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Old 02-05-2009, 08:31 PM   #1
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Fire belly toads & snails

I was wondering if my snails( not many now but trying to start breeding for puffer food) who live in a 15 gallon with plants about 3/4 full of water, could be housed with Firebelly Toads? i would like to put a glass top on the aquarium about 6-8 inches taller then the aquarium with more plants and maybe some type of shelf for them to be out of the water( i have a top around my 55 with lots of pothos type plants and glass sliding doors)my concern is will the snails die from "toxins" or will the snails then hurt my puffs when they eat them?Also is that to deep for the toads to be in?thanks.
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:01 AM   #2
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I have a 10g tank with a male and female firebellied toad and there are plenty of pond snails alive and well in there. My question is....can I turn around and feed those snails to my dwarf puffer fish??? I am in bad need of snails for them right now and that seems to be the only tank the snails are growing light crazy in. Anyone know the answer?? Could I possibly take the snails out and put them in another bare tank and let them live there a while before feeding them to my puffers (in case the toxins need time to leave their bodies)...lol....I am grasping at straws here.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:34 AM   #3
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Are we talking about toxins from the toads?

I don't know about that species particularly, but the poison secreted by toads costs them a significant amount of energy to produce. They don't slough it off at random or constantly, only when they feel threatened. I don't think your water is polluted just because you have toads in it, nor do I think there's any reason the snails' bodies would concentrate or store the toxin.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:27 AM   #4
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Yes gzeiger, I was referring to the possibility of the water being "polluted" by the toxins from the toads....If not toxic, then I could conceivably feed the snails in that tank to my puffers??? That would be great, because for some reason that is the only tank that I can seem to "grow" snails in at a pretty rapid pace. At one point I had placed quite a bit of java moss in the firebellied toad tank and I think that is where the snails came from....but the thing is, these snails don't get fed anything. I only feed my toads live crickets every few days. So, if a snail population is supposed to "explode" from overfeeding, then I don't know how in the heck I have so many in this tank. What are they eating??
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flsafari View Post
I was wondering if my snails( not many now but trying to start breeding for puffer food) who live in a 15 gallon with plants about 3/4 full of water, could be housed with Firebelly Toads? i would like to put a glass top on the aquarium about 6-8 inches taller then the aquarium with more plants and maybe some type of shelf for them to be out of the water( i have a top around my 55 with lots of pothos type plants and glass sliding doors)my concern is will the snails die from "toxins" or will the snails then hurt my puffs when they eat them?Also is that to deep for the toads to be in?thanks.
flsafari -- I am not sure how much water you are talking about. I attached some pictures of my firebellied toad habitat...although it has changed a little since then. They HAVE to have a land side also, but are happy with 1/2-3/4 of their habitat being water. I keep my water side about 4-5" deep with water. My tank has changed a lot since this picture was taken. I now have a huge amount of ivy growing on the land side and some (what I think is pathos) draped around the filter so the filter isn't so obvious.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:28 PM   #6
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Let me say again that I don't *know* for certain the answer to your specific question.

That said, if I had those two tanks, I wouldn't think twice about using those snails as feeders. In order for them to present a significant hazard to your fish a number of things would have to be true that are in my opinion highly unlikely:
1) The toads are generally under stress in their tank in a way that causes them to fear predation and release their toxins on a regular basis.
2) There are no bacteria in your biofilter (or anywhere else, since they would quickly colonize the filter given that condition 1 is true) that can break down the toad poison, which is after all just protein.
3) There is not enough water volume in your tank and/or you don't change water enough to dilute the poison to a safe level.
4) Puffer metabolism is affected by toad poison, but snails are not (ie the snails will not die when exposed to the poison).
5) Snails will ingest and store the poison without metabolizing it, so that their tissues are poisonous.
6) Toad toxin is actually deadly (in reality I think it just tastes bad and mildly irritates the eyes, though in fairness I'm thinking of what happens when a much larger animal like a cat attacks).

It would blow my mind if 1,2 and 5 were all true. If it really worries you put some carbon in that filter. It will absorb pretty much all the toxins you're worried about.

As far as what the snails are eating, I think the shallowness of that water explains a lot. You're effectively feeding the tank light. A few toad turds and a lot of light means algae growth on the bottom, even if you don't see it because the snails keep it eaten down. You've also got a relatively large volume of substrate leaching nutrients and especially calcium into your water. In a deeper tank the algae growth will be less because more of the light is absorbed by water, and more conventional fish tanks typically have a pretty inert gravel substrate that doesn't provide much to the water, while I'm guessing you have actual soil in there.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:22 AM   #7
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Thanks for the reply gzeiger! I have changed my toad tank a lot since that picture. I now have a coconut fiber substate on the land side that looks exactly like dirt but retains moisture that the toads need. So, you explained perfectly for me why the snails are so thriving in that tank. What I did yesterday was start my own 5g snail tank. I took a sponge filter from an established tank so I would have an instant cycle, some plants from the same tank and a heater and added the snails that I could get out of the toad tank. I figured I would be safe and let them live in the water in the new 5g tank for a while before giving them to my puffers for food. I have quite a few shipments of snails coming in this week that should help me start my own snail colony to feed my puffers with. Thanks for all of your info though!!
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:49 AM   #8
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If you're making a dedicated snail breeding tank you may have trouble maintaining enough calcium in the water to keep their shells growing. Water changes provide some, and usually enough to make them a nuisance in a display tank, but may not be enough for a feeder population. You can overcome that by using crushed coral (Aragonite), crushed oyster shells or limestone substrate. All are effective. Crushed coral of course is available at any fish store, but quite expensive. Oyster shells you're more likely to find at an animal feed store, like a farm supply store if you live in an area where that sort of business exists. Limestone is a crapshoot since it isn't really a desirable building material.
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