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FAQs About Xenopus laevis, African Clawed Frog Diseases 3

FAQs on Xenopus Disease: Xenopus Disease 1, Xenopus Health 2, Xenopus Health 3, Xenopus Health 4, Xenopus Health ,
FAQs on Xenopus Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Treatments,

Related Articles: "3" Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks, Amphibians, Turtles

Related FAQs: Xenopus in General, Xenopus Identification, Xenopus Behavior, Xenopus Compatibility, Xenopus Selection, Xenopus Feeding, Xenopus Disease, Xenopus Reproduction, & Amphibians 1, Amphibians 2, Frogs Other Than African and Clawed, African Dwarf Frogs, TurtlesAmphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

African clawed frog doesn't appear he can open his mouth      4/7/20
I was cleaning his tank, and when I went to put him back in the tank, he jumped out and fell on the countertop. I caught him another 2 times, and he squirmed out of the net and fell again, about a 8-10 inch drop.
He's swimming around fine, moving his front claws to grab, but isn't opening his mouth. Could he have broken his jaw?
<Possibly, but without an x-ray, hard to say. Is there any sign of swelling around the jaw? Does the bone structure look wrong?>
Anything I can/should be doing?
<Broken bones in amphibians are impossible to treat without veterinarian intervention. However, on the plus side, amphibians do not chew their food.
Provided the jaws can open, the job of the jaws is to trap food, with swallowing actually done with the back of the eyeballs pushing the food down!>
He's about 6 years old.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Help with ACF      4/6/20
Hello, I've had my from for 7 years. About 2 years ago he got soft bloat.
He was still happy, eating and singing. I recently changed his diet bc I was told the wrong thing at Petco, and he got better for a few weeks. Now he developed this on his under belly and I just noticed the hole tonight.
Any recommendations? Thank you
<Bloating in Xenopus is not uncommon. Your specimens are a reasonable age, given they can live 20+ years, indicating essentially good care, but it's always worth reviewing living conditions. Do start reading here: http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm
Always a good website for sick Xenopus. Maracyn II is minocycline, while Maracyn Plus is trimethoprim and sulphonamide. The RSPCA suggest Oxytetracycline for bacterial infections, so that's another alternative. If you haven't already read their report (aimed at vets and lab workers, but
useful for us pet-owners too) have a read:
Both sources recommend the use of salt, which through osmosis will draw out some of the water. A good starting point would be 2 gram/litre, but Xenopus are surprisingly salt-tolerant amphibians, and you could raise this a bit after a week or so to perhaps 3-5 gram/litre for a few days if needs be.
After a few days, come back down to 2 gram/litre. What you should find is the swelling goes down. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Help with ACF      4/6/20
Thank you so much!
<Welcome. Neale.>

ACF Fungal Infection      1/5/20
We have (had) 2 albino ACF. They are approx. 4/5 years old. They live in a 20g long. No other tank mates. They are feed night crawlers and feeder guppies.
<Please stop using the feeder Guppies. Whatever else is going on here, live feeder fish -- besides the cruelty involved -- is a sure-fire way of introducing parasites and pathogens for no good use. It's not like these frogs need live foods.>
We do regular 50% weekly water changes with R/O water and keep the water temp at 78.
<Why RO? Xenopus laevis do best in slightly hard water conditions: aim for around 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5.>
We have two Hang on back filters and all water parameters are in acceptable ranges - ammonia 0, nitrates 0. Not sure of water hardness. This Leads to up my first question. Does the ph range matter?
I cannot recall reading any info on ph ranges for frogs.
<A good deal in the scientific literature, at least. But a summary can be found here:
Avoid soft, acid water conditions.>
I have done many hours of research and feel like we are good frog caretakers. They have been happy and healthy for years now and loved members of the family. Unfortunately they recently became ill. We noticed that one of the frogs was floating at the top of the tank. She was not going back down to her “house” where they normally stay. She was also not wanting to eat. Not unusual for her she has never been a good eater. We looked her over and did not see any obvious signs of red leg or bloat. Two days later our other frog began to mimic the same behavior. This was alarming to us as they have never behaved this way before. Behavior change = something wrong! After looking them over again I noticed that they appeared to have small sheds of skin hanging from them. Immediately I knew this was a concern bc they should shed in one big suit, I have seen it many times! One also had a very small area of white fuzz on her butt/back area. Google hear I come! I have been researching for 12 hours now and can’t really come up with a definite answer as to what is wrong with them.
<Some amount of shedding is normal, but if they're suddenly shedding a lot of skin, and on top of that, behaving abnormally (e.g., not eating normally) then yes, you might well suspect some sort of problem.>
I realize it’s a fungal infection. But what kind? I found info that says amphibian fungal infections can be treated with methylene blue.
But again no clear instructions for amphibians.
<As per fish. Methylene Blue is relatively gentle, which is why we use it freely with fish eggs. Mardel MarOxy is another good choice.>
I knew waiting to do anything was a death sentence so this is what we did and the results so far:
3 gallons of aquarium water were removed from tank and used as bath water for treatment. We added 2 tsp. of methylene blue and bathed frogs for one hour. They were then put back in main tank. One frog died within 6 hours of treatment (the one with visible fuzz) one frog still living. I have resigned myself to that fact that my other frog will prob not survive but will keep fighting for her!
My questions are these:
What other medications can be used? Or what medicine works best?
<See above.>
What dosage should it be, and how often do you treat?
<Exactly as specified for fish. Remember to remove carbon from the filter, if used. Do also up the aeration a bit if possible.>
Should we just treat the main tank as there are no tank mates?
<I would, yes.>
Should the main tank be emptied sanitized and the surviving frog be put new “Clean” tank?
<No need. Fungus (and Finrot-type bacteria) are entirely opportunistic, and latent in all aquaria. Under normal conditions they may even play a role in 'ammonification', i.e., turning fish/frog wastes into the ammonia your filter bacteria can use.>
Any other advice would be welcomed!
<Do see above re: Guppies.>
P.S. We have discovered that the tank heater is the most likely culprit as to why they became sick. It was on the fritz and not keeping the tank at the proper temp. They got too cold!
<Xenopus laevis should handle room temperature without any trouble at all. Xenopus tropicalis is more finicky, as its name would suggest, but is less widely sold. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about African Clawed Frog      8/23/19
Hi, I was wondering about my Albino African Clawed Frog. It is turning black like it has dirt on it, but we just cleaned the tank that it is in.
<Hard to say without a photo. Couple of obvious things to ask. First, did you use a water conditioner? If not, ammonia or chlorine could be irritating the skin and/or causing damage. Secondly, was there a lot of
silt in the water? This can stick the mucous on the frog, but will wash away in time. Will direct you to some reading for now:
While popular critters and quite hardy, Xenopus are not without a few basic needs. These include relatively cool water (20 C/68 F) and adequate space (60 litres/15 US gallons). They rarely cohabit well with fish or other animals, and while a filter of some sort is essential, very turbulent water flow rates will stress them. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about my albino African clawed frog     6/24/19
Could use some help. Included is a picture of my albino African clawed frog. As you can see it has a “blister” coming from it’s back end. It has been like this for the past 2 days.
<Medicate quickly; you have limited time here! Bacterial infections rarely fix themselves, and these frogs quickly sicken and die. I'm going to send you to some reading, here:
If you look at the Red Leg section, you'll see what you're dealing with, and the recommendation to try Maracyn II and Maracyn Plus. If antibiotics aren't available without prescription where you live, a vet may provide them if asked, or else you'll have to resort to a reliable antibacterial such as eSHa 2000.>
It is in a tank with one other frog who doesn’t have any issues.
<Yet! I'm a bit concerned by the substrate, which is much too coarse for these frogs, and could easily explain the damage. Standard operating procedure for these frogs is to use NO substrate at all, but alternatively, a very smooth, lime-free sand (such as smooth silica sand or pool filter sand) can be used. Avoid gravel because they can swallow it and that usually proves fatal if not quickly regurgitated.>
I have had them for 6 months now. I have tried google searching for possible diseases or fungus. Nothing appears to match my frogs symptoms. If you can please let me know what you think this could be and a possible solution to help it!
Thank you for your time,
<Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question about my albino African clawed frog     6/24/19
Thank you for getting back to me. I am going to change the gravel & try to find the antibiotics today.
<Glad to help and good luck! Neale.>

3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky  14 megs...   2/16/19
My female frog laid eggs twice last month and seemed lethargic before and after, which is her normal behavior during this time.
<And not uncommon among amphibians, post-egg-laying.>
The lethargy didn't go away and her tank was pretty filthy, but she was eating, as far as I know.
<Always a good indicator of overall health; if you see your frog eating, it's probably okay, or at least treatable even if there are signs of injury or disease.>
This past Monday when I came home and went over to her and looked at her face to face, the tip of her face (nose and mouth area) looked cyanotic. I panicked and figured her tank water was possibly poisoning her or asphyxiating her, so I quickly took her out of her tank and put her in her temporary tank with straight tap water.
<When amphibians (or for that matter fish) look oxygen-starved, a good approach is to lower the water level so that splashing from the filter is increased. This raises oxygen level. Since water quality might also be a factor, doing a substantial water change is always a good idea too. Physically transporting stressed animals to another tank might be worth doing, but only if the new aquarium has otherwise identical conditions (water chemistry and temperature in particular) or at the very least you slowly adapt them (which might be necessary if the home aquarium was too warm, for example, and while cooling the frogs down is necessary, you'd need to do so in stages to avoid shock).>
There was no time to let the water air itself out for 24hrs. I figured it couldn't be any worse than the water she was in, which seemed to be hurting her.
<Unfortunately this isn't always a good approach. Sudden changes, even to the better, can cause shock. Best to make small, incremental changes across a long period of time. For example, you could lower the waterline to increase splashing from the filter, while changing 10-20% of the water every couple of hours.>
I also remembered talking to a worker at a PetSmart who said he had the same species frog and kept it in a small tank in the bathroom and always just replaced the water with straight tap.
<Unwise. Chlorine will cause stress. Some water contains ammonia too, and again, severe source of stress.>
I then proceeded to clean the entire tank, complete water and media change in the filter.
<Do not change all of the filter media please, ever! No more than 50% at any one time, and at least 6 weeks before changing more media. Chemical media, such as carbon, is the exception. But filter wool, ceramic noodles, sponges, etc. should not be changed too often.>
I did leave the slightest, slightest water at the bottom of the tank with the gravel. Cleaned her plants, rocks, and cave by hand under tap water, didn't scrub them clean like I usually do to remove the greenish stuff that grows on them. I figured there was some good bacteria on there for her safety, since I did a 99% water change. There was a lot of old ReptoMin pellets and about 3 old shrimp mixed with the rocks, also some loose skin. The tank definitely needed a good clean.
<I dare say. But keep changes to a minimum. Cleaning out muck (e.g., with a net, or by removing rocks for cleaning under a tap, or by using a turkey baster to pipette out muck will all be fine). But doing a deep clean where you remove everything, even the water, is really a risky move. In theory it's fine if the new water is identical (water chemistry and temperature) to the old water, and the biological filter media is left intact, but these are things you should plan around before you get started. Otherwise, the risk is you'll remove the filtration bacteria and/or expose the frog or fish to dramatic changes in water chemistry and temperature.>
I had expired ammonia and nitrate/alkalinity strips which I used and the water indicated to me within normal limits. The cyanotic appearance on her face looked like it was worsening, and when I used the test strips in her temporary tank they didn't come out as good as her newly cleaned permanent tank, so I placed her bank into her permanent, full time tank, all within about 4 hrs. She seemed to settle back into her tank, but didn't eat anything. That was 3 days ago and still hasn't eaten anything at all.
<Looking at the photos, your frog looks bloated, very bloated. Chances are you're dealing with a bacterial infection. I'm going to direct you to some reading, here:
You're going to need antibiotics alongside aquarium salt (at a dose of around 2 gram per litre of water). The antibiotic will help deal with the infection, while the salt helps remove some of the bloating, reducing the symptoms.>
The clean tap water has now had a chance to air itself out, with her in the tank. Could it just be that everything was to shocking to her system?
<Could indeed.>
I would also say that today her face looks normal again, no more reddish purple appearance, thank goodness! The only thing she has ever eaten are ReptoMin pellets and freeze dried shrimp (which she normally LOVES, but wants no part of now), she doesn't eat anything at all. I just noticed that she's laying on top of her tall plant, which goes to the top of her water. She loves laying at the tippy top, but hadn't been doing that either, until now for a short while. She seems better today then yesterday, except for the not eating anything. I read in a website that they can go for a month without eating, so that would give me time to see improvement. What could be wrong, what can I do?
<See above.>
Should I wait and keep observing her, or should I take her to the animal hospital?
<Some vets can advise, but chances are they'll simply recommend antibiotics and salt as mentioned above. Xenopus are widely kept in labs, so there's a good literature available on their healthcare. This is unlike the situation for most other amphibians, which is one reason Xenopus are a good choice for hobbyists.>
They have specialists which specialize in exotic pets...I've never taken her anywhere. She's always been great. I'm attaching a few photos. I appreciate any help and guidance, thank you in advance.
Mary Luz
<Do hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: 3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky     2/16/19
Hello Neale and thank you for your thorough response, I really appreciate everything you wrote.
<Glad to hear it!>
I know she may appear bloated to you, but not to me.
<Maybe not, but I do believe she looks bloated. If you very carefully handle her, you would feel she's a bit "puffy" to the touch, but I would not recommend trying this unless you understand how easily amphibians are damaged when handled roughly.>
She's normally bigger up top and her thighs are usually a lot more chunky.
She's definitely thinned out a lot along the bottom side of her back, I can see a thinner waist with the end of the ribcage I imagine. I mean, you know a lot better than I do as to what a bloated ACF looks like, so I don't really know.
<Do look on Google for some photos and make your comparisons. After all, you're best placed to judge, not me!>
If she takes the antibiotics and the salts and didn't really need them, can they hurt her?
<No, if used as stated. Xenopus tolerate salt very well, so 2 gram/litre will have no negative impact on her health. Wild specimens even occur in brackish water! The antibiotics will hopefully treat whatever underlying problem you're dealing with.>
Also, can she live up to a month without eating?
<Yes. Easily, if she was in good shape beforehand. Of course I'd still offer enticing meals every 4-5 days, and with luck, the medication and salt will kick in, and she'll be ready to eat a few days after you start treating her.>
By the time I order the antibiotics and salts and get them, it will be a few days. It would probably be quicker if I took her into the hospital?
<If you are prepared to do that, and a vet is willing to treat a frog (do call them first, some don't) then yes, a visit to the vet is always the best possible move.>
And hopefully they will have everything at hand. Do you have these supplies?
<No. I'm in England, where antibiotics are prescription-only, so I'd be visiting a vet for them. Salt, of course, is sold anywhere, and non-iodised (sometimes called "kosher") table salt will do the trick just fine. Just be sure to thoroughly dissolve the required dose in warm water first, then add it to the aquarium, a little at a time, across an hour or so. If your tank contains 60 litres for example, you'd dissolve 120 grams into a kitchen jug of warm water, and then add that in stages across an hour. With each subsequent water change, add the necessary amount to each bucket, so if you change 9 litres (a typical small bucket) then you'd add 18 grams to that bucket, dissolve thoroughly, then add to the tank.>
Are you in NJ by any chance.
Is she going to die?
<I hope not. Xenopus are extremely tough animals, which is why they're such popular lab animals. But amphibians are difficult to treat since we're not really clued up on their medical needs. So I'd be optimistic, but can't offer a guarantee.>
On Monday, when I put her into the temporary tank, I also remember the back of her left thigh starting to appear darkish purple under the skin. I was wondering if there was an organ there that was being affected at the time.
<Dark patches on the legs might be bruising, but do also be aware of Red Leg, described on the webpage on Xenopus health I sent you last time.>
That went away that night after I placed her back into her permanent cleaned tank. The only thing that stands out to me now, is a faint blemish she has on her chest/belly area, slightly to the left of her midline. It's very minor, but that's the only thing that stands out to me, except for her looking thinner. That blemish I have to say was there before Monday when I came home and she looked cyanotic. I thought maybe she had hurt herself somehow, but is still there. Could that be a sign of a bacterial problem?
<Could be; or bruising from rough handling.>
Thank you again for your help.
Mary Luz
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: 3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky.... crashed our mail svc....  Another 17 plus megs... TOO LARGE FILES/Deleted  Sorry to all else who tried to write in; this person didn't follow our guidelines    2/16/19
I forgot to include this picture, I tried to get the blemish, but didn't come out to clear. Also, I took about an inch level of water tonight after reading your email, so the water has more splash and gets oxygenated better.
<That should help. Neale.>

Re: 3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky       2/17/19
SHE ATE!!! She just snatched a freshly placed pellet and pulled it into her mouth!! So happy I could cry.
<Good news indeed.>
She only took one, but that's such an improvement. I often wonder if she has trouble seeing. Thank you again for all the feedback, so appreciated.
I will continue corresponding regarding her progress if you don't mind, until she's back to normal.
<Sure thing.>
It's like consulting with your mom when you have your first baby and feel lost and scared when they're sick and you have no idea as to what to do.
<Understood. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: 3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky       2/17/19

Hello again....thought of another question. Pinky laid eggs twice recently. Every time she lays eggs, she ends up eating them, and I let her. After the first time she laid eggs 2 yrs ago. I read online that they could be removed from the tank or left and the frog would just eat them. Do you not recommend this?
<I remove the eggs from my Axolotl tank, and would remove doing so from a Xenopus tank too. Unlikely to cause ill health, but they are extra protein in the tank that will affect (negatively) water quality by placing additional workload on the filter. Whether alive or decaying, eggs will also be consuming some oxygen from the water. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky      3/2/19
<PLEASE stop the madness!~ ONLY small Kbyte files. Yours have been deleted. B>
Regarding Pinky      3/3/19

Hello Wet Web Crew,
I sent out an email last night and was wondering if it had been received.
Thank You,
<Hello! Nothing arrived last night that I saw. Cheers, Neale.>
<<RMF deleted due to too large file size. Did send note Re>>
Re: 3 y.o. Albino African Clawed Frog, Pinky

Hello Neale,
<Hello Mary. Please don't send big files like videos, and if you send images, please resize them to less than 1 MB. The reason for that is that we're all around the world and often rely on phones (or even dial-up modems) to access email. That way we can look for emergency messages even when travelling, as many of us do. But it does mean that big files make it impossible for us to access email or even move files. It's very frustrating. Thanks for your understanding.>
Pinky has made a turn for the worse. :'-(
<Sorry to hear that.>
Not sure what has happened. Last time I communicated with you I was taking her to the vet. I took her, they weighed and examined her, they swabbed the 2 lesions on her chest to check for bacterial infection - was negative, and took a sample and sent it out for a possible fungal infection they say frogs can get.
<All sounds helpful.>
I'm actually still waiting for the results of the fungal infection test. They force fed her, since she was going on 2 weeks of not eating. The vet said Pinky was not considered bloated, since she had been shaped like this for 3 years since I've had her.
<Good to know.>
They suggested x-raying her and doing an ultrasound, but that would have come out to over $1000, the visit was expensive enough.
<Indeed. At some point with these small animals you do the best you can with the budget you have, and if it's more complicating and expensive, euthanasia is the best thing. I agree, spending hundreds, let along thousands of dollars on a small frog would be ridiculous.>
They sent her home with 2 medications, an antibiotic "Baytril" and an antifungal "Sporanox."
<Good choices.>
The instructions were to give both medications for 14 consecutive days as follows: Baytril - 0.05ml by mouth once a day, Sporanox - add 0.5ml to 5L water and place Pinky in bath for 5 minutes once a day. The Baytril was started at the vet's office on 1/17 so they could show me how to administer it, the next day I gave her both medications and continued to do that daily until I left for vacation on 1/20. My good friend who accompanied me to the vet and is an animal lover and vegetarian most of his life, babysat Pinky and continued administering the meds to Pinky on 1/21 and continued until 1/25. On 1/25 my friend noticed that Pinky was swimming like a top, spinning around pretty quickly. He thought it seemed strange, but he didn't know, so he administered the meds that evening. The next day when he arrived at night, he noticed that Pinky seemed off and was still twirling around, so he discontinued giving her meds. Every day he gave her Reptomin pellets in the morning and at night. My friend said up until she started swimming erratically, she seemed calm and seemed to be eating because some of the pellets went missing eventually. I came home from vacation at 11:30pm on 1/28 and when I saw Pinky she was unrecognizable. I turned the lights on and walked up to her tank and she started swimming so fast, but her torso is disfigured and contorted and it basically looked like she was tumbling in a clothes drier. Sometimes she swims in tight twirls in every direction possible, even upside down and backwards, sometimes her legs flap almost entirely backwards as she's moving around quickly. She's not symmetrical anymore, so when she floats at the surface, she floats lopsided, pretty much on her side.
<It's unlikely the medication has caused the symptoms you are seeing. This is one of those times you have to trust the vet. But it does sound as if she's in a bad way. Perhaps the situation is terminal already, to be honest.>
She looks like she had a stroke and when she gets going, she looks like she's having a seizure. I don't know what to do. I feel terrible for taking her to the vet and am wondering if the meds made her this way.
<As I say, this is unlikely. Antibiotics shouldn't normally do anything harmful, and Sporanox is generally regarded as safe. So while it is possible the frog is reacting to them, it is very unlikely.>
What should I do?
<I would on principle always follow the vet's instructions. Especially with antibiotics, there's the problem of antibiotic resistance that happens if you don't follow the full treatment. On the other hand, I would do everything practical to ensure the frog is not stressed: water changes as often as practical, darkness, warmth.>
I wish I knew if she was suffering.
<As do I.>
I believe she has been eating.
I got a little video of her swimming around erratically, but am afraid to send it and cause your server to crash.
<It may indeed, or at least make it very difficult to manage the email. It doesn't take much for the email account to "fill up" (I think it's 50 MB) and once that happens, new messages are bounced back to the senders, crew members can't move emails to their folders, and other annoying things.>
I am including some pictures I took on 2/29.
Thank You,
<Hope this helps. If things don't improve in the next couple days, and the symptoms become worse, I'd certainly be considering euthanasia at this point. Cheers, Neale.>

Question Regarding African Clawed Frogs     10/18/18
Hi there, I was wondering if there are any sorts of diseases/bacteria/etc. that are transmissible from ACFs to humans.
<As with any aquatic pet, the most common transferrable diseases are Salmonella-type food poisonings. Not from the animal itself, but from decomposing organic matter around the aquarium. Touch the tank, touch your mouth, and boom, the bacteria can get inside you. Of course most people are fine and never experience a problem, it's a good habit to treat an aquarium as you'd treat raw meat, and after handling, wash your hands accordingly.>
About a week and a half ago, I ended up having some frog water splash into my eye, not a huge amount, but enough that I decided to rinse the eye out with eye wash once I had finished with the water change. Around 4 days ago my eye started becoming very bloodshot and hasn't cleared up so far. Maybe I just hit my eye in my sleep and didn't notice or something but just in case, it'd be nice to know if there's anything in particular to keep an eye on. Thanks.
<Unlikely to be anything serious, but if bacteria-laded water or organic material gets in the eye, it can trigger conjunctivitis. No different to when you get soil in your eye, or anything else not completely clean. Best to consult your GP or an optician, who'll likely suggest the use of some sort of antibacterial eye drop. Cheers, Neale.>

ACF Tadpole Die-off     10/13/18
Over the last few months I decided to raise around 80 African Clawed Frog tadpoles and for the most part, things have gone fine. 3 days ago, I was down to my last 4 tadpoles, in the 10 gallon tank, within 2 days, 3 of the
last 4 had died off and my last tadpole looks like this (see attached image).
<I see.>
In the last day, the end of the tail went limp like the other 3 before they died but in this case, the tadpole's tail end has essentially just rotted off, it's the only occupant of the tank nothing could have bitten it. All of the water parameters are normal, no ammonia, nitrites, nitrates,
<I doubt nitrates are zero. So if your test kits are offering these numbers, you probably should distrust them. Zero ammonia and nitrite are certainly possible, indeed, preferred; but since nitrate is the end product of filtration, it should accumulate over time between water changes.>
the GH and KH are constant.
<Constant what? As a reminder, neutral, medium hardness water is the ideal.
Water temperature should be around room temperature, 18-20 degrees C being ideal for the classic Xenopus laevis species most widely traded. Avoid excessively high temperatures, and similarly, avoid chilling and/or exposure to cold air. Xenopus tropicalis is less commonly traded, and requires warmer water (24-28 C) and prefers softer water chemistry.>
About 2 weeks ago, when there were 7 left, I altered the water change schedule to 50% every 3 days since the parameters were staying constant.
<Do remember water changes need to be more or less daily, and ideally twice daily. Xenopus tadpoles, like baby fish, are very sensitive to 'old' water, especially in small tanks. The easiest approach is to reduce the number of
tadpoles per tank, which puts less pressure on water quality, and in turn makes it easier to rear them successfully. Trying to rear huge numbers can be an overwhelming task. Do be ruthless about removing uneaten food and
dirt (turkey basters are ideal for spot cleaning) while also ensuring more, small meals rather than 1-2 big meals.>
The only issue I've had was the heat going out in the house for 3-4 days but the lowest the house dropped to was about mid 60s (F).
<Might be a bit cold, especially if there were cold draughts of air as well.>
As of 2 days, after the first tadpole had died and the others were acting sluggish, I restarted daily 50% (looking back, I would've gone with 30% but I've been a bit burnt-out these last two weeks) changes on the 10 gallon. My
thinking was that perhaps the water wasn't being properly oxygenated on the every 2 days water change schedule but now with this tadpole's Finrot-like symptom, I'm just baffled - each of the others had the same tail tip droop
but none of them lasted long enough for it to progress to more than a droop. (Note: the final tadpole just died early this morning but I'd still like to figure out what on earth happened to prevent anything like this in the future should I decide to raise more tadpoles at a later date).
<While the tail-drooping is remarkable, it may be more a reflection of general failure to thrive rather than some specific disease or problem.>
Additionally, I've fed them Xenopus express tadpole food daily for the past 160-odd days since the tadpoles hatched. Over the last few days, after the heat went out, the last 4 tadpoles all became lethargic and stopped eating/actively swimming. Each of them were receiving about 0.3ml of the tadpole suspension a day in the week prior every afternoon, Xenopus Express' feeding instructions assume you're raising the tadpoles in bulk and don't translate well to smaller numbers. I had almost no issues while I was dealing with a large number of tadpoles but once I was under 20, I found myself a bit uncertain of a good feeding schedule/amount, I'd welcome any suggestions on how much to feed a single tadpole.
Thank you for any advice.
<Hope this helps. Neale.>

African Aquatic clawed frog has yellow back legs      4/15/18
I have two 14 year olds that are wonderful.
<I'm assuming you're talking about frogs here, not children!>
One has a yellow color under back legs now. I asked Grow A frog about this and they said it is normal with age.
<Perhaps. Never seen it myself. They do become paler with age though, that's true enough.>
What are your thoughts? The other one is fine and has not changed color.
<Assuming the frogs are otherwise healthy, and there's no sign of, for example, bloating or lesions on the skin, I'd 'watch and wait' for the time being. Chances are it's nothing too alarming. I mean, you could try an antibiotic as used against Red-Leg, such as Maracyn Plus, just in case, as that's the most likely serious problem that causes damage to the legs of these frogs.>
The water is Eldorado Spring water/ They live in a long 20 gal aquarium. No filter just PVC tunnels. I clean the water two times a week. I have a make shift lid that is made from clear acrylic. It covers the middle top of the
aquarium leaving 2-3 inches on each side open. I have jumpy frogs when the weather changes.
<Indeed! Perhaps they are more active if air pressure changes rapidly? Like Weather Loaches?>
They eat pellets from Grow A frog one to two times a day. Otherwise the frog eats and seems normal. Any ideas?
<Not really. Never seen this sort of thing, and while it's good to keep an eye open for bacteria and fungal skin infections, if these frogs have been happy and healthy for so many years, you must be getting the basics right!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

African water clawed frog     1/27/18
I have an African water frog that is currently staying upside down in his tank.
<Doesn't sound good.>
I have had him for about 8 years.
<So, middle aged for Xenopus.>
He has never down this behavior in the past. I thought he was dead.
<I would imagine.>
But when I start to move him or take him out of the tank, he swims away.
Then goes back to the upside down position. Why is he doing this?
<Hard to say. He could be constipated, which can cause problems with swimming. See "floaty, bloaty goldfish" elsewhere on this site for details on how to diagnose and treat this. However, mostly when Xenopus float upside-down there's an infection of some sort. Aquarium store antibiotics should work well with Xenopus, such as Maracyn. Epsom salt (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) can be used alongside the antibiotic for best results. The Epsom salt isn't a medicine as such, but helps to draw out fluids if the frog is swollen, relieving the symptoms while the antibiotic gets to work.>
<Most welcome. Neale.>

ACF Not Eating, Seeking Recommendations     1/4/17
Hello, I have a 15 year old African Clawed Frog that has lost its appetite.
For about 3 weeks he showed a decreased appetite before simply refusing to eat for the last, going on 4, weeks and has refused ReptoMin, several types of worms, and pink salmon. For the last week, he's preferred to nearly
exclusively float on top or lay on the suction cup platform we have that lets him poke his nose out of the water. I've also seen him vomit more than once in the last week. Additionally, he's developed a curious habit of following us as we walk around the tank and swimming/diving away if offered food. About a week ago, I noticed he we stress shedding and had a tiny ammonia burn. After water changes and the use of API stress coat, the burn's gone and his shedding is almost completely gone (there's a minor bit on one of his toes) as of today.
When he first began to lose his appetite, ammonia levels were between 0.5 and 1.0 (for clarification, we use Seachem prime on our tap water due to its natural 0.5 ammonia content, PH is 6.6 out of the tap). About a week
ago, we had the ammonia spike to 2.0 and decided to move up the filter maintenance schedule by 2 weeks and replace 1/2 of the foam sponges, biological media, and carbon. In the meantime, we've conducted daily 30%
water changes to try to maintain consistent water conditions in case the filter begins cycling.
The tank conditions for the past three days:
Date | Ammonia | Nitrites | Nitrates | PH
12/30 | 0.5<->1.0 | 0.25 | 0 | 6.0
12/31 | 0.5<->1.0 | 0.25<->0.5 | 0 | 6.0
01/01 | 0.5<->1.0 | 0.5 | 0 | 6.0
To me it looks like the filter's in the process of cycling. I'm concerned about the PH, for months it was consistently at 6.5, which I believe is on the lower end of the range for ACFs, and I'm not quite sure what caused the decline.
Is there any way to induce the frog to feed? He's lost weight and seems to be weaker than before. Both of the younger frogs are behaving normally.
<15 years is a pretty good age for Xenopus, so you must be doing everything right for the most part! But the issue here is surely water quality and chemistry. Forcing animals to feed is rarely necessary -- if they're 'happy', they'll eat. So let's review. Xenopus in the wild exist in a variety of water chemistry conditions, but the farmed ones -- which have been bred in captivity for decades now -- are much happier in neutral to slightly alkaline conditions. Between pH 7 and 8 is about right, with medium to high levels of hardness, recommended. Xenopus kept in soft and/or acidic water do poorly, and older specimens may be more sensitive than younger ones. So some attention to water chemistry will be important here.
Given your water sounds soft if the pH is anything to go by, hardening it slightly will be helpful. Per 10 gallons/40 litres, try adding 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon Epsom salt. This should provide medium hardness water with a pH around 7.5; perfect for Xenopus! Do also remember that biological filtration works more slowly below pH 7, and below pH 6 may even stop altogether. Next up, the ammonia. Do make sure you use water conditioner to neutralise ammonia in the tap water, but also ensure the filter is up to the job. Really, there's no 'safe' ammonia level -- anything above 0 is bad. While neutralised tap water ammonia may still be detected, nitrite should certainly be zero (unless of course there's nitrite in your tap water, but that's relatively rare). Beef up the filter perhaps, replacing carbon (if used) with more biological media. Hope this helps, Neale.>

African clawed frog bloat    4/13/17
Your site is without a doubt the most informative on various issues/topics.
<Thank you.>
Neale emailed me the other day but I have another question. We have an African clawed frog with soft bloat and am working hard to save/help him.
We have been doing the Epsom salt soaks. I just received the product Maracyn II today and need to find the right dose. I'm going to treat him in hospital tank. Can the dose be adjusted with the same effectiveness in 1 gallon of water?
If so what would the dose be? The Maracyn II is in powder form. Recommended dose is 2 packets in 10 gallons of water.
<2/10 = 0.2; i.e., one-fifth of a packet per 1 US gallon.>
If effectiveness will be compromised I will use 10 gallons of water.
<Realistically, once you open the packet of medicine, oxygen gets in, and the antibiotic won't stay "good" for long. So unless you plan on using up the rest of the Maracyn within the next few weeks, I wouldn't economise too
much. If I recall, you dose once, then a couple days later, dose a second time. That being the case, I'd save one packet of Maracyn II somewhere cool and dry, and only open one. Put half of that into 5 gallons of water, stir
well, remove the old water from the aquarium, and put this new, medicated (and dechlorinated) water for the tank. Roll up the packet tightly, store inside an airtight bag or container, and store carefully away from moisture
and bright light. Then when the second dose comes around, I'd use the other half of the packet in a new 5 gallon container of water, dechlorinate, and then use as before. Make sense?>
As well, do I still soak Michael in the Epsom salt the same day as I do the Maracyn II treatment? (of course in 2 separate treatments)
<Yes, you can use Maracyn II alongside Epsom salt.>
Thank you
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: African clawed frog bloat (RMF, feel free to edit out the drugs ref.)<Mmm; I'd leave. B>    4/13/17

Hi Neale,
Thanks again for your quick response.
I'm a bit dumb with math.
Do I split the powder dose (one packet) into 5 doses, then add one of those doses to a 1 gallon tub of dechlorinated water, in which I would put Michael in?
<It's 2 packets in 10 gallons, correct? If so, then 1 packet in 5 gallons.
Or one-fifth of a packet in 1 gallon. The problem is really dividing a small packet of white powder into 5 equal portions -- perhaps find your friendly neighbourhood coke dealer to help with this bit!>
I am trying to treat him out of the tank in a separate bucket. As well, how long would I soak Michael?
<Follow the instructions on the packaging, but normally Maracyn 2 is added to an aquarium and left like that for at least 24 hours. Antibiotics are very poorly absorbed through the skin and mouth this way, so it takes a long time for the fish or amphibian to get enough antibiotic inside them to get better. So if your vivarium contains 1 gallon of water, then just add the Maracyn 2 to that water and leave it be.>
P.S. We got him to eat fresh chunks of salmon! I have read salmon is good for them. Do you know if salmon can be a regular diet?
<Certainly once a week should be no problem at all; indeed, being oily it contains a lot of fat-soluble vitamins absent from other foods. HOWEVER, oily fish is messy, so I tend to use it just before doing a water change. I
would not use oily fish as a staple though. It isn't really an appropriate food for frogs, especially when there are other, more balanced food items out there, such as earthworms.>
Many thanks again,
<Welcome. Neale.>

Seeking ACF Medical Advice       4/11/17
Hello, one of our ACFs died yesterday (only 5 years old), presumably due to an ammonia spike or bacteria due to a weakened immune system. The tank has had issues with ammonia over the past two months and the frogs we
excessively shedding. We became concerned about his health two weeks ago when he refused to eat. Typically, we feed the frogs ReptoMin pellets but decided to try red wrigglers last week to see if he would eat. He ate two decently size worms and satisfied us that his appetite had returned (he's always been a light eater). five days later we found him floating around the top of the tank, we were unable to see bloating and when approached, he swam back to the bottom of the tank before swimming back to the top to float about fifteen seconds later. The next morning we found him floating dead in the tank. Ammonia was a little over 2 ppm.
Immediately I removed the deceased frog and took several pictures (Link: http://imgur.com/a/rTL8b) and proceeded to clean out the entire tank along with all decor. The other three frogs were returned to the tank, all gravel at the bottom was removed to prevent future trapping of waste and I started them on a round of tetracycline to be safe. Wanted to get a second opinion and ask how long to wait to place the biological media back into the filter after the carbon has been reintroduced to clear out the remaining tetracycline four days from now.
<I agree that this does look like a systemic bacterial infection following exposure to some environmental stress, but without doing detailed microscopy, it's hard to be sure. I think your approach of cleaning out the tank, doing water changes, and treating with an antibiotic is a good one.
Antibiotics generally lose their effectiveness within 24 hours in the warm, oxygenated environmental of an aquarium, so I wouldn't worry about waiting too long between the last dosage and removing the carbon. It's not as if residual tetracycline will cause any problems. Let me also stress the importance of doing the complete course of tetracycline as recommended by the manufacturer or your vet. Incomplete courses of antibiotic are the major factor behind antibiotic resistance, and we all have to play a part in staving off this particular doomsday scenario! Regards, Neale.>
Re: Seeking ACF Medical Advice      4/19/17

Hello Neale, finished the full course of tetracycline and two of the frogs are back to eating.
<A very good sign.>
The female, age five, however, has been shedding profusely and refuses to eat regardless of the food since the other frog died.
<Less good, but probably not a huge amount you can do at this point. Give it a week, keep up with water changes, and see what happens. If her condition worsens, for example she is obviously losing weight, then a
second full course of antibiotics might be helpful. But do also try offering a range of foods, for example earthworms, even if she's off her
normal fare.>
Water conditions: Nitrates 20 ppm, Nitrites 0 ppm, ammonia 1 ppm. Current course of action we're thinking is to continue water changes every 1-2 days (dependent upon water conditions) to control ammonia levels between weekly feedings, though we're certainly open to suggestions.
<What you're doing seems fine. The ammonia is a problem though, and may well be causing the shedding -- so using an ammonia remover, such as Zeolite, in the filter could be very helpful. Certainly, optimize/increase
filtration (e.g., by adding an extra filter, or simply increasing flow-rate through the existing filter) ensuring biological media is of the best possible quality/type. Xenopus aren't especially ammonia sensitive in the
short term, but 1 ppm is quite a high amount by any standards; I would not be feeding at all like this, and probably wouldn't feed until at/almost zero.>
We also have a second full course of tetracycline on hand if you think it may help.
Thank you,--AR
<Good luck! Neale.>

African clawed frog       4/11/17
<Hello Shelley,>
I have been trying to find the topic on soft bloat in an African clawed frog but cannot seem to find it. My 12 year old ACF whom we have has since baby has developed soft bloat in the last month. My questions are:
Can he possibly get better on his own?
<In all honesty, it's unlikely.>
Is soaking in Epsom salt bath safe and does it help?
<Use of Epsom salt alongside antibiotics can help reduce swelling, yes, but Epsom salt draws out the fluid a bit -- it doesn't kill the bacteria responsible.>
Will the product Maracyn help?
<Yes, or something like this. Tetracycline or some antibiotic, especially against gram-negative bacteria, which is usually what you're dealing with here (Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, etc.). A reptile shop catering to amphibians
like these should be able to help, but failing that, an aquarium shop with antibiotics for use treating Dropsy should work too.>
As well, we just fed him his first night crawler today. He went crazy for it, swallowed it then regurgitated the whole worm after few minutes. The worm was still alive so we took it out of the tank so Michael doesn't get stressed. Do you think he spit it out because it was moving around in his belly? And/or could it be because he's not used to eating worms yet?
<Hard to know unless you speak fluent frog! But seriously, if he's snapping at food, that's a good sign. Just try something smaller tomorrow.>
We're trying to do all the right things to help our buddy. Any feedback would be so much appreciated.
<Hope this helps. Let me direct you to some reading, too...
Cheers, Neale.>

Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?       9/4/16
<Hello, and thanks for making an effort to provide a useful image!>
I’ve been having an issue with one of my female clawed frogs for about a month now. I noticed some kind of bruises on my frog’s mouth, I contacted a vet that has some experience with amphibians but he was unable to help since he was not familiar with this species.
<Xenopus is very widely kept my scientists, and only occasionally as a pet. Can I direct you to some reading directed at scientists?
You're almost certainly dealing with some sort of opportunistic bacterial infection, perhaps Aeromonas but hard to say without a microscope and doing Petri dish cultures
. But the advice given on those websites is what I'd be following. Tetracycline in particular seems to be a good first choice antibiotic. Do remember to use as indicated, and do remember to remove carbon from the filter (if you use carbon).>
I decided to treat this frog with Maracyn 2 per the directions on the package in a hospital tank and he redness was appearing to subside but now it appears to be back again. There is redness around the nostril now too. I’ve tried applying Bacticine with a q-tip to the affected area and Epsom salt baths feeling maybe this was not a bacterial infection and perhaps some kind of physical injury. It looks *slightly* better right now than the picture I’ve attached but I’m not convinced it’s really healing and going away.. there also appears to be a lump on the other side of the mouth you can see from the attached picture too.
Is there anything else I could try? The frogs weight is normal and is still the most eager eater I have out of my four clawed frogs, so whatever this is, she is still acting like her usual self. This frog is kept in a 40 gallon breeder with three other frogs, which are not experiencing any issues.
I’d appreciate any advice I could get, thank you.
<The fact he's still eating is promising. Go with Tetracycline and you should get a result. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?   8/7/16
I’ve placed an order for tetracycline, it was not easy to find any online though. Hopefully the product API sells is sufficient?
<Should be. Be sure to use as indicated. Remove carbon from the filter if used. Antibiotics work better if given orally; baths (i.e., adding to the water) can work but aren't as reliable, may need to be repeated. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?     9/10/16
I started tetracycline treatment in a spare 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter. I went to go change out 25% of the water and add another packet of antibiotics and my frog apparently my frog spawned a clutch of eggs? Pretty weird, I’ve had this frog for over four years and never had this happen before. I even have a oft frisky male with three females and never seen eggs happen, ever. Should this be concerning?
<Nope. Exposure to unusual chemicals has been known to trigger spawning in a variety of amphibians and fishes. Indeed, the whole point of domesticating Xenopus in the 1930s was using them as pregnancy tests -- when drops of urine from pregnant women were added to their aquarium, they'd spawn! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?        9/29/16
I think the tetracycline treatment has been successful. The redness around the snout has gone away for the most part and the nostril appears normal now. The swelling appears to be gone too.
<Great! Lovely to hear some good news from our correspondents... it's usually "oh noes, my fish is sick!" Hope the froggy gets completely better before too long. Cheers, Neale.>

My Albino frog (condition not mentioned)       4/6/15
hi, i have had my albino frog for quite some time buying it when it was hardly any bigger than a Congo frog, It has grown within a Large Community Tank 320L (im from UK so don't use Gallons) and now is what i expect Full Size taking up the most of palm of hand However within the past week i have noticed -kind of hard not to.
That One of its eyes has became Swollen and Red, As if it had gotten some sort of Black eye, however at first thought i thought perhaps it had a run in with one of my Catfish, but as the days passed its mouth seemed to be forced Open and i see a large Red ~Something~ Only be described as some sort of Growth and it shows no signs of Stopping and only getting Worse, The Red Growth is only on one side of the mouth and Seems to be under the Eye as well. Looks like it might be a clump of Red Flesh but i fear it could be a tumor and a Death Sentence to the frog. i don't really have another Aquarium set up suitable for the frog without Risking others or himself being Eaten. If there is anything i can do to Improve his/her Condition i would greatly like to know as i can find little on the internet.
If worse turns to worst and indeed there is nothing i can do, Perhaps there is something i can do to make its Last days as comfortable as possible.
It might be worth a note to mention that all my Fish both Scaled and those without scales are Healthy and fine, Water Conditions are also more than Satisfactory and there is no Problems with other Tankmates.....Plus there is nothing missing from my tank so he hasn't Eaten someone bigger than he can chew.
i Greatly look forward to hearing back Your Opinions and Feedback, Thanks for listening (Reading).....Lee H.
<Hello Lee. The short answer is that medicating aquatic frogs is somewhat difficult, and the best/most reliable approach is to use antibiotics. A vet will be the easiest source of these, which is awkward I know, but in the UK, the only legal way to obtain antibiotics. Your frog would appear to have an opportunistic bacterial infection, often referred to as Red Leg.
This is invariably fatal unless promptly treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline. A vet will provide you with details on dosing, etc. Expect to pay around £15-30 for treatment, which may include injections (the best way to deliver drugs) rather than stuff you add to the water (a pretty hopeless method in serious cases). The RSPCA and PDSA may also be able to help, and speaking with people in your local reptile pet club or store may provide some tips on vets able to provide useful support. To be clear: there are NO reliable off-the-shelf medications sold in pet stores, which is why prevention of disease in amphibians is so important. Mixing frogs with fish invariably goes wrong eventually, and while it's hard to say what the immediate cause of your problems was, damage by a catfish or some other spiny aquarium resident is one possibility, even when the frogs aren't kept with predatory or aggressive fishes. Cheers, Neale.>

ACF went rigid during water change       6/23/14
I've just experienced something horrifying and was hoping for some information! I have a young African Clawed Toed and was just moving him to a holding tank while I cleaned his tank. (The filter was apparently not working well so the tank needed some extra TLC.) I used a net to catch him and as I went to put him into the new tank his whole body went rigid and stayed that way.
<Ah, yes... actually a quite common "reflex defensive mechanism" quite a few animals employ to ward off predation... That is, having their bodies go tense, unmoving if/when frightened, in a dangerous situation.>
I assume he's dead and my heart is breaking. Was it a heart attack? Stroke? Impossible to know?
<Could be; but I would not "toss" the animal just yet>
When I purchased him he had a nub for an arm and a bum eye (clouded over and sunken in). He was my little rescue frog and was healing very well (his arm had grown back and was just missing fingers!) Before catching him for cleaning tonight he was moving about and avoiding the net more than usual. He seemed mad while in the net and would not chill out. It's like he tried to hop out of the net and was frozen in time. He's in the holding tank now with just enough water to cover his body, but not so much that his nose is under water.
When I first put in he would move his torso every so often as though to take in air, but that could have been residual muscle twitching, I suppose. I haven't seen movement in about an hour now, just almost standing on the rocks with his legs stick straight and his arms straight by his sides. I'm pretty
devastated. Is there any hope?
<Yes there is. Bob Fenner>
Re: ACF went rigid during water change       6/23/14

Almost 20 hours later and Rigor Mortis has set in, so it would seem that he has left us.
Thank you for your quick response, it helped me calm down enough to get through the work day. Information is so powerful in that way.
My guess is a cardiac event due to the blood pooling. Thank you again. I'm so glad that you were there to help.
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

gagging frog    1/6/14
I have an African clawed frog for the past two days he has been "gagging".
I thought he was dead because he was tank on his back. When i got the net to get him he moved i don't want to lose him. How can i help him?
<Can't help without knowing something about the environment. Just to recap, you need an aquarium (at least 5 gallons, preferably more); a heater (not optional, the water needs to be at 25 C/77 F); a filter (again, not optional); and the right sort of food (you can buy frog pellets or use a variety of small frozen foods like bloodworms and brine shrimps). In the meantime, have a read here:
Also follow the links at the top. Virtually all problems with aquatic frogs are related to their environment, i.e., how well (or not) they're kept.
Hope this helps, Neale.>

African Clawed Frogs; hlth.      12/30/13
Hi. I had two African Clawed frogs, a male and a female, each a little over a year old. I changed out their water about 3 weeks ago and my female laid eggs all over the tank. This was her first batch, I never saw them mating, and none of them hatched. After she laid the eggs she stopped eating completely, but my male seemed fine. Tonight I found her dead at the bottom of the tank. Do you have any idea what happened? Should I be worried about my male?
<African Clawed Frogs, Xenopus laevis, should live for at least 10 years in captivity, so if one dies after only a year or two, then you should definitely review environmental conditions, diet, and other aspects of healthcare. Or put another way, yes, you should be concerned, if not actually worried. As for specifics, it's impossible to give any insight without information on the size of their aquarium (should be at least 10 gallons, preferably 15+ gallons); diet (varied, no "feeder fish", and only fed every other day); temperature (subtropical, around 20 C/68 F); and water quality (filter essential, plus at least 25% water changes weekly).
Start by having a read here:
Xenopus are legendarily long-lived animals under the right conditions, but they are prone to dietary problems as well as bacterial infections if not maintained correctly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Clawed Frogs     12/31/13
Thank you for responding so quickly. My frog is kept in a filtered 10 gallon tank, but it is not heated.
<One possible problem right here. Do remember these animals come from Africa. So while they don't particularly need very warm conditions, they do need warm room temperature upwards. In a centrally heated home kept around 20-22 C/68-72 F then a heater won't be needed. But cooler than this isn't recommended.>
His tank is at 65F right now. Is this too far away from 68?
<It's a little cool for good health, yes. Is there a warmer room in the house? Alternatively, get a fish tank heater (preferably one with a wrap-around plastic grill to prevent burning) or use an angle poise light with a bulb (a regular incandescent could work, but a reptile vivarium heat lamp would be better). So lots of options depending on your cost and convenience needs. Do note that the warmer the frog, the more active it will be, and the faster (and therefore better) it will digest food.
Increased metabolism also boosts their immune response, reducing the risk of disease. So while you can keep Xenopus in quite cool water, adding a little warmth has many benefits.>
He also eats pellets every day.
<A good sign. But do try varying the diet a bit. Earthworms are an exceptionally good treat, rich in minerals and vitamins. But even better, their guts contain partially digested plant material that provide useful fibre that will minimise constipation, a common problem when animals are kept in tanks. If you collect your own, obviously avoid anywhere pesticide sprays have been recently used.>
I've tried feeding him worms and shrimp, but he didn't seem to like them.
<Hunger makes the best sauce! Don't be afraid to starve your Xenopus for several days, even a week before trying something new. That said, modern pellets are an excellent staple, provided you're buying a good quality brand. Labs that maintain Xenopus use nothing else and have great success.
There's a very good summary of their needs here:
This is designed for people keeping them in labs, but the basic rules apply to pet Xenopus too.>
I will check the pH of his water, try skipping a couple days of feeding per week, and try shrimp again.  He doesn't appear to have any sores or lesions though. Thank you again for responding and the reading.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Albino dwarf frog ailment... Not... actually Xenopus, fdg., rdg.     6/21/13
My 3-year-albino dwarf frog has not eaten for 30 days. I have seen it swim around the tank vigorously when I drop his usual diet of a block of frozen blood worms
<... search WWM re these sewer worm, Chironomid larvae. A poor staple food>

 into the tank. Instead of searching for and eating the worms in one gulp as usual, it just swims back up to the top of the water and spends most of the time motionless in one spot, hanging onto the tops of plastic plants with its claws. There are small pieces of shredded skin hanging off its body and it of course looks thinner after not eating for 30 days, but no sign of disease. It is four inches long,
<... this isn't Hymenochirus (ADF) but Xenopus (ACF) likely... Let's stop here and have you read:
Scroll down. Bob Fenner>
 living alone in a 10 gallon tank with 2 plastic plants, a plastic cave, and a plastic frog statue. I changed the filter and the water, but have not changed the temperature of the water.  Last year when it stopped eating for just a few days, several dark spots developed on its stomach and then disappeared. I have not seen any other signs of discomfort or disease besides not eating and peeling skin. How can the frog stay alive for so long without eating and have the
energy to  swim around? What should I try to encourage the frog to eat?
 Re: Albino dwarf frog ailment

Thank you for your help. We will try a better diet and search at the websites you suggested.
<Ah good>
Just as I sent my email to you, my son offered the frog his regular diet by holding the worms up to its mouth with a tweezers and the frog ate the whole block in one gulp! I am still quite curious to know how it could stay alive without eating for a month.
<...search re Xenopus laevis... very tough animals... used in research for various studies... as well as ornamentals. Again, the diet you have results in deficiency syndromes, as well as outright disease... including for folks handling the fly larvae... Read. BobF>

Red Feet/Safe Plants... for...?    5/16/13
<Hello Amanda,>
I have three African Dwarf frogs that I keep in well-water only in a medium-sized terrarium jar.
<Very far from ideal.>
Typically I am very adamant about changing their water as soon as it begins to appear cloudy, but this week I was stupid and lazy and didn't until it was really icky.
<A good reason why an aquarium with a simple filter, even one as small as 5 gallons, would be an improvement. These little frogs are not messy animals, and an air-powered filter does an excellent job keeping the water clean.>
When I change them, I put them in a small vase with clean water to allow them to swim and rinse themselves off.  Usually it's only for several hours, but I noticed one of my frogs were shedding so I left them in there until it was done--this took two days.  Tonight I was letting them move around in our kitchen sink--we rinse it and put a little well-water in the bottom--when I noticed one of them had red feet.
<Very bad.>
So I picked him up and was holding him on a paper towel and saw his feet are bleeding! :(  What does this mean, and is there anything I can do? 
Right now he's in the little vase in some clean water with a handful of the river rocks we keep in the big jar. 
<There's something called "Red Leg" in frogs that's often a death sentence.
It's an opportunistic infection that usually comes about when the frogs have been physically damaged and/or kept in dirty water. There's an excellent summary here:
Early on the infection can be treated, but once established it's very difficult to cure.>
Also, we have an abundance of spider plants at our house, and we were wondering if we could use one of those with the frogs.  Are they safe? 
<Spider Plants (assuming you mean Chlorophytum comosum) aren't good choices for aquatic frog habitats because Spider Plants do best in free-draining soil, so don't like their roots being somewhere damp all the time. Only a few houseplants really thrive in vivaria, mostly those that like humidity.
Classic choices are Syngonium and Philodendron, which can be potted above the waterline but will happily grow down to the water and may even put a few leaves below the waterline without complaint. "Lucky Bamboo" can do well with its roots in the water and the leaves above, but it's very demanding about light, but brightly lit spots in the house may get too hot for your frogs, so approach with caution. In any case, do an online search references "vivaria" with "plants" and you'll find dozens of alternatives.
All this said, because Hymenochirus spp. frogs are fully aquatic, and prefer floating plants best of all, a clump of Floating Indian Fern is probably the best bet.>
Thanks, --Amanda
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Red Feet/Safe Plants   5/16/13

Thank you!
I noticed today that the redness that was encompassing his feet has gone down to mostly be in the webbing of the feet.  I've noticed names of various medicines that have been used or recommended, but for my situation which would you recommend?
<Try a combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2; use as directed on the packaging.>
Also, my mom and currently live with my grandparents--they do not like animals, so I'm lucky to have my frogs and hermit crabs--and so our current situation does not allow an aquarium for them since I already have two for my crabs.  We are working on getting our own house, and we've already decided to get the frogs a nice, large aquarium with a filter when that happens.  And thank you for your plant advice.  We actually have a lot of spider plants that are in jars of water and have been for months now, so that's why we were wondering if they could be used for the frogs, but I'll certainly look into getting one of the plants you recommended! :)
<Do start reading, planning:
…and follow the links. Cheers, Neale.>

"Red Leg" in ACFs    5/19/13
Hi Crew,
<Guten tag, Julia!>
this is not a question, but I´ve just read about the ADF with possible "Red Leg" infection, so I wanted to share my own experiences with this syndrome
(if this is of interest; if not, feel free to ignore this Email ;)).
<Ah, not our style.>
A few months ago, I wanted to get a few buddies for my two ACFs (an adult pair, 42 gal tank, filtered, fully cycled, planted. No problems). I was able to acquire three frogs from a lab (one male, two females), which I moved into a 30 gal quarantine tank first. Smooth sand bottom, two terracotta pots, floating plants, an adequately sized canister filter. I checked the water daily (0 NO2, << 25 ppm NO3, pH 7.2, temp. about 68 °C, moderately hard water).
<All sounds good. But do read this excellent summary by the RSPCA on the care of Xenopus spp in labs, here:
Among other things, a somewhat warmer temperature is recommended, around 22 C. I mention temperature because many tropical animals are sensitive to opportunistic infections when chilled, and even if otherwise tolerant of cool conditions, warming them up can get their immune systems working better.>
They settled in just fine and for the first few days, everything was ok; they were active and always hungry just like my other frogs. But after six days, the new male suddenly became listless and had two tiny red spots on his feet as well as slightly swollen hind legs. I had a bad feeling about that and immediately separated him from the females before doing a large water change in the 30 gal tank. The next morning, he was barely moving and had several severe hemorrhages (he spent the night in a clean tank without any decor, so an injury is out of question). I took him to a vet, but it was too late and he died in the evening of the same day.
<Very sad.>
Because of the very fast progression of this infection (36 hours from a perfectly healthy frog to death), the vet gave me some Baytril to treat the females which didn´t show any symptoms yet preventatively. Luckily, this was successful and I could move them to the display tank four weeks after the end of the treatment.
In this case, I can rule out environmental problems as a cause. The frogs have lived under stressful conditions in the lab and I know of some deaths due to Aeromonas hydrophila in the colony before; I think the inevitable stress from being moved was just too much for this frog.
<Could well have been, particularly if they were handled a bit roughly when moved. Capturing frogs can damage their skin as they rub against the gravel, net or your hands.>
I just wanted to show that this is a very dangerous disease which requires a prompt reaction. The photo shows the frog shortly after its death.
<Thanks for sharing. Hope your other frogs do better. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Red Feet/Safe Plants     5/21/13
I just wanted to let you know that we did get the medicine, and are on the third day of the treatment.  I have been putting both types of Maracyn in the water, which is how I understood what you said previously.  But ever since I started it, a white fuzz has been gathering on my frog.  Is this just from the medicine or is there something else wrong?
<If the threads are fluffy, like cotton wool, then it's fungus. Quite common alongside bacterial infections. Methylene Blue and other anti-fungal remedies may help.>
Also, does the Maracyn cause the frogs pain?
<Should not do so, no; it's merely an antibiotic.>
Because when I sprinkle it in the water, I notice he twitches around and seems like he's trying to escape from it or rub it off on the rocks in the water. 
Thank you!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Bruises on African Clawed Frog    2/5/13
Hello! Last night, and I don't know for how long, my 2 year old albino African Clawed frog Bean managed to somehow get the tube cover off of my water filter, and got himself stuck in the tubing. I got him out, and he looks no worse for ware, but his back legs are bruised. His left leg much more than the right, and he lost one of his claws in this process. His bones seem to be in tact; in his struggle in the filter tube, I think he mostly just had water running over him. The constant flow of water must have bruised him, or his struggling to get out must have bruised him. His webbing between his toes doesn't seem to be torn anywhere, though his toes are a bit swollen from the debacle. I've put him in an isolation tank, with shallow water so he doesn't have to use his back legs so much so he can still peek up and get air. Other than putting in some drops to help prevent infection, and keeping his water warm, is there anything else that you would recommend I do? He's a wonderful well mannered little frog, and otherwise in good health up until this mess. I'm keeping a close eye on him, and he hasn't gotten any worse (or better) in the last few hours.
Thank you so much for any help you can give.
<Damaged frogs can recover well (and their close relatives, Axolotls, are famous for their ability to regenerate missing toes). Your main problem will be secondary infection, i.e., Red Leg. Fish antibiotics can work well, especially if used as a preventative. Do read here:
The problem is that once infection starts, treating is difficult, so prevention is the game here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bruises on African Clawed Frog    2/7/13

Thank you so much for your quick help! He is doing a bit better today, his redness has gone down, and a lot of his bruises are now getting to that kind of white scabby color. He has no new injuries, so red leg or anything hasn't set in as far as I can tell. He is a bit active today, swimming around a lot despite his injured feet. I don't know if this is because he is cranky and in pain, or because of something else. I've noticed a few times after he goes for a swim, he does a few almost has recoiling jerks of his feet as if he's hurt himself by swimming, but that doesn't seem to stop him from swimming around again moments later. He is has a tiny amount of Maracyn in his water to help try to prevent infection.
<Do see the previous linked article; Maracyn II or Maracyn Plus are the ones you want to use, rather than Maracyn. In the US, Maracyn, Maracyn II and Maracyn Plus are widely sold in pet shops.>
It is the best medicine I could get him, it is against the law in my state to get him anything stronger without a vet visit (I think the long car ride would do him in).
<Same in the UK; in any case, your vet will prescribe the best medication AND the best dosage, so strongly recommended.>
Would you recommend anything else? Is it alright for him to be moving around so much with his feet still in poor shape? He is in a large shallow jar about the width of a dinner plate now while he is under observation.
I've attached a photo of him today.
Thank you again, and all the best,
<Red Leg is difficult, even impossible to treat without antibiotics. Call your vet if necessary. At least in the UK, buying antibiotics this way isn't much more expensive than buying regular medications from pet stores that won't work for this sort of thing anyway. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bruises on African Clawed Frog     2/10/13
His injuries are healing well enough, but I think some kind of fungal infection may have gotten to him while his immune system is down. He is twitching a lot mostly in his injured feet, but now his hands. No vet would sell me any antifungal/antibiotic stronger than the Maracyn oxy I have. Is there anything you can recommend? He's a strong little frog, and I'm sure his injuries will heal (his injuries are only in his toes now, as opposed to his whole feet a few days ago) if he has time, but this fungal (?) mystery twitching thing worries me greatly.
<Go to an aquarium shop and buy an antifungal medication. Methylene Blue is an old school medication that should be safe with aquatic frogs, but it's a mild medication and does tend to stain things blue. Where I live, the UK, my favourite medication for fungus and Finrot is eSHa 2000, a good, reliable medication. It's widely sold in Europe but doesn't seem to be sold in the US. In the US, something like Kanaplex would be a good, if not better alternative, combining anti-bacterial with anti-fungal properties.
Cheers, Neale.>

Thank you!!!   3/4/13
Hey there! A few weeks ago, you helped me to treat my frog Bean after he had gotten stuck in his water filter. While he has lost a few toes (though I am hoping they'll come back) he is back to his normal self, alert, swimming around, eating lots and croaking at night. So thank you so much for all of your help in getting better again, I don't think I would have been able to do it without you.
<Ah, this is good news Kelsey; thanks for the update and the kind words.
Cheers, Neale.>

albino frogs, hlth.     12/14/12
We have two albino frogs that we have had in a 10 gallon tank for about a year.
<Are these Xenopus? The African Clawed Frog?>
They have been doing fine, until recently one of the frogs appeared to be stuck to filter in the tank when I came into work in the morning.  At first I thought he was dead, but when I tried to remove him from the tank but he began to move.  So I knew he wasn't dead.   I removed him from the tank and put him in a small tank.  He has just stayed at the bottom of the new tank and occasionally floats upside down.  I use a net to turn him back right side up and he seems to stay that way for a few hours.  He does not appear to be eating or swimming much and his back legs don't seem to move at all. 
The outline of his back feet and the tops of his front arms appear to have a red outline.

The other frog has been rather quiet and not eating either, but I have kept that one in the big tank.  I recently added some plant bulb s which have sprouted in the tank, but I didn't think that these would harm the frogs? 
I have added a few drops of Start Right to both tanks to see if that will help?
Any suggestions on what we can do to save one if not both frogs?
Lori and Adah
<The aquarium is probably too small, but have you tested water quality?
What is the water temperature? What are you feeding these frogs? Xenopus laevis is relatively easy to keep, but they do have some needs, and if you don't provided for them, then things go badly.
Almost certainly you are dealing with something called "Red Leg". It usually happens when frogs aren't kept properly. It's treatable, but you will need a combination of Maracyn II with Maracyn Plus. Otherwise a slow, painful death is certain.
Cheers, Neale.>

ACF hlth... repro.!     12/9/12
Hi I have been researching dropsy or bloating in Xenopus laevis. My frog appears to be bloated but I cannot tell. She has been like this for quite some time.
<May be... full of eggs, perhaps egg-bound>
She appears to active and is eating fine, which is why this has never worried me before. She is housed with an albino male, who does not appear to be bloated at all, in a 20 gallon tank with adequate filtration.
She does eat more then him but she is by no means overfed which is why her size concerns me. I feed her ReptoMin sticks every 3 days.
<I'd add other foods here>
The tank was cooler around 65 degrees,
<Needs to be warmer; this could be a factor>

but with winter coming I have slowly warmed it up to about 72 degrees. Any help would be appreciated, I have attached a picture of her for you to see.
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: ACF hlth... repro.!       12/11/12
Thank you very much. She appears to be improving. Must have been the cold temperature before.
Sincerely, Christopher
<Ah, good. Thank you for this update. BobF> 

Xenopus; health    6/10/12
i have a problem with my male African clawed frog. he is about 10 months old. i was keeping him with my female acf in a 20 gallon tank, with a small mechanical under water filter, doing full water changes once a week, every week. about a month ago i noticed that my male was lethargic and only ate quite little. he seemed to have an appetite, would start eating but then stop very quickly, like he was full. then i noticed some red 'veins' on his belly. he also would stay on top of the water a lot and breathe, keeping his head out, instead of just touching the surface with his nose. i isolated him in a small tank with no filtration and treated him with tetracycline foe 5 days. then i gave him 12 minute long Baytril baths (2,5 mg in 0,5 liters) for 10 days. no medicine was added to the water where he was living and i was doing half water changes every day. he didn't get better, nor worse. after that i treated him with Chloramphenicol - 130,8 mg/g in 30 liters for 3 days. then i left him without treatment for a few days, keeping up with daily water changes. during all treatments he was shedding quite often. as he still didn't get better i treated the water he was in with Octozin for 3 days and since then i have left him without any treatment. what should i do? he hasn't been eating much. after a while he almost stopped. since 3 days ago he's been eating a little more, but not enough or the way he used to and should. just a little more. he sings a lot and since yesterday swims around a lot. but he doesn't look well. red "veins" are more visible on his body - belly and legs. should i start the tetracycline again? is Chloramphenicol more effective? any help is much appreciated!!!
<Do have a read here:
This is a very useful and succinct review of Xenopus health. The likely problem is what we call "Red Leg" which is really any opportunistic bacterial infection, similar to Finrot on fish. For a bit more depth, see the RSPCA (the main UK animal charity) document on Xenopus. While aimed at professionals like scientists who work with these animals, there's much of use for pet owners too.
Section 4.10.4 on Common Diseases discusses Red Leg as well as Nematode infections, the two commonest problems. Diagnosis and treatment are outlined. Pet shops may not be able to provide the necessary antibiotics (specifically, Oxytetracycline) but your vet will surely be able to.
Cheers, Neale.>

Sick ACF! 5/3/12
Hi, my name is Sam and I have had my ACF from about a year now. I changed the water in her 5 gallon tank about 2 weeks ago and she seemed totally fine.
<Aquarium is far too small...>

I noticed this time that the water got really dirty really fast,
<…which is why this happens.>

and when I went to change the water again, I noticed that her front and back legs seemed somewhat pink in color and she seemed a bit bloated.
<And in turn, poor environmental conditions have stressed this animal, weakened its immune system, and now caused what's likely a bacterial infection.>

Her energy seems fine, and she seemed to be eating, but I am a bit worried because of all the stuff that I have read online. I went to the pets store and the lady there told me to use Melafix,
<Useless; don't waste your money on this.>

a product they had to treat bacterial infections.
<Not much chance of success. Melafix is, at best, a preventative. If a frog is healthy but sustained slight damage, it can help to minimise the risk of infection. But that's it. Once infection sets it, Melafix is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.>
I put some in the tank when I got home, but I am still worried about her. Any suggestions about what is wrong with her and what I should do to treat her would be extremely helpful! Thanks again! Sam!
<Do read:
In particular, review comments on bacterial infections, Red Leg, and environmental requirements.>
There is a picture that is attached as well. I know the quality is not good, but she likes to move around so it was the best I could do with my phone. Thanks again!
<Photo too blurry to be any use at all. But hope the linked article will help. Cheers, Neale.>

Xenopus toad query... hlth., env.     2/8/12
Hello, I have two albino Xenopus toads which I bought about two months ago.
The pet shop could not tell me what sex they are and because of how young they are, it is unforeseeable so far. Recently, the larger of the two named Patra has developed what looks like charcoal markings on the bottom of the front feet, and I cannot find any information as to what this could be. They are both housed in a 3 gallon tank (I know this is too small but they
are small at the moment) with two ceramic flower pots and large pebbles and rocks to hide behind. The water is dechlorinated etc. with tap-safe, is kept at 30 degrees and is cleaned about every four days as at the moment there is no filter. They are both fed on Meal worms, blood worms and the occasional bits of meat and catfish pellets, recommended by my exotic pet shop. Can you enlighten me as to what this could be, and should I be worried? thanks
<Hello Chloe. Do start by having a read here:
One of the best web pages to see photos of sick frogs and toads is here:
While Xenopus is normally extremely robust, bacterial infections are not uncommon when environmental conditions aren't right and haven't been for a long time. That web page provides some ideas on suitable antibiotics. Yes, 3 gallons is way too small, and long term, will cause problems. If the toad doesn't seem to have anything similar to what you see on that page of sick toads, and otherwise seems healthy, I wouldn't worry too much for now, just sit and watch them over the next few weeks. Do also be aware of the "nuptial pads" that MALE frogs and toads (including Xenopus) develop on their front legs during the mating season. These may come and go depending on the time of year. You can see photos online. Nuptial pads are used during spawning to hold onto the female. They often look like rough callosities. Cheers, Neale.>

help needed with African frog     3/4/12
I have two African Clawed Frogs in a 40 litre aquarium.  They were doing very well and cohabitated peacefully with the other inhabitants of the tank.  Recently I noticed that one of the frogs was suffering from a swollen leg.  The swelling is in the "ankle"  area just before the webbed feet.  The webbing seems okay but the affected area has become dark black.
The frog is not moving much, preferring to hover near the surface of the water and seems to have difficulty in moving that particular leg.  He is eating normally, but not moving much. The temperature of the water is 78 degree Fahrenheit and I carry out water changes regularly.  The other frog seems to be in good health.  Can you give me some advice as to how to treat this problem?  Thank you very much.
<Hello Donald. Do have a read of this page, here:
Redness and swelling of the limbs is dangerous, and difficult to treat without antibiotics. It's a bacterial infection, but triggered by environmental conditions, so review and act accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: help needed with African frog
Hello Neale,
Just wanted to thank you for finding the time to write back with your valuable advice. The frog's leg is slowly getting better day by day.
Thanks a lot!
<Glad the help was useful. Good luck, and thanks for the kind words.
Cheers, Neale.>

Aquatic frog question. 2/20/12
I have an albino African clawed frog, and just lately she has this slime/mucousy stuff coming from her mouth. Is this normal or is she sick?

I couldn't find any info about this online anywhere!
<Shedding skin as transparent sheets happens from time to time and isn't something to worry about. But white slime or fluff isn't normal, and can be a sign of bacterial infection. Start by reading here:
What aren't you doing that Xenopus needs to stay healthy? Go through that article, and make changes as needs be. There's also a good visual summary of diseases here:
Cheers, Neale.>

My baby African Clawed, hlth. 99 2/17/12
Hello Crew,
I recently saved a baby African Clawed Frog from a local pet store. He was previously rooming with another SCF s little bit older, and was doing absolutely great! I clean their tank (25 gal) weekly, and I found some marks on baby that resemble bruises. I immediately segregated him from the other frog and goldfish. Are there any recommend treatments tot the little guy? Thank you!
<Hmm, if the frog is basically healthy and feeding, you may want to leave things alone. Otherwise, Methylene Blue is a good, mild medication that doesn't seem to harm frogs. Remove carbon from the filter, if used, because that'll neutralise any medication. Naturally, ensure zero levels of ammonia and nitrite by providing good biological filtration, not overfeeding, and doing regular water changes. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Hump on albino African clawed frog 12/9/11
Dear WWM Crew:
I have an albino African Clawed Frog that has been happily sharing a 20 gallon tank with a cichlid for over two years. The frog is about 4 inches long by now. We also have two cats that have always shown fascination for what's going on in the fish tank, and they spend endless hours watching the movements of the frog and fish.
<Hmm fascination isn't quite the word here the cats view both frog and fish as food.>

Just in case, I always tape the lid of the tank and I cover the gap where the pump goes in, in order to prevent "accidents". <Quite so.>
Well, turns out that all this time the cats were actually on a surveillance mission and the other night they finally decided to put to use the intelligence they had been gathering, and launch a strike.
Shortly after we all went to bed, I heard what seemed to be someone gagging and vomiting. I run to my daughters' bedroom only to find them placidly sleeping. I then went downstairs and found the following peculiar scene right by the front door, two rooms away from the fish tank: one cat looking at me with a "I didn't do it" look in his face, another cat violently gagging and throwing up some kind of white foam, and the albino frog on the ground trying to take advantage of the distraction to make a escape.
I immediately put the frog back in the tank and checked for injuries and scratches. All I could see was a little wound in its right hind leg that looked scratched and as if the skin had peeled off.
<Yes; a puncture wound of some sort.>
Otherwise, the frog was swimming and moving around (first frantically, but then it settled down). I have no clue why the one cat that apparently bit the frog was gagging so violently, but the following morning she was ok.
<Some amphibians do secrete mild toxins through the skin, and these can irritate predators. I have seen a housecat foam at the month after biting a European Toad; after a few hours, the cat was fine.>
I have looked it up and I cannot find any data about albino frogs being toxic to cats.
<Yes, Xenopus do have poison glands in the skin.>
The frog also looked fine the following morning, but by the time I came back from work, it had developed an enormous lump in its back.
<Perhaps infection.>
I was hoping it would be swelling from being hit or bitten by the cat, and that it would go away, but it's been four days and the lump is still there. Any clue on what to do about this?
<Could be infected; a vet would probably recommend an antibiotic at this stage. The aquarium is a great environment for bacteria -- warm and wet -- and frogs are notoriously sensitive to such infections. Would have a vet look at the frog. Or else, get a general antibiotic as per aquarium fish, e.g., both Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 together for the widest range of protection, and dose as per aquarium fish.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hump on albino African clawed frog 12/9/11
Thanks! I have already started the antibiotic. Frog seems to be ok, although the lump is still there.
<Okay. Good luck, Neale.>

Your help and advice is much needed. Xenopus sys., hlth.    11/24/11
Dear WWM crew,
Thank you for reading my email. I recently bought an Albino African Claw Froglet.
<Small? Or just a "frog" size of Xenopus laevis I'll take it>
Im not sure of the age. When I first brought him home he was fine. I set up the tank after doing research on this little creature because the pet store that sold him to me didn't know much about their species.
<Mmm, ours: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above>
I have a 10 gallon tank filled up half 2/3 the way. Right now I have a heater, which I keep at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and smooth rock display for hiding places. I decided to keep with a smooth glass bottom with a dark cloth around the outside since I didn't want him accidently eating sand or rocks. I have not gotten a filter
<Absolutely necessary
. Amphibians are very sensitive to accumulated metabolite and variation in water quality>
yet but change the water ever couple of days so its not too messy in the tank. The pet store said that they just put fish pellets for the fish in the tank and guessed that the frogs ate them too, I have bought freeze dried Hikari Tubifex Worms or him to eat. Sadly, now that I've had him for a couple of weeks Im noticing very strange behaviors and I cant seem to find any diseases that match his criteria.
<Highly likely these are all traceable to environment... You NEED an adequate filter>
When I first brought him home I used hard water because I didn't find any articles saying I couldn't. He was fine at first but after a couple of days he started swimming oddly, swimming up to the top and then floating down over and over and when Id turn on the light or walk towards him he'd start thrashing his legs. Doing more research I found out hard metals are toxic so I bought Aqua Safe Plus by Tetra which is a water conditioner and dechlorinator all in one. I changed all of the water and added the conditioner in to fresh water.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
re establishing cycling in aquatic systems. Simply changing the water here won't do>
So to keep you updated on the time frame he was in the hard unconditioned water for about a week then I changed the water with the conditioner. I still used the hard water but I thought the conditioner would help, but he wasn't getting any better, in fact he was getting worse, he was now trashing at random times and spinning so that his belly would be facing up and then he'd flip over for about a minute over and over. Then he would stop and just float around my guess was that he was exhausted from thrashing. Today I decided to get regular city tap water for him and added the conditioner/dechlorinator to the water hoping he would be able start controlling his legs. When he first started thrashing I thought he was just nervous around people but now I fear there is something more going on. It seems almost like he is epileptic and it gets set off by people walking towards him. I haven't moved him to a shallow tank because I often look over and he is floating at the top where he can breathe. The closes symptoms I have been able to notice are cramping leg or slightly paralyzed leg syndrome but I wanted to check in with the experts before I tried any remedies. Any advice you can give would be very helpful. Sorry for the length, I wanted to give you as much detail of the situation as possible. Thank you for your time.
<One last time; this system needs ongoing biological filtration... Is this clear? Bob Fenner>

Skinny Xenopus   9/21/11
I have 4 ACF's (2 male and 2 female) that are all 4 - 4 1/2 years old, housed in a 30 gallon tank. (I realize this may be a bit small for them, that they should be in at least 40 gallons).
<Indeed, but shouldn't be an immediate cause of problems.>
They have been housed the same for at least 3 1/2 years, with 2 filtration systems and a water heater that is set to 75º.
<Sounds good, but do let them cool down in the winter a bit. 72 F/22 C is about right for the winter months. This replicates the subtropical seasons a bit better, and ensures overall better health. But again, unlikely to be a serious cause of problems.>
They are fed both ReptoMin pellets and freeze-dried blood worms about 2 - 3 times a week (read other places that we are not supposed to feed every day/every other day?).
<I'm not too stringent on this aspect. Yes, daily feeding is unnecessary, but at the same time, daily feeding won't cause problems if the water quality is good. The main thing is you have clean water (0 nitrite and 0 ammonia) and frogs that are neither skinny nor fat, but gently rounded about the abdomen.>
We recently started feeding, as a treat, frozen cubes of shrimp. (Not sure what brand...bought at Petco. Tiny shrimp frozen into cubes). We have also fed earthworms as a treat once every few months or so. Their tank is also bedded with small gravel rocks (the colored type). I know from reading about these frogs that these types of rocks are not recommended, but we had never had any problems with them before, so we never removed them.
<Again, rocks are unlikely to cause problems if they're smooth. Jagged rocks are a serious risk, as is sharp gravel. Rounded gravel might annoy the frogs because they can't dig, but shouldn't cause problems. Occasionally frogs swallow gravel, and that is serious, but it's a rare problem. Smooth silica sand is the ideal.>
We also treat the water with Amquel Plus.
A few weeks ago, we noticed that one of our males was getting unusually skinny. He had lost all of the black coloring on his arms/fingers, and looked to be very emaciated. His veins also appeared to be a much brighter red and more visible than the veins on the other 3. We observed all 4 ACF's when we fed them, and this particular frog seemed to be so lethargic that he either refused to or could not swim to the top to feed.
<This sounds like a bacterial infection. "Red Leg" is particularly common. See here for ideas on treatment:
We tried doing a water change and tried to feed more of the frozen shrimp cubes (once thawed, they would sink to the bottom) in order to give him a fair chance to eat. It seemed like he was hungry and searching for the food, but most of the time he appeared to be lost. He would just keep swimming side to side, but never up. (He would go up for air every once in a while, but would never stay to eat). We decided to remove him from the larger tank and quarantine him. The others are eating just fine and do not appear to be acting strangely. They also appear normal physically, except for our biggest female (please see last picture attached - skin discoloration: might be hard to see. Her skin has always been somewhat yellow compared to the others. Picture is trying to show lighter/whiter spots on her skin. Look between eyes and on her back, closer to the left arm.)
Thinking our quarantined frog had some sort of bacterial infection, we began treating the water with Pimafix (made by API, described as an Antifungal Fish Remedy...bottle indicates it also treats internal and external bacterial infections.) I bought this to try only after speaking to somebody at Petco. This did not seem to help any.
<Pimafix won't help here. At best, this medication is a preventative, like the sort of thing you'd add to a cut or graze to prevent infection. It's a fairly mild medication and doesn't do anything to treat bacterial infections once established in the fish or frog.>
In the quarantine tank, he seems to be eating okay. He is now going to the top to eat. In addition to pellets and blood worms, we have also been feeding earth worms more often (not in the same feeding), trying to bulk up his diet in order to put some more weight back on him? He now has the black marks on his fingers/arms again, but is still extremely thin. He has been in this quarantine tank for approximately 2 weeks, and we do not notice any poop in his tank. With the amount that we have been feeding and watching him consume, if he was not pooping, I would assume that he would be bloated, as if he were blocked. When he has not eaten, he appears really thin around the waist/stomach area. His legs also still look very thin (like you can see his bones more).
I cannot seem to find any useful information on ACF's getting thin while still eating plenty. I have attached several pictures (best I could take at the moment). The lone frog is the skinny one that I am emailing about. I have also included several pictures of the other 3, to give you an idea of how big the others are. The pictures of the lone frog are about 15-20 minutes after a feeding of blood worms. I would assume that if he had swallowed a gravel rock and was impacted, that he would be getting bloated more and more after each meal? If you think this is because of a swallowed rock, are there any ways that I can help him pass it? If you think this is more of an internal infection, can you recommend any treatments? Any advice or suggestions that you could give would be more than appreciated.
<Do note that Red Leg is easier to prevent than cure. Xenopus are hardy, and can live 20 years. But they have their limits, any a combination of stress factors including physical damage can make them vulnerable to Red Leg. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Skinny Xenopus 9/22/11

Thank you for the quick reply.
<You're most welcome.>
I plan on picking up some Maroxy 2 this evening/tomorrow.
Just a couple of side notes: I emailed you guys a couple of years ago with a picture of my from with ammonia burns/septicemia. (The homepage picture for Xenopus Disease). After a dose of Maroxy 2, an added filtration system, and proper water changes, he healed up just fine and is doing well!
<Always good to hear a positive outcome.>
Also, I was reading your Xenopus Reproduction section and noticed that you didn't have any pictures up. It also sounds like most people don't have any idea what the frogs will look like when mating. I just wanted to send you a couple of pictures that you could add to your site if you wish. Like I said, we have 2 males and 2 females. All 4 were going at it in these pics.
<Please do send those along! Would be happy to add them to whichever article they'd fit best it!>
Again, thanks for your help.
<Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: Skinny Xenopus
Hi Neale,
I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I believe we have jacked up our tank cycle. I have two tanks setup. The first is the 30 gallon that all 4 ACF's reside in. The other is a 5 gallon quarantine tank.
(This tank was never properly cycled...trying to do that now).
The 30 gallon tank is showing 0 Ammonia and Nitrites, somewhere between 30-40 Nitrates, and the pH level, no matter what I do, continues to plummet to 6.0 (possibly lower).
<Does sound as if the aquarium lacks carbonate hardness. Use a carbonate hardness test kit (sometimes called a KH test kit and more or less equivalent to an alkalinity test kit). Carbonate hardness measures the amount of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water, and it's these that prevent pH drops. Alkalinity isn't quite the same thing -- water can be alkaline because of things other than carbonate or bicarbonate -- but again, the higher the alkalinity, the more the water resists pH drops. In your case, you're after a moderately high carbonate hardness or alkalinity.>
I have even tried pH 7.5 (API) to raise the pH level, but it never holds.
<Often don't. These buffers tend to assume you already have reasonably high levels of carbonate hardness. E.g., in a Rift Valley aquarium, you've got a coral sand substrate and Rift Valley salt mix in the water.>
I used the recommended dose for the 30 gallon and it raised the pH from 6.0 (or whatever is was at prior, possibly in the 5's) to approximately 7.0.
Now, 3 days later, I am closer to 6.4 and dropping. From what I have read, and from the local pet store owners I have spoken with, Nitrates and pH go hand in hand.
<No, they don't. Nitrate can form nitric acid in water, and yes, this lowers pH. But in most aquaria this effect is trivial. The major sources of pH drop are accumulation of organic acids from the biological filter and general decay of organic material including plants within the tank. CO2 from livestock will also lower pH.>
The higher Nitrates rise, the more unstable and acidic your pH can be. I know that when a tank is properly cycled, Ammonia and Nitrites will drop to 0 while Nitrates will start to rise. With weekly and routine water changes, you should be able to keep Nitrates in check.
The 5 gallon tank had housed the sickly frog, with a carbon filter. When we began treating with Maracyn 2, we removed the filter and did not replace.
The only filter cartridge in the filter system now is the black filter that came with the system. I do not have any rocks or livestock in this tank at this time. I assumed (and probably incorrectly), that the bacteria that had grown on the black filter would be sufficient to cycle this tank. We removed about 75-80% of the water that was treated with Maracyn 2 and replaced with Amquel Plus conditioned water. After this, Ammonia and Nitrites were reading 0.25, Nitrates were 5ppm, and pH was approximately 7.4. Now, 3 days later, Ammonia and Nitrites are closer to 0.50, Nitrates have remained constant at 5ppm, but pH has plummeted to 6.0 (possibly lower).
pH straight out of our tap is above 8.0. From what I have heard, from online and from pet store owners, Amquel Plus can lower pH SOME, but not by this much. Do you have any ideas? Are you guys available to speak with over the phone? I am getting mixed messages from the local pet stores. Some say to add Nitrate reducing chemicals and pH stabilizers while others say to do a 10% water change once a day for a week to lower Nitrates and stabilize pH.
<Start reading here:
Have a look at the Rift Valley salt mix, and make up new water using that, but to begin with, only use HALF the dosage recommended, since you don't need water as hard as Rift Valley cichlids. Another thing is to draw the water from the tap and let it sit overnight, and ideally 24 hours, so that any dissolved gases can evaporate. Some tap water is chemically unstable.
In the morning add 50% the recommended dose of Epsom salt, baking soda and marine aquarium salt mix, stir well, and then do your water change. (As you'll notice, you're using fractions of teaspoons of each chemical, so this is a really cheap way to buffer water.) Do this for the next week, changing 20% of the water in the aquarium each day. By the end of the week you should find the aquarium is very much more stable, and you should have water chemistry around about 10 degrees dH, 5-10 degrees KH, and about pH 7.5. Perfect for your frogs!>
At this point in time, I do not have a "safe" place for my frogs to live in if I have to cycle their tanks from scratch. I cannot seem to find any consistent information for cycling with livestock, or if this is even possible. Any suggestions or ideas you have would be appreciated.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Skinny Xenopus   10/21/11
Hi Neale,
Just wanted to follow-up with you guys. I have attached a series of pictures. The first 4 are from when I first emailed you guys about my frog looking emaciated, refusing to eat, and while he was behaving as if he was lethargic (around Sept. 20, 2011). You had responded that this sounded like red leg. I began treating with Maracyn Two. (Treated for the full week and had removed the carbon filter during that period). After the full week of treatment, we replaced the carbon filter to end treatment. At that time, he was only willing to eat night crawlers.
A few days after the first round of Maracyn Two treatment, he took a turn for the worst. His toes/feet were tightly clamped. He started getting open sores on his "knees" and the webbing between his toes became infected and began to rot off. I read a little more into red leg and found that in the later stages, these frogs can start to develop open sores and their limbs will rot off. I also read that once it gets to this point, there is almost nothing you can do for the frog, that it is already terminal. Sure enough, his toes started to slowly rot away, down to the bone until the bones snapped off. Not willing to accept the fact that our frog was probably past the point of saving, we tried a full week of very aggressive antibiotic treatment. Once again, we removed the carbon filter and we began dosing with Maracyn Two AND Maracyn TC (Packages said both treat the same things expect that TC also treats septicemia). The packages for these medications say to dose once daily for a full week. We were dosing every twelve hours with each. (Basically quadrupling the recommended dosage - pet store owner suggested that he doses his fish/frogs with medicine every twelve hours when they are sick - he mentioned that after 12 hours, the frog/fish has absorbed everything they can from that dose). The next 4 pictures show his condition while treating with these two medications. (Maracyn Two causes the water to turn cloudy while the Maracyn TC turns the water orange).
While treating, the fuzziness on his toes went away (webbing completely disappeared), his toes were less red, and his sores actually started to heal. During this time, he also started to eat frozen blood worms in addition to night crawlers. And then we made a terrible decision....
We stopped treatment after a week. We were concerned with the cloudy/orange state of the water for longer than a week, especially since we were dosing him 4x the recommended dose. We replaced the carbon filter to stop the treatment. He was still eating at this point. We were (and still are) feeding him once a day with the frozen blood worms. He was willing and able to eat a whole cube. We figured as long as he was now eating and pooping regularly, that maybe we were headed in a good direction. But then his sores started to get worse, and he developed more. (One behind each arm and one on his back side). His toes also began to rot away more rapidly. During this period is when we noticed bare bone exposed/snapped off on his toes.
The next 2 pictures show this condition.
Kicking ourselves in the rear for stopping the double treatment with the Maracyn medications, we went back to the pet store to get more of each.
While there, they recommended we try KanaPlex (made by Seachem - active ingredient is Kanamycin). This medication says to dose once every 2 days, for a maximum of 3 doses. Again, we went with the more aggressive route.
Instead of every other day, we are treating with this medication once a day. We are also not going to stop treatment until his wounds are healed and he looks to be back to normal. We are on day 5 of this treatment and everything seems to be getting MUCH better. He has developed new webbing between his toes and it looks like he might be regenerating skin/meat on his toes with exposed bones. His sores also seem to be healing. During this entire period, he had also became so skinny that he lost his "fat packs", the large humps that these frogs use as energy storage around each kidney.
With daily feeding and a daily dose of this medication, he has "refilled" one pack and is working on the other.
With all of that being said, I do have a question or two.
1) Do you know at what point overdosing with any of these medications might become an issue? They seem to be working and not harming at this point, but is there a time limit that these doses might be good for? Will they eventually begin to do more harm than good? Also, have you had any experience with successful treatment of red leg once it gets to the point of rotting limbs off? From what I have read, a lot of websites recommend to euthanize once it gets to this stage.
<It's crucial to finish off all courses of antibiotics. Not only for your own use in a given situation, but because incomplete usage of antibiotics is one of the major reasons why so many dangerous bacteria have become antibiotic-resistant. Now, in general, they rarely cause harm to animals, so you can use them as often as you want. The only likely danger is to filter bacteria, but if the filter bacteria are okay, or you're able to keep the water clean in other ways (e.g., through use of Zeolite or very regular water changes) then this won't be a major worry. And yes, I agree:
once the bones are visible in the thigh or shins, it's time to euthanise.
The odd lost toe isn't a big deal if the frog isn't otherwise in trouble; amphibians may even regrow lost toes. But if Red Leg is happening, and the main part of the leg is infected, so much so the leg is clearly gangrenous, it's time to painlessly destroy the frog. I'm not an expert on euthanising frogs though. However, the RSPCA (the British equivalent of the ASPCA in the US, publish a document on Xenopus welfare that includes information on euthanasia.
In a nutshell, they recommend MS-222, which may involve talking to a vet or animal rescue. A fish anesthetic like Clove Oil might work, but because frogs breathe air, and can hold their breath quite a long time, this isn't something I'd recommend unless you understand what you're aiming to do and how you'd prevent the frog from breathing.
Benzocaine has also been used to kill frogs humanely, and may be worth considering. Benzocaine can be purchased from drugstores.
2) This frog is still quarantined from my other 3 ACF's. I know that this disease is HIGHLY contagious. Our sick frog was housed in the main tank with the other three for a long time while he was emaciated and lethargic, before quarantined and started treatment. The others have not shown any signs, except for two days ago. I noticed that while they were stationed at the bottom of their tank, (presumably sleeping/resting), all three had clamped toes/feet. None of them are looking red, I cannot see their veins as I could with the sickly one, and they are all still very well rounded and eating normal. As soon as I turn their light on, or disturb their tank in some other way, they "awaken" and they spread their toes like normal. I don't think I ever would have noticed their feet had I not been caring for this sick one. Should I start treating their tank with the normal recommended dosage incase they have the early stages of red leg? Or is it normal for these frogs to have clamped toes while they are sleeping?
<I would assume all frogs are infected and treat with antibiotics. If nothing else, you'll prevent any spread of infection, even if the frogs are healthy now.>
P.S. I have also attached a couple of pictures of the other 3 frogs. You can see that they look MUCH healthier than this sick one.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Dark spot on African 3 Clawed Frog   9/7/11
Hi There-
I have a 3 year old female African 3 Clawed Frog who has a filtered 20 gallon tank all to herself. She has had a dark spot on her back for several months that seems to be getting larger. She does not act sick or have difficulty moving, but I am concerned that it may be a tumor (perhaps a melanoma of sorts)? Have you ever seen anything like this? Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide. I'm pretty fond of the little critter.
Sincerely, Shannon
<I can see the patch, <<RMF deleted these 25 megs of pix>> but it doesn't look obviously serious to me. Perhaps genetic, perhaps damage to the skin at some point. If the frog is happy and feeding well -- it's tank looks lovely and clean! -- then I wouldn't worry too much. There's a nice page of photos of Xenopus diseases here: http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm
Take a look, and be mindful of what sort of things to look out for on your frogs. Cheers, Neale.>

Twitching frog   8/1/11
Hi there,
My Albino Clawed frog just shed its skin and is has not stopped twitching since. Arms, fingers, toes, legs...pretty much anything that he can move is twitching. He is still swimming around just fine but he has never twitched (to my knowledge) before. I was nervous that perhaps his water was dirty and affecting his new skin so I changed out close to half of it.
I feel really bad for him. Is there anything I should do or is this normal. It doesn't look normal.
<Hello Emily. Sometimes frogs shed their skin more quickly than normal when there's irritants in the water. So check the water is clean (i.e., filtered) and that you're using water conditioner with each weekly water change (use a conditioner that removes not just chlorine but also Chloramine, ammonia and copper). Check that there's nothing "foreign" in the water, like a rusty nail, that might be producing toxins or irritants.
Finally, do make sure the diet is a good, balanced one. Frogs can get nerve damage from a monotonous diet, just like humans can. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
Short of all this, no, there's nothing specific I'd recommend beyond a good water change (50% perhaps) and a "wait and see" attitude. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick frog   7/7/11
<Hi there. Am responding in place of our usual amphibian staff; as they seem to be out>
I noticed just an hour ago that one of my female frogs looked very weird. On one half of her body (her left side) is swollen. She only appears swollen in the stomach area. It kind of looks like it could be a hernia to me, but I couldn't find any info online about frogs with hernias. She appears to be swimming alright, other than wobbling just a tad.
<Mmm, your images are very small, but I think this one specimen may just be gravid... developing eggs internally>
I have a 110 gallon tank. There are only two albino African clawed frogs, both females. They are also pretty big. I have had these two frogs since they were pretty small (a little over 7 months now), and they have never had anything wrong before.
I also have 3 cichlids. They are pretty calm and rarely aggressive. If they get aggressive it is usually only towards one another and not towards other tank mates. I have 6 other small community fish as well.
<Surprised these haven't been consumed by the Xenopus>

I'm not really sure what information is important. I do regular and consistent water exchanges. I do use aquarium salt and stress coat. I just put in two live plants for the first time yesterday. Every time I have had my water tested it has come out good. I get it tested by my local fish store.
I feed super color cichlid pellets, and I supplement with a dried mix of krill, red shrimp, and Mysis shrimp. I also supplement with bloodworms sometimes. I have not noticed her eating anything tonight, other than her skin that she just happened to be shedding.
I am not very experienced with frogs. I just read about not having gravel in the tank, which I have in my tank of course. I am leaning towards thinking she is impacted, but she doesn't look like the photos of other frogs I have seen that are impacted.
<To me neither>
I currently have her in quarantine in a smaller tank. I was afraid of her swimming around too much, or being stressed out by other tank mates while being hurt. I included some pictures, but they are small.
Thank you so much in advance for your help! I want to help my little girl out.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/xenopusdis.htm
and the linked files above. I would do nothing to "treat" this animal. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick frog   7/8/11
After doing some further research, I am also surprised that everyone in my tank seems to get along. I've never seen the frogs be aggressive towards the fish or each other, and vice versa. My frogs and cichlids are pretty calm and docile from what other people have been saying.
<Ah good>
Thank you for the information! That makes me feel a lot better. I added her back to the big tank, and she is still eating and swimming perfectly fine.
<Very good>
Thanks again!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

African Claw Frog tumour?     6/11/11
<Hello Jo,>
My two year old albino ACF has suddenly developed a lump under the skin at the top of his leg, just down and across from his bottom.
He appears to be his normal self, feeding and swimming without any difficulty and the lump doesn't appear to have changed at all in the last couple of days and he is not bloated or discoloured in any way. I feed him every other day on a mixed diet of frozen thawed red/white mosquito larvae, Artemia, daphnia etc, live mini meal worms and dried fish flake.
<Sounds a good variety of foods.>
Is this likely to be a tumour or some sort of bowel blockage?
<If the swelling is in the limbs, then yes, a tumour of some sort, benign or otherwise, is likely. Abdominal swelling caused by constipation is usually very obviously such, and constipated animals tend not to want to
eat much. The use of Epsom salt and live daphnia or live brine shrimp will usually shift constipation. But tumours are virtually impossible to treat.
Fortunately, they're quite rare, and if they don't obstruct a sense organ or orifice, shouldn't cause the frog any undue harm. With luck, the tumour may subside in time. In the meantime, do review basic living conditions, in particular things likely to promote tumour formation -- water quality, lack of vitamins, chlorine in the tap water, use of copper, etc.>
Many thanks in anticipation for your advice.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: African Claw Frog tumour?  6/13/2011

Many thanks for your reply Neale, it is very much appreciated. Since posting my message, my frog has allowed me a better opportunity to get a really good look close up at the lump and it is in fact where I can best describe as directly over his right bum cheek (were he to have one!) I can say with some certainty that it is not in his leg. His stomach and the rest of his body is not bloated and I have watched him eat both the frozen food and the live with his usual vigour in the last few days but the lump has not passed nor changed in size/shape.
My husband is firmly in charge of keeping the tank in tip top condition and I am confident this is all at the correct level. It really is baffling and I feel rather helpless and very worried about my little webbed one.
Thanks again,
<Sorry I can't offer anything more concrete to guide you to a quick cure.
If you Google terms such as "tumour" with "Xenopus" you'll see that such things are commonly investigated in laboratories, Xenopus laevis being one of the classic lab animals. Tumours may be genetic, but they can also be caused by exposure to heavy metals (for example copper) and various other chemicals that are toxic rather than immediately fatal. Vets can remove tumours depending on where they're located on the animal, and when performed properly, the frog can go on to enjoy a long and happy life.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Claw Frog tumour?    6/16/11

That's all noted, many thanks for your advice Neale.
Kind regards,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick African Clawed, please help   5/6/11
Hi there,
I have had my ACF Gus, for almost 10 years now. He has never been ill in his life with me, until I noticed some worrying things over the last few days. Gus has always been on a diet of ReptoMin, and maybe once a week frozen bloodworms. Gus lives in a 55 Gallon tank, with no fish of any kind. He lives alone, with lots of fake plants and hiding places. He is a very spoiled frog! He has a waterfall filter that I run a few times a week. I do regular water changes as well. I decided to do a full tank draining last weekend to redecorate his space. I put him in his bucket until cleaning was done, and returned him to his home. Oh, and just to add, it is tap water, and I always put tap water conditioner in with every water change. Later that night I noticed he was curled up in a ball sort of , legs tucked in. I didn't think much of it because sometimes he sleeps this way, but he did not do his usual night singing, and did not eat his bloodworms that night.
The next day I noticed he was shedding excessively, and has not stopped since. The webbing in between both back feet is also torn, and red around the tears. He also has some small white spots that appear cottony, and a few small red spots as well. For the last 4 days I have kept him in a 5 Gallon sort of hospital tank, changing the water every day, and doing a diluted Pedialyte bath once a day. He has been eating for the last 2 days, very well actually. But he is still sluggish, and his still shedding like crazy. Any ideas?? I love him very much and I want to get him the proper treatment. People have told me everything from Lamisil, to aquarium salts, to tetracycline and I am not sure where to begin! Here are some pics of recent days.
<Hello Ally. Your Xenopus is a good age, so broadly, I'd imagine you're providing good care and that this infection is one of those things that happen even in the best run aquaria. But with that said, do double check the filter is working properly, and remember, it should be running 24/7, 365 days a week. Each time you switch the filter off some of the bacteria die, and when the filter is off, there's nothing removing ammonia. I mention this because young Xenopus may well be hardier than older specimens, and just like people, as Xenopus get older, they become more sensitive to disease as their immune system starts to weaken a bit. In any event, check the aquarium has good water quality -- zero ammonia and zero nitrite -- and also check your water chemistry is appropriate -- hard, neutral to basic water is better than soft or acidic water. Medicate as per Finrot in fish. Your local reptile/amphibian pet shop should be able to advise here, but if all else fails, a broad spectrum antibiotic should help. Injected antibiotics from your vet have the best chance of helping, while antibiotics the frog can eat work almost as well. Antibiotics added to water are the least reliable because of issues to do with dosing. Remove carbon from the filter because that will remove medication. Red Leg is a distinctive health problem with these frogs for which treatment is difficult, and unlikely without help from your vet. There are some useful photos here: http://www.xlaevis.com/diseases.html
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick African Clawed, please help   5/6/11
Thanks so much for the advice, me and Gus really appreciate it! His webbing appears less red today which I suppose is good! I will try doing everything you suggested!
<Good luck to you both, and we're glad to help where we can. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick frog part 2  5/8/11
Hi there,
I had written you about my frog Gus. Well I have confirmed now it is indeed some sort of fungus. He has stopped shedding, but now he has white little cotton ball things all over him. How do I fix this?? Please help thanks! I bought aquarium salt and tetra fungus guard..are these safe and please advise on the dosages thanks!
<Methylene Blue is available at aquarium shops and is particularly safe and effective, which is why it is used for treating baby fish and even fish eggs. It is known to be safe with frogs. Look for medications that contain just this chemical, such as Kordon Methylene Blue and Interpet Methylene Blue. Use as directed, paying particular attention to concentration, water changes, and the removal of carbon from the filter (if used). Other antifungal medications may work, but I'm not familiar with their safety or otherwise when used on frogs. Cheers, Neale.>

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