FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs,
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:
Trauma, Infectious (Virus,
Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic,
Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African
Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks,
African Dwarf Frogs, Amphibians,
Dwarf African Frogs
African Frogs 2, ADF
Identification, ADF Behavior,
Systems, ADF Feeding,
ADF Reproduction, & FAQs on:
Frogs Other Than African and Clawed,
African Clawed Frogs,
ADF with new large bulge under one arm 10/28/16
I was looking on your African Dwarf Frog page, and I have a question I hope
you can help with. I’ve had 2 male frogs for about 3 years. Recently one of
them has developed a bulge under his left armpit. He has always had the
small glands under both of his arms, but this one is quite large now and is
only on one side. I am attaching a few photos for you.
I am hoping this is something benign, but I can’t find any info on the web.
If you can help me figure out what is going on, I would appreciate it. He is
behaving/eating completely normally.
<Hello Esther. Could well be a benign tumour of some sort. Such things are
not uncommon with captive amphibians. They're essentially impossible to
diagnose given you can't tell different types of benign from malignant
neoplasms without examination of tissue under a microscope. So for the most
part, a "hope for the best" approach is what you're stuck with. That said,
benign tumours may clear up in time if conditions are optimal, vitamin
deficiency in particular being a common problem with captive amphibians and
reptiles across to board. Review diet (frozen bloodworms for example aren't
enough) and look at either increasing the variety or using a proprietary
vitamin supplement with the food. Viruses are another cause of tumours, and
again, with good conditions and diet, these can subside in time. Beyond
these two ideas, there's little you can do without veterinarian help, and
given the size of these frogs, finding a vet able to examine them, let alone
treat them, will be difficult. I will direct you to the excellent
Caudata.org website, which has a helpful forum that might be able to offer
you prompt, specific advice beyond my abilities:
Re: ADF with new large bulge under one arm
Thanks so much, Neale!!
African Dwarf Frog Illness or Injury - Red Bump
<Five megs of pix?>
I am not sure what is wrong with my African Dwarf frog, and I haven't found a
similar question in the forums, so I am hoping you could give me some advice. I
have four African dwarf frogs in a ten gallon tank. I noticed last night that
one of my frogs has a red bump behind its right jaw (I
don't know of a better way to describe this location).
<This is it. I see what you're referring to>
It grew overnight, and it looks a bit swollen now, but it does not
appear to be an open sore.
<Almost assuredly a physical trauma.... the frog charging into something hard.
My frog is also acting strange. She spent most of the day near the surface of
the water, and she is trying to keep as much of her body out of the water as she
possibly can. According to my API freshwater test kit, the water parameters are:
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20ppm.
<Mmm; I'd not allow the NO3 to get any higher. Do see (READ) on WWM re Nitrate
The water temperature is 78 degrees (F). The other three frogs are acting
completely normal, without signs of illness or injury. I have attached pictures
First, do you think this is an bacterial infection, fungus, or injury?
<The latter; though it may foster the former in time>
Second, should I quarantine her?
<I would not... at this point. Too stressful. Better to wait... and READ:
She would be in a 2.5 gallon unfiltered tank because that is all I have
available. Thank you so much for your help
- I (and my aquatic animals) would be lost without your website.
<Do please write back if, after your reading, a plan of action isn't clear.
Re: African Dwarf Frog Illness or Injury - Red Bump
Thank you for your prompt reply. My frog died the night I sent you that email. I
appreciate the information about nitrates. I thought 20ppm was decent, but I'm
glad I now know that ADFs are more sensitive to all water parameters than fish.
<Ah yes; tis so. In animal physiology works, lectures, comments I've heard/come
across statements that whatever touches their skin (virtually to really) gets
After the frog died, I performed a 30% water change and removed any debris I
could find on the substrate. African dwarf frogs have been harder for me to keep
alive, by far, than any of my fish (a violet goby, three mollies, and two
guppies- all in a brackish 30 gallon tank). Oddly enough, I have put more effort
and time into keeping my ADFs healthy than I have for the fish. I've noticed
that the chytrid fungus has not been discussed much on this site.
<You are correct. And I'd like to "admit" to conspiring to not mentioning it,
and really most all "misc." pathogenic disease/s, organisms... on WWM.
The reason/rationale? Really just trying to meet/offer folks using the site
(vast majority neophytes) "enough" information to "get them by" plus an
increment of further sophistication. Put another way, it is my (responsibility,
doing) that our readership NOT be overwhelmed by too much information.... which
I still fear dissuades folks from involvement. There are many equivalents in
other human affairs... the statements re "IF I knew now" re
child-having/rearing, finance, personal affairs. Perhaps stated differently
still: WWM is aimed, purposely designed for beginners to some intermediate level
hobbyists... some business, some science input is proffered, but usually not
much detail... Little math, chemistry, physics, or detailed biology. All this
being keyed, I will of course post your statements re chytrid fungi and their
role as secondary decomposers of not in Hymenochirus (et al.) amphibian disease.
And yes; if you have specific suggestions (perhaps WWM II?) re making the site
more science based, a "higher" source of scientific sharing, please do.>
I saw that someone asked about chytrid on one of the forums five years ago, but
they were told that bad water conditions are far more likely to cause death than
chytrid. <This is so; really most all bacterial to try fungal issues are largely
environmental in origin, "cause">
I wonder if the prevalence of chytrid has changed since then.
<Not as far as I'm aware; and have just looked on the Net myself. And bcc'd
Neale Monks for his further input>
Other sites claim that it is responsible for near-extinction of many amphibians,
as well as the poor stock of African dwarf frogs available these days.
<Mmm; how to put this; "once" these infections "get going" they can/do become
hyper infective; and can/do overwhelm these animals at times.... A useful lesson
in "not overpopulating", mono-culturing, and degrading one's environment>
I have also read that chytrid fungus is highly contagious and can take up to
three months to kill a frog, and visible symptoms are not always apparent.
<This is so as well>
Perhaps the chytrid fungus is a bigger problem in the US than the UK, but, if
this isn't too much of a pain, I would really like to hear more about the
chytrid fungus from one of you because I trust your advice and expertise.
<Let's see/wait for what Neale has to offer. Bob Fenner>
Re: African Dwarf Frog Illness or Injury - Red Bump
/Neale's input 12/13/15
Hello Caroline, Bob,
It’s increasingly assumed that Xenopus at least played an important role in
spreading the chytrid fungus worldwide. Ironically, many of the people keeping
Xenopus around the world were scientists who should have known better. But there
Xenopus is a carrier of the chytrid fungus but not especially susceptible to it
in terms of sickness and death. Hymenochirus on the other quickly dies if
infected, as I understand it. It doesn’t seem to have much innate resistance.
On the other hand, I doubt much mortality of pet Hymenochirus is down to the
chytrid fungus. Overwhelmingly, starvation is the main reason pet specimens die
prematurely; they’re purchased by inexperienced aquarists who assume they’ll eat
flake food like their fish. Of course they don’t eat flake regularly enough to
thrive, and as they gradually weaken, they become prone to all sorts of other
problems including opportunistic bacterial infections.
The quality of Hymenochirus frogs in the trade is pretty poor, and likely
bacterial and perhaps protozoan infections are present from the day of purchase.
I’m increasingly of the opinion they should be kept in their own tanks and not
alongside other fish, even though most of the “big box” pet stores sell them as
harmless community tank novelties. Folks who do keep them on their own in quiet,
well maintained planted tanks seem to find them relatively easy to keep, so all
is not lost.
If you Google “chytrid” and “Hymenochirus” together you’ll get quite a few links
to academic papers and extended blog posts about the topic. While it is of
interest, I’d stress again that I doubt it’s a major problem for the farmed
frogs you see in the trade. If chytrid fungus was established in the Asian frog
farms, you’d expect the frogs to be dead long before they get to your local
retailer, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Starvation, Red-leg, and
opportunistic infections seem to be far more prevalent causes of premature
<Thank you, BobF>
African Dwarf Frog Problem for Ilsa 8/6/15
I have an African Dwarf Frog in a 2.65 gallon heated tank that I’m
pretty sure has not completely cycled yet.
<Oh. Slightly smaller than I'd recommend; in all honesty, if you've got space
for 4-5 gallons, that'll make life a lot better for the frogs (and easier for
I had to move it recently to take over to my friend’s place so they could watch
my from Pam while I’m out of town. Apparently she had been doing well for the
first four days even though the water was cloudy (I was not terribly worried
about his as I have been having problems with this and she’s done fairly well as
long as I change the water regularly), but last night and this morning she was
sluggish, and she has not been wanting to eat. I have told my friend to do a 1
gallon water change since that usually helps a lot, and to do a combo treatment
of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 in case something got stirred up in the move that’s
making her sick.
<Understood, and a good course of medications to try (assuming you've removed
carbon from the filter, it used). While "stirring up the substrate" isn't a
common or even rare source of bacterial infections, opportunistic Aeromonas and
Pseudomonas infections are an issue with African Dwarf Frogs generally.
Typically a combination of environmental stress and lack of (balanced) food
My question is, is there anything else that could be doing this? All my water
stats are well within range, and I’ve weirdly never had a problem with the
ammonia, so I am just not sure what to do from here on out, especially if she
<Do let me direct you to some reading:
Without knowing specific water quality and chemistry values, water temperature,
and type/amount of food, I can't say anything specific. But reviewing the tank
yourself, and comparing with my thoughts in that article, may narrow things
I would really appreciate any suggestions, especially since I already had one
ADF die on my and I’d really love for it not to happen again since it’s just so