FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs,
FAQs on African Dwarf Frog Disease:
ADF Health/Disease 1,
ADF Health 2,
ADF Health 3,
ADF Health 4,
FAQs on African Dwarf Frog Disease by Category:
Trauma, Infectious (Virus,
Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic,
Related Articles: Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African
Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks, African Dwarf Frogs, Amphibians, Turtles,
Dwarf African Frogs
African Frogs 2, ADF
Identification, ADF Behavior,
ADF Compatibility, ADF Selection, ADF
Systems, ADF Feeding, ADF Reproduction, & FAQs on: Amphibians 1, Amphibians 2, Frogs Other Than African and Clawed,
African Clawed Frogs, Turtles, Amphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,
Dwarf frogs 4/26/18
I have 4 dwarf frogs and noticed that 1-2 of them appear to have tiny air
bubbles on them. Is this normal?
<Hello Mandy. I do believe these frogs are in good health. So far as I can see
from the photos, the skin has the normal pimpled texture, and maybe a bit of
silt in the water has become stuck to the frogs. But otherwise they
look well-fed and happy. These frogs moult their skin periodically, little
semi-transparent flakes coming off in pieces, and this can look decidedly odd.
If the frogs are behaving normally and feeding well, I'd not be concerned.
Help please for my African Dwarf Frogs
Hi - Just so you know, I am one of those people that Google everything
and anything and am usually pretty successful in finding answers to my
questions. Well I have been searching for a couple days (at least) to
try and figure out what is going on with my ADFs...well one ADF in
I haven't had any luck and it may be that it is an issue that is hard to
word in a Google search. I don't have much faith in the knowledge of the
staff at my local pet store so I am writing you. I'm sure you are
inundated with emails but I figured I'd see if you could help.
I have a 5 gallon, heated and filtered tank and in it are 4 guppies, one
mystery snail and now 2 ADF's. I had just one ADF for a few months and
then decided she (I assume she is a she as I never hear singing like I
have in the past with males) may like to have another ADF to interact
<Understood. But like most frogs, they're not really social as such...>
Prior to my adding the 2nd ADF (Ginger), my 1st ADF (MaryAnn) seemed
like a happy active frog. She would always come when I tapped on the
glass, would follow my finger and dance around for me, and would eat
heartily Frozen Bloodworms and/or Brine Shrimp.
After adding Ginger to the tank, MaryAnn is a different frog. She hides
out of sight most of the time, barely eats and seems to want to run from
me versus being happy to see me. The new frog (Ginger) is acting normal.
Is active and eats heartily.
What happened to MaryAnn?? Could she be upset that I added another frog?
<Bullying is certainly a possibility, the solution for which, oddly
enough, can be adding more -- it's harder for a bully to harass two
frogs than just one. On the other hand, a useful trick is to remove the
bully, rearrange the tank enough it looks different, then after an hour
or so, return the bully. With a bit of luck, this has a "reset button"
effect because the bully is now the newcomer again, and the original
frog has a chance to assert itself better.>
Ironically, I hesitated at first to get a 2nd frog as I really enjoyed
the "special" one on one time I had with MaryAnn. I only got the 2nd
thinking it would make her happier to have a little friend.
<Always dangerous imagining animals are people. They're not. Their minds
are very different, and animals that aren't gregarious, like frogs,
really don't notice or interact with other frogs outside of breeding.
Since you're offering the food, you are actually more "interesting" to
them than other frogs!>
I don't know if it is my imagination but she does appear to be a tad
bloated. That could be due to the fact that I fed her often....not sure.
<Possibly, so do try cutting back the food a bit, or using something
with a laxative effect, like Daphnia or Brine Shrimp, to see if it
Either way, do you have any idea what could be wrong??
Let me know please when you have a chance.
Thanks in advance
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Help please for my African Dwarf Frogs
Hi Neale -
Thank you so much for your response.
I am not sure why but I originally drafted this to you in September but,
for some reason, it didn't go through until October 10th. Possibly
because I was on a different computer. Anyway, MaryAnn passed a couple
<Oh dear; sorry to hear that.>
I will not be getting another frog to keep Ginger company based on your
response below. As long as one frog is happy without another, I am happy
with just the one!
<Indeed, this is the case. Good luck with your remaining batrachian
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.
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
<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 infection 6/13/17
Hello yet again!
I got great advice from your site regarding treatment of what I suspect
is a secondary bacterial infection my female frog, maybe I'm jumping the
gun a bit, but 24 hours after starting A.P.I tetracycline she looks
<It is possible that Tetracycline is something these bacteria are
resistant to, in which case, swap or supplement with a second antibiotic
from a different antibiotic family (i.e., not Minocycline, which is in
the same family, but something completely different, like Kanamycin,
available in Kanaplex). Alternatively, do check there isn't carbon in
the filter (this will simply adsorb antibiotics) and that the tank and
filter are basically clean (piles of decaying organic matter will also
diminish the effectiveness of antibiotics).>
About a week ago she was bitten accidentally by my male frog during
feeding, affecting her left eye and side of nose. Instead of healing,
the sore got bigger, she got bloated, and her left foot turned red to
boot. She hangs near the surface quite a bit. She lives with two other
frogs, and a very calm Betta in a 5.5 gallon filtered tank, heated to 80
degrees Fahrenheit. Live plants and a few hiding places as well. The
tank is well cycled, ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, ph is 7.6, I do 30-40
percent water changes weekly, with gravel vacuuming, and adding Prime. I
feed frozen thawed bloodworms, beef heart, Mysis, and brine shrimp. I
started the tetracycline treatment to the entire tank yesterday, I lack
the means to have a hospital tank, and am worried it would spread anyway
so I thought to treat everyone.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
My African clawed albino frog. Hlth; no data
My African clawed albino frog looks really veiny is that good or
<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?
Re: Seeking ACF Medical Advice
Hello, the ammonia problems have been sorted and all frog behavior has been
normal for the last few weeks.
Unfortunately, today I noticed that the female has one bloated leg.
Behavior and appetite are normal and neither of the other two frogs show any
abnormalities. Do you have any suggestions?
<I would check water quality again, do a substantial water change, and see if
anything improved within a day or two. Epsom salt, at 1-3 teaspoons per 5
gallons/20 litres, can help with swelling. If no better after a few days, then
try antibiotics again.>
<Goofy looking animals, aren't they? Nice clean tank though.>
<Welcome and good luck! Neale.>
ADF with new large bulge under one arm 10/28/16
I was looking on your African Dwarf Frog page, and I have a question I hope
you can help with. I’ve had 2 male frogs for about 3 years. Recently one of
them has developed a bulge under his left armpit. He has always had the
small glands under both of his arms, but this one is quite large now and is
only on one side. I am attaching a few photos for you.
I am hoping this is something benign, but I can’t find any info on the web.
If you can help me figure out what is going on, I would appreciate it. He is
behaving/eating completely normally.
<Hello Esther. Could well be a benign tumour of some sort. Such things are
not uncommon with captive amphibians. They're essentially impossible to
diagnose given you can't tell different types of benign from malignant
neoplasms without examination of tissue under a microscope. So for the most
part, a "hope for the best" approach is what you're stuck with. That said,
benign tumours may clear up in time if conditions are optimal, vitamin
deficiency in particular being a common problem with captive amphibians and
reptiles across to board. Review diet (frozen bloodworms for example aren't
enough) and look at either increasing the variety or using a proprietary
vitamin supplement with the food. Viruses are another cause of tumours, and
again, with good conditions and diet, these can subside in time. Beyond
these two ideas, there's little you can do without veterinarian help, and
given the size of these frogs, finding a vet able to examine them, let alone
treat them, will be difficult. I will direct you to the excellent
Caudata.org website, which has a helpful forum that might be able to offer
you prompt, specific advice beyond my abilities:
Re: ADF with new large bulge under one arm
Thanks so much, Neale!!
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.>
New sick dwarf frog 6/14/16
My daughter and husband brought home a new African Dwarf Frog yesterday and
added it to the small tank with another one (whose mate died two days ago).
I later find out that the woman at Petco told them that all the other frogs
there had died and there was a dead frog in the tank. Yes, it was a horrible
idea to buy this frog but now I am stuck trying to heal it while keeping the
other alive. I don't know what is wrong with this frog (if anything- though he
just floats at the top most of the time). What can I use as a basic antibiotic
type solution that can help them?
<Unfortunately medicating frogs is very difficult. Oxytetracycline has been used
with success, though Tetracycline and Minocycline might both make acceptable
substitutes. In the US these are sold in some aquarium shops, but in most other
countries they can only be obtained via a vet. There are some useful websites
out there aimed at professionals maintaining Xenopus.
While your Dwarf Frogs need warmer (tropical) water compared with room
temperature Xenopus, in all other regards they are very similar in terms of
I'm afraid it's contaminating the tank and I will lose them both.
<Agreed. But to some extent stress and poor environment seem to trigger problems
with bacterial infections otherwise latent in frogs. So in good conditions these
frogs are actually pretty hearty.>
Also, should I do a water change at this point to remove any toxins from the new
frog or recently deceased frog?
<I would change as much water as practical immediately, and thereafter as
indicated by the manufacturer of the medication used. Once the course of
medication is done, you can switch to the usual weekly 25% water change.>
Thank you very much
<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.>
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>
Need help with African dwarf frog 10/8/15
Hello, about a month ago I got two adfs in a tank with a Betta, Pleco, 8 neon
tetras, and two algae eaters. One adf died on day 2 and
the second is still alive. Its a 75 gallon tank at 80
I never see the frog eat or breath and I'm worried about it.
<Understandable. ADFs aren't aggressive feeders. They compete poorly with
bottom-dwellers in particular. I wouldn't keep them with catfish or loaches of
any kind, including "algae eaters" whatever those might be. Instead, keep them
with midwater feeders, so any frozen bloodworms that hit the ground are eaten by
them and them alone. Also bear in mind ADFs prefer to feed when the lights are
out, but not necessarily in the dark. So maybe feed them when the room lights
are on but before you turn on the aquarium lights, and likewise in the evening
before you turn the room lights out but the aquarium lights are switched off.
Make sense? Vary the diet beyond bloodworms of course, with prepared ADF foods
available, and a useful supplement alongside frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp,
etc. They don't eat flake, so don't keep them expecting that to work out.>
Mostly it hides in a fake live rock and stays underwater for hours without
breathing. I'm fairly sure it's staying underwater all day, because I only see
it moving around late at night.
I have never seen it eat anything, even when I hold brine shrimp right in front
The tank has several live plants and some snails, could it be eating this?
After reading your blog I realize my tank may be too deep, but at night he seems
too swim around easily, going to the surface with ease. Thanks for any help you
I've attached pics as well.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
African Dwarf Frog Problem for Ilsa 8/6/15
I have an African Dwarf Frog in a 2.65 gallon heated tank that I’m
pretty sure has not completely cycled yet.
<Oh. Slightly smaller than I'd recommend; in all honesty, if you've got space
for 4-5 gallons, that'll make life a lot better for the frogs (and easier for
I had to move it recently to take over to my friend’s place so they could watch
my from Pam while I’m out of town. Apparently she had been doing well for the
first four days even though the water was cloudy (I was not terribly worried
about his as I have been having problems with this and she’s done fairly well as
long as I change the water regularly), but last night and this morning she was
sluggish, and she has not been wanting to eat. I have told my friend to do a 1
gallon water change since that usually helps a lot, and to do a combo treatment
of Maracyn 1 and maracyn 2 in case something got stirred up in the move that’s
making her sick.
<Understood, and a good course of medications to try (assuming you've removed
carbon from the filter, it used). While "stirring up the substrate" isn't a
common or even rare source of bacterial infections, opportunistic Aeromonas and
Pseudomonas infections are an issue with African Dwarf Frogs generally.
Typically a combination of environmental stress and lack of (balanced) food
My question is, is there anything else that could be doing this? All my water
stats are well within range, and I’ve weirdly never had a problem with the
ammonia, so I am just not sure what to do from here on out, especially if she
<Do let me direct you to some reading:
Without knowing specific water quality and chemistry values, water temperature,
and type/amount of food, I can't say anything specific. But reviewing the tank
yourself, and comparing with my thoughts in that article, may narrow things
I would really appreciate any suggestions, especially since I already had one
ADF die on my and I’d really love for it not to happen again since it’s just so
Serious ADF Question/Issue
I have done research on my frogs odd situation and still I am coming up empty.
There are no vets that know enough about my frog for me to take him in as well
so I am relying on advice here. My ADF has been doing perfect for years. He has
never been ill and always lived in a huge tank with giant fish happily. I
recently moved and he is now in a 10 gallon tank, with good filter, heat, etc
and now he's alone. We've been here for a month. I was busy for two days and in
that time he has changed. He hides behind the filter and now he stays with his
head above water and his forehead is red/bruised looking and he won't eat. There
are no possible ways for him to I jure himself and nobody else lives with me. He
also was shedding but it
looks like his hand has a black filmy skin stuck to him that looks like it
should come off but hasn't. I assumed it was a fungus and went ahead and put in
the tropical remedy sold at PetSmart where my ignorant friend bought him (yes, I
rescued him about 5 years ago).
Thank you, Shari
<My immediate reaction would be physical damage, perhaps burning against an
exposed aquarium heater. But the bones on this frog look a little pronounced for
my liking, as if this frog hasn't eaten well for some time (weeks rather than
days). Would first direct you to the commercial Xenopus sites for pictures of
various symptoms and issues:
I'd also suggest you join one of the good pet amphibian forums out there, such
as this one:
Such folks would be able to provide the sort of help and support you might not
get from local vets.
Omg my African dwarf
frog help 2/21/15
So I have a 1.1 gallon tank with a mystery snail a male crown
tail Betta and an African dwarf frog his name is flippers.
<1.1 gallons is too small, too little water... his world is toxic, too
much pollution in too small a volume of water, killing him...>
He was all fine swimming around earlier but I just found him upside down
on the bottom of the tank so I scooped him put and put him in a tiny
container with new water and stuck it in the tank but not exposed to the
rest of the water just so he can get the heat from the light.
<Heat from a light? Hmm... how to explain... aquaria should be heated
with an aquarium heater. Many are sold, of different designs and to
different budgets. Angle-poise and other lamps with incandescent and
halogen bulbs may produce some heat (but LED essentially none and
fluorescents very little) but aren't strong enough to warm water evenly,
and certainly won't
do so at night when they're off (obviously). Using lamps for heating is
(a) dangerous because the lamp doesn't switch off if the water gets too
hot, resulting in very hot surface water compared to the too cold water
at the bottom; and (b) are inefficient, wasting you money because while
they produce some (unreliable) heat, some electricity is used to make
well, which you don't especially need. Do please understand what animals
need before buying them... giving pets names is nice, and I'm sure you
care for your pet animals in terms of affection, but animals honestly
don't give a rip about these niceties. Food, warmth, shelter and a safe
(non-toxic) living environment are what animals need and care about.>
The beta and snail are fine,
<For now. To be fair, Apple Snails are subtropical and do fine in
unheated tanks indoors. Bettas are tropical fish, and don't live long in
unheated tanks, unless you happen to live in Thailand or somewhere like
in fact my snail has grown a lot in the while I had him.
There's algae on my tank but I figured itd just a plant it wouldn't hurt
anything. The frog isn't skinny I see him eat the Betta pellets
and frog food.
<Not just dried/pellet foods though. I hope you add some live or frozen
(not freeze-dried) foods into the mix. Otherwise constipation, bloating
and more serious problems await you.>
What would cause him to go from alive and fine to dead with in like 8
hours. The tank is dirty with algae is that what killed him?
<The short (and blunt) answer is ignorance. The long (and kinder) answer
is that you got the environment wrong. I know, I know, "But he was just
fine for weeks/months and the guy in the fish store said that a 1-gallon
tank was all I needed." So let's start with the basics. The three
beasties you're keeping can be kept together with a bit of planning.
Some Bettas nip
at Apple Snails, but if yours doesn't, great. But while the Apple Snail
might be kept in 1-2 gallons (I have done so without problems), and some
people keep Bettas in this amount of water as well (but I would not),
the African Dwarf Frog is a much more sensitive animal and needs much
more space. Shall we say 4-5 gallons? Something along those lines
also need heat, lots of it. A steady 25 C/77 F, which is mostly easily
supplied by a traditional aquarium heater. You can buy alternatives,
such as under tank heating mats, but plain old aquarium heaters,
specifically, a 25 Watt one in your case, could be had for little money
and unlike the lamp, would last many years, would heat the water evenly,
and cost very little to run. Next up, you need a filter. Some folks
insist these aren't necessary for Bettas and frogs, but mostly those
people have dead Bettas
and dead frogs after as few weeks or months, so we can ignore their
For sure some people keep Bettas in jars, but they're breeders in heated
fish rooms who change 100% of the water every day. Not practical if
you're a casual hobbyist who just wants a pretty pet fish. Get a filter.
An air-powered sponge filter is all you need, and better than a small
internal canister filter. Don't get a hang-on-the-back filter because
these have an opening through which Bettas often jump and frogs almost
always escape, winding up as dried "carpet jerky" as we say in the
trade. ADFs and other aquatic amphibians should never, ever be kept in
open-topped tanks unless such tanks are only half filled. Seriously. The
risk of them jumping out is extremely high. So, we've covered aquarium
size, heating, what else...?
Basically, that's it, beyond varying the diet. Dried foods are all well
and good, but just like humans eating processed foods all day, these
concentrated foods do tend to cause constipation and worse. So mix
things up a bit. Frozen bloodworms you keep in the freezer are
convenient and work nicely, though a very few people (surely less than 1
in 100) seem to have a
slight allergy to bloodworms. You don't need to actually touch the
worms, just hold the package over the tank, push out a block from
behind, then return the package to the freezer. Wash your hands
afterwards though. A safer alternative to bloodworms is brine shrimps.
Again, you can get these frozen (or for that matter live) and because of
the hypersaline places
they're grown, these are probably the safest food you're likely to
encounter, including human foods! Does this all make sense? Cheers,
Re: Omg my African dwarf frog help.... & Apple/mystery snail beh. f'
Also, not as important. I read that snails have breathing tubes. On my
snail there's two little things like he has a moustache
<Sensory tentacles, a mix of touch and taste receptors, used to find out
about his environment.>
but earlier it stuck this giant tube out of the water and did a heave
<Breathing. Apple Snails breathe air using a lung as well as having
gills to extract oxygen from the water. Typically, the warmer the water,
the more they breathe air. Sometimes it's a clue they're stressed, so if
your Apple Snail does this a lot more than usual, first check water
temperature (is it too warm, much over 25C/77F) and then check water
quality (an ammonia or nitrite test kit is used for this).>
Whats going on?
<Biology. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Omg my African dwarf frog help 2/21/15
Im in central Texas.
<Ah, so too cold most of the time for tropical fish, at least at night.
For most tropical fish, 25 C/77 F is the baseline, possibly a little
warmer for a few (Bettas, Angels, Discus and Gouramis for example, which
are good up to 30 C/86 F, a little cooler for a few (Danios, Corydoras,
Platies and Neons, all happier around 22 C/72 F).>
And the snail is a mystery snail.
<Mystery Snails and Apple Snails are the same thing, for all practical
purposes (there's some debate about which Pomacea species is which, but
they're all much of a muchness so far as maintenance goes. Apple Snails
seems to be the more popular name at the moment, and refers to their big
shell (which can get apple-sized after a few years, though very few last
long as a year in aquaria for a variety of reasons). Mystery Snails is a
much older name, said to be because the baby snails (which are quite
big, and hatch from eggs laid above the waterline) appeared in ponds
seemingly out of nowhere. I recommend breeding them when you get the
chance. It's a lot of fun, and the babies are rather cute (for baby
I've only had the frog for a month or so and no one nips at anyone, I
don't have room for a much bigger tank.
<Could I suggest not keeping fish or frogs then? The Betta and the snail
you'll get away with, assuming scrupulous care on your part. How to be
clear on this? The smaller the volume of water, the faster temperature
changes, and the quicker dissolved wastes (such as ammonia) cause
problems. Tropical fish really shouldn't be kept in tanks smaller than,
gallons, simply because keeping them in smaller tanks is either unfair
to them (e.g., you can't keep enough schooling fish for them to be
happy) or else causes physiological stress as conditions go bad. Could I
further suggest having a read here:
You do have some options for tanks upwards of 4-5 gallons, but they are
very specific beasties, in some cases with very specific needs.>
It has an under gravel filter and it stays in the bathroom, which is the
warmest room in the house.
<Good and good, but do see above re: temperature. Warm to you might not
be warm to a fish from Thailand. The ADF is perhaps less fussy, and okay
around 22 C/72 F, but no colder. Apple Snails are fine at room
temperature, even in the UK, let alone Texas. Measure maximum and
minimum water temperatures across the day and night using a thermometer,
midday and again just when you're getting up and before lights/heating
come on. If these fall outside the range required by the animals you're
keeping, well, get a heater!>
And I never turned the tank light off.
<Yikes! African Dwarf Frogs are largely nocturnal. That's when they do a
lot of their feeding. Also, light period (hours of light vs. hours of
darkness) are important for the well-being of animals generally (keeping
humans in bright light 24/7 is pretty close to torture, and at the
least, disorienting after a while). Constant lighting will also cause
It really does keep tank warm. And its waaaaay better then the
unfiltered beta bowl that the fish was in for a while.
<Ever have those discussions as a kid about which would be better, be
hanged or having your head cut off? Perhaps just us Brits with our
bloody mediaeval history! In any case, improving on a Betta (rhyming
with "better", not "beater") bowl is nice, but doesn't quite "get you
into the medals" as they'd say in sporting events. Truly, heating and
filtration are both going to make your aquatic livestock significantly
healthier in the long run.>
But uh thanks for the info....
<Aim to please. Or at least inform.>
Question: there is possibly a 2 to 5 gallon tank in my garage..... can I
use the under gravel filter in that even though it won't cover all of
<Nope. Water flows through the line of least resistance. So if you don't
evenly cover the filter, the water will mostly go through the exposed
part of the filter plate because that's "easier" than going through the
bed of gravel. Make sense? Since gravel costs virtually nothing, a buck
or two should be sufficient for enough to cover the undergravel filter
No need to go to an aquarium store to buy their expensive gravel. So
long as its lime-free, not sharp, and you don't mind rinsing it
thoroughly, then gravel from a garden centre will be just as good and a
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Omg my
African draw frog help
I bought testing strips
GH : 60
<Low general hardness. Not suitable for fish from hard water environments such
as Guppies, Mollies, Rainbowfish, Rift Valley cichlids, etc.>
KH : 80
<Low carbonate hardness. Look out for pH drops between water changes. Also,
animals with calcareous shells, such as snails and shrimps, may have a hard
time. Snail shells may develop distinctive pitting where the shell
PH : 7.5
NO^2 : 0
NO^3 : 25
Waiting for the thermometer a bit longer.
What do those levels mean.
Could they have killed my frog.
<Not directly. But variations in pH could. Nonetheless, some other cause seems
worth considering/more likely. Improper diet/insufficient food, for example.>
I cannot afford a bigger tank for another few weeks. So no more froggies until
I did however buy air stones to put in the filter tube... the pet shop guy said
it might put a little more oxygen.
<Sort of. But how they work is misunderstood. Airstones produce bubbles. As the
bubbles rise they pull water upwards. This creates a current that circulates
water from wherever the bubbles start (ideally, the very bottom of the tank) up
to the top. Oxygen actually gets into the water across the surface. Hardly any
gets in via bubbles. But splashing at the top of the water increases the surface
area a bit, increasing oxygen uptake. So while bubbles help, for best results
you want to make sure the bubbles are rising all the way up from the bottom of
the water column, not halfway down the tank or just below the surface.>
Should I return them or will they help anything for now?
<Aeration is always helpful. It's noisy though, so I prefer not to use it in
tanks where I want quiet, e.g., a bedroom. Better to not stock the tank too
heavily and/or rely on gentle ruffling of the water surface from an electric
Also bought something called a internal filter ceramic ring. It says it helps
maintain water quality by converting harmful waste into harmless compounds. What
do you think? Try or return?
<Do you mean ceramic rings or "noodles", less than a half-inch in length and
that you to stuff a bunch of them into a canister filter? These are certainly
useful. But just dumped in an aquarium they won't do much. They need to be in
the flow of oxygenated water to work. But an "internal filter ceramic ring" as
such, I've never heard of.>
Can you please tell me what the water quality strips numbers mean, whats normal.
How to fix if too high or low. The package wasn't very helpful.
<NH3, NO2 are ammonia and nitrite respectively. They must always be zero.
Anything above zero quickly becomes toxic and dangerous, 0.5 mg/l NH3 is lethal,
and 1.0 mg/l NO2 lethal. NO3 is nitrate. Adequate filtration and not
overstocking or overfeeding keep these at zero. Keep this as low as practical,
certainly below 40 mg/l, and the lower the better. Basically, water changes keep
this down. GH and KH are types of hardness, or dissolved
mineral content. In general terms, low levels of both is good for things like
tetras and barbs from soft water habitats, and high levels for things like
livebearers and Central American cichlids from hard water habitats.
The pH is the acidity of the water. Most community fish are fine between 6 and
8, so long as its steady, though soft water fish may not be happy above 7.5 and
hard water quickly get sick below 7.0. There's more to the numbers, as you can
find out here:
For your Betta, you're aiming for zero NH3 and NO2, a low NO3, a pH steady
somewhere between 6 and 8, and the two hardness levels aren't too important so
long as they're not extreme (your current values are fine).>
Thanks a bunches
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Omg my African draw frog help
I still don't understand why the frog died.
<See previous emails; his environment was wrong. Something, sooner or
later, would have killed him. Too much light, not enough heat, wrong diet,
harassment by other livestock... impossible to say for sure what went wrong
in this instance. ADFs are somewhat delicate and easily starved. While
widely sold, most have a short life expectancy once they get shipped out to the
retailers and passed onto the average hobbyist. They aren't community "fish" and
don't do well in community tanks.>
The first snail I had died too.
I took it to the pet store they said he wasn't dead but minutes later his flap
thing fell off.
<Been dead a while, then. The flap is called an operculum, by the way. Dead
snails stink, so it's pretty obvious when they've joined the choir invisible.
Pains me to say this, again, but Apple Snails aren't that easy to keep alongside
other animals. Oddly enough, the frog would actually be a pretty good companion.
But the Betta is a bit hit and miss. Even slight damage to the snail can lead to
rapid, fatal infections.>
But it makes me worry because that snail only stayed on the pink castle I have.
The fish doesn't touch it the new snail has been on it but he likes the walls.
The frog would sit in it. Is there a possibility there Could Be lead paint?
<Virtually no possibility unless you've been opening up cans of 50-year-old
paint and using it inside the fish tank. Seriously, lead hasn't been used in
paint for a very long time. The number of aquarium fish killed by lead paint
this century is probably zero. On the other hand, the number of fish (and frogs)
killed by misunderstanding their basic needs is surely in the millions.>
Especially because it's pink. Do you know of that's even regulated in the us.
<No idea. But assuming the US has similar standards to the UK, then lead paint
isn't currently sold.>
How would I even test for that?
<No need. Do also bear in mind that lead paint doesn't suddenly kill people. It
builds up in the body, over years even, causing incremental problems. I think
you're really grasping at straws here with the paint!>
Cause I have no idea why they both died. Cause if the water was fine then what
was it? Could it really seriously be the tank is too small.
<Yes. Most of the fish deaths among casual hobbyists largely come down to the
size of the tank, overstocking, or lack of adequate filtration. Really is that
simple. Kind of like obesity in people. There might be some for whom there are
genetic or whatever explanations beyond their control, but for the vast majority
of people obesity comes from eating too much and
doing too little exercise.>
They're getting a bigger one anyways.
<Then it's an academic discussion. Review the needs of African Dwarf Frogs
(nocturnal, fussy feeders, easily damaged) and plan accordingly. They're
actually cute and rather loverly pets, the males even croak a bit in the
evenings, but they aren't "easy" pets. Doubtless much written online, as well as
here at WWM.
Re: Omg my African dwarf frog help
Ok so im going to get a bigger tank in a week or two when I get some
I saw this awesome 8 gallon bowfront tank for 45 dollars with
everything: filter, heater, hood, lights.
You are not in the US are you?
They don't teach us the conversions in school for money, measurements,
temperature, anything. It seems like everywhere else knows
<Kinda-sort of. If you can use Google, you can do conversions. Type in,
for example, "10 US gallons in litres" and you'll get the litres! It's
If I were to just put the snail in there (keep the Betta in his own
lonely tank) how many African dwarf frogs could I put?
<Half a dozen, at least. Maybe more. Allow about a gallon each, plus a
couple gallons for the Betta. You can pretty much ignore the snail so
long as it doesn't die (dead snails pollute tanks very quickly).>
What about a 5 or a 10 gallon tank? I am not ready for the idea of snail
babies, but tadpoles...yes, but i want to research first. Besides the
males croaking how do I tell what gender the frogs are?
<Males tend to be smaller and more slender/less chunky. They also have
small pink spots near the armpit but these can be difficult to see,
especially in youngsters.>
How do I tell a snails gender? Do you think the pet store people could
accurately tell me a frog or a snails gender?
<Not a chance. But if you get 6-8 frogs, you're bound to get a few males
Are frogs and snails about equivalent when it comes to how many I could
put in a tank?
Do you have any good links on info of African dwarf frog breeding?
<Go online and type "breeding" and "Hymenochirus" into your search
engine of choice.>
Can my Betta stay in the 1 gallon tank and be ok?
<Possibly, but see above. I do honestly recommend a larger, heated,
filtered tank for Bettas, at least, if you want his and your life to be
I found out that if I turn on the heating lamp in the bathroom where the
fish tank is and cover the tank with a towel the temperature is fine.
And that the tank light does keep the tank warm enough during the day
without the heating lamp. Im still upset I don't have a straight forward
cause of death for the frog.
<Indeed. But the problem with environmental stress is that the immediate
cause of death doesn't tell you much about what went wrong. For example,
a drunk driver crashes into a tree, the tree falls down and kills him.
The cause of death was a tree hitting him, but that wasn't the reason he
Thanks for all your help,
<Most welcome. Neale.>
re: Omg my African dwarf frog help; comp....
chatting, no rdg. 3/5/15
Thanks. I think maybe the frogs will have a snail as a tankmate.
The more I watch the snail.... the more interesting I think he/it is. I
want him to get big.
<That's the tricky bit. Don't keep your snail or the frogs too warm, and
try cooling the tank a bit during the winter, and minimise high
temperatures in summer (perhaps even by floating ice cubes). 22 C/72 F
is about right, and no higher than 25 C/77 F in summer. Apple Snails
infrequently make it past their first year, but to get really big --
tennis ball sized -- you need to keep yours going into its second year
The biggest one I saw, at the London Zoo, was 5 years old! Let me also
direct you to the excellent AppleSnail.net website. It's the best place
for accurate information, and also has a nice forum where you can chat
to other Apple Snail keepers. Very useful!>
He's doing a lot better then when I got him.. his shell was really thin
looking. He's actually a unicorn because his breathy tube is on top of
his head lol.
Re: Omg my African dwarf frog help.... more chatting
Well maybe its kinda on his back actually i don't know if its a he or
If i could get some pictures with a good camera you think the people on
that website could tell me if its make or female?
<There are differences you can see... the most prominent is a pink
'armpit gland' the males have.>
The frogs are going to live in my room where i like to keep it at least
70 but they will have a heater... not just a light.
They will have a proper tank. Any good froggie websites.
<Hmm... aquaticfrogs.tripod.com looks pretty good.>
Oh yeah you told me find a fish club too. I will. I want lots of frogs
and I definitely do not want lots of DEAD frogs like flippers :( I swear
that wasn't my fault. I really hope not. He was so cool. But now I know
a lot more.. I was planning on keeping the beta
in the bathroom it stays at 77/78 all the time. That's like perfect for
a beta right?
<If that warm... yes, would be good.>
Would the snail prefer colder? Does he stay with the beta or go with the
frogs? He moves around a lot he doesn't seem scared of the fish. I guess
one in each tank wouldn't be ok? What if the Betta got a 5g tank with 2
or 3 snails if i ever decide to have snail babies? :)
<Would keep with the frogs.>
Those are the last questions for now unless i have any problems in the
future. You've really helped me out a lot. I thank you for all the time
you put into answering my questions.
My future froggies will thank you too. You must really like aquatic
It was nice talking to you, Neale.
<That's kind to say.>
<Bon voyage! Neale.>
URGENT: African Dwarf Frog Starvation... rdg.
I think I may have starved my frog to death. I feed the both of
them dry tadpole pellets that the pet store said were fine.
<Mmm... not fine>
He shares a cage with another aggressive frog that will attack him from
time to time.
I am a horrible owner and I usually end up forgetting to feed them, they
usually get a heap of pellets every 1-1.5 weeks.
Today I thought the skinnier one had died but he is still kicking. His
bones are protruding and he refuses to eat. I already read an answer of
yours about force-feeding and like you said, it is extremely difficult
make him open his mouth. I've had the frogs for almost 8 years so it may
just be his body giving out.
At the moment I have them separated, the dying one in a bowl of room
temp water and pellets.
Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thank you.
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Injured male swordtail tail, plus ADF hlth.
My male swordtail, Charlie, has two slits that extend into the skin of
the tail. I removed the other male, of course. I'm worried that he
is in pain and if there is anything that I can do to help him to heal.
<Good water quality and nutrition, and time going by>
He is over a year old, two inches long in body, with a manly sword that is
another inch or so that seems heavy for him now that his tail is torn,
so he'll have to rest on the sandy bottom occasionally. He is
still very interested on eating and uninterested in being captured,
though I tried half-heartedly because your website crew has spoken
I'm not sure what to do. Because the sword is heavy,
can that be trimmed like a finger nail, or would that cause pain for
him? What about a liquid bandage?
<Perhaps a modicum of aquarium salt. Search WWM re Neale's article re
salts and their medicinal use with freshwater systems>
Also, if an African Dwarf Frog has a pregnant look to him/
her do you think that is a tumor?
<Not necessarily; no>
She has a rounded belly, but a slim neck and bone- thin arms and legs
and has to work hard just to surface. The back bone jutting from
her back worries me. The other ADF is in perfect condition.
And yes, I put her in the little trap from time to time so she can rest.
I adore your advice and go by every word that Drs Bob and Neil
write, however I hope that mercy killing won't be the suggestion for
either of these two cases!
<Patience here Christina. Bob Fenner>
Strange Swelling on Frog 12/9/13
Hello WWM Crew,
My name is Amanda and I have three ADF's (two female, one male).
They live in a medium-size terrarium jar with well
water and river rocks (I realise this is less than ideal, but I don't
have the space for another aquarium.
<Hmm... is far from ideal. Do read:
Follow the links for more.>
I inherited these frogs from a family friend). Tonight I noticed
that one of my frogs has a large, round swelling right above her rear.
It doesn't have any discoloration, it matches her skin. It also
looks like it has a hole in the center, almost like a frog-colored
pimple. I know for certain that it was not present two days ago,
so it had to just pop up yesterday.
Immediately when I noticed it tonight I removed her from the communal
jar and put her in a different glass vase.
<Since the problem is likely bacterial, moving from one jar to another
is unlikely to help.>
But I noticed when I was trying to pick her up out of the jar some clear
jelly with brown flecks came out of the swelling. Are those eggs?
I don't remember ever hearing that frogs develop swellings like this
when they are about to lay eggs, but I'm certainly no expert. Also, when
I had her in my hand, I gently pressed on the swelling to see if it was
sensitive, but she didn't flinch at all so I assume that it's not
What does this sound like to you?
<Nothing antibiotics and transferral to a heated, filtered aquarium 5+
gallons in size won't fix.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: Strange Swelling on Frog 12/9/13
Thank you, as always, for responding so promptly.
I have to be honest and say there is no way I can get an aquarium set up
I do not have the space in my room (where I am, have to keep them) or
money currently. Is there any kind of healthy alternative for me?
<Do try contacting your local/city aquarium club... often they can
either help by rehoming aquatic animals or else by providing at low/no
cost suitable equipment. Many big cities have such clubs... do look
here, for example...
Quite a few US clubs there.>
I do intend on getting an aquarium for all three of my frogs to be in,
but like I said I can't do it right now.
<Unfortunately nature isn't forgiving in this regard. Short term,
ensuring adequate temperature (around 77 F/25 C) and regular (10-20%
daily) water changes will go some way to helping.>
re: Strange Swelling on Frog 12/11/13
I talked over the aquarium situation with my mom, and we have decided to
put up the money to get one. I have included the link for a site
we looked on that are at least the minimum gallon requirement. Are
any of those suitable? Also, you had said that I should use
antibiotics for my frog. I have Maracyn plus and 2 (sorry if I
spelled that wrong). Is there something else I should use?
Thanks so much!
<Maracyn would be fine. Use as instructed on the bottle. Can be used in
combination, but Maracyn Plus should be ideal. In any case, the link
sent seemed to present a variety of fish tanks. Any of the tanks upwards
of 5 gallons will do, with 7-10 gallons being absolutely perfect.
Lighting is not essential (the frogs are actually quite shy in bright
light) but if you want plants as well, you'd need lights. A lid of some
sort is important though because these frogs can/do escape from open
tanks (if your tank lacks a lid, get a piece of glass cut slightly
bigger that the top of the tank and it'll work just fine and cost a
couple dollars). Filtration is important as well, but can be very
simple, an air-powered sponge or undergravel filter being absolutely
ideal (on eBay you can get generic sponge filters for another couple
dollars, but of course you'll need a little air pump too). Avoid
electric internal filters if possible (these frogs are weak swimmers and
sometimes get sucked into very strong pumps) but if you must use one,
choose a gentle one and set it to a low setting so there's no risk.
Hang-on-the-back filters can work, but bear in mind my warning that if
the frogs can escape, they will, and having an open gap at the top of
the tank for an HOB filter may be asking for trouble! Hope this helps,
re: Strange Swelling on Frog 12/12/13
Thanks so much! We'll get them all fixed up!
<Real good. Have fun, 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.>
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?
Looking for advice, ADF care 4/3/13
Thank you for all the wonderful, informative info you have on your site.
It is priceless! I am another victim of Pet Smart's uneducated
sales people. We came home with two African Dwarf Frogs 10 days
ago, and already one is dead. After poring over your website I
realize now that we did not have a big enough tank (2.5 is what they
told me to buy), we should have bought a heater (they said I didn't need
one) and furthermore we are over feeding and not giving them a diverse
<Do need all these>
I think the poor guy had that Red Leg disease. Thanks to WWM I am making
the hour trip to Pet Smart tomorrow to buy a bigger tank, a heater, sand
(instead of the gravel they sold me) and to get 2 new frogs.
<Wait on the livestock until this system is aged a few weeks... Cycled.>
They are taking back the dead frog and the guy that is still holding on,
but doesn't look too good. So now for my questions: how
should I safely transport the frogs back and forth to the store and to
<In a plastic bag, with some water, and just atmosphere, not pure
oxygen... sealed w/ a rubber band, in a light and thermally insulated
container (like a cooler) if possible, rather than just a paper bag>
It is a solid hour drive between the two. I am afraid that is one
reason why my frogs were not so healthy when I got them home.
Also, I thought you should know that Pet Smart printed out a whole
pamphlet for me on ADF that they publish. It says that the frogs
need temps between 68 and 78 degrees ( you say higher)
and to feed them pellets
two times a day (I believe you say every other day and to switch between
pellets and brine shrimp).
<Meaty foods of some sort/s>
There was additional information on their pamphlet that contradicts what
you say on your website.
Thanks so much for your help,
<... Please do review what we have posted/archived re Hymenochirus
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Looking for advice, ADFs, uncycled sys.
Thank you so much for your reply. Mi know how busy you guys must be.
Unfortunately, I got the email after I already went to PetSmart and
bought a bigger tank, a heater, and one new frog to replace the dead
one. There was one surviving frog from my original 2, so I kept
Anyway, bought all the new stuff, had my water tested and brought the
frogs home. My water tested perfect for everything that
you say they need. We have a well and not town water so
no chlorine. But I had both the conditioned tank water tested and
water straight from the tap. They were basically the same.
Bought guys home, set up tank, thermometer, filter, etc, did not
condition water and voila. 24 hours later one guy seemed
very lethargic. He hardly moved from this spot right against the
heater. I was worried he'd be burned, but the PetSmart folks said
the heater was safe.
I moved him a bit and he rested on a plant, but again, very lethargic.
This morning, 36 hours after bringing them home, both ADF are dead.
I am horrified and being that I am working so hard on this, I just don't
understand what I've done wrong. Let alone that my son is going to
The first frog that died last week definitely had Red Leg. I
didn't notice that on these guys.
<.... this system is still not cycled; is NOT ready for livestocking...
Read re on WWM and where you've been referred. B>