Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Anurans/Frogs: Reproduction

Related Articles: Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks, Amphibians, Turtles

Related FAQs: Frogs other Than African & Clawed 2,
FAQs on: General Frog Identification, General Frog Behavior, General Frog Compatibility, General Frog Selection, General Frog Systems, General Frog Feeding,
General Frog Health,
FAQs on: Bullfrogs, Fire Belly Toads,
Leopard Frogs, Surinam Toads/Pipa, Tadpoles of all Sorts, Toads/Terrestrial Frogs, White/Tree Frogs, Amphibians 1, African Dwarf Frogs, African Clawed Frogs, Newts & Salamanders, Rubber Eels/CaeciliansTurtlesAmphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

Bombina orientalis Eggs and Tadpoles    4/16/12
Hey Y'all,
I've got two Fire-bellied Toads in a fifty five gallon planted tank with only about five gallons total water space; it's very deep, about ten inches; they seem to enjoy it. <Good to know.>
There's several points of egress so they won't get stuck or tired. The water isn't planted yet; my LFS has a crummy selection.
<Do try plain vanilla pondweed, or better yet, floating Indian Fern ("water sprite") as these won't be uprooted and provide nice resting places at the surface where the toads can bask, which I'm sure you've seen them do.>
We tried a tank with more water when we got them but swiftly realized they preferred to bask/hunt on the land; we redesigned the vivarium. It's planted with moss, and ferns with limbs, hides and peat for digging. Their diet is varied; they're active and vocal. We've had them for over a year and never expected them to breed thought we had males actually.
Now we have about 150 eggs which are already starting to hatch. I am finding little detailed information for caring for them or what to do with them if they do become toadlets. What is the activity level of tadpoles immediately after hatching and then over the course of the first few days?
<Not huge. Tadpoles tend to eat and sleep.>
I know they survive on the yolk for a time.
<Not that long, actually.>
Mine wiggle a bit then either sink or hang motionless and suspended at the surface. Are they dead? Hungry? Cold perhaps?
<Don't worry so long as they look plump and they react if you gently prod them and they move (a pencil or similar is ideal and less likely to hurt them than a finger).
My water is at 70-72. Land right at 78.
Will adults eat the tadpoles/toadlets?
<For sure. Isolate a few in a floating breeding trap or similar, and let the others take their chances. You can be overrun with toadlets otherwise, and that may not be the way you want things to go.>
In my experience with these guys if it fits in their mouth and moves they'll eat it. Should I move them, if so what are the safest steps to do so? I'd prefer to relocate the adults (which I'm prepared for and comfortable with doing if needed) and raise the toadlets in the large mature habitat if possible (I'm sure I'm bugging.. Sorry! I'm awed by these little fellas).
<By all means do so. Isolate the adults to temporary quarters, or move as many tadpoles as you can to a 10, 20 gallon system with a filter and possibly a heater to maintain a steady 20-22 C/68-72 F.>
I can only find info about feeding the tadpoles fish flake..... Is this really best?
<It's fine.>
As for the toadlets, they say simply "feed them small insects"... What constitutes a small insect in this case?
<Fruit flies are the ideal. You can get wingless varieties from reptile stores, and obviously these are best because they're [a] easy to catch and [b] won't escape into your home.>
Obviously something very tiny. As for the eggs that still need to hatch...
I see thrashing in some and that seems normal.
Some are developed equally but aren't AS active, again still seems fairly normal in my mind. And some have never advanced beyond a white dot in the middle of the egg. Am I right in assuming since I've seen no development in these eggs that they aren't viable?
Should I remove them?
<By all means. Be ruthless. If you get 200 eggs, do you really want 200 toads? It may be better to concentrate on rearing, say, 20-30 tadpoles that you can then sell as viable pet toads to your local store. Or maybe just let nature take its course, and protect just 2-3 specimens that you can add to your group of adults.>
However they ALL have what seems to be a film of dust over the eggs. It appears to be particles of sand and peat that the toads have pulled with them into the water. It hasn't stopped them from hatching. Should I worry?
<White threads will be fungus, and these can spread and will kill viable eggs. So that's bad. But plain vanilla silt is harmless. Still, gently cleaning the eggs now and again, e.g., by using an air stone or even a turkey baster to blow clean water (gently) past the eggs will be helpful.>
To my way of thinking they would encounter this and more in the wild.
<For sure.>
Last thing.. The eggs are covering the internal filter and clinging to driftwood and such. I need to clean the filter and the tank, what's the best method to do a water change without suckin' 'em up?
<Actually, wet hands can work just fine. They are tougher than they look.
Don't be afraid to damage a few: you'll have far more tadpoles that you really need regardless!>
And how can I get them the heck off my filter? I'm worried it'll suck 'em up. I suppose you can figure most of my worries even if I managed to forget something. They're hatching fast and it's wonderful. I want them to live.
But the ones hanging suspended head up have me nervous. They simply aren't swimming.
<Ah, if they don't move at all, then yes, likely dead. Either remove at once, or else isolate into a net or breeding trap so you can wait a few hours to see if anything changes.>
Oh! One frog shed his skin but didn't eat it... It's clinging to some eggs.
Worry or no?
Thank you thank you for any help you can give me. -Kay
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bombina Orientalis Eggs and Tadpoles - 4/17/12

Thanks so much for the info! I've done a water change and removed the leftover eggs and dead tadpoles. The ones hanging suspended were the newest hatched and finally started swimming I've culled dead and dying and ended up with about 150 tadpoles. We'll raise em and then keep or sell what's left. There's no herp store here in town so I'm going to attempt to breed
crickets and raise my toadlets on freshly hatched pinheads, will this be suitable or should I think about trying to breed the little flightless flies instead?
<Worth a try with the hatchling crickets, but wouldn't bank on it. Vitamin dusting will be useful, as well as very regular meals; small amounts, but 4+ times per day, ideally.>
One other thing has happened in he few days since I emailed you guys. A friend of a friend purchased (I think they caught him in the wild, myself but can't be certain) a Siren intermedia.
<The Lesser Siren; a fully-aquatic newt-like animal.>
Then became disgusted by it's slime coat and frills and so they brought him to me which is good I suppose as they were attempting to house him in an Red Eared  Slider tank. :/
<Not compatible, for sure!>
Again.. Not much comprehensive care info online.. I think I've got the diet down.. That seems to be one of only two things people agree on.. Diet and the fact that they are more active at night.
No one seems to know what water parameters they prefer.
<Is a very widespread species, from the Eastern US to Mexico, so likely quite adaptable re: pH, hardness, temperature. Room temperature water, around 18 C/64 F up to low-end tropical conditions, 24 C/75 F, would seem about right, perhaps at the cooler end in winter for extra vigour. Water chemistry anything, just not too hard and not too soft; 2-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8 probably fine. I'd go with something in the middle, around 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5.>
And there are lots of differing views on how a captive habitat should be arranged. So far I'm housing him in a shallow water tank about room temp, so between 72-74. I'm much distressed by the fact that I've acquired yet another creature simply because folks are dumb. Anything you can tell me would be great.
<Very similar to the Axolotl in general care. As ever, wean off live foods (certainly don't use feeder fish). So by all means start with earthworms as good "settling in" foods, but get them onto small slivers of tilapia fillet (cheap and Thiaminase-free) alongside occasional bits of prawn and mussel.
Use worms, krill, etc. as treats. I find steel forceps essential tools for keeping predators, allowing me to wiggle dead foods and thereby elicit the hunting instinct.>
In the meantime I'll be reading as much as I can find and trying like heck to make him happy. I am also considering letting it go.. But am not sure if that's a good Idea since I can't be sure if he's captive bred and therefore not really suitable for release.
<For sure. Once an animal has been taken inside and especially if mixed with domestic livestock (such as turtles) there's too many risks to be happy about releasing it. This is a VERY unusual beastie, and to be honest, I'd be thrilled to have one!>
He's common in our area. Could this cause a problem for the wild population, i.e. New diseases and parasites not found here?
<Precisely so. Your local Fish & Wildlife people should be able to help decide if release is a good idea, or else, you could try a herpetology club or wildlife visitor centre type thing, where this sort of animal might be used for education, to show visitors local animals.>
I'd like to make his new tank comfy if I keep him.. Ideally what size tank, somehow 20 gallons of deep water and a piece of PVC doesn't really strike me as the best idea?
<May well be fine from his perspective. Hidey-holes plus floating plants is often the ideal for most animals. They don't have the same aesthetic sense we do, and often value practicality above all else. Alternatively, you can use bogwood and smooth rocks to create the right sort of terrain with a more natural look.>
My observation is that they aren't strong swimmers, preferring instead to scoot along the bottom basically mouthing on just about anything.
<These animals live in ponds and ditches, so aren't real picky. But they may well take some time to settle in. Earthworms are great foods to get them fattened up, and once feeding, they should become more accommodating.>
They don't seem to see real well.  And I'm reading about a life span of something like 7-15 years.. Is this realistic..
<Yes, though temperature will be a factor, with the cooler end of the range resulting in longer lifespan.>
I'm also seeing differing views on how big they'll actually become.. 
Thanks again for everything and sorry to be bugging about something new so soon after asking about FBT's..
<No problems. Cheers, Neale.>

fire belly toads, repro.   12/1/11
We have three fire belly toads and have had them for maybe two months now.
When I fed them tonight I noticed a "large" clump of jelly laying on the moss against the glass. I have no idea what it is and I have never seen anything like it before. Can you help me?
<Could well be their eggs. Like other toads they lay eggs in a jelly-like mass just below the waterline. The eggs hatch in a few days depending on the temperature, and each day you should see some change in the black embryo inside each egg.>
Also, I have a question about the layout of the tank. I have read articles that say they don't need a lot of water because they don't really swim, but a lot of other tanks I've seen online have a large body of water for the frogs to swim in. What is the best way to set up your tank? With large body of water of not?
<The answer depends on the size of your vivarium! Obviously in the wild they jump into ponds, lakes and streams, so they can swim perfectly well in bodies of water thousands of times larger than even a very big vivarium.
But at the same time, wild toads will be crawling about on land for much of the time as well. So, the key is a balance. If you have an average-sized vivarium based around a 20-40 gallon aquarium, then providing a water depth of 4-6 inches should be ample, and the rest of the tank can be moss, coir, or whatever else you've used to create a soft, damp land habitat.>
Thanks for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

something ate my tadpoles!!   8/29/11
A week ago I added 12 tadpoles to an established freshwater tank.
The already tank contained Malaysian trumpet snails.
The next morning it all my tadpoles were gone except 2 of them.
Any clues as to what happened to my tads???
<Hard to say, but a combination of starvation and cannibalism may well be significant. Tadpoles need a fair amount of food, and folks rearing them often don't provide enough of the right food, so starvation is common. At a pinch, many tadpoles become cannibalistic, or at least sufficiently opportunistic that they'll eat dead or weakened siblings. Malaysian Livebearing Snails will of course consume any dead material they find, though they do not consume healthy tadpoles. Cheers, Neale.>

Sexing Fire bellied toads.   8/26/10
Hello WWM.
I have recently decided to try keeping fire bellied toads and I have some questions regarding gender identification.
<Indeed; this is not easy to do.>
It seems there is quite a large quantity of conflicting information on the proper method of sexing these amphibians. Some people seem to think the bumps of the skin are greater in number in males, while fewer on females "others say its the reverse" I've also been told that there are black stripes on the females bodies and on males there are small spots instead "again some say its the reverse" The people at the LFS claim the Middle digits on the rear legs are longer on females and the webbing between them is shorter.
<As with most frogs and toads, the males have stronger arms and during the mating season develop horny pads on the inside of their hands used to provide extra grip during amplexus. These are by far the best traits.
Females tend to be a bit more rounded than the males, especially during the mating season.>
The Sounds also seem to be Significant factor as the males allegedly make more noise.
<Males are the ONLY ones that croak.>
the sound the males make has been described as a barking sound. And despite all of this I have read cases where the gender was misidentified.
<Yes indeed.>
could I get some clarification regarding this? with all of this conflicting info on the net I thought it prudent to ask the experts.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Most likely the wrong forum, but am going to ask anyway. Rana sexing, beh., nutr., sys.  - 8/1/10
Hi again guys,
I have a frog that was captured from outside. The frog is a common green frog, *Rana clamitans*. From what I read male frogs have ears that are significantly bigger then their eyes, female frogs have ears the same side as their eyes; male frogs have yellowish under parts and throats, and girls frogs have creamy white throats. Now, when I first got my frog I was convinced it was a girl frog (the underside seems white, and the ear was just a little bigger, you could say it was the same size. BUT, my frog croaks, and the throat puffs out/extends with the croaks! Does a female frog croak?
<Not usually, no. Croaking is for males to attract a mate. Males also have a much larger ear drum, about twice the size of the eye, so it should be pretty obvious.>
I understand that there are 6 different calls that this species of frogs make, but do girls make croaking sounds? If I sent a picture of the actual frog, could someone here tell me if it is a male or female?
I really want to know. The one book that has an actual picture of a male and female has no caption with the picture to say WHICH is male or female, mores the pity. It's in a semi-aquatic aquarium/vivarium which is 20
gallons and has Zilla brand foam insert kit called "rain forest rapids" kit. Also, I read somewhere on the internet to only feed this kind of frog 3 times a week, what happens if a frog is over fed? My frog eats a LOT.
<Yes they do.>
Like, last night it ate: about 9 pill bugs, a slug, about 6 worms, a centipede, 2 spiders, and about 3 or 4 meal worms, a moth, and one unidentified insect. Also, most of the food I go out and catch outdoors, in this case, should I use the powder that contains multivitamins that is sprinkled on foods for lizard and amphibians to keep them from getting metabolic bone disease?
<Is well worth doing.>
Also, I am using just a daylight lamp from Exo Terra it says on the package it is good for all amphibians. It is very hard to find any information on frogs not generally found in the pet industry, I mean it is easy to find out what you
have, but not specific husbandry for the frog like you could if you had one common in pet stores. Could I have more than one of these frogs in this tank?
<Generally, Rana species are kept singly in small tanks. They tend to do only fairly well in captivity, and never really become tame. They're quite nervous and prone to bashing their noses on the glass as they jump about
when scared. You could certainly try keeping a pair in your tank, but you'd have to keep an eye on them, and the problem is that after spawning, should they do so, the male would likely harass the female. If the female goes off
her food, that's a good sign of trouble.>
P.S: I use a lot of Seachem products in my aquariums, one is called "Prime". It is a water conditioner, but I am wondering, could this be dangerous to a frog? I know frogs can absorb water through its skin and it cloaca, and this does have a harsh sulfur chemical smell.
<This product should be safe.>
I also use the Seachem's version of live bacteria called "Stability",
and a carbon replacement for planted aquariums called "Flourish Excel" and also Seachem's "Flourish Iron" Iron supplement for planted tanks, and the general plant supplement from Seachem caller "Flourish". Would these
products harm my frog?
<Shouldn't do so, no.>
I did use the live bacteria product-no ill effects yet. I have live plants in this tank in the water section- water sprite floating and java fern on the bottom. Could I use the water conditioner and the plant fertilizers?
<Should be able to, but if in doubt, consult with the manufacturer. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Most likely the wrong forum, but am going to ask anyway... where does this go?   8/4/10

Oh, my Gosh! Seachem fooled me good to the tune of $41.00 American!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<Could be worse. Those poor folks in Pakistan have just had their homes washed away in floods. Always good to have a sense of perspective.>
From now on I will ask someone here if what I am buying is a crock of poop before I chuck my bucks around at aquarium store.
<By all means do so.>
Seachem has a nice website, and explains why the products are so good.
<And they are. But you do need to understand what products do, and like all businesses, they tend to promise a little more than their products actually deliver. Coca Cola doesn't make me sexy, and eating Bran Flakes doesn't
imbue me with glowing sense of happiness.>
Last time I went to the aquarium store I purchased $120.00 dollars worth of products from Seachem (This was for 3 items!!!!!!!!) Now I feel like a fool.
<Please don't feel foolish. Two of the three products you bought are good ones, among the best in their niches. The one product I'm not wild about is Seachem Stability, and that's only because most of these "good bacteria"
products are unreliable and, once the aquarium is more than half mature, don't provide any benefits whatsoever. They don't do any harm, but these bacteria potions often don't do any good either.>
Thanks for helping me with my frog. It is getting bigger, and the ear is getting bigger so it must be a boy frog. But it was much smaller first and the ear was the same size as the eye so I was fooled there, too.
<If it makes you feel any better, frogs are pretty bad at telling their sexes at times. If you watch them in the wild you'll see every possible permutation of male and female frog you can imagine!>
<Have fun with your frogs! Cheers, Neale.>  

Re: Fire bellied toads questions :D 5/14/09
Thank you very much for your response to my questions, as for the my second question, if they toads were to lay eggs in the small water dish I have put in the terrarium I would definitely transplant them into another terrarium with more suitable living conditions.
Thanks again,
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale

Question About Firebelly Toads... spoogie   11/12/07 Crew, We have 2 Firebelly toads. We do not know the sex of either. Every once in a while we get a clump of clear "jelly-like" substance usually in the water. Obviously this comes from the toads but we don't know if its an egg sack or just some sort of secretion. Looking closely we cannot see any small dots inside the clump. Do you know what these clumps are ? Pierce, Joy and Eden <Greetings. What you're describing does sound a lot like toad-spawn. Each egg is about 1 cm in diameter, but the developing embryos are (at least to start with) very small, maybe one-tenth that. So they're easy to overlook. The eggs are normally deposited on plants close to the surface of the water. If cared for well (i.e., given a coldish sort of winter and then a moderately warm summer) Bombina orientalis breeds quite freely in captivity. The tadpoles will swim out of view for a the first couple of days; just like fish fry, there's a period of time where amphibian tadpoles consumer the remains of their yolk sac before actively foraging for food. Rearing isn't difficult, but it probably goes without saying that the parents will eat the tadpoles given half a chance. If you want to rear them, you'll probably need to move them to another tank (or at the very least a covered breeding trap of some sort). Cheers, Neale.>

Frog Spawn Hello again, Thank you Don for your help a little while ago, you majorly calmed me down, and everything is AWESOME. I had acquired fish from a friend and a tank on Christmas. refer to "Suddenly Stocked Tank", WWM FAQs.) Well everything is going great, have done 6 water changes since I got the fish. All my levels are looking great (I think those established bio-wheels really helped). I got some ghost shrimp today, just to clean a little. Well my question is, I have noticed clear sacks with yellow dots in them in the bottom of one of my plants, kind of weaved through it. Quite a lot of it probably 50-80 little yellow dots(1mm) all in a single sack. And than there's like yellow brownish flecks and pieces of what look like clear egg sack all over my plant leaves. My plants are fake. Well I don't know who laid them, could it have been my Plecos? My Plecos are almost a year old and 1 is 9" and the other 6", one is obviously smaller, are they male and female? Or one is it that the one is more aggressive and gets all the food (which routinely happens, I put algae wafers in his\her little spot so he\she can eat)? How do you tell the difference? Is that what their egg looks like and where they lay them? I also have a 4" Gourami, 1" orange tetra, 1" clown loach, a frog (who seems to be in the eggs a lot), 6" black ghost knife (he's my buddy now, I got him frozen bloodworms and feed them to him on the end of a skewer). I don't think anything else could have laid them. I plan on getting 2 fire green tetras in a week, I finally found a place that will BUY my Plecos. I'm quite happy, after I have been trying to give them away. What should I do with the eggs? I'm not really too concerned about propagating, but something small in my tank might serve as a nice snack for my black ghost knife. Or the frog. Or anything. What do you think? Again thank you for all your help in my beginning worries. And the rest of the WWM staff for the amazing website you guys keep up. James <First thought was snail eggs. Very common. They are laid in a jelly like mass. But on re-reading the part about "weaving though" the plant leaves I now think they may be frog eggs. I never kept frogs, but do recall that some species lay long strings of eggs in a protective jelly. Snail eggs would be in a single round clump. Either way I would remove them. If they're frog eggs they will be infertile without a male and will decay. If they're snail eggs you're looking at a population explosion. Your Gourami and tetra would both lay single eggs, not in a mass. I don't think Clown Loaches have ever been breed in captivity and would need to be much larger. (BTW, will grow slow, but can hit 8" to a foot. Be aware) Plecos are cave breeders. They would spawn in a protected area that the male would be defending. So that leaves the frog and snails. To sex your Plecs look at the trailing edges of the fins and gill covers. Mature males will have frilly tassels decorating these areas. Also, when viewed from above the male will appear thinner and more tapered than the female. The larger fish may be getting mature enough to sex. At 6" the smaller is still to young. And another BTW, they may eat the ghost shrimp. Don>      

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: