20 gallons is an accepted minimum for the fire-bellied toad, but the size should be increased if you plan to add in-tank mates.
Fire-bellied toads are not aggressive, but they can become feisty during feeding time. Like a typical toad, they sit around and wait for food. So, when feeding time does come around, they will make sure they are the first to get it. This can be a problem if they are kept with tank mates as they will try to steal their food.
2 Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Fire-Bellied Toads in Your Aquarium
Having tank mates with your fire-bellied toad can provide them with comfort and help them to develop social behaviors. It will also make them feel less lonely in their enclosure.
Since these toads have other creatures around them in nature, having tank mates encourages a natural environment.
The fire-bellied toad can get along with many different species. This can make it fun and interesting to design an enclosure for them and a few tank mates. These social toads will appreciate having friends around them and it will make caring for them extra special because you get to incorporate some of your favorite tank mates with your fire-bellied toad. Many owners claim that their toad is livelier and more active when kept with other creatures which make watching them more enjoyable.
Featured Image Credit: reptiles4all, Shutterstock
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