FAQs About African Dwarf Frog Health: Traumas
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:
Social, Infectious (Virus,
Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic,
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,
African clawed frog bruised?
Hello, I have a very small, young African clawed frog,
<Mmm; not Xenopus but Hymenochirus... Dwarf. Have you read on WWM re?>
not exactly sure how old or the gender
<... can be discerned>
as I got him from my grandma who had him since being a tadpole. He has developed
what looks like a red bruise on his back leg. I have looked up possible answers
and came across red leg syndrome.
<Ahh, no; this looks to be a physical trauma>
It doesn't seem to look the same as some photos posted and he is still very
active and eating regularly. He is cleaned every two weeks and likes in a 5
gallon filtered tank. The tank has some large rocks that he may have injured
<A good guess>
It has only been a few days since I've noticed it. Please look at my attached
photo maybe to help diagnose the issue.
<Please read here:
and the linked files above; as you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Inherited African Dwarf Frogs
I have some sad news. First an update since we last corresponded. I purchased a
ten gallon tank, with filter, heater, live plants, and some neat aquatic
contraptions that are conducive for the needs of dwarf frogs (hiding spots,
We adopted two more baby dwarf frogs into our family that seem happy, healthy
and thriving. Cannot sex them at this time, as they are still too young. My male
and female mated regularly and everyone seemed to be doing great. Yesterday I
was crouched near the tank as I always do before going to bed, to say my
goodnights to the frogs. And as usual, they made their
way over to the glass nearest me (I hand feed them, so they associate me with
food). I noticed my male dwarf frog's right eye had the teeniest speck
of red in it. I had to really look as it wasn't obviously noticeable
and I wondered if it was just the light coming from the tank lid. Indeed there
was a tiny bit of red in ADF's one eye. I made a mental note to myself to keep
an eye on him and ask some questions about it today. He otherwise was fine,
swimming all around, eating, etc. Just the day before he was happily mating my
adult female as per usual. Upon waking up today, to my horror, my male dwarf was
pressed up against the filter, with what looked like his little hands inside the
filter slots. Right away I took him out and saw he was dead. How very sad. I
don't know what he died from and I don't know how it happened so quickly.
I know the filter's current draws waste into it and is why the little frog once
likely dead was carried into it... but how did he die and how did he die so
<Perhaps... resultant from a concussion.... ADFs do dive head long into things
on their return from periodic trips to the surface for air>
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Red Injury, Growth? 3/18/13
I discovered one of my ADFs has a little bump, indent and grove a
couple of days ago and it looked like an injury.
I searched far and wide and I can't seem to find anything about this or how
to treat it even on WWM. My LFS told me to use a little bit of aquarium salt
<Nah... Amphibians don't "like" salts... try applying such solutions to your
eyes to discern why>
to hopefully see if it gets better to no avail. I'm really concerned and
am wondering what's going on.
Please let me know, I've attached a few pics to depict it.
<Likely nothing to do, treatment-wise... but can spiff up nutrition and
environment: Help indirectly. For background, read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red Injury, Growth? ADF hlth, reading
I heard MelaFix is good for wounds.
<Worse than worthless. Please... search before writing. See WWM re. B>
Should I try? and will it be detrimental?
(Possibly Sick) Female ADF Questions - Eyes & Behaviour –
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
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
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
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,
Questions concerning care of an injured African Dwarf
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
I have a 29 gallon high tank with an African Dwarf Frog (ADF) and 2
<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.
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
<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
Injured African Dwarf Frog question
<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
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
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
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
<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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
<Does sound like the most humane step forward. If the frog gets
thinner daily, then it isn't likely he's going to get
Thanks for your time,
<Sorry can't offer much more positive advice. Cheers,
African dwarf frogs... care/sys. -- 09/14/07
Hello, My friend works at a fish store and has an ADF and he said that
he takes his frog out of the water for a less than ten minutes every
now and then. I have one too but I don't want to hurt him in
anyway. But at the same time I wouldn't mind hanging out with him
outside the water. Is that okay? or should I not take him out at all
and put the thought out of my mind? thanks, Claire <Claire, your
friend is completely wrong to remove his frog from the water. No
amphibian should ever be handled except where absolutely essential
because their skins are very sensitive and easily damaged. This goes
double for aquatic amphibians because they have thinner skins than
terrestrial amphibians as well as less robust skeletons. So tell your
friend to stop handling his frog! If he wants something to cuddle, he
should go buy a cat. Cheers, Neale>
African dwarf frogs -- 09/19/07 I have a feeling you are
going to tell me to get a dog... however can I touch the frog at all?
<No.> maybe gently rub his/her belly or the top? <No. For an
amphibian, the skin is sort of like the lungs, because they breathe
through them. So, imagine how much fun it would be I decided to stick
my fingers up your nose and down your throat just to show I cared. Yuk.
There is a very real chance you petting a frog will damage its skin,
partly through friction, and partly through using too much force.>
Or should I just leave them alone and let them do their thing? <Yes.
Animals become *your* friend when you treat them well. Animals love
routine, so habituate your pets to seeing you at the same time, being
fed at the same time, being given food in the same corner of the tank.
Eventually they will learn that you are A Good Thing and will respond
accordingly. Trying to force things we like, such as being touched,
onto animals that aren't tactile, like frogs, is
counter-productive. As far as the frog is concerned, you're a huge
predator that grabs hold of it.> I'm asking because I think mine
are so cute I always want to play with them. <Resist the urge! There
are some amphibians that learn to be hand fed (ideally with tweezers or
else wet fingers), and those you might consider getting. Tiger
Salamanders are a good example. But for the most part, amphibians are
"look but don't touch" pets. This largely holds for
reptiles, too, though I've known tortoises that liked sitting on
people's feet to keep warm!> Sorry for asking so many questions.
And thanks for your help. Claire <Good luck with your pets, and keep
asking questions! People go wrong when they think they know it all --
there's plenty for everyone to learn about keeping pets. Read,
learn, and enjoy. Cheers, Neale>
Re: African dwarf frogs -- 09/19/07 Thanks for replying!!!
I'll tell him. I've decided to have a solely only frog tank so
I will probably be contacting you in the future. Have a wonderful day
Claire <Cool. Good luck with your pet(s). Cheers, Neale>
Dwarf African Frog-Broken wrist?
4/30/08 Hi there <Hello> We have
recently moved our DAF to a new tank. Before we moved I noticed that
his wrist was bent back on itself. It has been suggested that I will
need to take him to a vet and get it removed in case it goes gangrenous
but I just don't know of a vet that could/would do something that
delicate. Do you have any other potential diagnoses or cures? <Mmm,
no need to remove the limb... will either "cure" of its own
accord, or be of use as is. Bob Fenner>