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FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs, Health-Disease 2

FAQs on African Dwarf Frog Disease: ADF Health/Disease 1, ADF Health 2, ADF Health 3, ADF Health 4,
FAQs on African Dwarf Frog Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Treatments,

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

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

Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. Env.   2/9/10
Dear WWM,
<Hello Diana,>
I have a 5 gallon planted tank with two ADFs (one male one female), three male platies, and a gaggle of opportunistic snails that have taken up residency.
<Much too small for this many animals. Barely adequate for a Betta or a couple of African Dwarf Frogs. Platies need 15+ gallons.>
I feed the fish a diet of flaked food and the frogs get one cube of frozen blood worms every-every other day. The platies sometimes snack on this as well and the snails do a great job of finishing up the leftovers. The tank is heated to 80 degrees, has an in tank filtration system and a sand bottom.
<Much warm for Platies, and really, too warm for Hymenochirus frogs too.>
Currently the ph is 7.0 and the nitrates and ammonia are 0 ppm. Everyone was getting along swimmingly and were the picture of health until about two weeks ago when I noticed empty snail shells. I checked the water and the ph had risen to 7.6 but the ammonia and nitrates were 0 ppm.
I got the ph back to normal range by dripping a combo of Discus Buffer and Neutral Regulator over a five day period.
<Why? How did you decide what was "normal"? Platies need hard, basic water -- pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH. Hymenochirus are similar. Since you've only mentioned pH, and not hardness, I have to assume you haven't thought about this in any great depth. Hardness is FAR more important than pH, and without fail, you shouldn't change pH without messing about with hardness. This is how you end up with unstable water chemistry.>
The tank has been at 7.0 for about three days now.
<That's the buffer acting. Will not stay that way.>
About a week ago I noticed one platy was sticking close to the surface of the water and next to the heater I kept an eye on him but didn¹t notice anything else odd at the time and he seemed to be eating fine. A few days later I observed what looked like rough skin around his mouth and a small
white spot on his tail. I immediately treated the tank with five drops of Life Bearer.
Everyone else in the tank seemed fine. I crossed my fingers.
<Biology doesn't work that way.>
The next day my poor platy was in horrible shape, his mouth was all but gone in fact the whole front of his little face was a big open wound.
<Is not a "wound" but a secondary infection caused by your failure to keep this fish properly. Do read about the needs of Platies, and indeed all animals, before buying them. That you're keeping these things in 5 gallons suggests you listened to the retailer and did no research at all. Would you buy a car on the opinion of a car salesman? Or a house from a real estate agent just because they said it was a good house? Of course not. You always do research before buying something where ignorance causes problems.>
Additionally he now has a white bump on his side along with the white spot on his tail.
<More Finrot and/or Fungus and/or Columnaris.>
Just when I thought things couldn¹t get any worse one of the other platies was now lying on his side at the bottom of the tank.
<Again, your failure to provide the conditions these fish need has lead to them getting sick.>
I scooped the lethargic platy up in a fish net and suspended him at the surface of the tank then rushed to my aquarium store to purchase some antibiotics. I was given Metronidazole and told to administer that at night and the Life Bearer in the morning along with some additional good bacteria
<Do you know what this actually means? Seriously, "good bacteria" and "bad bacteria" are all much the same thing, and whether they "behave themselves" depends on the conditions in the aquarium. Aeromonas spp. bacteria break down faeces in a healthy tank, but overcome the immune systems of weak fish in poor tanks.>
to try to support the eco system. I was instructed to treat the tank with the medications for a total of twelve days. Tonight will be the fourth day of the antibiotic and the sixth of the Life Bearer. I have also added three teaspoons of kosher salt over a four day period.
<Again, why did you think this would help?>
I released the lethargic platy from his net and he seems to be doing fine - swims to the surface to eat but then hides under the plants at the bottom with the third platy ­ at least he is upright. These two appear to have dodged the bullet for now and exhibit no sign of the mouth disease or spots on their bodies. The unfortunate mouthless fellow is swimming around, sticking mostly to the surface and attempts to eat but I don¹t think he can. Can this poor guy be saved or is he just going to slowly starve to death?
<To be honest, in this aquarium, he's probably doomed. Put him in a 15 gallon tank with good water quality (0 ammonia/nitrite) and a medium to high level of hardness (10+ degrees dH) he'd be fine, if treated for Finrot, Fungus and/or Columnaris.>
Now, onto the frogs. They have been hiding for days on end and eating very little. Especially the female. When the little male came out of hiding today I noticed that he is a much paler version of himself ­ pasty, almost white. And, they are still eating very little if at all. I am curious if the treatments for the fish are harming the frogs ­ or perhaps this is a harmless side effect of the treatments and they will return to their normal brown color when this is all over.
<Again, you're killing these frogs by inches. Your failure to provide appropriate conditions has rendered them vulnerable to opportunistic bacterial infections.>
A bit of additional background history ­ about two months before this all happened I was fighting a terrible case of black hair algae in the tank.
<Often a sign of sluggish water flow and an "unbalanced" aquarium. Review water quality, check water flow rate, and add fast-growing plants under bright lights.>
I got it under control with a new lighting regimen (on 8:00am-12:00pm off 1:00pm-3:00pm then back on 4:00pm-8:pm. I use a full spectrum compact fluorescent that has 5500K) and high doses of Flourish Excel.
<Dosing the water will only help if there are fast-growing plants to use up the nutrients. Otherwise you're just feeding the algae.>
I also suspended a piece of Styrofoam under the filter spout to reduce the surface turbulence. This ³system² has worked well and I have much less of the black algae but my plants have started to develop yellow spots.
<Likely iron deficiency, but could be other things.>
I am now supplementing with 12-15 drops of the Flourish Excel and another plant food with iron. Perhaps more light? And, could this have triggered the collapse of my happy little colony?
Thank you for your help,
<Time to do some reading:
Otherwise, they're all doomed. Cheers, Neale.>
FW: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  2/9/10
I should have mentioned that most, if not all, of the platy pictures are of the sad gentleman with the mouth disease and the body spots. You may see the other two peeking out from the plants at the bottom of the tank. The frog photo is of the male only. His lady friend hasn¹t some out of hiding since yesterday evening.
<Okay. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  2/10/10
One last point of potential interest. I have been leaving the tank dark for most of the day. I was told that the medications and supplemental bacteria are more effective in a dark tank.
<Nope. Again, your retailer exhibiting skill at marketing to the uninformed rather than offering useful advice. Antibiotics will work regardless of light intensity. Carbon, on the other hand, will remove many medications from the water, so if you use carbon, you have to remove it from the filter. Did your retailer mention that?>
I have had the light on for about one hour in the morning while feeding, then off to add life bearer and bacteria, then on for a couple of hours late afternoon/early evening then off to add antibiotic.
<Couldn't make the least difference.>
Again, thanks for your help.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Fwd: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  2/10/10
Hi Neale,
My original message is below. Thanks again and cheers.
<Diana, you sent 32 (!!!) images and I really don't have the time to go through them all. Please, send one or two that are germane to the issue at hand, and I'd be happy to examine it. Nonetheless, my basic argument
stands. This tank of yours is far too small for the livestock being kept, and in the case of the Platy, some combination of Finrot, Fungus and/or Columnaris is to blame. These three diseases are caused by chronically poor water quality, so I'd urge you to review the needs of Platies, and act accordingly. If euthanasia is appropriate, do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  2/10/10
Thank you Neale, your responses are very helpful. I have a feeling, though, that you may not have received my original email regarding my poor sick fish and the attached pictures. I've got your thoughts on my supplemental
emails but not yet on the real problem-namely my platy with no mouth and his chance for survival. I have resent it.
Thanks again,
<It's the tank! The tank! It's too small! The fact the fish has mouth fungus (Columnaris, actually a bacterial infection) is incidental to the fact a tank this small cannot provide the right water quality (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite) and stable water chemistry (for Platies, pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH) that the fish needs. If the fish has no mouth and can't eat, then yes, euthanasia is appropriate. But killing fish that don't survive in this tank won't fix the fundamental problems. Anything else in there will, eventually, go the same way as this Platy. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. - 2/10/10
Dear Neale,
<Hello Diana,>
I have read through your website extensively looking for help with my situation. While I didn't find exactly what I was looking for I did notice that most readers asked questions while giving you little or no practical information (i.e. water reading, photos, etc.). So, as not to waste your time I tried to be thorough and give you what I had hoped was helpful data so that you could assess my situation accurately. In trying to do this it appears that I have done just the opposite as evidenced by your response below. I am sorry.
<It's okay. But we do have limited e-mail space, and if folks send 32 images, as you did last time, or 3 MB of images, as you did this time, cause problems for other people. If the e-mail space is used up by one message with lots of photos, then other peoples' messages get bounced back. So it's not about me being crotchety, but more about making this a level playing field for everyone. We do ask for people to send around 500 KB
images, right on the page where our address is listed.>
I have attached two images, one of my frog and one of my platy.
Water readings today: 7.0ph, 0ppm nitrite, 0ppm ammonia, temp 80 deg.
<A little warm for Platies, and the low pH suggests a low hardness, and that's crucial for Platies. Check what the hardness is, and if necessary, harden the water.>
No carbon filter.
I just do not see how the sick platy can possibly survive and after reading the article you sent I may decide to put him down today. That leaves me with just the two seemingly healthy fish.
<For now.>
I understand now that the tank is too small for what is living in it.
I was obviously misinformed by the place that sold me the creatures.
<The "misinformed" bit is the key. As I've stated, and as I'm sure you know deep down, you don't buy pet animals without at least reading one book beforehand. Any aquarium book would tell you what Platies need in terms of
aquarium size, water chemistry, and temperature.>
But, this is what I have and I would like to try to give them the best care possible in a tank that is healthy.
<Hmm... unfortunately, life doesn't work this way.>
Until this tragedy they had all coexisted nicely for over a year.
<Indeed. While the fish are small, the loading on the filter and water buffering capacity isn't too great. But a threshold point comes where the fish have grown so big the filter and aquarium capacity aren't enough.
Conditions start to go bad, the fish become more and more stressed, and then various diseases get established.>
So, in that spirit, can you advise me as to what to do next?
<I'd be lying if I told you there was a solution. With the best will in the world, a 5 gallon tank isn't adequate for Platies. Sure, more frequent water changes will help, and check the water hardness (especially carbonate hardness) will go towards keeping pH stable. But still... it's little boy's finger in the leaking dyke.>
Should I give the two Platies back to the store
that sold them to me and keep only the frogs?
<If you really want to keep this 5 gallon tank, then perhaps.>
Thanking you again,
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  2/11/10
Dear Neal,
Thank you again for your help. My sick platy has died and I have a few questions about how to proceed.
<I'm sorry he died.>
1. I am inclined to return the two other Platies to the store and keep just the frogs and snails in my tank.
I am assuming I should continue to treat the tank with the full 12 day supply of antibiotics (tonight will be treatment #6) before doing so.
<I'd stop treating if none of the other fish have symptoms of disease. Overuse of medications can cause problems of their own, and since Finrot-type infections are opportunistic and latent in all aquaria, it's not like you can "kill off" the disease in any meaningful way. In other words, prophylactic treatment is pointless.>
2. Should I continue treating with the Life Bearer medication? If so for how long? (none of the surviving creatures are exhibiting signs of fungus or protozoa but the platy with the mouth infection who died did)
<Only medicate if fish show symptoms of disease. If they don't, don't medicate.>
3. When should I start water changes? Immediately or after treatments stop? Should I change the filter material and reintroduce charcoal?
<Water changes should be regular and as frequent as possible. It's wise to do a 25% water change when you stop medicating, primarily because during treatment you're not usually allowed to do water changes. But medications
typically get broken down within a day, so the idea you need to flush them out is a bit misleading. In any case, yes, do a water change tonight, and then get back to the normal 25-50% water changes per week. Do review how
filters work. Changing biological media (e.g., sponges) is hazardous because you throw out the filter bacteria, so normally you should simply rinse them off in a bucket of aquarium water, and then put back in the filter. Only mechanical media (e.g., pads of filter floss) and chemical media (e.g., charcoal) need to be replaced. In most freshwater tanks, charcoal is redundant. So unless you have a problem with yellowing water or rapid pH drops, I'd forget about carbon, and focus on biological media.>
4. When can I give the tank a light cleaning? (plant pruning, algae scrubbing, substrate vacuum etc.) I haven't wanted to disturb my fish while they were healing and the tank looks a little worse for wear.
<Clean whenever you want. It's a good idea to stir the gravel with a pencil or chopstick just before you siphon out some of the water, so you can slurp away some of the detritus.>
Thank you for your guidance,
<Happy to help.>
PS Per the question I had asked about my frog who looked like he was turning white - he shed his skin. Found a perfect empty little frog shaped skin floating in the tank this morning. Looked a bit like a frog wet suit.
<This isn't at all normal. While they do shed small sheets of skin all the time, shedding a lot of skin tends to suggest irritation. It's like comparing the little bits of skin we lose every day to an all-over sunburn!
Or more accurately, it's a way aquatic frogs deal with toxins and parasites in the water. Not fatal or even dangerous in itself, but if a frog is forced to react this way repeatedly, it's stressful. So while I wouldn't lose any sleep just yet, if the frog keeps shedding skin, review water quality and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
Thank you.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  2/11/10
Dear Neale,
One last set of questions and I think I will be all set:
<By all means.>
I did a 50% water change today, replaced the filter pad, trimmed up the plants, scrubbed the algae, "vacuumed" the sand and added some beneficial bacteria.
<Why? Why? There's really no such thing as a potion that adds beneficial bacteria. The bacteria are there already; they're either happy or they're not. It's really up to you to create the favourable conditions. Please please please save your pennies for a bigger tank, rather than wasting it on stuff you don't need.>
Everyone seems to be doing well.
I had added 3 teaspoons of salt to the tank last week during the first 3 days of medication. I added 1 teaspoon today when I changed the water. So I have about 2.5 teaspoons of salt in the 5 gallon tank presently.
<Again, why? Salt brings nothing useful to this system. Have a read here:
Salt is one of those things shops will happily sell, but hardly any beginners have a clue about what it can do.>
I have read WWM that Platies love salt in their water but frogs not so much.
<Platies tolerate salt; they don't love it. There's a big difference. I tolerate girlfriends who smoke, but I don't smoke myself. So it is with your Platies; they'll put up with salt at low doses rather better than most other fish, but they don't come from brackish water habitats. At this trivially low salinity, the salt won't inhibit Finrot or Fungus; to do
that, you'd need enough salt to kill the frogs (or at least severely stress them). So you're doing something here with no benefits and plenty of risks.>
Should I add more salt or am I good?
<"Good" isn't the word I'd use. Diana, please take this in the spirit of helpfulness in which it is meant: you're reacting, but you're not understanding. It's time to sit back, read a book on frog or fishkeeping, read through some of the articles I've sent you to, and try to understand what's going on. Once you understand the situation, you'll be able to care for these animals rather better.>
Also, I am slowly reducing the temp of the tank. What would the ideal temp be for the Platies and frogs while they are sharing the tank?
<25 C.>
Once I am sure the Platies are indeed healthy I will be returning them to the store. Once they are gone and I have only frogs in the tank what is the proper temp and should I discontinue any use of salt?
<Yes, stop with the salt already.>
Thanks again for your help. You have been very patient with me and I am grateful for your advice.
<I am always pleased to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. 2/23/2010
Dear Neale,
Diana here again. My second Platy has passed away.
<Oh dear.>
I am now down to one platy who has started to show signs of the same mouth condition that killed my first and I am not sure how to treat it this time around. Last time I treated the tank with a combo of Life Bearer and Metronidazole on a daily basis for 8 days.
<Do water changes when medications are done. Remember not to use carbon while medicating, but you can use carbon when "cleaning up" after medicating to mop up any remainder.>
Tank now has one platy and two ADFs.
PH 7.2, Nitrate 0ppm, ammonia 0ppm,
<Good. pH a bit low for Platies, but depends rather more on the hardness than anything else. Platies hate soft water.>
temp 77 degrees
<Bit warm for Platies, to be honest, but shouldn't kill them.>
After initial 50% water change I have performed two 20% water changes and added no salt.
In addition I have purchased a gravel vacuum and have been cleaning small patches of the sand on the bottom during these changes.
<All good.>
I have also added a BioMax filter insert.
<Not really sure what BioMax might be... some type of biological filter media? That's good.>
Thanks again,
<Happy to help.>
PS So far my frogs appear to be holding up although they are hiding more and eating less than in the past. Understandable considering everything this tank has been through in the last month.
<Yes, indeed.>
I am feeding them every other day at this point to reduce the waste.
<Is ample of Hymenochirus spp. Stick a thin slice of cucumber in the tank for the Platy to peck at; this'll provide some energy, but without much protein, so water quality won't be harmed. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. -- 2/23/10
Thank you Neale.
<My pleasure.>
Yes, you are correct, BioMax is a biological filter material. Figure this will allow me to change the flossy pad (and all the fish poop that it collects) without throwing out my bacteria colony at the same time.
<Yes; ceramic media lasts ten years or more, especially if rinses regularly to keep the pores from becoming irredeemably clogged.>
Are you recommending that I repeat the same round of medications for this fish that I did for the others that died (Life Bearer and Metronidazole)?
<No, wouldn't do any more medicating. Would suggest sitting back, leaving things to stabilise for now.>
Or, is there another course that you feel would be more beneficial? And, if you are recommending the same course, should the two meds be administered at the same time or one in the morning and one at night?
<Shouldn't make any difference when in the day you dose. But do follow the instructions on the packet.>
Will slowly drop the water temp a bit to 75 degrees and am off to purchase a water hardness kit today.
<Cool. If you have hard water, you probably know, because the kettle furs up and the washing machine needs water softener, like Calgon, added to each load. If you have a domestic water softener, don't use that water in the
tank, but rather the unsoftened water from the drinking water tap (it's usually recommended you don't drink softened water).>
So grateful for your advice!!
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
Thank you. I do not have high hopes after seeing what happened to platy #1 with the cotton mouth, it looked like a very painful ailment.
<Certainly stressful.>
And, platy #3 is already having a hard time eating, if he is even eating at all.
<Wouldn't push it. Fish can go a couple of weeks without food, no problems.
Much better to focus on water quality.>
I will add the cucumber and will wait and see with my fingers crossed.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
This is silly but...
1. Should I peel the cucumber (I am thinking yes) or do they like the peel?
<Makes no odds.>
2. should I anchor it to something or let it float?
<I use lead weights to hold it down. But Platies will peck at floating cucumber, too.>
3. how often do ADFs need to eat? Should I be feeding them daily or a couple of times per week?
<"A little, but often" is a good approach. Daily if you want, but not too much, and their bellies should be gently convex, never swollen.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
BioMax is the ceramic rings layer in Hagan's AquaClear Power Filter (top layer) and also Fluval.
<Would seem to be the case. Thank you.>
I'm glad I got a chance to write because I wanted to offer you what our NASCAR drivers often take in times of stress:
<Yikes! Sometimes I need the industrial strength alternative though... there are only so many sick Bettas a guy can read about without needing a (very) stiff drink.>
It'll make you an honorary Southerner.
<My mom, Chicago girl that she was, would be horrified at the thought. But the sentiment is much appreciated!>
Charlotte, NC
<Take care, and thanks for writing! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
Once again thank you. You are a wonderful source of information, as is WWM!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. -- 02/25/10
Dear Neale,
<Hello again Diana,>
Well, just when I thought I had gotten everything squared away...here I am asking for your help once again.
As promised I purchased a water hardness kit today, and I am glad I did!
And, after reading the results I am beginning to see where things started to go terribly wrong (above and beyond having too many fish in my tank which I now know was the heart of my problem).
My temp is 75 degrees, ph is 7.2, ammonia and nitrite still 0, GH is 196.9 and the KH is off the chart!
<In itself, hard water isn't bad. Hard water fish -- such as livebearers, Rainbowfish and shell-dwelling cichlids -- will love this "liquid rock". On the other hand, there are soft water fish -- like Neons and Rasboras -- that wouldn't like it at all. Here in Southern England liquid rock just like this is very common, and not an impediment to successful fishkeeping.
But you do need to be careful about what fish you choose.>
And when I say off the chart I mean it - the highest the chart measures is 12 drops of solution to change the water from green to yellow. It took 28 drops for me to accomplish the color change with my sample of tank water.
I tested my tap water and it turned in 3 drops - 53.7.
<Okay, so while your tap water is fairly soft, your aquarium water has been much hardened. This would mean you've added something to the water in the tank. On the whole I recommend against that unless you know precisely what you're doing and why. If your tap water is soft, it's best to choose fish that like soft water, and simply do regular water changes (25% weekly is fine) and largely ignore water chemistry. It really depends on what sort of fishkeeping you want to do. If you just want a tank of pretty fish for minimal effort, then test your tap water, determine whether it's hard or soft water, and then choose either hard or soft water species. If you want to keep specific types of fish, perhaps because you want to breed them, then you may need to adjust the water chemistry to match the requirements of that species. That's usually harder work, so something most hobbyists are better off avoiding.>
So I started thinking about what could be in that tank to cause such a situation when I remembered that a while back I asked my fish guy why all of my snails had thin shells with holes in them - he suggested low calcium in the water and gave me some crushed coral to put in the tank. It was not long after that I started losing my snails, then my algae eater, then my 2 Platies.
<If you mess about with water chemistry, and don't fully understand what you're doing, it is possible to stress or kill your livestock.>
I have picked out as much of the coral that I can find and will continue to remove any pieces that pop up during future cleanings.
Additionally, I have been using Neutral Regulator to condition my water (again as instructed by my fish guy - rather my ex fish guy), which has been keeping my ph in the 7.0 range - not knowing then as I do now that my fish prefer a higher ph.
<Now, this is where the wheels come off the wagon. It's actually quite difficult to create an aquarium that's all things to all fish. Much better is to choose fish that match the water chemistry of your tap water, and therefore avoid having to add anything to the tap water other than water conditioner (I will remind you and other readers to avoid using water from a domestic water softener because of its rather odd water chemistry).>
My question is this, what do I do now to get my water hardness squared away in my tank.
<I'd do two things. Well, three really. First is establish your local tap water chemistry. If I read your message right, your tap water has fairly low General Hardness and Carbonate Hardness; see the charts on the linked page to compare your readings against these descriptions:
If you have water that isn't too hard, anything from "soft" to "moderately/slightly hard" then you can keep a wide range of species including tetras, barbs, loaches, South American cichlids, gouramis and catfish. If the water is "hard" or "very hard", then you're better off with livebearers, goldfish, Rainbowfish, Malawian cichlids, Central American cichlids, Tanganyikan cichlids, and "critters" such as frogs, shrimps, and snails.>
I have found a lovely new aquarium supply store who has sent me home with the following:
Water conditioner with no ph corrector ("Superbac")
African Cichlid Conditioner ("Nutrafin")
<The first product is useful, though no more or less so than any other water conditioner. All you want from water conditioner is that it removes chlorine, Chloramine, copper, and ideally ammonia (from agricultural run-off rather than your fish). Not really sure why you need African cichlid conditioner since you're not keeping any African cichlids, are you?>
How do I proceed with increasing water hardness and ph without shocking the %#$@ out of my tank. And, do I need to increase both KH and GH?
<Go slowly. Do 25% water changes once a week, and let the water chemistry change that way. After a month, the tank should essentially have the same water chemistry as your tap water. Since this is fairly soft, that's ideal for soft water fish. I'd rehome the Platy and the frog if at all possible, since neither is likely to do well in soft water. Both prefer hard water.
If you explain to the nice man at the new pet store what the situation is, it may well be that you'd be able to swap these chaps for something appropriate to a soft water aquarium, like half a dozen Neons.>
Also since my tank holds 1 platy and 2 ADFs what should my water hardness and ph be to make both kinds of creatures happy.
<Now this is the tricky bit. To keep Platies happy, you need moderately hard water, let's say about 10 degrees dH (178 mg/l calcium carbonate) with a pH around 7.5. If your tap water is substantially below that, Platies simply won't thrive.>
Last but not least I have purchased flaked Spirulina to feed my platy and some moss to attach to a piece of bog wood that I going to add to the tank (have boiled it for hours and have been soaking it for weeks to try to get rid of the tannin). I saw on WWM that my platy might enjoy snacking on the moss and I know my frogs will love having the hiding place.
<Certainly the frog will enjoy the hidey-hole. As for the Platy, the Spirulina will certainly be appreciated, and they do like eating the algae and detritus that accumulates in moss.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
PS I explained to my new fish guy the tank struggles I have had recently.
You should have seen his face when I told him that I am going about rectifying this latest round of illness by stabilizing the tank and improving my water quality rather than medicating the tank to death. It was as if someone finally got it - then he gave me two thumbs up and a high five. Thank you for your support!!
<Sounds like you've made a new friend there! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.   2/28/10
Good morning Neale,
<Good evening Diana,>
I wish I were writing with better news but I am not.
<Oh dear.>
My lone male platy is showing no signs of improvement and is in fact slowly getting worse.
<I see.>
Like the first platy to die this one's mouth is becoming increasingly infected and is virtually disintegrating day by day.
<This is likely Columnaris, what is sometimes called Mouth Fungus. It's notoriously difficult to shift once severe, but should respond to Finrot treatments early on. Is the Platy by itself or with other Platies? I can't remember. If it is, or with other livebearers, salt can significantly slow down the progress of this infection, allowing medications to work in time.
Up to 10 ppt (10 grammes per litre) is recommended and widely used on fish farms where tilapia are being reared, but I'd go with half that for now.
Anyway, you do need non-iodised salt, but apart from that restriction, even cooking salt will do. Raise the salinity slowly, across a few hours. How much to add? Work out the capacity of your tank in litres. Let's say it's a 100 litre aquarium. Make up a jug of warm water with 6 grammes per litres, i.e., 100 x 6 g = 600 g for the 100 litre aquarium. Over the course of the day, dribble in some of this brine a bit at a time, maybe 10-15% at a time, with about an hour in between. By the time you're done, you'll have added all the salt you needed. This will be pretty gentle on both fish and filter.>
He has not eaten since we started this conversation (week or so). He constantly trolls the surface of the water as if he is looking for food. I have offered cucumber, lettuce and Spirulina but I just don't think he is able to nibble or swallow anything. In fact, I am not sure he can even move his mouth any longer.
<May well be the case. After treatment should improve, if the bacterial infection goes away.>
Is it kind at this point to continue to wait and see?
Sadly I am feeling that he is too far gone to recover.
<Hard to say from the photo you've sent me... too small. But if you can see the bones of the mouthparts, yes, it's probably fair to say this isn't likely to heal.>
Water parameters are stable, temp 74 degrees, Ph is 7.4, ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, GH 5, KH 23, performing 25% water changes bi-weekly, no salt.
<Carbonate hardness is really 23 degrees KH? Or 23 mg/l? If the latter, that's VERY low, if the former, that VERY high.>
My frogs are loving the bog wood but it is growing slime, which I know from your website is not dangerous just unsightly.
<Yes, and largely inevitable if the wood hasn't been cured properly. Fungi break down the remaining organic matter. Eventually clears up. Fungus is off-white to grey threads, very different to the blue-green algae that form coloured (green, blue, red, black) slimes.>
I am trying my best to vacuum the slime off when I change the water but it isn't very effective. I am frustrated about this condition as I boiled the wood for over 6 hours and soaked it for over a week.
<Seriously, it takes at least 6 months to cure wood, so sticking freshly cut wood into an aquarium always produces slime. Wood sold in aquarium shops should be fully cured: if it isn't, I'd take it back.>
However, within days of wrapping it with the moss and placing it in the tank - slime. Will this slime eventually stop
or should I remove it, cure it some more (perhaps in the tank of my toilet), reattach the moss then replace it in the tank?
<Could do this too. But until the organic matter is consumed, fungus will keep coming back. If blue-green algae, that's something else entirely, and caused by other things, typically slow water movement and direct sunlight, coupled with high nitrate levels.>
I hope you are enjoying your weekend.
<So far, so good!>
We are having a glorious day and a nice break from the rain here in San Francisco.
<Making me jealous. It's freezing cold, grey, and wet here in England.>
<Cheers indeed, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.   2/28/10
I have a 10 gallon tank. My platy is the sole surviving fish but shares the tank with a number of plants and 2 ADFs.
<The frogs WILL NOT tolerate the salt. So this isn't an option without moving them someplace else.>
I will do conversion for salt. Should I leave the frogs in the tank?
The plants?
<They will be fine.>
Or, should I set up a hospital tank (it would be un cycled)
<Good money after bad, to be honest. Better to save your pennies for a 20 gallon tank, which is the minimum I recommend for casual (i.e., easy) fishkeeping, and reserve the 10 gallon tank for hospital/quarantine purposes.>
Should I increase temp a bit or leave it at 74 degrees?
<Leave as is.>
KH is 23 degrees due to coral that was in the tank. Has since been removed and I am hoping it will Decrease over time with water changes. Tap KH is 8 degrees.
<The latter is much better, healthier.>
Thanks again. Have a nice evening.
<You too.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.   2/28/10
I don't have anywhere to move my frogs other than a 5 gallon tank that I already own which would have to be set up from scratch for them to live in for the time being (I suppose I could fill it 1/2 way with water from their existing tank which would leave each tank with about 2.5 gal).
<A 5-gallon tank would, for the short term, do for a couple of Dwarf Frogs.
Mature the tank "instantly" by using some of the biological media from the existing aquarium in the filter you place in the 5-gallon tank.>
As an alternative can I treat the platy with the fin rot meds and no salt without removing the frogs?
<Absolutely. All the salt does is slow the bacteria down, making treatment easier. It isn't by any means essential. But do choose a medication that treats Columnaris, and ideally one that treats Fungus and Finrot too, to avoid problems with misdiagnosis (the three diseases often looking very similar). Among US aquarists, Seachem KanaPlex has a good reputation in this regard. Don't get mislead into buying tea-tree oil medications that purport to treat all these diseases, as such products are too unreliable.
Do remember to remove carbon, if used, from the filter while medicating.
Almost bedtime here in England, so signing off for now Diana. So good luck!
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.   2/28/10
Thank you Neal. One last quickie. If I move the frogs do you suggest I use some of the current tank water plus filter from tank or new water treated for chlorine and biological material from the tank filter.
<The bacteria are in the filter media. Moving mature media from an old tank to a new tank is a good idea. Water itself carries little in the way of bacteria, so is neither here nor there. It's a fine idea to put some old water in the new tank simply to moderate any water chemistry changes (if you think such things probable) but in terms of water quality (i.e., ammonia and nitrite levels) "old" water has little impact.>
Sent from my iPhone
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.   2/28/10
Thanks Neale. Good night.
<It was indeed! Thanks, Neale.>
Re: African clawed frogs...   2/28/10
Neale, Just wanted to thank you for helping me get through my cycling drama.
<You are most welcome.>
My clawed frogs are happily swimming in a cycled 20 gallon low. They are spoiled with a diet of earthworms, frozen bloodworms, ghost shrimp, feeder guppies,
<Would avoid these "parasite bombs".>
super worms and crickets. I usually take one or two days off a week from feeding if I see their bellies bulging.
<Are these Xenopus frogs? These are VERY easy to overfeed, and it's often recommended they are fed just 2-3 times per week.>
Just added a nice little clump of hornwort last week for them also.
Anyway, my question is about my new 20 gallon low which is currently fishless cycling. I have read your article and many FAQ about African dwarf frogs and was wondering about a few more options as to tankmates. I am adding 2 dwarf frogs, 5-6 Danios, and 5-6 small Corys (Green or Bronze?).
<Xenopus frogs are (VERY) predatory and prefer cool water, so are best kept alone. Hymenochirus are tiny little things and can be kept with small, gentle fish like Kuhli loaches and Hatchetfish that wouldn't steal food or nip them as the frogs swum to the surface. But generally with amphibians, the best advice is keep them ALONE.>
Do you think I have room for a few more colorful hardy midwater fish? I was going to keep the water temperature around 78 degrees.
<Much too warm for Xenopus laevis. In most cases, these frogs do best at room temperature. Xenopus tropicalis needs tropical temperatures, but it's not sold in the pet trade so far as I know, so unless you bought your frogs from a lab supplier, you can safely assume they're Xenopus laevis.>
Appreciate all suggestions. Thanks again, Alex
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.   3/1/10
Good morning Neale,
<So far, at least!>
While you were sleeping here is the plan of action I have put into effect:
Moved my frogs into their vacation home along with the filter material, bog wood and ferns that were planted on rock rather than in the sand
<Very good.>
Added 18 teaspoons of salt over several hours to the platy tank (according to WWM 6 gm.s = 1 teaspoon, 5 gallons = 18.95 liters - god I hope I calculated that right, because it seems like an awful lot!)
<It's the right amount. Do look at my Brack Calc application if you're concerned or want to convert into US units.
Normal seawater has 35 grammes per litre, or, 4.75 ounces per US gallon. So yes, seawater contains a lot of salt, about 22 teaspoons if I've done the maths right.>
Started phase 1 of a 4 phase dosing schedule with EM Erythromycin which states is for treatment of fin & tail rot, open red sores, mouth fungus (cotton mouth), bacterial gill disease and hemorrhagic septicemia. Dose is 100mg per 5 gallons.
<Sounds about right.>
Frogs look happy and dare I say platy looks happy...swimming, not hiding.
<Although Platies aren't normally found in brackish water in the wild, their tolerance for brackish water is considerable, and it does have a "tonic" effect on them. Old school fishkeeping often recommended keeping livebearers in slightly brackish water for precisely this reason, and while not essential, if you're having problems with them, adding a little salt can pep them up just enough to get through the bad times. Brackish water effectively stops Velvet and Ick too, and reduces problems like Fungus and Slime Disease, so within reason, it's quite a good way to keep fish, if they'll tolerate the salinity. Unfortunately, most freshwater fish won't, at least not indefinitely.>
I will let you know how everyone is doing. Hope you had sweet dreams.
<Weird dreams, actually. For some reason I was leading an army of ghouls fighting some sort of dragon thing. That'll teach me to read H P Lovecraft at bedtime, I suppose!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. -- 3/3/10
Good morning Neale,
<Hello again, Diana,>
I just wanted to update you on my platy and frogs who are all doing remarkably well. The frogs seem MUCH happier in their temporary home.
Their color has returned to a darker brown, they are hanging about rather than hiding and the male has been acting very, shall we say, romantic towards his lady friend - which I have not seen for quite some time. While I started their tank out from straight treated tap water and a bit of transferred biological media they seem to be thriving once again.
My platy, also, is making vast improvements. He is swimming and attempting to eat. I have been watching him closely and have witnessed a few tiny bits of food make it through his swollen little gullet. I am on dose 2 of a 4 dose treatment so I am halfway through, but feeling very optimistic.
<I'm glad to hear all of this.>
Which leads me to my next question. Now that I have removed most of the plants and bog wood into the temporary frog tank I see that my platy tank is a dirty mess! Once my platy has recovered is there a "healthy way" to give his tank a serious spring cleaning before moving the frogs back to their permanent home?
<Sure. The best approach is to separate cleaning the tank from cleaning filter. Leave at least a week between the two. In other words, do your best to keep the filter running while cleaning the tank. If you have a filter that can be removed to a bucket of water and then restarted there, with the bucket filled with water from the aquarium, then that's a great way to do things. Internal canister filters for example are breeze to manage like this. External canisters can be handled like this too, simply by switching them off, moving the inlet and outlet pipes into the bucket of aquarium water, and then switching them on. Hang-on-the-back and undergravel filters can't be moved about like this though. So if you have these filters, leave the tank more or less filled with water, but remove the rocks, gravel, etc to a sink or bucket where you can clean them. When you're happy, move all this stuff back to the tank. The water will likely get a bit murky, so a water change afterwards will likely be necessary, but don't get too paranoid about this, and it's fine to change 25-50% of the water if you need to.>
I was thinking I could temporarily move the platy to the smaller tank that currently has the frogs, bio filter media and plants for a day or two while I remove the medicated and salty water (which the frogs won't tolerate), give the sand a good vacuum, scrub all the algae off the sides, clean the filter housing and heater which are both caked from minerals and yuck and fill it back up with clean treated water.
<Actually, this would all be overkill and a bit of waste of time. The problem is that there's nothing you can "kill" this way in any meaningful sense. An aquarium is like a garden, so while you can certainly tidy it up, you can't sterilise it. Stirring sand is not only pointless but a bit counterproductive, since settled sand actually becomes a quite efficient biological filter (in marine fishkeeping, called a Deep Sand Bed). So, concentrate on tidying rocks and stuff, and if the water is murky, do some water changes. Boosting mechanical filtration by adding mechanical filter media (like filter wool) will help water become clearer than ever.>
After letting the tank run a bit with a carbon filter to mop up whatever medication is left in the tank I would move the filter media, plants, platy and frogs back. Would this be too much or a much needed change?
<I think overkill. Think of what "the wild" looks like, and that's your aim. Tidying up is fine, but a deep clean doesn't make much sense, especially if that would entail switching off a filter for more than 20 minutes, after which point the bacteria start dying. Always better to clean the tank in little increments every couple of weeks with everything running normally. Trying to have a massive blitz isn't a good idea.>
Thanks and have a lovely day,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. 3/3/10
Thanks Neale. I am guessing that the best way to reduce the salinity of the tank water is slowly through 25% water changes.
Certainly need to remove the salt before returning the frogs.
How long post treatment should I wait before doing this?
<I'd expose fish infected with Ick, Velvet or Costia (Slime Disease) to saline water for at least a week, and preferably two weeks. After then, you should be fine.>
Your friend,
<Who needs Facebook!>
<You are most welcome. Always glad to help! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.  3/7/2010
Good morning Neale and happy Sunday.
<Sunday's almost finished, but thanks!>
Everyone is still doing well in their tanks. Frogs are happy in their temporary tank, platy is recovering in his tank. In fact, I gave him frozen brine shrimp yesterday and he went nuts!! He is once again able to eat and was zipping around the tank chasing the shrimp through the water gulping them down.
The Spirulina flakes are still hard for him to get down.
<With time...>
I have now completed one full course (4 days) of the antibiotic, and while the platy has made huge strides his mouth is still not fully healed and continues to be a bit rough around edges and his lips a tad swollen making it hard for him to nibble. The instructions on the box of medicine instruct that that the treatment can be repeated. Do you think that this would be beneficial?
<I'd wait maybe 5 days, and see if the fish was showing signs of recovery.
If he was, I'd leave things be. If the situation is no better, or worse, then I'd do the second treatment.>
Current water readings are:
Platy tank (5 gal)
Temp 74
KH 11
GH 6
Ph 7.8
Nit 0
Ammo 0
<All good.>
Frog tank (2.5 gal)
Temp 74-78 depending on time of day
KH 9
GH 6
Ph 7.8
Nit 0
Ammo 0.25 (water change scheduled for today)
<Good; the ammonia level there might cause problems. Cut back on the feeding in the meanwhile.>
Have a lovely day,
<Thank you! I'm actually looking forward to tonight: unusually for England, we have clear skies, and that makes I can set up the telescope and check out Mars. Last night it was amazing! Cheers, Neale>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
Thanks again. Funny question, but do you ever use unmedicated, unsalted water from your water changes to water plants?
<All the time. Saves a fortune on Baby Bio! And my garden looks lovely.
Also good for pot plants (by which I mean houseplants in pots, rather than, well, pot pot).>
Seems like such a waste to dump it down the drain on a weekly basis if I could be using it on my back porch garden instead.
<Absolutely! The water you remove from the aquarium is rich in nitrate and phosphate.>
Enjoy the night sky.
<I will!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white.
Wonderful news!!
<Well, that's good. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF recovering from near death  2/6/10
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
I've had ADF since December 23rd. Here's the story...probably far more info than you want, but I have read the kinds of questions you ask people in your pages, and tried to provide full info.
I inherited 2 ADFs given to my nephew for Christmas after his parents decided he wasn't fit to have a pet. All my experience was with aquatic reptiles, including rehab animals, but not with aquarium conditions for fish or amphibians. They gave me the 2 frogs and a mystery snail in a 5.5g tank, gravel substrate, and a smooth edge ornament hiding place, with an inadequate heater, and no filtration. I returned home after the holidays, after a ten hour ride with the aquarium (4 days after frogs left the aquarium store), and the next day I got them a heater that could keep temp at 76-78F, and a filtration system. I changed out the substrate to sand and purchased frozen bloodworms. Both frogs would eat if offered the worms on tongs, but were still adjusting to all the stress and typically made appearances to surface, but mostly were cautious.
Over the next three weeks, I did 25% water changes every 5-7 days, and kept testing for ammonia. Obviously the situation wasn't optimum since I was starting with an uncycled tank, but I was very careful about keeping leftover food out of the tank, etc. I did a lot of reading on your pages, most especially Neale Monk's ADF info. I wanted to switch the frogs to a bigger tank after all I read, but didn't want to start the cycle process all over. During this time, I made two errors: I regularly used anti-ammonia products in addition to my water changes, and swapped my filter's charcoal for Zeolite due to same concerns. In doing so, I now realize I may have slowed down some of the natural cycling. I was still only getting ammonia readings but no nitrite or nitrate response yet. I also got two Cory catfish at four weeks, after reading a variety of opinions on fish/no fish on the page. That was the real mistake, because in addition to eating the small pieces algae tablet that I fed the snail, they ate the frogs' worms too - both the frozen bloodworms and the live Blackworms I added to their diet. They also stressed out the frogs, who became more reluctant to eat - which just made it more likely for the fish to eat the worms first. And finally, I saw the fish "nibble" on the back of the frogs a few times.
<All agreed with thus far>
At five weeks, crisis set in - about a week after getting fish. That evening I noticed that my smaller frog - the one that never seemed to eat - had a grey/white patch on its back. It was not fuzzy or thready, but the fast appearance made me consider fungus. Since the fish had nibbled on the frog's back at some point, and since I was still going through the ammonia issues as the tank cycled, I assumed there was an underlying bacterial infection and the fungus was opportunistic. I planned to go to the store the next day to buy Maracyn Two (for the potential infection) and MarOxy (for the potential fungus), per the info I read on your pages. The next morning, the frog was on his back on the bottom of the tank. Since I would be making a hospital tank, I took both the frogs out into a holding tank with fresh (dechlorinated) water, hoping to give them a little relief from any ammonia that was adding to the stress. By the time I came home from the store, BOTH frogs were on their backs. In addition to the medicine, I had bought a 20 gallon tank with appropriate heater and filter and took some of the media from the first tank to hopefully get the new one going faster. I figured if I had to put them in a different tank, I might as well take advantage of the situation and get them a large one. I left out the charcoal filter in the new tank, so it wouldn't neutralize any medicine. I also put in several aeration sources since the frogs were too weak to surface and would need to make sure to get all oxygen via their skin.
Day One: Did first day of five day cycle of Maracyn Two. Both frogs were alive, but still on backs the next morning. Had begun to move a little from place to place. Unable to surface (obviously).
Day Two: Continued Maracyn Two. Did first day of five day cycle of Mar Oxy (figured I'd give the antibiotics a head start). I spaced out the medicine by several hours, so they wouldn't hit all at once. I flipped over frogs
carefully (if only to make myself feel better!) and both frogs were still moving around a little. I was concerned that they would really have a hard time surfacing in the big tank (not that they had tried yet), and hung one of those mesh enclosures for baby fish on the side of the tank and put them there. That way they would only have to go a couple inches to the surface instead of a foot. At around midnight, I realized the bigger frog (the one WITHOUT the white/grey patch) hadn't moved in hours. He did not respond to any stimuli and so I realized he died. I decided that if the frogs were going to die, the little one could go back to the bottom of the aquarium for his last night instead of being suspended in the mesh holder.
Day Three: Frog still alive! Continued medicine. Frog tried to surface on occasion, landing on his back and unable to flip over. I would flip him over if I saw him on his back.
Day Four: Frog was able to surface by riding the bubbles to get a start.
Only landed on his back once all day.
Day Five: Last day of Maracyn Two. Frog able to swim to surface without "cheating." I did not feed the frogs once they got sick, because I didn't want the food to rot in their guts. I decided that if they lived, I would give food once they were able to surface, so that night I gave the  surviving frog two bloodworms - the next morning there was only one and I saw no sign of the missing worm any place else.
Day Six: Last day of Mar-Oxy. At the end of the day, I did a 25% water change out, and put in the carbon filter to neutralize any medication. I gave him three bloodworms and one was missing in the morning.
"Day Six" was four days ago. The remaining frog is still looking strong.
He surfaces with ease, may float for a few seconds and then drift back down to the bottom. He moves around his tank - very cautiously of course, because after all that has been done to him, he would understandably be skittish.
I've attached a picture of his 20 gal. tank, and the frog. I've put a live blackworm in the aquarium two days ago, and he didn't touch it - even if I tried putting right near him with my tongs. Actually, I can't say I've ever witnessed this frog eat a live worm - although the frog that died ate them regularly until right before he got sick. Last night, I put him in the mesh enclosure for a couple hours suspended in the water, and gave put in many thawed bloodworms, and some thawed brine shrimp. (I wanted to make sure I was able to remove all the food after feeding him, which was why I used the mesh enclosure). I turned down the living area lights and left him like that for a few hours; but I don't know if he ate anything.
1) The gray/white area is still on the back of the frog. I've circled it in the picture, although the cell phone pic is fuzzy (unlike the frog's skin, which is NOT fuzzy). I am wondering if I need to be concerned, since the medicines have seemingly made a vast improvement in the frog. I'm wondering if this is akin to scarring and will go away?
<I do think the latter>
Or whether I should be treating him some more? I haven't seen him shed since the first few weeks I got him.
<I would hold off on further medication for now>
2) I have rarely seen this frog eat since I got him. I'm assuming that he would not have survived six weeks, and survived near death, if he never ate anything...would he?
<Not likely, no>
But sometimes I wonder. He moves strongly, but obviously does NOT have a rounded belly. I've tried live and frozen foods, and he just seems generally disinterested in eating - which tells me that everything is not really 100% with the frog.
<These "things" take time>
3) So I'm actually cycling two tanks now - the small one where the two Corys and the snail are still thriving, and the big tank with one frog. I'm keeping up with a 25% water change in the tanks once a week, and a 10% change mid-way through the week, to keep the water chemistry non-toxic during the cycling, instead of using chemicals to try to eliminate ammonia.
The original small tank has not stopped producing ammonia, but has just started producing some nitrites/nitrates for the first time. So I guess things are moving in the right direction. The frog tank is only producing small amounts of ammonia so far - no spikes and no nitrites or nitrates yet.
I did add "Turbo-Start" by Fritz to both tanks (bacteria) in the hopes that this will move things along. My question about the tanks is: does one frog that is barely eating make enough impact on his tank to get the cycling process going?
<It does, yes>
4) It seems that everything is a potential stress for the frog, and so I wanted help prioritizing. Obviously clean water and good health are number one. But at what point do I consider adding a second frog (or two more frogs) to the 20 gal tank, to establish the important "community" that these animals seem to require?
<Perhaps in a month or so>
How much stress am I causing my frog by letting him be the "only child?"
<Not much>
If he continues to appear to be strong, should I assume that he won't infect other animals?
<Correct. If the new animals are healthy, the system viable, all should be well>
The original frogs were bought from an aquarium specialist (not a "pet store") in Massachusetts, so I'd have to investigate a reputable place to get ADF in the Baltimore area.
Thanks for any guidance you can give me. Please don't feel like you have to put this ridiculously long email on your WetWebMedia website - but if someone could give me some solid input, it would be appreciated.
Mimi Hatch
<Life to you Mimi. Bob Fenner>
Re: ADF recovering from near death   2/6/10
Thanks Bob,
I've read and re-read all the info available through the site...had I not, I would have certainly had two dead frogs. At this point, it seemed that things were on the right course, and you have validated that I just need to be patient and let the recovery continue, and be vigilant about maintaining a good environment for ADF.
<Yes, good>
Thanks for all the great resources the website provides, and for answering my specific concerns & questions.
<Thank you my/our friend. BobF>

Need some advise <advice>. Hymenochirus... sys., hlth., reading  1/9/10
I just bought 2 African frogs 1 albino the other a dwarf I put them in a 1 gallon tank.
<... heated, filtered? This system is unsuitable.>
I'm not sure if they like it or even if they like each other. I looked at my albino and he seems 2 have a dark arm and when he swims he doesn't use his arm is he injured?
<It may be>
He didn't seem 2 have it when I purchased him. Is he going 2 be ok? Its my first time having frogs and I'm extremely illiterate when it comes 2 amphibians
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked ADF files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Need some advise
Yes I was assuming that it wasn't suitable. No neither a heater nor filter.
I'm horrible I know I just know that they caught my attention when I first caught sight of them and I asked my mom if she could buy them for me.
<Perhaps some "payment for services" can be arranged...? Your aiding her in household tasks>
She did but she didn't do any research on the amphibians so she bought me the tank a different date than frogs and the only things she got accurate was the food but I do have the tank next to a heater; I rotate the tank at least every 15 minutes
its not a persistent heater it shuts off when it reaches the temperature that's its programmed to. But its still not suffice for the frog I'm actually going to go to the pet shop to get it in a proper environment and life style...
Thank you for ur advise but I do have 2 more question: How long am I to wait to see if he heals up before I decided to take action? Should I wait to see if he naturally heals?
<I would, yes. These animals are "very tough", given proper environmental conditions and nutrition. BobF>
Re: Need some advise
Huh? Aiding him how?
<... aiding your mum...>
 What household tasks is he achieving (because I'm rotating the tank continuously)?
<I would not rotate the tank>
Oh I wanted to also know can I physically touch him without any protection without causing neither of us physical pain/ irritation?
<Nor touch these... Please read where you were referred. B>
Re: Need some advise
Oh ok thanks again
<Welcome! B>

Re: Need some advise, ADFs    1/10/10
I'm trying to purchase gloves so I can handle them
<... don't handle them. B>
and what not can I buy latex gloves?

Re: Need some advise   1/11/10
:( they died... I don't know what I did incorrectly
<... did you read where you were directed? B> 
No my mom bought them for me and brought them down 2 where I live ( about an hour away). She didn't tell me any thing about them. I did as much research about them as possible.

Question on African Dwarf Frogs -- 11/23/09
I have decided that I will not be trying my hand at raising frogs for awhile; however, the store I work at is still carrying them and we have lost 3 more in the past few days, 1 today.
<Oh dear!>
I have tried telling the owner that they are too cold, but he just brushes it off and does not seem to care that they are starving and cold (they only feed the poor little guys pellets 2 times per week).
I do not know how I can get through to him that this is animal cruelty.
<May well be laws applicable in your city, state or country. Making the owner aware of any transgressions could reinforce what you're trying to do.>
I am not sure if you have any ideas since your website is mostly about how to care for frogs, but perhaps you can think of another angle I could use to make him understand.
<People who don't care about animals can generally be motivated by two things: laws and profits. Of these, profits are the easiest thing. If the frogs don't sell, and the stock purchased for them gathers dust, then the
store owner won't have an incentive to order in more. While "rescuing" animals is something we all want to do, store owners don't see a difference between animals that were rescued and animals that were sold. So sad as it is, letting the animals die so the store owner doesn't buy any more is, grim as it seems, often the most productive way to teach the lesson.>
It is just not worth the $15 profit to endanger these animals further.
<I'd agree.>
BTW, I contacted the company this morning and let them know that their shipping practices killed 6 animals. Let's just say they were less than thrilled that I was angry.
<I'm sorry to hear this. Bob certainly, and myself to a much smaller degree, work with companies in the pet trade that treat their animals well and help create what is an educational as well as pleasurable hobby. But
there are a few businesses out there that clearly don't care all that much about animals or, to be honest, their clients.>
Thank you in advance for any advice you, or your colleagues, may have.
<Bob may have more wisdom here. I'm afraid I really can't think of anything constructive beyond what we've already discussed.>
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
<Not a huge event here in England for perhaps obvious reasons, but certainly, you have a good Thanksgiving yourself! Cheers, Neale.>

Young albino frog... ID, hlth.  9/10/09
Hi I recently added some small albino frogs with my large frog .
<When you say "small frogs" and "large frogs" do you mean different species? I mention this for two reasons. The big species is (usually) Xenopus laevis, a subtropical species. The smaller species are Hymenochirus spp., and these need tropical conditions. So right from the get-go you have different temperature requirements: around 18-20 C for the Xenopus, and around 25 C for the Hymenochirus. Keep one too warm, or the other too cold, and you're going to cause problems. Secondly, Xenopus is an opportunistic predator, and it can, and will, eat Hymenochirus given half a chance. Do see here:
One of the small frogs has what looks like a air bubble come up on his leg.
<If it's still there some hours later, I'd be very concerned. Likely physical damage and some type of bacterial infection; treat with a suitable antibiotic. If there's a specialist pet reptile shop in your neighbourhood, then ask for help choosing a medication there. Otherwise, consult your vet.>
He looks and acts fine. Is this something bad?
<Potentially yes, very.>
Thank you Bonnie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Young albino frog 9/11/09
Thank you for the info. Sorry I didn't say the frogs are the same species.
I will check with the pet store for medicine. The web site is great I printed it for farther information. Bonnie
<Glad to have helped. Good luck, Neale.>

A floating frog Issue, reading 9/1/2009
For the past few days my male African Dwarf Frog has been floating on the top of his ~1 gallon enclosure.
<Ahh, this system is too small to be of use... too unstable due to low volume>
The enclosure Itself Is a "critter keeper," and I realize a gallon Isn't quite big enough for the pair (I have a male and female which I have had for about two months now), but I hastily bought these since their original cube container was less than half that size and I felt I needed something quick to hold them over until I could get something better. They used to have a snail buddy, but he died and/or was eaten.
They also have a live bamboo shoot
<This might be toxic>
In the tank, as well as a fake plastic plant and the smallest turtle log I could find for them to hide
under. I was trying to fatten up my sister's frogs (my mother forgot to feed them when my sister went away for college) with some tasty freeze dried brine shrimp
<Artemia are not a good steady diet>
a few days ago, which I submersed In water for a few minutes prior to feeding so that they would get re-hydrated. I mention this because once I poured that Into my sister's frogs' tank, It looked like a lot more than they could safely eat, I worried about over feeding and/or the mess of left-over food. So I did scoop a fairs bit of that out of that tank, and gave It to my frogs, who had already been fed their pelleted food (food that I bought with them, Miniature EcoAquarIum brand I would suppose).
Looking at my male frog now, I see that his stomach Is swollen. I searched online and found pictures of bloat and dropsy, but this looks nothing like that. It Is not a general fluid swelling, It Is a localized swelling of his actual little stomach. This Is If I am right In Identifying the stomach of course, the swelling Is on his left side.
He floats against his own will, and he Is tilted with his left side slightly higher than his right so I am fairly sure that the buoyancy Is coming from the stomach. He can latch onto the gravel If he tries hard enough, but he usually has to fight to visit the bottom and then gives up and floats back up.
I have quarantined him from the female (I cleaned their enclosure, they are now both In separate, smaller, containers), who shows no signs of Illness.
I do not know If he Is eating, but I put two pellets of food In a dish for him so that I may observe that.
I am worried about either a gas build up (do frogs burp?)
<Can do>
or some sort of blockage going on. Or If It Is something else, because I could find no account similar to his own on the Internet.
Also, he hasn't sung for a while, which he usually does every night,
<Really? Is this Hymenochirus?>
unless It's the weekend and he's mad he's not getting enough (In his mind) food. I usually feed them a pinch of the frog food pellets (8-10 Individual pellets) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I have freeze
dried brine shrimp and meal worms that I give on a random basis as treats (and because I don't quite know what Is In those pellets, I want to switch to HBH frog and tadpole bites as soon as my supply Is used up).
I do check water quality, since I have no filter. My tap water I tested, and while Its values seem perfect, I stay on the safe side and use only spring water for them.
<Not usually a good idea...>
The test strips I have now test Nitrate, Nitrite, Hardness, Alkalinity/Buffering Capacity, and pH.
Before I dumped the old water, I tested It and the only ones that stood out were the Hardness, which was slightly above moderate (It looked between the color of the 120ppm example and the 250ppm example), and the pH, which I got Into my head after reading about frogs that It was preferred to have a slightly higher pH than neutral, but If that Is Incorrect the pH was 7.6-7.8. They don't have a water heater, but It
stays warm In the house and they are not near windows that could sap that away.
That about all the Information I have, other than I lowered the water level for him In the container he's In now so that he doesn't have to strain to reach the food at the bottom.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I'm very worried about my little pet, and If there's any medications I can try I'd like to know.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above. IF you Intend to keep this species, you'll need to change the system, nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Re: A floating frog Issue   9/2/09
Thank you for your prompt reply. I do understand the needs of the species (I researched them prior to deciding to get one, and have spent many hours since then, figuring out what an ideal situation would be). I'm in a moving phase here though, hence the small tanks.
<Whilst I understand and sympathise, the problem is that Mother Nature doesn't care about things like that. I just flew across the Atlantic to spend a couple weeks with my family in the US, and for the first week I was sick with a cold. I'd obviously preferred to have been fit as a fiddle during this time, but viruses, well, they just do their thing. And so it is with animals. Things like aquarium size can't really be worked around; if
you keep your frogs in a too-small habitat, your likely to be dealing with disease and stress. Hymenochirus frogs are just about viable in a 6-gallon tank, but realistically, an 8-10 gallon tank is what you want.>
I have a 10 gallon tank all lined up with filter and heater for use within the month, at which point I'll change their gravel to sand.
<Very good.>
I had only wondered if a floating condition was serious and life threatening/needing some sort of treatment.
<Difficult to say. Having looked over your original message, there's a bunch of variables there that could be causing problems: a poor diet, introduction of a non-aquatic plant (bamboo) that shouldn't be in the tank
at all, aquarium size, and the use of "spring water" by which I assume you mean bottled drinking water (pure water, whether rainwater or de-ionised water would be extremely hazardous to use).>
In any case, he's sorted himself out; I think he found a way to latch onto the gravel better and the posture of having his back legs up in the air helped the gas pass through his system better.
<Perhaps. But just because the symptoms have gone, doesn't mean the problem is fixed. Keep an open mind. Review environmental conditions and diet in particular. Think about what might be wrong with your system, and fix it. Better to prevent problems than to cure them; indeed, curing sick frogs is generally not easy, and often expensive in comparison to their purchase price.>
He is Hymenochirus, though I don't know if they're boettgeri or curtipes.
<Not really a big deal.>
It said specifically in their care sheet that came with them to give them only spring water, do you advise against that?
<Absolutely! Besides being expensive, unless you know the mineral content and pH of that water, it's hard to say if it's helpful or not. You're aiming for moderately hard water with a neutral pH. Acidic pH levels aren't helpful and potentially harmful. Avoid soft water. Check your tap water (or have your retailer test a sample). Provided it has a pH between 7 and 8, and a hardness between 10 to 20 degrees dH ("moderately hard" to "hard") then once dechlorinated, your tap water should be ideal. If you use well water, leave the water to stand for a day before testing and using it. If your city used Chloramine, use a dechlorinator that treats for this as well as chlorine. If your water contains ammonia and/or copper, you'll want to treat for those, too. Some water conditioners treat for chlorine, Chloramine, ammonia, and copper all at once, so these are the safest and best value to use.>
Would conditioned tap water be better?
<Often times, yes. Being able to do regular water changes without much expense or hassle makes frog keeping much easier.>
Thank you again :) ~Callie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Injured  8-year-old ACF     8/10/09
Attached please see a photo of my 8-year-old ACF. How do I determine if she's injured herself or has a bacterial-related lesion...does the treatment differ?
<Treatment is identical; as per Red Leg. As for the cause, this comes down to whether or not physical damage is likely (e.g., the tank has gravel rather than sand, or the frog is kept alongside fish, which often damage frogs). If physical damage isn't likely, review water quality and water chemistry. Do see here for more on care and treatment:
I've certainly disrupted her life recently. I moved her from a 10-gallon tank into a 29-gallon tank when I moved into a new house, and my friend did not want her child's goldfish anymore so the frog got a LARGE goldfish as a roommate. The fish is larger than the frog so I'm hoping they will be OK as tank-mates.
<Sometimes they work well, sometimes not so much. It isn't a recommended combination, though both should thrive at the 18 degrees C subtropical conditions Xenopus needs.>
The new tank has two pieces of decoration that are also new; a piece of driftwood and a resin tube (I thought they would provide hiding/enrichment).
<Frogs are more interested in [a] sand at the bottom of the tank, and [b] floating plants at the top. All the rest is clutter.>
Now, however, I am trying to figure out what's happened to the frog. Did she injure herself on the driftwood? Is there a bacterial issue associated with her new tank-mate?
<Well, if the tank has subtropical water that is clean and well oxygenated, a fish and frog might coexist. But the problems come when people keep either species in tanks without sufficient filtration and water changes.
Only you can answer these questions, since you haven't provided me data on temperature, ammonia, nitrite, or pH.>
Not sure what to do.
<Read the above linked article.>
I've had her for 8 years so I'd like to do what I can to help her.
<She's still quite young! Captive specimens easily live 12-15 years, and the record is something around 20 years.>
She is eating normally and doesn't seem distressed, but I imagine this could go rapidly down hill? Should I get her to an exotic vet?
<If you can, yes, a trip to the vet will be very helpful. If nothing else, call in on a vet, explain the situation, and ask whether bringing in the frog makes sense. Some vets will provide prescriptions or suggest over-the-counter treatments without seeing the animal.>
Water levels have always been pretty good - the only thing I've ever had to deal with are occasional nitrates levels a bit higher than I like, which I deal with via water change. That was in the old tank though, I admit I didn't check them in the new one. They've always been so good it didn't occur to me. I use stress coat in the water to remove
<Cheers, Neale.>

African clawed frog with blisters 7/27/2009
So I have two African clawed frogs one albino. the albino developed blisters on his snout and now its moving over his whole body now. I have found them on his toes and legs. I am at a loss, I have separated the two and really don't want to lose him do you have any ideas of what it is and how to treat him. the blister start out big red bumps then lose color and get small then get big and red again. if you need a picture I can try.
please help me!
<Hello Heather. What you're describing sounds like an opportunistic bacterial infection, of which the best known is Red Leg. Almost without exception, such infections are related to just two factors: inadequate
water quality and physical damage. Possible sources of physical damage are careless handling, most commonly with frogs where people try to pet or handle them, or mix them with fish that nip them. Much more often, water quality is the issue. Xenopus frogs need 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, and if the water isn't filtered and isn't changed regularly enough, water quality will likely be poor. Review environmental conditions, and act accordingly.
As for treatment, antibiotics such as Maracyn 2 and Maracyn Plus are the best options, having the best track record when used to treat frogs.
Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog, hlth.    7/17/09
Hi--this seems to be the only place to get help for my frog. I have had these little pets for 2 years, I recently (3 months ago), bought a couple new ones and one of them is badly deformed and struggling with every motion.
<I see.>
How can I euthanize this little guy in a way that will not cause further stress?
<Things like freezing them, decapitating them or saturating the water with CO2 will either stress them or cause pain, but won't kill them quickly, if at all. In fact such methods are specifically stated by the RSPCA (the British animal welfare agency) to be unacceptable. The standard protocol for amphibious frogs (Xenopus, Hymenochirus, etc.) is to use an overdose of MS-222, specifically at least 3 g per litre for several (three or more) hours. Alternatively, you can use Benzocaine at a dose of 250 mg per litre, for at least half an hour. Normally people "pith" the frog afterwards to ensure death. Consult a vet or MD if you need help using/obtaining these chemicals; and the animal welfare agency in your country may also be able to offer advice.>
He has the use of only one limb and does not seem to get enough to eat. I have put him in a floating container with food--still not much difference.
<Do of course review overall conditions in the aquarium; a deformed leg shouldn't be a death sentence. The usual problems with Hymenochirus involve offering them foods they don't want, or keeping them in tanks with the
wrong environmental conditions. Live bloodworms and other insect larvae are the ideal foods, and wet-frozen bloodworms and similar almost as good; dried foods aren't worth using except occasionally. Hymenochirus need warm, well-filtered water to do well; a temperature of 25 C is about right, with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Avoid very soft water. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

Concerned ADF owner  4/19/09
I purchased two African Dwarf Aquatic Frogs in December of 2008; they were from Aqua Babies at the mall.
<Never buy animals from "the mall". Almost without exception, the guys selling these things are selling gimmicks on commission, and have no idea about animals. To them, you're what con artists call "a mark" -- someone with money to spend but no knowledge about what you're buying. Sorry to be blunt, but this is warning to others out there.>
The frogs were living in about a 1/2 gallon tank, with a snail, and a bamboo plant; the gravel was about three inches high.
<Aquarium is too small for these animals.>
They provided me with pellets to feed the frogs, and I have no idea what the pellets were.
<Whatever they are, they're not enough; the frog in the photo is clearly emaciated. Diet should include wet-frozen (not freeze dried) bloodworms, live bloodworms, live daphnia, etc.>
After about two months, my snail stopped moving, he would flip over and just lie there, I flipped him back over several times, and now he simply hides in his shell all the time.
<Have you checked the water quality? How is this tank filtered? How often do you change the water? What temperature is the enclosure kept at?
Hymenochirus spp. frogs require a tank upwards of 5 gallons, a filter, and a source of heat keeping the tank at not less than 25 C /.77 F. You CANNOT keep them in unheated, unfiltered tanks.>
I took him out of the tank to smell him, he does not smell dead, and his pallet (underneath, not sure of correct snail terminology) is still hard. Then, about a week ago I purchased an approximately 2 gallon tank, with a pirate chest from the pet sore.
<Still too small... please, there are many books out there about keeping pet amphibians; read one!>
They have about 2 inches of gravel in their new tank; however there is no filter or snail now, because the pet store does not get any in until Monday. My two frogs are lying low at the bottom of the tank, not moving,
and not eating (much).
They continuously flip themselves over onto their backs and just lie there, not moving. I poke them they swim upside-down away and continue not moving. I am also not seeing them swim; they crawl along the bottom of the tank, and try to jump around, but no swimming. I have found different sites that discuss pieces of their symptoms, but not all at once. I went to the pet store this morning, and the woman there told me my ammonia level was high, so I took out 3/4 of the water and replaced it with clean distilled water.
<You did what....? No!!!! You can't keep animals in distilled water!!!
That would be like me sticking you in a room filled with pure oxygen!!!
Seriously, you absolutely must sit down and read a book. Distilled water contains no minerals at all, and consequently two sudden things happen to cells, tissues, animals put in it. Firstly, they lose salts from inside the cells, and secondly, the water has zero buffering capacity, so pH bounces about, further causing damage. You should only ever use dechlorinated tap water (and not from a domestic water softener).>
I also bought a thermometer, and the tank has been steadily at 72 degrees--but still no action from the frogs.
<Too cold. Turn the heater up.>
I did try feeding them brine shrimp, but they were uninterested and stopped eating all together, so I went back to the pellets.
<They are dying.>
<Sorry Bethani to be so blunt, but you've done/are doing everything wrong.
Hymenochirus have very specific needs, outlined above, and without them, you're killing these poor creatures. Unlike the guy in the mall, I'm not selling you anything, hence my honesty. Cheers, Neale.>

Algae on ADF? and question about stocking... 3/31/09
I have a 10 gallon tank with 1 male Betta (thought he was white and he is the most beautiful shell pink that changes), 3 tetras (who recently started harassing the Betta, which of course they don't tell you when you get them!),
<Hmm... on the whole Tetras and Bettas shouldn't be kept together, so these will need separating. Don't rely on the pet store telling you which fish will work in your aquarium, any more than you expect the clerk in a clothes store to tell you to buy a shirt that fits. It's up to you to establish such things!>
1 Otocinclus of the small variety, 2 ADFs (one male, little porker, and one female), 5 glass shrimps of various sizes (from little male at 1/4 inch to big daddy at 1 1/2 inch, 3 egg bearing females and 2 males) and 5 mystery snails, also of various sizes (newest one is 4 small turns around and largest is 6 turns, he actually has grown about an inch and a half of shell in the month we have had them.).
<Certainly a busy aquarium...>
I also have 2 fake plants and 18 different live plants (I think some are duckweed, but also "lucky bamboo" (I know, not actually bamboo), some other grasses and something with flat leaves that is thriving.
<OK, the Bamboo will die. So get that out. No point waiting for it to die and rot, because in doing so it will pollute the aquarium. The plant at the front/left is a Dracaena, and again, like the Bamboo, this is a land plant.  It will also die. No question about this. So again, take it out. Please do some reading before spending your money! At the moment you're a retailers dream: buying any old thing! I'd like you to spend your money more carefully.>
My perimeters for the tank are 78 degrees F and (just today, tested last week and had 0) .5 ammonia,
<Too high... will make fish, frogs, shrimps sick>
I just had changed the filter yesterday (the carbon in a tetra whisper filter) and rinsed off the bio-foam (what pet smart said, very torn on whether or not to ever believe them about anything),
<By default, rely on your own reading rather than what the clerk in the store says. Buy an aquarium book or borrow one; read it.>
although probably too much. I have been doing weekly changes of about 2 gallons and pre-treating that with conditioners. I don't have a tester currently for nitrates either.
<Nitrates usually not an issue if you change 25% every week or two.>
I just did a water change today after seeing the ammonia level. (2 gallon change with conditioners.)
Some background on my fish care: I have never owned fish before and was at a "petstore" with my son and impulsively (!) bought an inexpensive bunch of fish. Or so I thought. The girl who sold us the set-up sold us 10 gal worth of fish and a 2 1/2 gallon tank to begin with. Also didn't mention cycling. (This girl almost got fired, apparently they had had multiple incidents like this.)
<Sadly quite common occurrence in "big box" pet stores.>
So I blithely get the crew home and put them in some treated water.  Needless to say that all but 1 frog (originally brought home the 3 tetras, 1 Betta (m), 3 shrimp, 2 snails, and 2 ADFs.) and 1 tetra and the shrimp and snails, were dead in the morning 2 days later.
I rushed to the store (after doing some late night reading, and I know it was really irresponsible of me to not have checked it out first, but these were impulse fish!
<An explanation, but not really an excuse!>
Then I also called my friend in another state who knows a lot about fish for help, I was pretty panicked by then, I have never killed any pet I have ever been custodian of!) and bought a 10 gal and got it cycling. I noticed then though that the remaining frog had fungus, so I treated with tank buddies.
<Frogs do react badly to ammonia.>
This didn't help my frog any, and he still was dead the next day. I decided to treat again (4 days later) and the second treatment killed my young shrimp. (I now know they can't handle that).
<Correct; copper is toxic to invertebrates including shrimps and snails.>
I had the water tested then and it had 0 levels of anything bad, ideal ph (sorry, can't find the paper now :( ), and slightly hard water (I live in Utah). That was about 2-3 weeks ago. At this point I have a healthy fully stocked tank with the 2 new(er) ADFs. The original tetra made it and of course the snails and my one large shrimp.  Currently, I have a question regarding my male froggy. He seems to be growing what looks similar to the algae that sometimes grows on my plants, on his back leg and stomach.
<Not algae.>
The female had this a few weeks ago, but it seems to have gone away. I'm wondering if it was just the effect of changing the filter and some gunk getting stirred into the water because of it, adding to that the slightly elevated levels of ammonia making him sensitive?
I'm not sure if it's harmful or not, although he is plenty active and eats way too much (really good dedicated hunter), so he doesn't seem unhappy at all. I feed the Betta between 6 and 8 pellets a day (depending), the tetras get flakes, and I put in about a pea sized bit of either frozen brine shrimp (defrost them in spoon at top of tank and try to get them spread around so everyone actually gets some) or blood worms once or twice a day (everyone else in the tank also really enjoys both of these), usually around snack time in the afternoons. I put romaine lettuce anchored in there too for the snails and leave a piece floating as they (the snails) seem to like to float upside down and the Betta can kind of hammock on it when he is bored, it also keeps some shade so they can choose what lighting they want. I change the lettuce out every other day, before it starts to break down.
<All sounds fine. But take care not to overfeed; this tank is really much smaller than I'd recommend for beginners, so your margins for error are tiny.>
The water is clear, not cloudy, and the walls are very clean. None of the plants are growing any algae right now either.
<Famous last words...>
I use 2 x 60 watt bulbs and then have a heater as well, so it has been very maintained temp wise since.
<These are incandescent bulbs? Be very careful here; apart from being rubbish for plant growth, they also have a tendency to explode if hot and splashed with water. Certainly wouldn't be a sensible choice around children.>
Generally everyone has been very healthy, the shrimp are shedding successfully multiple times and are visibly growing, as are the snails, and Bert the Betta is very friendly, he only recently started flaring his gills at the tetras in response to their nipping (came out one morning and saw they had split his dorsal fin! It is healing back together, but now he responds to them instead of being passive), everyone eats and the shrimp had their eggs (working on second clutches now!), Ollie the Oto is very actively cleaning everything (including the snails!), and the frogs are starting to be less nervous after getting air (used to have to hide after, now just swim back to the bottom. No aggressive behavior on the part of the Betta either, he will come let me feed him from a spoon and will swim around my arm while I clean, so no worries on interactions.
I am hoping perhaps it will go away with the levels steadied back out, and if I should expect it to happen again during filter changes?
<No, it's not normal. Remember, in a basic freshwater tank, carbon is redundant. Even if you want carbon, you have to replace it (not clean it!) every 2-4 weeks, otherwise it doesn't do anything but waste space in the filter. For small tanks, I'd recommend concentrating on plain vanilla biological media; simple filter floss and ceramic noodles are fine. Rinse these off in a container of aquarium water every month or so. That's all there is to it.>
Thanks so much for any advice, I agree with many others on the lack of reliable information out there, and primarily feel I can't trust the "petstore".
<As I say, shops are there to sell stuff, and whether you're buying a coat, a hi-fi, a car, or a tropical fish, retail works best when you already know what you want/need first. This isn't to malign pet stores -- many are very good, and staffed with expert fishkeepers -- but it's best not to expect it.>
Incl is photo of day before yesterday when there was no film.
<Frog looks fine to me. The main things to observe are [a] hollow belly from starvation; and [b] red patches from bacterial infections.>
Couldn't get a good shot of him today. No need to include them in a post... My other quick question is as long as I don't overfeed and am diligent with weekly water changes, is there plenty of room for everyone?
<Within reason. Are these tetras Neons? They should be in a group of 6+, and in a 10 gallon tank that would be fine. Likewise the Betta and the frogs. Apple snails rarely live more than a year in aquaria because they aren't able to aestivate for three months as required in the wild. So they tend to die long before they reach full size.>
They don't seem to have any territorial issues, everyone seems happy all over the tank, so I am mostly worried about the water testing levels being affected. I know that half of them are surface breathers anyway, so...
Thanks again for any help!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

I think my frogs are suffering, please help.. 3/16/2009
About 6 months ago my mom bought my daughter a Dwarf Frog & few fish.
(Guppy/feeder fish) at PetSmart. The frog was awesome to watch & very lively but I thought he might be lonely so I bought another one. They were both awesome to watch at first but then about 6 months later they got a little lethargic and the fish all died, and the frogs started to show whitish cottony spots in-between shoulders & arms, then there color changed from dark green to light grayish, most recently the one has little CLUBBED, webbed feet & hands.
<Finrot, or at least, the frog equivalent. What you are seeing is a bacterial infection eroding the fingers and skin. Eventually the infection will cause septicaemia, and the frog will die. You need to treat -- promptly -- with a suitable antibiotic. Maracyn II would be a good choice, but if you visit a reptile pet store and tell them you're dealing with Red Leg, you may be offered a suitable alternative. Do note that anything suspiciously cheap -- such as salt or tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) -- won't work.>
They seem almost arthritic (he has no problem swimming but it could be painful I would imagine) lastly, this morning I woke up & the other one is all Fat & puffed up like he's filled with fluid floating on the bottom
upside down but not dead. I thought OMG..buddy what's wrong?? I put my hand up to tank & he freaked out. Flying up & down & the other one came up to me looking at me thru the glass & I swear if he could talk he'd be pleading for me to help me.
<He is certainly in pain and wants help!>
I took them out of the tank & put them in another one (Wal mart startup 2.5 gallon-$26.00) which by the way the other tank is the same but they don't seam to be doing any better. PLEASE HELP ME!! I'm not crazy over these frogs but I don't & cant see anything suffer!!
<You do not need to be "crazy" to not want animals to suffer. That's a healthy behaviour, if you as me.>
Please tell me what to buy?? What to do?? I'll do everything to the letter....Is it too late?? How long once you tell me what to do will they start to improve?? If at all?? Please help!!
<Firstly, you need to treat with an antibiotic. While there's no guarantees, Maracyn II has as good a chance of working as anything else short of veterinarian treatment. If this amphibian was bigger, an injection
by a vet would be used, but I can't see how that's practical with these dwarf Hymenochirus.>
Ps. I have looked high and low for information and forget it!! There's nothing out there. You seem the most knowledgeable on the net!!
<Right, let's get to basics. Finrot and Red Leg are secondary infections.
You know how humans get gangrene if wounds are exposed to dirt? This is similar. Ammonia in the water damages the skin and suppresses the immune system, so otherwise harmless bacteria in the water suddenly become dangerous. The wound becomes infected, and over time, tissue dies back, resulting in the red (blood) and white (dead tissue) patches you can see.
So, any treatment needs to [a] kill the bacteria; and [b] fix the water quality. Antibiotics such as tetracycline (in Maracyn II) should take care of the bacteria involved here. As for the water quality, that's a question
of making sure the tank is clean, well-filtered, dechlorinated, and at least 25% is changed every week or so. Overfeeding must be avoided:
Hymenochirus only need to be fed every other day. Temperature should be around 25 C (77 F). Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: I think my frogs are suffering, please help.. 3/18/09
<In the United States, you can buy Maracyn 2 (= Maracyn II) from most aquarium shops. Note that Maracyn without the "two" is something else and contains a different antibiotic that WILL NOT work for this particular disease. So if your pet store says something like, "No, we don't have that, but Maracyn or Maracyn Plus are just as good," thank them politely and then move on. It's the Tetracycline in Maracyn II that you specifically want.
Besides pet stores, many online fish supply stores, and even Amazon.com, sell the stuff. Outside of the US, Tetracycline may be a prescription-only drug, and you'll need to get it from your local veterinarian. Please, go easy with the Caps Lock key next time: we usually bounce back such messages without reading them! Cheers, Neale.>

African Clawed Frog Injured -- 03/03/09 I have a question concerning my 2 year old African Clawed Frog. Two days ago I was cleaning out my fish tank, I removed the piece from the filter that prevents any aquatic life from entering the filters hose. My Frog is quite large and I didn't think it would be sucked up into my filter. I returned 5 minutes later to find my frog had gone missing, I immediately turned the filter off and looked inside to find my frog gasping for air. His feet were badly injured, some of his toes were broken and the webbing was torn, a lot of the skin had been scraped off as well. I placed him in a hospital tank and added some Melafix to prevent bacteria. My frog just seems to float at the top of the tank and lift his head occasionally for air. I've tried feeding him his usual reptile sticks and blood worms but he wont even take a nibble. I'm really worried about him. Is there anything else that I can do for him? I feel terrible and don't want my frog to suffer, do you think he will be alright ? Olivia <Olivia, Melafix is basically unreliable, and isn't likely to fix anything. It would shock you how many messages we get from people with animals that are sick despite this product being used. So, go visit your local reptile and amphibian pet store, and ask for a medication (preferably an antibiotic like Erythromycin) suitable for treating Aeromonas and Pseudomonas type infections. Use as instructed. Don't bother feeding your frog until he's healed: he's likely in severe pain or at least stress if the infection is serious. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF digestive blockage? (Oh no, pellets!)  2/23/09 Hello WWM crew, Thanks for being there. I can't find anyone or any info related to my problem I have had my African Dwarf Frogs for over three years now. For the past year one of them has slowly bloated up, and I can see through her skin and see her body slowly filling up with food pellets. She doesn't seem agitated, she has energy and she eats well. Over time the ratio of pellets to air/fluid in her belly has increased and I don't know how much longer she can live like this. I thought she had some kind of blockage but it has never cleared ( I even tried giving her a gentle belly massage while she floated - she didn't try to swim away - but it didn't seem to work). Have you ever heard of this? Could it be frog constipation? Is there anything I can do to make her get better, or at least ease her discomfort? Its depressing to see her skin stretched out so much & she is having to swim to the top for breaths of air more often now. She has to put a lot of effort into swimming up because she is so weighted down with pellets. I don't want to stop feeding her. I only feed her once a day - just a couple of pellets. Please let me know what you think I should do for this poor frog. Many Thanks, Amy <Amy, the main issue here is that pellet foods -- while sold as "ideal frog food" -- actually aren't. Just as with people, frogs need a varied diet including fibre. In the wild that comes from things like algae, insect exoskeletons, and other items they consume incidentally with their normally predatory diet. In captivity we need to give them things like live daphnia and live brine shrimp instead. These foods contain a lot of what biologists call "ash", meaning stuff that doesn't get digested. Anyway, these act as a laxative, and help move things through the gut. Hymenochirus spp. frogs should be fed every other day, and most of those meals should be "wet" foods of some sort, either live foods like those mentioned, or wet frozen foods such as bloodworms. Pellets and freeze-dried foods should be occasional treats, once a week at most. (Ideally, don't use them at all.) Feed your frogs this way and (quite probably uncomfortable) constipation will be avoided. Certainly stop feeding her pellets until she is back down to a normal size. Also take great care not to overfeed your frogs. A head-sized portion of food per two days is ample for each frog. Cheers, Neale.>

Frogs and Fish; safe to medicate together? 1/14/09 Hello Crew: I have a ten gallon tank; one African dwarf frog, 2 platies, and three guppies. <Ten gallons is too small for both Platies and Guppies, and ultimately your problems are very likely coming down to problems with stress, water quality issues, and/or water chemistry instability. Minimum size tank for either species is 20 gallons.> I seem to have spotted Ich on two of my guppies. I have a bottle of the Maracide treatment already, the Ich formula, and I want to treat. My question is this; must I remove the frog, I believe I have read I must, and should I remove the other fish? <Yes. Frogs can react negatively (i.e., they die) when exposed to copper- and formalin-based medications not formulated specifically for treating amphibians. Since the Guppies and Platies honestly need a 20 gallon tank, this is the perfect excuse to upgrade. Frogs and fish don't really mix well, and the problem you're facing here is just one of the many reasons why.> I could just remove and treat the two guppies, but I don't have another heated tank. Will that be a problem? <Tropical fish should always be kept in a heated aquarium. Not doing so will cause major problems, and usually lead to death within days.> You are really the best advice site I have come across and I greatly appreciate your help. I have read some of the other Ich articles, and I am sorry if this is repetitive of those letters, but I just don't want this problem to get out of hand and would rather love a quick response from you, the pros! <Happy to help, and thanks for the kind words.> Again, sorry as well as thank you. Have a wonderful <insert time of day here>. <Mid morning, UK time.> Marion <Good luck, Neale.>

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