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FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs, Disease Diagnosis

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: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Treatments,

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

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

Strange ADF lady lump      7/9/17
Hey there! Looking to see if I can get some help Identifying what my female African Dwarf Frog has; I've tried some different forums, but no one has seen this type of bump before!
I've had her and her boyfriend alone together in a 5 gallon tank *(heated @75, gentle filtered)* for about just under 2 years; woke up to her with a strange pointy bump on her back!
<I can see this from your photo.>
Now, I know when they Amplexus she'll sometimes get 'ridges' on her back from him squeezing her so much, but those are symmetrical, and they go away shortly * (in the pics you'll see one in front of the bump)*
But, this lump is asymmetrical, only on one side of her. It's particularly pointed, and not something she's had before. It doesn't seem to be hard.
She never shies away from my hands, so I took a chance and gave her a gentle patting-down when feeding them, to see if I could feel the lump.
Sure enough, I can, but it just feels like a little squishy nub, like the rest of her body. Nothing hard or pointed. She also didn't show any negative reaction to me touching her (albeit disappointment that fingers are not edible), so it looks like it's not anything that causes her any pain.
<So far as you can tell, anyway.>
Her behavior hasn't changed at all, she's still as feisty as ever. She doesn't shy away from me at all, and she's still eating *(bloodworms, brine shrimp, vitamin supplement added) *as usual. She's not trying to rub up against anything, nor is she acting like she's in any pain. Her tankmate is just fine, no growths or any other physical changes, so it's not contagious.
Does this look like something to be worried about, like a tumor or abscess, or something similar? The only thing vertical in my tank is the filter intake; maybe she fell asleep next to the it and it kind of pulled her skin there like a little hernia?
<It's a possibility, as is some type of post-coital damage, starvation, or for that matter an avitaminosis of some kind, which often leads to rickets-type things where fish or frogs develop odd deformities. Initially, observe rather than treat if the frog is feeding and otherwise active; certainly review diet, perhaps adding a vitamin supplement if possible. Only if the frog fails to improve after a week or two, or shows signs of stress or starvation, would I think about medicating. Cheers, Neale.>

African dwarf frog help please        5/26/17
I've spent quite a few hours reading over your information and questions regarding African dwarf frogs, but nothing seems to be quite the answer I needed. I have three ADFs living in a 5.5 gallon aquarium with one Betta.
It is filtered and heated to 80 degrees.
<Sounds good.>
Recently I caught my male "hugging" one of my females about 36 hour s ago.
He held on for about 3 hours, and she laid 4 eggs (which were apparently not fertilized).
<Quite possibly.>
Ever since then, she has not eaten, and has a bump on her back, which is right above her tailbone, and is pointy in shape rather then round and soft.
<The bump may well be a result of Amplexus. Post-mating, female frogs can/do become relatively inactive.>
Until this morning her vulva appeared very swollen. For several hour after he let her go she would go upside down at the surface and hip thrust at the air, like she did when he was attached, but that behavior has stopped. The other two frogs and Betta seem to be doing fine, with ph at 7.6, no ammonia or nitrites. I feed a variety of frozen thawed bloodworms, Mysis, and brine shrimp, and I've no doubt they occasionally steal some Betta pellets.
She is also hanging around the heater at the top of the aquarium much more then usual. I'm very worried about her. Since the issues I've done 3 50% water changes, and I use Prime each time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<This is one of those times where "wait and see" is the best advice, in the short term anyways. Separating the female, for example in a floating breeding trap, isn't a bad idea, but keep the trap not-too-close to the heater or light otherwise there's a risk she'll overheat and suffocate. If she isn't perking up within the next day or two, write back and we'll think some more. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African dwarf frog help please     5/27/17
Thank you so much for your fast response! It's reassuring to know they can be inactive after Amplexus, and that I've got someone knowledgeable to give advice. I'll wait and see and hope she gets better soon. The male grabbed
the other female right as I am writing this, but he let go quickly. I'd love to have some tadpoles, but not at the risk of my females lives.
<Understood. Adding fluffy plants (whether real or fake) such as Java Moss can go a long way towards creating safe spaces for eggs and tadpoles.
Surprisingly, people do sometimes find a few survive long enough to be removed (for example with a turkey baster) into a floating breeding trap, and raised in there. Breeding dwarf African frogs is done, and many reports are online for your perusal.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: African dwarf frog help please     5/27/17

Thank you so much for your fast response! It's reassuring to know they can be inactive after Amplexus, and that I've got someone knowledgeable to give advice. I'll wait and see and hope she gets better soon. The male grabbed
the other female right as I am writing this, but he let go quickly. I'd love to have some tadpoles, but not at the risk of my females lives.
<Understood. Adding fluffy plants (whether real or fake) such as Java Moss can go a long way towards creating safe spaces for eggs and tadpoles.
Surprisingly, people do sometimes find a few survive long enough to be removed (for example with a turkey baster) into a floating breeding trap, and raised in there. Breeding dwarf African frogs is done, and many reports are online for your perusal.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>

re: African dwarf frog help please     5/30/17
Thank you again for the advice and information. She finally started eating again, although her appetite isn't quite what it used to be, it seems to be improving daily. I am very grateful for what you guys do, good information is such a valuable resource and you offer it for free, saving countless lives.
<Good to hear things are on the up, and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

My African clawed albino frog. Hlth; no data       2/16/17
My African clawed albino frog looks really veiny is that good or bad thing
<Mmm; can be an indication of stress... too much/little of something necessary. Most often Xenopus show such when in a poor environment; incompatible water quality. Is your system filtered? Have any idea what the nitrogenous waste readings are? Any ammonia, nitrite present? More than 20 ppm of Nitrate? Have you read on WWM re X. laevis care?
Bob Fenner>

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.
Thank you,
<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:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ADF with new large bulge under one arm     10/29/16
Thanks so much, Neale!!
<Most welcome.>

African Dwarf Frog Illness or Injury - Red Bump        12/10/15
<Five megs of pix?>
<Hi there>
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. Happens
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 control
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 for reference.
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.
- Caroline
<Do please write back if, after your reading, a plan of action isn't clear.
Bob Fenner>


Re: African Dwarf Frog Illness or Injury - Red Bump    12/12/15
Hi Bob,
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 inside them>
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.
Thanks again!
- Caroline
<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 you go.
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.
<Ah yes>
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 mortality.
Cheers, Neale
<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 you).>
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 items.>
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 won’t eat.
<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 down.>
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 sad.
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

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