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FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs, Systems

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

Related FAQs: Dwarf African Frogs 1, Dwarf African Frogs 2, ADF Identification, ADF Behavior, ADF Compatibility, ADF Selection, ADF Feeding, ADF Disease, ADF Reproduction, & FAQs on: Amphibians 1, Amphibians 2, Frogs Other Than African and Clawed, African Clawed Frogs, Turtles, Amphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

Yes... they're tropical... need a heater. And filtration... an absence of nitrogenous intermediates (no ammonia or nitrite), little nitrate... And yes, they can/do "jump out" if conditions allow it

African Dwarf Frogs; sys. hlth.     2/28/20
I got two African Dwarf Frogs for valentines day, and I am already very attached. We did not do a fantastic job cycling the tank, not for lack of trying, but we got some questionable advice from PetSmart and we are first time tank owners.
We had an ammonia spike last week, which killed one of our Platy fish in the tank. We assume that we do not have enough bacteria to support the 2 frogs and 2 fish. Since then, we invested in the API test kit and have been testing constantly and doing water changes. We got the ammonia down, and I noticed the nitrites were up which I guess means we have more bacteria than I originally thought. We did a water change, got our levels to zero, and then started adding Safestart and Prime.
We are now just trying to keep everyone alive while the cycle finishes, and we are really afraid of the lasting impacts of the water problems. We are trying to give the bacteria time to catch up, but I am worried that we learned about all this too late. The frogs barely eat (since the day we first got them), we started with pellets
<Don't eat generally>
and switched them to spot feeding with blood worms and they often swat the food away or just let it sit in front of them.
<... do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfaffdg.htm , and the linked files above in blue.>
They are not really actively swimming anymore, either.
<Don't usually... just sit about most all the time>
They are just always in the gravel or under the moss ball, shuffling around sometimes. Sometimes the worm is literally on their head and they don’t bite. We also have one frog as of this morning that is shedding skin in small, shreddy pieces, which I have read is really bad news.
<Mmm; no; natural behavior>
We finally feel educated and ready to take on the cycling process correctly, we are on top of water changes but careful not to get rid of everything good in the tank.
My question is, is it too late?
<No; as long as they're alive...>
I would hate for these guys to be miserable in our water, and I am constantly stressed that I will get home and they will be dead. I feel like we are doing everything we can, my boyfriend and I are both very committed to them and the tank, but how fatal are bad water conditions?
<Can contribute, cause mortality, definitely morbidity>
Will they be okay since we are controlling it now, or should I not get my hopes up?
<Likely will be fine>
Readings yesterday:
79 degrees, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.
<Where's the accumulating Nitrate you referred to?>
pH was a little high yesterday, somewhere between 7.4-8 though I find the API test color rather hard to read.
<This is fine as well; I would not try to modify the pH here>
I haven’t tested today because we are full time college students, but we try to test once to twice a day, and we are now trying to cut down on water changes since we added the bacteria and prime. (Last week we changed 25%-50% daily just to get the ammonia down, since we couldn’t get our hands on safestart until 2 days ago)
<Patience... Feed very sparingly if ammonia is present; don't change much water till the system is cycled unless there is ammonia present that needs diluting>
Sorry for the excessive information.. we are just very worried about them all the time. BTW, the Platy and the Molly we have left always seem totally fine.
Thanks for your help,
<Thank you for caring, sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: African Dwarf Frogs     2/29/20

Thank you for the reply! We will keep an eye on the water, the nitrites
<Nitrites, w/ two "I"s? These are toxic like ammonia... Nitrates with an "A" is what you want to see accumulating. PLEASE search/read on WWM re cycling>
are gone because we did a big water change before adding Safestart for the first time.
How long can these frogs go without eating?
<Many days if in good health otherwise>
They haven’t eaten all week (we try tweezers feeding with blood worms and sinking pellets) though we do wonder if they sometimes chew on the moss ball like our Molly does.
<Ah no... please read.>
Thanks for your informative website!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: African Dwarf Frogs     2/29/20

Nitrites with an I indeed, hence why we did the water change.
<I see>
From my understanding the bacteria broke down the ammonia into nitrites, which is the first step in getting Nitrates?
<A step; one pathway>
I have read an awful lot about cycling at this point, which is why we’re doing Safestart and Prime to try to get these guys through the cycle.
<... better to use other methods... Again; please don't write: READ>

Thanks for the info on the moss ball, that was wishful thinking I guess! We’re going to keep on keeping on testing twice a day and trying to feed them, hopefully they’ll come around.

Dwarf frog tank    5/22/18
I had a planted 10g aquarium with 4 African dwarf frogs. My ammonia levels were 0, nitrite 0, but my nitrate levels never came up-they we’re always 0.
<Understood. But zero level nitrates pretty unlikely in tanks with normal biological filtration, unless there's rapid plant growth using up the nitrate as fast as its made. Of course if there's no biological filtration going on, then nitrates won't rise either, and that's more alarming. But if that's the situation, you should see ammonia and/or nitrite rise between water changes.>
Unfortunately, I had a fungal outbreak which all 4 frogs succumbed to. I think they weren’t in the best health when I got them and the water issue with the nitrates just weakened them. Also, the 3 live plants also turned brown and died.
<Oh dear.>
My questions are, what is the best way to clean the aquarium to get new dwarf frogs?
<Remove and rinse the gravel or sand; remove any rocks and wood, rinse them under a tap; wipe the glass down with some paper towel; rinse the filter media with lukewarm tap water. Return everything back to the tank, and let it run for a day or two before adding new livestock. Assuming you haven't killed off the filter bacteria, it should be 'cycled' but if not, treat as a new aquarium and ideally cycle before adding livestock, but if that's not an option, do daily water changes to keep ammonia levels as low as practical while the filter matures. Expect cycling to take around a month. There are some commercial products that allegedly speed up the cycling process, but they're not entirely reliable, so using an ammonia or nitrite test kit to map the cycling process is helpful.>
Do I need to start with all new gravel, water, filter sponge?
<See above, and no, not really necessary.>
Will I need to go through another cycle or will the filter sponge have enough good bacteria in it to jump start the cycle with all new water?
<Possibly. Assuming the filter is treated gently, the bacteria will be fine.>
Will going with silk plants change anything?
<Not really, no. Live floating plants, on the other hand, are a great addition to any aquarium. They bring good bacteria with them, on their roots mostly, and also use up ammonia while the tank cycles, minimising the stress on the livestock.>
I want to be sure that my tank and everything is free of disease and ready for new froggies.
Thanks so much!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Dwarf frogs; gen., sys.       4/14/18
I just got 5 dwarf frogs today.
I'm new to them but did research and had the tank set up properly.
<Cool. Let me direct you to some reading first of all, here:
Although essentially easy to keep, especially in a nice big tank like yours, they do pose a couple of challenges. Water chemistry doesn't matter much, but they do need tropical temperatures (not room temperature!) and they do need good water quality (via a gentle filter of some sort). Unless you happen to live in the tropics, you'll need a heater set to 25 C/77 F to keep them warm, and ideally that heater should be protected with a 'heater guard' that ensures the frogs can't burn themselves. Some aquarium heaters come with the heater guard already: it's a curved, mesh-like plastic thing that clips onto the heater. Definitely worth choosing a heater that has one. So far as filtration goes, a small internal canister is fine, as are air-powered sponge or box filters. I'd avoid hang-on-the-back filters because these require large open spaces in the hood that the frogs can escape through.>
It’s a 10gallon with only the frogs, a clay pot, hidey, and silk flowers. It has a bubble stone and a filter-however I can’t use it right now because the current is too strong.
<Do see above and choose the appropriate sort of filter design. Healthy frogs are not feeble swimmers, so a canister filter or box filter rated for an 8-10 gallon system should be fine. Of course if the frogs are half-starved they may struggle a bit -- some filters have dials that allow you to turn down the flow rate, and that would be helpful.>
My concern is that since putting them in the tank, 3 float on top and don’t stay down even when nudged down, and two stay still on the bottom. Is this normal for new frogs?
<It is normal for these frogs to bask at the surface of the tank, often under the lamp, warming themselves up a bit.>
Do they need a de-stressing period?
<The addition of floating plants will help enormously here; floating Indian Fern, sometimes called Water Sprite, is the ideal choice. Such plants provide shade and shelter. Bear in mind these frogs come from dark, shady habitats and don't like wide open spaces all that much.>
They won’t eat.
<What are you offering them? The dried pellet foods are sometimes rejected, and initially at least, things like frozen bloodworms and live daphnia may work better. My frogs would also eat tiny bits of fish and shrimp.>
Ammonia levels are 0,
ph is around 6.4-6.8.
<A trifle low, but probably not a big deal.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf frogs      4/15/18

Thanks so much for your help!
<Most welcome.>
Sadly, I lost 3 froggies but the other 2 seem to be doing ok.
<Oh dear.>
I went today and got a new heater, the filter you suggested, and some live plants. I still can’t get them to eat though.
<They will when they're settled. But bear in mind three key things: Firstly, they're largely nocturnal by preference, and won't feed in bright, open area unless they're thoroughly settled. Secondly, they hunt as much by smell as anything else. This means if you put too much food in the tank it becomes hard for them to find the food, so a small amount in one concentrated area is better than lots of food spread around the aquarium. Finally, they have little to no interest in dried foods, at least initially. Tempt them with either small live foods or their (wet) frozen equivalents. I'd leave newly-purchased frogs for the first night unfed, and thereafter offer them, once a day, small amounts of small live foods, such as live bloodworms or mosquito larvae collected from a local pond. Remove any uneaten particles of food. Repeat until the frogs are obviously feeding, and then over the next week or two, try weaning them onto (dried) alternatives.>
I’m feeding them freeze dried bloodworms and ReptoMin sinking aquatic frog granules. I’ve tried putting the food right in front of their faces but they don’t take it, just swim away. Any tips?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Substrate Issue     9/6/17
I got a couple of African dwarfs and immediately fell in love. We had them in a 3 gallon tank, no filter and managed to keep them alive for 5 months with daily water changes and watching ammonia very carefully.
<Understood. But do review their needs:

Although basically easy to keep, their long-term care does require a few things to be 'just right' otherwise they will slowly starve, chill, or otherwise die.>
I think i have gone overboard testing ph twice a day ammonia once a day, and the tank obviously never cycled.
<Indeed not; without a filter, ammonia will simply accumulate between water changes.>
Anyways I went crazy and got a 20 Gallon, Fluval 106 Filter, an Anubias and hornwort live plants, and Fluval Shrimp Substrate (Very expensive and the salesperson suggested it.)
<It's a good substrate for certain situations. It is not chemically inert, which in my book is a no-no for easy fishkeeping! It (apparently) reduces the pH and hardness, which requires you to buffer the water to prevent pH
changes. That's fine if you want low hardness and neutral to acidic pH levels, and you're buffering the water accordingly (for example with a commercial Discus buffer) but for ordinary fishkeeping, this is one more hassle. Probably not a deal-breaker if you have 'liquid rock' water with a very high alkalinity and a basic pH, but if you have softish water, this could be a nuisance. On the other hand, it is also designed to be a biologically active substrate almost like filter media, so ideal for tanks with little to no filtration -- albeit tanks with very low loading, i.e., shrimps, where low rates of biological filtration is acceptable. Not an alternative to filtration with frogs or fish.>
So, I have been trying to cycle the system for almost 2 months, nada. I put the waste water from changes into the new tank for over a month with no change 0.25 - 1.0 Ammonia,0 Nitrites,0 Nitrates.
<Water contains few filter bacteria. What you want to add is gravel from a mature tank, or alternatively, some live filter medium taken from an established aquarium. Either way, the filter bacteria come attached to solid things, like gravel and sponges.>
We ended up putting the frogs in and they seem happy, but I have found my ph s staying at 6.0 - 6.2, after water changes, I have tried various methods, changing 20% water every second day, ph increase(i know you don't
suggest that) 50% water changes once a week. Even if I get the ph to 7.0 - 7.2 in one day it is back to 6.0. My guess is it is the Fluval substrate, as I have found out it is for lower ph systems.
The plants love it and flourish, the frogs seem ok, but I worry its too low.
<It is a bit low for the frogs, which will be happier around a neutral pH, but provided the pH doesn't go below 6, it's not dangerous. I would suggest purchasing a neutral pH buffer, adding to each new batch of water when you do water changes, and seeing if that steadies the pH around 6.5-7, which is ideal.>
Should I remove the substrate and go with sand or gravel?
<If you've invested a lot in the Fluval substrate, you could certainly persist, though with the addition of some commercially available buffer.
But you could also switch to something chemically inert, like smooth silver sand (often called pool filter sand) if you prefer an easier life and don't mind setting the Fluval sand aside for another project. Spread it out on some newspaper under the sunshine, and it'll dry out quickly, and you can then store it until you need it again.>
I got a male for the two females, but we lost him, I feel this was because of the ph level.
<pH changes will certainly stress, potentially kill, the frogs. But do also review water quality, and more crucially, diet -- most frogs die from starvation than anything else. A varied diet is important.>
Thanks for any advice!!
Warm Regards,
Webmaster ~ J.
<Welcome, Neale.>

Care questions for African Dwarf Frogs       2/15/16
I had a large tank full of ADFs several decades ago (30 gallon tank with 15-20 frogs) and loved it back then. I recently decided that a small tank with a couple of frogs would be a fun Christmas present for my kids to enjoy. Right now, we have a 3 gallon Marineland “Nook” tank with two frogs and one small (about 5 mm) Horned Nerite Snail to take care of any algae since there isn’t room for big tank in our current location.
<Understood. Nonetheless, would recommend a bigger tank, even 5-8 gallons would make a big difference.>
I initially had the filter power/speed near the highest setting because that’s what the instructions in the box said to do, but I noticed that the frogs seemed to be very disturbed and unhappy with the rapid water movement on the high setting as it would frequently grab them and throw them to the bottom of the tank, and then they would panic and hide for an extended time. I turned the water flow setting on the filter almost all the way down and they have been a lot happier and acting normal swimming around and doing “froggy Zen poses” while resting.
<Correct. Keep the water flow rate gentle, and ensure the frogs can easily swim to the surface to gulp air.>
Their diet consists of a mix of freeze dried brine shrimp and live or frozen bloodworms. I know that live food is best,
<No it's not! You're doing fine, but I'd be wary of freeze-dried foods because these do tend to cause constipation in small animals. Regular frozen foods are much better.>
but it can be difficult to obtain in our area since I have only found one small pet shop that carries live worms, and they are frequently out of stock. and the frozen bloodworms are very messy, so I have the shrimp so I can let the kids feed the frogs some of the time.
<Defrost the frozen foods in a small container, like an old egg cup, then use forceps or even chopsticks to pull out a few at a time. You can then decant any of the crud left behind down the drain.>
The diet seems to be working OK for the frogs as they are growing very quickly, and they actually seem to be more active and aggressively ‘hunt’ the shrimp while they just wait for the worms to come to them. In the 7 weeks since we set up the tank, the frogs have grown to more than twice their initial size and appear to be nearly full grown now, and based on identification guides it looks like we have one male and one female.
Water quality tests using Marineland’s 6-in-1 test strips that came with the tank say that there is zero Nitrates, zero Nitrites, 150ppm Hardness (Hard), zero Chlorine, about 150ppm Alkalinity, and about 7.4.-7.6 pH. A Tetra HT10 submersible heater keeps the water at a constant 78 degrees.
<All sounds fine.>
The frogs do seem to be doing well, but I have a couple of questions to make sure they have the best environment we can give them since I am either finding conflicting information online, or no info at all, and I can’t remember the exact details from when I had the big tank a long time ago. First, is the steady but fairly low water movement from the filter OK since it’s a rather small tank, or would it be best to turn up the power a bit to increase the filtration and just let the frogs deal with being tossed around somewhat when they swim right under the waterfall?
<Gentler the better. So long as nitrite is zero, your filter is doing fine.>
Second, the water in our home is fairly hard and I wonder if the hard water is OK for the frogs or if I should use a water conditioner before doing 1/4 tank water changes every week or two.
<Hard water is fine.>
Third, I have found various sites that say the ‘ideal’ pH for African Dwarf Frogs should be anywhere from 6.0 to 7.8. Is the current pH of 7.4-7.6 a good range or should I use a pH balancer to get it closer to or lower than 7.0?
<Do not, DO NOT add these pH potions to your aquarium. More likely to do harm than good.>
Finally, my wife and kids want to add another pair of frogs to the tank and I’m wondering if that would be OK as long as we keep it clean and stick with regular water changes, or are 4 frogs too many for a well maintained 3 gallon tank? A bigger tank would be better, of course, but isn’t really an option right now.
<You could likely get away with it, but honestly, I'd be shopping for a 5 gallon tank which would be a lot better. A gallon per frog is not generous at all, but workable, so 4-5 frogs in a 5 gallon tank would be okay.>
Thank you for your helpful site!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Care questions for African Dwarf Frogs       2/15/16

Thank you for the quick response and the helpful information!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

algae... Reading       11/24/15
is taking over my African clawed frogs tank. It is even making the water green. They do not seem bothered by it but is there anything safe to use to control it?
<A few approaches; yes; and some not
. READ here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
My African clawed frogs are just under a year old and live with a goldfish.
they are pretty big and great eaters but I'm scared to try anything. I don't know what is safe. I have A FILTER AND DO PARTIAL CHANGES TWICE A WEEK. they ARE USUALLY HAND FED SO OTHER THEN THE GOLDFISH there isn't a lot of food left on the bottom. I am assuming the sun is causing the algae to grow. HELP

African Dwarf Frog Tank Slime & Mating         11/19/15
Hi. First of all, thank you for keeping so much information on this website. I am new to fish and aquatic frog keeping, and the information I have found on this site has been tremendously helpful.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have 4 African dwarf frogs (1 male and 3 females) in a 3.5 gallon tank. I realize this tank is too small, and I plan to move them to a 10 gallon tank once that tank is cycled.
My male is in a frisky mood quite often, so he spends a lot of time mating (or attempting to mate) with the females.
<What they do, when well kept. So promising.>
Sometimes this mating results in eggs and other goo resting in random spots in the tank, but often a white, dusty yet slimy looking film is left behind on the plants and the heater. I have attached pictures of it to this email.
I know that eggs that don't hatch can turn into fungus,
so it is important to remove them from the tank, and I try my best to do so with a turkey baster.
<Less important the bigger the tank, but in a small aquarium, yes indeed, well worth doing.>
Regardless, it seems like I can't get rid of this slimy white film. I am able to wash it off of the plastic plants, but it comes back within 24 hours.
<Likely bacterial; common in small tanks with less the optimal water quality. Specifically: sluggish water movement, medium to high nitrate levels, and insufficient filtration. Bacteria grow on surfaces with lots of organic matter. Bacteria grow ridiculously quickly where conditions suit them.>
Even the mystery snail in the tank has this film on its shell. So my questions are: Is this film a byproduct of mating or something else? Is this film coating my tank because the filter is not working properly?
<Some combination of these. Uneaten food, faeces, decaying eggs... all excellent resources for bacteria. Stronger filtration will remove, bigger volumes will dilute.>
Should I keep up my efforts to remove it from the tank or should I leave it alone even though it looks nasty?
<Generally harmless in itself, but the conditions that promote them aren't ideal.>
I know that it isn't good to remove beneficial bacteria from the tank, but I can't tell if this is beneficial or harmful slime. If this film is a fungus, mold, or algae, how do I get rid of it? Thank you for your time!
<Suspect switching up to an 8 or 10 gallon tank will see your problems melt away, assuming adequate filtration.
Cheers, Neale.>

Inherited African Dwarf Frogs       8/16/15
Good day,
<And you>
A month and a half ago I inherited two ADF's from my 5yr old son's classroom. His teacher bought one of those tiny cubed setups which after extensive research I now see are incredibly inhumane. I had no idea what I was getting into prior to agreeing to my son bringing them home at the beginning of summer. I have zero experience with aquatics, have never owned
fish or frogs in my 32 yrs. The teacher indicated their setup from http://www.wildcreations.com/shop, was very easy, minimal water changes (once every few months), and feeding frog pellets (twice/week),
<No and no>

and that was it. These little guys (I believe one guy and one gal) were relatively fine for the first month, though a few weeks ago I noticed their bodies turning red (arms and legs),
yet disappeared a few days later. Yesterday, it was back and very bright in color, so I started to research. Many, many hours and countless websites and articles later I now know there is more to it and am doing my best to provide a more humane existence and hopefully help them if they are ill.
<Ah good>
I currently have them in a 1 gallon fishbowl
<Too hard to keep stable and optimized. Need a tank and filtration as covered here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm >
as my step father offered it to me in lieu of the cube after bringing them home. I have been doing daily water changes as it gets extremely murky after their feeds of frozen bloodworms every other day.
<Please; do the above reading, NOW>
I have never tested the water and did not know I had to until today when I read about ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. I also had no idea about "cycling" until today. I have been completely removing the frogs from their bowl and doing 100% water changes so I can rinse the gravel, bamboo plant, little rocks and house that consist of their habitat. I feel horrible that
I have been putting them through so much stress and trauma over and over unwittingly. I again had no idea this causes the tank to have to cycle all over again, likely spiking and lowering the pH level, etc- which is torture to these frogs.

So, moving forward I would like to get them a proper living environment. I am on a *very* fixed income as I am single, sole support mother who works 3 part time jobs. I cannot simply pop over to a pet store and make hundred dollar purchases without adequate planning and budgeting.
<I suggest Craig's List... gifting these animals to someone who has time, the current means>
I will get them a proper tank with a filter and heater, but I would appreciate some input on what is the best, most cost efficient set up (keeping in mind that we live in a very small apartment and cannot house a 10 gallon tank). My son and I bicycled to the pet store yesterday and saw a 2.65 g tank with a proper filter for $80
(https://ca-en.hagen.com/Aquatic/Aquariums/Starter-Kits-Desktop/12850 ). 
What is your opinion on this?
<Better to make your own set up... can be done in any chemically inert container. Perhaps you can look on Craig's List in turn for a used tank, gear>
From what I've read, most of the issues folks seem to have with smaller aquariums and their aquatic life is inadequate filtering. The water temp is currently at 74. Is this OK, until I can also purchase a heater?
In terms of the body redness, today it seems to be gone and the frogs do not have other symptoms so I am unsure whether it is "red leg", an "opportunistic bacterial infection", or stress related from the water changes and likely ammonia/nitrite spikes.
<All of the above>
They seem quite depressed, yet have very good appetites, thankfully. Also, when they first came home, the male would sing in the evenings. He no longer does this but I am hopeful if there has not been too much internal damage, they might resume healthy behaviors and even mate.
Please share any and all thoughts.
Kind regards,
<The reading for now (and linked files above), then careful consideration of a workable path. Bob Fenner>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs       8/16/15

Yes I have read the link (and about a hundred others on your website since yesterday), hence my statement that I am looking to get them a filtered aquarium.
The question that I had is if I do purchase a small tank (i.e.. 2.65 g), with adequate filtration, will that be enough to give them a good quality of life (with all of the other elements in place that keeping African dwarf frogs entails)?
Also you said, "all of the above"- do you believe they have a bacterial infection, and red leg, despite not showing other symptoms as described when I research these illnesses?
<Red leg symptomatically is linked.... to environmental issues, expressed BY bacterial infection. They are interrelated is what I mean/t>
I am a bit confused by your catch all response.
<Clarity is pleasurable. Sorry for the confusion>
Craig's list is an excellent idea, thank you. Making my own set up is also an option.
<Ah yes; much of the gear used in "commercially made set ups" is inferior, and not a good bargain>
Regarding having the time and means, taking care of dwarf frogs, from what I've read is not extremely time consuming, nor expensive- one simply has to be schooled on how to care for them and their needs. I am considering a "workable path", which should be quite explicit.
<Correct; simply stating that it appears your time, attention is greatly in demand otherwise>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs       8/16/15

Hello again,
Tonight my adf's were mating!
<Ah yes; you had mentioned the male "singing">
I had never watched it before so was quite fascinated. Although I've noticed two things: My male's body looks very red all over (along with the very swollen and protruding white glands under his forearms). Is the redness an evening thing, a mating thing or my prior fear of some illness?
<Mostly mating>
The female does not look red at all, although there is a pink patch under one of her forearms that looks raw as though she rubbed it on something.
The second thing I noticed is during their attempted mating (which has happened a total of three times tonight) the female's legs were crossed and her fins moving slowly... they were at the bottom of the tank and I was unable to witness her rise to the top as mating articles suggest. Each time she ended up spasming quite hard and was able to throw the male off and
then quickly dart to the top herself for a breath of air. My main concern is that if she is ill, perhaps she is unable to complete the ritual by swimming to the top with him attached. But, what do I know. This is all quite new to me.
On another note, they absolutely love the earth worms my son caught for them and I chopped up into small pieces.
<Oh yes>
I have fed them a few twice today and they swim right over to me when they see me, mouths snapping open. I am confused as to their apparently otherwise healthy behavior, if they do have an illness. If the pet store I attended last night had tetracycline in stock, I likely would have begun administering it as per the instructions. Luckily they did not. I am left quite unsure of how to proceed with respects to treating our little ones for an illness, or hope that once their habitat gets sorted out (water, pH, cleanliness, etc)
<Fix the environment first and foremost; no medications needed, advised>
everything will continue to go up for them health wise. Perhaps the apparent redness was simply a stress reaction in their fragile bodies. Or, it is the beginning stages of a fungal infection, as there seems to be very tiny white spots on their bodies- although again, I have never studied dwarf frogs this much and so intently, and scrutinized every single inch of their body so thoroughly- it could be perfectly normal but I would not know. Frustrating indeed.
Any and all help clarifying would be greatly appreciated.
<I'd go on with your maintenance procedure, but changing only half at most of the water at any time... for stored (for a week or more if you have the room, containers); otherwise the plan for the better system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs         8/17/15

Hi Bob,
How long does Amplexus usually last? Last night after my male (Hidey), successfully mounted Oval (female) 3 times, he then proceeded to sing all evening and late into the night and try to mount her (unsuccessfully) numerous times. Right now, I just saw them mating again!
<Mmm; yes.... till... the "act is done", really>
Although still no egg laying at the top, simply him holding onto her and staying quite still except for a few small swims and then throwing him off again. I just checked and they are at it again. Is this normal behavior?
<Yes... am hoping with better care (system and nutrition), your frogs are mating due to "times being good" (vs. bad; which can trigger as well). As with most all dioecious species (the majority of life on the planet), the male (more motile gametes) is "ready" to do their part, most all the time... a few days to answer directly here>
<And you, B>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs         8/17/15

Good morning Bob,
<Ms. Sue>
Yes you are quite right, my time and attention is in great demand but I committed to providing a home for these little ones and I intend to.
Not to mention, we have grown quite fond of them. I also love the opportunity to learn, and this has certainly opened my eyes to the intricacies of aquatic life.
<So very pleasurable>
Today, my little ones are swimming all about- do not seem depressed (hiding) as they were earlier in the week. Thankfully the earth worms are proving to be a success and do not muck up the water so I can leave them be for a few days! In the 1g bowl they are currently in, how often should I change out the water and how much of it at a time?
<Weekly... half if no filter, a quarter if so>
You mentioned not more than 50% and "for stored (for a week or more if you have the room, containers);"- are you able to clarify a bit?
<Yes; more to change if water "becomes cloudy"; otherwise, the routine just mentioned>
While at the pet store Friday I purchased a tap water conditioner (Nutrafin Aqua plus) and a biological aquarium supplement (Nutrafin Cycle), both of which seem to have improved the water quality at least for the short term.
The bottle recommends adding some each time I do a water change (but the prescribed amount is for 10g tanks), would you recommend this also?
Shall I purchase a water tester kit (pH, ammonia, nitrates, etc)?
<If you can easily afford the ammonia, nitrite... yes>
Also, thank you kindly for getting back to me and helping to guide us through this. In the very near future I will have a much better home for them (bigger tank, filter, heater), but in the short term, I would like mitigate any harm as much as possible.
With thanks,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs         8/17/15

Good evening,
I have to say, it is a real pleasure watching these two swim all around their little home...
I understand now why they need more space than a tiny cube. I am now considering trying to obtain a 5g tank if possible. They are mating constantly, swimming most of the day and seem quite a bit different than the hiding pair I've had for the last several weeks (we even named our male after the fact that he hid most of the time- much more so than the female).
This weekend he has swam more than I've ever seen, and when still, struts his body and opens his gullet in this comical way just before he makes his call. The female tries desperately to get away from him it seems. At times she nudges him with her nose, pushing her body just under his (it is so sweet to watch), and other times virtually ignores him, swimming away as soon as he approaches.
I don't think they are suffering from a rampant bacterial infection but it certainly has been a good wake up call to get to know these sweet little amphibians (as well as opening my eyes to the awful shallowness of companies that promote and sell tiny prisons-virtually death sentences like the cubed home they came to me in). I am so glad that just as human bodies
begin to respond to environmental stress, similarly do frogs' (all creatures), and it can be relatively easy to rectify if properly informed (which it seems your site does well).
<We are in full agreement>
I appreciate the copious data the website provides and your personalized answers to my queries.
<Y/our situation describes the very purpose we are about>
Kind regards,
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs; sys., cycling      9/16/15

Hi Bob!
<Hey Sue!>
Since the last time we corresponded my ADF's mated, laid about 200 eggs that turned into tadpoles, and about 50 have survived an entire month thus far.
I have purchased a ten gallon tank with all the riggings but need to cycle it ASAP, as I we now have two more young ADF's. They (4) are very overcrowded in their small fishbowl home. Is there a link to quick cycling you can provide me.
<Yes: here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm
as you will see, there are a few "roads to Rome" here. I would try a mix of approaches>
I also have aquarium bacteria that I purchased in the hopes it would speed up the process- the back indicates, Instantly cycles new aquariums when dosed as directed". Do you know if it works or is nothing more than a gimmick?
<Some products are real, dependable.... others.... not so much. Look for Dr. Tim's, read re other (real users) experiences on the Net>
<And you! Bob Fenner>

African Dwarf Frog Missing; sys.     11/16/14
I recently purchased an ADF for my 6 year old daughters tank.
She promptly named it Moe. I have no idea if male or female.
Moe was put into a 2 gallon tank, housed with a non aggressive beta.
<It's a Betta, by the way, pronounced "better".>
The tank has been set up for over a year, and I changed all the decorations with the addition of Moe. It has a small outside filter, with sand and a light heater inside. It is kept around 77-78 degrees, and Moe appeared
perfectly happy for several days.
<As they often do. But they are slightly challenging to maintain, especially with other animals. Feeding is the major problem alongside escapes, as the dried foods sold as "frog foods" aren't always eaten, so you need live or frozen foods (such as bloodworms) as a standby at the very least.>
I keep it clean, with regular water changes and making sure uneaten food is picked up. The ammonia level is 0 and the ph is 7.2. The tank does have a lid, but it is open about a 1/4 centimeter into both the filter area and to
the outside world via the power cord.
<Provided there's a distance at least equal to the length of the frog (legs extended) between the waterline and the opening, the risk of escape is much reduced.>
Now that you know all that, my question is actually easy. Can, and would, a frog go out through the opening?
<If it can, it will, sooner or later. As noted above, you need a gap of, maybe 3-4 cm, at minimum between any openings and the waterline. But ideally, you'd have the tank only half to two-thirds filled, so there was
something like 8-10 cm of space between the waterline and any openings.
This makes the tank pretty much frog-proof.>
I cannot find Moe anywhere. I have looked outside the tank (although the dog would have gotten it) and even very carefully and slowly sifted the sand. Moe has gone missing. Not sure how to explain to my girl when she
gets home tomorrow. :/
<I suppose your options are (a) be honest with your child and explain what might have happened or (b) replace the frog and never mention this incident again! In favour of the honest approach, there's something to be said about explain animals in terms of reality, how mistakes can lead to harm or the death of an animal, and we're responsible for the lives of animals when we take them into our homes. There's no reason you can't try over again, this time pre-empting any of the common problems (escape and starvation being the two biggies) by tweaking or replacing the set-up you already have:
Make sense?>
Any help would be appreciated. (Oh and I did a Google search and didn't find this answer within the hour).
<Cheers, Neale.>

African clawed frog question     9/19/14
Hello, my tank kept getting green moss and I was cleaning it like every three weeks. I have had my African clawed frog for almost 7 years now. Not sure why so much moss lately (maybe because we moved to Tennessee from Colorado). Anywho, I got tired of cleaning the tank and bought some algae stuff from Wal-Mart by Tetra.
<Don't buy chemical algae removers! Bad medicine!>
It did not say on the small bottle that it would harm amphibians but on their website it did.
<Indeed. Plus, it fixes nothing in the long term. Algal spores are in the air. So even if you kill off the algae in your aquarium, it's days before they're back, and likely your tank will be as green as ever before a month's out.>
Long story short, my frog almost died. I immediately took him out of the water, cleaned the tank thoroughly and kept him in a small holding tank for two days. His eyes turned white. We thought he was blind.
<Which they pretty much are to begin with.>
Then the white stuff turned cottony and is now coming off but his eyes are reddish in color. Not bright red but they look infected. What can I do to help him and is he blind?
<Treat as per Fungus, choosing something that should be relatively safe, namely Methylene Blue. Use at 1/2 the dose quoted on the bottle to begin with. If, after a few days, there's no improvement, you can add another 1/2 dose (in other words, taking it up to the full dose).>
For about a week when his eyes were white he didn't eat because he couldn't find his food. Since then (about three weeks now) I've cleaned his tank twice just to make sure all of the infected water is out. Please tell me this is an easy fix. Thanks.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: African clawed frog question

Thank you. I will try it and send you an email in a couple days to let you know the results.
<Good luck, Neale.>

ADF and water hardness      7/13/14
Hello WWM Crew:
I have one ADF left and he's still in the horrible Brookstone tank. I decided to move him on up to a Fluval Spec V - 5 gallon and getting him a few friends (another ADF and some Amano Shrimp later on).
<Sounds good, wise.>
I have been cycling the water for over a week and finally got the condition of the water where I want it. I also have several live plants in the tank that seem to be doing well. Before just flipping him into the new tank I decided to test his water and found zero Ammonia (to my amazement), high Nitrate, and very high GH and KH.
<Nitrate is the end result of biological filtration, so assuming you have adequate filtration, zero ammonia is what you'd expect. Conversely, nitrate tends to go up and up because methods for its removal -- other than water changes -- tend to be absent from most freshwater tanks.>
I have been using spring water as per the Brookstone instructions and I know that Spring water is hard.
<Does depend on the spring, of course!>
So, my concern is the hardness of his water (KH=240, GH=180) versus the lack of hardness of the new tanks water (GH=60, KH=80). I thought I read
somewhere that going from hard water into soft water could cause some sort of illness or even death.
<Dramatic changes in any direction can be stressful to aquatic organisms.
But let's assume you fill the new aquarium with water from the original Brookstone "aquarium" plus any spring water that's necessary to top it up.
It should now have the same water chemistry as the original tank. If you now do weekly water changes using (soft) tap water, maybe 10-20% each time, then any subsequent water chemistry changes will be slight indeed. Your frogs should adapt without problems. If you're concerned, you can of course raise the hardness of the tap water. Not hard at all. Or expensive. Have a read here:
There's a widely-used Rift Valley salt mix that costs pennies a go. You wouldn't even need the full dose (it's scaled per 5 US gallons, but a quarter dose would be ample for what you're trying to do; in other words, quarter-teaspoon amounts of baking soda and sea salt, and quarter-tablespoon amounts of Epsom salt per 5 gallons.>
So, my main question is about the differences in the water hardness but also the nitrate in his tank was high and in the new tank it's zero, should I worry about that difference?
<Going from 50 mg/l nitrate down to 0 mg/l nitrate won't be a problem at all, assuming other parameters (temperature, hardness, pH) are steady.>
Thanks for all your assistance to me and to the many others that I have been reading through. You all are wonderful for us ADF dummies!!
Thanks again..Stacy
<Most welcome. Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs... sys.      2/27/14
Good morning,
I have a 29G freshwater tank (30x12x18"tall) with colored pebble bottom, two castles, and plenty of artificial plants along the back.  The tank has been up and running for 7 weeks - after a 6 week cycle.  It's kept at 78F to accommodate my julie Corys (x5), 4 female guppies, and male Betta.  I have a hang-on Fluval filter that creates a bit of water turbulence if the water doesn't reach the lip... or if the water does touch the lip, there seems to be more of a water current at the one side of the tank. 
Currently, the community is doing well... everyone gets along fine as there is plenty of hiding spots, and plenty of room.  Ideally, I'd like to add a few ADF's to my system.  I ensured my tankmates would be suitable, temp, etc...   However, I recently read about tank depth for frogs and found a wide array of answers.  Additionally, my tank is no deeper than the tanks at a number of petstores that keep ADF's.  I fill my tank to the black frame, plus  I have nearly 2" of gravel.  Thus, the water depth is approximately 15".  I'm not sure if ADF's would hangout on my gravel (likely?) versus on my castle - in which case the frogs would only need to swim about 10" to the surface?  I certainly want to ensure my environment is suitable prior to any purchase.  Will ADF's drown in my setup?  I don't think my setup is suitable for live plants without dismantling and removing the expensive colorful pebbles I have... but perhaps plastic floating plants would work??  The frogs use this for cover versus actually resting on them, correct?  I'd hate to have to lower my water to the 10" range...
I'd be losing a good 12G of water volume.  Am I currently suitable for ADF's with fake floating plants?  Or, should I leave the frogs in the store?
<I would not keep African Dwarf Frogs in tanks deeper than 12 inches/30 cm, and ideally, substantially less, maybe 6-8 inches being the ideal. They aren't strong swimmers and do struggle swimming vertically upwards. So far as I can tell from my specimens, while they sometimes do rest in plants at the surface, they don't seem to swim upwards (or downwards) in stages, resting halfway up for example, as we might expect them to. In the short term they may well survive in deeper tanks, but mortality rates in deep tanks do seem much higher than otherwise. Cheers, Neale.> 

Strange Swelling on Frog    12/9/13
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Amanda,>
My name is Amanda and I have three ADF's (two female, one male).  They live in a medium-size terrarium jar with well water and river rocks (I realise this is less than ideal, but I don't have the space for another aquarium.
<Hmm... is far from ideal. Do read:
Follow the links for more.>
I inherited these frogs from a family friend).  Tonight I noticed that one of my frogs has a large, round swelling right above her rear.  It doesn't have any discoloration, it matches her skin.  It also looks like it has a hole in the center, almost like a frog-colored pimple.  I know for certain that it was not present two days ago, so it had to just pop up yesterday.
Immediately when I noticed it tonight I removed her from the communal jar and put her in a different glass vase.
<Since the problem is likely bacterial, moving from one jar to another is unlikely to help.>
But I noticed when I was trying to pick her up out of the jar some clear jelly with brown flecks came out of the swelling.  Are those eggs?
I don't remember ever hearing that frogs develop swellings like this when they are about to lay eggs, but I'm certainly no expert. Also, when I had her in my hand, I gently pressed on the swelling to see if it was sensitive, but she didn't flinch at all so I assume that it's not tender. 
What does this sound like to you?
<Nothing antibiotics and transferral to a heated, filtered aquarium 5+ gallons in size won't fix.>
Thank you,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: Strange Swelling on Frog    12/9/13

Thank you, as always, for responding so promptly.
<Most welcome.>
I have to be honest and say there is no way I can get an aquarium set up right now.
<Oh dear.>
I do not have the space in my room (where I am, have to keep them) or money currently.  Is there any kind of healthy alternative for me?
<Do try contacting your local/city aquarium club... often they can either help by rehoming aquatic animals or else by providing at low/no cost suitable equipment. Many big cities have such clubs... do look here, for example...
Quite a few US clubs there.>
I do intend on getting an aquarium for all three of my frogs to be in, but like I said I can't do it right now.
<Unfortunately nature isn't forgiving in this regard. Short term, ensuring adequate temperature (around 77 F/25 C) and regular (10-20% daily) water changes will go some way to helping.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Strange Swelling on Frog   12/11/13

Hello again!
I talked over the aquarium situation with my mom, and we have decided to put up the money to get one.  I have included the link for a site we looked on that are at least the minimum gallon requirement.  Are any of those suitable?  Also, you had said that I should use antibiotics for my frog.  I have Maracyn plus and 2 (sorry if I spelled that wrong).  Is there something else I should use?
Thanks so much!
<Maracyn would be fine. Use as instructed on the bottle. Can be used in combination, but Maracyn Plus should be ideal. In any case, the link sent seemed to present a variety of fish tanks. Any of the tanks upwards of 5 gallons will do, with 7-10 gallons being absolutely perfect. Lighting is not essential (the frogs are actually quite shy in bright light) but if you want plants as well, you'd need lights. A lid of some sort is important though because these frogs can/do escape from open tanks (if your tank lacks a lid, get a piece of glass cut slightly bigger that the top of the tank and it'll work just fine and cost a couple dollars). Filtration is important as well, but can be very simple, an air-powered sponge or undergravel filter being absolutely ideal (on eBay you can get generic sponge filters for another couple dollars, but of course you'll need a little air pump too). Avoid electric internal filters if possible (these frogs are weak swimmers and sometimes get sucked into very strong pumps) but if you must use one, choose a gentle one and set it to a low setting so there's no risk. Hang-on-the-back filters can work, but bear in mind my warning that if the frogs can escape, they will, and having an open gap at the top of the tank for an HOB filter may be asking for trouble! Hope this helps, Neale.>
re: Strange Swelling on Frog    12/12/13

Thanks so much!  We'll get them all fixed up!
<Real good. Have fun, Neale.>

Moving ADFs to larger tank - cycling with live substrate    2/10/12
Thank you in advance for taking the time to help me.
<Most welcome.>
I've searched high and low but can't seem to find the exact answer to this question. I'm moving my ADFs (2 of them) up to a larger aquarium. Previously, I wasn't using a filter, as I was told when I bought them that the living substrate would act as a filter.
<Ah, not really, no. Obviously that's what happens in the wild. But in an aquarium the size of the tank and the area of the substrate are really out of all proportion to the livestock we're keeping. If you kept those two frogs in a well-planted 20 gallon tank, I dare say you could get away without a filter. But I'm assuming you're not, and provided a minimum-sized aquarium (5 gallons, no less!) for these frogs. That's too small for plants and substrate along to "clean", hence the need for the filter.>
Now I want to use a filter in addition to the same substrate, as I also use live plants. The live sand advertises that because it contains the 'good' bacteria already that I don't need to do a traditional cycling of the aquarium. Is this true?
<Sort of, but it doesn't actually mean anything. All gravel and all sand eventually get colonised with "good" bacterial (by which we mean filter bacteria that turn frog and fish wastes into harmless chemicals such as nitrate). There's no need at all to buy anything special if you can take the time to (3-6 weeks) to cycle the tank. If you already have the substrate from the original aquarium, you can remove that and mix that with any new sand or gravel, and it'll be instantly colonised with the bacteria, and in a week or two should be entirely cycled and mature, much more quickly that cycling the tank from scratch.>
This is what I've done so far: laid living substrate, filled the tank using old water that equals about 1/3 of the tank, dropped in whatever food was leftover from the other tank from breakfast. I would add some old media to the filter, but I wasn't using the filter so I don't have any. I want to move my froggies into their new home as soon as possible, but obviously I also want to do it right.
<Again, moving live filter media from another tank will work nicely.>
This is a side question - I always see information on what to feed my frogs, but not much specifically on how much. Usually I read, "What they eat in five minutes." My frogs never eat immediately after I feed them, so I leave it over night and clean up in the morning. Is that ok?
<Sure. Overfeeding is less of a problem with the frogs and more about water quality. So long as water quality is good (i.e., zero ammonia and nitrite) and the frogs don't look fat (they shouldn't look like they've swallowed bowling balls) then all is well.>
I have a big gal and a little guy, so I would think they don't eat the same quantity of food.
<You'd think.>
I got into this not knowing what I was doing and have learned a lot along the way. I am DETERMINED to keep these frogs healthy! Thanks for your help.
<Hmm… do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog Very Low Ph 1/12/12
Hello All,
I was gifted a Brookstone Frog-O-Sphere two years ago.
<Death-traps... am often surprised that this co. would be engaged in such>
I'm an animal lover, and I've done my best to care for these frogs, quickly realizing that the habitat provided was not an ideal environment. I can't even get into the barbaric way the live frogs were delivered to me, as it puts me into a blind rage. We've since upgraded to a 2.5 gallon tank, which has five living plants in good condition, and I've been using "living" substrate. The aquarium heater keeps the tank at about 83 degrees,
<Mmm, a bit warm. Please read Neale's review here:
and the linked files above. I'd re-set the temp. to 77 F maximum>
although the heater is a recent addition (since I've noticed that my frogs don't seem "happy"). Their diet varies every other day between pellets and crickets. The nitrates measured at about 10ppm and the nitrite is 0. The ph is very low -- about 4.
<Yeeikes! What is the cause here? Is there a bit of driftwood present?>
The tank has recently been cleaned. When I clean the tank, I keep about 1/3 existing water and add room temperature spring water.
<Spring water? A commercial product... not likely useful...>
The frogs have perked up since I've raised the tank temp (it was around between 69 and 71F), but they are still not back to their "old selves". I thought they may be droopy because the weather is getting colder (and thus their tank temp was dropping) but there must be something more. I have read that frogs are not overly sensitive to PH,
<Not so... this pH is dangerous in a few ways... the reason/s it's so low need to be discovered and dealt w/. What is the pH of the source water?
Does it have any measurable alkalinity?>
but 4 seems very, very low. Can I raise this without damaging or over- stressing the frogs?
<Yes... slowly... Read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm
and Neale's related articles on Hard/Soft water linked above>
Thank you in advance for you help.
<Do write back after reading if you're unclear re what to do. Bob Fenner>
Re: African Dwarf Frog Very Low Ph 1/12/12

Dear Bob,
Thank you for your response. I am currently out of test strips, so I need to buy more. According to their website, the spring water I've been using has a PH of about 6.3, so lower to begin with.
<Too low... and alkalinity? Likely low as well... Did you read where you were referred?>
I have also recently raised
the tank temperature, so this may have added to the PH problem??
Could those two factors alone account for it?
<Oh yes>
I don't have any driftwood in the tank. The only thing other than the plants and substrate are two rocks that came with the original kit.
<These should be fine... not chemically/physically dangerous>
Do you recommend a particular heater?
<... yes... again, did you read?>
The one recommended to me at the pet store I cannot manually set a specific temperature. The ones I've seen online will not fit properly in my tank.
<There are some smaller units... Hydor, ZooMed... are two makers>
If I add a buffering solution to the water that I add to the tank, will that slowly correct the PH problem or am I too far gone?
<... my friend, I/we can't help you IF you won't read... DO NOT pour chemicals for this directly in the system. READ where you've been referred.
If my tap water has an appropriate PH, will using this instead of the spring water over time be enough to solve the problem?
I also saw in the pages you linked that I could use coral substrate, but then when I looked at online retailers, it warned me that it's a product for salt water aquariums only. My apologies in my confusion as I am trying to dig back in my brain and remember some high school chemistry!
Again, many thanks,

Best Option? ADF... comp., fdg., sys. 11/12/11
I, like many others, purchased an ADF because they were cute; without looking into the details of cohabitation and tank size. (I did check for water temp and filtration). I put my adorable ADF into a 25 gallon tank (chastising myself now after reading your info) This is where my question comes into play that I haven't been able to find on your website. Unfortunately I did put him in that tank with a couple of tiger barbs,
<These are nippy and need to be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens'¦>
a molly ( I know.)
<Do need particular environmental conditions; hard, alkaline water, ideally slightly brackish; not ideal tankmates for the barbs or frog.>
After 3 days I thought he had been eaten after I read that tiger barbs were aggressive.
<When kept incorrectly, yes.>
I then bought some ghost fish that eat freeze dried blood worms.
<What are "Ghost Fish"? Do you mean Black Ghost Knifefish or Ghost Catfish? Neither are "scavengers" and the Black Ghost Catfish especially is difficult to feed, needs excellent water quality, and will need a MUCH bigger aquarium than yours. For what it's worth, freeze-dried bloodworms are okay as a treat once a week, but they're of NO VALUE at all as a staple food, so if you're feeding mostly flake, then choose fish that eat flake. Black Ghosts certainly won't live on flake alone, and need a variety of live, fresh, or wet-frozen foods. Ghost Catfish are marginally less picky, and do well on live foods like daphnia and brine shrimp, together with wet-frozen invertebrates of various types. They may eat flake, but not reliably so.>
All of this happened two months ago. 6 days ago, my ADF showed up bouncing along the bottom of the tank. I am super excited that he is alive and healthy and all of the fish I have acquired since his assumed demise (ghost and angel fish) have not attacked him. However, in the interim, I loved the ADF so I bought a few more and set them up in a 10 gallon tank with 6 fantailed guppies.
<Sounds a much more sensible set-up. Frogs best kept alone or with shrimps, but very small fish are fine.>
My question is, he is alive and healthy so far; but obviously he can't live on freeze dried blood worms.
<Indeed not. A mixed diet is best. Freeze-dried foods tend to cause constipation if used exclusively, so as I say, use once or twice a week. Think what would happen to you if you just ate dried meat like jerky all the time! Alternate with live, fresh or wet-frozen foods; this can be as easily done as finely chopping white cod or tilapia fillet and, occasionally, because they contain thiaminase, finely chopped shrimp. Wet-frozen foods can also be bought from pet stores, and stored safely in your freezer ("gamma" irradiated foods are even safer than foods sold for human consumption!). There are some pellet foods made specifically for frogs, and your pet store may sell them. Used once or twice a week, these are excellent supplements to a mixed diet.>
I have attempted to catch him and put him in the more appropriate tank but this is proving extremely difficult since he only makes an occasional appearance. (Remember, I didn't even know he was alive for two months). So. Do I leave him be and try to alternate his diet to a healthier state than constipation food, do I add a couple more ADF's and put some floating plants at the top and try to create a more conducive environment all around,(it is a 15" swim from the rocks to the top) or do I diligently keep at it until I catch him and transfer him to the 10 gallon tank?
<Would move this lone frog to the 10 gallon tank alongside your new frogs.>
Very worried and want my little froggies to have happy lives. Am losing sleep, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Best Option? 11/12/11

Thank you so much, your suggestions as far as what to do with my lone froggie are in alignment with what I felt would be best.
<Glad to help.>
(The ghost fish by the way, are the knife fish, black with white rings, and I will need to get a bigger tank once they start growing)
<Oh yes! Potentially, these beasts can get to around 50 cm/20 inches, though few live that long in captivity. They do grow slowly, but part of that is surely that many specimens are half-starved in community aquaria. Lovely fish, but difficult to keep properly. In the wild they inhabit deep, fast-moving streams and rivers often near waterfalls. They like water current, oxygen, shade, and insect larvae to eat!>
Thank you also for the food information. I should have done more research initially, but with your additional knowledge I'm sure I can create a happy, healthy environment. Thank you also for such a prompt reply. Best wishes
<Thanks for the kind words! Cheers, Neale.>

Frank, our water frog... sys. 10/28/11
Hello. We have an African water frog who is about 3 years old. He has a 10 gallon tank with stones and a hiding place and a nice fake plant. We use a filter system in the tank. About 2 months ago his tank started to get very smelly right after a water change and becomes very cloudy. This never occurred until recently and we did not change anything! What can we do to keep his tank clean and smell-free?
Thank you!
<Hello Amy. Do you change all the water at once? That's often a bad approach: besides stirring up silt from the substrate and out of the filter media, it can trigger certain sorts of bacterial and diatom blooms over the next few days. I suspect the latter is what's going on. In addition, if you can upgrade the tank to even 15 gallons, and beef up the filtration system so there's a more vigorous water turnover rate, you should find your aquarium stays cleaner, clearer, and less smelly. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Hymenochirus; Brookstone; systems 8/23/11
My friends purchased my cat
the wonderful Brookstone frogs (sarcasm!) I couldn't handle the small tank so I purchased an Aqueon 2.5 gallon and supplied it with live plants and spring water (used spring water with no ill effects in the Brookstone container). I waited a week and transferred them over. No problems until 2 days later.
<Ammonia levels will rise over the days, and then nitrite, and it may be a week or two until the water actually becomes lethal to the frogs. But you do need a biological filter in this system. A simple air-powered sponge is adequate, but it'll take 3-4 weeks to cycle, and until that point, minimise feeding to twice a week, and sparingly, and do 10-20% water changes every day. Be sure to use dechlorinated tap water. Not softened water (e.g., from a domestic water softener -- too much sodium) or RO water. Just plain vanilla tap water.>
I can't seem to keep the nitrate level comfortable for them.
<Do you really mean nitrate (with an "a")? Nitrate isn't particularly dangerous to frogs, and up to 50 mg/l will cause no harms. By contrast, 1 mg/l nitrite (with an "I") will quickly be lethal, and ammonia can be lethal as low as 0.5 mg/l.>
I've been breeding/recycling the old water into the new tank but as you know there isn't a lot of water to do this with!
<NO! Don't reuse the old water! That's missing the point! Remove water, and replace with fresh tap water, dechlorinated of course.>
It appeared to work for a couple of days but they're still not eating. One now floats at the top near the filter and the other stays near the bottom.
I admit that I've probably tried to overfeed them (tried frozen bloodworms and pellets) but can't seem to get them back to their active selves. I've now scooped out all of the food that I can see and have not fed them in two days. Any suggestions how to clear this up before I stress them and myself out!
Thanks in advance for your help and support!
<Do please read:
You will notice on the later page that Brookstone is a "frequent offender".
How/why they're able to sell live animals eludes me. Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs questions! Hlth., sys. 6/13/2011
Hi there-
I came upon your site when researching ADFs online. My boys each received 2 from Brookstone (I know...Yikes) in December 2009. They lived in their tiny tanks eating their pellets and seemed to be doing fine. On Thursday, my son accidentally knocked over his dresser and sent the tank flying. We managed to get the two frogs and put them into his brother's tank. (I know you are cringing right now, based on how obscenely small those tanks are-- I had no idea until recently.) That evening we went to a local pet store and got a new tank. It's a Betta tank with a filter and light. We got new gravel, a cave like stone for hiding, a Nerite snail, and drops to treat the tap water.
<Do make sure these "drops" treat for Chloramine (not just chlorine)... important and apropos to your situation below>
I put the frogs in the new tank and that night they were more active than ever. They seemed to have calmed down since then. I have been feeding them more based on what I have read about the 2 pellet regime being a starvation diet. This morning (Sunday) the snail was floating at the top of the tank. This evening we noticed one of the frogs had died. He was on his back at the bottom of the tank, unmoving. When I removed him from the tank he remained completely still. I thought they would float to the top when they died. My son was devastated and thinks one of the other frogs was eating his food. I decided to change the water and put the 3 frogs in a bowl. They each moved when I transferred them but were pretty still in the bowl.
<Mmm... the sanitizer, Chloramine...>
I put a few pellets in to see if they would eat and they didn't. When I changed the water I used the drops and made sure the temp was between 75-85 degrees. What do you think is wrong?
<See above... this and the fact that this system is not likely "cycled">
Here they were "fine" in the awful Brookstone tank, and I move them to a better environment and they seem to be failing. Please let me know if you have any advice before the next three die!!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
And use the search tool (on the left border) to look up re cycling, Dechloramination... Oh, and do write back if you have further concerns,
questions. Bob Fenner>

ADF's, no salt please 4/16/11
Hey Folks,
I recently lost about six ADF's in two separate tanks over the course of a couple days.
The female Betta fish that were with them are doing fine. I had gotten in the habit of adding a heaping tablespoon of salt per gallon of water with the Betta's water changes .
<Why? Please read here:
and the linked files above... There is a persistent "wives' tale" re salt use... in this case, toxic>
The frogs were added about a month ago. Today I read on the internet that I might be using too much salt.
At any rate do you think that the salt might have killed my froggies?
<Oh yes>
I read on your site that they absorb through their skin. Most of them looked normal but a few were bloated. The strange thing is that they did fine for a month and then suddenly over the course of several days they all died. Last week I bought some HBH frog and tadpole bits. They are larger and sink. Before that I was feeding something smaller that floated on the surface and the Betta girls were getting huge. Water, food, or something else.
Thanks so much for your time,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: ADF's 4/16/11
Hi Bob,
<Big D!>
Thanks so much for your timely response. Very kind of you. I appreciate the information. Have a great weekend. GOD bless.
<And you, BobF>

Desperate for Help with my ADFs 2/18/11
I have scoured Google today for an answer to my question, and after all that, I'm still not sure what I need to do. Here's my situation...my twins were given one of those tiny "cubes" from the local Hallmark store that had two tiny frogs in it. The "tag" on the aquarium said the size was fine
<Ah no>
and to feed them 2 pellets per frog 2x/week.
Which we've done for the past year and a half with no problems. Recently, however, someone asked me what kind of frogs they were. Since I didn't know, I Googled Hallmark frogs and found they were African Dwarf Frogs.
What I also found was that they are NOT supposed to be kept in this little trap. Feeling horrible, I went out that day to buy a nice new 14 gallon aquarium for these little fellas (well, actually I think they're females) with a heater and filter. Unfortunately, the person at the pet store (even though I told them I was getting it for my ADFs that were in "the cube") didn't tell me anything about the tank needing to be cycled!! Well, the only reason I found that out, is the next morning, the 6 Neons we also got for the tank while at the pet store were all dead in the morning! So when I Googled again, that's when I found out about cycling the tank which I Googled more to find out that it's not safe for the frogs either . I immediately took the little froggies out and put them back into their little cube (luckily I hadn't dumped the water yet). So, after all of this, I was certain that I had completely traumatized them and after just dropping $150 on a new tank, gravel, food, etc. that I had just killed them.
<Do put the "olde water" (and wastes) from the little holding container in the 14 gal. sys.>
Well, here I am a few weeks later...I've been checking the water in the tank weekly. The ammonia has spiked and come back down, but the nitrates and nitrites are still rather high. For some reason, yesterday, I decided to check the water in "the cube", only to find that the nitrates/nitrites were just as high as the tank (note: I'm using the test strips because the pet store wasn't open and that's all they had at Wal-Mart and Meijer) . So, my thought was since they're both high, they might as well be in the bigger tank. So I transferred them yesterday, but I'm really worried about them.
We've become really attached to these frogs and I don't want to lose them.
But with both of their water sources having higher than normal levels of nitrate/nitrite...I don't know what I should do. According to the "quick dip" chart, the nitrate is at 80 and the nitrite is between 3 and 5 (again, the ammonia is 0).
Should I buy anything to bring these levels down?
<Yes... change a bunch of the water, dechlorinated of course, until the nitrite is below 1 ppm>
Should I do a 25-50% water change?
<More than this or serially, daily>
Should I dump the water in their cube and add tap water (this is how we had always cleaned the cube in the past year and a half...no dechlorinator or anything)?
<Needs dechlorinating>
We also have really hard water with very high KH and pH levels (but that's all they've ever known). Should I leave them be since I had never checked the water in the cube and they may have been living with these levels all along?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above; particularly ADF systems. Bob Fenner>

ADF - Water and food questions, reading -- 02/02/11
Hello. I have a couple of African Dwarf Frogs, that I have had for almost 2 years. Lately I have had some concerns about them. I hope my email isn't too long.
To describe their tank, they are in a 1.5 gallon tank, without a heater or filter.
<Ahh, do need this. Please read here:
I keep them under a desk lamp about 12 hours a day which keeps their water temperature around 76 - 78.
<When the lamp is off? The temp. likely drops too much for these tropical animals>
Also, their tank is plastic and I was told I could not use a heater.
<Not so... please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM ahead of writing us>
I didn't use the filter that came with their tank because I read frogs don't like the vibration of the water.
<Also incorrect. Better to have improved water quality, not be poisoned by metabolic wastes>
I am not sure if anything I was told or read is true, so correct me if you have any suggestions about their tank. Also, they have a bridge they can climb on, or hide under.
<Don't leave the water...>
About the frogs - One frog (Jack) is very overweight and the other, (Peewee) is on the thinner side. Neither of them are aggressive. I have fed them small dark pellets (that they came with), freeze dried brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms and now, a few times Betta pellets. Jack begs for food all the time, and eats whatever I give him. Peewee comes out from under his bridge a couple of times a day, but unless I put food up to his mouth, I am afraid he won't eat.
<These may be just two differing sexes... are morphologically diff.>
I have moistened the pellets and pushed them through a small medical pet syringe. I have picked up frozen blood worms with tweezers and waived them in from of Peewee. Eventually he eats a bit. I am going away for a week and again for a month and cannot take them with me, so I am leaving them with my mother and I know she won't feed them like I do.
<No worries. >
Which food can she drop in the tank, without getting the water cloudy?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfaffdg.htm
It seems lately their water gets cloudy within 2 days of changing, and uneaten food will only turn the water quicker.
<Again... the filter...>
Which is another concern. I only use bottled spring water in their tank,
<Not a good idea... keep reading the linked files above...>
after I washing the tank, including the gravel and bridge. I have noticed their bridge has started to get green with algae. I did not have that problem last year.
Lastly, every once in a while I see this greenish slime at the bottom of the tank. It comes up in one piece when I pick it up. Do you know what that is?
I thought it might be shedded skin, but it happens about once a week, if not more.
Thank you for reading this. and thank you in advance for any suggestions you can offer. I don't want to come back home to find a dead frog. Like I mentioned, I am concerned about which food can be thrown into the tank without getting the water cloudy after a day. And what is happening with their water getting cloudy so fast!?
<A lack of filtration, circulation...>
Thank you for having a wonderful web site!
Lisa O.
<Please use it. Bob Fenner>

ADF sand question 1/27/11
Hello crew,
After hours of research and finally purchasing the correct tank and such for our ADF I only have the substrate to purchase for our ADF. I have called every plant nursery and fish/pet store in our area and no one carries smooth silica sand to use in the ADF tank. I found on the internet Repti Sand that claims it's better than silica sand. The frog was a gift to my daughter without my consent so we are trying to do what's right and the last thing we want is to do the wrong thing (no worries, the first thing we did was get her out of that horrible tiny plastic "tank"). Please look at this link and let me know if this sand will work.
Your advice is greatly appreciate,
<Hi Sheri, "Repti Sand" contains calcium carbonate, which reptiles consume accidentally or otherwise, and in the process that helps them keep their bones strong. Unfortunately, under water calcium carbonate will raise the pH and hardness levels, and the long-term effects of this on an African Dwarf Frog are unknown to me, but unlikely to be useful. Simply ask your retailer for a soft, lime-free sand. That's what you need. Smooth silica sand, also called smooth silver sand, is widely sold in garden centres in the UK for use in houseplant gardening, where it's mixed with soil to improve drainage. In the US an equivalent product is sold as "pool sand" and, I'm told, "play-pit sand". Provided these are lime-free and feel smooth rather than sharp (sharp sand is abrasive) you should be good to go!
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ADF sand question
Thank you very much for the information. I can find one store that sells pool sand for swimming pool filters. Is this the sand you are talking about?
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ADF sand question 1/27/11
Neale, thank you!! Have a good one!
<You're welcome! Cheers, Neale.>

HELP!! caring for "classroom" DAF's - need new environment ASAP!! 1/3/11
I have taken home two DAF's from my son's classroom that have been housed in a small 6x6 acrylic tank for almost 3 months!! I would like to change them out to a bigger 3-5 gallon tank ASAP but need to know how to best (and most cheaply) do it as no one else will, and I have limited resources. I have filled two plastic jugs with tap water and let them sit out for 2 days - do I need to add a dechlorinator? test the water? at what rate should I water change? I am hoping they survive - they are obviously not very active since the tank is so small but I do not want to jeopardize their health any further by doing the wrong thing!! Also, the classroom gets cold at times and I am very surprised they have lived this long - please advise!!! I appreciate any help
<Hello Kim. I assume you're talking about Dwarf African Frogs. Like you, I'm surprised these animals have survived so long. But like the Russian guy who lived to be 150 drinking nothing by vodka and eating nothing by pig fat, just because the surprising happens, doesn't make it something that works reliably or will continue to work even in this case. So please start by reading here:
At minimum, you need a 5 gallon tank with a small filter (an air-powered sponge filter is ideal) and a small heater (25-50 W is likely to be ample).
If you home doesn't get colder than 22 C/72 F, you might not even need a heater. But these are tropical animals and their lifespan in cooler conditions will be far reduced, and watching them die from stress-related diseases such as Red Leg will break your heart. Their lack of activity is surely down to them being so cold. Water needn't be sat aside for a day or two, but you should add water conditioner -- which does more than remove chlorine. Change 10-25% a week, depending on how dirty the tank gets. If you can't provide them with everything they need, do call a local aquarium club (most big cities have one) or perhaps an aquarium shop to see if you can find these little chaps a new home. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: HELP!! caring for "classroom" DAF's - need new environment ASAP!! 1/3/11
Neale - Thanks for the advice - Unfortunately the frogs are not mine to give away but I am hoping if I return them in the right env. with the right advice I can get them moving in the right direction - if not, I will
recommend they do as you suggested!
<By all means have the school e-mail us if they need help. We volunteer here specifically to help people keep their aquatic pets better, and while we might get a bit snappy when people are willfully ignorant or just plain callous, we're mostly nice guys and gals happy to help. Good luck with what you're trying to do here. Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog Housing 12/23/10
Hello. First off, thank you very much for your wonderful website. I am a novice aquarist, and your site has been invaluable in getting me up to speed on many issues related to African Dwarf Frog care. There are, however, a few specific issues I have not been able to find answers to, and was hoping you could help me with these. I set up a 3 gallon tank (a Marineland Eclipse 3 with a built-in Bio-wheel filter) for three ADFs,
<Too small; wouldn't consider anything smaller than 5 US gallons acceptable. Do understand that tanks smaller than 5 gallons are basically toys with little/no practical value.>
and made sure the tank was fully cycled before adding the frogs.
<How did you cycle? Adding water isn't enough; you need an ammonia source to feed the bacteria colonising the filter. The easiest approach is to add a pinch of food every other day, and do 25% water changes every week. After 3-4 weeks the tank should be adequately cycled to add your first frogs.>
They were added about two weeks ago. At first, all seemed well, but the last few days they have seemed less active, and hiding at the back of the tank. This morning, I found that one of the frogs had died suddenly. He looked completely normal except his left hand looked very red and possible even missing part of the hand. I've tested the water, and the ammonia and nitrites are both zero, and everything else seems relatively normal.
<Hmm'¦ unlikely to be the case.>
The PH is a bit high (around 8.0), and the nitrates are around 40 ppm. I've tried adding a small amount of PH Down last week, but it didn't seem to have an effect.
<Do NOT fiddle with the pH. Leave it as it is. A pH of 8.0 won't harm the frogs in itself, assuming good water quality.>
I also did several very large water changes after completing the cycle (before adding the frogs), but I couldn't get the nitrates below 40 ppm.
<Likely your tap water has a nitrate level of 40 mg/l.>
I'm now worried about my two remaining frogs, and am questioning everything about my set up. Here are my specific questions:
1. I'm using a sand substrate, and have several plastic plants and a small rock as well. I couldn't locate any silica sand in my area, but I found a product called "Riverbed Sand" by Exo Terra. The package said it was ideal for aquatic frogs, and although it didn't say it was silica, it did say the grains are extremely round and fine. Here is a link to the product information: http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/riverbed_sand.php. Is this sand okay for ADFs? The frogs seem to really like burrowing in it, but I noticed they do get some in their mouths while eating.
<Should be safe.>
2. I have a 10-watt mini heater in the tank. It does not have an adjustable thermostat, but is supposed to keep the water around 78 degrees. However, it does get up as high as 82 occasionally when I have the light on. Is that okay for ADFs?
<Not really. One problem with these "toy" aquaria is they aren't compatible with proper aquarium hardware. So even a tiny heater will raise the water far too fast to be safe. Switch to a 5 gallon tank and you should be fine. By all means yell at your retailer for selling you a piece of rubbish, but do also appreciate the importance of reading prior to purchase; we would never recommend a tank this small.>
3. I have a small bubble wand at the back of the tank. The frogs seem to like sitting under it, but I've seem some opinions that these guys like still tanks. Is the bubble wand okay, or is it likely stressing out the froggies?
<Provided the water isn't churning about, they're fine.>
4. I feed the frogs a diet of frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, and HTH Frog and Tadpole bites. Is that an acceptable diet for ADFs?
5. One of the frogs is much much lighter in color than most ADFs. Almost white. Is that normal or is there something wrong with him?
<Difficult to say, but likely simple variation. Frogs do shed their skin periodically, and dead skin patches can appear opaque.>
6. Is it normal for ADFs to hide at the back of the tank most of the time?
<If they're unhappy, yes. They prefer tanks with little water movement, subdued lighting, and floating plants.>
7. Is the 40 ppm nitrate a problem? Should I consider getting something like Nitra-Zorb to lower it?
<Not a problem.>
8. Since the frog that died had red on his hand, I'm worried about bacterial infection or red leg. I just bought something called Lymnozyme which is supposed to control the bacteria that cause red leg, but this will take some time. Are there any other medications or chemicals I should add to the tank to try and benefit my remaining two frogs?
<Red Leg is caused by a poor environment. Provided you maintain a healthy environment, Red Leg shouldn't re-appear. It is essentially untreatable.>
9. Is there anything else I should be testing the water for besides the usual PH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?
<Do read:
Sorry for all the questions. I'm just very worried about my other frogs and I'm trying to figure out what to do.
Thanks so much.
<Hope this helps, and Merry Christmas. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog Housing 12/24/10

<Glad to help.>
Thank you so much for the prompt response. If only commercial companies were as fast and helpful in responding to e-mails!
I will definitely get a larger tank. I like the built-in filter and lighting in the Eclipse line, so I will try to get an Eclipse System 6.
I cycled using One & Only from Dr. Tim's Aquatics, and added daily doses of 10% pure ammonia. I originally tried to cycle without the One & Only; the ammonia level spiked then came down to zero after a couple weeks, but I could never get the nitrites to come down significantly. Once I started over with the One & Only, it was fully cycled within a week. I was very happy with that product, expensive as it may be.
I will stop trying to alter the PH. I will also test my tap water for nitrates--I hadn't considered that it could be the source.
Hopefully the heater I have will work once I get a larger tank set up. In the mean time, I will unplug it as needed to keep the temperature under about 78 F.
I will also try turning of the bubble wand for a while to see if the frogs come out more.
Finally, thank you for providing the link to your care sheet. I had read through most of the FAQ's for ADFs, but somehow missed this one, which is too bad because it neatly summarizes everything in one place. One important new piece of information is the statement to not use water from a domestic water softener. All of the tap water is softened in our home.
Could that be causing problems for the frogs?
<Yes. Domestic water softeners replace carbonate hardness with sodium salts, which is why you should not drink water from a domestic water softener. Here in the UK at least, domestic water softeners do not connect to the kitchen tap/faucet, so drinking water bypasses the softener.
Domestic softeners are really only useful for water going to bathing or washing purposes.>
If so, can I do anything to treat the water now that it's in the tank, or just start using other water with each weekly change?
<Yes, your drinking water should be unsoftened and will be safe.>
Would you recommend using bottled spring water treated with dechlorinator, or would something like Ready-Water from CaribSea (http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4368192#prodTab1) be better?
<Seems an expensive workaround to me.>
Once again, thank you for your kind help. Both my frogs and I are very grateful for your expertise and generosity.
<Glad to help.>
Merry Christmas!
<And enjoy the holidays yourself. Cheers, Neale.>

African dwarf frogs.... sys., comp. 11/25/10
I already have an established 10 gallon that my little buddies stay in now, but I am seeding a 55 gallon tank right now (how long might this take).
<Moving gravel from an old tank to a new one speeds things up a bit, but not dramatically. Moving live filter media from an old tank to a new tank dramatically speeds things up, and if you move enough live media, enough to at least half-fill the new filter, you can add livestock right away. I'd still recommend you add stock very carefully, feed sparingly, and use a nitrite test kit every couple of days just to make sure everything has worked.>
I used some of the bacteria pellets out of the 10's filter into the 55's and put an old filter media and some rocks from the 10-55, I am also using the cycle start stuff in liquid.
<This latter is fairly useless.>
I added some fish food and 2 gallons of water from 10 gallon tank to help create ammonia).
I have 2 Kuhli loaches, 2 African dwarf frogs, 2 male platies, 3 female guppies, 1 male guppy and two Cory cats.
<55 gallons will be very generous for these! Think seriously about upping their numbers though. Half a dozen Kuhli Loaches and Corydoras would be a great start, plus bigger groups of Platies and Guppies (at least twice as many females and males) would be nice, too.>
As soon as I get the tank finished cycling I will be receiving a nice sized Pleco.
<I would NOT do this. A Common Plec will turn a beautiful 55 gallon tank into a stinking mess. These fish are VERY DIRTY and there are NO good reasons to add one to this aquarium. Instead, look at the Bristlenose Plec (Ancistrus spp.). These are smaller -- 12 cm/5 inches -- and much cleaner.
They also remove algae much MUCH better than Common Plecs. Plus, in a tank this size, you could have a male and female Bristlenose, and before long they'd spawn and you'd very likely spot baby catfish in this tank. They are quite easy to breed, and the fathers are so good at looking after their babies that a few will survive even in community tanks.>
I am running Fluval filters on both my tanks the one on the smaller tank (which will become breeding tank) goes up to a 30 gallon and the one on the bigger (which will become the regular tank) does 50 gallons (fish store said will be fine because I have some huge rocks in the tank which displaces a lot of water. Both will have live plants which includes hogworth
<Hogwort? Croton capitatus? This isn't an aquatic plant. Take it out.>
(do you know of a similar plant because I found out I am allergic to this one, causes itching and redness exactly where the plant touches me), water sprite, and java moss.
<Do read WWM re: aquatic plants. Many, many options.
Avoid non-aquatics, and choose hardy species that don't require anything fancy in terms of lighting or substrate. Floating Indian Fern is perhaps the best all-around species for adding greenery to the top, while
Vallisneria, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne wendtii are very undemanding plants for the bottom of the tank.
I need suggestion on other fish to keep with these guys, crustaceans that would be fine with them, and other plant ideas. I know I can not keep ghost shrimp because the frogs eat them.
<Cherry Shrimps are well worth trying out, and get along fine with Dwarf African Frogs. But shrimps and indeed frogs shouldn't be kept with substantially larger fish.>
Would any of these fish be ok with them: Siamese algae eater,
<Yes; but this is a schooling species.>
red tail shark,
<Best avoided.>
dwarf gorami,
honey gorami (my husband thinks that all gorami's would be too aggressive for the guppies and others),
<Honey Gouramis aren't at all aggressive, but they must have soft, acidic water to last long, and that would kill Platies and Guppies. Instead, look at Banded Gouramis (Colisa fasciata) and Thick-Lipped Gouramis (Colisa labiosa), both of which are much hardier than any of the other small gourami species.>
German blue rams,
<Useless. Requires very warm, very soft, very acidic water. Even more difficult to maintain than the Honey Gourami. But the Bolivian Ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus) is much hardier. Cichlids are territorial though, and can/will harass small frogs, shrimps, etc.>
wresting half beak.
<Potentially, but they do have very specific needs in terms of diet and general care.
Are all Danios,
<Can be good, but schooling fish, and in groups of less than 6 tend to be bullies. Also need quite cool water, no warmer than 25 C/77 F.>
<Depends on the species. Things like Tiger Barbs will be too nippy in a system like this one. But Five-Banded Barbs might work well, as would Cherry Barbs.>
<Again, varies widely, from species that are peaceful and hardy (e.g., the X-ray Tetra Pristella maxillaris) through to ones that are either nippy (e.g., Serpae Tetra) or difficult to maintain thanks to water chemistry
requirements or poor quality stock (e.g., Neons).>
and mollies if I understand right.
<Mollies are quite demanding, and best kept in a tank designed specifically for them. Read:
Do also see my article on Mollies in the current issue of TFH Magazine.>
This is my first time doing a community tank. I wanted a choice of great variety instead of just having a couple of cichlids in a tank.
<Understandable. But let me give you some advice. When placing small fish in a big tank, there's a temptation to add "two of everything" like you're stocking Noah's Ark. Don't do this. Without goodly numbers, many fish are shy, neurotic, sickly, or badly behaved. Such an aquarium won't be any fun.
Instead pick out 3-4 species you really like, and keep big groups of them. Twelve Platies will look much better than three Guppies, three Platies, three Swordtails and three Mollies. You'll see more natural social
behaviour, and if you have enough females, the males will display without fighting too seriously. Likewise a big group of six or ten Bronze Corydoras will school together nicely and as they explore the bottom of the tank they'll look like a platoon of little green army guys. It's really very cute. Again, two Cherry Shrimps will simply hide, but twenty will clamber about the plants in a big swarm, and put on a much better show.>
Feel free to list any fish, crustacean, or anything that would be great.
<Cheers, Neale.>

ADF HHs 11/10/10
Good Evening,
<Now AM in my time zone presence, PST>
I want to thank you for your previous answers to everyone's questions. Your site is very helpful!
<Welcome and thank you>
I do have a question. I have 3 ADF's in a 3 gallon tank.
<Oooh, hard to keep such small volumes stable>
One of the frogs is a new addition due to a recent loss of a previous ADF that I had for well over a year. The other frogs seem to be doing fine, I have gravel on the bottom of the tank with many live plants, and clay pots for them to hide. I have a heater in the tank that was recently added and this keeps the water temp at 78 degrees.
<Ah, good. These are tropical animals that need such>
Just today I noticed when I look very closely that I have these very small (almost microscopic) white dots that are on the glass of the aquarium, and also at the surface of the water. These dots along the glass also seem to be up closer to the surface, and when I get up very close to the tank, I can see them moving around. I have no idea what this could be for sure and was wondering if you had an answer. I don't think this could be Daphnia,
as I believe they are much to small. I wouldn't even notice these if I haven't been close to the tank and studied these little "things." My water otherwise looks clear. Could this be a parasite of some sort, or could it just be micro organisms that inhibit every tank?
<Much more likely something of the latter>
I just want to make sure that these other frogs are safe and will remain healthy. I don't want to treat or disrupt the tank if it doesn't have to be done. Please help!
<I would not be concerned. These too will likely pass of their own accord. Bob Fenner>

Minimum Temp for ADF 11/4/10
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
I am the energy manager for a school district in central Iowa. As part of our winter energy program our buildings are kept at 70-73 degrees during the day and we have a nightly temperature setback of 55 degrees. Our buildings have never gotten that low at night, 63-66 degrees is the norm on weekdays and over the weekend it may get to 58-59 degrees, as our boilers are set back, but not turned off entirely; but it is possible they could hit 55.
Our fifth grade science classes study the behaviors and environment of the ADF. Our science coordinator scheduled them for winter term this year, and they will be arriving (along with fiddler crabs) in a week (Nov10) I searched your website and found this quote:
"Low temperatures, for short periods, a few days for example, won't harm Hymenochirus or indeed most tropical fish."
1. What is the lowest temperature ADF can tolerate?
<On a regular basis, keeping them below 22 C/72 F would be unsafe.>
2. If they can tolerate 55 degrees, for how long?
<A day or two won't kill them, provided they're eventually moved back to a heated, tropical aquarium.>
3. How would a nightly temperature change from 73 to 58 (albeit only for an hour or so at the lower range) affect their behavior (to try to help the kids make predictions)?
<African Dwarf Frogs are tropical animals and this sort of experiment would be inhumane. Repeatedly exposing them too cool conditions will at best stress them and thereby weaken their immune system, and at worst could be lethal in itself.>
4. Should we just chuck the whole unit?
<No idea what you mean here. In any case, the students and teachers need to appreciate that any animal experiments have to be done humanely, and doing otherwise in Europe and the US will doubtless be illegal, at least so far as vertebrates like frogs are concerned. The laws apply whether you're an elementary school or a medical research centre. So unless you want to have a legal issue on your hands when one of the kids mentions to his or her parent that you have a bunch of dead frogs, I wouldn't do this. And as
someone who cares about animal welfare, I'm asking you not to keep them in an unheated aquarium. Instead, look at Xenopus laevis, an aquatic frog that does well at temperatures between about 18-24 C/64-75 F. This species could be cooled down to, say, 15 C/59 F, for short periods without harm. So
that's a species well suited to unheated aquaria in centrally-heated buildings.>
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
<Do please have your teacher read here:
The stuff we list there as requirements for these species aren't optional, but necessities; we get a lot of messages from people with sick frogs, and those problems usually come down to lack of heating or lack of filtration. For what it's worth, a modern aquarium heater costs very little to run.>
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs, sys., tankmates 8/29/10
Hi there!
First, I'd like to thank you in advance for any help you give.
<No problems.>
My daughter would like a couple of African Dwarf frogs. I see on your site that you suggest 6 gallons or more. The tank dimensions you mention are 8 x 8 x 24 inches. I was considering a Marineland Eclipse 6, which is
Overall: 16" long x 9 1/2" wide x 15" high
Front: 16" long. Tapers to 13" long in the back.
<It's a 6 gallon tank, yes. But it's deep rather than broad, and since frogs mostly crawl along the bottom, it's far from the ideal shape.>
Would that be okay?
<Wouldn't be my first choice. Viable, I'm sure, but only 5 out of 10 in terms of frog-friendliness.>
I have other fish tanks, so I know about cycling, but frogs are new to me and I'd like to do right by them.
<Really, look for something long and low. Need only be 6-8 inches deep. The frogs aren't good swimmers, and they like tanks where they can easily swim up to the top, gulp some air, and swim back down again.>
Love your site, very informative!
Are there any suitable tank mates for them in the six gallon?
<Frogs and more frogs! You can also keep them with Cherry Shrimps quite successfully, as well as small, harmless snails such as Nerite Snails. I wouldn't go out of my way with Apple Snails because these are difficult to keep alive for any length of time, and when they die -- and they usually do die within a few months to a year -- they mess up water quality terribly.
But Colombian Ramshorn Snails would be okay, though these eat plants.>
You mention a 6 gallon being suitable for 3 or 4 frogs, but if there are only 2 frogs what could you suggest I add? A snail? Or is just the two frogs the best way to go?
<I'd get 2-3 frogs, maybe half a dozen Cherry Shrimps, and perhaps one Colombian Ramshorn. But that's it.>
Thanks again for your help!
Kind regards,
<Have fun! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frogs
Wonderful! Thanks for your quick response!
Kind regards,
<Happy to help. Enjoy your froggies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frogs 9/1/10

So sorry, one last question (I think!). Do they like to hide?
<Yes, especially at the surface under floating plants with long, feathery roots. Indian Fern is ideal. You'll see that sometimes they "bask" at the surface with their snouts above the waterline. They don't really go into caves very much.>
Would plants be good enough, or do they need some sort of a cave?
<Just lots of plants would be better. You might include one small cave if you wanted, but I wouldn't expect the frogs to use it all that much. They prefer to hide in the undergrowth at the bottom of the tank, or floating plants at the top.>
I've looked around and the only things I seem to be able to find are either too big, or look like they may somehow get stuck in. Thanks again!
Kind regards,
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

red wag platy and African dwarf frog 7/6/10
I recently bought a Red Wag Platy and a African Dwarf Frog. I was wondering how big of a tank I should have for the both of them. I'm new to having aquatic pets so I really have no clue.
<Hello Jen. Start by reading here:
Platies need at least 15 gallons, while African Dwarf Frogs need at least 5 gallons. If you had a 15 gallon tank, the absolute minimum for success with Platies, you could have one male and 2-3 females, plus 3-4 frogs. Do bear in mind Platies multiply quickly, so the aim isn't to squeeze as many adults into the tank as you can; trust me, within a few weeks you'll have fry, and within six months the number of Platies you have will have doubled or trebled. Female Platies are gregarious and shouldn't really be kept singly. Males are aggressive, which is why you need at least twice as many females as males, and in a 15 gallon tank two males will fight. Note that the "inch per gallon" rule has nothing to do with the minimum aquarium size, but rather how many fish you can fit in a tank above the minimum size for that species. For Platies, the minimum tank is 15 gallons given their adult size, the aggressiveness of the males, and the need the females have for company of their own kind. You could keep a group of seven Platies in a 15 gallon tank allowing two gallons per specimen, but if you're going to keep frogs as well, you'll want to reduce that a bit to allow about a gallon or two per frog. Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs + new tank 6/29/10
I purchased 5 ADF's yesterday and placed them into a 20 gallon tank. I let the filter run a bit before adding and I added the "startup" chemicals before-hand as well.
<What startup chemicals? Do understand that most of these potions rely on tricking inexperienced hobbyists into parting with their cash. Their actual value is minimal, with one or two exceptions. So without knowing what chemicals you added, it's impossible to say if you've really cycled this aquarium or not. If you haven't, then adding livestock during the first six weeks is likely to turn out badly.>
The heater is set to around 80.
<Too warm for this frogs. Do please read:
The tank has gravel and tons of hiding places for the frogs.
<I don't recommend gravel. In the long term gravel damages frogs (as well as burrowing fish, such as Spiny Eels).>
There are about 4 live plants in the tank.
<Which are? Some plants are easy to grow, others are more demanding, and yet others, including most of the cheap ones that appeal to beginners, aren't aquatic at all and will die no matter what. The devil is in the detail!>
I fed the frogs some pellets for the first time about an hour after I added the frogs to the tank; they didn't eat any of the pellets.
<Indeed not, and won't if environmental conditions are poor.>
I figured that this was normal while the acclimate themselves to their new environment.
<Yes and no. It goes without saying you NEVER add new livestock until the existing ones are clearly settled and feeding. Wait at least two weeks between adding batches of fish or frogs.>
Today, I purchased a few fish (tetras, eel, gounaris (sp?) -- all of which I were told were community fish. I also purchased some snails.
<See, here's where you went wrong. Let's hope you haven't bought Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia) since they're very delicate and disease-prone. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/dwfgdis.htm
Some tetras will attack the frogs, for example Serpae Tetras, while others, like Cardinal Tetras, have very different requirements. Spiny Eels are bad choices for beginners.
When kept in tanks with gravel they invariably damage themselves and die soon after through secondary infections. Spiny Eels are very difficult to feed and MUST have either live or wet-frozen foods; if you don't offer these, they WILL starve.>
Before I added the new fish to the tank of frogs, I tested the ph levels and ammonia and all were fine; ammonia levels 0 and ph was 7/7.2.
Temperature was about 80.
<Too warm for the frogs and some tetras. Do PLEASE read about the needs of each organism before assuming they can live together.>
I also bought and placed into the tank some frozen bloodworms or feeding.
I did not see the frogs eat any.
<A bad sign. Do ensure you have ZERO ammonia and nitrite. Check this at least every 2 days during the first 4 weeks.>
Some of the frogs were just hanging around and hiding under the decorations and some were floating at the top of the tank. At times I was scared that they were dead. How long does it take ADFs to feel comfortable in their new home?
<A few days.>
I'm worried that the frogs are not eating well, and if they are stressed.
How do I know if the ADF's are stressed or not?
<Are they eating? If they are, that means they're happy -- but that doesn't automatically mean the aquarium is safe.>
Is there anything else that I should add to the water? I haven't changed the water yet as I've read on the internet that it is best to let the tank settle and have the filter run to get the correct bio and bacteria running in the tank (I was planning on changing about 20% of the water after one week (its only day 3).
<You normally change 20-25% of the water every week. During the first month, I would change 20-25% every 2-3 days.>
The tank is a little cloudy, not too bad. Again, ph is stable and no sign of ammonia. I don't plan of adding food into tank until maybe tomorrow night as I can still see some food in gravel and I don't want excess food or pollution.
Is there anything I am doing wrong? Do you have any other suggestions?
<Cheers, Neale.>

Milky, furry film in tank... ADFs... 5/9/10
Hi Neale,
<Dear Diana,>
Hoping you are having a lovely weekend.
<So far!>
I have noticed that there is a milky furry film appearing in my tank. At first it was limited to the java ferns but I now see it on the shells of my snails and my frogs. It looks a bit like the have a halo surrounding their bodies.
<Almost certainly simply skin being moulted. Frogs do this periodically, and it comes off in little sheets, so should be obviously different from fungus (which is cotton wool-like) and bacteria (which is like an off-white slime sitting between the lumps and bumps of the skin). Filters will suck the dead skin up.>
Bacteria or fungus perhaps.
<Don't think so.>
Would love to hear your thoughts about what to do.
<Not much!>
Water parameters are all 0, temp 72-75, ph stable at 7.4.
<Real good.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Frog scum pic
Hi Neale,
I don't know if the camera picks it up but here is one of the frogs with the furry scum visible on his back legs.
<Not quite sharp enough to be sure, but I think just dead skin. Unless you see associated red sores, wasting, or lethargy, there's nothing to worry about. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Frog scum pic
Thanks Neale.
<You are most welcome.>
Have a lovely weekend and happy mothers day to your mum.
<A kind thought, but [a] my mom died a few years back, and [b], which is a bit more interesting, in England 'Mothering Sunday' is a few weeks back! No idea at all why it's different! In any case, if you're a mom, or your have a mom somewhere handy, I hope you enjoy the day. And don't forget, frogs have moms, too! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Frog scum pic, more blather, no reading, referral 5/11/10
Hi Neale,
<Hello Diana,>
I am cycling a tank to give to my friend along with my lone tadpole spike. It has been running since Saturday with sponge and ceramic media filter (some of which was borrowed from my established tank). There are also 2 rogue snails who snuck in with my java ferns.
Tank looked great the last night bam! Water went cloudy and there us white stringy stuff floating around. In addition the water smells like sweet rotten eggs.
<Okay, does sound like you have some decaying protein in here. Clean the gravel out, removing it and rinsing under the tap if needs be. Give everything else a good clean. Rinse the filter media. Basically remove anything not [a] alive and [b] wanted.>
I have never experienced this before. Obviously a water change is in order. Should I remove the snails? Rinse the filter material? Any other tips?
<I think you understand the situation well.>
On that note, I have a silly question about rinsing filter material. I have seen it referenced that the material should be cleaned in tank water. I have assumed that meant clean, treated tank water rather than the dirty water taken out during a water change. But, perhaps I am wrong.
<The best is to take a bucket of tank water out, rinse the media in that, and throw that bucket of water on a houseplant or whatever. You can clean the filter media under a running tap, but the thing is that newcomers find it difficult to judge the right temperature, and often boil their bacteria!>
Thanks for your continued advice!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help! African Dwarf Frog need your help!
Hello WetWebMedia Crew,
If you have any children you will know as a parent,
<Nope, don't have children. Six billion humans already here; not sure adding the fruits of my loins would really help the planet much!>
I have been place in a situation that requires me to act as a parent, teacher, aquarium enthusiast and overall no-it-all.
I need some help.
<Fire away.>
My daughter was given two African Dwarf Frogs in a 6"X6" plastic aquarium for her birthday.
<Much, much too small for these frogs. Basically cruel. Bought from a stall in a shopping mall by any chance? There seems to be a whole sector of Chinese manufacturing dedicated to building these "death chambers" for small animals. For whatever reason, people seem to buy their children pet animals before buying them books about keeping pet animals. Without sounding too mean, it is an important lesson for children to understand animals are a responsibility, and even something like a frog can, will suffer if kept improperly. Put another way, by learning to treat animals well, children learn to treat other people well.>
As you can imagine to any parent my first reaction was "Oh my God what do I do now".
<As ever, read. Start here:
I know for my daughters sake that I have to research what the needs are for the Frog. Like I don't have a thousand other thing to do. I went into the barn and found my 50 gallon fish take with filters.
<Wow! That's a lot of space for a couple of two-inch frogs! Fabulous.
Consider yourself un-scolded, and a notch or three up in my perception!>
I was sure these two frogs would have a home that matched the rich and famous. I didn't stop there, I went to the pet store and bought plant and finer gravel. I then decided that they need large stones and drift wood. I boiled the stones and put the driftwood in the dishwasher (no soap) on heavy/sanitize. It must have been in there for 45 minutes. The tank has been running for two weeks and I noticed that the top of the water has a film which I suspect is coming from the decaying driftwood (looks like an oil slick).
<Quite possibly, or simply organic matter in the gravel, dead bacteria and algae for example, from the last time the tank was used. Filtration will eventually break this stuff done, but water changes, skimming with a net, and plenty of aeration will further speed up the process.>
Will this harm the frogs?
<Not really. So long as it isn't oily enough to stop them sticking their snouts out and breathing at the surface, it's not a big deal.>
How do I get rid of the film?
<Time, filtration, water changes.>
I am also looking for nitrate and ammonia levels. I do know that they require a Ph of 7.2-7.6. What other things should I consider before I place them in the new tank?
<In a 50 gallon tank, the risk of ammonia/nitrite poisoning is nil provided you don't over feed and do weekly water changes of around 20%.>
Thank you for any help you can give me.
<Hope this helps.>
Dana, Concerned Parent
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help - I'm worried! (Frogs in a 1.5 gallon tank; sick; dismal outlook) 3/30/10
I have two African dwarf frogs that I bought at the end of December 2009.
At that time, they both looked the same - same size, same color. They are in a one and a half gallon tank on my desk at work.
<Will die in this tank. Unfortunately companies like Brookstone sell these mini "tanks" as frog homes, even though the frogs cannot live in them for any length of time. I have no problems with Brookstone selling overpriced plastic junk to yuppies, but it's a shame that animals get abused this way.
You absolutely must get a bigger aquarium. Be under no illusions at all: the frogs cannot live in here. The stores selling these completely unsuitable kits are irresponsible con artists that take advantage of people not reading about animals before buying them. Do read here:
We get a message or two like this one every week, and either the frog-owner upgrades the tank, or else ends up with dead frogs.>
The tank has regular aquarium gravel, some smooth aquarium stones, and two live bamboo plants.
<Which won't last long here either.>
There is no filtration and no heater on the tank.
Every couple of weeks, I completely change the water (using Aquaplus water conditioner) and rinse the gravel, stones, and bamboo plants to remove algae and other gunk.
<Barely helpful.>
The female (Tweedledee) is very active, eats when I put in food, has grown twice her size, and has lightened in color to a light gray. The male (Tweedledum) doesn't seem to eat, moves rarely, has stayed the same size and is still very dark colored. During the day while the gray one is swimming up and down, and up and down, and up and down (really quite entertaining), Tweedledum just sits there. He never was very active, but lately this seems extreme. This morning he was in the same spot, and same position as when I left work yesterday. I gently nudge him with a pencil, and he moves, swimming a few strokes and settling somewhere else close by and then again remaining motionless.
<Is dying.>
He seems to be able to move normally, and doesn't look bloated or ill. I'm worried because Tweedledee is very, very active and eagerly goes after the food, and Tweedledum just never seems to move or go for the food at all.
<Tweedledee will eventually behave the same way too.>
Is Tweedledum just an unbelievably lazy couch potato?
<No; he's an abused animal.>
Is Tweedledee bullying him out of all the food, so he just gave up? Or is there something wrong with him? Thanks for your help!
<Much wrong with the system. Major changes needed here. You *are* killing these frogs by inches.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help - I'm worried! (Frogs in a 1.5 gallon tank; sick; dismal outlook) 3/30/10
They are definitely not in the tiny (1/4 gallon) little cube (from Hallmark) that I purchased them in.
I knew that was way too small.
I bought a glass aquarium from the pet shop. They called it a 2 gallon, but I fill it with a milk container a gallon and a half full of water (the tank is 6 x 8 inches).
<Still too small.>
The two bamboo plants are thriving with new shoots. One is about 2 inches tall, the other about 5 inches tall.
<This is Dracaena sanderiana, a plant sometimes called Lucky Bamboo. It really does grow better in soil. There's a huge market for these things as novelty plants in bowls of water or whatnot, and sure, they sprout some roots and may even look pretty healthy for a while. But like any plant they need good light and a source of mineral nutrients, and they're not going to get that in a bowl stuck on a desk. Sorry to be such a downer on this. Feel free to double check the houseplant book of your choice. Heck, even Wikipedia is reasonably accurate on this!>
I've read approx. 1 gallon per frog?
Also have read that heat is not necessary if water temp is at least 70 degrees (I've checked mine with an aquarium thermometer and the temp always reads 72 degrees.)
<Also garbage.>
Are all these parameters wrong?
<Yes. Depends where you're reading this stuff. On the Internet any old thing gets published, and 90% of it is crap. That's a given. Why we're different at WWM is we're actually experts who also write books and magazines. But we aren't selling anything. So we're honest and credentialed. You've hopefully read that article on Hymenochirus spp. frogs by now. In a nutshell, I'd recommend at least a 5 gallon tank for 2-3 specimens. A bigger tank would be better. You absolutely do need a heater, and the water temperature should be about 25 C (77 F) at all times. Keeping the frogs too cool will make them lethargic, unable to digest their food properly, and ultimately more prone to disease.>
I care very much about my animals I have 3 fish tanks, a bearded dragon, 2 poodles, a cat, and 2 toads at home.
I've had all of these at least a year, some as long as 10 years. I certainly do NOT want to "abuse" my pets.
<Glad to hear it. But sometimes being blunt shocks people out of their misconceptions. Perhaps wasn't necessary in this case, but I hope you understand why I try not to be ambiguous here. A lot of folks want to convince themselves that if they "wait and see" everything will work out for the best; usually it doesn't, and the animal dies.>
Please tell me what, in your opinion, these two frogs need to be healthy and happy. Thanks!
<Do read that article, it's all there! Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog, Water Depth 3/24/10
Hello Again,
I am trying to confirm information on water depth for ADFs. The information I have found varies widely, with recommendations from "no more than 8in" to "no less than 10in" to "any common tank depth." My survey of the local pet shops turned up some display tanks with A. Clawed frogs in full 37 and 55 gal tanks, but no ADFs in anything other than the livestock tanks. So, what is the best depth for ADFs? Is a full 55gal tank too deep?
<You see, the question is actually how easily can the frogs swim to the top, rather than simple depth. In a still tank with lots of floating plants where the frogs can rest, a deep tank, maybe 30 cm/12 inches would be fine.
But if there's a bit more of a current and little in the way of floating vegetation, the frogs will have to swim all the way up without a rest. So a shallower tank would be better. If this was me, I'd be keeping Hymenochirus in a tank with water no more than 20 cm/8 inches deep, but a little extra depth would be fine provided some floating plants like Indian Fern were added to the system.>
What is the specific hardness range for ADFs? Most of the information I have found is too general (from "soft" to slightly hard). Some of the fish I would like to keep (K. Minor, for example) have rather narrow dH requirements, and the fish I choose will depend in large part on what will work with the frogs. Fish I know, frogs are still somewhat alien to me.
<Generally, aquatic frogs are best in water that isn't too extreme either way. Slightly basic, moderately hard water is easiest to keep stable and gets best results from biological filters, so if all else fails, aim for pH 7-7.5, 10-15 degrees dH. This also happens to be ideal for a very wide range of tropical fish, snails and shrimps.>
My goal is to integrate my daughter's two healthy and thriving ADFs (after much effort, see below if interested) into either a 20gal long or 55 gal tank (I have both) I'm planning for the family to enjoy. I would like to have the two ADFs, 5 to 8 passive fish (guppies, or mollies, or maybe a small school of glass catfish (K. minor), or a pair of Gardner's killie (F. gardneri) -- I haven't decided yet), and a rotating group of small freshwater shrimp (a few fairy or glass, maybe rainbows; I'm still pondering), the occasional scattering of washed brine shrimp as treats for the ADFs/fish, and live plants.
<I wouldn't go with Mollies -- they need hard, warm water, sometimes with a bit of salt added -- but the other livestock should be fine. Aphyosemion gardneri/Fundulopanchax gardneri for example would definitely prefer softer
water and lower temperature (with a few exceptions, killifish are best kept at low end of the temperature range). To be honest, I'd skip fish entirely, and stick with the shrimps if you could. If you absolutely must go with fish, choosing very docile species is a great idea. Marble Hatchetfish, Dwarf Rasboras, Celestial Danios, etc. would all make good choices; Kuhli Loaches and Corydoras habrosus are also good, as are Whiptails like Rineloricaria parva.>
Thanks ever so much for your time.
<You're welcome.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

ADF hlth., env. 2/15/10
We have an African Dwarf frog (after doing reading, I am not sure if it is claw or not because its front feet are white, kind of like mitten, turned backwards, and look kind of atrophied, and moving around in the upper part
of the 10 gal tank.. I don't see any signs on the angel fish or catfish.
<If the toes have fallen off, as sounds the case here, the problem is likely bacterial infection, essentially gangrene. You often see similar things on catfish where their whiskers are eroded away. It used to be said sharp gravel was the cause, but while that may exacerbate the situation, the direct cause does seem to be dirty gravel, and the bacteria therein. In tanks with poor water flow at the bottom of the tank bacteria can spread from decaying organic matter onto fish or frogs resting on the bottom, and catfish whiskers and frog toes do seem particularly vulnerable. So, if you have some Corydoras in there, do look at their whiskers. On healthy Corydoras, the whiskers are very long, around 1 cm/about half an inch in the larger species. Corydoras that have suffered from "whisker rot" have
short, stubby whiskers that only extend a couple of mm from the mouth.>
History: We have had him for about 8-10 yrs and he has lived in the same aquarium with catfish, tetras, Plecostomus, shrimp, and other small fish.
I fed him bloodworms.
<Bloodworms are fine, but shouldn't be the only food items offered. At the very least, offer a variety of suitable small wet-frozen foods, or augment with commercial frog pellets.>
A few months ago my husband replaced some died-off fish with an angel fish he always wanted. He feeds the tank TetraColor tropical flakes and TetraColor tropical granules. Since the frog looked fed all the time (I had fed him only when he looked skinny and until he was full and that worked for the 6-8 yrs), I no longer feed him.
A few days ago, I cleaned the tank by stirring up the gravel and taking out much of the dirty water. I checked the pH and it was okay. Today we put him in a separate tank with medicine for Ick. Is that a good move?
Questions: Are the flakes and granules foods above the correct foods for the frog? Will they do him any harm?
<I recommend offering a variety of foods, rather than just one thing.
Pellet and flake foods are good in terms of energy and vitamins, but they lack fibre, and do tend to cause constipation if used all the time. So just as with our own diet, offering pet animals a variety is the best approach.>
Do the water conditioners do the same job as the pH up and pH down?
<No. There's no reason casual fishkeepers should be using pH up or pH down products at all, and the fact you don't know the difference sets of all kinds of alarm bells! I'm not being mean by saying this, but rather stating a very important rule: if you don't understand water chemistry, then you shouldn't be changing it. Frogs do best in neutral to slightly basic, moderately hard water. In other words, between pH 7 and 8, and around 10 degrees dH. Avoid soft water and acidic water. If you have hard water coming out of your taps, as is certainly very commonly the case here in England, then all you need is dechlorinator to make that water perfect for frogs. Don't use softened water, distilled water, or pH down products either.>
What do we do to clean up the what appears to be a fungus, is that correct, on his feet?
<Use an amphibian-safe anti-fungal medication such as Mardel MarOxy if you suspect Fungus (which looks like white cotton threads). But do be aware of Red Leg, a very dangerous bacterial infection. If you use carbon, remove from the filter while treating. Read here:
My guess is the substrate is dirty and your aquarium has poor water flow along the bottom.>
The other tank inhabitants appear to be fine.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF, death, life-span 2/15/10
Thanks so much. I love to learn and learned a bunch. He died and will be buried in the backyard where our cats are buried when they were through with mortal life.
<Glad to have helped. But do reflect on why this frog died, and think about what you did wrong (if anything). If you can use the death of this frog to highlight problems with the aquarium more generally, then it won't have given up its little froggy life in vain! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Re:
That's the way I always think!! How long do they usually live? I think he was at least 8 or 10 yrs old.
<A good age for Hymenochirus. The much bigger Xenopus (up to 15 cm/6 inches long) can live for twice that.>
We do have an underground filter and I think the dirty gravel that probably resulted from the overfeeding I felt my husband was doing, and the lack of fiber you mentioned must have been the cause.
<Both worthwhile thoughts.>
As the day went on, the patches became more in number all over his body.
Feeling that he should not be in such a chemical water (the water was pink from the solution we put hi in a sick tank) very long, I put him back into the aquarium. Sounds like this was a bad move.
<Possibly, but sounds like he was dying anyway.>
An hour or so later, he was more floating and less moving, and definitely on his way out. The water temperature was not mentioned. What should it have been? We keep it between 71--76 degrees, although it probably could have
gotten colder when I cleaned the tank, and then when we put him in a separate container with the Ick solution.
<Low temperatures, for short periods, a few days for example, won't harm Hymenochirus or indeed most tropical fish. But it does make them more sensitive to bacterial infections, and if they aren't returned to warm water conditions within a few days, serious problems will set in. In any case, the optimal temperature for Hymenochirus is something middling, 25 C/77 F being ideal. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Re:
thanks soooo very much for the education!! I have never known such help was available thru the internet and never did well in school. LOVE this education!!! :) :)
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Temporary home for dwarf frogs... Sys., incomp. with RES, GF... 1/31/2010
I have a 90 gal freshwater tank that I am going to treat with medications not compatible with my African dwarf frogs so I need to move them for up to a week. I have 3 other tanks I could use and wonder which is best or
should I put them in a tank by themselves?
1. 20 gal with a 2" red eared slider, two Gourami's and a 3" albino red tailed shark ( close to the same temp)
<No! Amphibians and reptiles rarely mix well together.>
2. 20 gal planted with one female Betta and a small Pleco (3deg warmer)
3. 29 gal with several goldfish (2deg cooler)
<The middle one or the third one, provided it wasn't cooler than, say, 22 degrees C. To be honest, I'd use a floating breeding trap if I had one, and would keep the Dwarf Frogs in there while in either of the two temporary
aquaria. Since this will only be for a week, the lack of swimming space won't be much of an issue. Furthermore, this would make it easier to remove them afterwards.>
I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Frog-O-Sphere? Hymenochirus Auschwitz 1/25/2009
Dear Crew,
Thanks for all of the answers that you have given me! but here's something I want to know. A couple days ago in a catalog I found something called a frog o sphere.
<Overpriced garbage.>
its 2 African dwarf frogs in a 1/2 gallon container with "living gravel" and a bamboo plant... is this the real deal?
<No. It's an idiotic and inhumane piece of tat. Good for Chinese plastic manufacturers; bad for African frogs. Shame on Brookstone and other such traders for selling such things.>
it seems cruel to stick 2 frogs in such a small container.
<Nicely summarised.>
<And thank you for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Frog-O-Sphere? -- 1/28/10
Thanks for your reply,
<No problem.>
But what does these products do?
<Nothing a small container of water with some gravel wouldn't do.>
Most people seem to see that the snail dies in a couple weeks, and the frogs die soon after.
Why do people even think about stuff like this?
<Because it sells. There are plenty of people out there who don't rate the welfare of animals highly.>
And the "ecosystem" is supposed to go that the snail feeds itself the waste of the frogs, the living gravel converters the waste into something the bamboo plant can absorb. does this work in a normal aquarium or is it just garbage to be sold?
<To a degree, yes, bacteria in the biological filter convert ammonia from the frog into nitrates that plants absorb. However, unless you have a very high plant to fish density, and the intensity of the lighting is very high, this doesn't happen sufficiently quickly that it eliminates the need for filtration or water changes. Ponds can work this way, because the volume of water is big, the number of fish small, and the sunlight drives very rapid plant and algae growth. In aquaria most folks just aren't going to keep one minnow in a 100 gallon tank under metal halide lights! I exaggerate slightly here, but my point is that given how many fish or frogs we like to keep in, say, a 20 gallon tank, the plants aren't going to be present in sufficient numbers to absorb ammonia and nitrate at useful rates.>
Oh, yeah, and how do you get Otos to eat greens?
<They should eat algae wafers happily enough. Squished peas, too. Sliced cucumber as well. If your Otocinclus have nice rounded bellies and seem to be happy, don't worry too much. In a big tank with lots of green algae,
they can do quite well on that plus any bits of flake food they come across. Add some cucumber weighted down with some lead strip if you can, and they'll nibble on it from time to time.>
Thanks Thanks Thanks a lot!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Freecycle 20 Gallon Tank Question, Cracked glass tank repair and ADF sys. f's -- 12/04/09
<Hi there>
I have been reading through your site for a few hours since I found it on Google and thought I would try to contact you directly, as I am unsure how to proceed.
<All right>
I have a 20 gallon long tank (30 1/4" x 12 3/4" x 12 1/4" measured over plastic trim) that I received earlier today using the Freecycle in my area. I was excited when I realized what it was, as I have two African clawed frogs, and that is the exact tank recommend for them both; however there is a problem with one of the corners.
<I see this>
It has a chipped corner, and has a single crack coming from it, please see the included image (I have shown two angles of the problem). There are no other cracks or chips from the main area, or anywhere else on the tank for that matter. The single crack/chip is about 1 1/2" in length from the outside of the corner, and about 5" from the bottom of the tank. I ran my fingernail across the crack and can barely feel a tiny line on the outside, but feel nothing on the inside of the tank. I have placed the tank into my bathtub, as it is well below the top of the tub, and filled the tank to the top with water. So far it has been nearly 7 hours and the outside of the tank is still bone dry without a single leaked drop anywhere. I have pushed on the area from the inside of the tank and out, and even put my pulsating shower head on the inside of the tank in the area while filling it - all of which did not change anything at any point and the outside is still dry and leak free. I thought this would help to test if the crack will enlarge or leak under use.
<Good experiment>
I am curious if this is something to worry about with such a small tank and low height of only 12 1/4" tall.
<Actually... it is>
I thought that due to the tank set-up there would not be necessary as much weight pushing against it, as the much larger tanks I read about, and would be nothing to worry about in this case. I am wanting to know if I am just kidding myself and this is a big problem, and if a simple "patch" would fix any possible problems. Such as the "patch" as I have read on your site of putting a piece of glass on the inside over the area and using silicone over the cracks and edges/under the glass, and silicone the cracks from the outside. If the glass "patch" will work how thick of a piece of glass should I use and what size dimensions (the full height, 8 inches wide, or what)? I have read that a 1/8" would be thick enough in one instance but wanted to make sure.
<Mmm, if you want/ed to fill this tank all the way/to the top, I would suggest siliconing a piece of glass the size of the outside panel (sans the frame) onto the outside (nothing on the inside) of 3/16" thickness ("double pane")... Otherwise, if you'd be happy with the water being less than 5" deep (you can lay a submersible heater down, use an internal filter)... you could make this tank into a vivarium of sorts for your frogs, plants...>
Please let me know if this is something to worry about, and if the extra glass piece would fix the problem - or if I should just find another tank to use (I just want to make sure I do not end up hurting my frogs or flooding my upstairs apartment). Many thanks,
<I wouldn't set this tank up presently as it is with water added all the way to the top... the crack is too likely to "grow" suddenly, cause catastrophic failure. The somewhat simple repair (smearing the Silastic onto the back, placing the pre-cut, beveled piece of plate glass over the entire back, will make this tank "good as new" in terms of safe use. Bob Fenner>

Help, Please, ADF, reading, sys.... 11/26/09
New African Aquatic Dwarf Frog owner here (5 days)
<Please read here:
Virtually all problems come down to completely avoidable issues. Check the size of the tank, filtration, heating. Hymenochirus frogs are quite hardy, but like a lot of these "mini pets" people buy them without doing any reading at all, and the end result is the would-be frog keeper ends up killing their frogs. We're happy to help where we can, but you'll be helping yourself by reading and buying all the equipments you need first of all.>
- both are staying on the top of the tank and creating small air bubbles.
I went to pet store, just returned, balanced the PH and Nitrates as well as added NutraFin Aquaplus.
<All sounds totally bogus. What is "balancing" the pH? Why should nitrates matter? And even if they did, how could a pet store "balance" them for you?
Honestly this sounds like a pet store owner saw you knew nothing at all, and so sold you a bunch of things they had to hand. Let's be crystal clear here. The pH doesn't matter too much, though anything between 7 and 8 would be ideal. Water should be moderately hard, and certainly soft water should be avoided (God forbid you use water from a domestic water softener!).
Water quality should be 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite; the nitrate itself isn't a big deal, but should be less than 50 mg/l if possible. Nutrafin Aqua Plus is a water conditioner you add to each bucket of tap water when you do water changes. The aquarium should be reasonably spacious, upwards of 8 gallons for two or three specimens, and the aquarium equipped with a simply air-powered box or sponge filter. A heater is mandatory, even in "warm" parts of the temperate zone. These are tropical animals and need a steady 25 degrees C (77 F) all year around.>
They are still hanging out on top. Is there anything I can do?
<No idea. What have you done already? How are you keeping them?>
How can I take them out of their misery?
<You want to kill them already?>
I love them and am freaking out! -- Erika
<Erika, you see the thing with animals is they couldn't care less about love. What they need though are precise, carefully maintained conditions.
Dwarf frogs need a bunch of stuff up front, and if these aren't supplied, they sicken and die. I have no idea what you're providing, so forgive me for being blunt here and getting down to basics. If you have done the basic stuff outlined in the article linked above, by all means write back and we can discuss further. But the sad truth is that mostly sick Frogs are sick because they aren't being kept properly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Help, Please 11/26/09
Good Morning, Neal,
<Actually good afternoon here in Merrie Olde England!>
and thank you so much for writing back.
<My pleasure.>
So here's the deal...my ADF's (2) came as a surprise, a gift, from a friend (sent from Brookstone).
<Oh dear... maybe you need to e-mail out a list of fine French wines you enjoy, so folks can plan better gifts!>
It kind of freaked me out. I immediately recognized that the container was way too small (I am an animal lover and cat owner (2). I purchased a 2 1/2 gallon tank, the plants you suggested on your website, smooth gravel, bloodworms, etc. I am very new at this and just want to do the right thing.
<Glad to hear this. Giving animals as gifts is one of those things that sounds nice, but it often a real pain in the backside. My mom used to say that when you visit people for a dinner party, don't take cut flowers because the hostess will then have to stop doing whatever she's doing, go find a vase, crush the stems, and waste time arranging them. Give her something she can either eat, smoke, or drink.>
I "get it". I need to get a bigger tank, filter, heater, etc. I will do this as according to your phenomenal website.
The question is how and when.
<No huge rush, and a day or three in the 2.5 gallon tank placed somewhere warm won't do them any harm. Changing 25% of the water each day will help, if the water is dechlorinated first.>
When should I move then to a bigger tank and how -- do I use all new water, what do I need to do to make their new tank the best condition?
<I'd spend the next day or two reviewing what you need. A simple 8-10 gallon glass or acrylic aquarium, an air pump, a sponge or box filter (I like the latter best but it doesn't matter) and a heater are all you need.
Shop around if you want to get the best deal. Maybe even hunt online, and see if you can grab something suitable via Amazon or eBay. So long as you understand the limitations of the system you have, and take steps (like keeping them warm, and changing the water) to prevent problems, you should be okay. Feed sparingly!>
Please advise and thank you thank you and...Happy Thanksgiving, from Erika,
<Ah yes, Thanksgiving. When here in England we celebrate the fact all the Puritans decided to sail away and let us have fun without guilt.>
New Proud ADF Owner, NYC
<Enjoy the holiday. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Help, Please... ADFs, Neale, WWM! 11/26/09
Hi Neale -
You rock!
<Actually, probably best not to suggest this: I sing very badly, though I enjoy doing so, and dance appallingly, and luckily don't do that at all.>
I went to the University of London for undergrad
<Where I got my PhD.>
and then was a 6 Form Teacher at Blachington Mill School and 6 Form in Hove
<Have been a sixth form teacher, too. In a girls' school. Quite an experience...>
- I lived in Brighton (in the Lanes while teaching English).
<Nice town. Took my (American) cousin and her family there this year to see the Pavilion, among other things. In the middle of a March blizzard though.
Eating fish and chips under the concrete sea wall along a freezing beach had something of a Stalinist feel to it, let me tell you.>
I loved England.
<It has its moments. Mostly when it stops raining.>
How the hell do you know so much abut ADF's?
<I don't. I just have a stack of very good books on the floor right next to me.>
You are amazing and your website rocks - if you want me to help you monetize it - it's what I do for a living.
<This is something I'll run past Bob F. I'm a mere human resource unit round these parts.>
I am happy to report that Stretch and Stella are doing quite fine today - not hanging out at the top, not blowing air bubbles. So, one more question for today, one of the plants looks crappy - are there guidelines to changing the plants?
<I'm a huge fan of floating plants. They're cheap, grow quickly, frogs (and fish) love them, and they're easy to prune (you just pull out the grungy looking ones. Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit are two of my favourites. If the tank is on a sunny windowsill, they might not even need artificial lights. I have a windowsill tank, an 8 gallon system as it happens, and as you can see here, sunlight makes plants VERY happy:
It also warms the water up, and up to a point, this means the heater isn't on much of the time, saving even more money. Since your frogs won't jump out, this approach could work very well.>
Your new friends in NYC - Erika (pic attached),
<Nice to put a face to a name. And if you were 3460 miles closer, I'd be flirting.>
Stretch (ADF), Stella(ADF), Miele (snail 1), Hoovers (snail 2),
<Snails named after vacuum cleaners! How sweet. When I say "Hoover" in America, I find most people have no idea what I'm talking about.>
Teeny Tiny Little (cat 1), and Pepper (cat 2)
<Good luck to you all! Cheers, Neale>
Hello Erika! And is there some brief (and in plain Anglish/English) statements you could make re monetizing WWM? Bob Fenner, progenitor.

African Dwarf Frogs, sys. H2O qual. adjustment 10/5/09
Hi Again Guys,
I need you assistance again....this time I need to know what should be done to an aquarium to make soft, acidic water acceptable for African Dwarf frogs.
<Add Rift Valley cichlid salt mix to each bucket of water. Use at about 50% of the dosage that you'd use for Rift Valley cichlids; i.e., the amount you'd use for 5 gallons with Malawian or Tanganyikan cichlids, you'd use for 10 gallons with these frogs.
You can buy Rift Valley salt mixes ready made, but it's cheaper to make your own.>
I ask because I work at a pet store, and if a customer needs information and I don't immediately know what the answer is, I research it and email/call them back with the needed information. Today a customer wanted
to know exactly what pH, KH, and temperature is the best for Dwarf African Frogs.
<Around pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH.>
I did read a couple of my own books, and they did have information on these frogs but neither book went into specifics like this, just said the frogs will thrive in a clean, warm fish tank. My next step is always to visit
this website (THIS SITE IS THE BEST SITE for Aquariums I have ever seen, frequently mention it to customers that ask were they can get information when they need it and there is nobody to ask) and research and while doing this in the Freshwater Livestock 2 I noticed the following:
"Aquatic frogs are not fussy about water conditions provided soft, acidic water is avoided. The ideal conditions are pH 7-8, 10-20 degrees dH. Do not add salt to the water."
...oh, no, the water here is very, very soft, and acidic, it basically is rainwater from a peat bog...I was going to advise this customer to use the synthetic salt mix recipe under water chemistry, but then it said no salt.
<Adding the salt (sodium chloride) as part of a Rift Valley salt mix is fine. It's using tonic salt *instead* of raising the carbonate and general hardness that causes problems, because sodium chloride doesn't raise
general hardness, doesn't raise carbonate hardness, and doesn't raise pH.
At best, it does nothing.>
As soon as I read this I also remembered that another employee of the pet store had remarked to me that the dwarf underwater frogs didn't last long in her tank.
<Oh dear.>
No doubt they didn't last long if soft, acidic water is to be avoided. What should advise this customer to do now? Use pH fixer to set it at 7?
<No; "pH fixer" products are largely pointless. The frogs care about the hardness of the water rather than the pH.>
Use some type of substrate that could be used to up the carbonate hardness?
<Too fiddly.>
I am sorry to have to ask another question, but as this is for someone else that is depending on me to keep her frogs happy and healthy I really want to be positive that what I am telling her is correct and not going to hurt her frogs. On the upside I knew enough not to let her purchase a African Clawed Frog for her nice and peaceful aquarium that will have African Dwarf Frogs and small gentle fish because it will get bigger and will eat her other frogs and any fish it can catch and stuff in its gullet (One of our albino African clawed frogs actually attempted to grab and stuff a African Dwarf Frog into its mouth just after I finished explaining the full grown size and predatory nature of the African Clawed Frog. Both Frogs were the same size, so the attempt was futile). I am also considering setting up a tank just for African Clawed
Frogs for myself, so this information will help me too. Thanks so much for your help. If you need the exact water conditions I can test my water for any parameter you need, me and the customer are using water from the same source.
A Conscientious (but sometimes not immediately that helpful) pet shop employee.
<Hope this helps, and thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF habitat -- 08/11/09
Hi Wet Web Crew, Just a couple of questions on my FW ADF set up.
<Fire away, but do also see here:
I have a 20 g. long tank that houses 7 ADF's (3 recently added), 3 Corydoras, 2 adult mystery snails (3 youngsters that will be going to the LFS's when they are big enough) and several cherry shrimp, oh yeah a baby guppy that must have hid from me when I was trying to get them all together for my LFS's.
<I see.>
I have sand, plenty of live plants, a moss ball and some large river stones, 2 sponge filters, heater at 78F and miscellaneous hideout places.
<A trifle warm. Corydoras generally don't like really warm water, so if you can lower the temperature a degree or two, everyone will live longer and happier lives.>
Everything has been going along great for about 8 months or so. Everyone healthy and mating and laying eggs (the Cory's) so I know the water quality is good (yes, I do test and also add Stability during water changes).
My question is this, now that I recently added 3 new ADF's that are still quite young after the proper qt period, I have stepped up my feeding times until they have grown a bit.
One of my older ADF's (I call Chubbs as this accurately fits her) is getting even fatter now with this new stepped up feeding. I usually skip feeding about twice a week, sometimes 3 times depending if its a 50% water change week or not.
<Wouldn't worry unduly about "plumpness" provided water quality remains good. Female Hymenochirus frogs will fill out a little when gravid, and that might an issue here. Alternatively, switching to foods the frogs won't eat, like Hikari Algae Wafers, would allow the Corydoras and snails to get their fill, without the frogs getting fat. Algae wafers are, by the way, good staple foods for both Corydoras and Apple snails.>
I always feed heavier the night before I do the water change....Should I keep up the regular daily feedings until the youngsters have grown and hope Chubbs will get the weight off after I'm back to normal feedings or should I separate her while the youngsters are feeding?
<If you want. Doubt it'll make much difference either way, to be honest.>
One of the youngsters I bought I am surprised has survived ( I call him/her Skeletor ). The LFS'S had these froggies housed with Neons so I don't believe they were getting their food as they are such slow eaters.
<All too common, I'm afraid.>
Skeletor has put on some weight and has been one of my most lively frogs however, I feel skipping a day of feeding would possibly lead to his demise.
<Unlikely. If he's active, he's probably fine.>
I feed frozen foods only through a turkey baster.
<A good approach.>
Every feeding they are getting something new...blood worms, Tubifex worms, brine shrimp etc...I even bought beef heart when my first little guys were so young.
<A sensible balanced diet... very good.>
I keep that away from Chubbs though!! Ok, on to question two (or maybe three). I'd like to upgrade to a bigger tank but the next bigger size I can find around my area is 18" high. Would that be okay or would that be a struggle for them to get to the top?
<Depends; if there are floating plants, then frogs will rest at the surface, even basking under the lights sometimes. But broadly, yes, these are animals of shallow pools, and tanks above 30 cm/12 inches in depth has a risk of being too deep for them . This actually holds true for Corydoras, which also need shallow water to feel comfortable. It may well be the tank you have is just about perfect, so why worry about upgrading?>
Thanks for your time.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ADF habitat 8/19/09
Hi again Wet Web Crew,
I forwarded my message below for your reference sake but am not sure if I should have. Anyway, my ADF "Skeletor" is putting on weight and eats like a pig, starting to get some better color to him.
I've read a lot of your suggestions and am thinking of trying live black worms to feed my 6 adf's, they are usually fed frozen foods. I have read elsewhere that parasites can come from these worms.
<Not so much for Amphibians as fishes>
Is there an optimal way to clean them prior to feeding to ensure my frogs will not get any diseases?
<Just to pick out the "Black" worms rather than the Tubificids raised in manure>
Do I have to cut them up so they don't choke the little guys?
<Not necessary>
Also, I came home from work yesterday to a dead frog. One of the newbies laying on his/her back. I ensured he/she was really dead and took a good look at him. Nothing unusual, no lesions of any sort, no redness about his body, nothing other than he wasn't breathing. I tested my water, everything good, all other creatures acting normal. I'm wondering if it is possible I have too many floating plants?
<Mmm, probably not, or this would cause the demise of the rest>
Other than setting my heater to a lower temperature as suggested (now at 76F), nothing has been changed.
I might have filled the tank a tad too high after I did a quick suction of old left over food and snail waste so I only have about an inch of space from the water to the glass top. Other than doing a necropsy on him, I know its only guesswork on your part but I'd still appreciate the input. Thanks in advance.
<No input here>
I'm getting my 120 gallon salt water tank delivered this week and am beyond excited....Even though I'll be staring at just live rock for awhile.
I'm sure I'll be contacting you guys occasionally if I can't find the answers.
Usually because I didn't look in the right spot.
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>

Frog. Xenopus... hlth.? no info... Maybe asking Neale to write survey/husbandry pieces re this species and Hymenochirus...
Hi I have a African Clawed Frog and it is currently laying on top of a plastic plant breathing air... and not going and swimming in the water. Yet instead just laying on the end of the plastic plant at the top of the water for more than 5mins from what I can see. Is this a problem are is it normal for them to sick their head out for minutes at a time while holding on to a plant. Please get back to me. Thank You.
<Hello Shari. I need more information than this. For example, how big is the aquarium? How warm is the water? What is the water quality like? To summarise, you cannot keep Xenopus frogs in unfiltered bowls. They need reasonably big aquaria (10 gallons upwards) and that aquarium needs a filter and possibly a heater, depending on your local air temperature.
Water temperature should be a steady 18-22 C (about 68-72 F). The filter should be running 24 hours a day, and you should be doing 25% water changes each week. Because Xenopus are quite messy, the filter should be reasonably robust; I'd recommend a filter with a turnover at least 4 times the volume of the tank per hour. Like a fish, you're looking for 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Water chemistry isn't critical provided water quality is good. As with fish, use a good water conditioner to remove chlorine and copper from
the tap water. Do not use water from a domestic water softener! Xenopus are not heavy feeders, but they do need a varied diet, and plain pellets are not acceptable as their only food. Use the pellets once or twice a week, and then for the remaining meals use (wet, not freeze-dried) bloodworms or small live foods such as earthworms. Xenopus do not need to be fed every day, so skipping a day or two a week is fine. Xenopus are not terribly active animals, and they do tend to be lazy, but they should show interest in their food, especially if you've skipped a day's feeding already. Do note than the "dwarf" African Clawed Frogs (Hymenochirus spp.) are similar except they need tropical water conditions (around 25 C/77 F) and can get
by with a bit less water (5 gallons being acceptable). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Frog, sys. 4/27/09
Okay <sic> their in a 2 gallon small aquarium I don't have a filter because I tried to use a power filter and they go crazy... I think its because they have that lateral thing and it's like a jack hammer at least that's what I read online...
<Where on Earth did you read this? It's garbage. The problem is you have a TWO GALLON AQUARIUM and that's too small for [a] these frogs, and [b] any electric filter I can think of. In an 8-10 gallon tank, a small sponge or box filter attached to a small air pump should work just fine, and create
enough flow for good water quality and happy frogs. I know, because I have just such a tank, within which I breed shrimps and rear catfish fry, far smaller animals than your frogs. So let's get real here, and focus on the issues that matter, not stuff gleaned from dubious web sites.>
even when I tries to keep the filter on despite their swimming crazily it only cleaned the water for a day and the next day it was as dirty and messy as before.
<Repeat after me: the aquarium is too darn small. What do you want me to say here? There are no magic solutions, any more than I could come up with a way to keep a blue whale in a bathtub.>
So would it be normal for them to maintain keeping their head out if the water for over five minutes by standing on a plant.
<Not normal, no.>
And even when I look at them continue to keep their head out and look back at me. So is this normal? Are is it that its to cold, are just not big enough so they look with their head out of the water.
<The question of whether they're cold depends on the species. Are you keeping Hymenochirus (which have webbed front and back feet) or Xenopus (which have webbed back feet only). Hymenochirus are small (around 4-5 cm/1-2 inches) and tropical, so need water around the 25 C/77 F mark; Xenopus get much bigger (well over 12 cm/5 inches) and are subtropical and do fine around 20 C/68 F, which may be room temperature if you live in a warm part of the world. So while you certainly need a heater in their
aquarium, whether you set it to its lowest setting or a middle setting will depend on which species you are keeping.>
Their fully aquatic yet need to breathe air I know but still to not be afraid and put their head fully out of water is pretty weird and they just started doing this yesterday and I have had them for about 4 months.
<Four months is nothing. Hymenochirus live for well over 5 years, and Xenopus for 15 years. Of course, your specimens don't stand a chance of living this sort of lifespan in an aquarium that's too small, not filtered,
and unheated.>
What's happening? Please let me know. Thank you.
<Done my best. It's up to you to get your frogs the environment they need:
space, filtration, heating. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF floating and now with red feet... new water, hlth. -- 03/18/08 First, Thank you for being a superior source of information. I have read about the ADF and diseases and found one that seems to match what is going on, but I need to know what to do next . . . My daughter (11 1/2 years old) has had her hex 5 tank for 2 1/2 years and has done a pretty good job of keeping it clean and the 3 fish & 1 ADF frog cared for. Over this time she has lost three fish and one frog, but all has been well for about 10 months. Until now . . . Paige did a water and filter change last month <Mmm, I'd do smaller, more frequent change-outs... 10-20% a week... with treated, pre-stored water> and the water again last week. On Friday I noticed that there seemed to be gunk floating in the tank (like shedding skin and algae from scraping- this is not normal for her tank) Then Sat. her ADF was floating at the top of the tank (also not normal and not a Zen pose). I took him out, took a sample of the water to the pet store and did a 1/2 exchange of the water. <Careful here... It is dangerous to change too much of a system too soon with amphibians... whatever is in their water, gets into their bodies... almost immediately. Hence the statement above> When I helped with the water exchange I found that the filter had not been pushed all the way down and wasn't filtering properly. It's working now and the pet store said that the water was "fine". <Fine...> We put the ADF in a 1/2 gallon bowl with a mix of old and new water until the Sunday afternoon (if he died, I didn't want to leave him in the tank with the other fish while we were gone a few hours). We put the frog back in the tank, but this morning his hands and feet looked red. <More evidence of "new water poisoning"> This afternoon his legs are red and he is floating at the bottom of the tank up-side-down, <Bad...> but when we tap him with the net he moves around. I found a reference to "red leg" that stated that red leg or foot is due to water quality - and lack there of. But I didn't see what to do about it. Our situation seems fatal. What do you suggest we do next? The pet suggested that we use Melafix. <No... worthless... See WWM re> What do you think? Thank you for your help! Joanie and Paige <Really, only time, patience... I do hope your daughter's Hymenochirus recovers... Do please read here re water changes: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: ADF floating and now with red feet Bob, <Joanie, Paige> Thank you for your speedy reply. I feel very badly that I could have made the situation worse by putting too much new water into their environment. <Is a very common situation... Nowadays, our tap/source water is not very "consistent"... and much of the treatment (e.g. sanitizer addition) is quite toxic to aquatic life> It looks like you were giving me another link about the Melafix or another med. but it didn't show up on the email. Would you resend the link and/or give me more insight on the medication issue for this situation? <Do just peruse WWM through the term and our search tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm reading the cached views... highlighted...> By the way, the little frog is still at the bottom, but is moving occasionally on his own. Thanks again, Joanie and Paige <Am hoping for the best... Cheers, BobF>

Floating ADF, what treatment options? Poor environment, no reading 3/17/08 Crew, I bought 2 African Dwarf Frogs a week ago. I have them in an unheated/unfiltered, but treated, 1 gallon tank. <Umm, this is the trouble... Need heated (they're tropical), filtered environment... of larger (more stable) size> Initially I also had 3 Ghost Shrimp, but those died within 24 hours (I think due to the stress of extensive travel and adjustment, and probably due to the cramped quarters of having 5 animals in a fairly small bowl). Their deaths, I don't believe is related to this problem. As soon as the shrimp died they were removed from the tank and they water was changed and re-treated. After about 5 days of having the frogs they started to act a bit strange. They started to just float at the top of the bowl without any movement. They have also stopped eating (they have been on a strict frozen brine shrimp diet in the store and in my home). According to my research on this site and on others, it appears that they do not have red leg, fin rot, extreme bloating, or a fungus related infection. One site I research mentioned that there is a bacterial infection that can afflict these frogs. The symptoms, floating at the surface and not eating. This site did not give any treatment options. I know there are certain types of salts and medicines that could possibly be used to help, but I didn't want to use anything that would not treat this problem. What treatments would you recommend? I really don't want to lose these critters, but I fear that they may be a casualty of my novice status. Please send me any advice you have that might remedy this problem. Thank you. Dan <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hymenochirus.htm The linked files on the page. Bob Fenner>

African Dwarf Frogs- New 20 gallon Aquarium 2/29/08 Thank you ever so much for your reply. <No problem.> Although I am sad at the loss of my Guppies I must admit that froggy seems much happier in his 'own' environment. Last night he came out and played all night-first time I have seen that. <Very good.> I would like to say that I consider myself a responsible pet owner and do not usually allow my children to sway my decisions based on what they want. If that were the case I would have a house full of what I call rodents (shudder). And since I am the primary care giver to any pets brought into this house, I do make the ultimate decision of what comes in-which I consider my 2100SF house a nice refuge for 1 dog and 1 cat, and now some aquariums. I will admit that my purchase of the little hex tank kit was an unwise purchase bought for my husbands' birthday on the misconception it would be easy to clean and less time consuming than a bigger one. For any new hobbyists reading-that is not the case! <Indeed.> All that being said, I am now captivated by my little froggy and I must admit a little intrigued at the idea of all the different balances it requires to keep fish. I do plan to set up and manually cycle my 20 gallon tank before adding any fish to it. I was aware of the inter-breeding capabilities of Endler's and Guppies, I had actually planned (or hoped) to acquire males only. I have done some reading since then and see while that may be easy to do with the Guppies it may not be so easy with the Endler's. <Not a big fan of tanks with just one sex of fish. Must be very frustrating for the fish! I prefer environments where the fish can behave normally and actually enjoy themselves, interacting with one another.> Although I thought they usually ate there young unless removed form the tank? <Depends. It's not a good idea to *assume* baby fish will survive in a community because most will not, but some might, especially if the tank is big and has lots of plants and other hiding places.> I have decided against the Tetra's. The chemical make up of my water is hard. With only aqua safe treatment my tank water has a GH of around 150, a KH of between 120 and 180 and pH between 7.2 and 7.8. <Sounds good for livebearers, Rainbowfish barbs, etc. Not so much for tetras and Rasboras, though with care you could certainly keep some of those, too.> This has remained constant through water changes over the last 5 weeks so I think that is pretty much what it is. The nitrite and nitrate have obviously changed. at first they were both low then the nitrite went up substantially (this is when I lost my first Guppy) then came back down. Once again they did go back up some but came back down after a water change. Now after losing my other Guppy and doing a water change they are low with nitrite showing up at nearly 0 and nitrate at 20 or under. <"Nearly" zero nitrite is like "nearly pregnant"; it's a quantum thing, and you either have zero nitrite (in which case the tank is healthy) or you don't (in which case fish are at risk). So wait for the zero nitrite before adding anything else.> the temperature in my tank stays between 79F-78F without a heater. I believe I need a lower watt bulb because every time I turn on the lamp froggy heads for cover after a while and the temp will start to rise. <Possibly, though lower watt bulbs mean plants grow less well/not at all, and when plants aren't growing, algae becomes a problem.> I have the tank in my dining room that has a big patio door that we open the curtains to in the day and close at night so even with out the lamp there is definite transition from night to day and vice versa-without any direct sunlight. We have a sun room adjacent to the dining room which lets in lots of light but keeps direct light out of the house itself. I saw Froggy with a slightly bulgy belly for the first time last night and I will continue to feed him daily for a week or two to recover from the last month or two. I did add too much last night I know, but it took me several attempts to get the blood worms to the spot where he was so he would eat them and know they were in there. I am sure he would have eventually found them but it made me feel better to see him eat. I have frozen blood worms that are in little cubes. So as not to waste them how much should I break off for him for a feeding? And how many times a day should he be fed? once? <One meal per day should be adequate, and in terms of numbers of worms, you're going to have to watch this yourself, but I'd guess less than ten. Better to feed multiple small meals than one big meal.> Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it. I have 3 kids and it is hard to get the time to do as much research as I want to do-in the time I want to. By the way Neale, your comment about being watched by giant human keepers amused me. I have a 2 and 3 year old right now and although they are not giant, I can't remember the last time I had ANY privacy so I can definitely relate! <Indeed. One of the surprises for many people in fishkeeping is this: the more hiding places your provide, the more the fish come out and play. Forcing them into the limelight only scares them, and they end up cowering in the corners.> About my 20 gallon tank, which I read you all (sorry I am from the south so it sounds right to me) approve for a beginner, What would be a good mix for it? <Many many choices for a 20 gallon, but among the absolute best starter fish would be Bronze Corydoras (pretty, schooling catfish), X-ray tetras (Pristella maxillaris, also schooling fish and very hardy), zebra or pearl Danios (again, schooling fish, very hard surface-living fish) and Lace Gouramis (Trichogaster leeri, peaceful centrepiece fish that do well in pairs). A lot of "cheap" fish widely sold to beginners are fin-nippers, disease-prone, short-lived or otherwise not a good bet; do spend time reading up on fish *before* buying. Aquarium shops can be good sources of information, but they often aren't, and then you end up being stuck with something that causes problems one way or another. If in doubt, e-mail WWM, and ask!> As I said I would prefer smaller brighter active fish over bigger ones, as I could get more of them in the tank. <You will actually find you need a mix of everything. Danios are great for their activity level and nice colours, and they also help everything settle in. But they aren't very smart. Gouramis are bigger and slow moving, but they have personality, and will come to the front of the tank and beg for food. Catfish scoot about the bottom looking cute. You want to pick fish for the top, middle, and bottom of the tank too, so the tank is busy but not cluttered.> I do want a little bit of variety, though. Any suggestions on a good book I could get online to read to get me started? <Many good books out there. Almost anything on tropical fish from your local bookstore or library should help. Look up the topic of "Community Fish". I started with a book called "Fishkeeper's Guide to Community Fishes" by Dick Mills but there are multiple more modern books out there. Also many articles here on tetras, barbs, etc. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htmm > At this time I am strictly interested in fresh, harder water aquariums since I think it best with the make up of my tap water. I don't think I am ready to have to mess with so many different factors-or possibly water treatment products. <I agree. Livebearers (but not Mollies) would be ideal, as would Rainbowfish and hardy barbs. Some tetras, notably X-ray tetras, are also hard water tolerant. Once acclimated, even things like Neons will do well in hard water, though they perhaps do better kept otherwise. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhardness.htm > Thanks again so much this site is so full of information I could read all day, if I was allowed too! Debbie <Good luck! Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs- New 20 gallon Aquarium? 2/29/08 Dear WWM (Neale), Wow thanks so much for the in depth reply and all the great links and info. You have given me just what I need to get started in the right direction. I just realized last night at LFS about the different areas fish swim in. That makes a big difference and a lot of since. Thanks for the advice. I do know my LFS has a GH of 300! so whatever I choose will be acclimatized to hard water. <Yes, this is likely so, but some fish simply never do well in hard water and are best avoided. The quality of farmed Neons for example is pretty low anyway, and I have rarely heard of people keeping them alive in hard water for more than a year or two. In soft water, they can last as long as 4 years. So while there is some "wiggle room", do tend towards livebearers, Rainbowfish, hardy barbs etc when you're working with hard water. Your fishkeeping will be substantially easier.> If anything will have to be acclimated to the softness of my water! I have plenty of time to research and decide. I will set and cycle using starters and cycle products and wait 4-6 weeks until I am sure my tank is ready. At that time I will ask about introduction order and time if I can't find it in my own research. Thanks so much again for the great directional start. <Happy to help.> An update on my little frogs: at LFS I purchased a long 5 gallon kit with a whisper filter. I also purchased 4 more frogs. I came home and transferred them to a holding tank (just a little carrier) and I Switched the entire system! Probably not recommended but it worked fabulously! My froggies are playing and eating and floating just as happy as can be. I am very content with it now. I will keep the other one as a hospital only tank now (after I cycle it too). You are very right about having plenty of hidey holes making them more willing to be seen. They haven't acted one bit skittish since being introduced to the new tank. <See? No-one believes this until they try it. Forcing fish into the open is like trying to force children to eat their vegetables: ultimately counterproductive. You have to be cunning!> This one has a florescent bulb so it doesn't seem to heat up the tank. Again I am very pleased and thanks so much for the Info and advice. One question. What are these moon lights i read about? Or night lighting? <Moon-lights are things that light up tanks dimly, so that nocturnal fish will swim about. They look really nice. If you aren't growing plants, then you can easily use them instead of regular lights, and most fish would prefer them anyway. Your little Frogs would naturally inhabit almost pitch-black pools in forests that would receive very little sunlight. But most folks use them alongside the regular lights, switching off the regular lights for a couple hours in the evening to create a "dusk" lighting level that encourages nocturnal fish to swim about in view.> Have a good day! Debbie <Likewise, and good luck, Neale.>

ADF and algae... algicides... 2/27/08 Dear Crew, I have an 8.8 gal book shelf tank containing four African Dwarf Frogs and two Otocinclus. Water temperature is set to 76 degrees. The tank is far from direct sunlight and I use the hood light from about 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. I am having a constant problem with both brown algae and green, floating algae. I added in the Otos to see if they could help keep the brown algae down, but while they help some, they are not staying on top of things and they seem to have no affect on the green. At least they do get along with my froggies but to keep enough to handle all the brown algae I might have to have so many Otos that they would be a real bother to the frogs. About a month ago I did a routine of erythromycin for five days and it cleared the green stuff very well, but ... it has come back and I don't think putting anti-biotics in the tank on a regular basis is a very good idea. Jungle has an algae treatment called "No More Algae." The active ingredients are Diuron and a small bit of copper sulfate. The package states to not use on invertebrates as do many aquarium chemicals. I wrote the company, asking if it was safe to use with ADF's and they have not replied. Thus I am turning to you. "Is it Ok to use "No More Algae" in my African Dwarf Frog tank? Thanks so much for any guidance you can give me. Mike <Mike, even if the "No More Algae" product was non-toxic, you shouldn't use it anyway. When algae dies, it rots. When it rots, it produces ammonia. In any tank that is bad news; in an 8 gallon tank it's a disaster! Next up, even if you kill the algae now, it'll be just as bad in a month. Algae gets into the tank from the air or in water changes. So you can't "sterilise" the system in any meaningful way. Algae is caused by a complex of things, the most critical of which is this: lack of fast-growing plants. Tanks with lots of healthy, fast-growing plants under bright light don't have algae problems. Simple as that. So there's your solution. Ensure the lighting above the tank is at least 1.5, and ideally 2, watts per gallon, add some fast-growing plants (Cabomba, Hygrophila, Vallisneria, etc) and then sit back. The plants will eliminate the algae via allelopathy. No other solution works. None. Nix. Nada. If you don't want to go that route, I'm afraid all that's left is manually removing the algae with a wipe or scraper. Incidentally, adding fish or snails has zero effect, because all the extra livestock does is dump more ammonia and CO2 in the water, making the algae even more happy! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ADF and algae 2/27/08 Hi Neale, Well, that settles that. I'll be in town tomorrow and I'll see if my LFS has any of these. I suspect they do. Seems like a much better solution than doing any chemical thing. Thanks so much. I'll let you know how it works out for me. Mike <Hi Mike. Fast-growing plants aren't difficult to obtain. Even floating plants can work well. But the effect they have is dramatic once they're growing. Does depend somewhat on the lighting though -- the plants have to be growing well to stop the algae. If you want to do some reading, look up "allelopathy" in aquaria; quite how, why plants stop algae isn't known, but they do. Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs... Froggy, small sys. period 2/27/08 I have a 5 gallon hexagonal kit tank that I had 2 guppies and a African Dwarf Frog that the sales girl at the pet store sold me because my 3 year old wanted a "froggy". <Please let me start by saying that buying animals for children as small as this isn't a good idea. Buy animals if you want them, and sure, let small children observe. But unless you're really willing to make this your hobby, it is simply a waste of time (and often animal lives) buying pets for very small children.> As I am sure you can guess, my uncycled 5 gallon tank has since lost my fish. The first went about a week and a half after I populated it and the second today. I have had the aquarium roughly a month. I have done a lot of research/reading since then and have since purchased a 20 gallon kit tank. My plan is to put fish in the 20 gallon tank and keep frogs in the five gallon tank since I have fallen in love with "froggy" , who by the way got his first helping of frozen bloodworms today after almost a month of the pellets they sold me at the store. Can't say I ever saw froggy eat them but he has survived and something was eating some of them. My nitrite, ammonia, ph, and all my water parameters are right on as to what this web site suggests for froggy and he seems to be adapting well to his tank this week-before this he hid most of the time. I believe my fish were victims of over-feeding due to lack of knowledge. I think the were eating froggy's food as well as their own. I would like to keep as many Frogs (all African Dwarf Frogs) as possible without over crowding. I also want to make sure I introduce them in a timely matter. My questions are this. How many can I keep in this type of tank. I am sure the 1 frog to every gallon of water rule just doesn't quite apply, due to the shape although I would love to have a colony that large! Maybe I will switch to a square tank. How do you cycle a tank for frogs? And lastly on frogs How many can I introduce at a time and how far apart? <Hymenochirus spp. frogs are not especially difficult to keep when alone, but almost never succeed in the long term alongside fish. Sure, sometimes it works, but usually it doesn't. The main problem is that Hymenochirus are shy, slow feeders. They also need to eat quite a lot, and this causes problems with water quality. Per meal, the frogs must be receiving sufficient food that their belly swells out ever so slightly. Initially, you'll need to feed them daily to recover condition from their time at the pet store, but subsequently you might decide to skip feeding them every two or three days. Freeze-dried foods do not seem to be good for them, so always use either live or wet frozen foods. I'd not keep more than 3-4 specimens in a 5 gallon tank. I'd mature the tank by adding filter media from another healthy aquarium; amphibians generally are sensitive to poor water quality, which leads to things like the dreaded Red Leg. Hymenochirus spp. generally work well in groups; introduce them all at once into a fully matured aquarium. Do ensure there are plenty of hiding places, such as caves and plastic plants.> I also would like to cycle up my 20 gallon tank and have a decorative, colorful, active tank to enjoy. Again without over crowding. I had thought about 3-4 Guppies, 6 Endlers, and 6 tetras-either neon or cardinal. <I'd say no to all of this, at least as a combo. For a start, Endlers and Guppies hybridise, and while you might not care very much, this is a problem if you have to get rid of excess fry. What do you sell them as? Allowing hybridisation in aquaria is simply a bad habit and not one to get into. Secondly, tetras often (though not always, I'll admit) nip the fins of Fancy Guppies. Thirdly, there are differences in water chemistry. Tetras want soft, slightly acidic water; Guppies and Endlers want hard, basic water. Conditions that suit the one will be stressful for the other, so you'll constantly be having to deal with sickness. Much better to determine what your local water chemistry is, and then choose fish accordingly. Please see the multiple articles we have here about water chemistry for more info, or turn to any aquarium book of your choice.> I noticed some of you think tetras are difficult to take care of. <Can be, many species being either sensitive to poor water quality, nippy towards tankmates, or aggressive amongst themselves.> Would this type of community work well? <No.> I think we would prefer quantity with color over size in our tank. Honestly I had to search so hard to find the guppies (since it was just two and they hid) in the 5 gallon, it seemed hardly worth the effort. <Can seem this way, but always remember your job is to give a home to the fish that the fish enjoy. If that means the fish are hidden half the time, so be it. Would you want to be constantly watched by some gigantic human-keeper?> I agree these little hex tanks are hard to take care of and I think my frogs will do better in them. <Those little Hexagon tanks are a gimmick, and no experienced aquarist would recommend one over a traditional rectangular aquarium. The problems are multiple, not least of which is the terrible surface area to volume ratio. Though seemingly cheap, they're actually poor value because of how little they actually "do".> Thanks ahead of time for you advice and knowledge-Deb <Cheers, Neale.>

Deceased frog. 2/14/08 Dear Bob, <Neale here today!> About a year ago I decided I wanted a fish, so I went and bought two Jack Dempseys. The employee at the big box pet store told me they would be fine in a ten gallon tank. <Nope; and indeed getting two JDs to share any sized tank is pushing your luck unless they're a mated pair.> Needless to say, I hadn't done my research and neither had he. After doing my own research and learning more about them they're now in a 55 gallon tank with a few other fish and seem to be doing fine, but my boyfriend and I wanted a peaceful community tank as well. <Doesn't everyone!> I did some research on that and found that (hopefully this is all correct) an ADF would be fine with some small Corys and a peaceful Gourami or two. <Actually, no; I don't believe that frogs of any kind make particularly good additions to aquaria. They are best kept alone, or possibly in tanks with ultra-peaceful species that can be guaranteed to ignore them (say, hatchetfish or kuhli loaches). Otherwise, frogs are too easily damaged, too sensitive to poor water quality, too easily killed by fish medications, and too difficult to feed properly. While some people manage to mix frogs and fish fine, the majority don't.> We set up a 30 gallon tank (about a foot deep) and had it running for a few days before we went down to the specialty fish store that we now shop at. We bought one ADF, three small panda Corys, and a honey dwarf Gourami. We brought them all home and put them in together yesterday. The frog was extremely active. He swam around a lot and seemed to be enjoying himself. They seemed fine when we went to bed last night, but when we woke up this morning (gasp) my new frog friend was dead! <Not really surprised. Almost certainly killed by water quality problems. Running a tank for a few days EMPTY does nothing at all to cycle it. Maturing a tank depends on the bacteria getting established in the filter, and that requires a source of ammonia for the bacteria to "eat". An empty tank is just a big bucket of water, and there's nothing biological going on in there. You then add a bunch of fish, the produce ammonia, and the ammonia stresses/kills the livestock. Do read the WWM articles re: starting a new aquarium.> The water has a strange cloudy quality to it. The fish are still alive, but the frog was done for in less than 24 hours and I'm really not sure what happened. We tested the PH again and it was fine. <The pH is irrelevant, and most inexperienced aquarists have no idea what it actually means. For a new tank, you need *at minimum* a NITRITE test kit. This gives you a measurement of how the second stage of the two-stage biological filtration process is doing. Under normal circumstances a tropical tank takes 6 weeks to complete the cycling process. That's six weeks from when the first ammonia source is added -- whether a few hardy fish (like Danios) or an inorganic source (ammonia from a bottle). The pH is about the acidity of the aquarium, and there is no such reading as "fine". A low pH (i.e., 6 to 7) is good for Angelfish and tetras but bad for livebearers and Goldfish; conversely, a high pH (i.e., 7.5 to 8) is essential for livebearers and Goldfish, but not appreciated by soft water tetras and dwarf cichlids. Please do read the WWM articles re: water chemistry to understand this topic.> The temp is at 78. The light was on for about 4 hours yesterday. Any ideas? <Lots, but mostly you need to sit down, read, and understand how an aquarium works. In particular focus on water quality and water chemistry. Getting these wrong surely account for 99.99999999% of aquarium fish (and frog!) deaths.> Thanks in advance, Shelley <Cheers, Neale.>

Betta and ADF, sys., RO water use, 11/25/2007 Hello All, Thanks in advance for the advice. Normally I am asking marine questions, but I have a few probably very silly questions about a Betta tank. I have a six week old, cycled, 3 gallon Eclipse tank with a male Betta and one African Dwarf Frog. Parameters are Ammonia/Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: less than 20, pH: 6.0, and nearly zero on DH and GH. The tank has live plants and a one inch gravel bottom. So, the first question: I use RO/DI water instead of using a conditioner on tap water. Is this okay or are my DH and GH readings too low from filtering out too much? <Always mix some tap water with the RO water; by itself, RO water isn't acceptable for most fish. Aim for between 5-10 degrees dH. For a Betta, there's absolutely no advantage to using RO water anyway, since these fish are very adaptable and provided extremes are avoided couldn't care less about water chemistry. Moderate hardness and neutral pH is probably the ideal.> I had assumed the RO/DI was better, plus it is convenient since we have the unit set up for the salt water tank, but now I am wondering. <Very soft water causes problems with acidification and lack of stability.> Second question: When I come into work in the morning, the tank is usually around 77 degrees F. With the light on during the day, the temperature usually creeps up to about 80 or 81. Is this too much fluctuation over a 24 hour period? <It's fine for a Betta. Certainly "within the margin of error" for what a wild Betta would be exposed to.> Should I try and bump the heater up to keep is closer to 80 at night? <No point if the fish is otherwise fine.> Of course then it would still fluctuate up to 83 or 84 in the day then. Third question: I have read your FAQs on ADF, but was still unsure about a few things. I have only one, are they social and should be kept in multiples? <I think they are better termed "sociable" rather than "social". They don't form schools as such, but provided they aren't overcrowded you can keep several in a tank and not have problems. A gallon of water per frog is often recommended, and seems about right.> I feed about 2 bloodworms (still need to get other "meaty" stuff, frog is new) every 2 to 4 days. Should this be sufficient? <Depends on the size of the frog, the quality of the bloodworms being used, water temperature, and so on. Provided the belly is gently convex but not bulging, you're fine. I'd be feeding this half a dozen bloodworms every day and seeing how things go from there. If they get portly on this, skip a day or two per week. If they look thin, I'd feed slightly more food, perhaps across two meals per day. There's no hard-and-fast rule to how much to feed any animal; to some extent you need to observe and react accordingly. Provided you don't give the frogs so much they look like bowling balls with legs, then the issue isn't overfeeding per se, but water quality.> I know it is hard to say without seeing the frog, but does that sound like a reasonable amount of food? <A bit too little, too me.> Any other advice is always appreciated! Thanks! Michele <Cheers, Neale.>

African dwarf frogs... care/sys. -- 09/14/07 Hello, My friend works at a fish store and has an ADF and he said that he takes his frog out of the water for a less than ten minutes every now and then. I have one too but I don't want to hurt him in anyway. But at the same time I wouldn't mind hanging out with him outside the water. Is that okay? or should I not take him out at all and put the thought out of my mind? thanks, Claire <Claire, your friend is completely wrong to remove his frog from the water. No amphibian should ever be handled except where absolutely essential because their skins are very sensitive and easily damaged. This goes double for aquatic amphibians because they have thinner skins than terrestrial amphibians as well as less robust skeletons. So tell your friend to stop handling his frog! If he wants something to cuddle, he should go buy a cat. Cheers, Neale>

Proper Dwarf Aquatic Frog Habitat? -- 09/05/07 I'd like to purchase some dwarf aquatic frogs and am in the very beginning stages of setting up their home. Could you please tell me if I'm doing it properly? I read conflicting advice online and the pet stores aren't always helpful. I have purchased a 5 gallon aquarium with an under gravel filter. The manager of the store told me to pile rocks on top of the filter to make sure that flow isn't too strong. I've also purchased two artificial plants, 3 lily pads, a piece of drift wood and a small terra cotta pot (for hiding inside) and medium sized gravel. For food I have frog bites, blood worms and brine shrimp. Would 3 frogs be too many for this size tank? Also, I've been reading about some sort of fungus. Is there some medication I should add upon their arrival to prevent illness? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Elyse Paul <Hello Elyse. Assuming we're talking about Hymenochirus species here, then your basic plan sounds good. A 5 gallon tank should be acceptable for three frogs, though surface area matters more than depth, so be sure and choose a "long" rather than "deep" shape. The flow of water through an undergravel filter is very gentle and unlikely to harm your frogs. Provided the filter plate covers the entire base of the tank, and the depth of gravel is not less than 5 cm in depth, as it needs to be, you should be fine. I would personally go with a fine, pea gravel when keeping things as small as these (looks more "in scale") but that's a trivial issue. As for fungal infections, this shouldn't be a problem if they are kept properly. Water changes as well as filtration are important; 50% per week would not be out of line. Always use a dechlorinator. I'm not a fan of treating animals "prophylactically" without veterinarian advice to do so. Good water quality and the proper diet usually help animals deal with potential problems without drugs. If you must use a medication, be sure and choose one safe for use with frogs -- not all are. Cheers, Neale>

Filter blues, ADF... Sys., hlth. 6/13/07 Hi <Ave.> I bought an ADF a couple of weeks ago from the local Petsmart and named him Lego. <OK.> I set up the tank, researched what he needed, took out the filter the tank came with since it produced a tank wide strong current, bought some frog and tadpole bites, and put in plants and a pot for him to hide in. <You bought the frog before researching the pet? Not good.> Everything seemed to be going good except I wasn't sure he was eating the bites. <No surprise there. These animals really aren't wild about dried foods. Sure, they'll eat them eventually, but not with much enthusiasm, and in the case of small animals like African Dwarf Frogs the damage through starvation may well be done by then. Almost without exception, new reptiles and amphibians (and oddball fish) do best given live or "wet" frozen foods first. Once eating, wean them onto dry alternatives.> After looking it up online, I went to the petstore and bought freeze dried bloodworms. <Never yet met an animal that ate freeze dried anything. I'm told some people have good luck with them, but honestly, in 20+ years of fishkeeping they've always been a waste of money in my experience.> They floated which i read that ADF's don't go to the surface for food and sure enough he didn't eat a single one. <Quelle surprise.> The pet store didn't have frozen any type of food, so I went back to the bites. One day I did catch him eating some and after that the bites i put in would disappear so I didn't worry to much about it. <Well, OK, that's promising I suppose.> After seeing on various websites that a whisper filter would be the best for him, I went back to the store yesterday and picked one up. I installed the pump and added some water to the tank that I already had prepared a while ago so that the water level was high enough for the pump. When I first came home from the store, Lego was laying on a leaf at the surface but he had done this before so I didn't think twice about it. However, after putting in the pump he started going up for air over and over again. <This usually means the water quality has plummeted. Tell me, did you mature the filter in any way before adding the frog? Are you measuring the nitrite or ammonia levels? How much and how often are you performing water changes? What about temperature? These are tropical animals, and need a heated tank. If it's too cold, they're digestive enzymes won't work, and they'll starve to death however much they eat.> Then he would swim around and start all over. Sometimes he managed to stay floating at the surface with no support. <A dying frog...> Worried, when he kept this up the rest of the evening, I turned off the filter and went to bed. When I woke up this morning the poor thing had died in the night. <Again, quelle surprise.> Did the new filter kill my frog? <No.> He did seem kind of skinny so did he starve to death? <In part, yes. But also you almost certainly dumped too much food in hoping to tempt him, but most wasn't eaten, rotted, raised the ammonia, and poisoned the frog.> Should I have gotten him a buddy for the tank? <Definitely not. All you would have had is two dead frogs instead of one.> (the tank is a little less then 3 gallons since I live in a dorm during the school year) <Three gallons!!!! That's a bucket, not an aquarium. To quote someone on a forum I visit, don't put animals in this, cut some flowers and put them in it instead. Much prettier, and they'll last longer.> please help! <I'm trying to help. But please understand this: looking after animals isn't easy, and you absolutely have to "do it by the numbers" if you're coming to this new. Go buy or borrow a book about keeping these frogs. There are lots of them around. Sit, read, learn. Once you're up to speed on the theory, reflect on what you might have done wrong. Having pets while you're at college is great fun. I did, and in the end that experience is how I ended up an aquarium writer. But sometimes time, money, and space just aren't going to accommodate an animal in your life. So think carefully before gambling on another animal's life. I would love to have another frog but don't want to kill that one as well <Provided you read and learn about these animals, certainly, there's no real difficulty in keeping them as pets. And they are fun and fascinating animals. But yes, you'll end up killing it if you try and "make it up as you go along". Advice from most chain pet stores is either useless or downright dangerous, so take anything the sales clerk says with a pinch (bucket) of salt. Good books are priceless here. So please please please do some some reading first.> Jessica <Good luck, Neale>

Frogs Jump Out Of Aquarium 5/18/07 Hello~ I was reading through your website and found SOME reassuring answers, but I still wanted to write to you to make sure my frogs were okay: I woke up this morning to find my African Dwarf Frogs' tank in the floor, and my cat looming over the contents. I thought for sure the cat had eaten my two frogs, but was shocked to find both of them a few feet away on the carpet. I scooped them up as quickly as possible and put them in a bowl full of bottled spring water. (this is what the pet store clerk told me to do). My poor frogs were covered in carpet fuzz and cat hair, and I tried to get as much of it off as I could. So my question to you is: 1. Is the cat hair/carpet fuzz going to hurt/infect my once sterile frog environment? < The fuzz will come off in time once the little frog rehydrates. Then you can truly evaluate the trauma that he has endured.> 2. ALSO, I just noticed one of my frogs has a missing foot! Now I'm sure my cat ate it! So, is he going to be alright? Should I worry about infection? There are some cat hairs stuck in the wound that I have tried to carefully pull out, but they are stuck. I'm scared of hurting the little guy. Should I do anything at all? <Keep the water very clean and watch for infection. This would include a white cottony appearance on the wounds. Frogs really don't like dyes as medicine, so if an infection does occur then I would try antibiotics like Nitrofurazone.-Chuck> Thanks in advance for you time. Allison

Re: Frogs Jump Out Of The Aquarium II 5/18/07 One other question-I still have the frogs in the bowl of spring water while I'm cleaning the gavel and tank. The frog with no foot is desperately trying to swim out of the bowl. (The other is just floating at the bottom.) Well, the foot-less frog has made it to the edge of the bowl (out of the water), many times, but he just sits there. Like he just wants air. But I thought they only needed to come up for air only a second and only every now and then. SO, should I let him sit there or put him back in the water? (which is what I have been doing) Thanks again, Allison < Your frogs may also have internal injuries that you are not aware of like fractured ribs or a punctured lung. I would let them decide where they want to be for now and see what happens.-Chuck>

Cleaning a Frog Tank 1/16/07 Hello, My name is Keli and my husband and I just got two African Dwarf Frogs (Buddy and Tiny). <Hi Keli, Pufferpunk here> I had a few questions concerning their well-being. The first question is about Buddy. Buddy seems to spend most of his time resting in one place at the bottom of the tank, while occasionally swimming around and then sitting for along time again. Is this normal? I wouldn't be too concerned about it, other than the fact that Tiny is always active and moving around. <Sounds normal.> The second question I had was concerning how to clean their tank. Should I just set a bowl of water out for a while and let it get stale and then just transfer them into the bowl of water while I clean out their tank and then dump them and the water back in the tank? <I would scoop out some of the old water to store the frogs in, while you clean their tank. Make sure the water temp is the same & dechlorinate the fresh water, before netting the frogs back into the tank. ~PP>

African dwarf frogs 8/24/05 Hi, have a question. I have searched your site & do not see a similar problem. I have 2 ADF in a 2.5 gallon tank, with a filter running. We first bought pellet food, then found out through research online they should be fed frozen bloodworms. <... and other meaty live, non-live foods> Purchased those 3 days ago now, feeding them pea-sized amount every other day (is this correct???) <Best to look at their "tummies"...> My main question is an odor. <Interesting> It's gotten milder/better since switching from pellets, but it still is unpleasant. Had water checked at the petstore, they said water levels are fine. Should we do a partial water change to see if there's disintegrated pellet food causing odor? <Yes... should do these change-outs weekly...> Any other suggestions? My pet peeve is pet stores selling these frogs with zero info on feeding, correct water levels, cleaning of tanks, etc. Thanks for the help, Lisa <Thank goodness for books, magazines, the Net... Bob Fenner>

Is a 30 Gal tank too deep for African Dwarf Frog? 2/14/07 Hi everyone, I LOVE your site and have learned much from reading the cache of questions in it. However even after searching, I still have one question in my mind about my African Dwarf Frogs. <Okay> I have a 30 Gallon standard Eclipse aquarium. It has 16 Neons, 2 Otos, several live plants, and 3 African Dwarf Frogs. I know that it's hard to keep all of these alive together but I have done it successfully in the past in a long 20 gallon tank for about 4 years. I have an extra tank available just in case those darn Neons come down with fin rot; which to my memory they seem to do when the wind blows the wrong direction! <Mmm, not so much in warm/er, acidic water> However after reading many articles on the little froggies, I am wondering if this set up is not good for them. A lot of people have smaller tanks for their frogs, and there seems to be an opinion online that larger tanks will cause the frogs too much stress trying to swim up to the top for air. <Is a good question, consideration> So, will my frogs be ok in a tank this deep? <Yes, should be fine... some folks with more aggressive fishes might be a concern (hence am glad you list the other livestock) as the frogs go up/down for breaths> its a standard rectangular 30 Gallon eclipse tank. they seem to be happy, and swim up and down a lot. At times it seems they may be struggling against the current from the filter, but whenever they need air they bolt up to the top as if they were a bullet. So i have the impression that they are happy and just playing in the water. Though, I just want to make sure that they aren't struggling and waiting to the last moment to get their air as a result. I would hate to think they are drowning while I think they are enjoying themselves! They don't spend any time floating on top, and they actively crawl around the bottom and actively hunt for the brine shrimp I distribute on the bottom in front of them with a never used in the kitchen turkey baster. It seems to work well if I feed the other fish a little to distract them when I feed the froggies. In short: My frogs SEEM happy. They do swim around a lot. At times they just sit, and once in a great while hide under the moss plant. Will a tank that is about 15 inches high, with a mildly strong current from the bio filter be ok for them? Thanks for any information you provide. David <Think you're fine here. BobF>

Frog Legs for Dinner? Hymenochirus beh., sys. 2/22/07 Thanks again, Pufferpunk. <No problem> I'll return Jet this weekend so he can mix with his own kind. Now I have a question about the frogs, Slim and Chance. They used to be so cute every evening, swimming and playing and crashing into things. But lately they've become reclusive and sluggish. I really don't think I feed them too much but they aren't as eager for their food anymore, which is those delicious Frog and Tadpole Bites. I've given them frozen bloodworms a time or two, but not many at a time. I shook them (gently) out of their hidey holes tonight so I could photograph them to show you how normal they look. Do you think the light is too much for them? It's just your standard 150W bulb. <Not if you plan on boiling them for dinner. Sounds like an awful lot of light for that tank. I would think a 60wt bulb would be enough to warm up a 5g tank. What's the temp in there?> At one time I had some floating plants in there, and that diffused the light some. But I took all the live plants out and replaced them with fake because the live ones were rotting and stinking up the water. What do you think? Am I just being a worrier (a general tendency of mine)? <Probably too hot for even the plants. Check the temp--should be around 76-80. ~PP>

No Frog Legs for Dinner, After All 2/26/07 Not to worry about the frogs becoming dinner; the light bulb is only 15 watts. (I knew there was a 1 and a 5 in there.) And the water temp is a cool 70 degrees. <Whew, no cooked froggies then! 150 wts would pack quite a wallop.> Perhaps I could bump up the wattage on the bulb some to create more heat but that's probably been the temperature they've been living in since I purchased them last summer. <Maybe a bit higher wattage would be best. They need to be warm, so they can digest their food.> Same goes for Flash, the betta, who seems to be quite content at that temp. Puff too. <all your pets need to be kept at around 80 degrees. Even the betta is a tropical fish.> I looked at some heaters the other day but I don't really know a lot about them and the store help is usually not around or they don't seem to know much either. <3wts/gallon or 25wts, if that's the smallest you can find.> Actually, Slim and Chance are acting pretty normal right now, so maybe they were just off their feed for a while. But thanks again for "being there" for me! <Sure! ~PP>

"A Tale of Two Tanks" or "The Three Little Frogs" 8/25/06 I hope this finds you well. I'm having a very strange problem that I can't seem to solve by research or common sense, so I'm turning to you for expert advice! My son is delighted with his 3 African Dwarf Frogs who live by themselves in a 5 gallon tank with a Whisper filter, no direct sunlight, no gravel or sand, no live plants (artificial plants and decorations only). <Mmm, would be better... happier, healthier with some gravel, plants...> I've been able to manage to keep ammonia, nitrates and nitrites at zero - or get them back to zero when there have been spikes- and the temp at a nice steady 78. pH levels test around 7.2. They eat a pinch of Hikari frozen bloodworms purchased at our LFS every 3 days or so and seem to be happy and thriving. The problem is a smelly, slimy, grayish white sludge that keeps emerging on the water's surface despite everything I've tried so far (the water itself has always remained clear when looking through the walls of the tank). In addition to being disgusting, it's a safety concern since the frogs are surface breathers. The first time it appeared, the tank was only 1 month old. My attempts have included 1. skimming the sludge, doing water changes, cutting back on the amount of worms being fed, and filter cartridge changes every week, 2. putting the frogs into a holding tank while scrubbing and sanitizing the entire tank and its contents, then waiting for the tank to cycle again, 3. repeating step 2 when the sludge returned, but this time trying it without adding bio-Spira (just trying to account for all possibilities), 4. when the slime returned, putting the frogs into an entirely new tank, an Eclipse 2.5 gallon with bio-wheel we had on hand, which was allowed to cycle as well and had completely different plants and decorations, just in case. This worked OK for a while but the temp was too hard to control in the smaller tank (ran too hot) and the water was hard to keep clean because the bioload was too high and I had to change the filter cartridge frequently as it kept getting clogged wi th brown gunk. After two months, I thought it was time to put them back in their 5 gallon again. This time I completely replaced the filter with a new Whisper filter, just in case anything could have survived in the nooks and crannies in the old one. I just reintroduced the frogs to their 5 gallon tank 4 days ago, fed them 2 days ago, and noted yesterday that the water's surface was again gunking up and starting to smell! I skimmed off the slime, changed the filter cartridge (it looked fine - but just in case) and did a 50% water change. Ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites all read zero. This morning, the water looked OK but I detected a bit of the smell. I'm planning to go out and purchase a new package of frozen blood worms, since that's about the only thing I haven't replaced so far. Thanks for any thought you might have! Dianne <Some sort of "bio-film"... bacterial and likely protozoal population growth... these can be (am thinking of you doing push-ups ala Duvall, saying "You talkin' to me?") very persistent... I would try the "biological control route"... add a few sprigs of some hardy "floating grass/plant"... e.g. Anacharis, Myriophyllum... may take a few weeks to months... but should shift the population to "something else". Bob Fenner>

Re: "A Tale of Two Tanks" or "The Three Little Frogs" 8/25/06 Thanks for your reply, Bob! < Bob is away for a few, RichardB with you. > I will try adding the plants, but wanted to double check something with you. Since ADF's are surface breathers, is there any danger to adding a floating plant? < Not if you prune them accordingly. > Or will a few sprigs not multiply very quickly? < That depends on the species of plant you choose, the lighting, and the quantity of nutrients avaliable for the plants to consume. Duckweed would invariably take over the world, where wisteria or hornwort would be less aggressive. Whatever plant you decide upon, try to keep at least half of the surface available at all times. The idea of the floating plants is great, and you may find the frogs hanging out in it! > < Happy planting! RichardB > Thanks, Dianne Frogs The letter below was posted by me to you. I have been trying to follow what you told me in your response. I was able to get another 10 gallon tank as I have no place for a larger one. I was moving the Dwarf Frogs and one jumped out of the tank and was on the floor for about 5 - 10 minutes. I am not exactly sure. I was so upset and put him in the tank quickly when I found him and he seemed ok. Now he has something of a red bulge coming out of his bottom. I've never seen this before. Will he be ok? Also. The two long skinny algae eaters passed away. I think the other Gold fish ate the small Rosey Red. The fish have been acting so aggressive over the last two days. The Black Moor seemed to try to bite the Frog and the frog lunged at the Black Moor and the today I saw the Black Moor with a mark on his side. I do not know what is going on. The long skinny Algae eater was acting crazy so I took him out and isolated him in a fish bowl over night and he was swimming so fast and then about 20 minutes later he was dead. I am moving the goldfish to a colder spot and putting the Frogs and Shrimp in the warmer area. Do you think this will be ok? Thanks, any help will be appreciated. I am new at this. I've only ever had goldfish. but I do love these frogs. >>Hello Yolanda; Have you tested your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate? I am new to the crew, but Sabrina gave you some good advice, so I will try to follow up on it. The fallen frog sounds like he has some internal injuries, you will have to wait and see how he does. He may not make it if the injuries are severe. I agree that all the animals should be separated, move the frogs away from the goldfish, algae eaters too, and the shrimp and Rosy reds also. This is quite the problem! I hope you are doing frequent partial water changes to keep all the animals in good health. -Gwen<<

Dwarf African frogs Might Escape 4/27/06 Hello. Sadly, my son's 2 year-old Betta fish just died. He would like to get two African dwarf frogs and use the same tank, which is a 3 gallon Marineland Eclipse with bio wheel. I have completely sanitized the tank and am in the process of cycling it in preparation for the frogs. I discovered, however, that the filtration system won't function without the water coming up to within an inch of the top rim (and anyway, if the water were lower, the "waterfall' effect would disturb the frogs too much). My concern is that ADFs jump. This tank has a nice tight lid, but will the frogs be able to escape up into the lid if the water is that high? I don't want them to fry themselves on the light if it's on. My other alternative is purchasing a different filtration system, but is there one that is similar to the bio wheel idea? Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. < Get some clear plastic wrap and stretch it over the top openings by the filter. Add a few floating plants and the frogs should be happy and not try and get out.-Chuck> Dianne

"A Tale of Two Tanks" or "The Three Little Frogs" 8/25/06 I hope this finds you well. I'm having a very strange problem that I can't seem to solve by research or common sense, so I'm turning to you for expert advice! My son is delighted with his 3 African Dwarf Frogs who live by themselves in a 5 gallon tank with a Whisper filter, no direct sunlight, no gravel or sand, no live plants (artificial plants and decorations only). <Mmm, would be better... happier, healthier with some gravel, plants...> I've been able to manage to keep ammonia, nitrates and nitrites at zero - or get them back to zero when there have been spikes- and the temp at a nice steady 78. pH levels test around 7.2. They eat a pinch of Hikari frozen bloodworms purchased at our LFS every 3 days or so and seem to be happy and thriving. The problem is a smelly, slimy, grayish white sludge that keeps emerging on the water's surface despite everything I've tried so far (the water itself has always remained clear when looking through the walls of the tank). In addition to being disgusting, it's a safety concern since the frogs are surface breathers. The first time it appeared, the tank was only 1 month old. My attempts have included 1. skimming the sludge, doing water changes, cutting back on the amount of worms being fed, and filter cartridge changes every week, 2. putting the frogs into a holding tank while scrubbing and sanitizing the entire tank and its contents, then waiting for the tank to cycle again, 3. repeating step 2 when the sludge returned, but this time trying it without adding bio-Spira (just trying to account for all possibilities), 4. when the slime returned, putting the frogs into an entirely new tank, an Eclipse 2.5 gallon with bio-wheel we had on hand, which was allowed to cycle as well and had completely different plants and decorations, just in case. This worked OK for a while but the temp was too hard to control in the smaller tank (ran too hot) and the water was hard to keep clean because the bioload was too high and I had to change the filter cartridge frequently as it kept getting clogged with brown gunk. After two months, I thought it was time to put them back in their 5 gallon again. This time I completely replaced the filter with a new Whisper filter, just in case anything could have survived in the nooks and crannies in the old one. I just reintroduced the frogs to their 5 gallon tank 4 days ago, fed them 2 days ago, and noted yesterday that the water's surface was again gunking up and starting to smell! I skimmed off the slime, changed the filter cartridge (it looked fine - but just in case) and did a 50% water change. Ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites all read zero. This morning, the water looked OK but I detected a bit of the smell. I'm planning to go out and purchase a new package of frozen blood worms, since that's about the only thing I haven't replaced so far. Thanks for any thought you might have! Dianne <Some sort of "bio-film"... bacterial and likely protozoal population growth... these can be (am thinking of you doing push-ups ala Duvall, saying "You talkin' to me?") very persistent... I would try the "biological control route"... add a few sprigs of some hardy "floating grass/plant"... e.g. Anacharis, Myriophyllum... may take a few weeks to months... but should shift the population to "something else". Bob Fenner>

Re: "A Tale of Two Tanks" or "The Three Little Frogs" 8/25/06 Thanks for your reply, Bob! < Bob is away for a few, RichardB with you. > I will try adding the plants, but wanted to double check something with you. Since ADF's are surface breathers, is there any danger to adding a floating plant? < Not if you prune them accordingly. > Or will a few sprigs not multiply very quickly? < That depends on the species of plant you choose, the lighting, and the quantity of nutrients avaliable for the plants to consume. Duckweed would invariably take over the world, where wisteria or hornwort would be less aggressive. Whatever plant you decide upon, try to keep at least half of the surface available at all times. The idea of the floating plants is great, and you may find the frogs hanging out in it! > < Happy planting! RichardB > Thanks, Dianne Temperature for ADFs/Betta 1/30/07 <Hi Betty> Thanks so much for your prompt response! <No problem.> I'm so glad I found your web site so I could finally get some much needed information. I've read a lot of the letters on your site and I agree that pet stores don't give you much info on dwarf frogs. They have books on all kinds of fish, but I've never seen a book only about dwarf frogs. And that's a real shame since they make such nice pets. <But there are lots of websites: http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/mypets/dwarfs.html
http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/Dwarf_African_Frog http://home.earthlink.net/~ecotank/id22.html http://www.petplace.com/reptiles/choosing-an-african-dwarf-frog/page1.aspx http://www.hv3.7h.com/dwarffrogs.html http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfaffrogfaqs.htm > Don't worry, Pufferpunk -- I'm not going to put anything else in the frog tank. I've learned my lesson. <Glad to hear that!> And it's funny that you should say that the Neons are difficult fish to keep, because the pet store guy told me they are considered "beginner fish." But I found out otherwise and I won't be getting any more of those. I dearly love my frogs and my Betta, even though I still think he looks lonely. But no more pals for him either. <Good> I do have one more question about water temperature. I have a thermometer in the frog tank and it's reading about 68 degrees. I haven't taken the temp in the Betta tank but I imagine it's the same, since they're in the same room. Should I get an aquarium heater for the frogs and/or the Betta and if so, what temperature would you recommend? <Check the above sites for temps for your frogs. Bettas are tropical fish which means 78-82 degrees. It will probably be difficult to find a thermometer that will keep a bowl like that stable. Maybe you could put a light over it or even better, give him the 5g & get a 10g for the frogs to have lots of swimming room. You could put plants & other fun things in there for them to check

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