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FAQs About Xenopus laevis, African Clawed Frog Diseases 1

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

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

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

911 -- very sick albino African black-clawed frog... env., nutritional, reading as usual 7/8/09
We are new pet owners, and have obviously done something seriously wrong in caring for our 6-month-old albino African black-clawed frog.
<I see an abscess on the leg>
She is kept in a 5 gallon tank with a Whisper 10 gallon filter and sand substrate. As the water has remained clear,
we have been negligent in changing the water more than once a month.
<Too infrequent>
We feed her bloodworms
<Solely? Insufficient nutritionally>
about three times a week (she has been a voracious eater, I might add). I do not know the ammonia or nitrate levels -- we do not have the tools to check those levels at this point (nor did we understand the importance of monitoring such things in caring for our first aquatic pet when we purchased her).
<Likely there is too much nitrate presence... These issues of nitrogenous matters are covered on our site>
About three weeks ago, I performed a 50 percent water change and had unknowingly used a water conditioner that was expired. Our frog lost her appetite about 10 days ago -- not eating many bloodworms at all. Then I noticed some small reddish/purplish spots on her left upper leg (above the knee). These continued to grow and at one point developed a white kind of fluff on top.
At this point I sought help from the fish store where we had purchased her.
The owner was convinced this was a bacterial infection stemming from a chemical burn and quite possibly poor water conditions.
<Likely so>
She gave us a treatment plan that included water changes every three days and Triple Sulfa (1/4 pack per dosage -- spread over five days).
After following the treatment plan for a week, I've noticed only changes for the worse. My frog's entire leg is swollen to the point that she can no longer use it effectively. The red/purple spots expanded and then today opened to reveal a white and puffy-looking wound which is trailing a wispy white matter. This wispy white matter is all over the tank -- attached to the plants, etc.
The frog is barely moving -- I've already declared her dead once today (to the utter horror of my 9- and 7-year-old daughters whose beloved pet this is). I do not hold out much hope, but I thought I'd look for another opinion. (The pet store where I purchased her was closed yesterday and today, so I haven't been able to take her in for an assessment.)
I've attached a picture (not the greatest quality). Thank you in advance for any information that you can give me. If we can't save this frog, maybe we can save a future pet.
Tiffany Leone
<Only time, with improved water quality, nutrition will tell. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Two ACF's with red sores 4/28/09
Hello, my question is concerning my two African clawed frogs. One is a male who is 4 or 5 years old, the other a female who is about 3 years old. They live in a 20 gallon long tank. They have Whisper internal filter 20 to 30 gallons, a heater and a cave. No bottom substrate at all.
<All sounds good.>
Apart from my male getting something that made him shed three times a day last year, which was easily cleared up, neither has been sick until know. About 4 weeks ago I noticed the female had a red eye and lip and was swimming incredibly crooked. She still had quite an appetite. So I treated the tank with salt and
Fungus Clear, which is what the guy at my local pet store said would work.
<Salt is sometimes used with Xenopus to reduce swelling, and sometimes alongside the appropriate medications. But in this instance, it doesn't sound as if your frogs have fungus. Fungal infections are very distinctive: white, fluffy patches on the body. The standard treatment is Mardel MarOxy.
For bacterial infections -- what I suspect your frogs are dealing with -- either Maracyn II or Maracyn Plus are recommended.>
He also said to treat them both as the male would likely get it too. After two weeks of treating, water changes and the female going crazy and jumping out when I opened the lid, she seemed to be better. (I learned to not open the lid unless she was in her cave). No more red anywhere on her body, but she still wasn't swimming too great. So I continued the treatment for 3 more days. her swimming wasn't getting any better, nor was it getting any worse. She was still eating fine. All levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH were good.
<Meaning 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a steady pH between 7.5 and 8? Xenopus do need hard, alkaline water to do well.>
None of them spiked during treatment. Everything was fine an dandy for a few days when I noticed the male had a red sore about the size of my pinky nail in the center of his belly. His front toes are reddish, but not too bad and the tip of his snout is red. The rest of his belly is perfectly creamy white, as are his legs. He is
swimming fine and eating fine
<It does sound like a bacterial infection, something like Red Leg. This is an opportunistic bacterial infection caused by Aeromonas, equivalent to Finrot in fish.>
I started the treatment again last night. 1 tablespoons of aquarium salt per 3 gallons of water, 2 tablets Fungus Clear and a water change every 3 days. No carbon in the filter so I'm not feeding them as much because I don't want the ammonia to spike. There is no ammonia as of midnight last night. PH, Nitrite, Nitrate and all that good stuff is perfect. I have been treating them again for 3 days and the male doesn't seem to be getting any better. Not worse and it isn't spreading, but not better.
<Well, the fungus medication isn't helping and you should be using an anti-bacterial treatment instead.>
Do you have any suggestions at all that could possibly help? The treatment only seems to be keeping the infections at bay, not getting rid of them.
Any other medications I could try?
<See above.>
<Weirdly, I'd just finished writing a whole piece about aquatic frogs for WWM, so if you stop back in the next day or two, you should see something come up on the New Articles page, here:
In the meantime, treat with antibacterial medications as explained, and as with Finrot, review possible triggering factors: water quality, physical damage, rough handling. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Two ACF's with red sores 06/03/09
Thank you for your quick reply. I don't know what was up with the male, but before I got to treat him he shed his skin and the sore was gone.
<It is often the case that healthy animals get better of their own accord; at least some of the time, optimal water quality and diet are the key things, and medication helps more in preventing further/secondary infection, rather than fixing whatever is immediately and obviously wrong.>
But darn it the female did not get better. Her eye cleared up and the redness on her lip lessened, but her other eye went cloudy and she developed a sore on the other side of her lip. She lost her appetite and
hasn't eaten in three weeks. I treated her with Maracyn TC everyday for two weeks, but she didn't get any better. I isolated her this morning in her own ten gallon with a filter. I noticed her legs were twitching. This only lasted a few seconds immediately after I put her in the tank and then she stopped and hasn't done it since. I noticed she has had a little trouble reaching the surface.
<Do lower the water so she can "stand" up if needs be.>
Her legs look fine. I have attached some pictures of her. She doesn't appear to be in pain, but since she is a frog I guess it is kind of hard to tell if she is or not.
<Doesn't look irredeemable at all... would switch to a different antibiotic if Maracyn TC (which is a Tetracycline) to perhaps Furanace (a Nitrofuran) or Maracyn Plus (Sulfadimidine and Trimethoprim).>
Are there any stronger antibiotics I can give her? I am willing to try to get some antibiotics down her throat if it would help her. What about medicated foods?
<If she'll eat them; it is certainly true that orally administered drugs work much better than those added to water.>
Thank you very much.
<Do have a read here:
It's a bit technical, but the table at the end will help you shopping, and the sections of how to use antibiotics is very useful.>
Here is a video of her swimming, maybe it will help.
<She looks quite strong and still a good weight; I'd expect good results, once you've used the right drug. Cheers, Neale.>

Albino Clawed Frog 5/4/09
Hi there,
<Hello Helen,>
I have a single ACF in a large aquarium, which has a few live plants, fine sand on the floor and plenty of fish (including silver dollars, catfish, Pleco, Corys, mollies) and is generally a healthy tank.
<Sounds fun!>
I've had the frog for nearly a year and have never had any problems with him/her. The other day I noticed that she had what appeared to be a small hole in her bottom lip and a few days later it seemed to have got a little bigger.
<Yes, I see...>

On closer inspection it doesn't appear to be a hole but is definitely a lesion of some kind and was looking rather red and sore.
<Likely some sort of physical damage, and for whatever reason, it's become infected with an opportunistic bacterial infection.>
Upon checking her this morning she now appears to have two lumps further down her throat, about the size of a match head each, that look like some kind of spot or wart. She also doesn't seem to be as active and just sits in the corner of the tank.
<Often happens with bacterial infections.>
I fed her two days ago (before the lumps appeared but while she had the sores) and she seemed to be eating fine - I don't feed bloodworm but do feed frozen krill, octopus and Tubifex. Have you any idea what this could be and how I could treat it?
<I'd treat as you would Red Leg, as described here:
See under the "Diseases and treatment" section. Do note that a tropical aquarium is warmer than Xenopus laevis enjoys, and that can complicate matters somewhat.>
Thanking you in advance.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

African clawed frog... A cry for help w/ no info., reading 4/4/09
Just a question have two African clawed frogs one albino one regular one.....looks like the one frog has some sort of white patches on his back foot.....the webbing between looks cloudy and fluffy???? any ideas??? seems to be swimming eating....stays at bottom like he does all the time???? try send you a picture of it...thanks
<... What? Need data... to make a first-order approximation even... System, water tests, history of maintenance, foods/feeding... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

African clawed frog 4/4/09
look at his foot it is cloudy or white????
<I'd say more of the former. B>

Re: African clawed frog
About my African clawed frog white patches on his foot....... 04/04/09
ammonia 1.0
<Deadly toxic... see WWM re>

nitrate 10
nitrite 0
hardness 200 (Calgary water, safe)
chlorine 0
alkalinity 160 (safe)
ph 7.6
change the water once a week in a 20 gallon tank
<Not all of it... see WWM...>
......with gravel filter siphon........
they eat Repti sticks 2-3 a night
frog pellets a few feed frozen blood worms every 2-3 days they seem to be acting as normal.....swimming, eating, all seems fine
<Look good too>
there house mates are one balloon molly seems fine no white patches or anything and a sucker cleaner fish......he seems fine....algae cleaner???
<Might be causing troubles here... is this a CAE? Gyrinocheilus?>

thanks hopefully can figure out what's the matter with his/her foot...
<Keep reading. BobF>

Euthanizing Xenopus 2/15/09 Hello crew, I have a Xenopus froglet that has what appears to be a very painful condition. I've included pictures. He is currently in a hospital tank with a dose of Maracyn. His condition has been unchanged for several hours. He's not eating. Actually I can't say for sure when was the last time he ate, because up until this morning he's been in a 55G with 5 brothers and sisters. However, I can say that up until this morning he was swimming and behaving normally otherwise. A few days ago I noticed that his tummy looked swollen and hard and his legs looked unusually skinny, but since everything else seemed ok, I just kept an eye on him. This morning I noticed what, at the time, appeared to be a small scrape on his side and decided to move him to a hospital tank for treatment. Seconds before catching him, I looked for him and noticed nothing out of the ordinary except, of course, his still swollen belly. I placed a large plastic cup in the tank and gently encouraged him to swim into it. This was much easier than I had expected. Then transported him, in the cup, to the Q Tank. At no time, did I net or handle the frog directly. Upon placing him in the Q Tank, I immediately noticed the protrusion. At any rate, I don't think it's looking too good for the little guy and would like to minimize his suffering if possible. So, I read the article about Euthanising fish, very informative, but I have a question. If I were to use the clove oil method for a frog would it be the same painless process? I ask because the frogs have to surface to breathe, and drowning doesn't seem to me to be an easy passing. Thanks, as always, for your input. Laura <Hello Laura. Methods for euthanising amphibians are not the same as those for euthanising fish. Unlike fish, amphibians breathe air, and also unlike fish, they respire across their skin rather than via their gills. In addition, amphibians are able to tolerate much longer periods without oxygen than fish, so any methods that rely on suffocation, such as the use of Clove Oil, won't work. By far the best way to euthanise an amphibian -- and the only one I will recommend -- is having a vet do the job for you. In terms of background reading, I'd point you to two scientific commentaries on the subject at the links below. Both of these describe appropriate methods for painlessly destroying amphibians. If you choose the euthanise your amphibian at home, you may still need to contact a vet to get hold of the required chemical(s) and to discuss appropriate dosages and methods. http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/euthanasia.shtml  http://www.research.cornell.edu/care/documents/SOPs/CARE306.pdf  Because amphibians don't move their gills and generally show less activity than fish, it is critically important to follow these verified methods to the letter. With fish it's pretty obvious when it's dead, but this isn't true with amphibians (or indeed reptiles). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Euthanizing Xenopus 2/15/09
Thanks, Dr. Monks. Laura <Hello Laura. Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

F/U Euthanizing Xenopus 2/25/09
Dr. Monks and Crew, I wanted to thank you for your help with my little froggie, and share some interesting information. As you suggested, I took the frog to an exotic pet vet for euthanasia, the day after our original correspondence. The vet said the frog had spina-bifida. Just some random, natural developmental problem. So the frog's in a better place, and I learned something new. Anyway, thanks again. Laura <I've learned something new, too. Thanks for the update. We often make reference here to genetic and growth issues that can effect fish, but actually putting names to a particular syndrome is something I'm not able to do. So this information is very useful. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Euthanizing Xenopus, now salt form. with frogs 2/15/09 Dr. Monks, I wonder if I can ask an unrelated follow up? In my 55g frog tank I have two Apple Snails that are showing REALLY poor shell growth. You once recommended a Malawi Salt mix recipe for some snails I had in another tank. Can I use this in the frog tank, or will it hurt them? Thanks again. Laura <Hi Laura. Used as indicated, Malawi Salt mix will do snails no harm at all. It is important that the carbonate hardness is reasonably high when keeping Apple Snails otherwise, as you've probably observed, they develop thin, brittle, discoloured shells with lots of pitting. cheers, Neale.>
Re: Euthanizing Xenopus 2/16/08
Thank you. Um I wasn't worried about it hurting the snails, sir. I was wondering if it would hurt their Xenopus tankmates? Thanks again. Laura <Laura, quite right, and I knew that. Forgive my confusing mistyping. Snails, frogs alike should be fine with the Malawi salt mix used as directed. In fact Xenopus laevis come from naturally hard waters in South Africa, and there's some lab work to indicate raising hardness increases reproductive success. A quick Google search of Xenopus and hardness will reveal more. Cheers, Neale.>

African clawed frog dead, no data my two African clawed frogs appear dead they have what looks like skin shedding but they float at the top of water not moving or stand at the bottom not moving what is going on if you email answer back please do so to XXXX thank you <Linda... we need more information in order to help you... The system, maintenance, feeding, water quality test values... Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/xenopusdis.htm  and the linked files above for background, some idea of what data we're looking for. Bob Fenner>

Albino African clawed frog, hlth. 12/4/08 hello, I have had my albino clawed frog for about 3 1/2 years now. we have been through a lot together, and he has survived 3 other frogs, when I first got him. I got a 75 gallon tank this past summer just for him. I have silver dollars and other fish, but they all live peacefully. Anyway, yesterday, I noticed that he was at the bottom of the tank, almost on his back. I thought he was dead. I slowly brought him to the surface, and he started gasping for air. I did all the research I could find, and although he wasn't red at all, he couldn't use his back legs. I left him in the net at the top of the tank, checked my water, it all came out clean, and then had to leave. When I came back, he was worse, gasping, falling on his back like a seizure, and he was red on his arms, and legs. I had read where antibiotics help, so my husband and I gave him some, opened his mouth, and put some down his throat. <Mmmm... I would not do this... too indiscriminate (Antibiotics... "against life"...), too likely to be more toxic than of use administered orally here> Is there a better way? <Likely so...> He is still eating, bloodworms, but is weak. Today, he is not as red, but still can't swim. Any advice is greatly appreciated, and although he is just a frog, he is my most favorite pet. The only thing I can think would be causing him stress is I have a sucker fish, a plecostomus but have had it since the start. I really don't want him (jabba the hut, aka kfc), to die, but don't want him to suffer either. Please help. Thanks, Michele <Well... the twin most common sources, possibilities as root cause here are nutrition and environment... which in turn entail many other inputs... The best thing period will be to move this animal to other quarters... Where the possibility of bullying will be eliminated (should it be the Pleco or other tankmate)... and a smaller, shallower world will be better for the frog to get about for air, food... Next, I would supplement this animal's diet... by soaking the food offered ahead of time with a HUFA, Vitamin product... like Selcon, MicroVit... to discount there being a deficiency syndrome at play here. Bob Fenner>

Sick African Clawed Frog 11/03/08 Over the past month and half I've been struggling to feed my frog. I've had him for about 11 months now (since he was tiny). Throughout those months we've gone through periods where he won't eat anything, or he tries to but then spits it back out. <Hmm... try live bloodworms. Few healthy aquatic frogs will turn these down. Wet frozen bloodworms should work too. That said, if water quality is poor, fish and frogs will go off their food.> But I'd have to say that this time is the worst. He's not eating anything, not even his favorites. I can't figure out what's wrong with him. I've increased the water temp to be about 80 degrees but still no desire in food. <Wouldn't keep him so warm; 25 C/77 F is ample. Warmer water = less oxygen in the water.> He's also been shedding excessively and this morning I watched him throw up. <When frogs shed a lot of mucous, it's a good sign water quality and/or water chemistry aren't correct.> I know that throwing up for a frog is not normal but how serious is this? <In itself loss of appetite and vomiting are not life threatening in animals any more than they are in humans. But they are a clue something isn't right, requiring further study on your part.> What he threw up looked something like poop, so I thought that he might have accidentally ingested some of his own feces by accident and it made him sick. Keep in mind that he's barely been eating this whole time and has just thrown up today. What can I do to make him feel better and have a better appetite? And can I use a product called Stress Coat in his water to help ward off bacterial infections as well as help him feel better? <Randomly adding medications rarely helps animals any more than it does humans. Understand the problem, diagnose the pathogen, and then treat. Nine times out of ten, fish and frogs get sick because of the environment, so if you are going to act randomly, at least concentrate on the most probable issue: the water.> Please help, I don't know what else to do. <Do water chemistry, quality tests. Get back to use with those. Tell us about the size of the tank, what filter you use. Cheers, Neale.>

Water issues -FW, frogs 11/03/08 What is the best product to use to get rid of ammonia and other toxic substances that are in the water? <Most modern dechlorinators should remove chlorine, chloramine, ammonia and copper from tap (or well) water. If yours doesn't, switch to a brand that does. Do understand that no ammonia-removing water condition does ANYTHING about ammonia from your fish or frogs. That's the job of the filter. All the water conditioner does is remove any small traces of ammonia in your water supply.> I have well water and I always use that without adding in any dechlorinators. Is that water to hard for my ACF? <Unless ridiculously high (i.e., above 25 degrees dH) hardness shouldn't be an issue. If you have very hard water, you could mix 50/50 with rainwater; that's what I do. Otherwise, don't worry about it: most fish and frogs can adapt to harder water in aquaria than in the wild, provided water quality is good.> Plus his diet usually consists of ReptoMin Sticks, lean raw beef, and occasionally a worm if I can find one. What types of foods do they like? <Aquatic frogs mostly feed in invertebrates of various types, particularly aquatic insect larvae. These are widely sold frozen.> Plus I think my frog has seeing problems because his pupils are shaped like teardrops. Is that normal? <The eyes should be bright and the pupil essentially circular.> When he was little he used to nibble at my finger and eat freeze-dried bloodworms. But that changed overtime. Then I had to start wiggling my finger on the surface to get his attention. I don't think that he has very good depth perception. I'll put a ReptoMin stick on the surface and wiggle my finger. At the time he acted like he really wanted it but he'd always "pretend" like he was getting it by shoving his little hands into his mouth but never actually getting the food. That continued to happen so I switched to beef, then I'd wiggle that in front of his face, he'd eat it immediately. But now nothing. What's happening to him, he's only 10 months old. <Do need information on the environment. Xenopus are subtropical frogs that need a fair sized container containing clean (zero ammonia/nitrite) water at around 18-22 degrees C; Hymenochirus frogs are smaller and need tropical conditions, around 25 degrees C, but still need clean water. So depending on the frog you have, you may need to review environmental conditions. Almost always when frogs get sick it's because of water quality issues. Take care not to overfeed: these frogs need small amounts of food, around 2-3 times per week. Change the water regularly, and make sure the filter is in good condition, rinsing the media if required. The shed skin often clogs small filters. Cheers, Neale.>

African Clawed Frog and Nitrate Level 8/8/08 Hi WWM Crew, Just want you all to know that I think the crew at WWM is the best! <Thanks!> I have a question to ask; what level can Nitrates be at for an African Clawed Frog? Thanks in advance for your help. Jean <Jean, amphibians generally are sensitive to poor water quality, so the lower the nitrate level, the better. I'd recommend less than 20 mg/l as the ideal, and certainly no more than 50 mg/l. Don't fixate on the nitrate level though. Provided your tank is filtered, not too warm (these are subtropical frogs, remember, not tropical), and you do 25-50% water changes per week, you should be fine. Not overfeeding is also important; they certainly don't need meals every day. Cheers, Neale.>

Albino Frog Not Acting Right 7/23/08 Dear WWM Crew, Help; I have an Albino Frog named Freddie for a year now. He is in a 10 gallon tank with a filter, heater and an air pump. The temperature is set at 73 degrees. All readings are normal: Ph 7.0, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates 10. <Good> Freddie has been always a good eater who has always been active. Freddies diet consists of the following: frog bites; alternating with one of the following frozen brine shrimp, frozen beef heart, <Though I too have fed this to Xenopus (many moons back), I would not nowadays> frozen daphnia and frozen/dried blood worms. Just recently I noticed that Freddie has not been so active. On occasions when I fed him dried blood worms he started to spit it out. I also noticed that he was shedding which is fine, but then he started to have a trail of stringy white material hanging from his feet for approximately two days now. When looking at his back, I noticed a black spot approximately the size of a pea at the bottom right side just above his leg. I immediately moved him to a hospital tank and set it up with a heater, a filter and started treating him with Maroxy. For the last two days he started darting around wildly; could this be a parasite problem? <Mmm, no, not likely... Where would such come from?> Also, could the black spot be an impacted piece of gravel; he did have a bowel movement with no problem yesterday. Is this treatment sufficient or should I be doing some other treatment instead like Maracyn-Two? Please give advice. Again thanks for your help Jean. <Mmm... perhaps a nutritional issue at heart is my best guess, I'm going to suggest bolstering this Frog's diet... with vitamin addition to either the present foods, or dusting crickets before offering. Bob Fenner>

Re: Albino Frog Not Acting Right... vitamin referral... off site 7/23/08 Dear WWM Crew, Thank you for your advise. I will change the diet of my Albino Frog. I have one question though, What is dusting crickets and how do you do it? Thanks again for your help - Jean <See the various herptile sites re... BobF>

Dusting Crickets, Re: frog hlth. 07/28/08 Hi WWM crew, I read on the Internet that I am suppose to be feeding my Aquatic Frog dusted crickets. I have a question, how do you dust crickets for a frog that is aquatic; doesn't the dust come off in the water? I tried to research this on your website, but can not find any information on dusting crickets or giving aquatic frogs their essential vitamins. Thanks for your help ahead of time. Jean <Hi Jean. This sounds like a total waste of time (not to mention impractical). Instead of trying to make "one" perfect food, try offering a variety. Frozen bloodworms are a great staple, but augment this with live brine shrimps, live daphnia, frozen crustaceans such as krill, and even very small earthworms. The more different things you offer, the better. Just as with humans, when animals eat a varied diet, malnutrition is rarely a problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Albino ACF 07/20/2008 Hey Guys, I recently bought a new albino ACF and I've had for a few months now in the same tank. I moved her to a bigger tank with plants a few days ago, I made sure to wash the plants with boiling water to make sure there was no bacteria issues, <? Shouldn't be... and the "films" on such are often of use...> and just took them out because her hands and halfway up her arm has begun to turn black! I've look all over but the only discolourations that I've read about have their skin turning red. What could be making this happen! <This condition may be due to chemical make-up of the system water, it not being completely "cycled" or perhaps pathogen growth... Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/xenopusdis.htm  and the linked files above. I would check your water quality... urge nitrification. Bob Fenner>

Albino African Clawed Frog swimming upside-down - 07/13/08 I have three African Clawed Frogs in a 29 gallon tank. They share the space with two spotted Rafael's. In the last two weeks my Albino ACF started acting weird and started swimming a little weird. I was away on vacation for the last week and changed 1/3rd the tanks water before leaving. Upon coming home I found my Albino friend upside-down on the bottom of the tank. I grabbed a net to take what I thought was my dead frog out of the tank only to find that my frog was very much alive. <Well that's good news at least. In any event, your first stop here would be to test the water, at minimum the nitrite level. Almost all "sudden disasters" in aquaria come down to water quality, and if you've been away, there's every possibility that something went wrong in this regard, and the livestock got sick. I'll put aside for now my general observation that fish and amphibians don't mix.> Watching her over the last day I see that she still has a lot of energy and a very strong kick, but she has trouble swimming right-side up. <Not really a symptom of any one thing.> My frog spends a lot of time in the corner wedged between a gravel filter tube and the side of the tank. I'm thinking she is doing this so as to breath air without trying to figure out which way is up. I also sometimes still find her upside-down on the aquarium bottom. I'm pretty sure she is not eating her regular diet of live crickets and recently added freeze-dried tube worms (with no luck either.) <Do remember that these animals won't thrive on a single food item. Frozen bloodworms and live earthworms would both make excellent additions to the diet of these frogs. Freeze-dried foods are, in my opinion, a waste of money. Moreover, not all animals eat them (and none of mine ever seemed to enjoy them).> The other two ACFs, a male and a female, both seem fine, as do the spotted Rafael's. The only major tank change I made before heading out on vacation was taking old plants that looked like they were dying, and replaced them with new ones. (The kind of live plants that come in a plastic container with a gelatin in the roots that keeps them alive for a while. <Never seen these. Must be something particular to your country. In any case, being protein-based, gelatin decays under water and adds to the nitrogenous wastes in the system. Could very easily have caused an ammonia/nitrite crisis in your absence.> These plants have not shared space with any other water animals.) I have two filters running. The pH is often high and I find I am regularly using pH Down to bring the pH level more in line with where it should be. <Arggghhh!!! Lesson #1 - Don't change the pH unless you also change the hardness. One of the most common mistakes inexperienced aquarists make is to assume that a fish "wants" a certain pH. They do not. Fish don't really care about the pH. What they need is for the pH to be stable. Beyond that, most freshwater species will adapt to anything within the range pH 6-8. What fish DO care about is hardness. So when you have an Amazonian fish and you read it comes from "soft, acidic water", that means your job is to reduce the hardness. Do that, and the pH will go down by itself (sort of, anyway). Change the pH using buffering potions without changing the hardness and all you're doing is creating an unstable environment. No fish wants to live in hard but acidic water overloaded with buffering agents. Blech! If your water is hard and alkaline (basic), then don't worry, you're fish don't care. I think the reason inexperienced aquarists change the pH is because it seems easy to do, especially when compared with softening water using rainwater or an RO filter. But that easiness is illusory! By the same token, this is why so-called soft water from a domestic water softener is bad for fishkeeping -- it's chemical composition is all wrong for most fish, despite the fact it is called "soft water" and so sounds like the stuff you get in the Amazon. It most certainly IS NOT like the stuff in the Amazon!> I also changed another 1/3rd of the water in the tank yesterday just in case. <Change more. After a crisis, change 50% immediately, and then another 50% 6-12 hours later.> My Albino friend is about 2 years old and does not have any skin problems, bloatedness, or red anywhere on its body. I've also heard that female frogs sometimes swim upside-down before laying eggs, but I don't think this is the issue. Do you have any suggestions as to what the problem is and how I can help my small friend? <Almost certainly either water quality or water chemistry issues. Check these and act accordingly. My prediction would be that if you [a] stopped feeding for a few days and [b] did dechlorinated tap water changes to remove all traces of the pH buffer, the aquarium would quickly settle down. Use your test kits to check this.> I'm also heading away again for a number of days and could bring a separate small aquarium with me to monitor any progress but am wondering if it's best to leave her be. Thank you for any insights. <Hope this helps, Neale.>

African albino clawed frog, hlth. 04/21/08 hello, I hope you can help. I have a 7year old albino African clawed frog always healthy he swallowed an upside down catfish. I believe they are barbed. <Yes... the dorsal and pecs> after 3 days he spit the fish out and now floats around hardly moving. he didn't eat for 8 days and now he ate a couple of Spirulina sticks and a few small bloodworms. can he have internal damage? <Yes> that's why he cant stay on the bottom? <Possibly> he has starting eating and is much more active but still hasn't spent much time fully submerged. any advice is greatly appreciated, we have become attached to "froggie" <Xenopus are very tough... I would just wait here, be patient, and hope for a self-cure. I take it there are no more swallow-able tankmates present. Bob Fenner>

Re: African albino clawed frog 04/22/08 no more edible tankmates, 2 large goldfish both larger than the frog! hope u r <... no Netspeak please...> correct, thanks for the advice I came across your site totally by accident just when we were giving up hope. ps froggie has stayed submerged a bit longer today! <Ah good. B>

ACF with fungal/bacterial problem? 01/22/2008 Hello, <Howdy> My name is Rachel. I have 4 Albino Clawed Frogs and they are housed in a 30 gallon tank filtered with 2 Whisper 20-40 gal filtration systems. I know that this 30 gallon is going to be too small for these guys but they are still relatively small. We plan on upgrading to a larger tank as soon as we can. All of my frogs are between 6 months and a year old I am assuming. We do regular water changes <Every week I hope> and feed them every day or two. Nothing has changed with their tank except that we added the second filtration system about a month ago. <Good> One night when feeding the frogs however, we noticed our smallest one had some small black spots/rings on one of his hind legs and his eyes were blackened. With the others, if you look into their eyes its almost like you can see through to their brains, but his looked black and mucky if you looked through them. <Not to worry re... some degree of melanization is not a problem... even with "albino" Xenopus> From the leg alone and "cloudiness" of the eyes I assumed I was dealing with some sort of fungal or bacterial infection. He was eating and swimming just fine and he does not seem to be acting any differently. After reading a little on your site and others, I decided to add a little aquarium salt <Mmm, I wouldn't> as well as Maracyn Two (pet store recommended). I only used half the recommended dose for each. After three days of the Maracyn Two, his eyes seem to be SLIGHTLY more clear but his leg is looking the same. I have attached a picture for you. Hopefully you can give me some more suggestions. I hope that I caught this in time and that it will not be fatal. I would hate to lose him. He is our baby of the bunch.?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.? Thank you. <There does appear to be a bit of reddening here... I would step up your water change-out procedures, and add/soak a bit of liquid vitamins to their foods ahead of offering (ones made/intended for baby humans are fine here). Bob Fenner>

Re: ACF with fungal/bacterial problem? 1/31/08 Hi again! <Hello> It seems as though my problem is getting a little worse. I stepped up the water change. I actually did a full system clean because of the salt that I had originally put in. With the clean water, I took your advice and found some liquid vitamins that the pet store had. I believe its called Vita-Chem. Anyway, I had mentioned previously that all together we have 4 frogs. All of the others were fine but tonight I noticed that 2 of them are starting to get the same dark spots on their legs (not as extreme as the frog in the photo). The redness that you noticed on the picture has diminished slightly, and the spots on the toes were clearing up, but the spots on the legs are very persistent. Now that the other frogs are developing the same condition, Im wondering if there isn't something else I should be doing on top of the water changes and vitamins. <Perhaps adding some filtration, or a larger system...> (As far as the vitamins, I add about a drop per 2 gallons in the water when I do a water change, as well as soak their food in it.) Do you have any more advice for me? <To read more widely on the Net using the terms Xenopus and health, nutrition, systems... and to report back to us re your findings... for others edification. Bob Fenner>

ACF with fungal/bacterial problem? 3/5/08 Hello again, I first sent you an email on 01/22 about a frog with a possible bacteria infection. It turns out that the spots on his legs are actually ammonia burns. <Hmm... not sure there's a difference, to be honest.> I don't believe we cycled the tank properly from the beginning. We have since cycled the tank completely. Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates are all at 0. I know that ammonia burns will take a very long time to heal/go away. <Yes, and the main problem is secondary infections, i.e., the infamous "Red Leg" causes by Aeromonas bacteria.> Assuming that the reddening you noticed in the picture was part of this ammonia burning issue, I did not treat my frog with anything other than the first dose of Maracyn Two. (I realized about a week ago that the treatment of Maracyn Two was completely unsuccessful - I did not remove the carbon filters). <Two lessons here: ALWAYS complete the course of medication, and ALWAYS remove carbon when treating livestock. In fact, carbon is practically useless in freshwater aquaria, and is mostly sold to extract money from hobbyists. Water changes do more good for less money.> After the tank was completely cycled, I spoke to a pet store owner that has been helping me test my water and cycle my tank properly. When I mentioned the reddening of the legs, he raised his eyebrow and said that it was a bacterial issue. <Likely, yes.> I have been reading about bacterial infections and septicemia - which would be a cause for his body's change in color. Septicemia is the same thing as Red Leg from what I have seen. <Red Leg is a category of septicaemia, yes; all a septicaemia is a bacterial infection of the blood. In fish and frogs this often happens where the integument has been breached (for example by a burn or scratch) and the Aeromonas bacteria get in from the water and into the tissues.> My frog has had this red color and the spots for over a month and a half. Frogs with red leg usually don't make it and probably don't live for a week after the symptoms actually show. I bought another treatment of Maracyn Two and removed the carbon filters. I haven't noticed too much of a difference. <To be honest, recovery from Red Leg just isn't that common. By all means try, and stick with the medication you are using. Water quality and a healthy diet are critical factors, and probably matter just as much as the medications.> Even before treating with Maracyn Two properly, one day his body would look normal with slight reddening on his legs and the next day his whole body would look red and somewhat inflamed then back to normal looking again the next day, almost as if his immune system is trying to fight this off. With your knowledge and experience, do you think that I am dealing with septicemia or something else? He has been like this for about a month and a half. Should I be treating him with something other than Maracyn Two? I have read about Tetracycline - perhaps it would work better. <Certainly worth a shot.> Any information would be greatly appreciated. Rachel <Good luck, Neale.>

Mangled African albino clawed frog 8/16/07 Hi. My frog tore up its arms in what seems to me to be a bad idea aquarium-wise. I hung a plastic large plant from the top of my tank, trying to give it a more natural feel. Anyways, it appears my frog tangled its arms up in it and cut its arms quite a bit. Never knew plastic was so sharp until I actually felt it myself. Quarantined for a week, but when I put back into tank, my Oscar and catfish seemed to hunt the wounded frog. So I separated again, later more damage was done to its hands. This has been going on for about 6 weeks now and "Pac-Man" doesn't seem to be healing. Even more signs of extremities are almost rotting off. He won't eat. which he always did a lot of. The "bones" or whatever are still clearly present, but no new tissue is growing. Is this terminal? What else can I do to cure him? I've done complete water changes at least every other day. TY <Greetings. As soon as your frog damaged itself you should have treated for bacterial infections and fungus using an amphibian-safe medication. You local reptile store should be able to help there. After six weeks, the damage has been done, and the wounds have obviously become septic and the frog is dying. Unless you really kick into gear and treat right now, your lack of action has doomed your pet to a miserable and very painful death. Even if you do treat the frog, I wouldn't bet a lot of money on its recovery. It goes without saying that you should never, ever put anything inside an aquarium that feels spiky or rough. The idea is to create a safe and healthy environment! Giving pets cute names doesn't help them any, but common sense and proper care is what they want. Good luck, Neale>

Sick Albino Clawed Frog? 5/14/07 Hey there I have an Albino Clawed frog in my tank with a few fish and two snails. The snails and filter help keep the tank rather clean and it's a newer tank. I know the Clawed frog is going to get big enough to eat the fish but for now he's just a little baby. (Barely larger around than a quarter). Anyway... the last couple days I've been noticing his belly is looking a little swollen on one side. Then I woke up today and it's -huge- (bigger than his head). It seemed to blow up from just slight swelling... where I wasn't sure if it was actually swollen or if it was just distortion from the angle I was looking at him at. (He moves around a lot and it's hard to get a good look at him!) Today he's just hanging right at the top of the tank and man it's big. I've looked at several pictures of Albinos with dropsy and it doesn't look like dropsy. I wish I could get you a picture but no digital cam... it's only on his left side so I'm thinking blockage. I read a post where someone had a similar problem and you suggested a teaspoon of Epsom salt per 10 gallons. I'm wanting to try this, in fact I have my Epsom salt and teaspoon on hand and ready!!... But I'm worried that this may hurt my snails. Should I take my snails out of this tank and put them in the other tank before I try to salt the water? Thanks! Erin in Arkansas < Your frog has eaten an item that is being broken down by bacteria and not being digested by the frog's stomach juices. As the bacteria break down the food item they generate gas and expand the abdomen of the frog. In fish we use a medication used on Protozoans that may work with your frog. Try some Metronidazole found at some fish stores or can be found online. I have not heard of Epsom salts being used on frogs but they can tolerate some salts in the water so I would give it a try but I don't think it will be effective.-Chuck>

African Clawed Frog Can't Move 5/5/07 About a week and a half ago I came into my African clawed frogs room to find one upside down on the bottom of the tank. I thought she had past away but when I went to pick her up she moved a little. I put in a shallow pot of water and found out that she can not move her waste down and I decided to keep her in shallow water since she can't move I am scared she will not be able to get air and drown, she wouldn't eat anything so I tried aquarium salt and gel Tek (neomycin) but no change she wouldn't eat it so I tried Melafix and after a couple days she got sores on her back that wasn't open they just looked like big bubbles so I talked to the pet store and they gave me tetracycline she is on her fifth day of treatment and all her sores have cleared up but one. She still will not eat and is losing a lot of weight and her skin is loose and shedding a lot. I have tried feeding her the usual feeder fish and nothing I have also tried crickets, ReptoMin, and sinking brine shrimp pellets but she shows no interest I am very concerned I don't have a clue what is wrong with her and why she can't move she does move her front but she only has one front leg (since she was a baby) and it doesn't help her get around at all. Please help me I don't know what I would do if I lose my little froggy. She just had 50 tadpoles which now have sprouted legs. I would be very grateful for any advice. oh sorry by the way my name is Tricia. < Sometimes these little frogs make mad dashes to the surface for air. If the gap between the water and the top of the tank is close they might hit their head on the top of the tank and cause some trauma to the spinal cord. I don't think it is a disease but can't be sure. I would keep the water as clean as possible and offer some brown worms sold at the fish store for tropical fish. frogs have a difficult time refusing live food if they are hungry.-Chuck>

Sick Clawed Frog 2/28/07 I have a clawed frog, who has stopped eating for the last 3 days. She is only 2-3 years old. I have changed her water and put her into a clean tank. She is listless and will let you pick her up, but she can still swim away. I have tried to open her mouth gently to put food in, but she won't open her mouth and take food. She frequently lets out bubbles of air, she spends her time floating on the surface. Her skin has gone very mottled and saggy. Have you any ideas what is wrong with her??? I really would be upset to lose her! Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks Jill <These little frogs are actually pretty tough, but can be sensitive to chemicals in the water. Try keeping the water very clean and offering some life foods such as washed earthworms and crickets. I suspect that their may be an internal problem with the lungs since you are seeing bubbles. Try increasing the water temp to 80 F and see if that helps. On Kingsnake.com  you may be able to find a vet that can be of more help.-Chuck.>
Re Sick, Albino Frogs Not Blind 3/1/07
Hi again, Thank you for you're advice, she is now eating a little bit of food, 2 small pieces of pork fillet.. We changed some of her water and made it water warmer. However, she is still just floating in the corner and very lethargic. She is normally very active and gets very excited when she spots a human i.e. it means food! Thanks again, Jill P.S: are albino frogs almost blind? < Because they have no pigment, their eyes might be more sensitive to bright light. But they are not blind or else they would not be able to find their food.-Chuck>

DEAD FROG I recently purchased two of the above and have them in a ten gallon tank with algae eaters, a black molly and they all seemed to be cohabitating well. One of the albino frogs was exhibiting rather odd behavior by spinning around in circles like it was possessed and then would proceed to flop to the bottom of the tank and just lay there. My room-mate and I watched this behavior for a few days thinking it was odd but also thinking maybe it was just having fun. I went out of town for two days and when I came home my roomie told me one of the frogs had died.......can you give me any insight to what may have happened? They get a steady diet of frozen blood worms and like I said, all my habitants of this tank seem to be fine. Perplexed! < I don't think it is anything in particular that caused his death or else both of the frogs would be dead. I will assume that one of the new frogs tried to eat something in the tank that it couldn't digest and eventually died from intestinal blockage. That would explain the weird behavior for the few days before it died.-Chuck>

Albino Frog Problem Our frog was eating normally one night and all of a sudden it basically spazzed out. I don't know how to describe it. After that it fell to the bottom where I thought it died. I went to scoop it up and it very slowly crawled so I left it. I thought it was going to die but when I went back to it later it was still alive. It remained this way for about a week. It gradually started to move about but could not swim without spinning around uncontrollable. About a week later it became all bloated and it's eyes were really red and bulging. I thought for sure it had died, but it was still alive. About a week later it was back to normal size and looking for food on the bottom. It can now control itself on the bottom but it cannot swim at all. When it tries to swim it just spins around uncontrollable. It now has a bruise on it's right side and it's veins are protruding also it's sides are starting to sink in. I don't think it is eating because my goldfish eat the food before it gets to the bottom and it does not like shrimp pellets. I put it in a separate bowl to eat but it won't. I also forgot to mention that when this happened it is lopsided to the left it cannot sit or float normally anymore. I took it to my pet store and he said in all his thirty years he has never seen this. I also called Drs.Foster&Smith and they could not help me and sent me on to you. It is almost like it had a seizer or stroke is this possible? I would greatly appreciate your constructive comments. Thanks, Erica < Not much literature is available on frog diseases in captivity. External problems can be somewhat figured out but internal problems are a whole different story. If the frog were mine, I would treat it with Metronidazole. It is effective on internal bacterial infections on fish so it is worth a try. If the frog starts eating again I would give him some black worms or small washed earthworms to build up his strength. Frogs are pretty tough little creatures, Hopefully he didn't eat something like a piece of gravel that may stay lodged in his gut.-Chuck>

Frogs hopping mad about ammonia 7/30/05 I currently have a twenty-nine gallon tank with three African clawed frogs. I keep about twenty-five gallons so they don't jump out. <Good idea> My problem is my ammonia is through the roof. <Toxic...> I switched to a canister filter about a month ago. It is keeping the water remarkably clear. I have in the media baskets the foam filters, pre filter (inert ceramic rings,) a carbon bag, an ammonia remover bag, and the media growing rings. I had been doing one third water changes every week, now I am doing two thirds. I am also switching the media every two weeks. <Shouldn't switch...> Two of the four sponges, carbon, and ammonia. I am staggering these out, so I don't disturb the beneficial bacteria. I expected an ammonia spike with the initial set up (the tank is about six weeks old,) but it seems I can't stabilize the tank. When I had a hang on the tank filter, my ammonia was close to nil. <Should have left the hang-on on during this transition to the canister... or used both even better> Granted the water was nasty (ACF's are pretty gross little beasts,) but I didn't have this problem at the time. I have no live plants in the tank and I have about twenty-five pounds of sand. I am currently using ammo-lock to make sure my frogs aren't harmed. I have also monitored their eating habits and they are eating what I feed them. There is very little food left after they eat. The frogs don't seem to be suffering any ill effects at all. The ghost shrimp that I put in (as a snack and to help clean are literality jumping out of the tank when I put them in. Any suggestions for me? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

SICK FROG I read some other emails about their albino frog shredding its skin and that being normal. However, I had an old catfish recently die and as it was dying, the whiskers (not sure what they are called) began to shred away to almost nothing and it had red sores in its mouth. It was an old fish so I didn't think much of it, I just thought it was from age. After, my albino frog began to shed about 4 layers of skin and now a few of its front legs' claws have deteriorated and some claws are red on the end. I don't think this is normal shredding, but I am not sure because it is my first pet frog. Please help me. < You have a bacterial infection that began with you catfish and is now affecting your frog. Change 30 to 50% of the water and clean the filter. Vacuum the gravel to remove and sediment that has occurred there. The clean water should greatly help. Now if it gets worse then we need to try some antibiotics and I am not real sure which one would be appropriate. Look online at red legged frog diseases and see what others have been using. To be safe you could always ask a vet but many are not to familiar with frog diseases. If you need to try something ASAP to save its life then I would try Nitrofuranace. It works well on fish but frogs breath through their skin. If your frog starts to show any kind of reaction then get him out of the water immediately. Then try another medication like Maracyn but this is only a guess. I know these medications will work on the bacteria, I am just not familiar enough with frogs to know if they will have any adverse reactions to the antibiotics.-Chuck>

Amphibian Ailments (4/2/2004) Hi your site was suggested to me by a rep a pet land. <A well informed pet store employee> I have 2 African albino clawed frogs and one of them seems to have some thing wrong with its foot. It looks like the skin is peeling off, or shedding. Its also blood shot. <Could be bacterial or fungal...is there any "fuzziness" or anything indicative of a fungal infection, or is it more red and swollen, possibly indicative of a bacterial infection? As a side note, do check your ammonia levels, and I assume you are not using chlorinated water?> I at first thought that it might of hurt it self or the other frog bit it. But today it looks a little better. But now if you look at it, you can see the bones on the foot. <Not good. Does it appear to be spreading? Any red\swollen skin or any red "blood poisoning" obvious in the legs\blood vessels? Frogs of this species are especially susceptible to "Septicemia"> Would you guys have a idea as to what it could be? The guy at Petland thought that it might be a fungal infection, but the other frogs seem ok. <Probably bacterial (Septicemia), a nasty and all to common infection of these animals.> If you can email me back at * I'd be grateful. <Try treating the frog with 'Triple Sulfa' by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals or Tetracycline (available from Kordon and other vendors, shouldn't be hard to find at your local pet store). Do this in a separate container of tank water or a quarantine tank. Dose appropriately and make sure to keep the water heated. If you don't notice any improvements in 4-5 days, do send me another email, along with the aquarium size, tankmates, and a picture of the frog if possible> Thanks <No problem, let me know if your frog doesn't improve in health in a few days. M. Maddox>
Frog Demise (4/6/2004)
Thank you for taking the time to write back. <My pleasure> I have to tell you that the frog did not make it. It died the next day. <Sorry for your loss :[ Septicemia is a vicious killer among aquatic amphibians, and often is extremely difficult to treat successfully> The other frogs seem to be ok, I did a 40 % water change the same day. <They most likely won't become infected unless they have some sort of injury or are otherwise stressed> Is there any thing I can do to prevent this from happening again? <Maintain good water quality and feed a variety of foods. If you notice injury, or know your frogs have recently been stressed, keep a very close eye on them, and treat at the hint of an infection. Be sure to run the full course of the antibiotics: don't stop dosing even if the symptoms disappear until the rededicates have run their course> I am thinking it was the septicemia that you mentioned. <Very probable> I haven't been using chlorinated water, should I be? <Most definitely not!> I use a chemical to treat the water I put back in. <Highly recommend Amquel+> How do frogs get this kind of infection? <Anything that stresses a frog could cause it to fall ill to this infection. Not all that different from people getting sick: excess stress or injury leads to illness in all species> Thank you for your time again. <Not a problem, sorry about your frog> Luke <M. Maddox>

Tropical frog problem Hi i have an albino frog, looking at your picture i think its an albino clawed frog but not sure. I have had him along with 3 others for about 2 months and he has been doing fine. When i woke up this morning and looked at him, he has bloated up. As if someone has blown him up with air, right down to his legs. I thought that if it was over feeding then by night time he would of gone down slightly, but no sign of getting better. My local pet store couldn't really offer any advice, so i was wondering if you could. So please help quickly as i don't know if he will last much longer. Thanks for help < If your frog is still eating then I would watch him for awhile and see if the bloat goes away. Being that it happened overnight I am wondering if it shed and ate its shed skin. If it is an internal bacterial infection then there is little we can offer except that you might have to consult a vet.-Chuck> Phil.

Albino Clawed Frog I have an albino clawed frog that somehow jumped out of the tank during the night. We found it this morning and was wondering if there was anything that we should do cause it is still alive but looks kind of bad? Should we keep it in a separate tank away from the other frog or could we put it back? Any suggestion would be helpful and appreciated. < Keep him separated until he is fully rehydrated. Watch for bacterial infections. These frogs are usually pretty tough so I assume he will be back to normal in a couple of days.-Chuck> Thank you

Sick Underwater Frog? 8/2/04 Hi, I have a female African clawed frog who has a strange discoloration on her leg. It is on the back of the leg at the joint where it bends inward- it is a reddish-purple color an is slightly swollen. She has not been acting any differently and had been eating normally. I have gone on several web sights to check the symptoms and I cannot find anything. The only thing this resembles (in on line symptomatology) is a fungal infection, but she does not have any white around it. I thank you for your time and appreciate your help with this matter. < I have heard of these bacterial infection on frog legs before. It is caused by a bacteria that quickly multiplies in water high in nitrates from dirty water. Keep the tank clean and remove all the uneaten food, service the filter. Watch that it doesn't get any bigger or becomes infected. If it is an injury from a fish bite then the same would apply. Not sure how the little frog would react to antibiotics. If it gets worse I would isolate him and treat with Maracyn at half strength and see how he reacts. If there is not problem then add the rest after a couple of hours if he is doing ok.-Chuck>

Frog Eyes My African clawed frogs have grown feathery things from their eyes. <It may be the frog shedding some skin, or it could be a fungus. Fungus usually occur in dirty tanks or to injured body parts. Fungal medications for fish may be worse for the frogs than the fungus. Try treating with aquarium salt at a tablespoon per 3-5 gallons. Frogs do not like a lot of salt. At these levels, the frogs will not be harmed but perhaps the fungus will clear. Make sure his tank is clean and had fresh water. Don> I put 6 feeder fish in with them yesterday and only one has been eaten. Usually 3 are gone the first day. They are hanging out at the top more than usual and not very active.

Frogs and drugs (no toad licking here) Hi, I just treated my freshwater tank for what appears to be velvet. I bought Greenex to treat the tank. I have an African Albino Clawed Frog in there that reacted badly to this. Am I going to lose the frog due to using this product? Thanks, Lynn <wow... I must admit that is doesn't look good for the frog. Do remove it from the tank or the medication from the water immediately (water changes and carbon). Medications that include metals (like copper) or organic dyes should never be used on invertebrates or scaleless animals (including some fish). The frog was indeed overdosed... but don't give up, please. They are hardy. Fresh water ASAP. Best regards, Anthony>
Re: frogs
Anthony, Thanks for your reply. The frog was dead by morning : ( I sure felt bad. The rest of the fish are dropping like flies. I wish that I had gone on line before I bought the Greenex. The product said it was safe, HA! Now I am just trying to save as many of the fish as I can. Thanks, Lynn <alas... sorry for the loss too. Some such meds are not necessarily bad, but rather cure or kill remedies. For virulent infections they may be called upon. I personally do not care for this medication in most applications, but many fine aquarists have had very favorable results with it. I do not recall the manufacturers warning to know if it considers invertebrates, amphibians and the like. I suspect it must mention scaleless fishes/animals though. Best regards, Anthony>

Clawed Frog Disease - 09/08/2005 My Frog, Bugzie, has a large bulging, swollen area under her mouth that extends from chin to throat. This occurred 3 days ago and seems to be getting larger and lighter in color....PLEASE HELP! <I recommend you try reading here: http://fluffyfrog.com/FrogPondVetF.html . Though this may just be some result of physical trauma (injury, etc.), it could be an infection of some sort.> Thanks. Carole <Wishing you and Bugzie well, -Sabrina>

African Clawed Frog ... comp. 5/2/06 Hello Crew, <Hello Matthew!> I'm new to the interesting life called African Clawed Frogs. <Cute but dim, aren't they? I have a pair myself.> As such I have a question regarding the webbing on its back feet. It appears it is either shedding its webbing or it has been "eaten" by one of my other fish. Am I looking at infection or poor water condition? <It is hard to say without knowing what tankmates are in with it. It is not recommended to keep African Clawed Frogs with fish. If the fish don't nibble at the frog, as the frog gets larger, it will damage the fish. Infection is often a sign of poor water quality, so do try to keep the water pristine to allow the frog to heal.> Will this webbing regenerate itself? <If the frog is not harassed and the water quality is good, then yes... frogs do have a remarkable ability to heal/regrow.> Hope to hear from you soon <Do separate this frog... and make sure it has no "escape routes" (an inch-wide crack in the canopy is enough to lose these renowned escapologists). Best regards, John.> Sincerely Matthew

Clawed Frog Constipation? - 11/19/2005 Hi, <Hello. Sabrina with you, today.> I've owned my African Clawed Frog for almost 3 years now and I have never had issues with him. He's had to deal with living at college with me and the trips back and forth and the freezing cold dorm rooms and has lasted through it all. <Mm, sounds like some stressful times.... Do please be cautious; such stresses can make an animal much more prone to disease....> Right now I have him in a 25 gallon tank with a ground feeder and a snail. The past week his butt has started to get red and irritated looking and it actually looks like he's almost constipated. <Hmm....> Last night I came home from being out and he had that bloated look of what Dropsy is but not as severely as some pictures I've seen. <Alright....> I woke up this morning expecting the worst but the bloating actually went down and he's eating and is shedding right now and acting normal except for looking irritated and constipated back there. <If he was constipated, he may have become bloated from the blockage, then after it passed, the bloating subsided. Mind you, though, I/we am/are not frog experts, so take anything from me with a grain or to of salt.> I've looked up stuff on red leg but it doesn't seem to be that. <Good.> I have the tank at a steady temperature of 76 and I always clean the tank the same way so there haven't been any drastic changes in his routine recently. <Mm, but do you test your water? Readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate? Please do be testing for these, and maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> Do you think you know what this might be because I can't find anything about it on the internet. <As above, perhaps the animal was in fact constipated.... or perhaps this is from ammonia or nitrite poisoning (any reading on these above ZERO should be considered toxic). I would urge you first to test your water and maintain optimal water quality, then do some Google searches on clawed frog nutrition and disease. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Sick African clawed frog 8/1/06 I love your website!! Unfortunately, I have a sick albino African clawed frog, Piggy. She is probably about 5 years old and no longer wants to eat. <This is a good old age for Xenopus...> She lives in a 55 gallon aquarium with two goldfish and another African clawed frog. There is a Fluval canister filter, a Fluval submersible filter, and a "homemade" canister type filter on the tank. They have all been together for a year or so. Water quality is fine--no ammonia, nitrites, ph 7.4 or so. No new decorations or fish. About a month ago, I noticed she wasn't eating as much (the frogs are hand fed)--maybe one or two ReptoMin sticks per day. I didn't worry too much--they do that occasionally. Then, she stopped eating completely. She absolutely refuses to eat anything--not even her favorites--worms and flies. <A very bad sign...> She ate nothing for three weeks-I noticed she started to get smaller. She doesn't swim around as much as she used to and sheds more than usual. How long can they go without food?? <Perhaps a few more weeks> She has no other physical symptoms--no injuries, red leg, fungus. I decided to force-feed her and see if it helped. I've been able to get several earthworms into her over the past week. <Good> I only force-feed her a few pieces every day or so (whenever I can catch up with my brother who is good at holding her and opening her mouth while I shove a worm piece in). She doesn't seem to have anything caught in her throat or mouth--we can see almost down into her stomach when we get her mouth opened sometimes. She doesn't spit the worms back out once we get them in her and she definitely swallows them. Since feeding her, she has gotten more active and not as skinny, but she still refuses to eat on her own. Can anyone help? <Mmm...> I've tried Maroxy and salt in the water, but neither seemed to help. I've read about all sorts of medicines to treat bacterial, fungal infections, but I don't' know if I should try something else or just wait. Maybe she has a blockage and needs Epsom salts??? <Doubtful, but as a "last ditch effort" worth trying> I can't tell if she is pooping or not. I have read that a Chloramphenicol bath may also be effective, but for how long??? <I myself would not use antibiotics here, but a 250 mg capsule dissolved in one gallon of water for about five minutes is about right> A bath for a few minutes or hours?? I work in a lab and we use Chloramphenicol on fish eggs to prevent bacterial/fungal contamination. Or would an antibiotic from a pet store be better? <These are identical to human use... though often "post-dated", old> Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've had many of these frogs over the years and just love them. They are so personable. <I suspect this frog is "just old"... cumulative heritable defects... doesn't "feel like" going on. A hard issue with our beloved pets, life around us. Bob Fenner>

Frog Tank With High Ammonia 1/31/06 Hi, I am hoping that you can shed some light on what is going on in our tank. We have had this 10 gallon tank set up with 2 baby albino ACFs (African Clawed Frogs) for over a month and it was cycled before we added frogs. They are still very small frogs and we plan on a bigger tank once they grow a little. Anyway, something disrupted the biological filtration system. I am not sure exactly what happened. We raised the temp slightly (approx 2 degrees F) which I know will effect it slightly. The only other thing I can think of is that one of the frogs was extremely constipated and was extremely compacted with food. She finally passed it about three days ago. Two days ago when I tested for ammonia with a newly purchased test kit because I had been using strips and have learned they aren't all that accurate. The ammonia was around 1.0 ppm. I immediately prepared some tap water for a 50% water change. Within six hours of the water change the ammonia was back up to the same levels. I tested the tap water and another smaller tank (that I have been using drinking water in -instead of tap) to make sure the test kit was working and both came back zero. I did another 50% water change yesterday and the same thing happened. I tried using some Ammo-Lock out of desperation and tested again after an hour. It made absolutely no difference in the ammonia reading. Perhaps that batch of Ammo-Lock is bad or outdated. But, I still don't get why the ammonia level is rising so fast after a water change. We are using a whisper filter that goes up to 20 gallons. Also the other readings are pH 7.2, Nitrate 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, GH about 75 ppm, KH about 120 ppm. Water prep is letting the tap water sit overnight or for several hours and adding 2 drops pH down per gallon (tap water is off the chart alkaline for my pH testing kit before adding the pH down and very hard) and AquaSafe per directions. Any suggestions? Probably the Ammo-Lock wasn't the best idea since we need it to recycle but I was desperate. Should I continue doing a 50% water change everyday. It doesn't seem to be helping much. I would be interested to see if the level would get above 1.0ppm if I let it go but I won't put the little froggies at risk. Thank you so much!! Christi < Go to Marineland.com and go to Dr Tim's Library. Read the article titled "The First 30 Days." The will give you some background on cycling terms so you can determine if your tank is indeed truly cycled. If not add Bio-Spira from Marineland to get the tank cycled now.-Chuck>

Bloated Frog 1/3/07 My albino African claw-toed frog, Bridezilla, is normally quite large. However, she is now quite swollen with what appears to be fluid (she ripples when she swims). She is otherwise engaging in all her normal behaviors, eating, swimming, snuggling with one of the Koi in the tank (they are buddies) and taking food from Frogzilla, a regular African claw-toed male, who is much smaller than she. I am very fond of my frogs, so am trying not to panic about her water retention. Help! Thanks, Sharon Kaczorowski, Delaware < These things are almost always diet related. Food sits in their gut and bacteria break it down instead of the frogs digestive fluids and cause gas. Try raising the water temp to increase the frogs metabolism. Then go to Kingsnake.com and try to find a frog vet that can give you more specific recommendations such a medications.-Chuck>

Bloated African clawed water frog 5/8/06 Hello: I appreciate any help you could give me. I have a 15-16 year old African clawed water frog named May. <This is an unbelievably "ripe old age" for Xenopus> She is 6 to 8 inches long. She has been very hardy and healthy. I have never done anything special for her. She eats ReptoMin pellets. That's all she has ever eaten except when I once made the mistake of putting goldfish in her tank. She has lived through several near disasters. I haven't been diligent about cleaning her water. She has tolerated the lack of good care all of these years. Now she is bloated horribly. But she acts normal, still wants to eat, moves around, comes up to the surface. She has been bloating slowly for several months, maybe up to six months. I have had personal crises so I haven't been able to focus on her. I have read online that I could maybe use Maracyn 2, maybe aquatic salt, MelaFix, stress coat. Her water had a lot of "stuff" on top of the surface recently. My daughter recycled her water, using Genesis in the tap water she added. We have always used Genesis to remove the chlorine. What is the best way to treat May? <... I'd go with the Minocycline... the Maracyn2 product> How much longer can I expect her to live? We have never used soap to clean her tank, but is there something I can use to disinfect it since she might be suffering from some bacteria? <Mmm, best to just use clean water, rock salt...> If I use Maracyn, how do I know what dose and how long to treat her? Thank you for any help. Maria C. <Three treatments, change water and re-administer every three days. Bob Fenner>

Sick Clawed Frog 2/28/07 I have a clawed frog, who has stopped eating for the last 3 days. She is only 2-3 years old. I have changed her water and put her into a clean tank. She is listless and will let you pick her up, but she can still swim away. I have tried to open her mouth gently to put food in, but she won't open her mouth and take food. She frequently lets out bubbles of air, she spends her time floating on the surface. Her skin has gone very mottled and saggy. Have you any ideas what is wrong with her??? I really would be upset to lose her! Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks Jill <These little frogs are actually pretty tough, but can be sensitive to chemicals in the water. Try keeping the water very clean and offering some life foods such as washed earthworms and crickets. I suspect that their may be an internal problem with the lungs since you are seeing bubbles. Try increasing the water temp to 80 F and see if that helps. On Kingsnake.com you may be able to find a vet that can be of more help.-Chuck.>
Re Sick, Albino Frogs Not Blind 3/1/07
Hi again, Thank you for you're advice, she is now eating a little bit of food, 2 small pieces of pork fillet.. We changed some of her water and made it water warmer. However, she is still just floating in the corner and very lethargic. She is normally very active and gets very excited when she spots a human i.e. it means food! Thanks again, Jill P.S: are albino frogs almost blind? < Because they have no pigment, their eyes might be more sensitive to bright light. But they are not blind or else they would not be able to find their food.-Chuck>
Sick Albino Xenopus Frog Success 3/2/07
Hi, I am happy to report that she loves live earthworms and eats them so fast you miss it if you blink. I've only been giving her small thin ones as I haven't wanted to overdo it but she is putting on weight again, her skin looks healthy and the red dots have disappeared. She's also back to moving around and lurking behind things in case any more of those wriggly worms come her way. So, thanks for your advice. Have been keeping water super clean with new filter, and increased temp etc. (Its been very cold here this winter) These frogs are sold everywhere here in England and with little or no advice on their care, except they eat Bloodworm or Daphnia. (available frozen) We were surprised how quickly she grew and how much fun she is. Very friendly (or hungry) and if you put a finger anywhere near the water you end up with a frog hanging off the end of it! So thanks for the advice and I hope she continues to improve. Regards, Jill < Glad to hear that your frog is getting better.-Chuck>

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