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 Any detectable chlorine, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates over 20 ppm are toxic

Have to have a cycled, filtered, heated system of size.

FAQs About Xenopus laevis, African Clawed Frog Environmental Diseases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

African Clawed Frogs; hlth.      12/30/13
Hi. I had two African Clawed frogs, a male and a female, each a little over a year old. I changed out their water about 3 weeks ago and my female laid eggs all over the tank. This was her first batch, I never saw them mating, and none of them hatched. After she laid the eggs she stopped eating completely, but my male seemed fine. Tonight I found her dead at the bottom of the tank. Do you have any idea what happened? Should I be worried about my male?
<African Clawed Frogs, Xenopus laevis, should live for at least 10 years in captivity, so if one dies after only a year or two, then you should definitely review environmental conditions, diet, and other aspects of healthcare. Or put another way, yes, you should be concerned, if not actually worried. As for specifics, it's impossible to give any insight without information on the size of their aquarium (should be at least 10 gallons, preferably 15+ gallons); diet (varied, no "feeder fish", and only fed every other day); temperature (subtropical, around 20 C/68 F); and water quality (filter essential, plus at least 25% water changes weekly).
Start by having a read here:
Xenopus are legendarily long-lived animals under the right conditions, but they are prone to dietary problems as well as bacterial infections if not maintained correctly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Clawed Frogs     12/31/13

Thank you for responding so quickly. My frog is kept in a filtered 10 gallon tank, but it is not heated.
<One possible problem right here. Do remember these animals come from Africa. So while they don't particularly need very warm conditions, they do need warm room temperature upwards. In a centrally heated home kept around 20-22 C/68-72 F then a heater won't be needed. But cooler than this isn't recommended.>
His tank is at 65F right now. Is this too far away from 68?
<It's a little cool for good health, yes. Is there a warmer room in the house? Alternatively, get a fish tank heater (preferably one with a wrap-around plastic grill to prevent burning) or use an angle poise light with a bulb (a regular incandescent could work, but a reptile vivarium heat lamp would be better). So lots of options depending on your cost and convenience needs. Do note that the warmer the frog, the more active it will be, and the faster (and therefore better) it will digest food.
Increased metabolism also boosts their immune response, reducing the risk of disease. So while you can keep Xenopus in quite cool water, adding a little warmth has many benefits.>
He also eats pellets every day.
<A good sign. But do try varying the diet a bit. Earthworms are an exceptionally good treat, rich in minerals and vitamins. But even better, their guts contain partially digested plant material that provide useful fibre that will minimise constipation, a common problem when animals are kept in tanks. If you collect your own, obviously avoid anywhere pesticide sprays have been recently used.>
I've tried feeding him worms and shrimp, but he didn't seem to like them.
<Hunger makes the best sauce! Don't be afraid to starve your Xenopus for several days, even a week before trying something new. That said, modern pellets are an excellent staple, provided you're buying a good quality brand. Labs that maintain Xenopus use nothing else and have great success.
There's a very good summary of their needs here:
This is designed for people keeping them in labs, but the basic rules apply to pet Xenopus too.>
I will check the pH of his water, try skipping a couple days of feeding per week, and try shrimp again.  He doesn't appear to have any sores or lesions though. Thank you again for responding and the reading.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sick African Clawed Albino Frog 4/28/11
I have an African Clawed Albino Frog that I have had for three years now. I have never had any problem until last night. I keep him in a 5 gallon round tank,
<Too small.>
never had any filtration

and have gravel on the bottom and no plants or any other frogs or fish with him. I have fed him freeze dried shrimp since day one.
<Freeze-dried foods are okay occasionally, but for obvious reasons (I hope) dried foods day-in, day-out aren't good for the digestive system of animals. They do need variation.>

I have tried to give him freeze dried blood worms and krill and he doesn't want to eat anything but the shrimp.
<Unfortunately, crustaceans are not a complete food; variation is essential.>
My problem is I found him upside down in his tank last night. I was able to net him without any effort at all. I cleaned his tank( I keep gallon water jugs that have had Stress Zyme put into them and set them aside for the next tank cleaning) and put him in a shallow container to keep a better eye on him because he was not able to swim to the surface to get air.
<Sounds bad. Do understand that adding potions isn't a substitute for a proper sized aquarium and suitable filtration.>
He is not eating at all and he is still very un active. He seems to not be able to use his back legs and when I moved his small container he almost rolled up in a ball and was acting like he was having a seizure. He flipped over to his back again and couldn't roll back to his normal side.
<Dying. Given these frogs should live more than 12 years and potentially 20 years, you can see that 5 years is pretty poor.>
His one back leg went out strait as a board and stayed that way. (I just checked him and his leg is back to normal).
<Spasm of some sort not good.>
He is not eating anything at all now and I still haven't introduced him back into the bigger tank for fear he will not be able to make it to the top to get air. When he surfaces in the small container his breathing is very hard and seems to be taking extremely big breaths. He also feels cold to the touch. He does not have any shedding skin issues or bloating or red leg.
I'm not sure of what the water levels are at due to not having anything to test with
<Should own, at minimum, a nitrite (with an "I", not nitrate with an "a") test kit.>
and not sure exactly where and what to get.
<Aquarium store.>
What could possibly be the problem and what can I do to help him? I have been reading illnesses and diseases and found little information on my particular issue. Could you please help Kermit ( the frog). Thank you!
<Do please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
The differences between what this frog needs and what you've provided thus far are the things killing him. A vet may be able to help, but I really can't recommend anything off the shelf. That's because this frog is very close to death, and you just don't have time to mess about with weak over-the-counter medications.>
Sincerely, Marie
Update: Within the last 5 minutes of writing this I checked on Kermit before sending this and he now has a long milky slime extending from his rear feet to under his chin. A quick response would greatly be appreciated. My 8 year old daughter is very upset thinking her pet frog is dying. Thanks again.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Urgent! Please help! ACF... dis.... from? 3/8/11
Hi, I so very much hope that you can help me. I have an Albino African Clawed Frog, approximately 4 1/2-5years old. I bought him as a dwarf but I am not entirely sure that he is a dwarf.
<... Xenopus, vs. Hymenochirus... different species... Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm and the linked files above>
I had him in a bowl when he was still tiny, and then for a while after his last tank broke, and he did well in there, but I wanted him to have more suitable living conditions, so about three months ago I got him a new tank (not brand new-it was previously used). I rinsed it out and set it up, let it run for a while and tested the water by throwing a bunch of rosies in their to see how they'd do. None of them died, so eventually I went ahead and put my frog in.
<... uncycled... Won't work>
At the time, I had read that rosies were okay for frog dinner, so I wasn't worried about him eating them,
<Poor idea... vectors of disease>

which he eventually did. Slowly. I noticed he stopped eating. He would eat very little if at all. He had originally been eating HBH Frog and Tadpole Pellets, but later stopped eating those so I fed him the ReptoMin pellets, shrimp, and krill. He stopped eating the pellets, but ate a lot of the shrimp, and has been eating mostly those for the last three months, but then stopped eating those so much as well. I know he can't see well, so typically, I have to help him find the food (move my finger or a plastic spoon around near the food) and he lunges and gets it then, but that hasn't been working lately. So. I got six more rosies to see if he'd go after them. Most of them died, but I think he ate maybe one or two.
Maybe a day after the last one disappeared, I noticed him upside down at the bottom of the tank, and I freaked. I righted him, he was still alive, and I brought him to the surface for air. He didn't really struggle, just kind of floated around then let the filter blow him back down and around, so I scooped him back up again and let him cling to his feeding ring for support (he does that a lot anyway). Every so often, he'd let go and drift around, but I didn't see him upside down again until hours later.
I tested the water and from what I could tell, everything was safe, except the water may have been a little hard (that one didn't really match up well to anything) but the nitrite was bad, I followed the instructions to do a water change, and I removed the gravel so that he can eat sinking pellets from the bottom. I posted a question on yahoo answers for more help, researched as much as possible on Google, and just tried to keep an eye on him in the mean time. Yahoo answers has given me only one response: flush him. Thanks. I woke up periodically throughout the night and found him a few times upside down on the bottom again, at which point I realized that, where he might squiggle his front legs around, he didn't kick me with his back legs. I touched them and moved them and they were limp/paralyzed. I read a little about this (that got more results than anything but not a lot by any means). It could be from nitrite, vitamin or nutrient deficiency, or Trematodes/flukes. It listed a few things I can try, crushing up vitamins and mixing baths and such, but I had a few questions about the details and they don't offer any contact info. I don't know how to tell which one it is, and I am afraid to do too much/over medicate.
Today I bought him frozen bloodworms and more frog and tadpole pellets. He has three options of things to eat, but will not eat anything, and is shedding his skin now (I think he did that a few days before dropping as well). Once in a while he opens his mouth very wide and kind of twists.
He seems frustrated about his skin. I put him in a mini carrier so that he can surface to breathe (I don't know how long he can hold his breath for but I work two jobs the next few days and won't be able to watch him closely, and I don't want him to drown in my absence). Please please please, if you have any information on this, help me! Whatever is wrong with him, I must have done, and I am desperate to help him. Thank you for your time-I hope this won't too much. If you can, please write me back as soon as possible.
Brooke P.S. If you post this, please don't post my e-mail/last name.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
re: Urgent! Please help! Xenopus 3/9/11

I don't understand-you said to keep reading, and I am reading and reading but cannot find anything similar to my frogs situation (I did click the link you sent me).
<Your information was scant. It was/is my intention that by reading you/'d discover what is amiss or missing here>
The ten gallon tank has a filter (didn't include that in the first e-mail)
but I have to remove my frog when I am leaving because it cannot swim to the top for air anymore.

He gets to the bottom of the water and can't get back up.
<Something very wrong here>
Sometimes he will squirm and wriggle and twist, open his mouth really wide and snap it shut again, and flap his front hands. I pull him back to the surface to breathe, but I can't spend all day watching him (I work two jobs), so while I am gone, I keep him in a smaller mini carrying tank, but I use the same water as the big tank so I don't shock him. I haven't seen him eat (he won't touch the bloodworms and apparently got a pellet in his mouth but spit it out later) or go to the bathroom. I just need to know how to fix this-how to I pinpoint the cause, how do I know if he is constipated, how do I figure out if it is water, nutrients, or flukes/Trematodes, and how to I make his back legs kick again? I am trying the vitamin bath as suggested by the other website (vita b and potassium crushed up and dissolved in water) and planning on buying parasite meds,
<... for what? And/or what indication do you have of what sort of parasitic presence?>
but wanted to make sure it wouldn't be over doing it either. I need some solid instruction here and the people at the pet stores don't seem to really know what they are talking about. I realize rosies were a poor choice now, but now I need to know how to fix it. It is just really frustrating and scary. Please guide me.
<... All I know re these animals is archived on WWM... Do please re-read all that is posted re Xenopus laevis... I suspect there is summat environmentally wrong here... Ammonia/Nitrite presence, excessive Nitrate (test for)... or a toxic decor item. BobF>
re: Urgent! Please help! Still no real data, info. of use... 3/9/11

That is where I read about Trematodes, etc.
<I see... this pc. also mentions metal poisoning, nutritional deficiencies... In all your writing thus far you've yet to render any data re actual testing...>
My frog can't move his back legs. I don't know what else to do except to try something that website suggests, or else he'll drown. That is the only place I have found advice, except for the careless advice on Yahoo Answers that suggested I flush him. I have had fish and frog tanks for years and this is the first time I have experienced something like this. He's been shedding this whole time.
<A clue... one last time. I suspect principally a poisoning from the environment... Second, avitaminoses deficiency syndrome>
I don't know what other information to give you and I don't know what to be looking for. If it weren't for his being upside down and his constant shedding, he would appear normal, but after finding him upside down I discovered the cause was that his back legs can't move anymore. Earlier in the day, he was still swimming fine.
<... Re-read what I've written to you. B>

African Clawed Frog has sores on his arms 5/26/10
I have a African clawed frog who is now 2 1/2 years old. Just recently I purchased a few feeder fish, within the first day of their purchase one of the fish had died, and short coming so did the rest. However before the fish passed they were slowly getting this white fuzzy crap growing on there scales.
<Fungus, typically follows on from exposure to poor conditions, either in the pet store or at home. Feeder fish are often maintained by retailers in dismal conditions.>
Now I am afraid that my frog has it. He's got white fuzzy's on his arm and on the black sticky part of his arms it is red and looks like sores.
<More likely Red-leg from exposure to poor conditions in your aquarium.
If you add a bunch of fish to a small aquarium, water quality can plummet, and the frogs won't be able to handle that.>
How do I treat this? What should I do?
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African clawed frogs...
Cycling Update: Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite .25, 1/18/10
<Ammonia at this level is very toxic, so I wouldn't feed at all for two days out of three, and I'd be aggressive with the water changes. Do make sure your tap water has zero ammonia (some water supplies do contain some
ammonia) and if your tap water has ammonia, be sure to use a water conditioner that removes ammonia as well as chlorine and copper.>
pH 8, Nitrate 0 The frogs are active, eating well, and look healthy. The 3 remaining Tiger Barbs are showing some signs of distress.
<Yes, Barbs are very sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.>
You can see they are gasping a bit. As for the Green Corys, they look fine.
<I bet they're unhappy with the cobblestones though! Have tried decorating with cobblestones, and while pretty, eventually I changed to sand or fine gravel. Why? Firstly most fish hate the cobblestones. They can't burrow
nicely. Secondly, the cobblestones trap detritus and quickly make the tank messy. Best avoided.>
My tank looks extremely clean from the decreased feedings and daily water changes.
<Do remember water clarity and water quality are quite different things.>
Thoughts or comments?
Thanks, Alex
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African clawed frogs... 1/18/10
Thanks again Neale. Well you are correct. I tested the tap water before and after adding my chlorine/chloramine conditioner and received 1.0 ammonia readings.
<Do note that you will get a "false positive" AFTER treating water with chloramine in it, so do check the water *before* adding water conditioner or dechlorinator. That's what matters. Chloramine, as its name suggests,
breaks down into chlorine and ammonia when it reacts with some water conditioners. If a water conditioner says it treats for chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia, then this isn't a problem. But if the water conditioner only treats chlorine, not chloramine, then the ammonia sits around afterwards. More of a problem. So, to recap, test your water without any conditioner added. If it contains ammonia, or if you want to be careful, simply choose a water conditioner that treats chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia, all at the same time.>
So any recommendations on the product to buy?
<Many brands; all should work fine.>
I'm sure the product you advise will take care of ammonia as well as chlorine in my tap, so maybe I should just stop using this generic conditioner altogether. Kind of hard cycling out ammonia when every water change, I'm adding more.
<Again, do make sure you don't have a false positive.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

African clawed frog swimming strangely and discolored 11/20/09
My son has a ACF that seems to be taking a turn.
<Oh dear.>
It has been healthy and fine, to this point, but I did notice it was turning a darker green color in blotches, rather than staying it's pretty light green color.
<This tends to be a reaction to poor environmental conditions. Essentially a bacterial infection. Can be treated with antibiotics, e.g., Maracyn II (Minocycline) and Maracyn Plus (Sulfadimidine and Trimethoprin, but best avoided.>
It lives with two other fish and a snail, and we change out the water by 2/3 weekly.
<Actually, these frogs should never be kept with fish. Whatever habitat you keep them in should be adequately large, maintained at around room temperature (rather than tropical temperatures) and ALWAYS filtered. Changing water instead of filtering just doesn't work. Do see here for the basics:
We have floating plants for the bowl. The frog is swimming in a twisting motion, and then stops and just floats.
<Sounds bad.>
Sometimes it seems to stay slight twisted almost upside down. This appears to be different behavior than we have seen to this point (one month).
<You see, it takes about a month for things to go wrong.>
I have removed it from the big tank and put it alone with a bit of shrimp in water that has been dechlorinated to see ---I am not sure to see what!
Is it dying or is there something I can do for it to try to save it?
<Maybe not at death's door, but certainly severely stressed. Review the conditions in the tank. It needs a tank at least 10 gallons in size (ideally twice that for an adult) at about 15-20 degrees C in temperature
and filtered with a good, strong filter. A small internal canister filter would be ideal.>
Thank you. Susan
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African clawed frog swimming strangely and discolored 11/20/09

Thank you, Neale...
<Happy to help.>
I am not sure how the Pet Stores stay in biz. ugh
<I look at it this way: A sales clerk wouldn't stop himself selling me a ghastly pair of yellow trousers with pink polka dots.
<<Hey! I bought those!! Heeee! RMF>>
It's up to me to make an appropriate choice. So with a pet shop: They'll sell any animal to anyone who pays the money, regardless of the ability of that person to keep that animal. Yes, I agree, the *ethics* is totally different, since it's an animal we're talking about, an animal that can suffer in various ways. But so long as the law doesn't enforce some sort of ethical dimension, it's up to us to make sure we research the needs of those animals prior to purchasing them. I do my best to help people *after the event*, but often-times that isn't much good, perhaps because the animal is too far gone, or else because my correspondent doesn't have the funds or space to house the animal properly. It's a thorny problem, I admit.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Is my Albino ACF sick? 9/6/09
I have a new Albino ACF that I got about two weeks ago.
<Question: How did you mature this aquarium first? You can't expect to add a frog to an immature tank and expect him to do well.>
He was perfect looking when I bought him at our local Wal-Mart, but now he has tiny little black dots covering his back from his head to his toes.
<Xenopus tropicalis, Xenopus longipes, and some other Xenopus species are grey with small black spots. You may have one of these other species. Refer to Google re: systematics, photographs of the genus. What you are seeing may be entirely normal.>
He is otherwise healthy, I believe. This started about three to four days ago after he shed his skin. I keep him in a 10 gallon aquarium. I also have two Mixed Balloon Mollies, one Black Molly, an odd looking Algae eater similar looking to the Plecostomus (though I have not found a picture of him anywhere on the Internet that tells me exactly what he is),
<Presumably Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus or Pterygoplichthys pardalis, the two common "Plecos" of the US trade.>
an Apple Snail, and two Orange burst Glofish.
<Obviously, this collection of animals isn't REMOTELY viable in a 10 gallon tank. For a start, Mollies need a good 20 gallons or more, and the water should be brackish. Danios (what you call Glofish) need a tank 60 cm/2 feet long if they're to be happy, and should certainly be in groups of 6+ to avoid bullying and premature death. Even the frog needs a tank bigger than this, 15-20 gallons, minimum.>
They all share the same tank.
<Why? Did you research the needs of *any* of these fish before you bought them? At least some Xenopus, e.g., Xenopus laevis, need subtropical water, whereas Mollies like things fairly warm. There's no good reason to mix any of these animals.>

I did not like the gravel in the tank so I opted to put seashells in it instead (I hope this will not harm them and I cleaned the shells well before I put them in).
<Seashells are a bad idea. Two issues. Firstly, they harden the water.
Mollies won't mind, but your other animals might. Secondly, they trap food, leading to pockets of decay and foul water.>
I constantly keep a check on the water and the Nitrates are at 40 mg/L, Nitrites are at 0 mg/L, the water is very hard at 300 ppm, Alkalinity is at 180 ppm, and pH is at 7.2. I have now managed to get the Nitrates to the fringe of being okay for the fish, but I have trouble keeping it down.
<Nitrates not critical for Xenopus, but is so for Mollies, which, in freshwater rather than brackish, are hypersensitive to nitrates above 20 mg/l.>
I use Tetra Easy Balance with Nitraban, which says is supposed to help maintain the tank with less frequent water changes.
<Garbage. Don't believe the marketing!>
I do not get a lot of time to do water changes so this works well for me.
The water is crystal clear, I use Tetra Whisper filters with Carbon, I keep a heater, which I have just lowered to a temperature of about 80 degrees F since I was treating the tank for Ick and it was at about 85 degrees F.
<Far too warm for Xenopus laevis, though Xenopus tropicalis won't mind. Do, please, read here:
The treatment was performed a few weeks before I added the ACF. I love animals and I am very interested in keeping a colorful and diverse tank.
<I love animals too. However, we all have to learn to separate out affection for animals as an abstract concept from the hard work of giving animals what they need. This is the tricky part to life. Animals are
demanding and expensive. That's why I don't keep all the animals I'd like!
I'd love a pet dolphin, but that's never going to happen. But what I can do is review the needs of whatever I see in the aquarium shop, and then put together what I need to keep them. In your case, you have a collection of fascinating animals, yes, but not necessarily in the conditions they need.>
I have an air stone. I have three plastic plants in the tank and feed the fish and frog a blended diet of Wardley Tropical Fish Flake Food, Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers (my Mollies love them), and Tetra Freeze Dried Blood Worms (also a favorite among my Mollies). I have done extensive research about all of my fish and the frog and have been able to improve my tank. When I first started, my fish were dying left and right, but now all of the new ones I have been great, with the exception of a small Pleco that
ended up with a very bad looking abrasion just under his eye and a big hole in his tail fin before he died. I can't seem to keep the Pleco very well since he was my second one.
<Your tank is too small for Plecos. Even the common species need 55 gallons. Sure, not when they're 2-inch babies, but they grow fast, and in small tanks will react quickly to bad water quality. Things like sores and ulcers are often signs of environmental stress, so looking backwards from that, my best guess is that something in your tank wasn't right. Review, and act accordingly. We're happy to help here at WWM, so if you want advice on a fish *before* you buy it, feel free to ask. We're not selling anything. In fact, we'd just as soon convince you NOT to spend your money if we think a fish wouldn't make sense in your aquarium.>
I try to keep the tank maintained as well as possible with my work schedule. None of my fish seem to have any problems. The frog eats very well and is semi-active and has gotten more active since I first brought
him home. I also am able to see some of his veins, mostly in his legs and one on his lower back. They are very thin red lines. I suppose they are his veins, they look veiny. So, is it normal for my frog to have little
black speckles or dots all over his back and is it normal for me to see the red veins or whatever they may be?
<Difficult to say. When Xenopus and Hymenochirus frogs are stressed, one of the things that does happen is their skin reacts, becomes irritated. On humans, you'd call it a rash or inflammation. Anyway, if left uncorrected, the skin starts to become damaged, and you end up with bacterial infections, such as the notorious Red Leg.>
I have attached a picture of the frog. including the picture as an attachment is the only thing I can do with this email. Am I being paranoid? I did hours of research last night to no avail. I even tried the suggested Google search engine on top of the others I had checked and Google sent me right back to your page. I laughed hilariously at that and decided to give up on my search and finally send you an email. I had to get some sleep first though as I had ended up staying awake until 4:30 this morning researching this issue. Please help me, I would hate for my new frog to die.
<I would hate that too. As another animal lover, I'm really keen you enjoy your pets and that you pets are healthy living with you. In this case, I think the frog is not so much ill yet as reacting to environmental stress.
As such, fixing the conditions, e.g., if this is Xenopus laevis, as is usually the case, then cooler water will be important. A more varied diet will help, with the accent on soft rather than dried food. And so on. See
the article mentioned above.>
I am beginning to get attached.
<Thanks for writing, and good luck, Neale.>

I see reddening... RMF
Re: Is my Albino ACF sick? 9/7/09
Thank you much for your advice Neale.
<You're welcome.>
I did not research the fish at first since it was a start to a hobby I thought my husband and I could enjoy.
<Ah, enjoyment of this hobby tends to be in direct proportion to the research done first! Like gardening or foreign travel. Numerous good books out there, many inexpensive but useful.>
I started out with a 20 gallon tank that was given to me, with just Black Tetras, Red Tetras, and the Algae Eater I referred to at first, however that tank is now sitting empty in our back yard due to my lack of knowledge at the time in cleaning it and it got a crack across the glass from one side to the other.
<We've all done this... cracked the glass by dropping something heavy.>
I have since learned not to do a full water change and more importantly not to use such hot water.
A mistake that I will most definitely avoid again in the future. After that, we went to the nearest store and bought the biggest tank they had that we could afford at the time, which was the 10 gallon tank.
<In itself, not a disaster, but I would caution you to select fish extremely carefully. Most of the "community fish" you see on sale need 20, if not 30 gallons to do well. Do read here:
This was mainly to get the fish back to a tank quickly.
I then started to research the proper care and maintenance of fish and the different types that you could have together.
Please understand, the town I live in is rather small compared to most, so we don't have much to work with.
<I feel your pain! My hometown doesn't have much of any kind of aquatics at all, just a fairly hopeless garden centre that I tend to use as my benchmark for what a BAD aquatic retailer looks like.>
I am not a small town kind of person and moved around a lot as I got older.
Being only 25 now, I understand the importance of having the resources you need and that it is harder to obtain in a small city.
<Mail order often helpful here. Research your needs first, so you can shop with confidence. I don't even drive, so anything bigger than, say, a 10 gallon tank would have to be mail ordered anyway.>
This being said, the information I obtained from Wal-Mart may not have been sufficient enough to have the kind of fish and aquarium I wanted.
<This chain does seem to have, ahem, a mixed reputation as a supplier of pet animal goods and advice.>
I have had the aquarium for about 4 months now and it was stabilized for about two weeks before I added the frog. Needless to say, I was not happy with the Tetras and gave them to a friend so that I could have more tropical fish that were 'prettier'. I started out with just the Mollies and the snail. I added the Mollies before I got rid of the Tetras and some of them died, I think from bullying from the Red Tetra, which led to the purchase of more mollies so that I finally ended up with the amount that I mentioned in the original email.
<Mollies are not easy, and among other things, are sensitive to low pH, high nitrate, and poor water quality. Their size and liveliness also makes them difficult to recommend for tanks less than 30 gallons in size. Adult female Sailfins can get to 6 inches/15 cm in length! Shortfins are smaller, but still, they're some 8 cm/3 inches long at maturity, so even a "long" 20 gallon tank will be a bit crowded. Furthermore, Mollies do, on the whole, live longer and healthier in slightly brackish rather than freshwater conditions. They don't need much marine aquarium salt mix added to their water, but a bit helps, around 0.5-1 oz per gallon, but that's more than most freshwater fish will tolerate. Hence, many would suggest (including me) that Mollies are best kept in a single-species set-up. Or, at least, combined with other fish that like slightly saline water, such as Guppies, Glassfish or Gobies.>
So, by this time, I had done some research on what type of fish were compatible with Mollies.
<I see.>
Everything that I found suggested that other community fish were okay and my husband wanted Glofish so I got the two mentioned previously. I was aware of the fact that they do better in groups of 6 or more but they are not cheap, to us people in the small town.
<Well, they're not even sold here in the UK, so you're doing better on that count! They're genetically modified, as you probably know, and there's less consensus here in Europe that such things are ethical and/or safe.>
So, two it is until I can afford more, and I have kept an eye on them and they seem fairly happy.
<Two males will fight though, and they can be nippy when frustrated.>
They are very active as all the material I have read suggested they would be.
<Yes, hence the need for a long tank, 60 cm/2 feet being about the minimum.>
The Algae Eater is the only large fish in the tank and keeps mostly to itself.
<Depends on the species. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri for example (the "Chinese Algae Eater" or "Sucking Loach") becomes highly aggressive when sexually mature, and is NOTORIOUS for causing problems in small tanks. The true Plecs though, in general, ignore other, non-Plec type fish (they are pretty territorial towards one another though).>
My research showed that the Mollies and the Glofish were both peaceful fish and were compatible.
<Nothing you read mentioned Mollies preferring slightly salty water? Do please read here:
I have had them together and living, what I find to be very well, together for about a month now.
<A month isn't long.>
As I mentioned before I have just added the frog, mainly because I saw it at the store and they seemed interesting.
<Yes, they are.>
I did a little bit of research before I bought it, but I suppose not enough.
<Often the case.>
I promise you, I am normally a very thorough person, so once I had them all together I made sure to get all of the information I could gather in order to maintain a healthy and peaceful aquarium. So far all is well with the exception of the appearance of the spots on the ACF. I did research the pictures on many sites and I am positive it is an Albino African Clawed Frog, though I wonder if it may be pigmented, but the pictures I have viewed don't seem to match the black spots he has.
<Does sound like the albino morph of Xenopus laevis, a cool-climate clawed frog that doesn't do well in tropical aquaria.>
My main concern was whether it was normal for the frog to do this or if I needed to change something quickly.
<I don't think the black spots are a disease, so there's no immediate danger. But your tank will be too warm for this species in the long run.>
Basically, should I be alarmed or just keep an eye him?
<A little from column A, a little from column B.>
From what I gather you are saying that I should maintain the water and keep the diet varied, with mostly soft or live foods.
<Yes; frogs are prone to constipation when given dried foods.>
I was able to dig up some worms today and cut them into small enough pieces for him to swallow. He definitely loved them.
<I bet!>
I will continue to try to give a variety of food to him, bearing in mind that the live food provides more nutrients and prevents constipation.
I am aware that they need a lower water temperature, so I have started lowering the temperature slowly as to not shock any of the fish with a sudden change.
<There's not much overlap here, to be honest. Mollies absolutely must be kept warm, at least, fancy Mollies from pet stores do. Once the temperature gets below 77 F, they tend to get sickly, and the ideal is somewhere around 80 F. This is too warm for Danios (which do best around 75-77 F) and far too warm for Xenopus laevis.>
What do you suggest that I do about keeping Nitrates down?
<Depends what your tap water nitrate content is. If you have a nitrate level of 20 mg/l or less out of the tap, then regular (weekly) water changes of around 25% should be ample. Just don't overfeed your fish, and take care to remove uneaten food.>
All of my other tests show to be good according to the chart that I have to compare the tests to.
I may be a novice hobbyist, but I do hope to get better.
<You will. I've been doing this for some 25 years, and still manage to kill fish by doing stupid things!>
All things get better with time and some trial and error, otherwise we would not have the technology we have today.
<Yes, very true.>
I did find your information helpful, but for some reason I picture you to be a Simon Cal.
<Both British, may be the clue...>
Not intending to offend you, as I find it rather comical.
<Well, I suppose the point is we're both plain spoken and honest, rather than trying to make friends. If you like me, that's nice, but what I want above all is that you understand what I'm saying. There are also differences in how Brits and Americans use their common language.>
I believe you are a very intelligent person, but feel that you may underestimate the intelligence of those that refer to your site for assistance and guidance.
<Always difficult to judge intelligence from an e-mail; indeed e-mails generally tend to be written casually rather than carefully, so it's all too easy to misjudge things. It's not my intention to alarm or upset, merely to inform and assist.>
Keep doing what you do. You are great, as I am sure you are aware of.
<Thank you.>
I hope to be able to get a bigger tank soon. In the meantime, I try with what I have and maybe it will be okay, though I completely understand the affect the small aquarium may have on the fish.
Please forgive me if my email seems a little scattered, my mind thinks differently than most and I end up confusing myself and others rather easily.
<No problems.>
I find it amazing that I can be an intelligent person but yet so simple minded at times, well a lot. I hope it is a refreshing difference from your normal inquiries.
<Always nice to hear a little more from our correspondents.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

What could be wrong with our Clawed African Water Frog? Env., reading 9/1/2009
Thank you for your help. My son brought home a baby Clawed African Water Frog from school in May. Yesterday, I noticed him belly-up in the bottom on his tank.
<! Water quality?>
I noticed he jerked his back leg every now and then so I put him in a shallow container with water so he could more easily reach the surface for air.
<Change a good part of the water. Stat!>
I checked on him throughout the day yesterday and found that he would go to the top for air but other than that did not move. Last night I put him back in the larger tank and once again, we found him belly-up, but still alive, at the bottom of the tank this morning. I have read information on your site and he doesn't have a bloated stomach, there are no white patches on his body and he has no bloody red areas. He just doesn't move much.
Other than the past two days, he is kept by himself in a 5 gallon filtered tank.
<Too small a world. Very likely the issue here is environmental>

Any suggestions on what might be wrong with him and how I can help him would be greatly appreciated.
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
New Information for previous question
Hello, I emailed a question regarding my son's clawed African water frog earlier today. I just went to check on him and he seemed to "cough" up a cloudy substance. Thought that the new information might help figure out what is wrong with him.
<Read. And quickly fix this animal's universe. B>

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>

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>

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 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.>

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.>

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>

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>

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>

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