Sick Fire Bellied Toad? - Color changed... seems unhappy

Discussion in 'Fire Bellied Toads' started by SFMatMan, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. SFMatMan

    SFMatMan Embryo

    Hi - I'm brand new to this web site, and so glad I found it.

    I received 2 Asian Fire Bellied Toads for my Bday in November. I've been trying to find out as much as I can to care for them properly - and have learned a lot (such as the substrate I was given with the toads is not the best)...

    Anyway, despite everything I had to learn, things have been going well until about 2 weeks ago.

    The smaller of the two (named Audrey) began to act differently. He'd normally been pretty active (even climbing the glass of the tank, if I left crickets anywhere in view - learned not to do that)... but suddenly, he was hiding in shadows, and under rocks... even trying to burrow under things (but mostly just sitting still...) ... in this time, his color also changed from bright, vibrant green to quite dark...

    He still eats readily (I've had a hard time finding info on how much to feed them - how many crickets, and how often - I've been feeding them every 3 -4 days, several crickets apiece... )

    I have been changing the water every other day - I now know from reading here that I need to do it every day (this wasn't what i had been told, but I will do it from now on)...

    The bigger toad (named Gargantu-ra (Garge)) seems as healthy as ever...

    With this info, does anyone have any advice or clues as to what might be wrong with Audrey? I appreciate your help - this forum has already been very helpful!


  2. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    hey sfmatman - welcome to reptilerooms!

    glad to hear that you're doing lots of research on your toads.

    the darker color and burrowing in the ground lead me to believe that the humidty may be too low. what is the humidity in the tank? what substrate do you now have?

    another possibility is that the larger one is causing stress for the smaller one. how big of a tank is it? how much larger is garge than audrey?
  3. rosevt

    rosevt Embryo

    what about the temp of the cage? my firebellys sometimes respond individually to changes in their cage temp (some will turn dark and hide under rocks while others remain bright green and active) maybe the smaller one (having less body fat) is getting cold enough to try and hibernate, at least to some extent.
  4. SFMatMan

    SFMatMan Embryo

    Thanks for the welcome, and the information.

    I currently have wood chips and moss in the tank - but I'm cleaning the tank tomorrow and replacing that (now that I've read that this is not an ideal situation).

    I have a 10 gallon (I think) tank - I'm sure good enough size for the 2 (maybe even 3 I think would be OK), and Garge isn't dramatically larger than Audrey, so I think we're OK in this area.

    I have an under-tank heater, but the thermometer I placed on the tank still does read too cool sometimes (San Francisco is chilly). So I added a lamp with a bulb I bought at Petco for additional warmth. Audrey hasn't shown any appreciation for this, however. :)

    Humidity is something I hadn't considered - and I have no current way to measure the humidity level (recommendation?) - however, I can ensure that I up the moisture level until I can find a way to regulate that. I appreciate this suggestion - I hate to see him looking so sad.

    I've been using a spray bottle to spray everything down in the tank - (is there anything I should know about the water, or add to it? I have just been using reg. unchlorinated water)... I will begin doing this twice a day to see if it helps.

    (Does anyone know of a good/trusted reptile/amphibian source in San Francisco? The Petco nearest me does not seem to be as awful as many I've read about here - but I am sure I can do better.)

    Thanks again!

  5. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    hey again. well, since you have so much heat (the under tank heater AND the lamp) i'll bet the problem is humidity. even though it may be chilly where you are and the tank doesn't stay too warm, the warming devices could very well still be drying the soil too much.

    when you change the substrate, get coconut fiber bedding (like 'bed-a-beast' or 'eco-earth' brand). it comes in a little "brick" that you dissolve in wamr water. best substrate in the world! especially for amphibs. and it will be great for holding humidity. keep it moist, but not wet.

    also the water *should* be treated. i would highly (i mean highly *highly*) recommend amquel (or amquel plus). here's a pic: Kordon AmQuel. it is the only water conditioner that does *not* aid/form slime coat. slime coat is great for fish, but can cause shedding problems in amphibians. sometimes amquel comes with novaqua - do NOT use the novaqua (it aids/forms the slime coat).

    can't help you out about petstores in san fran since i'm in ohio - that's a bit of a distance! lol!

    oh i almost forgot, the humidity can be monitored most easily/inexpensively by using a simple humidity gauge like this one: Humidity Gauge.

    get the humidity up about 70% - 80% and let us know how things go! :)
  6. SFMatMan

    SFMatMan Embryo

    Hi - I have the lamp on a timer, but yes it would certainly contribute to the humidity level!

    Thanks for the advice and the recommendations! I hope we've figured it out, and I will let you know!


  7. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    great - you're very welcome!

    keep us updated!
  8. SFMatMan

    SFMatMan Embryo


    I believe your suggestions worked. I have begun changing their water every day (instead of every other day), and also monitoring the humidity levels more closely. I actually don't know what humidity level is optimum, but I've been misting the tank and keeping the humidity in the 55-75% range (a little higher right after I mist). And Audrey seems much happier now.

    His color has brightened a bit, but he's still darker than he was. But I read on another thread that this might just be a sign of maturity (depending on her species). Still, I'm encouraged by the change in his disposition.

    The big gal, Garge, is still bright green and healthy as ever.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm relieved, and believe he's feeling much better!

    firebelliedtoadKiwi likes this.
  9. skjoldhus

    skjoldhus Embryo

    SF MatMan,
    I have written a caresheet on Firebellies,... it's in the amphibian section of care sheets. Sounds like maturation. You may have a couple of species being housed together. They really should be housed in a paladarium instead of a terrarium and you will have a lot better luck with them. The caresheet will give you specifics and if you need any further information please feel free to either PM me at your convenience, or post any further inquiries on the thread. As for how much to feed them, it varies with size and age of the toads,... but in general most Bombina species eat gluttonously. They should be feeding on an average of 6-12 crickets each assuming you are feeding 1/4 to 1/2 inch crickets.
    If there is a radical size difference that can also affect the feeding cycle of the smaller animals. Your larger bright green guy sounds like either a standard Oriental or possibley Giant Yunnan. The other could be European or a Yellow Belly, but it may be the darker phase of Oriental. Species descriptions are listed in the care sheet area. Good luck with them.
    - Erik -
  10. SFMatMan

    SFMatMan Embryo

    Thanks for the info, Skj,

    I will definitely check out your care sheet - I'm happy to know about it!

    Here's a link to some photos of the pair (mostly of the smaller one, Audrey, who was feeling photogenic that day):

    You'll have to excuse the other (birthday) photos, and just click to the frogs. ;)

  11. skjoldhus

    skjoldhus Embryo

    I think that the server may have frozen or perhaps it was my comp,... I had actually responded to this posting but apparently it did not take. First of all I wanted to appologize ( bad manners ) for having forgotten to welcome you to the site. "Welcome to the site!" Secondly, I had looked at your pics. I assume that they were taken before the matamorphasis in colour after you initially got the toads?
    Both look nice in the pics and I think your decision to fore go the name "Hops with a fist" was a good choice ( It's much more of a "Stands-with-a-flipper" kind of toad! ) Kidding. Anyway,... if you have any current pics I'll be happy to look at them and give you a second opinion. If you do take some try to get some showing top view and bottom view for your toads. Also I would strongly suggest switching to a paladarium style set up. They are semi-aquatic and spend a lot of time in water in the wild. Some species such as the Giant Yunnan, more so than the others. Paladariums are also safer and easier to maintain than a terrarium style enclosure. The only real work then are the water changes and filter cleanings. But the toads will thrive a lot better that way. It's the prefered method of Bombina species breeders.
    Well I will see if this posts this time. Maybe the last one was a sacrifice to the "typo Gods" since I did not proof read it before I posted and left. hahahahaha,.... well take care and hope that this helps out!

    - Erik -
  12. duggm

    duggm Embryo

    Hi all. I'm new too. Great site, great info!

    I just started a 20 gal, long tank, ½ water with fishtank gravel and river rocks, ½ land with river rocks, fake 'rock' flat surface/hidie place and fake bamboo bridge. The bridge is set up so they can hide in water or on dry rocks under it. I have an out of tank 10 gal. filter and a (probably unnecessary) UV bulb. Just now bought the coconut fiber medium. Still need to get a humidity guage. Temp goes from 65˚ up to about 70˚. I have 4 fire bellies in there now. Feeding them dusted crickets daily. Figured on partial water changes weekly. Is that enough?

    I joined this thread because the only one that was bright green when we purchased them (3 days ago) has darkened. I am going to try the amquel. I'll let y'all know how it turns out.
  13. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    you're welcome! good luck!

    and duggm - welcome to you!

    glad to hear you've gotten the coconut fiber bedding. DEFINATELY better than gravel. partial water changes weekly should be fine as long as you completely clean the tank and change the substrate at least every 3 or 4 months.

  14. SFMatMan

    SFMatMan Embryo

    HI - Thanks - I forgot about those captions! (Yes, I ruminated for weeks on what to name them... ) Those photos were taken before the color change occured with Audrey.

    I will look into the paladarium idea... what I have will have to do for the short term, but I'm glad to know I have an upgrade to look forward to. (Next paycheck)

  15. duggm

    duggm Embryo

    Well, I tried the amquel. My toads seem much happier and their color has lightened back to what it was when we purchased them.

    And, yes, they seem to love the coconut fiber.

    Got a humidity meter. It stays at around 80.

    We also put in a green, black veined carved frog about 50% larger than the fire bellies. They sit and stare (worship?) it alot. I think it's their god...
  16. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Embryo

    lmbo! i'd love to see a pic of that! ;)

    everything sounds good! good luck!
  17. I just cleaned my toad Kiwi's cage and now its been 5 hours and he is trying to break the plastic cage. He is refusing to eat everything I give him. He has more black than ever on his stomach a lot more than red/orange. I have a bad feeling that he's sick. Is that what your toad is acting like?
  18. Hi- what kind of water are you using for the tank? Is it called Spring Water because different types of water can be very harmful.
  19. Hi- if you want another care sheet go to
    you're not buying a toad don't worry but it has some good info if you want some more.
  20. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Hey, firebellytoadkiwi, welcome to the boards. I just wanted to point out that this thread is over 8 years old, so you aren't likely to hear back from any of these people, lol. If you have a question about your own frog still, please feel free to post a new thread detailing the issue and all care details. Thanks!

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