Bombina orientalis

Type: Amphibious, day activity

Size: 4,5-6,5 cm

Sexual dimorphism: Females have more massive bodies, but they are shorter and have less massive legs and hands.

Preferred temperature: 10-28 C normally, around 5 C at winter.

Preferred humidity: 65% during winter, 60-90% rest of the year (it is important to give them differences, as their natural habitat has very hard climate).

Night/day cycle: 10-14 hours depending on part of the year

Diet: Small and medium sized insects

Description: Bombina orientalis is very good frog for beginners, as it is quite durable and easy in keeping. These frogs are native to North Korea and China, which puts their populations in constant risk. These frogs are also called fire-bellied toads, which is not very adequate name, as toads are related closer to frogs than to fire-bellies. They are relatively cheap and available in most of petshops, which is also nice for beginners and people with lower amount of money. They can reach up to 30 years, but usual lifespan is between 10 and 20 years.

Care: As these amphibians are amphibious (yes it sounds ridiculous, I know), it is important to provide them paludarium-like tank, with shallow water (they do not dive very deep if not stressed). Water needs to be changed regularly, as these animals are toxic and can hurt not only plants in tank but also themselves. They don’t need a big tank, but they do need some space to move and swim, so minimal size of their home should be more than 50x30x30 tank for group of 2-5 frogs. Sometimes males can be agressive and of course, all frogs can mistake their offspring with food – let me be honest, they are not very clever. B. orientalis is very sociable frog and in case of animal welfare, they shouldn’t be alone.

Breeding: Firebellies are very moody when it comes to breeding. They need to be bred in big groups usually. To stimulate them, you can just put them into outside tank if you live in relatively unpolluted place with right climate (they probably won’t breed if there is less than 20 C during the day). Males can call very long. Amplexus itself takes few hours and after it, female can lay up to 100 (usually it is 30-70 however) eggs split on the bottom of tank, that you should remove from adult frogs home.

After 3-10 days herbivore tadpoles hatch. They eat algae (Chlorella spirulina for example), prefer rather cold water (16-20 C is best) and it takes them up to 3 months before metamorphosis into small froglets. During tadpole stage, they need a lots of water changes as tadpoles produce substances that can stop growth of their offspring.

Additional information: Male calls can be bit annoying, as they call all the time during season.

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Kassina maculata

Type: Arboreal, mainly nocturnal frog

Size: 6-8,5 cm long

Sexual dimorphism: Males have visible vocal sacks on their throats.

Preferred temperature: 15-28 C

Preferred humidity: 60% during dry period (2-3 moths), 100% during rain season (2-3 months),rainchamber highly recommended), rest of the year something between (70-80% is good enough).

Night/day cycle: 12h

Diet: Medium sized insects

Description: Kassina frogs are great for beginners, as they are quite durable and they adapt quickly to new environment. They are also quite easy to “tame”, making them great pets. They look hilarious and they are easy to keep in groups, as they show no signs of aggression. In nature, these frogs are threatened “only” by standard amphibian problems – environmental degradation and catching for private collections.

Care: These frogs are good climbers, runners and swimmers. Their tank should be big and contain many plants and branches, on which they can climb. They also should be provided with freshwater bowl, that they can swim in easy and enough substrate to bury themselves in. These frogs are good eaters and prey on everything that they can fit into their mouths. As they are really sociable, it is advised to keep them in groups.

Breeding: Two things constitute a breeding success. First, what we don’t have much impact on, is how the frogs like each other. The other part, however is quite easy, as it is only achieved by duplicating natural air conditions. First, you need to start dry period and then make a rainchamber, which both takes 2-3 months. During rainchamber season you have to clean it everyday and feed your frogs time to time. Tank itself shouldn’t contain any substrate or hideouts – the only land they are supposed to have should be a big branch and the bottom should be covered in water, around 10 cm deep. Amplexus can last for few days.

Female usually lays less than hundred eggs. Tadpole metamorphosis into frog can take even 100 days. During this time, tadpoles need fresh water and some algae to eat. It is important to add something that will aerate the water (can be either aerator or water plants). It is extremely hard to keep tadpoles alive. Water temperature should be 18-20 C

There is also an ALTERNATIVE METHOD of breeding, that one of my friends told me about. In this way of keeping, frogs are constantly kept in tank with 100% humidity and around 18-20 C degrees (and only few degrees in water), that makes them breed twice a year and tadpole development seems to last even more than 250 days, but same as with other frogs, colder water is saver and slower development (and it makes the frogs much bigger).

Additional information: Make sure your frogs cannot escape, as they are good with escaping. Call is bit loud and the frogs are really talkative.