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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    [United Kingdom]


    I hope you find this of some use

    Three key stages to
    Successfully keeping Bombina bombina
    Both indoors and outdoors

    I initially set out to keep a selection of Dartfrogs in my small reptile room and I have been successful in breeding the three species I had, however, when browsing the available list of dartfogs from a certain shop I noticed six Bombina bombina for sale, captive bred in Germany of mixed bloodlines. I had always fancied having a go at keeping the European Fire Bellied Toad but it always has been difficult to obtain over the past years. So I bought all six over the next few months. I purchased a total of fourteen juveniles and a pair of adults that were from a German breeder.
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    Having successfully kept nearly all the Bombinas I wondered what the difficulties were as varigata and orientalis are so easy, they are recommended as a beginners species; I have two, large, long standing populations of both and was determined to breed this species.
    The internet: it may be a scourge to some people but as a source of information itís second to none. The main problem is the amount of information. How do you know whatís genuine and what isnít?
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    My first set up they would call and go into amplexus but no spawn

    I made the decision to use the ďBreeding, rearing and raising the red-bellied toad Bombina bombina in the laboratoryĒ. This is a PDF document written by Otto Kinne, Jens Kunert and Waldemar Zimmermann, itís written in an easy to understand format aimed at giving as much understandable information as possible to enable the proliferation of these animals.
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    Bombina bombina in amplexus (excuse the camera quality)

    I had had these less than a week and they werenít a year old. So I took this as maybe Iím on the right course. Over the next eight months I kept them in a variety of set ups, a long low exo terra filled to the maximum level of 4inches of water and large areas of land for them to get out of the water and feed was one of them. In which they called regularly and occasionally went into amplexus but no spawn.
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    Feeding; I found that they gorged themselves on live blood worm which was either placed on a piece of floating cork or put on the land area in a petri dish on the land. Several of my fishkeeping friends have found these are the best way to condition their fish prior to breeding. They also took live adult brine-shrimp which was strained through a net before adding to the water in the tank. Fruit flies were also eagerly taken; crickets were fed once a week and always dusted in Nutrobol.
    Around November time I stopped feeding and let them have a period of two weeks to empty their gut then I placed them in a moss filled box and put them somewhere cool for the remainder of the month. At the beginning of December I placed them in the fridge along with my tortoise (hoping the wife wouldnít notice).
    During their hibernation I purchased a 4x2x2 glass vivarium with a maximum water depth of 4inches this was arranged with a 50/50 split between land area and water. The lighting was provided by truelight tubes and two T5 daylight tubes for plant growth.
    Having read the PDF document, they recommended a hibernation period of four months. The general consensus of people I spoke to, was this was far too long and six weeks would be sufficient I went with a period of eight weeks .The wake up was just the reverse of putting them into hibernation they were taken out of the fridge and placed somewhere cool to come around for two weeks before they went into their vivarium.
    At the beginning of February my house extension began and my garden looked like the battle of the Somme so I had no opportunity to place them outside until the middle of May as soon as the toads came out of hibernation, the toads were housed in a 4x2x2 vivarium but this held water to a depth of only 4inches. I began to feed heavily with live blood worm and live brine shrimp. They started to call by mid-April and the males would fight each other like balloon wrestling inflating themselves up then calling their unmistakeable boop-boop calls. I thought I was at least getting somewhere once again rereading the PDF document they stated they had had found that keeping the toads outside had been more productively successful.
    I decided to place an old fish tank outside filled with water to a depth of 6inches and placed bunches of elodea and pieces of floating cork in the tank. They called went into amplexus almost daily but no spawn was ever produced.
    Next to the bombinas I had a tall exo-terra that housed my tree frogs this heated up during the day to over 90f with the sun on it. My tree frogs loved it in there. I thought I might have too many males or there were too many frogs in the tank, so I took four bombina out of the 3ft tank and placed them in with the tree frogs. Within two hours I had one pair in amplexus and one male calling. This vivarium is considerably warmer than the tank they were in so I quickly realised it was heat and humidity that at least got them in the mood
    By the beginning of June I had them calling and going into amplexus but not a bit of spawn. I then made the decision to build a small pond, three days later I had built a small raised pond 4x3ft with a depth of 20 inches to 6 inches in the shallow area

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    . Planting the pond up as I had previously stated I had researched my information via the internet, however I also looked at hundreds of images of ponds with Bombina bombina in, the PDF document stated grass or rush was essential to spawning and initially I had got obsessed with using grass-like aquarium plants with no success . This time however I used Persicaria amphibia and in the baskets in the shallow area I used Japanese rush this made the water depth above the planted baskets 1 inch. I began to realize that it was a dramatic change in their housing that would set them off in spawning.
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    My pond planted up the wire is to stop the toads from wandering off. The temperature in the north of England is usually a couple of degrees colder than the South and I was beginning to think I had lost the opportunity when we got a very warm spell the bombinas began calling again the males began fighting and one pair went into amplexus. Three days later several clumps of spawn were discovered, wrapped around the periscari amphibia near the surface of the water. There were 5 batches of spawn one was obviously infertile but the other four looked good I removed two batches to watch development however these ceased to develop after three days and I couldnít find the other two batches which I presumed had died and been eaten by snails
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    Due to the drop in the temperature at the beginning of August I moved my twelve bombinas indoors however due to lack of tank space I had to move my sharp-ribbed newts out of their tank and placed the bombinas in after first giving it a good cleanout. As I have a good few species of amphibians I didnít want to start disturbing them for aquatic plants in their aquariums. However I had the idea to use Devils Ivy (scindipus) plant this is a fairly indestructible plant that will quite happily grow with submerged roots in water, I also placed a bunch of elodea and cabomba carolinia in the tank. The water was a depth of 8inches, on top of the tank I placed two sheets of glass that covered 95% of the surface, on top of that I placed an exo-terra lighting unit 24inches long with 3 daylight compact bulbs in. The distance between the toads and the heat source was 3 inches the tank dimensions 30x12x12 but as you know there is a lip 1 inch from the top of the aquarium on which I placed my sheets of glass ,so it wasnít a large aquarium, the bombina were placed in this set up on the 14th of August, the toads loved it they rested on the leaves on the surface of the water basically basking in the heat from above.
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    My bombina in amplexus note the amount of algae on the tank sides, this was intentional.

    On the 21st of August spawn was everywhere they had laid in the roots and stems of the scindipus. Several batches of around 50 eggs, and one large batch of 2-300 eggs.
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    My bombina spawn at three days
    Due to shortage of space my orientalis tadpoles were placed in the outside pond along with my alpine newts the size of the tadpoles prevents newt predation. Whilst fishing around the pond to see how the tadpoles were coming along and what other forms of life now lived in the water, I discovered 10 bombina tadpoles the batches that I had thought to have been infertile and rotted away had actually hatched at the present time i have 10 tadpoles they look very similar to tree frog tadpoles and have an obvious stripe on them. The tadpoles spawned indoors hatched after 6 days and rested on leaves and stalks of the devils ivy. I started my tadpole feeding regime after a further two days
    Raising the tadpoles, they are fed goldfish flake and blocks of frozen brine shrimp daily .They appear to be growing at a good rate and I suspect will be very similar to both Bombina,orientalis and maxima in rearing from tadpole to froglet. They consume a lot of algae and the glass that had a good growth of algae was almost clear after a few short days. The stalks of scindapus are also consumed along with the leaves of the plant.
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    Bombina bombina tads along with orientalis notice the stripe on the bombina tadpole
    In conclusion, I think these are a fairly easy species to keep itís the breeding that presents the biggest obstacle. They breed in conditions similar to bombina maxima warm water with the heat coming down from above they like to bask and feeding them on bloodworm definitely brings them into condition and a water depth of 8 inches they wrap spawn around stalks so grass is not a necessity. They seem to need a marked difference between each stage of their life cycle . For example a slightly damp cold box for their hibernation of 8weeks, then a shallow water setup for their general living quarters feeding heavily on bloodworm and live brine shrimp. Then 8inches of warm clear water for them to spawn in their spawning tank has to be different for them to realize the marked difference
    Check out my flickr page for photos of my phibs!

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  3. #2


    looks great... thanks

  4. #3
    100+ Post Member Bombina Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Fraser valley BC
    Picture Albums: Member Photo Albums


    Congrats on your successful breeding! B.bombina are usually one of the more difficult species to breed.
    "A Righteous man cares for his animals" - Proverbs 12:10
    1.0.0 Correlophus cilliatus
    2.1.0 Bombina orientalis
    0.1.0 Ambystoma mexicanum
    0.0.1 Ceratophrys cranwelli
    1.0.0 Litoria caerulea
    1.1.0 Dendrobates auratus "Nicaraguan"
    0.0.2 Dendrobates tinctorius "Azureus"

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