FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs, Infectious Disease
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:
Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African
Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks,
African Dwarf Frogs, Amphibians,
Related FAQs: 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,
an amphibian-safe antibacterial or antibiotic. Your local reptile pet
store will be able to help here. Fish-grade medications may be safe, but
often aren't. Once bacterial infections get established, these little
frogs die very quickly.
African Dwarf Frog? Bacterial and/or fungal leg infection? Injury?
my daughter has 9 ADF. One died a few weeks ago (bloated?).
Attached some photos from another sick frog leg - lies on back… then not moving
just below surface… Toes on left leg red, rest of upper and lower leg covered in
white stuff (skin? fungus? bacteria?). I would be grateful for advice, please
(am a pediatrician with zero training in frogs)
Kind regards from Minneapolis,
<Hello Stefan. African Dwarf Frogs, Hymenochirus spp., are relatively easy to
keep, but they do have some non-negotiable requirements. Miss these, and they
can become sick very quickly. So let me first direct you to some reading:
To some degree they're really rather tough, and like most fish and amphibians,
they exhibit a remarkable resilience against bacterial infections given they're
basically swimming about in an aqueous solution of decomposing organic
materials, nitrogenous compounds, and ambient populations of opportunistic
bacteria such as Pseudomonas and Aeromonas! But once their defences are
breached, bacterial infections can turn nasty. The most notorious is something
called Red Leg, likely an Aeromonas infection. A suitable antibiotic is the best
approach here. If you look at the webpage below, aimed at scientific researchers
rather than hobbyists, you'll find out a fair deal about this infection and how
to treat it:
Tetracycline is commonly recommended, but there's a bit of debate over whether
this is as good as Trimethoprim for this particular infection. However you treat
the Red Leg, do try and figure out why it happened at all. It rarely comes out
of nowhere, and it's more likely physical damage (e.g., by rough gravel,
careless handling, or even nippy fish) started the process, and an overall lack
of cleanliness in the take fostered the development of the disease even further.
A monotonous diet lacking in appropriate minerals and vitamins may also be a
factor. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog? Bacterial and/or fungal leg infection?
Thank you so very much for your prompt response. Have a great day, Stefan
<Most welcome and good luck! Neale.>
African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
This morning, I noticed my ADF (I've had him for 8 months)
covered in a semi-transparent film. It's barely 1/16th of an
inch thick and seems to cover his whole body. It's very difficult to see
unless I'm very close to the tank.
<Quite normal for sheets of skin to be shed periodically, sometimes in
alarming amounts. Generally safe to ignore, so long as the frog is
otherwise normal, and there's no evidence of fungus (such as threads) or
bacterial infection (such as red-white patches).>
I can't figure out if this could be a fungal infection or if it's a
normal pre-shedding thing. The forums are all over on this. Do you have
any diagnosing suggestions?
How long should I wait before attempting treatment? Do you have any
suggestions on treatment options?
<Sit and wait for now! If the skin doesn't come away cleanly over the
next couple weeks, then certainly think about what might be done, and
anti-fungal or anti-bacterial as the case may be. But a happy, hungry
frog is probably a healthy frog.>
He lives in a 5.5 gallon tank, fully cycled, with 1/2 tank water changes
weekly (using RO DI water). His appetite is really good, I just can't
figure out what to do about this weird film.
Thank you very much.
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Thank you so much for replying to me so quickly. You have no
idea how much I appreciate this.
I was hoping you'd say it was normal shedding - I just never saw it look
like that before (then again, I have to be practically
nose-pressed-to-the-glass to see this transparent film all around his
body). If it does turn out to be serious, which meds do you recommend?
I'd like to have them on-hand just in case.
<In all honesty, have a quick read here...
They give examples of the most common diseases, and describe some
suitable products easily obtained (in the US) by aquarists. Elsewhere,
when it comes to anti-bacterial medications, you either get them through
a vet, who'll
choose the right one for you, or else switch to an alternative type of
medication, like eSHa 2000.>
I do have another question, if that's alright with you.
I just finished dealing with chytrid fungus with my other ADF. (both
frogs were never in the same tank/room as each other, chytrid frog is at
home and filmy-frog is at work.). I always use fresh gloves when
frog-related and am pretty confident that the fungus has not spread from
the sick frog to my other one (I've had the chytrid frog for about 2.5
I bought this one at PetSmart as a companion for my first and didn't
realize until too late that he very likely had the fungus - judging from
the tattered skin shreds all over his body.
I've been extremely careful in my treatment (gloved hands, new container
after every round of lamsil baths) and (fingers crossed) I think I've
finally beaten it (after 3 rounds of treatment - it's been exhausting).
It's been about 3 weeks with no further tattered shedding and he finally
has a really good appetite.
<A really good sign with amphibians generally.>
I'd like to know how long should I keep him in isolation prior to him
being considered "safe" to live with another frog? Do I have to worry
about the fungus still transferring over to the new frog when I bring
the two together?
<Chytrid fungus is a serious threat, and I'd be super-conservative here.
I'd be waiting at least 6 weeks before combining the two frogs. Since
frogs don't get lonely, there's no overwhelming reason to combine them
anyways, and you may decide to keep your formerly
Batrachochytrium-infected frog in
its own tank indefinitely, or at least for a good few months yet.>
I plan to buy one of those test-kits for the chytrid fungus just to make
sure he still doesn't have it but I think the fungus might still be in
<Indeed possible, which is why I'd sterilise, as far as possible,
anything exposed to the Batrachochytrium fungus. Chuck out anything
difficult to clean but easily replaced (sand, bogwood, plants) and
thoroughly clean with hot soapy water anything that can be properly
cleaned (rocks, gravel, ornaments). You can't do much about filter media
without killing the bacteria, but you might decide whether deep cleaning
the filter and replacing the media with mature media from another tank
is the way to go. It's what I'd do, anyway. Obviously change all the
water, scrub the glass, heater, etc. Fungal spores will tend to lurk in
crevices, which is why soft and porous things, like sponges, wood and
plants, are especially bad. The ideal situation is to move your "cured"
Chytrid frog into an entirely new aquarium that you know is
Batrachochytrium-free, and take if from there. In this situation, the
only way Batrachochytrium would carry across would be on the frog (which
we hope is clear) and any minute drops of water on the frog (hopefully a
very small risk). Moving healthy frogs into a system that once had
Batrachochytrium fungus in it is more risky because of all the places
the Batrachochytrium fungus might still lurk, unless we thoroughly
cleaned the system so well it was practically sterile. It's a toughie!
There are aquarium products out there for sterilising aquaria, but you'd
need somewhere to house the frogs during the process, and of course some
mature filter media you can take from a clean tank afterwards, to jump
start the filter once the sterilised tank is reassembled.>
He lives in a cycled 2.5 gallon tank with a little plant, 3 gallon
filter and several hidey-holes. Once a week I conduct 1/2 tank water
<All sounds great. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Wow. Your responses are above and beyond. Thank you so much. There is so
much information and nothing is consistent on the internet.
<You're assuming I'm right, of course...!>
The website you sent...the film looks kind of like how it does on the
fungus frog, only more transparent and there's an even coat of it all
across my frog. That leads me to think that somehow my little guy
managed to catch a different fungus. Should I wait for the chytrid test
kit or start treating him with Methylene blue? (I tried to find Mardel
Maroxy but it wasn't available online).
<Regular, generic fungus is easily cured with clean water, good food,
and aquarium anti-fungus medicine (remembering to remove carbon from the
filter, if used). So you could use this, prophylactically even, to
eliminate the possibility of regular fungus. As/when the chytrid test
kit turns up, you can of course use it.>
Also, I know this is kind of silly to ask, but if I do a whole tank
treatment should I still sterilize everything or could the medicine
treat the tank as it is helping my frog?
<Hard to know. In theory the medicine should eliminate the fungus from
both frog and aquarium, but it's hard to say. Hospital tanks tend to be
clean and empty of decorations so that the medicine can get everywhere.
tanks have more sand, plants, etc., so while the medicine might work
through the frog, you can't be sure about the decor. A conservative
approach is justified here. By all means hope the tank is chytrid-free,
but keep a close eye, and don't assume it's chytrid-free, at least not
until you've had a good few months of success.>
I ask because right now I don't have any extra media. When I got the
chytrid frog, I didn't know at the time how serious the disease was so I
wasn't as careful as I should be when handling my other tanks. At this
point, it's safe to assume that all tanks at home are infected.
<A wise assumption.>
I've seen some websites that talk about beating chytrid with heat and
Do you know how true that is?
<There has been some research into the use of salt, with some positive
outcomes. But it seems unlikely salt concentrations strong enough to
kill the fungus are safe for a freshwater frog across the long term.
need some further evidence before I'd recommend this approach. Cheers,
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Once again, thank you.
One last question and I'll be out of your hair. Do you know what
happened to the Mardel Maroxy or the Maracyn Brand? I remember ordering
it from Amazon about a year ago for my fish tanks but I can't seem to
<Hmm... just looked and found both on Amazon.com. So not really sure
what to say here! To be fair, neither would be my first choice for
treating bacterial infections in frogs. Tetracycline-based antibiotics
perhaps a bit better. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Oh. My bad. I originally clicked a couple of discontinued links. Anyway,
thank you once again. You are a lifesaver.
<The candy or the inflatable jacket? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Your website is incredibly helpful when it comes to my questions and
general information. Thank you for that.
In the last couple of days, the fuzzy outline went from barely there to
very visible. I tried capturing it on camera but my phone had a
difficult time focusing on him (blurry outline from the fuzz). He's in a
bare-bottom tank right now (for ease of treatment) and as you can see,
there's a lot of reflections.
<Indeed, but not a problem. This frog is looking healthy from what I can
see. A little extra weight might be nice, but if he's eating well, then
I think he'll be okay. There's no obvious damage to the skin that I can
see, and if there are loose 'sheets', that may be normal shedding.>
I'm starting with Maracyn 2 for bacteria infection (internal/external
according to the box), along with a Methylene blue dip once a
day...because whatever it is, it's getting aggressive. From there, I
plan to go with a Maroxy treatment for general fungal infections and
possibly I'll add Methylene blue to the tank if nothing else seems to
<Don't overdo the medication! Medicate when you identify the problem,
rather than randomly. If the frog is making progress under its own
steam, then complete the current course of medications and then step
Interactions between medications can cause problems in themselves.>
Have you or anyone you known ever seen something like this? Any
suggestions for treatment?
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
I may have panicked a bit...
What started as a faint outline of fuzz, spread and thickened significantly on
the frog's skin in the last few days, it's about 1/8 inch thick now. He looks
like a little fuzz-ball. I've had this species for 8 months now, so I know this
can't be shedding.
So, I figured I'd find the safest medications for frogs and try them one after
another and see if anything can bring the skin back to normal. I'd rather not
wait until his appetite diminishes - cause with ADFs, I've learned that once
their appetite goes, then they die within a couple of days.
<Does depend rather on their starting body weight, but yes, I agree.>
Thank you for your advice and I will be more careful with the medication. I will
not mix them, and be more careful with them.
<If the frog is suddenly getting mucous-y, I'd be wondering if something (like
copper) is irritating the frog's skin. I'd suggest also looking to see if the
filter is removing all the silt, because when this gets stuck on the mucous, it
can make things look a lot worse. In any event, medicating as per a bacterial
infection is likely the first thing to do, but thereafter, I'd do substantial
water changes, and leave a few days, before starting anything new. Do bear in
mind that sometimes a second course of an antibiotic is necessary, so it's not
always that the antibiotic was 'wrong' it's more that it needs a second pass.
Sick ACF - Red Leg or Fungal?
We have four Albino African Clawed Frogs (two were 13 years old and the
other two are 4 years old) kept in a 20 gallon tank with a Cascade 500
filter. The frogs are normally fed every Sunday, however two Sundays ago
(7/17) all four refused to eat. I decided to give it a week and if they
were still refusing to eat the next Sunday I'd go check on them myself.
The next Sunday (7/24), I'm called over to check on them to find that
one of the older ones has died, rigor mortis had already set in and the
eyes were glazed over (pictures here: http://imgur.com/a/Vo3BI). I could
find no readily apparent cause of death at the time, I thought the
discoloration was due to decomposition. He had likely died early in the
<I agree; nothing obvious here that couldn't simply be decay. That said,
red blisters or inflammation on the skin is always worrying with
amphibians, and any specimens showing such symptoms in life are best
treated with an antibiotic promptly.>
After removing the body, we set about cleaning the filter and change
about 80% of the water. It turns out that the filter had been broken for
an indeterminate amount of time, the motor would run but no longer
generated appreciable suction and due to the design of the filter, the
water was able to continue flowing without actually passing through any
of the internal filters.
This is compounded on by something we hadn't considered, until this
year, they had always been kept in or right next to a room with air
conditioning, over the past month we've been hit with high 80s to mid
90s temperatures every day without a break, undoubtedly the water
temperature had been consistently in the 80s throughout most of the day.
<A lethal combo. Xenopus does best at room temperature, around 22 C/72 F
being ideal. Higher temperatures will increase metabolism (so more waste
produced) while stressing the frogs (causing them to be more sensitive
After realizing the state of the canister filter, I checked on the other
frogs, the two younger ones were somewhat lethargic but otherwise
externally uncompromised. The remaining eldest, however, had red patches
above his eyes, on his arm, and a brown patch on his stomach as if the
skin had rotted (more pictures here: http://imgur.com/a/krGs3). Two
things to note are that he's had what I've always assumed to be a slow
moving cataract in his eye for years, the white in his right eye is not
a symptom and the white growth on his nose is a nonmalignant tumor he's
had for over
<The red sores are likely a reaction to ammonia and nitrite. I'd
optimise water quality while treating as per Finrot in fish, using
reliable antibiotics such as Kanamycin or Tetracycline.>
At the time I had not noticed the stomach and decided to treat for a
fungal infection using Methylene Blue based off the recommendation of an
aquatic wholesale retailer I know. The results have been ... confusingly
of today, (7/28) one of the younger frogs is back to eating, the other
is not. All three frogs are no longer lethargic. One of the sores over
the older one's eyes has disappeared, the other grew for about two days
but seems to have stabilized. The sore on the stomach did likewise.
expanding dramatically but seemingly stopping growth over the last two
days. In the process, the brown skin has fallen off and the remaining
area is red and raw. The arm has healed completely and is back to normal
but a small new red sore has appeared on his right knee in the last two
days, while the rest of the leg is back to normal (Stomach pictures from
Additionally, he's been shedding nonstop and if I had a camera outside
of my phone you could likely see the wisps of molt from him.
<Shedding is something Xenopus does, but it will also happen at a higher
than normal rate during periods of environmental stress.>
At this point I'm utterly befuddled, I'm no Herpetologist and illness is
far outside my area of expertise - this is the first issue we've had in
<Sounds like you're more expert than you think!
Originally, we chose not to isolate due to the fact that we assumed they
were all infected based off of their behavior and wanted to avoid adding
further stress, though obviously I'm beginning to regret that
If I had the money and wasn't afraid the 30 mile trip alone would kill
him, I'd bring him to the nearest reputable veterinary clinic that
treats amphibians. Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated.
Thank you, AR
<Let me direct you to a couple of my favourite links on Xenopus health,
Lots of photos and suggestions for medications there. I'm fairly sure
you're looking at a combo of environmental stress and bacterial
infection, and would combine antibiotics with daily water changes (do
the water changes *before* adding that day's medication). Cheers,
Re: Sick ACF - Red Leg or Fungal? 8/2/16
I thank you for your prompt response.
Following your advice I purchased Tetracycline and finished the fourth
treatment today. As of yesterday (7/31), the two frogs that were refusing
to eat have mostly regained their appetites for the most part - though
interestingly enough, the eldest more so than our 4 year old female so
<Good sign they're eating, however enthusiastically.>
Additionally, the sores on the eldest have begun to slowly heal (Images
here: http://imgur.com/a/9P1S9 ). Having tested the water, I can confirm
that the most likely cause was high ammonia and nitrite levels.
Filtration is proving to be rather problematic. Penn-Plax, the maker of the
faulty filter that caused this debacle, refuses to answer either email or
This has left us using the old canister filter we replaced a year ago due
to its inability to keep up with the filtering of the water in the tank -
with a hampered bio-filter as a result of the antibiotics and Antifungals
recently used. Even with daily water changes, The ammonia levels have
ranged from 4-8 ppm with highly elevated nitrite and nitrate levels as
Currently we're attempting to locate a dependable new filter (any
<Depends upon your budget. A plain undergravel filter is perfectly viable
with Xenopus, or for that matter air-powered sponge filters. But the key
thing with Xenopus is that they produce A LOT of waste, as well as shedding
skin. So you want to buy a filter rated for "the next size up" from your
aquarium. So if you have a 20-gallon tank, choose something for 40 gallons.
A lot of American aquarists find hang-on-the-back filters to be the most
widely sold and inexpensive, and they can work well. But I'd make the
observation that certain brands do have a better reputation for reliability
than others. Eheim is the best of the best, routinely working for 20 years
without any issues at all, and excellent support through dealers for things
like spare parts, so even when things do go wrong, it's usually easy to fix
them. I'd have though something like the Eheim Powerball 180 would be
reliable, easy to maintain, and a good choice for Xenopus, even if you did
want to turn the flow rate down a little if you find the Xenopus working
too hard when swimming. Lots of space on the inside for biological media,
and the design is extremely simple to open up and clean. These are the
filters I use in two of my tanks. I also like the Eheim Classic external
filters. Fluval and Whisper are two reasonably good brands that should last
you a good ten years at least, and Fluval in particular has spares
available through retailers, so is another brand, like Eheim, you can
service yourself. Most of the no-name brands are cheap and cheerful, and
should last a few years, but not forever, and as you've discovered,
after-sales service is practically nil.>
In the meantime, we're considering our options on how best to balance the
concerns of water quality with the fact that the frogs have lost a fair
deal of weight from not eating for almost a month (Example here:
http://imgur.com/a/9fCiB ). Thoughts on a temporarily revised feeding
schedule or if we should simply go back to the regular schedule are
<Wouldn't overfeed, no. Wouldn't feed at all while nitrite and ammonia
aren't zero. These frogs don't have a high metabolic rate and will recover
from starvation very well, all else being equal.>
Once again, thank you. You've been tremendously helpful, AR
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Inherited African Dwarf Frogs
I have a beautiful female ADF that has become a dear member of our family.
She breeds constantly and is quite round and quite sweet.
<Sounds a nifty pet!>
She always looks as though she's smiling and gets real excited when she sees us.
However, l recently noticed her right leg, inner section is very red- the vein,
but not her left. She also hasn't been wiggling her legs and body as per usual.
I gently removed her to examine her and while on her back in my palm, I ever so
slightly glazed my finger over her right leg.
She definitely jumped, I believe it was painful (my poor girl). When I did the
same to the left leg, she did not move at all. Do you have any experience with
red looking veins and what I can do to bring her some relief (if it is indeed
<Unfortunately, yes, this is quite serious problem.>
And lastly, a few days ago, I noticed she could not stay at the bottom, as she
kept floating to the top, while trying to hold onto something with her feet
spread apart to keep herself rooted at the bottom, eventually her body would
force itself to the top. I believe this was gas- am I right, or something else
to be concerned about? She is fine now with regards to staying at the bottom and
<Do have a look here:
These bacterial infections are treatable if caught early on; otherwise, usually
fatal. Antibiotics certainly necessary. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs 2/14/16
Thank you for getting back to me quickly. I have isolated her and am calling pet
supply stores to inquire about antibiotics (tetracycline).
However, I also see it is advised to give a "salt bath". I have pure sea salts
(without iodine or additives) but I am not sure how much to put in, in a small 1
<I doubt salt will help much. Pet shops are happy to sell you salt (it's very
profitable!) but unless this advice came from a vet or experienced amphibian
keeper, I'd take it with a pinch of salt (if you'll pardon the pun). Put another
way, before you go adding salt to the tank, join the Caudata forum and ask the
good folks there for advice.
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs
Hi WWM Crew,
I was able to treat my female ADF's bacterial infection with
antibiotics, and she seems to be in tip top shape.
Her leg is back to normal color and she is energetic and swimming
around, feeding well. However, I noticed she now has a tiny bump (almost
like a pimple) on the top of her arm-belly (if she had an armpit that is
where it is located).
Is this indication of another infection or do African dwarf frogs get
small cysts that go away on their own?
<Males have a distinctive pore or pimple (called the post axillary
subdermal gland) roughly where their armpits would be. These are pink or
white and may be as large as the eyeball. Females lack these. Other
pores or pits are not normal, but not necessarily lethal either;
observation would be the first action here, and antibiotics only if the
frog showed signs of getting worse, stress, lack of appetite, etc.>
She is the only frog of our family of six that has had any issues.
Should I do another round of antibiotics for her?
<See above; I would not if the frog is otherwise fine and feeding, but I
would keep an eye on it.>
Also, an unrelated issue, yet same frog: Several weeks ago, once I
treated her with antibiotics for her Redleg, I noticed her floating at
the top, but not because she wanted to. She could not keep her body at
the bottom of the
tank. Upon inspection, I noticed her skin looked translucent on the left
side of her middle (large tummy) and seemed to have a fluid bubble
inside that was forcing her to float. She looked miserable and was not
eating during that time. I wondered if it was bloat and resigned myself
to the fact that our favorite frog was likely going to die. She hung on
though and responded well to a salt bath, which seemed to treat the
fluid bubble completely.
<I would probably leave it that, perhaps alongside the use of Epsom Salt
in the water over the next few weeks; 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20
As I said, she is happily swimming about now, eating well and otherwise
doing great. Big Mama is resilient if nothing else.
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs
I did not properly thank you for advising me to get antibiotics asap for
my frog when she seemed to have the beginning stages of 'Redleg'. I am
so grateful that she is back to herself, healthy, happy and robustly
<Glad to have helped.>
I was mistaken regarding the location of my female ADF's recent cyst: It
is on the top portion of her arm, not the underside where the male ADF's
glands are located... hence my worry as this cyst-like/pimple is fairly
recent and has caused her to hide from the males so they cannot mate
In the past she was predominantly the one who laid all the eggs and
seemed to rotate being mated between the four males (my other female
ADF, is not as friendly as Big Mama, nor has she ever laid eggs). I
wonder if the salt
bath you prescribed would treat the cyst?
<Epsom salt doesn't really treat anything as such. It's a laxative (so
good for constipation) and because it increases the mineral content of
the water, it helps to draw out fluids (so useful for bloating, dropsy,
that sort of thing). But it isn't a medicine otherwise, and has no
appreciable impact on bacterial infections, fungal infections, or
Assuming that this "cyst" is an infected wound of some sort, adding an
antibiotic should help. But otherwise good water quality and careful
observation could be sufficient. Aquatic animals generally have quite
good resilience to physical damage like non-lethal bites and scratches,
all else being equal. They have to, because they're swimming around in
with opportunistic bacterial. Red Leg/Finrot-type diseases are really
about the animals own immune system have become overwhelmed by bacteria
because the animal was stressed and its immune system compromised. Make
<And likewise! Neale.>
Hello I appreciate any input you can contribute. I have two
ACFs: one is albino, and this pretty girl here. I got the
albino in 2006 and this one in 07. They are tank mates in a 20 gallon,
filtered tank and have always been fine together. Lately “Pearl” has
shown raggedy skin and at first I thought she might be shedding
but it looked like the colored part of the skin was peeling away
revealing white underneath.
<Severe, serious bacterial infection. Possibly treatable with
It continued to deteriorate and yesterday and today she has been hanging
out at the top of the tank. Afraid of disease, I removed her from the
tank and when I did as you can see here, she’s been bleeding. I plan to
put her in isolation in a gallon tank when the bleeding slows or stops.
<Do ensure water quality is at least as good as the home tank. Remember,
if you have a small (e.g., 1 gallon) tank that's unfiltered, you'll
simply be exposing the frog to worse conditions than before. So while a
hospital tank is a plus, and something around 5-10 gallons viable for a
singleton frog across the short term, you'd still need to ensure
adequate (a) temperature and (b) filtration.>
My question to you is this- is this disease or injury?
<A little injury perhaps started things, but now a massive infection has
set in. Think of gangrene and you're on the right lines.>
I don’t know what to make of it. It looks like one of her front legs and
part of her side are wrecked as well. She is not bloated at all. Any
advice on treatment and in worst case, euthanasia? I called a local
store and the man I spoke with called it aggression and if I needed to
euthanize, suggested that a humane way would be to put her in a bag of
water and put her in the freezer. I’m so sad!
<Freezing animals this size isn't humane. It was very, very common in
the past to do this, and less well informed aquarists still do it. But
no vet would recommend it for large animals (it's just about defensible
to immerse a tiny fish, like a Neon, into iced water -- as opposed to
just ice -- and cool it down so rapidly it dies very quickly). The
standard approach for euthanising frogs is to use MS-222; a vet may be
able to supply some for use, or else a trained biologist, e.g., at a
university lab. Alternatively, there's "pithing" but it's not easy to do
right, and for most people, simply too gruesome.>
Thanks for any help!
<Let me direct you to a few relevant pages:
What you're dealing with is likely Red Leg or something similar, and
medication will be needed. Products such as Tetracycline, Maracyn II and
Maracyn Plus have been used successfully. Depending where you live these
may be available in pet stores (the US) or via vets (in the EU and most
other countries). Consulting a vet is recommended because they will
precisely calculate the dose, whereas using store-bought medications,
while better than nothing, are hit-and-miss when it comes to correct
dosing. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: help! 11/15/14
Thank you very much for responding. She had been isolated but died during
<Too bad. Good luck with the remaining frogs. Neale.>
Red Feet/Safe Plants... for...?
I have three African Dwarf frogs that I keep in
well-water only in a medium-sized terrarium jar.
<Very far from ideal.>
Typically I am very adamant about changing their water as soon as it
begins to appear cloudy, but this week I was stupid and lazy and didn't
until it was really icky.
<A good reason why an aquarium with a simple filter, even one as small
as 5 gallons, would be an improvement. These little frogs are not messy
animals, and an air-powered filter does an excellent job keeping the
When I change them, I put them in a small vase with clean water to allow
them to swim and rinse themselves off. Usually it's only for
several hours, but I noticed one of my frogs were shedding so I left
them in there until it was done--this took two days. Tonight I was
letting them move around in our kitchen sink--we rinse it and put a
little well-water in the bottom--when I noticed one of them had red
So I picked him up and was holding him on a paper towel and saw his feet
are bleeding! :( What does this mean, and is there anything I can
Right now he's in the little vase in some clean water with a handful of
the river rocks we keep in the big jar.
<There's something called "Red Leg" in frogs that's often a death
It's an opportunistic infection that usually comes about when the frogs
have been physically damaged and/or kept in dirty water. There's an
excellent summary here:
Early on the infection can be treated, but once established it's very
difficult to cure.>
Also, we have an abundance of spider plants at our house, and we were
wondering if we could use one of those with the frogs. Are they
<Spider Plants (assuming you mean Chlorophytum comosum) aren't good
choices for aquatic frog habitats because Spider Plants do best in
free-draining soil, so don't like their roots being somewhere damp all
the time. Only a few houseplants really thrive in vivaria, mostly those
that like humidity.
Classic choices are Syngonium and Philodendron, which can be potted
above the waterline but will happily grow down to the water and may even
put a few leaves below the waterline without complaint. "Lucky Bamboo"
can do well with its roots in the water and the leaves above, but it's
very demanding about light, but brightly lit spots in the house may get
too hot for your frogs, so approach with caution. In any case, do an
online search references "vivaria" with "plants" and you'll find dozens
All this said, because Hymenochirus spp. frogs are fully aquatic, and
prefer floating plants best of all, a clump of Floating Indian Fern is
probably the best bet.>
Re: Red Feet/Safe Plants 5/16/13
I noticed today that the redness that was encompassing his feet has gone
down to mostly be in the webbing of the feet. I've noticed names
of various medicines that have been used or recommended, but for my
situation which would you recommend?
<Try a combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2; use as directed on the
Also, my mom and currently live with my grandparents--they do not like
animals, so I'm lucky to have my frogs and hermit crabs--and so our
current situation does not allow an aquarium for them since I already
have two for my crabs. We are working on getting our own house,
and we've already decided to get the frogs a nice, large aquarium with a
filter when that happens. And thank you for your plant advice.
We actually have a lot of spider plants that are in jars of water and
have been for months now, so that's why we were wondering if they could
be used for the frogs, but I'll certainly look into getting one of the
plants you recommended! :)
<Do start reading, planning:
…and follow the links. Cheers, Neale.>
"Red Leg" in ACFs 5/19/13
<Guten tag, Julia!>
this is not a question, but I´ve just read about the ADF with possible
"Red Leg" infection, so I wanted to share my own experiences with this
syndrome (if this is of interest; if not, feel free to ignore
this Email ;)).
<Ah, not our style.>
A few months ago, I wanted to get a few buddies for my two ACFs (an
adult pair, 42 gal tank, filtered, fully cycled, planted. No problems).
I was able to acquire three frogs from a lab (one male, two females),
which I moved into a 30 gal quarantine tank first. Smooth sand bottom,
two terracotta pots, floating plants, an adequately sized canister
filter. I checked the water daily (0 NO2, << 25 ppm NO3, pH 7.2, temp.
about 68 °C, moderately hard water).
<All sounds good. But do read this excellent summary by the RSPCA on the
care of Xenopus spp in labs, here:
Among other things, a somewhat warmer temperature is recommended, around
22 C. I mention temperature because many tropical animals are sensitive
to opportunistic infections when chilled, and even if otherwise tolerant
of cool conditions, warming them up can get their immune systems working
They settled in just fine and for the first few days, everything was ok;
they were active and always hungry just like my other frogs. But after
six days, the new male suddenly became listless and had two tiny red
spots on his feet as well as slightly swollen hind legs. I had a bad
feeling about that and immediately separated him from the females before
doing a large water change in the 30 gal tank. The next morning, he was
barely moving and had several severe hemorrhages (he spent the night in
a clean tank without any decor, so an injury is out of question). I took
him to a vet, but it was too late and he died in the evening of the same
Because of the very fast progression of this infection (36 hours from a
perfectly healthy frog to death), the vet gave me some Baytril to treat
the females which didn´t show any symptoms yet preventatively. Luckily,
this was successful and I could move them to the display tank four weeks
after the end of the treatment.
In this case, I can rule out environmental problems as a cause. The
frogs have lived under stressful conditions in the lab and I know of
some deaths due to Aeromonas hydrophila in the colony before; I think
the inevitable stress from being moved was just too much for this frog.
<Could well have been, particularly if they were handled a bit roughly
when moved. Capturing frogs can damage their skin as they rub against
the gravel, net or your hands.>
I just wanted to show that this is a very dangerous disease which
requires a prompt reaction. The photo shows the frog shortly after its
<Thanks for sharing. Hope your other frogs do better. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red Feet/Safe Plants 5/21/13
I just wanted to let you know that we did get the medicine, and are on the
third day of the treatment. I have been putting both types of Maracyn
in the water, which is how I understood what you said previously. But
ever since I started it, a white fuzz has been gathering on my frog.
Is this just from the medicine or is there something else wrong?
<If the threads are fluffy, like cotton wool, then it's fungus. Quite common
alongside bacterial infections. Methylene Blue and other anti-fungal
remedies may help.>
Also, does the Maracyn cause the frogs pain?
<Should not do so, no; it's merely an antibiotic.>
Because when I sprinkle it in the water, I notice he twitches around and
seems like he's trying to escape from it or rub it off on the rocks in the
<Most welcome, Neale.>
ADF skin disease - please help?
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
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
Can this be treated with anti-fungals used for freshwater
Please help - thanks,
African Dwarf Frog with Fungus... No rdg.
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
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?
<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.
White fuzz and ADF [Methylene blue vs. Malachite green]
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
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
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
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, this product's active ingredient is Acriflavine:
Frog missing foot I have two African dwarf frogs in a 2 and a
half gallon tank. One is a female and one male. At least that is what I
think. I noticed today that my male is missing his foot. Upon searching
the tank to figure out what might have happened, I noticed that my
thermometer was broken on the top. I have no idea how this happened. My
main concern is that he will be okay and is not suffering. I was
worried that he will get infected. Please tell me what to do. Thanks.
< Years ago I had a newt in which my cichlids chewed off one of the
feet. Keep the area clean so it doesn't fungus. Furanace is a good
drug to use if you notice any cottony growth developing on it. It
should soon heal up in a few days.-Chuck.
African Dwarf Frog question, hlth.
4/6/08 WWM Crew, I love your site by the way, I am a new fish owner
and I enjoy reading your site and getting lots of really useful
information. But here is the issue. I have a decent size 5 gallon tank
where I have just a single ADF named Sal. <Hmm... "decent"
isn't really how I'd define 5 gallon tanks. The problem is that
they're very difficult to keep stable in terms of pH, water
quality, etc. Even for very small beasts, you're a lot better off
with a 10 gallon tank unless you're an expert fishkeeper.> He
seems to be fine, is always playing and floating towards the top of the
tank. I had him for about a month before I purchased a mystery snail.
About 3 days after I introduced the snail into the tank with the frog
the snail developed a fungus. <Snails don't normally develop
fungus. They're either alive or dead. Are you sure this just
wasn't algae on the shell?> As soon as I recognized what it was
the snail was immediately put into isolation. After changing the water
in the tank with the ADF and cleaning everything. I've noticed that
Sal has developed a single red bump under each of his front arms
doesn't seem to be bothering him or anything, I'm just trying
to figure out if he has something that I need to treat. <Yes; find
an amphibian-safe antibacterial or antibiotic. Your local reptile pet
store will be able to help here. Fish-grade medications may be safe,
but often aren't. Once bacterial infections get established, these
little frogs die very quickly.> I don't want him getting sick
and making his happy little life uncomfortable. All the levels in the
tank are fine, he doesn't have red leg or cloudy eyes or any other
symptoms. Any advice would be great or am I being overly paranoid?
Thanks. Paranoid ADF lady <Hope this helps. Neale.>
Aquatic Frog Red Sore on
Finger 4/19/08 Hi WWM, Hello; I have an aquatic frog
named Freddie who is almost a year old now. He is in a 10 gallon
tank and all readings are perfect. I maintain the tank once a
week. Freddie is eating well and swimming a lot. But, I noticed
for over two weeks now he has a red sore on his finger that will
not go away. I started to treat him with aquarium salt and
Melafix. Please give advice if this is the proper care. Thanks
ahead of time, Jean <Hello Jean. This is a secondary bacterial
infection, likely caused by poor water quality and/or physical
damage. Melafix and salt are useless for treating bacterial
infections; both are primarily used as preventatives rather than
cures, and many of us here at WWM doubt their value even then.
Instead, use a suitable antibiotic or antibacterial medication
safe for use with amphibians. A pet store that specializes in
reptiles and amphibians will be able to provide such medication,
as will a vet. Bear in mind that fish-safe medications (such as
eSHa 2000 and Maracyn) could harm the frog, so shouldn't be
used before confirming that they are safe. Red sores are likely
caused by Aeromonas bacteria, and untreated lead to Red Leg, a
deadly disease. While dealing with the infection, establish what
caused the problem in the first place. Water quality is usually
the problem, but if you mix frogs with fish (something you
shouldn't do) the fish can attack the frog making it
vulnerable to infections. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African dwarf frog
-- 04/19/08 Yikes! Why does PetSmart give such crappy
information! <No idea. Not all branches give bad information
or misleading sales pitches. But some appear to do so.>
I'll keep Ferdinand where he is, and maybe I'll buy him a
new froggie to visit with. <Sounds like a plan!> I will
also take my black skirts and tigers back to PetSmart and give
them up for adoption! <These species are only problematic if
you choose to keep them with slow or long finned fish. Also tend
to be "bad" when kept in too-small a group, i.e., less
than six. They're fine fish mixed with other barbs and tetras
though.> I'll add some angels or ghost shrimp instead.
<Hold out for Cherry Shrimps if you can -- although not so big
as Ghost Shrimp, they're nicer colours and happily breed in
well-run aquaria. I have quite a colony in 10 gallon tank, and
they're more fun to watch than the fish!> If I get rid of
them, would it be safe then to add Ferdinand to the mix?
<Frogs are safe ONLY with completely peaceful, non-nippy fish.
Angels would be a bad choice. Shrimps should be fine, as are
things like Corydoras and surface-living things like Danios and
Halfbeaks.> Also, is there any way to keep Neons alive? I
still have 2 of my original 8, and I would love to have about a
dozen of them. <Neons are plagued by a problem known as Neon
Tetra Disease (or Pleistophora). In a nutshell, if one gets sick
and it dies in the tank, it will infect the others. There is no
cure except breaking the cycle by removing sick fish on sight.
Neons also need soft, acid water. They also need lower than
normal temperatures: around 22-24 C (that's about 72-75 F in
old money). Kept at high temperatures they just won't thrive.
Because Neons are mass-produced to be cheap rather than decent
quality, you "get what you pay for" -- so anywhere
you're seeing Neons at a buck a throw, you have to ask
yourself just how good are these fish that they've managed to
sell them at under 50% what they went for even a few years ago.
Oddly enough, Cardinals tend to be (in my experience) altogether
easier to keep, though they *definitely* need soft water to do
well.> Thanks for the great advice. <Happy to help,