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FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs, Health-Disease 3

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, Turtles, Amphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease,
Amphibian Reproduction,

Bloated ADF    3/4/13
I have had a single frog in my tank for almost a year now. It's a 29 gallon tank with other community tropical fish. Just recently my frog appears to be extremely bloated. I've tried researching this problem but haven't found any information about what it might be. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
All water tests come out normal. Thank you.
<Do have a look here, second disease down:
Assuming this frog isn't merely overfed or constipated (both of which should reduce noticeably if you don't feed the frog for a week) then true bloating of some sort may be the problem. Bacterial medication can help, and I'd also recommend going with the salt bath alongside this, as suggested there. For your information, a 0.1 mM (millimolar) concentration is about 5-6 grammes of DRY salt dissolved in 1 litre of water. Use the salt bath for as long as it takes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bloated ADF   3/4/13

Thanks Neale. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF    8/10/12
Why is my ADF keeping it's head above water? Is it dying? Please help me.
Tuckahoe, NY
<Could be a number of reasons; some good, some bad. Need to know more about this frog's aquarium. Start by reading here:
Is the tank big enough? (At least 5 gallons.) Does it have a heater and filter? (Needs both.) Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ADF    8/10/12

Neal, Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. The frog is in a 5-1/2 gallon tank with another frog.
<Just about adequate in size.>
There is no filter and no heater.

<Ah, now, both of these are problems. These frogs need a biological filter and a source of warmth. A simple air-powered sponge filter and a small (15 watt) heater will be all your need. Budget $30 or so, but you may well be able to get these for less with some careful shopping online, Craig's List, etc.>
It was my understanding when I purchased them, that both were not necessary for the frogs to survive.
<Not the case.>
The other frog is doing fine.
<For now.>
I'm just worried about this guy making it. I know they do peculiar things sometimes, so I'm hoping the frog is just having a relaxing day. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.
<Read the article; act accordingly, making up any shortcomings between what they NEED and what you HAVE. Medicating frogs this small is often pointless, so prevention is the key to healthcare.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

question      5/23/12
I have a Hymenochirus which is missing half the front leg. Will it regenerate?

Also I noticed many of the Hymenochirus does not know about them 2 few drops of Koizyme for every 5 gallons of water will prevent Redleg.
<Really? At best, this product lessens the risk, but if the aquarium is properly maintained, the danger of Red Leg is minimal anyway.>
Also 1/4 tsp of Aquarium Salt in every 5 gallons of water will prevent many diseases.
<Definitely not. This is a myth.>

I do complete water changes every 3 days. My one Hymenochirus (Dwarf)  lived 7 yrs, which is 2 yrs past the life expectancy.
<Is indeed impressive.>
I have 2 Xenopus which is 6 yrs old. No heater or filter in their tanks.
<Quite so.>
I keep enough water in the tank  to cover one inch over their bodies. They are in 30 gallon tanks.
I completely drain the water, rinse the tank down real well, wipe it out and use distilled water only which has set out on the floor for 24 hours to reach room temp. Never had a heater or filter. I have done this for the last 10 yrs with both tanks. I just bought all dozen of the Dwarfs from PetSmart. One has no leg. It appears healthy otherwise. I see no signs of disease on any of them. Will the limb regenerate? It is healthy and moving around real well and eating.
I know my care of changing the water completely and no heater and filter is a different approach then recommended.
<Depends on how warm the house is. These frogs are quite tough little animals, but here in England at least, cold winters will kill them pretty quickly if the room temperature is maintained at, say, 18 C/64 F.>
I have 2 55 gallon tanks with Plecostomus and Cory's  which I raise the little guys. They both have heaters and filters. But the Xenopus and Hymenochirus seem to do better without it. I have no gravel of any kind in with them either.
<This is for sure a factor. No gravel means the tank is easier to clean and holds fewer bacteria.>
Just wondering about the lost limb.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Chantal Syc 

Is my ADF getting better or dying?    5/16/12
Hello, I have three ADFs, and a few months ago, one of them lost how back leg.
<Oh dear. Likely physical damage… predation, fin-nipping by tankmates, being sucked into a filter.>
He got his own tank that day, a smaller one, (my other two are in a ten gallon with a couple Mickey Mouse platy and a couple loaches). Then came the platy fry... They were moved into his smaller tank as I figured he wouldn't be able to catch them. I was wrong. Two went missing. Jack, the three legged frog went into the only thing I had left... a fishbowl. Water changes were frequent, and he was doing fine until this morning.
<Bowls don't really work… not least of all because they're too cold. These are AFRICAN Dwarf Frogs, and won't stay healthy at room temperature, even somewhere warm like Southern Europe or the southern half of the continental US. An aquarium, with a heater and filter, is required; even if that means sharing with other frogs.>
This is entirely my fault, as I left a window open when I went to bed because it was such a warm evening. This morning, I found my Jackie belly up in the bottom of his very cold fishbowl!
<Oh dear.>
I immediately made up a hospital container (2 liter Rubbermaid container that has never seen detergent of any kind. This is usually where Jackie resides when I'm cleaning his tank.) I put in four drops of dechlorinator (Tetra AquaSafe Plus), warmer water, and closed the wretched window and turned on the furnace. This was about an hour and a half ago and Jackie is moving, but he seems very sluggish and disoriented.
He's now on a "floatie", (a well rinsed pill cap) so he doesn't have to fight for air. The "floatie" keeps him under the level of the water, but makes it so he only needs to raise his head for air. He has pinked up nicely since being put on the floatie, but he still seems very disoriented. He's moving more, though. Am I helping him survive, or am I just delaying the inevitable? Thanks for your time.
<Provided no permanent harm was done, as his aquarium warms up gradually, he should recover. You can't just throw in a bunch of warm water because the shock could be stressful, even lethal. But putting an appropriate-wattage heater into the aquarium, switching it on, and letting the tank slowly warm up should be fine. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Is my ADF getting better or dying?     5/26/12

Unfortunately, my Jackie died that morning.
<Too bad.>
His ADF brothers, Teach and the Captain, (Edward Teach and Capt. Kidd) are fine in their aquarium, but then again, I have fibromyalgia and a preferred home temp between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which tends to keep the tanks fairly warm on a daily basis.
<There you go.>
The other ADFs seem to have suffered none at all from, to them, was a mild dip in temp. Fishbowl is now used to hold seven Mickey Mouse platy fry when their rank is stabilizing after a cleaning, (trying to wean them off of chemically treated water for one of their future mamas, which means more time to stabilize the water in the tank).
<I hope you don't plan on not using water conditioner? You absolutely MUST use a dechlorinating water conditioner!>
Thank you, though, for the help. Will remember that for future reference, though, with the other two ADFs to feed, (and Teach eats like a horse), I probably won't be replacing my little Jackie any time soon. Thanks again.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frogs and Epsom Salt 5/2/12
Hello!  I wrote about a year and a half ago for advice on setting up a first aquarium for a pair of ADFs.  Thanks to Neale's help, I now have a thriving community of 10 frogs (the 2 originals, plus 8 of their offspring who were raised from eggs).  The 10 frogs are spread out among three aquariums, each with a river sand substrate.  All water parameters seem good (ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate < 5, temp. 78 degrees F, ph 7.7).  The froggies are fed a rotating diet of frozen foods (thawed before serving)--bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, glassworms, brine shrimp, and Tubifex worms.
<All sounds good.>

Everybody seemed healthy and happy until last week, when one of the females started to get a raised hump on her back, just in front of where her tail used to be.  It got pointier and pointier, until it almost looked like a tent pole.  It appeared that the point was actually the tip of her spine, and that something underneath was pushing the spine up.  The whole back end of the frog actually seemed very "full," but it did not resemble any pictures of dropsy or other common diseases I found online.  At first, the growing hump didn't seem to bother the frog at all, but within a couple days she started hiding and stopped eating.
At that point, I was worried about an intestinal blockage.  In desperation, I decided to add Epsom Salt (1 teaspoon/10 gallons of water).  The next day, nothing had changed so I repeated the dose.  The next day, froggy was out and about, and the hump seemed to be a bit smaller.  Today, the hump is almost gone, and is now really just a small localized bump about 1/4 inch in diameter.  The frog seems to be acting pretty much normal and seems to have her usual voracious appetite back.  I've tried to restrict her food intake, and actually gave her some frozen daphnia I had on hand for the tadpoles (kind of small but she ate it).
Now for the questions.  First, does this sound like an intestinal blockage, and if so do you have any idea what might've caused it?
<I have seen this from time to time, and I'm to be honest I'm not sure what the problem is. Often it happens in frogs in less than perfect conditions, but that doesn't seem likely here. If all the others are fine, I'd put it down to "one of those things".>
Second, since the "hump" is not quite gone, I was wondering if another dose of Epsom Salt might be warranted. Is there a limit to how much is safe for ADFs?
<Should be fine.>
Finally, do you recommend adding this periodically to all of my tanks as a preventative measure?
<If your water is very soft, then yes, you could use Epsom salt to harden it up a bit. But if your water is already moderately hard to hard, there's no real point making it even harder.>
Thanks so much for all of your past help, and for any assistance you can provide with my latest challenge.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

(Possibly Sick) Female ADF Questions - Eyes & Behaviour – 4/19/12
Hi Neale (& Crew),
I have two ADF questions, which I’ll separate here:
1)      I have a female ADF, and have had her for about a month now. Lives in a 15Gal tank with 4 other ADFs (2 female, 2 male). Nitrites, Nitrates, and Ammonia are all at 0, tested with an API Master Kit. Regular water changes done. Diet consisting of frog pellets and frozen brine shrimp, one or two days of fasting a week. The two males do not mate with this particular ADF (that I've seen) but do with the other two females on a regular basis. One did help pull her skin off and ate it as she was shedding, it was quite bizarre and interesting to watch.
This frog has eyes that are not cloudy, it's more like white dots that "pop out", but the whole eye isn't bulged. Both of her eyes have been like this since I got her. Is she blind? She eats and swims and plays normally, and I saw her shed yesterday, it's just her eyes that are strange. It almost looks like oversized Ich like you'd see on fish, but I'm pretty sure that ADFs can't get Ich, and the medication is actually poisonous to them (correct me if I'm wrong).
So both of her eyes have these white dots, and you can't really see the rest of her eye beneath the white dot (one on each eye, about the size and shape of a large grain of salt). I have attached 2 pictures (they’re not very good, she doesn’t like to sit still, haha) for reference.
I've been “Melafix”ing for 5 days with no improvement (stopped last night), though awhile back it cleared up cloudy eyes in another one of my female ADFs, so it's certainly not useless - but she's been like this since the start... I'm apprehensive to use Maracyn II, even though it has been recommended, because we don't know exactly what (if anything) is wrong. If she remains acting healthy and still has the white dots, and as long as it doesn't spread to any of the other ADFs (which it hasn't so far), then maybe she really IS blind? Or just some weird deformity that's otherwise harmless? I know some deformities can cause fish to be unable to reproduce (we have a male guppy in a different tank who’s like that), and as I mentioned, this ADF hasn't been copulating with the males, so…deformity kind of fits?
What could this be, and if it's an illness, how should I help her?
<Have seen this before, and do suspect two factors: physical damage and malnutrition. Physical damage may heal in time, and there's not much that will speed that up beyond ensuring good water quality and removing any sharp objects that might cause damage. As for diet, do think vitamins (or rather, the lack of them) is the issue. This is fairly often the case with reptiles and amphibians in captivity because we often give them rather monotonous diets, e.g., just bloodworms in the case of small aquatic frogs. A vitamin supplement to the diet can help (you can get these for both fish and reptiles, and either would be useful here).>
2)      The eldest of my female ADFs (living in the same tank and conditions as described above) has been behaving what I believe to be “abnormally”, lately. I should add that we have had her since September 2011 and she is 3” fully stretched out (yes, we actually measured when she was …well we call it “Matrixing” on top of the thermometer, stretched out as tall as she could be). She participates in amplexus regularly with the two males in the tank, but have never seen them reach the point where they go up to the surface together and flip over to lay/fertilize the eggs. I have, however, seen eggs sticking to the floating plants shortly after I had put them in there. I haven’t seen any recently, but I also haven’t looked that hard. I believe they came from Mama (that’s what we call her, as she’s the oldest female and soooo big [but not fat!]), but I honestly can’t be sure.
As I briefly described, I recently added soft, fake floating plants to my tank (they already have a little house thing that’s spacious and has three large entrances/exits, and a large fake log with fake, soft leaves attached – bare bottom tank, by the way), and she’s starting hanging out up there, usually flat on her belly if she can. She holds her head above water and does what I can only describe as “shudder”, lasting a second or two, and occurring approximately every 15-30 seconds. I tried to film it but you can’t make it out in the video, so I won’t attach. I opened the lid the other day while she was up there and gently blew on her face (out of the water of course), and it caused her to shudder more often (pretty well each time I puffed some air at her). I only did this a couple of times, as I didn’t want to stress her out.
Is this normal mating behavior or could something be wrong?
<Hard to say. Mating (amplexus) in frogs is pretty consistent: males clamber over females, almost as if trying to drown her. They float near the surface, the male holding on with the special horny pads he develops on his arms. Mating can take hours. After mating, the two disengage, and that's that.>
She does this several times a day, that I’ve been able to see. The other ADFs have all “chilled out” in the new floating plants, but I’ve only seen Mama behave this way. She eats fine and swims fine and otherwise appears perfectly healthy. I just don’t want anything to happen to her, I’m quite attached to all of my froggies, but she’s been with me the longest.
Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I haven't been able to find exactly what I'm seeing online. My success with these wonderful froggies so far has been 5 out of 8, and I’m pretty sure two of the three that passed away were ill from the store. In these two cases I’m trying to be proactive, instead of treating (and eventually losing the battle) when it’s noticeably too late.
Thanks in advance, your site has been SO helpful with all of our fish and frog questions and care information!
Take care, from Canada,
<Cheers, Neale.>

pls help I'm desperate ADF in trouble, pls    3/29/12
hi, pls Im really desperate
<No need; you can search, read on WWM...>
I had to dwarf frogs; one died after an horrific week when he wasn't eating and was all bloated but I couldn't find anybody to help me. The second frog now is in the hide and doesn't want to eat
I bought them from Wildcreations. They came in a half gallon tank with a hole on top, gravel  two bamboo plants and a bag of pellets.
<Unsuitable environment... need steady heat, filtration>

 They were there for like 2 years until this one died. I used to take them out one at a time to feed them (two pellets twice a week). After the first one died an online vet told me to change her to a one gallon tank with a filter, but she hated it and remained hidden all day long, so she told me to change her back to see if without the filter she would come out and she did, but now she is hiding again and doesn't want to eat her pellets.
Pls someone help!! is she depressed because of the other frog? is she in the right tank (I know I cant put her in a big tank because of the current the filter produces), I know she is not sick bec a vet looked at her and told me she looks life suffering from a maladaptive syndrome but she doesn't look physically sick, does she need another frog?? (I rather don't suffer like this again)
I would pay pls could anyone call me, my kid is suffering a lot with this and don't know what to do
<Please read Neale's article re Hymenochirus:
and the linked files above. Your ADF may "just be old". Bob Fenner>
Re: pls help im desperate ADF in trouble, pls++ <Not rdg.>   3/30/12

i got her bloodworms and she loved them thank you!
<... please check your grammar>
only one more question if i use sand i cant have an undergravel filter can i?
<... read where you were referred. BobF>
 (this one seems to be the least disturbing) what kind of filter would you advise me on using that produces the smallest movement/disturbance for a one gall tank and one frog. Is it possible to use water worn cobbles, instead of sand , those are smooth and wont hurt them thank you for answering / any help
Re: pls help im desperate ADF in trouble, pls++    3/31/12

you are less willing to answer than my frog to eat. Thank you for your very gramatically correct and perfectly useless monosyllables 

Thanks!   3/17/12
Hello. I just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful information. I have an African Dwarf Frog and have been all over the internet looking for help and your site provided everything I needed!!! Hopefully she will get better after I make the correct changes I found out about! :) Thanks again! 
<Thanks for the kind words, and glad you're enjoying the site. Cheers, Neale.>

Questions concerning care of an injured African Dwarf Frog    2/10/12
Greetings all,
It is with a heavy heart that I write today, and am hoping for a quick answer and much-needed advice. I've searched through your FAQ's and other letters, but am having trouble finding things that apply to my situation (this may or may not be due to my current frazzled state of mind).
<I see.>
I have a 29 gallon high tank with an African Dwarf Frog (ADF) and 2 mollies,
<Not a good combination of species.
These both have much different requirements. Can't see this working indefinitely. Do research the needs of EACH species prior to purchase, and bear in mind not all retailers are honest up-front about what they're selling (oh, who would have believed that!).>
he has been in this 29g for nearly 4 weeks now. Water is cycled and stable, creatures are all doing very well. (Frog was to have been moved to a 5 gallon dedicated tank within the next week, as the cycle in THAT tank becomes established) They were fed this morning as usual, and then I got buy with the morning (family) rush and didn't have a chance to check in on my tank for several hours. During this time the bottom section of the filter intake (45g whisper filter, intake covered with fine mesh to prevent frog's legs from getting stuck) FELL OFF (with the mesh) and onto the aquarium floor. When I got a moment to enjoy my creatures, I began a search for the frog, which ended when I found him INSIDE of the filter box. He must have been sucked in through the filter tube and into the box at the top of the tank. He was found on the wall, above the water, still very wet and obviously unhappy, about 2 hours ago.
<Provided kept damp, not in any immediate danger.>
He was put immediately out of the filter basket and into the water, and observed for a time. Obviously showing signs of stress, color very pale. He seems to have developed white bumps on his body (probably also a stress reaction), has no interest in food, etc. I am unsure if any of his limbs are broken, but after much observation, I think that they are okay, however the skin on his back flipper between two of his 'toes' is torn.
<Likely so.>
He is having trouble swimming, he can still get up for air, but swims in a floppy, floaty sort of way, and seems to have trouble swimming in a straight line. I'm not sure if this is solely due to his obvious foot injury, or if there is some darker internal damage behind it. He is also being very affected by the current in the water. While not very strong, he is having trouble keeping his place while swimming, and gets sucked back toward the filter. If he gets too close to the filter, he is unable to free himself without assistance. I have since added to his stress by moving him into my much shallower (fully cycled, same water parameters, same temperature) 10 gallon 'hospital' tank, which is inhabited by 4 female guppies. I moved him hoping that the smaller filter, shallower water, and quieter/calmer/darker place in the house would help him feel more comfortable, though I wasn't sure that moving him was a good idea at all.
The filter in the smaller tank has been blocked with some mesh, and I planted hornwort densely around the intake to prevent him from having so much difficulty with this filter (though it is smaller). I also have tuned the lights off in the aquarium to help him feel more at ease, and have been keeping a steady eye on him.
Now... my questions to you are;
Is there anything I can do to help him feel better / ease his stress?
<Nothing "medical". But dark, warmth and quiet will help, as will easy access to the right food.>
Is there something that I should apply to his foot wound to prevent infection, or the tank as a whole to help him heal?
<Methylene Blue is about the safest medication to use with sensitive animals like these frogs.>
Are there any signs/symptoms that I can watch for and attribute to stress, and are there signs and symptoms that I should be looking for regarding to something else - sickness, injury, internal damage, etc Seeking ANY additional advice you can think of that might aid me in helping my frog pull through this horrible accident. . .
<So long as he feeds, he's likely okay.>
I'm still new to ADF care, and it can be difficult to find solid information on these guys. Any advise you can offer will be very much appreciated and acted upon.
<Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
And follow the links at the top of that page to areas of
- Jes
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy, ADFs in uncycled setting   2/8/12
Hello WWM! Thanks so much for your help in the past...but I've got another question! I have a 5 gallon tank at my work which has been running for 2 months with a single platy (she had a friend, a molly, but i moved her to another tank about 1 month ago), and everything was fine.  7 days ago I added 2 African dwarf frogs.  But, I made the mistake of changing the filter AND vacuuming the gravel on the same day, which I now know was a no-no.  Now my nitrate and nitrite levels are off the chart!  I have been doing a 25% water change every day and adding NovAqua's Ammonia Detoxifier every day for the past 5 days, however there is still no change in the nitrate/nitrite levels.  I have also cut back on their feeding, although not entirely.  I fear I have just started the cycling again, and my question is: should i still be changing the water? or should i just let the water rest and get going again?  I don't want to cause any unnecessary stress for my fish/frogs...what is your suggestion?  thanks again, sooo much!-Alisha
<Move this life to a cycled setting, and read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

African dwarf frog seems to be dying peacefully - or is it more humane to euthanize     3/4/12
Hi Crew -
<Hello Lisa,>
I searched all over your site for an answer to my question, and could not find one.  I am very concerned and would really appreciate your advice!  My housemate and I are having a debate.  His African dwarf frog has been belly up for 24 hrs now, and seems to be dying.  He wanted to put it in the freezer to "end its suffering." But I read that is too slow and painful.
<You are correct. Download and read this aquatic frog care document from the British RSPCA, equivalent to animal welfare organisations elsewhere, such as the ASPCA in the US:
Freezing the frog ("Hypothermia") is explicitly recommended against because "cooling the body does not reduce the animal’s ability to feel pain".>
He is low on money, and I don't think he would pay to have it euthanised at a Vet's office.
<Too bad, because that's the best way to do this.>
The frog still moves slightly when touched,  but has stopped eating.  I would like an expert opinion on what is the most humane way for the frog to die.  Is it best to let it die naturally, peacefully, and slowly, as it seems to be doing right now?  Or is it best to try to euthanize it somehow at home?
<Probably Benzocaine gel, widely sold under a variety of names. Do read this for the basic idea:
"ventral cutaneous application" meaning application of the gel to the underside of the frog. This will take some time to work, and won't work if the frog is immersed underwater because that'd dilute the gel. So note that the scientists state the frogs are "returned to a wet bucket without water until deep anesthesia was confirmed".>
It has no visible diseases or injuries,  but has been kept in a tank without a heater, filter, or regular feeding schedule, etc. I think it just wants to call it quits. Please let me know what you recommend given the situation. I am fond of the frog, and would like for it to pass in the least painful and traumatic way possible.  Thank you very much!  Best!
<Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: African dwarf frog seems to be dying peacefully - or is it more humane to euthanize     3/6/12

Hi Neale!  Thank you so much for your prompt, informative, and thoughtful reply. It was greatly appreciated!
Best & Cheers!  Lisa
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF - "Froggy" Help please? Hlth.     3/1/12
Hello, I've had an ADF for a bit over a year now. His home (Errrm, I think it's a him?) is a 'cute' round 4 gallon tank, with one of the LED lights that change colors in the middle. It's has a basic pump filter, with bubbler in the middle tube, so frogs/pets aren't "close" to the bubbles unless they go to the top. Temp is set at 76. I KNOW not a super set up,
but, I didn't want to get really involved in more upkeep.
<I see.>
When we first purchased the tank, I was told that the 'basic' rule for fish was one fish per gallon of water,
<Uh, no. Imagine one Great White Shark in a gallon of water! There is a guideline that suggests one inch of small fish per gallon of water, so a school of six fish each an inch long will need at least 6 gallons. It's a crummy rule, and leads to all sorts of misconceptions, but it's a start.>
So we purchased 2 ADFs and a BeTta. I'm sure you know that didn't last long.
<Actually, this combination can work.>
Although I had the water tested, and was told it was good, 2 beta's passed away, as did one of the frogs (the beta's were purchased at separate times, never more then 3 animals in the tank at once).
I do pretty normal tank changes. 1/4 change if it's been 2 weeks, and I've done 1/2 changes when it had been a month. I am sure to add "Aqua Safe Plus" to each water change.
Diet consists of frozen blood worms, and yes, sometimes freeze dried worms or tadpole/frog pellets.
Trying to find 'live' feed anything that's small enough is difficult around here, or I just don't know where to look perhaps.
Down to my issue, "Frog frog" has been a bachelor for about 8 or 9 months now.
He does his quirky swimming about, lays on his back, floats, etc. He's ALWAYS seemed rather on the thin side.
<Likely not enough food or the wrong sort. Healthy specimens should look quite robust.>
I thought it was just how he was built? Over this last week or so, I've noticed he hardly comes up for air, and seems rather inactive. In the last couple days, I've been even more worried. I've looked everywhere I can, Google, pet stores, forums, etc - and no one seems to have an answer. He's not bloated at all, there's no red, or fuzzy on him. I know they get inactive when they're getting ready to molt,
<First I've heard.>
and just, well, because they can - but, he's been doing this odd thing of acting like his back legs aren't working? He has them very out-stretched straight, and they almost intertwine with each other, or, he keeps them curled up very close to his body. He's not doing his normal "push off" of the rocks at the bottom or anything like that, nor hardly coming up for air at all, and no, I've not been seeing him eating either.
<Not good. These animals do need a fair diet. and freeze-dried foods alone may not be acceptable. Wet-frozen foods like bloodworms can be better, or at least offer some taste variety. There are some good frog-specific foods on sale, and these make a good staple. Live daphnia is a good treat.>
I went ahead and did a 1/2 water change yesterday, then added the recommended amount of "Mardel - CopperSafe", for ick, velvet and other things, just in case.
<Ah, now, this wasn't good. Frogs are easily poisoned,
and "just in case" approaches in veterinarian healthcare are exceedingly bad ideas. Always remember: every single medicine ever created by man is a poison. We use them specifically because they kill things -- bacteria, parasites, cancerous cells, whatever. With care, we use just enough to kill the "bad
thing" while leaving the patient unharmed. But there's always a downside to medicines, and if used at the wrong time or the wrong amounts, they can do more harm than good.>
Late last night in my research, one site that I ran across last night suggested doing 1 cap of Pedialyte with 10 caps of water, for a 'bath' - remaining in it for 1 to 2 hours, no more then that though. That's currently where Frog frog is now - in a container in front of me.
<Stop. Do not do this. But equally, don't suddenly expose your frog to sudden changes in environment. Gradually change the water in the container back to what it was in his aquarium, e.g., by replacing 10-20% every 20-30 minutes for the next couple hours.>
He normally swims around or away from the small net when I need to take him out, however, this time when I went to transfer him, he stayed at the very bottom of the tank - I was afraid of hurting him with the net, so I ran my hands under very hot water for a few minutes to make sure they were as clean as I could get them (no soap) then picked him up and put him in this "Pedialyte" bath. His legs are still out stretched, and honestly, I thought he was a goner because he didn't move or respond at ALL when I took him out, but, I'm watching him move his head and shoulders a bit, so I know he's still alive.  Am I just being completely over-worried?
<No, this is a serious situation, and sounds like a starving frog.>
Is this 'leg thing' normal at all?
<Not normal.>
Is there some kind of ADF frog disease I can't find information on?
<Almost all "frog disease" is environmental or at least about care. In other words, it's not so much a germ or parasite, but more what *you* have been doing or not doing.>
Right before I got to send this off, Frog frog opened his mouth REALLY big, yawn? drowning? I thought he was gone again, so I took him out of the "bath" and put him back in his water, just in case. Still not moving at all, but, he's taken a breath at least. Help quick, please - Although I know it's possibly a lost cause, I'm going to miss Frog frog. No one can do the "Mr. Peanut stance" quite like his can. Thank you in advance for your time, comments, suggestions and energy it takes to read, and respond to this.
<Do read:
Look to see what you aren't doing/haven't done, and act accordingly. Do also read here:
And follow the links at top to other FAQs of relevance, education.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

ADF Male In Trouble 02/08/12
For over a week my 2-year old male has stayed as much out of the water as possible, by climbing up on plants in his tank.
<Trouble... what re water quality, tankmates? Data?>
He draws up his hind legs into a crouching position and struggles to push half his upper body out of the water. He can swim down, and seemed normal while swimming, but today I noticed he has a very slight roll from side to side when hanging still in the water. Although he does not swim down to eat food in a dish on the bottom of the tank, he quickly went after food I dropped on the surface near him. He is not swollen. Is it possible that there is a neurological problem?
Respiratory problem?
<Can't tell>
I have successfully raised more than 20 of his offspring, now about 8 months old, with excellent advice from Neale, but this ADF's behavior is both new to me and alarming. Thanks for any help you may offer.
Sheila Baer
<... please read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hymenochirus.htm
and the linked files above... for input and to see the types of info. we need to help you. Bob Fenner>
Re: ADF Male In Trouble 2/9/12

My male ADF is the sole occupant in a plastic tank 6.5" x 6.5" x 10"long,
<Too small... to be stable>
smooth gravel bottom. No filter, no heater.
<Need both... did you read where you were referred?>

He has been in this tank for 2 years. His mate was injured during amplexus, and died about 6 months ago.
Only Poland Spring water used,
<... not advised.>

partial water change approx weekly, more thorough cleaning about once monthly, no gravel removed. Sometimes green algae on tank walls, washed off when I see it.
Diet of Zoo Med's or ReptoMin frog pellets, sometimes Omega One freeze-dried shrimp I partially pulverize, as it is usually too large for him.
Temperature 74-77F degrees
Tetra Easy Strips:
Nitrate <20
Nitrite 0
Hardness 150
Chlorine 0
Alkalinity 40-80
pH 6.2
Ammonia, using API salicylate-based ammonia test kit 0.25 I have never tried live food, so could that raise constipation issues?
Thanks for any help,
<... no sense. IF you won't read... B>
Re: ADF Male In Trouble 2/9/12

The word 'IF' in caps...does that mean that you are allowing for the possibility that I DID read the material on proper care?
Many times in the last few years. That I am able to provide no better care than I do, and still don't want to throw in the towel on this little animal. So his health and his life are not stable.. neither are mine, but what did you imagine I would do with your response? Nobody is rushing in to adopt him. Do I just let him suffer, if that is what he is doing? Flush him down the toilet?
<None of these I hope/trust>
When he and his mate started dining on the many tiny eggs they produced, I made the huge mistake of rescuing the eggs. Bleeding-heart liberal? The net was filled with doom and gloom ahead, but what choice did I have? I raised them in an unstable environment, and I have a kitchen counter filled with unstable tanks, with some 20 grown frogs singing at night, playing, jumping around and heading towards what will likely be a too brief but jolly sex life.
I live without a dog or cat, for the first time in my life, because I know I cannot provide them with proper care. I never bought the frogs, they were a non-returnable gift in a tiny little plastic tomb, and I did the best I could. That is what I am trying to do now. I can accept that you don't wish to hazard a suggestion about trying to deal with my frog's current ailment, knowing as you do that in the long or short term he won't have a long life, but your arrogant response was unkind. Better to not answer me than to presume to chastise me.
<I presume nothing; nor believe in circumstance alone. Cheers, B>

ADF skin disease - please help? 1/25/12
I came in this morning to my office and saw this on my ADF (please see attached photo) - first, he has a very unnatural stance and seems very stiff but still responds when you tap on the glass. He has multiple white patches on this back and under his arms. I suspect that it is a fungal infection but is there a way to treat it?
<I agree with your diagnosis. Methylene Blue should work. Use as indicated on the bottle. Remove carbon from the filter, if used.>
I did a regular water change last week, and the only difference was that because he was thin, I fed him some frozen brine shrimp. Could they have caused this?
<He is certainly VERY underweight. What is his environment like? These Dwarf Frogs need a reasonably large aquarium (5 gallons is surely the minimum) as well as filtration and, crucially, heat. Do read:
He did not eat that many on Friday, and has not eaten over the weekend.
Can this be treated with anti-fungals used for freshwater aquariums?
Please help - thanks,
<Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog Very Low Ph 1/12/12
Hello All,
I was gifted a Brookstone Frog-O-Sphere two years ago.
<Death-traps... am often surprised that this co. would be engaged in such>
I'm an animal lover, and I've done my best to care for these frogs, quickly realizing that the habitat provided was not an ideal environment. I can't even get into the barbaric way the live frogs were delivered to me, as it puts me into a blind rage. We've since upgraded to a 2.5 gallon tank, which has five living plants in good condition, and I've been using "living" substrate. The aquarium heater keeps the tank at about 83 degrees,
<Mmm, a bit warm. Please read Neale's review here:
and the linked files above. I'd re-set the temp. to 77 F maximum>
although the heater is a recent addition (since I've noticed that my frogs don't seem "happy"). Their diet varies every other day between pellets and crickets. The nitrates measured at about 10ppm and the nitrite is 0. The ph is very low -- about 4.
<Yeeikes! What is the cause here? Is there a bit of driftwood present?>
The tank has recently been cleaned. When I clean the tank, I keep about 1/3 existing water and add room temperature spring water.
<Spring water? A commercial product... not likely useful...>

The frogs have perked up since I've raised the tank temp (it was around between 69 and 71F), but they are still not back to their "old selves". I thought they may be droopy because the weather is getting colder (and thus their tank temp was dropping) but there must be something more. I have read that frogs are not overly sensitive to PH,
<Not so... this pH is dangerous in a few ways... the reason/s it's so low need to be discovered and dealt w/. What is the pH of the source water?
Does it have any measurable alkalinity?>
but 4 seems very, very low. Can I raise this without damaging or over- stressing the frogs?
<Yes... slowly... Read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm
and Neale's related articles on Hard/Soft water linked above>
Thank you in advance for you help.
<Do write back after reading if you're unclear re what to do. Bob Fenner>
Re: African Dwarf Frog Very Low Ph 1/12/12

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

African Dwarf Frog with lumps on face 10/27/11
Hi, I have my son's frog who is now close to five years old, maybe more.
<Quite olde>
She first started to have a cloudy eye which then progressed over a month to blindness and a lump. She now has a lump on the bottom of her chin and other side of her face. Are these tumors and is this an old age thing?
<Likely so>
She is still a big frog for a dwarf and the rest of her body is normal.
She seems to eat okay and moves around the tank. She has a friend in the tank, another female who appears healthy and is close to a year old now. I feel very sorry for her. Does she feel pain with these lumps and should I let her just live out the rest of her life. I kinda love her.
<A tough decision... Do see here re Neale's input re euthanization:
Bob Fenner>

African Dwarf Frog question- choking on food 10/15/11
I have two African Dwarf Frogs, one male and one female, in a 2.5 gallon tank. I know it's small, but I've heard one gallon per frog should be fine and I live in a college dorm.
<It is actually rather small. 5 gallons would be much better, and I'd urge you to upgrade. A gallon per frog may be reasonable, but there's a threshold value below which aquaria simply don't work reliably. It's to do with the way biological filtration works and how pH varies between water changes. So yes, 5 frogs in 5 gallons would be fine, but 2 frogs in 2 gallons is a risk I'd not accept.>
I originally rescued them from one of those boardwalk stores where they keep the frogs in inhumanely small containers with a piece of bamboo and some pretty gravel.
<Quite so.>
I didn't have very much money (as I'm just a poor college student) so I didn't buy them a heater until the room temperature started to drop below what is tolerable for the frogs with the changing seasons.
<I see. Again, in a very small tank heaters can cause temperatures to go up and down very quickly, simply because the wattage of the heater, which may be designed for tanks up to to 10, 15 gallons in size, "cooks" the water really quickly when there's only a couple gallons.>
It just so happens that the day I bought the heater, my room mate fed them while I was away and fed them entirely too much.
<Ah'¦ this isn't good.>
I was so angry. My male ADF cannot eat. I've found a lot of questions and answers on why a frog may or may not WANT to eat, but it appears as though my ADF physically cannot eat. He spent the past 15 minutes trying to get down a bloodworm and eventually he just gave up and spat it out entirely.
<Was probably too big or too tough. Dried foods in particular are difficult for them. Have you ever eaten jerky? Imagine that for a very small animal that doesn't really have the ability to chew at all. What Dwarf Frogs really want are tiny live foods, or failing that, tiny wet-frozen foods. Once settled, they will sometimes take suitable micro-pellet foods, but it's best not to use these all the time. Instead, balance their diet with wet or live foods. At a pinch, tiny slivers of white fish fillet or seafood might be acceptable.>
I found on one website in the case of overfeeding to have them fast for four days afterwards. It has been four days and the female frog seems to have recovered just fine but my male frog still can't eat. I'm really worried about him. I don't want him to starve to death. Is there anything I can do for him?
<Not much; this is one of those wait-and-see situations. As you probably appreciate, these animals are so tiny that trying to medicate them or manipulate them is fraught with danger. With Dwarf Frogs, the key thing is the prevent problems by covering all the bases up front. Do read:
Is it definitely because of the overfeeding or could it be the newly added heater as well?
<Unlikely the heating, and rather than overfeeding, I'd think about what size/sort of food you're offering. Daphnia for example would be better foods than bloodworms.>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
- Kelly
<Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Tadpoles Dying - Large White Blisters 9/26/11
My first time trying to raise tadpoles, I didn't know enough, but the test strips for nitrates, nitrites, etc. were OK.
<Do need the numbers here. You're aiming for 0 nitrite. Nitrate not critical, but less than 50 mg/l. Water chemistry not critical either, but shouldn't be extreme; 5-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8.>
I finally tested for ammonia, and the level was off the chart.
<And why your frogs are sick.
If you have zero nitrite and nitrate but high ammonia, that means biological filtration isn't happening in your aquarium.
The waste from the frogs is simply accumulating in the water. In theory, biological filters take between 4-6 weeks to mature. Ideally, you add an ammonia source (like daily pinches of flake food) to start up the process and wait for 4 weeks before you add livestock. But if you add fish or frogs from day 1, you need to do daily water changes, 20% or so, for at least the first three weeks to keep ammonia below 0.5 mg/l; any higher than that, and livestock will quickly sicken and die.>
I've changed the water every day, and got the level down, but not zero. I also had too many tads in the tank, and have rectified that.
<How big is the aquarium?>
The tads have a white blister on the underside. Is it a burn from ammonia?
<Could well be. Or more specifically, stress, which leads to bacterial infection, which ends up with the dead white skin you can see.>
They have difficulty staying right-side up and die just about when the tail has disappeared.
<Yes; bacterial infections work this way.>
It's devastating, because my ignorance is responsible.
I put 2 tads in clean, ammonia -free dishes, one to a dish, and although they eat, and have lived for about a week, they do not seem to get better.
Whenever they are upside down, I turn them over. Hopeless. I put MicroLift treated water in the aquarium with the remaining tads once, and will continue, but the problem remains so far. What, if anything, should I do?
The pet store clerk told me that the tads can't take any medications.
<Do read here:
Do also read here:
You can medicate with antibiotics for secondary infections; see here:
But in your case, do suspect environment is the primary issue here, and if you fix that, remaining healthy frogs should stay in good shape. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Tadpoles Dying - Large White Blisters 9/26/11

Nitrate 0, nitrite slightly lower than 3, GH 25, KH little less than 40, PH 6.2, chlorine 0, ammonia .5, one hour after feeding and before water change since yesterday
<I'm assuming the general and carbonate hardness measurements are in mg/l rather than degrees dH or degrees KH. Water is a bit soft and acidic; for best results, you want medium hard, around neutral water chemistry. Don't dramatically change things all in one fell swoop, but do read here:
The Rift Valley salt mix, used at about 25-50% the recommended dosage will go a long way towards improving water chemistry.>
Ammonia .5
<As stated before, this isn't good. Up to 0.5 mg/l will be tolerate for a few weeks while cycling the tank, but even levels above 0 are toxic.>
Aquaria are four separate plastic containers, each about 1 gallon, nothing on bottom, 4-5 tads in each now
<Rather small; would sooner have one tank, filtered with a sponge, than lots of small tanks I was keeping clean through water changes.>
Read your links, the best and most concise information I've found. I raised an African clawed frog who lived and sang nightly for about 5 years, and died of bloat, and I wish I'd known more then. Many thanks for your advice and rapid reply,
<Glad to help, and wishing you good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

My poor frogs (adf), hlth. 9/17/11
I am so great full for your sight and hope to get my questions answered.
<Let's see if we can help you!>
I had inherited two adf from my grandmother who had them for about five years and I had no clue what to do and a few months later one kept floating on top and then I found him on the bottom on its back and it had died and idk why and the other seemed not very active and lonely so I bought two more and added them
<A good habit is not to add any new animals (fish, frogs'¦) until at least 6 weeks after the last death. That way you can establish what the problem might be, and if the problem is still there. If all the existing animals are healthy after 6 weeks, you can be reasonably confident that your care is adequate to their needs.>
and then a few months later that one was constantly floating and coming home from vacation I found it also on its back dead I've had my water checked numerous times with the drops not strips and told it was great this tank is I think 8 gallons and also houses three tiny Neons they have all seemed happy and the only changes I've made is I had a huge stone filter that bubbled constantly and changed to a whisper one and they seemed fine but now about two months later another frog is floating all day it isn't fat or bloated and idk what is wrong .. is there some thing I'm doing wrong?
<Do read:
I thought the first two died perhaps of old age but now idk and I'm so concerned. The fish don't bother it and it seems like when he tries to swim down he struggles to and he just floats right back up all of its limbs look normal and it use to be my most active frog
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: My poor frogs (adf) 9/19/11

Thank you so much it was very informative and greatly appreciated and I have the habitat pretty close to how it was suggested and I took it out and put him in another tank and he seemed fine and chilled at the bottom and ate so I added him back two days later and he went back to his old habit of floating but today he is on the bottom and playing as usual so guess he was in a phase or I'm a worry wart either way thank you and I'm glad he is well. I will definitely come back with any questions! ~Barbara~
<These frogs do like basking at the surface under an aquarium light, so provided he's feeding and looks plump and healthy, then you're probably fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich Quarantine 8/9/11
<Hi there Alyssa>
Last month, I decided I was going to upgrade fish tanks, going from a Marineland 5 gallon to a Marineland 12 gallon. The 5 gallon housed my three-year-old ADF, Simon. After setting up the 12 gallon, I let it run for two weeks before moving Simon into it,
<Along w/ some olde water, substrate, filter media I hope/trust>
and decided to keep the 5 gallon running.
I also decided to buy neon tetras for the new tank.
<Mmm, Characins/oids really don't like "new systems">
It has been a week since I bought the fish, and the tetras have been dying left and right. Now only two tetras remain, and I am fairly certain one has Ich. I just noticed tonight the tetra has beige-colored granules on his body. Depending on where the tetra is in the tank, the granules are either noticeable or they aren't.
So here are my questions.
I have read ADF's are sensitive to Ich medication. Is it better to relocate Simon to the 5 gallon, while I try to treat the Ich, or to move the tetras into the 5 gallon?
<Yes I would>

Do I move both tetras, or only the infected one?
<Move the ADF, leave all else in the 12, treat>
If I move Simon, how can I make sure I am not somehow also transporting the parasite to the quarantine tank?
<Yes, but will die off in a few weeks for lack of a suitable host>
Will Simon be all right in the bare 5 gallon for the amount of time it takes to remove the Ich from the 12 gallon?
What is the best approach to removing the Ich?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above, particularly re "sensitive fishes"... Likely a thermal approach alone will work here>
This is my first time dealing with Ich and I'm a little freaked, thus all the questions.
<No worries.>
Thanks so much for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

ADF injury/illness? 7/31/11
Two days ago I bought 2 ADFs from the pet store to add to my 10 gallon. I got my water tested and thy say it was perfect with no ammonia. I have a filter and an air pump in the tank. I have a heater but I'm not planning on using it until the temperature cools off because my water stays somewhere between 80-83 degrees (I'm cold natured so I don't use an air conditioner in my house). The only other inhabitants are 5 plants and some tiny snails that came along with them. While attempting to transport the frogs into the tank, one of them jumped out of the net and hopped around on my floor for about two minutes white I tried to catch him. I was totally surprised because I thought ADFs were more like fish than frogs and I didn't expect him to jump away from me like that. I was able to get him back into the tank and he immediately found one of the tiny ceramic pots I placed in the tank for him to hide in. I knew he was traumatized from his ordeal so I put in a algae tablet (what the pet store employee had been feeding them)
<Mmm, no. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfaffdg.htm
and left them be. Today I was able to get a closer look at the frogs and realized they don't eat the algae tablets. So far all they have eaten is frozen blood worms but tomorrow I am going to try some ReptoMin. Both frogs are emaciated and are missing some claws. The pet store had at least 20 or 30 in a one gallon tank
and I'm sure they became malnourished because they don't eat the algae tablets. One of the frogs has a lighter colored patch on his nose that I didn't notice yesterday. I am wondering could this be a wound from hopping around my kitchen and dining room or the beginning of a fungus. The patch is a tan golden color, very small, with no fuzz or cottony growth. I'm not sure how to treat this or if I even should bother. Would some Pimafix be pointless or harmful?
<The latter; glad you're asking>
I have no experience with frogs please help! Thanks so much.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above, particularly/pertinently ADF Disease FAQs. Bob
Re: ADF injury/illness? 7/31/11

Thanks for the fast reply! I checked over the links you suggested but I am still confused about what to do. Today the frogs ate ReptoMin pellets and seem active enough, but now they both have small lighter colored patched on their noses. Should I go ahead and treat them with Maroxy just to be on the safe side?
<I would do so... with one or a combo of Sulfa-based drugs>
Will it harm them if they don't have a fungus?
<These will not. BobF>
Re: re: ADF injury/illness? 8/3/11

Which sulfa drugs would you recommend?
<Please learn to/use the search tool linked on every page of WWM. RMF>

African Dwarf Frog ? 7/18/11
Hello, My African Dwarf Frog has seemed to have injured his leg and now it looks to be molding and the toes are coming off. Is there anything I can do or get to help him? He's eating and swimming fine, just looks painful.
Thanks for your help
<I would use a "Sulfa-based" anti-fungal here. These are sold for fish "fungus" issues... Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Injured African Dwarf Frog question 7/17/11
<Sorry for the late response Sarah. The folk who generally respond to amphibian (and reptile) queries appear to be "out">
I have an African Dwarf Frog I have had him for about 6 months and within the last week he was injured and has quickly gotten worse. Originally the foot of the frog was a little red. Next it seemed to spread up his leg.
Then it changed from red to almost fuzzy looking. I feel horrible be cause it has gotten so bad so fast and I don't know what to do. His leg looks like all the flesh is falling off, his foot looks like there are only bones left and it almost looks like his knee joint is exposed. I don't know a lot about them so I consulted someone from a local pet store. The sales associate at the pet store said that an anti fungus medication for fish might help but I really don't know. I did put him into a smaller tank with water from the large tank and gave him the medicine (API Liquid Fungus) as directed. My questions are as follows:
Is it likely that the anti fungus medicine will help?
<Yes; I would use it/this here>
Is that the best course of action? If not what is?
Will his leg fall off? If it does what will happen to him? (Someone told me today it is possible for it to grow back.)
<Mmm, won't grow back, but I know of quite a few frogs that have lived quite well as amputees>
I would greatly appreciate if you could help me out I really feel so bad for how this frog is hurting and that I don't know how to help him.
I know you post responses to your site however it would help me to help my frog faster if you could also e-mail it to me also. (My daytime location does not allow access to most sites but I can relay directions from e-mail to my family at home.)
Thank you so much for your time and help?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ADFDisF3.htm
and the linked files above re Hymenochirus for background, solace. Bob Fenner>

African Dwarf Frogs questions! Hlth., sys. 6/13/2011
Hi there-
I came upon your site when researching ADFs online. My boys each received 2 from Brookstone (I know...Yikes) in December 2009. They lived in their tiny tanks eating their pellets and seemed to be doing fine. On Thursday, my son accidentally knocked over his dresser and sent the tank flying. We managed to get the two frogs and put them into his brother's tank. (I know you are cringing right now, based on how obscenely small those tanks are-- I had no idea until recently.) That evening we went to a local pet store and got a new tank. It's a Betta tank with a filter and light. We got new gravel, a cave like stone for hiding, a Nerite snail, and drops to treat the tap water.
<Do make sure these "drops" treat for Chloramine (not just chlorine)... important and apropos to your situation below>
I put the frogs in the new tank and that night they were more active than ever. They seemed to have calmed down since then. I have been feeding them more based on what I have read about the 2 pellet regime being a starvation diet. This morning (Sunday) the snail was floating at the top of the tank. This evening we noticed one of the frogs had died. He was on his back at the bottom of the tank, unmoving. When I removed him from the tank he remained completely still. I thought they would float to the top when they died. My son was devastated and thinks one of the other frogs was eating his food. I decided to change the water and put the 3 frogs in a bowl. They each moved when I transferred them but were pretty still in the bowl.
<Mmm... the sanitizer, Chloramine...>

I put a few pellets in to see if they would eat and they didn't. When I changed the water I used the drops and made sure the temp was between 75-85 degrees. What do you think is wrong?
<See above... this and the fact that this system is not likely "cycled">

Here they were "fine" in the awful Brookstone tank, and I move them to a better environment and they seem to be failing. Please let me know if you have any advice before the next three die!!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
And use the search tool (on the left border) to look up re cycling, Dechloramination... Oh, and do write back if you have further concerns,
questions. Bob Fenner>

My African dwarf frog died, incomp. 6/4/2011
Hi I bought an African dwarf frog about over a month ago and everything seemed fine. I made sure to ask the pet store employee if the frog would survive in my 20gal tank filled with tropical fish, one shark, algae eater, and cat fish. and they suggested it would be fine.
<He was wrong. Generally, these Dwarf Frogs to much better kept among their own kind or mixed with very small, very gentle tankmates. Cherry Shrimps are ideal and bring some nice colour to the set-up. Very small tetras such as Neons can work, but there's always a risk with fish that they'll either steal food or nip the frogs.>

My frog actually did pretty good and was rarely bothered. In fact if the fish would try to mess with him, the shark scared them away. Now im not sure what exactly happened because I check on them every day and last night I checked and he was just laying upside down. I moved him around and he twitched but it looked like he was just slowly dying. I change my filter every month and do a water change a week after my filter change. And we bought blood worms but kinda figured that he would eat the left over fish flakes so stopped putting them in the tank and also because every time we put the worms, all the other fish went for it. So im not sure what else I can tell you but could it be that he wasn't eating properly?
<This is why the frogs are best kept alone. That way the foods either gone inside the frogs or left uneaten, so either way, you know the state of affairs. Cherry Shrimps aren't much competition, so the frogs will come out and feed happily. The problem is that fish can scare the frogs so much they don't eat enough.>
Also something we tried but not sure if it made a difference was since the fish tried to eat the worms as soon as they saw them ( we used a dropper to reach in) we turned off the light so they wouldn't see his food and he would have a better chance of eating.
<Do read, here:
Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog with Fungus... No rdg. 5/20/11
I received two African Dwarf Frogs from a friend at the end of last summer named Justin and Lindsay. Originally they were in the same tank, which I was told a self-sustaining eco-system and that all I needed to do was change 50% of the water once every 2-3 months.
<... am wondering what this actually is system-wise. Gallons (at least ten), live plants (plenty), filtration...>
One day I noticed that Justin, who is significantly larger than Lindsay, was preventing Lindsay from eating by biting her side and dragging her to the bottom of the tank every time she attempted to each the pellets floating on the top of the water. So I quickly separated the two, putting Lindsay in a different aquarium tank, and things have been fine since then.
However, yesterday I noticed a white, cottony growth on Lindsay's back left foot. I immediately did a 50% water change
<Good start>
but I haven't noticed any improvement. It looks like there is almost a cocoon around her foot with thin, translucent fungus hairs coming out in all directions. Lindsay is floating on the top of the water, which isn't unusual but is also not common. I read that for other cases like this Melafix is recommended, but I'm also wondering what variety of water conditioner is good for frogs?
<All that are made for aquarium use>
I also have a beta fish,
<What a test one? Betta>
so I have been using a fish water conditioner (for tap water to be suitable for aquatic life) for my frogs too. Is this okay?
Or should I get a different conditioner for the frogs?
Thank you,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfafdis.htm
and the linked files above, particularly Systems. Do write back if you have further specific questions, concerns. Oh, your issue here is almost certainly environmental... though avitaminoses may play a role. Bob Fenner>

Betta and two African Dwarf Frogs in a ten gallon tank, Hymenochirus hlth. 5/10/11
Hey crew,
I have read over your site many times, and hate to report similar symptoms to those already on here, but I am just so unsure as to what to do and really need advice.
I have a Betta and two African Dwarf Frogs in a ten gallon tank. They seem to get along famously... but I will need a bit of understanding on this one. When I first bought these frogs I was unaware as to the constant issues these fish and frogs would have...and I know the scenario isn't perfect but I have spent so much money improving their conditions and have tried my personal best ( I have read other sites where people are down right cruel to people who have frogs with problems)
My poor frogs are very young as I only adopted them about 2 months ago. I sadly had one pass away. I thought he was starving to death, as I never saw him eating, so I kept adding food to his water when quarantined (bad idea now I understand). The final day his body was extremely limp, and he kept floating upside down. I skipped college lab that day to make sure he could reach the surface of the air and breathe.
I felt so badly about his death I bought a heater, a 35 dollar sink operated gravel vac, a more powerful filter, switched to frozen blood worms and brine shrimp, and am working on switching all the plants to silk plants (soon enough real plants, just don't know how filter will work on sand) My other frog that passed was so terribly skinny that I suppose I overfed the newly sick frog in fear he would die like the other did, but I was sure to constantly change the water to keep the ammonia low ( I knew this was bad for stress and in return bought a terra cotta plate just yesterday for them to maybe make feeding easier)
Now I have another frog, limp, floating, and refusing to eat... He does have a red tint to him but its everywhere not just on the leg, and also has a cottony foot. So I figured, this is a fungus problem.
<Mmm, but from what/original cause?>

The only antifungal medicine at Wal-mart available was lifeguard and since I do not have him quarantined to five gallons as the label suggested I only allowed a small amount to dissolve in it. I put a small amount of regular salt into the water (aquarium salt is out of stock at Wal-mart ) and I just don't know what to do. I hate to see him suffer, but I don't know if I should put him down.
I don't know if were dealing with constipation or Fungus problems. Is him floating and limp a sure sign he will die? To be fair they were eating freeze dried blood worms before I switched over and I'm afraid he still might be constipated.
What should I do
Thank you.
<Rachel. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfafdis.htm
and the linked files above. Nothing "jumps out" as being problematical here (of what you've related). The foods you are offering should be fine, as is what you relate in the way of the system. It might be that these frogs are too weak, doomed by the time you've gotten them. Bob Fenner>

ADF with mouth swelling 4/22/11
Dear crew,
I have 4 African dwarf frogs, a Betta and a mystery snail in a 10 gallon tank. They've lived together for 10 months now, with the exception of the snail that was added about a month ago after hitchhiking in on some plants I bought for another of my tanks. The tank is kept at about 77 degrees F. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates around 5. They are fed every other day, alternately bloodworms and glassworms, sometimes daphnia, with an occasional feeding of brine shrimp. I change 10-20% once or twice a week, depending on my week. I changed about 15% three days ago. I use dechlorinated tap water, which around here is pretty hard. Yesterday, one of the frogs looked like he had something unusual on his throat, a bit of red, but he wouldn't hold still long enough for me to really see. I couldn't tell anything for sure. But today, it is quite swollen and somewhat red. It's transparent, it isn't a solid mass. The red is from blood vessels, it looks like. I've skimmed through the health articles on ADFs and haven't found anything similar.
<Indeed not. If the throat had become swollen over a period of weeks or months, then a thyroid problem might be suspected. Lack of iodine is often the problem here. It's a good idea to use proprietary pellet foods at least once a week purely to avoid problems with vitamins and minerals. Live foods are good in lots of ways, but they can be lacking in certain nutrients. In the wild frogs will eat a whole variety of prey, and that allows them to "balance out" any shortcomings with one particular prey type. However, since this problem has appeared overnight, an infection of some sort seems more likely. Male frogs do of course puff up their throats when singing, and sometimes these "stick" puffed out for a while, but usually deflate normally across a few hours. I'm not personally aware of any specific infection that would cause a frog's throat to stay puffed up, though there may well be one. A specialist frog forum may be a better place to ask about this.>
It is entirely possible when I was changing water that my 6 year old tried to hold the frogs. He wants to grow up to be the person who catches frogs at the fish store, and even though I've told him you can't touch the frogs, I've caught him sneaking into the room while I'm changing water before just to try to pet or hold the frogs. But I didn't notice this until 2 days after I changed the water. I've attached two photos of the frog, who posed quite nicely even though my camera focused on the wrong thing. He seems to be doing alright. The only behavioral change I've noticed is him sitting upright more often, rather then lying on the gravel, and spending a few extra seconds at the top, as if he's having to work a little harder to take in air. Is there anything I can do?
<Unlikely. Apart from a general antibiotic, there isn't much you can do beyond waiting and seeing what happens. Naturally, you'll want to ensure water quality and water chemistry are appropriate, and that the tank is clean and healthy.>
Update: The frog in question did die the next day.
<Too bad.>
When I plucked his dead body from out of the aquarium, the swelling around his throat was gone. I want to be sure whatever he died from is not something contagious.
<Impossible to say for sure.>
Or if there's something I need to be doing different, I want to know.
<It's very, very hard to say what happened here without an autopsy and analysis of the damaged tissue under a microscope to look for specific bacteria or fungi. Very little is known about frog health, and the accent has to be on preventative care. Review diet, and in particular, consider whether the right balance of vitamins and minerals have been offered. Check water quality. Look at the substrate and think about whether it might have damaged the frog (smooth silica sand is good, while sharp sand and gravel are bad). Review tankmates. Check that uneaten food is removed.
Essentially, go down the list of things frogs need, and make sure you're doing everything right. Do also review Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Red Leg Disease, the two most serious frog infections. There's quite a lot about them published online.>
Thanks for your time,
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF's, no salt please 4/16/11
Hey Folks,
I recently lost about six ADF's in two separate tanks over the course of a couple days.
The female Betta fish that were with them are doing fine. I had gotten in the habit of adding a heaping tablespoon of salt per gallon of water with the Betta's water changes .
<Why? Please read here:
and the linked files above... There is a persistent "wives' tale" re salt use... in this case, toxic>
The frogs were added about a month ago. Today I read on the internet that I might be using too much salt.
At any rate do you think that the salt might have killed my froggies?
<Oh yes>

I read on your site that they absorb through their skin. Most of them looked normal but a few were bloated. The strange thing is that they did fine for a month and then suddenly over the course of several days they all died. Last week I bought some HBH frog and tadpole bits. They are larger and sink. Before that I was feeding something smaller that floated on the surface and the Betta girls were getting huge. Water, food, or something else.
Thanks so much for your time,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: ADF's 4/16/11
Hi Bob,
<Big D!>
Thanks so much for your timely response. Very kind of you. I appreciate the information. Have a great weekend. GOD bless.
<And you, BobF>

African Dwarf Frog/Betta safe medication? 2/1/11
Dear sir/ma'am,
One of my little African Dwarf Frogs has developed bloat.
<Mmm, a symptom... with a few/diverse etiologies/causes...>
He looks pretty bad off. He is not floating and seems to still be eating (frozen bloodworms),
<I would discount to discontinue these larval insects as food. They have been implicated in troubles in recent times>
but is super swollen.
He is in a 5 gallon tank with one other ADF and a Betta (they get along fine, basically ignore each other). I am looking for something to treat the frog with that will also be safe for the Betta since they are in the same tank. I adopted the frogs from someone else in last December and the one was already puffy at that point, but I just though he was fat. He has gotten much worse since then. Can you please recommend something you think would be effective and yet safe for my Betta too?
Thank you!
<There are some folks who endorse the use of broad-spectrum antibiotic use, Epsom Salt for such... but I'd just switch foods... Do read here:
and the linked files above, particularly "Feeding FAQs". Bob Fenner>

Re: African Dwarf Frog/Betta safe medication? Using WWM 2/22/11

Thanks for the information. We tried your recommendation of switching our ADF food to try to cure his bloat. We switched him to mysis shrimp, but the little guy is still suffering from bloat. He is extremely swollen. We contacted an exotic animal vet in our area that deals with frogs. He told me this morning to put the frog in 1 liter of room temperature water with 1 tsp of table salt and 1 tsp of sugar and leave him there overnight.
<Worth trying>
I am confused because I thought exposure to high levels of salt for long periods of time would kill an African dwarf frog. What are your thoughts on this method of treatment? It breaks our heart to see him suffering. Thank you!
<... Have you read, searched on WWM re? Start here:
Bob Fenner>

Sick dwarf African frog 1/17/11
Hi there! :D
A few months ago I purchased a couple of Dwarf African frogs and set them up in a lovely, pre-cycled 5.5 gallon tank.
<Mmm, how "pre-cycled"? What assurance do you have that the cycle was complete?>
Everything was going fine but a few days ago I noticed that one looked a little thinner than the other. Yesterday the thinner one had a fuzzy look to his back, which I (mistakenly) assumed was shedding skin. This morning he was dead. I have checked the water (Ph, Nitrates, etc.) and everything has tested perfect. I have two questions. First, do I need to be worried about my other frog becoming sick, and second, will my other frog be lonely?
<Are social animals...>
I'm concerned that, if he will get lonely I cannot get him a new friend since I have no separate quarantine tank.
<I would not be, am not very concerned re transmissible disease in Hymenochirus>
Thanks in advance for any help/advice you can give me.
Kind regards,
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked FAQs files (above) re ADFs. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick dwarf African frog 1/17/11

Thank you so much for your quick response!
I know the tank was cycled because I did a fishless cycle. I am a stickler for water testing and test the water in all my tanks every week, as well as testing the water out of the tap so I can make any adjustments.
<Ah, good>
Thank you for the link you provided, it was very helpful in reassuring me that my frog set up was appropriate.
I would just like to double check that it would be okay to get new frogs without quarantining them. I've read some nasty things on the internet about frog disease and quarantining them for up to 3 months, it has made me a little paranoid.
<In the vast majority of cases there is more to be lost than gained by
delaying these animals direct placement. BobF>
Kind regards,
Re: sick dwarf African frog 1/19/11

Thank you again, I will get a new buddy for my frog asap. One last question though, any idea what may have killed my frog, or how I can prevent a loss like that in the future?
<Can't say w/ any certainty based on the information provided. Could be an internal injury, perhaps something else "biological" w/in>
Frogs are new to me, I've only had them about 4 months.
Kind regards,
<Do read the accumulated FAQs re these species on WWM. BobF>

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

ADFs disease unidentified 11/17/10
Hi - university student here keeping 2 ADFs in 0.75 gallon tank live plants no heater. Don't know exact numbers for nitrates etc. but I do dechlorify the water and feed them frog pellets. No filter... I change the water weekly. No roommates for the frogs, just the two of them. I know, I know, those are not ideal conditions... I've had them since the start of the semester (beginning of Sept) and one just died today. Promptly removed the corpse and changed water fully. I got a new pal for the still-living frog so he wouldn't be lonely. After finishing the new home examined the corpse.
Kinda pale, beige-grey film all over - same type of film as was floating perpetually on top of the water. Belly was disturbingly soft and you could see green inside as well as very dark in the pelvic region under the skin. He hadn't been eating too well for 2-3 days prior. Then again they don't seem to notice the pellets that well. I've been trying to introduce fish flakes with the highest protein content I could find. What the heck could this be?? Haven't found anything matching these symptoms. Is my second frog in danger, and is my brand-new frog in danger? Anything I can do to prevent this?? Or should I give up on ADFs at university despite my love of frogs (also have had them since elementary school... figured being at school
would be a bit harder but still doable... maybe not). Thanks for any and all answers you can provide
<Hello Hallie. Your tank is too small and almost certainly too cold. Water changes don't remove the necessity of a biological filter. Because you're exposing these frogs to lethal conditions, they're weakening through a combination of stress, poisoning, compromised immune system and inadequate digestion of their food. All your frogs will die before long. Do read the following from top to bottom, and then go out and buy the 6+ gallon aquarium, heater, and air-powered filter as stated.
There's nothing mysterious about what's happening to your frogs; what you're seeing is absolutely predictable and typical of Hymenochirus maintained in small, unheated, unfiltered conditions. Hope this helps.
Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog - White Knee Joints (plus Neale having a bit of a rant about manners, WWM, etc'¦) 10/17/10
First, I'd like to say that I was really enjoying reading all the information you have posted on your website.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
My daughter's school recently studied the ADF and afterwards, allowed the students to take the frogs home. I didn't realize there was so much involved in raising these frogs as the school only kept them in a tank with dechlorinated water and fed them brine shrimp flakes.
<Just goes to show that Paul Simon was on to something when he wrote "Kodachrome".>
I, on the other hand, put it in a 5 gallon tank with a filter system and a heater.
<A good start.>

I noticed this frog starting to get white knee caps and decided to search for the reason for this.
<Can be a variety of things. It's normal for frogs to shed skin, so that's one explanation. It's also not uncommon for frogs to produce unusual amounts of mucous when exposed to less-than-perfect environmental conditions. Prolonged exposure to poor environmental conditions can lead to opportunistic infections of the skin, and dead skin turns white, so white patches can be a sign of sickness. Do please read:
Since we just got the frog and the setup a few days ago, I am not prepared to tell you the stats of the water condition.
<I see. Well, frogs are aquatic fairly hardy, and if you do 20% water changes every day or two, you stand a good chance of going through the cycling process without any serious hiccups. On the other hand, prolonged exposure to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels can, will make frogs sick.>
I will be going out tomorrow to get the testing kit needed to do so.
<At minimum, acquire a pH test kit and a nitrite test kit. Other kits on top of these may be helpful, but these are the two must-haves.>
We feed it the wet frozen brine shrimp and I will look into getting it a variety of food, like the wet frozen bloodworms, etc.
I am not sure if it was mentioned that this could be fungal or not.
<Fungal infections tend to look like cotton wool threads.>
The frog does look a bit pale in comparison to the photos I've seen. It does appear to be very active and has eaten a little bit. If fungal, what do you recommend? Do I get the Maracyn II?
<The Maracyn family of products are antibiotics, and they therefore treat bacteria. Their usefulness against fungal infections is near-zero, in just the same way antibiotics don't treat viruses like flu. I'd hold off adding any medications until you've established what the problem is. Nine times out of ten, sick frogs are sick because of poor environment. Fix the environment, and the frog generally gets better under its own steam.
Scatter-gun approaches with medications are as dangerous to pet animals as they are to humans.>
Secondly, I'm not sure you will give me an answer after I say this or not, but I'll take my chances.
<Go ahead.>
I find some of your comments to be very rude.
<You do?>
Whether typing in all caps, properly capitalizing nouns, etc., is no reason to come down so hard on these people who are writing to you.
<I see your point, and from your perspective it may seem unreasonable. But here's the deal. When someone sends a proper e-mail to us, it has three effects. Firstly, it shows they respect us enough to make an effort. We're volunteers as well as experts, and believe me, if we didn't basically enjoy helping people, we wouldn't be here. Secondly, clear English helps us understand their message, and in turn, makes it easier for us to give them better advice. It also makes the site more accessible to other readers, not all of whom are 17-year-old American boys, so the nearer "Queen's English" the message, the more accessible that message it to someone for whom English isn't their first language. Finally, clear English is what Google and other search engines catalogue. This site is only online because advertising pays its way. Without Google hits, we'd have far fewer site visitors, and the advertisements would pay far less. I can understand that some people don't want to spend the extra nanosecond writing "because" instead of "cuz", and I also understand there are some people out there who don't say "please" or "thank-you". But these things matter, and they matter to us, and in helping us to help others, they matter to you too.>
I mean, if they didn't care, why would they contact you to begin with.
<Yes, but if you follow along that line of reasoning, why say "thank-you" to a waiter, after all, it's his job to bring you a meal. In fact since we're volunteers, the nicer you are to us, the better we feel about helping
you. It's called enlightened self-interest, and it's the most powerful force for good on this planet: doing the right thing because it's profitable.>
As for myself, I do care - that's why I'm writing to you - to get the proper advice to take care of the pet I have.
<As I can tell, and as I respect.>
I didn't realize I had to be a perfect scholar to get advice.
<We honestly don't expect perfect English; all we expect is [a] politeness and [b] basic spelling and grammar. It's easy enough to tell from e-mail addresses whether someone is writing from New Hampshire or New Delhi, and I think you'll find we act/react accordingly.>
My advice to you, stop criticizing these people for the small stuff and give them credit for contacting you in the first place.
<Speaking personally, any criticism we hand out is pretty trivial. It's not like we beat people over the head with the Oxford English Dictionary!
Imagine you spent an hour a day volunteering -- as I do -- helping others out. Mostly it's fun, and in some cases people have gone on to become Facebook friends and what have you. But after answering seventeen messages on sick goldfish, just how enthused would *you* be to answer a question from someone who didn't bother to use capitals, to say hello, to say thank-you, and instead wrote the whole thing as a text message. I have to tell you, those are the messages I dread and frankly tend to ignore. Maybe they get done the next day, when I've got a bit more energy. If I do answer them, all I do is send a link to an article they should read. No fun for me, and I dare say not much fun for them. The world is full of people who think the world owes them a living. We're in a society where mega-corporations force retail and service staff to be cheery and polite, no matter how much of a jerk the customer is. Parents seem to have stopped teaching their children manners, and frankly, if their parents have manners, they don't seem to use them. Both here in England and in the US, the functional literacy of the average person *is going down* with each generation because they've somehow decided good English doesn't matter. But here, in this little corner of the Internet, is a place where manners and good English are valued, and if you use 'em, you'll get more for your money. Oops, we're free, that's right, and we're free precisely because good English is the currency of Search Engine Optimisation.>
Thank you and have a good night.
<I will indeed.>
<Thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog - White Knee Joints (plus Neale having a bit of a rant about manners, WWM, etc'¦)
Thank you for taking the time to explain your point of view.
<Not a problem.>
I, too, am all about manners and respect. I very much appreciate what volunteers do and understand that they do not get paid for their time. I have three kids (15, 13 and 9). My middle daughter has a fatal illness and the organization that is helping to raise funds for research for a treatment or cure are all volunteers.
<A tragic situation, about which there's nothing I can add here except to wish you all well.>
They work hard so that our kids may hopefully one day have a chance to survive this horrible disease.
<Good to know that their work is appreciated and hopeful.>
My kids are reminded just about every day to use proper manners and always, always, please and thank you. I was brought up very strict and I want my kids to have the same values (really tough in this day and age).
<I would tend to agree.>
But anyway, I was a bit taken back by some of the comments and I tend to take things personally.
<I'm sure there are times we step over the mark, but there are other times we do bite our tongues. My own British sense of humour sometimes comes across as sarcastic, just as the American sense of humour often comes across to me as flippant. It's always difficult getting the balance right.>
I really try to do the right thing. I appreciate what you do, and yes, I'm sure it's a bit boring to have to read the same questions/comments day in and day out. But on the other hand, what may be boring to you is a world of help for me.
<That's our hope. We can't pretend to be helping sick children, but we do try to do what we can to help others.>
Thank you again.
PS: I'll work on the tank environment and hopefully that will work. :-)
<Real good. African Dwarf Frogs aren't especially hard to maintain, but it will take 4-6 weeks to mature a new filter, and until that happens, water quality in an aquarium can, will be poor. My best to both you and your daughter, Neale.>

Chytrid fungus... Please help 10/13/10
I am an African dwarf frog lover and I have two aquariums housing 2 frogs each. My froggies have lived happily for the past two months since I got them at PetSmart; I keep their water clean with regular changes and twice weekly I check their ph, nitrate/ammonia etc. Yesterday however, my two frogs in one of the tanks began behaving so strangely. They were a strange color, sort of grayish, and they were thrashing around in the water absolutely out of control for hours on end. They also shed some of their mottled skin. I had no idea what to do, all water tests were normal. By the evening, one of my frogs was dead- it's body was stiff and hard. Today Kermit died as well. (their names were Kermit and Miss Piggy, a male and a female). I am so sad. After researching their symptoms online I am fearful my frogs might have had the Chytrid fungus all along, something I've never heard of until today. Their symptoms and death were so sudden. Now I need to know if there is anything I can do to save my other two frogs, GusGus and Sprocket, who just today have turned that strange gray color as well, and if you also think it could be Chytrid or something else. I've found so much valuable information on your website and hope you can assist me and my remaining froggies. Thank you.
Janie Marie
<Hello Janie Marie. I'm almost 100% certain the issue here isn't Chytrid fungus or anything exotic like that. Instead, from what you've said here I believe environmental issues are to blame. The word "PetSmart" rings alarm bells for one thing, because the staff working in chain stores don't always provide the best information on what exotic animals need. But more importantly, you talk about keeping the water clean through water changes. You say nothing about the size of the tank, filtration, or heating. For two Dwarf Frogs you'd need at least 5 gallons, and I'd strongly argue that a bigger tank is better, say 10 gallons for 4 frogs. Water volume makes a big difference. Filtration isn't an option, and water changes don't alleviate
the need for filtration. Heating is also essential, these animals being tropical frogs that must be kept at around 25 C/77 F. Besides these issues, they also need a balanced diet and when you do water changes all new water has to be treated with water conditioner. Do please read here:
Environmental stress causes a variety of symptoms identical to those of fungal and bacterial infections, and only a vet can tell you for sure what killed your frogs. But the probabilities are such that poor environment
kills a thousand times more Dwarf Frogs than Chytrid fungus! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Chytrid fungus... Please help 10/14/10

Hi Neale,
You have provided valuable information for people who may be confused about proper frog care, however I assure you that I do my research when I have a pet to care for.
In fact much of my initial reading on the subject was done on this website.
I am aware that PetSmart staff don't always know the score- my froggies are housed in 5 gallon tanks (two frogs per tank).
They also have a filter (Fluval) and a heater because I do not live in a tropical environment.
I do feed them mostly freeze dried bloodworms though without too much variation.
<I'd roll back freeze-dried foods generally; they do tend to promote constipation.>
Their water is always clean with the appropriate ph, hardness, and no nitrates/ammonia.
My frogs have always been active, singing at night, amplecting, with zero signs of poor health or disease. I think it odd that in a matter of two days they both were seizuring and turning gray, and that their skin is so hard, extremely thick and stiff after they died.
<Very odd.>
Are these symptoms truly signs of poor diet or conditions?
<Can be, but there's no automatic connection. The problem is that poor diet and conditions weaken the immune system, and that in turn makes the frog more vulnerable to a range of diseases. In other words, frogs can come down with diseases because of bad luck, or bad genes, or bad environment, and it's very difficult to tell these three alternatives apart because the actual disease that harms the frog may be the same in all three situations!
It's a lot like heart disease in humans -- could be caused by poor diet, or stress, or genetic disposition.>
As I have been researching their symptoms they don't match common froggie ailments.
<No, indeed not. Seizures and stiff limbs often occur close to death anyway, though there are of course bacterial infections that can cause them comparable to tetanus in humans. Lack of vitamins can also cause neurological problems in fish and humans, and I dare say in frogs as well.
Grey skin is either caused by the skin cells dying or excessive quantities of mucous, both of which may be caused by environmental issues, poor diet, or bacterial infections. The bottom line is that without seeing the frogs *and* being a vet suitably trained to carry out a post mortem, identifying the cause of death here is very hard indeed. There's a commercial site that ships Xenopus out to labs, and they have a good page on Xenopus health together with some very useful links; stop by and have a read:
Although your frogs are Hymenochirus species, they're closely related to Xenopus and likely subject to identical diseases.>
What should I be doing differently to ensure this doesn't happen again if it is indeed an environmental problem?
<Sounds to me that you do understand the needs of these frogs, and providing you stick to a good maintenance regime and I'd suggest vary the diet a bit, I can't see that you're actually causing the deaths of these frogs, at least not in any obvious or careless way.>
I always want to provide healthy and appropriate environments for the pets in my care and I thought I'd provided them with proper conditions. (If the frogs in the other tank die in the same manner I will at least be taking the bodies up to the university to see if someone can tell me if it is Chytrid)
<Ah, very good. Ultimately microscopy will be the only way to be 100% sure if these frogs are suffering from a fungal infection. While such fungal infections do happen among pet frogs, my experience is that they're rather an uncommon cause of death compared to poor environment.>
Thank you so much again for your time!
<Glad to help and good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF odd symptoms 9/25/10
Greetings. I am inquiring about a <1 year old African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus boettgeri).
Tank size-10 gal.
Tank mates-3 zebra Danios + 2 x ray tetras* our new ADF just died last week* no symptoms
total hardness-75
total alkalinity-110-120
Food-3-4 Omega One goldfish pellets every 2-3 days. 2-3 Freeze dried Bloodworms 1X per week.
She has developed 2 bumps on the base of her body along with a protuberance (which used to be much smaller) as you can see in the pictures. Her behavior has changed drastically with her spending most of her time floating on the top of the water rather than exploring the bottom of the tank, playing, swimming, etc. She is eating normally. What are the bumps on her body?
What is the protuberance below the bumps?
Is the change in behavior indicative of a problem?
Thank you for your feedback,
<Hello Gwynne. I'm pretty sure the problem here is lack of food, either simple starvation or the lack of some essential nutrient or vitamin. In other words, you aren't feeding these frogs enough, and in not enough
variety, for them to stay healthy. The bumps are simply bones poking out, and this frog is really very thin. Do read here:
On the whole frogs make very bad companions for fish, and I normally recommend they are kept among their own kind or with other very slow feeders like snails and shrimps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ADF odd symptoms 9/26/10
Upon reading your reply, I jumped out of bed and fed our poor little frog.
At each feeding she gets her food from a baster. She sees it coming into the tank and goes right for it and typically eats vigorously. I will read further about changing her diet and feeding frequency so she can be the happy healthy frog she used to be. Thank you so much for your advice.
<Glad to help. Hope the frog puts on some weight soon. Good luck! Neale.>

Ick, GF w/ ADFs in sys. 9/22/10
Hello and thank you for your time.
I have a 75 gallon freshwater tank with common 7 common goldfish and 4 African Dwarf Frogs. My fish have developed Ick and I am treating them.
<W/ the Hymenochirus removed I hope/trust>
I read on your website that the ADF do not get Ick but cannot tolerate the medicine that will treat my other fish. I have separated them and have started the process of treating my tank.
<Ah, good. I would try/use the time tested (what I do) method of elevated temperature as well or even by itself>
I do not have a QT tank as of now but will after this!
<I would treat the Comets in place. They likely need the room, aeration of the 75 to "breathe" during this treatment>
My question is how long after I treat my main tank should I wait to introduce my frogs back?
<A week or so>
I have them in a fish bowl for now. Will they be ok in there?
<Yes... do make up, keep some water in preparation for partial weekly changes... and perhaps float this bowl (tie to the inside) of the goldfish tank to keep it warm. Bob Fenner>

White fuzz and ADF [Methylene blue vs. Malachite green] 7/22/10
I've read your site which is the only place I have been able to find any information... so thanks for that... Alas, I don't think I read far enough soon enough... Here is the saga and the question.
My ADF got a white cottony fungus on his foot about 2 months back. I used the liquid fungus cure ( aquarium pharmaceuticals) which turns the water green. I didn't save the ingredients and so I don't know if it has something
the frog is sensitive to. His foot fell off complete with the cottony fungus. I kept him in the hospital tank for a few more days just to be certain he was okay. Once I was sure... I returned him to the tank with the rest of his friends. (another frog, and some betas)
<Betta, as in "better", from the local name for these fish, "Bettah".>
after about a week or so the fungus came back. So I went back to the store and then they sold me some fungus guard- which turns the water blue- and now I find that it has the blue that frogs are sensitive to. Okay, so I did another complete water change and am back to the green liquid cure that doesn't seem to be working. My frog is clearly VERY sturdy as he has been hanging in there through all of this... but the fuzz is not clearing up.
Is the liquid fungus cure the same thing you have been recommending? My pet store seemed to think so.. but again its not clearing up the fuzz.
I'm sorry to ask the same question over again... but I'm very worried about him.
Thanks so much!!
<Dawn, generally Methylene blue is deemed to be fairly non-toxic, and can be used safely with even baby fish. So given the choice, that's the medication I'd use. Malachite green is somewhat more toxic, and can affect things like biological filtration as well, and should be used with caution.
For what it's worth, Methylene blue is a reliable anti-fungal medication.
It should be noted though that "amphibian medicine" is a very unclear science, and fungal infections generally are known to cause massive morality in the wild.
As ever, prevention is the name of the game here, which in the case of aquatic frogs means providing good, clean water without copper or ammonia, properly filtered, and with regular 25% water changes. Diet is another key issue, with vitamin deficiencies likely reducing the frog's own immune response to opportunistic infections. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Neale, this product's active ingredient is Acriflavine: http://cms.marsfishcare.com/files/msds/fungus_cure_liq_030308.pdf

Ask the WWM Crew a Question... ACF... hlth. -- 7/14/10
Hello all!
<Hello Kayla,>
I have 4 ACF, 2 brown and 2 albino. I have had an established 40 gallon tank for over a year and never had any problems with my frogs except recently.
My 2 brown ACF have started to shed but the skin wont come off, and they wont eat, Its been almost a week and I can tell they are losing a lot of weight. my female (who was considerably bigger than my male) is now thin and I'm afraid they may die.
<Indeed. These frogs aren't resilient once they lose weight.>
I would be devastated if anything happened to them.
<They should live a few years, maybe 5 or so.>
My frogs are all very tame and I can pick them up without a fight,
<Please don't handle them! It really isn't helpful.>
so I have tried rolling the dead skin off with my fingers and it wont come off,
<Yikes! Don't do this either!>
my females belly used to be a pretty cream color and is now mottled with dead brown skin, my albino babies have never had a problem shedding and do so about once a week and they eat constantly, about 2 small earthworms at a feeding plus the skin they shed off.
My albinos are about half the size of my other frogs and they are only 2 months old. Anyways, my tank is always kept clean and I check my levels weekly.
<I do need to know what the "levels" are, since that's important. For Hymenochirus species, you're aiming for 0 ammonia and nitrite; middling temperature around 24-26 C; and hard, basic water chemistry, pH 7-8, 10-20
degrees dH. Essentially much the same conditions as Goldfish, though somewhat warmer than is ideal for Goldfish.>
The only other mates I have in the tank are 3 large fantails, 2 smaller ones and a ton of baby snails. Any idea what may be causing my poor froggies problem?
<Difficult to say without more information. Diet, toxins in the water, poor water quality could all be issues. Do read:
Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tadpole nursery... re pH, Alk... hardness... reading... 6/14/10
Good afternoon/evening Neale,
<Hello again Diana,>
I have been having lovely luck with my tank since we last traded e-mails, my two adult frogs are doing great and my one surviving tadpole has blossomed into a full fledged frog named Spike.
Performing my weekly water changes and feeding frozen brine shrimp or blood worms every other day. However, two days ago two of my cherry shrimp kicked the bucket leaving me with one female cherry, one male, and four Amanos.
<Oh dear.>
Tested my water today before my usual Sunday water change and the ammonia was off the charts high (somewhere between 4.0 and 8.0) and the Ph was off the charts low (between 6.0 and 6.4).
My usual Ph out of the tap is around 7.6. Nitrates are 0 temp is around 75-78 as the weather has been warm.
<I see.>
All frogs are accounted for but my shrimp go missing on a regular basis, hiding among the plants.
They usually reappear at some point so I never worry much.
<Me neither. I often find gaggles of them hidden inside filters or behind ornaments.>
That being said, I have only been able to account for 3 small Amanos and 1 female cherry over the last few days which means the big amano and the little boy cherry are missing. I have a feeling that they may have died as well and are hidden among the plants. If this is the case could it cause the ammonia spike?
<Possibly, but a single dead shrimp shouldn't overly tax a biological filter, so I'd be open minded on this. Do the usual things first. Check the filter is working properly. That the air pump is bubbling nicely, and that there's nothing blocking any air pipes. Use a pencil or chopstick to root around the plants a little, and see that there isn't a dead fish or lump of uneaten food sitting there. Plant roots keep gravel clean, but any gravel more than an inch or two from the plants should be gently raked down to a depth of about half an inch. Take out the filter sponge or ceramic noodles and gently rinse them in a bucket of aquarium water -- or, lukewarm water no hotter than the aquarium but not much colder either.>
And, what could cause the Ph to crash?
<Check the carbonate hardness. If it is very low, less than 3 degrees KH, you might want to add some of the Rift Valley salt mix at 0.25 to 0.5 the usual dose for Rift Valley cichlids. If you have Platies, Frogs and Shrimps, they all like high carbonate hardness so this is a low-risk, low-cost strategy. Do also read:
All aquaria experience pH drops between water changes; what limits those pH drops is the buffering capacity of the water, normally carbonate hardness, but you can also use commercial pH buffers. For Platies, Frogs and Shrimps, the aim is a pH around 7.5.>
My tank is pretty heavily planted with Java Fern, moss wrapped bog wood and grass; the plants are very full and bushy making it virtually impossible to see what is going on underneath it all.
Should I pull everything apart to find everyone or should I closely monitor the tanks chemistry, up the frequency of water changes and let nature take its course with anything that has died?
<Oh, I wouldn't uproot anything, but a stick of some sort can be used to stir the leaves a bit.>
I have included a picture of my tank to help you envision my predicament.
<Looks charming!>
I did a 50% water change and ammonia is showing 0 and Ph is 6.6.
<Is rather low for frogs, Platies and shrimps.>
Thanks for your constant support,
<My pleasure.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery/// reading...............
Good Morning Neale,
<It's about quarter to seven PM here -- but thanks anyway!>
OY!!! KH is 1 degree!
<Very low.>
two small Amanos dead this morning. I am down to 1 cherry, 1 amano, three frogs and a gaggle of snails. Ammonia is back to 0.25 Ph is down to 6.4.
Filter operating properly, rinsed ceramic media yesterday, will rinse sponge today.
<Right, now, when water is this soft and this acidic, your biological filter is going to work less and less reliably. At about pH 6 biological filtration usually stops completely.>
So, it is clear that I need to raise the Ph and increase KH.
<I agree.>
I see your recipe for the rift valley salt mix but I also happen to have a bottle of Nutrafin African Cichlid Conditioner - can I use this?
Each dose provides 20mg/L (ppm) as CaCO, or by 1 percent of GH. Guessing I should raise the hardness and Ph slowly over a few days...what is the best way to do this?
<General hardness and carbonate hardness are different. Think of them as the way both "volts" and "amps" are about electricity, but different aspects. General hardness has little/no impact on buffering. Carbonate hardness is what you want.>
Dosing instructions on the bottle are 5mL per 10 US gal, my tank is 5 gal so I should use 1/4 of the half dose (I'm not sure I can even get my head around computing that!)?
<Here's an idea. Go buy a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Make up some dechlorinated tap water, and then add the amount of Rift Valley cichlid salt mix -- or at least the sodium bicarbonate -- needed to raise the carbonate hardness to 3-4 degrees dH. You can then use that water for water changes across the next few weeks. As/when you need more, you can make some more up. Does that make sense?>
And, how do I maintain this stability during water changes?
<Do 25% water change today and then daily for the next 3-4 days. That should level things off.>
If I change 50% of the water on a weekly basis would I simply add a 1/2 dose of the salt mix to the replacement tank water?
<Yes, but once settled down I'd only be doing 25% changes weekly unless the tank got really messy.>
Thanks Neale. Once again I am finding myself in an unenviable crisis situation!
<The sudden pH drop and resultant death of fish is actually quite common.
This is why "old hands" like me tend to focus on carbonate hardness rather than general hardness.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery... Hey, look at me!
Thank you. Yes, your big bucket of rift valley salt mix makes perfect sense. I'll whip up the recipe this evening and begin treating immediately and continue over the next few days. Thank you again.
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery... now reading in Nova Scotia... Good day all!
Hi Neale,
I just re-read the salt solution recipe and I want to clarify that I am understanding you correctly. My tank has only snails, ADFs and shrimp - no fish.
If I prepare this solution in a 5 gallon bucket should I mix it at 50% (1/2 teaspoon soda and aquarium salt, 1/2 tablespoon Epsom) and than add that after a 25% water change? And, will my frogs tolerate the salt?
<Yes, this will be fine for the frogs. It's really a trivially small amount of salt.>
Clearly Chemistry is not my strongest subject!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery... Monty Python future skit content...
Okay thanks! Off to buy a bucket and some Marine salt.
<Cool. At a pinch, non-iodised (e.g., Kosher) sea salt will do too. Cheers,
Re: Tadpole nursery... no, really
Good to know! Thanks.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy, Molly and Frog in 1.5 gallons; ooh, surprise, they're dying! 6/1/10
Hello :)
<Hello Kacy,>
I'm really quite new to this owning frogs and fish business.
<Indeed. Do read.
Do a degree, most problems come with keeping the wrong fish in the wrong-sized aquarium in the wrong set of environmental conditions.>
I have two African Dwarf Frogs, a Sunburst Wag Platy, and a Dalmatian Lyretail Molly.
<Mollies are not really compatible with these other animals. While Dwarf Frogs and Platies should get along fine provided the water isn't too warm, Mollies need much warmer water and typically need slightly saline conditions.
If you have hard water and keep the aquarium water very clean -- by which I mean 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and less than 20 mg/l nitrate -- the Molly may be okay. But it's difficult to predict.>
I've only had them for a couple weeks but the very next day after I clean the tank (1.5 gallon)
<Far too small; these animals WILL die in there. The frogs may be viable in 5 gallons, the Platies need at least 15 gallons, and the Mollies 20 gallons+. It's not just about swimming space, though that's important; it's also about social behaviour and their sensitivity to changes in water quality and water chemistry. Very small containers of water expose livestock to constant changes in conditions, and inevitably this leads to death. Me telling you anything else is a total waste of time unless you upgrade this aquarium to at least 20 gallons.>
it gets cloudy and this white, cloudy, cotton like weird stuff forms at the bottom of my tank.
<Fungus and bacteria consuming organic waste, essentially doing the same thing as mould on bad cheese.>
I have no idea what this is and it spreads really fast.
<Because the aquarium is too small, overstocked, and under-filtered.>
Within two days the water in my tank is so bad I can't see through to the other side and I think the nastiness of this mystery substance killed my other Sunburst Wag Platy, though I'm not too sure.
<You are wrong. Rather, the death of the Platy and the appearance of the white mould in the aquarium are both symptoms of the same problem: this 'aquarium' is far too small.>
I change the filter often.
<Meaning? Do you understand that filter media needs to be cleaned, not replaced, and that it takes 6 weeks for cycling to take place before the filter can effectively remove ammonia? Furthermore, in a tank this small, no amount of filtration will save the fish.>
I've tried using a product called Clear Fast by Nutrafin which says it is supposed to make a difference in the water within 3 hours. I've never seen a change for the better.
<Indeed not; you've replace lack of knowledge with blind faith in marketing. The Capitalist Way perhaps, but not particularly useful.>
Also upon reading the question/answers I've seen some people say they only feed their fish every other day.
<Depends on the fish. Frogs need not be fed every singly day, but Platies certainly should receive a small meal of algae-based flake food once or twice per day. Problem is, in a tank much smaller than 15 gallons, any amount of feeding Platies properly will overload the filtration system.>
Am I not supposed to feed mine every day? I feed my frogs little foggy bites from HBH (though they don't often eat that, they do eat the fish flakes). Is that bad?
<Least of your problems.>
Thanks for your time,
<You need to do some serious reading. You ARE killing these animals through ignorance of their basic requirements. Hope this helps. Neale.>

Help! African Dwarf Frog need your help! 5/9/10
Thank you so much for your response. I shared your information with my daughter and have explained to her the responsibilities of the frogs.
<Very good.>
We have printed out the website information that she will read and keep next to the tank. She told me that her friend got the frogs from "Magical Child" in Greenfield, MA. I do not mind sharing this info. I'm a big proponent of not supporting retail stores from buying any animals.
<Much to be said in favour of this attitude, though specialist pet stores catering to particular types of pet animals are the exceptions and well worth patronising. But we do get a lot of stories about frogs or fish purchased from generic department stores (e.g., Wal-Mart) or yuppie gift shops (e.g., Brookstone), where the pet owner has found that they were totally mislead about the needs of their new pet. I would far rather these stores kept out of the live animal market entirely.>
I would rather support shelters myself.
<Indeed. There are even charities that try to rehome unwanted fish, reptiles and amphibians. Here in England for example there is a group called Calypso that does this.
So while it isn't always obvious you can get "wet pets" from animal rescue agencies and non-profits, it's certainly possible.>
We will (I) take very good care of them. I do enjoy learning about new things and I think both my children will get an education. Thanks again for all that you do to inform the public. I'm glad to know that I can get the info I was looking for.
<Always glad to help.>
I have also attached a picture of the 50 gallon take the two little frogs will live in. I had fun designing and laying out the tank with all the works.
<I bet. One of our recent correspondents went through her own epiphany when it came to pet frogs, and she's now been rewarded with a good size number of froglets. So "watch this space" and your 50 gallon tank may well hum to sound of croaking fathers and splashing tadpoles!>
<Good luck, Neale.>

African Dwarf <Frog> Injury Care 3/9/10
First some background... My daughter was recently and unexpectedly "gifted" with 4 ADF's from her 4th grade classroom "zoo."
<I really wish people would stop handing out live animals as pets. It almost always ends up with the animal dying in one miserable manner or another. At the very least, I hope that you write to the school and express your concern that they are using animals in a careless manner, and in doing so teaching children the worst possible approach to how animals should be handled.>
The critters were apparently kept with bare accommodations, and were delivered home in near freezing weather in a 6 oz plastic drink cup with a couple of sprigs of duckweed and a bit of gravel.
<I'm depressed already.>
All were in various states of illness or injury -- an abscess here, broken toes, what appears to be broken jaw, with ripped skin, and a rampant fungal/bacterial infection (some kind of pinkish fuzz at various locations).
I'm sure all of the issues were from ignorance and a bit of unintentional rough handling.
Needless to say, we were not prepared, and "Thank You!!!" for your website.
I've kept tropical fish before, but never amphibs, and would have been lost without the info you have on the site.
<I'm glad to hear it. Do start reading here:
Hymenochirus aren't difficult to keep well, but they do require some basic things, including heat, filtration, and adequate space.>
I've done some scrambling and managed to first transfer the remaining first to a 1 gal bare container (a big mason jar) with plain, room temp spring water, and have rushed a 10 gal tank with proper filtration, water prep, and heat into service (probably too fast, but think I can deal with NH3 and NO3 as needed). I've been treating for bacterial infections with tetracycline and the fungi with "Fungus Cure", doing 50% water changes with meds refreshes every 24hrs, and have raised the water temp at a stable 82F.
<Very good.>
And it seems to be working... Four days on, and the three surviving froggies are more active, eating well (with one exception, below), the fungal fuzz is all but gone, and the visible abscesses are noticeably smaller or gone. One of the frogs did lose a couple of toes, but I'm pretty sure they'll grow back in time.
So far, we've only lost one of the beasties, and he died within hours, before I could even get water in a 1 gal jar up to room temp. Probably injury plus stress. Poor fellow.
Now the problem... One of the frogs has a severe mouth injury. It appears that the lower jaw is broken, and a significant portion of the skin from the lower jaw is simply gone. When I first got the animal, the injury was masked by fuzz from what I now think was a bacterial infection around the wound. The tetracycline seems to have dealt with the infection, but I'm at a loss on what I should do with the injury. I know frogs and other amphibs have really robust healing mechanisms, but I'm concerned that the frog may not be able to ingest enough food to prevent starvation before the wound heals.
<I agree. I'm not an expert on amphibians, but my guess would be that if the jawbones are damaged, healing is unlikely, and starvation probable.>
So, is there anything I can do to either speed up the healing, or any way of preparing food that will make it easier for the frog to eat?
<Not really. Frogs don't chew, they swallow whole, so either the frog can open its mouth and ingest a suitable morsel, or it can't. There's not really anything you can do in terms of force feeding, since that would likely cause even more damage to such a tiny animal.>
I've been feeding wet frozen brine shrimp, and the frog is active and interested in the food, but seems to give up after a few minutes. I've tried mashing the shrimp into paste, and have been using a drop tube/pipette to put the food on a smooth feeding cup I have in the tank. So far though, the frog is slowly losing body mass.
<If he can't catch and eat even tiny things like Daphnia, then he probably can't feed himself at all.>
Or, should I euthanize the animal and spare it a slow death from starvation?
<Does sound like the most humane step forward. If the frog gets thinner daily, then it isn't likely he's going to get better.>
Thanks for your time,
Jaimie L.
<Sorry can't offer much more positive advice. Cheers, Neale.>

ADF dead-eyes red -- 02/22/10
I was upset to see Smile, my ADF, dead when I got home last night, I'm not sure what killed him, it looks like he may have been stuck in a fake plant (which I removed for the sake of Pepper) but I'm not sure if he died first and sort of floated and got caught in the plant.
<The latter. Almost always, the "stuck in a plant/ornament/filter" observation is more about what happens post-mortem than anything else. Given that Hymenochirus frogs can live for about 5 years, the question of cause of death depends on how old it was. If something around 5 years old, then possibly simply old age. But if only a year or two old, or less, then yes, you have a problem.>
I examined him, and he had a sort of shedding thing happening, but I haven't had them for long, so I'm not 100% it was shedding or yucky stuff on him, which I had noticed earlier that day (I saw in some of the questions that you said a fungus will grow on them when they are decaying, but it was on him when he was alive)
<Frogs will moult patches of skin, and this looks a bit like cobwebs really, coming off them in little sheets. This is normal if it happens occasionally, but if it's happening all the time it indicates some source of irritation to the skin. It's a bit like the difference between the way we lose skin all the time in small bits, but sunburn is something completely different and implies a problem.>
and his eyes were covered in a dark red color. What could that indicate?
<Likely just decay. Let me direct you to this article:
This summarises what you need to know about maintaining these frogs.
African Dwarf Frogs are one of two species of Hymenochirus, and the main thing to remember is they need a heated, filtered aquarium at least 6 gallons in size. The problem is you have people selling them in malls, and then shops like Brookstone that really should know better, selling these frogs in stupidly small, unheated, unfiltered set-ups. Invariably the frogs die before too long. If you can't provide what these animals need, then don't keep them. While pet animals are wonderful things, they all come with responsibilities and costs, and unfortunately the likes of Brookstone simply aren't honest about these requirements. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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