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FAQs About Xenopus laevis, African Clawed Frog Diseases 2

FAQs on Xenopus Disease: Xenopus Disease 1, Xenopus Health 3, Xenopus Health 4, Xenopus Health ,
FAQs on Xenopus Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Treatments,

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

Related FAQs: Xenopus in General, Xenopus Identification, Xenopus Behavior, Xenopus Compatibility, Xenopus Selection, Xenopus Feeding, Xenopus Disease, Xenopus Reproduction, & Amphibians 1, Amphibians 2, Frogs Other Than African and Clawed, African Dwarf Frogs, Turtles, Amphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

Sick African Clawed Albino Frog 4/28/11
I have an African Clawed Albino Frog that I have had for three years now. I have never had any problem until last night. I keep him in a 5 gallon round tank,
<Too small.>
never had any filtration

and have gravel on the bottom and no plants or any other frogs or fish with him. I have fed him freeze dried shrimp since day one.
<Freeze-dried foods are okay occasionally, but for obvious reasons (I hope) dried foods day-in, day-out aren't good for the digestive system of animals. They do need variation.>

I have tried to give him freeze dried blood worms and krill and he doesn't want to eat anything but the shrimp.
<Unfortunately, crustaceans are not a complete food; variation is essential.>
My problem is I found him upside down in his tank last night. I was able to net him without any effort at all. I cleaned his tank( I keep gallon water jugs that have had Stress Zyme put into them and set them aside for the next tank cleaning) and put him in a shallow container to keep a better eye on him because he was not able to swim to the surface to get air.
<Sounds bad. Do understand that adding potions isn't a substitute for a proper sized aquarium and suitable filtration.>
He is not eating at all and he is still very un active. He seems to not be able to use his back legs and when I moved his small container he almost rolled up in a ball and was acting like he was having a seizure. He flipped over to his back again and couldn't roll back to his normal side.
<Dying. Given these frogs should live more than 12 years and potentially 20 years, you can see that 5 years is pretty poor.>
His one back leg went out strait as a board and stayed that way. (I just checked him and his leg is back to normal).
<Spasm of some sort not good.>
He is not eating anything at all now and I still haven't introduced him back into the bigger tank for fear he will not be able to make it to the top to get air. When he surfaces in the small container his breathing is very hard and seems to be taking extremely big breaths. He also feels cold to the touch. He does not have any shedding skin issues or bloating or red leg.
I'm not sure of what the water levels are at due to not having anything to test with
<Should own, at minimum, a nitrite (with an "I", not nitrate with an "a") test kit.>
and not sure exactly where and what to get.
<Aquarium store.>
What could possibly be the problem and what can I do to help him? I have been reading illnesses and diseases and found little information on my particular issue. Could you please help Kermit ( the frog). Thank you!
<Do please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
The differences between what this frog needs and what you've provided thus far are the things killing him. A vet may be able to help, but I really can't recommend anything off the shelf. That's because this frog is very close to death, and you just don't have time to mess about with weak over-the-counter medications.>
Sincerely, Marie
Update: Within the last 5 minutes of writing this I checked on Kermit before sending this and he now has a long milky slime extending from his rear feet to under his chin. A quick response would greatly be appreciated. My 8 year old daughter is very upset thinking her pet frog is dying. Thanks again.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

African Clawed Frog Help, beh., dis. 3/10/11
I have had my clawed frog for a little over a year now and noticed yesterday that there is some white tufty material stringing off of his skin under his belly and on his sides and back of his head.
<Shedding skin in small sheets is not uncommon. This looks a bit like cellophane. Normal.
No need to treat. If the Xenopus is shedding large amounts of skin, and in particular if it stops feeding and/or loses weight, that's something much more serious, for example Chytridiomycosis.>
It is very light and almost flows with the water when he moves. It is not cottony patches on his actual skin. If you looked at him quickly you wouldn't even notice it. It is only when you look up close in detail that you notice it. I am concerned that it is some type of fungus.
<Fungus is very specifically white, cottony threads. Red-Leg involves obvious milky white patches on the flesh itself, essentially dead flesh, and ultimately the red sores that give this disease its name.>
I read online that many frog owners use Maroxy to treat a fungus but I am unable to find this in the pet shops. Most of the pet shops say it is discontinued. Is there another product that is safe to use with this type of frog? Do you think that it is a fungus from what I describe? When I called Mardel Labs they said that Maroxy isn't safe for amphibians. Please help, I am very concerned.
Thank you!
<Do hope this is nothing serious! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: African Clawed Frog Help 3/11/11

Thank you for responding. I do appreciate the help. So, last night I was watching Frogee (his name) and I noticed that it seemed that some of the white thin film had come off. Then, all of a sudden, a sheet of it peeled off and floated around the tank. It looked like he was clean of all of this skin/fungus or whatever it is. However, I noticed today that it seems that there are small sections that are back again. Does this seem normal for shedding skin and it is usually so constant?
<It varies. It shouldn't be constant, but if your frog seems to be shedding a lot of skin, review conditions in the aquarium. Among other things, be sure the water is clean (zero ammonia/nitrite), not too warm (around 18 C/68 F is ideal for Xenopus laevis); that new water has dechlorinator added, including ammonia and Chloramine removers); and that the pH and hardness aren't too extreme.
Mixing with fish and other animals is generally a bad idea, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Urgent! Please help! ACF... dis.... from? 3/8/11
Hi, I so very much hope that you can help me. I have an Albino African Clawed Frog, approximately 4 1/2-5years old. I bought him as a dwarf but I am not entirely sure that he is a dwarf.
<... Xenopus, vs. Hymenochirus... different species... Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm and the linked files above>
I had him in a bowl when he was still tiny, and then for a while after his last tank broke, and he did well in there, but I wanted him to have more suitable living conditions, so about three months ago I got him a new tank (not brand new-it was previously used). I rinsed it out and set it up, let it run for a while and tested the water by throwing a bunch of rosies in their to see how they'd do. None of them died, so eventually I went ahead and put my frog in.
<... uncycled... Won't work>
At the time, I had read that rosies were okay for frog dinner, so I wasn't worried about him eating them,
<Poor idea... vectors of disease>

which he eventually did. Slowly. I noticed he stopped eating. He would eat very little if at all. He had originally been eating HBH Frog and Tadpole Pellets, but later stopped eating those so I fed him the ReptoMin pellets, shrimp, and krill. He stopped eating the pellets, but ate a lot of the shrimp, and has been eating mostly those for the last three months, but then stopped eating those so much as well. I know he can't see well, so typically, I have to help him find the food (move my finger or a plastic spoon around near the food) and he lunges and gets it then, but that hasn't been working lately. So. I got six more rosies to see if he'd go after them. Most of them died, but I think he ate maybe one or two.
Maybe a day after the last one disappeared, I noticed him upside down at the bottom of the tank, and I freaked. I righted him, he was still alive, and I brought him to the surface for air. He didn't really struggle, just kind of floated around then let the filter blow him back down and around, so I scooped him back up again and let him cling to his feeding ring for support (he does that a lot anyway). Every so often, he'd let go and drift around, but I didn't see him upside down again until hours later.
I tested the water and from what I could tell, everything was safe, except the water may have been a little hard (that one didn't really match up well to anything) but the nitrite was bad, I followed the instructions to do a water change, and I removed the gravel so that he can eat sinking pellets from the bottom. I posted a question on yahoo answers for more help, researched as much as possible on Google, and just tried to keep an eye on him in the mean time. Yahoo answers has given me only one response: flush him. Thanks. I woke up periodically throughout the night and found him a few times upside down on the bottom again, at which point I realized that, where he might squiggle his front legs around, he didn't kick me with his back legs. I touched them and moved them and they were limp/paralyzed. I read a little about this (that got more results than anything but not a lot by any means). It could be from nitrite, vitamin or nutrient deficiency, or Trematodes/flukes. It listed a few things I can try, crushing up vitamins and mixing baths and such, but I had a few questions about the details and they don't offer any contact info. I don't know how to tell which one it is, and I am afraid to do too much/over medicate.
Today I bought him frozen bloodworms and more frog and tadpole pellets. He has three options of things to eat, but will not eat anything, and is shedding his skin now (I think he did that a few days before dropping as well). Once in a while he opens his mouth very wide and kind of twists.
He seems frustrated about his skin. I put him in a mini carrier so that he can surface to breathe (I don't know how long he can hold his breath for but I work two jobs the next few days and won't be able to watch him closely, and I don't want him to drown in my absence). Please please please, if you have any information on this, help me! Whatever is wrong with him, I must have done, and I am desperate to help him. Thank you for your time-I hope this won't too much. If you can, please write me back as soon as possible.
Brooke P.S. If you post this, please don't post my e-mail/last name.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
re: Urgent! Please help! Xenopus 3/9/11

I don't understand-you said to keep reading, and I am reading and reading but cannot find anything similar to my frogs situation (I did click the link you sent me).
<Your information was scant. It was/is my intention that by reading you/'d discover what is amiss or missing here>
The ten gallon tank has a filter (didn't include that in the first e-mail)
but I have to remove my frog when I am leaving because it cannot swim to the top for air anymore.

He gets to the bottom of the water and can't get back up.
<Something very wrong here>
Sometimes he will squirm and wriggle and twist, open his mouth really wide and snap it shut again, and flap his front hands. I pull him back to the surface to breathe, but I can't spend all day watching him (I work two jobs), so while I am gone, I keep him in a smaller mini carrying tank, but I use the same water as the big tank so I don't shock him. I haven't seen him eat (he won't touch the bloodworms and apparently got a pellet in his mouth but spit it out later) or go to the bathroom. I just need to know how to fix this-how to I pinpoint the cause, how do I know if he is constipated, how do I figure out if it is water, nutrients, or flukes/Trematodes, and how to I make his back legs kick again? I am trying the vitamin bath as suggested by the other website (vita b and potassium crushed up and dissolved in water) and planning on buying parasite meds,
<... for what? And/or what indication do you have of what sort of parasitic presence?>
but wanted to make sure it wouldn't be over doing it either. I need some solid instruction here and the people at the pet stores don't seem to really know what they are talking about. I realize rosies were a poor choice now, but now I need to know how to fix it. It is just really frustrating and scary. Please guide me.
<... All I know re these animals is archived on WWM... Do please re-read all that is posted re Xenopus laevis... I suspect there is summat environmentally wrong here... Ammonia/Nitrite presence, excessive Nitrate (test for)... or a toxic decor item. BobF>
re: Urgent! Please help! Still no real data, info. of use... 3/9/11

That is where I read about Trematodes, etc.
<I see... this pc. also mentions metal poisoning, nutritional deficiencies... In all your writing thus far you've yet to render any data re actual testing...>
My frog can't move his back legs. I don't know what else to do except to try something that website suggests, or else he'll drown. That is the only place I have found advice, except for the careless advice on Yahoo Answers that suggested I flush him. I have had fish and frog tanks for years and this is the first time I have experienced something like this. He's been shedding this whole time.
<A clue... one last time. I suspect principally a poisoning from the environment... Second, avitaminoses deficiency syndrome>
I don't know what other information to give you and I don't know what to be looking for. If it weren't for his being upside down and his constant shedding, he would appear normal, but after finding him upside down I discovered the cause was that his back legs can't move anymore. Earlier in the day, he was still swimming fine.
<... Re-read what I've written to you. B>

African clawed frog 12/27/10
I have an albino African clawed frog, but she has a lumpy stomach and a lump on her side under her arm, she seems to be swimming on her side, we feed her blood worms. she in a 120 ltr tank with 3 fish and 2 male acfrogs.
we've been having colder weather here although we do have the heating on, but the tank is fresh cold water. Is she constipated? and do you think the water could be too cold?
<Hello Liz. Do start by reading here:
Generally speaking, Xenopus laevis does okay in unheated tanks provided room temperature doesn't drop much below 18 C/64 F. Use a thermometer to keep tabs on temperature; the cheap LCD "sticky on" ones are fine. If you need to use a heater, be sure to turn it to a low setting, and place a heater guard around the heater otherwise there's a very real risk of the frog burning itself. Yes, cold conditions can cause a variety of problems including constipation, but other issues may be at play here instead. Read, and keep an open mind. Cheers, Neale.>

African Water Frog, hlth. 12/26/10
Hi! I have a couple questions. I Have two African Water Frogs
<Xenopus laevis, I take it? The African Clawed Frog, a common laboratory frog sometimes kept by hobbyists.>
and one of them recently looks like it has a cloudy looking bubble on her eye.
<Physical damage; do read here:
Once the eye is damaged, poor water quality makes it easy for infections to set in. A combination of antibiotics plus Epsom salt can help.>
What could this be and is there anything I can do for it? I also have two Plecos housed with these frogs.
<Do not do this. For one thing, Xenopus laevis is a cool water animal that should not be kept in a tropical aquarium. It is best kept at room temperature, 18-20 C/64-68 F being about right. Secondly, Xenopus laevis is easily damaged by Plecs. As I hope you realise, Plecs, i.e., Pterygoplichthys pardalis, are very big and very messy, a single specimen needs 55+ gallons, and because males are territorial, two specimens will need 100+ gallons. Simply by moving about there's a good chance the armoured bodies of the catfish will scratch the delicate skins of the frogs.>
Also, what is the average lifespan of these frogs?
<10-20 years if kept properly.>
Mine are about five and six years old. I read awhile ago that they only live to be around five
but I have been reading questions from others on your website and some state that their frogs are up to sixteen years old.
<Indeed. Kept at room temperature and in the right conditions they live a very long time, longer than, say, a house cat.>
Cheers, Neale.>

URGENT: African Clawed Frog Sickness 10/4/10
Hello! I have a 2 year old female African Clawed frog named Lucy who's injured. She is kept in a 15 gallon tank with a ph of 7.3 and 76 degree water, she is housed with 2 adult feeder rosies which I've had for months.
I thought she might eat them but she never did. There are also several live plants and a fine crushed coral substrate (which after looking on the site, I'm wondering if it's a bad choice). She has a varied diet of Repto-min pellets, Amphibian floating pellets, freeze-dried meal worms, freeze dried shrimp, and her water is treated with Repto-safe water treatment. I've had her for about a year now and have never had problems with her injuring herself, however, lately she's been shedding her skin a lot and what I thought was a simple injury to her foot changed in a matter of days. Her foot was cut a little bit, so I took the rosies out so they wouldn't nibble on her while she healed and I took anything that could possibly be the slightest bit abrasive out of the tank. The following day her foot was even worse, it looked like it was shredded nearly to the bone by the front of her right two toes. I immediately cleaned the tank and added about 80% new water with some extra stress coat just in case it could help. Her condition didn't improve.
It looked like the skin started to grow back on the shredded toes but now it seems to have gotten twice as bad, I can see the bone in the farthest toe, and the other is growing skin back but that portion of her foot has lost a great deal of color and is almost cream colored with the exception of the pink sinew around the area. Now it seems like the injury is spreading up the back of her foot (almost to the heel-like area, but her rear 2 toes are still full of color and look fine). Also I've noticed a small ulcer almost fungal looking spot on her back. I'm not sure how to treat her because I've already done water changes and the tank wasn't very dirty to begin with, and I don't know if it's safe to treat it as a fungal infection.
There are no signs of redness anywhere on her legs other than around her foot injury, her eyes are clear as ever, she's eating, but she spends most of her time at the top waterline of the tank, which is fairly normal for her. She's not as animated as usual though. I'm very worried about her condition worsening. I have empty spare tanks around the house, would it be safest to move her to a clean ten gallon with no decorations & gravel and medicate? If so what should I use? I'm worried about her because this affliction has spread so quick in the span of a week, and her tank water is clean so I have no idea what's causing it.
Thank you very much for any help you can give. I appreciate your taking the time to read my letter, I was in such a hurry to send it that I didn't get a chance to add that.
Thank you so much for any advice you can offer,
<Hello Kira. I'm almost certain that this is Red Leg, an opportunistic bacterial infection that's quite often seen among captive amphibians.
Broadly, it's caused by poor environment. While Xenopus are extremely durable animals, they aren't indestructible, and a 15 gallon tank stocked with an adult Xenopus plus two Rosy Red Minnows is overstocked. You're also keeping both species much too warm, and both would do better at room
temperature. Xenopus are best treated as subtropical animals, and unless your house gets frosty-cold in winter, there's no need for a heater; 18 C/64 F being about right all year around.
I can't be certain what caused the initial infection, but prompt treatment is essential. Tetracycline is the recommended medication, ideally by injection, which you vet will handle for you. Once the "meat" starts coming off the bone, chances of recovery are not that favourable; again, your vet should be able to advise here.
There's a good summary here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: URGENT: African Clawed Frog Sickness 10/5/10
Thank you Neale! I appreciate your quick response. I tried tetracycline but she didn't survive unfortunately.
<Often the case once the infection becomes systemic.>
I do not plan to replace her, but if I do I will make sure to keep an ample sized tank and not overstock any future tanks. Thank you very much for your prompt response!
Thanks again Neale!
<Glad to help, but sorry things didn't work out. Cheers, Neale.>

Blind Albino African Clawed frog 6/3/10
<Hello Danielle. Thanks for writing in. But please, don't send 6 MB of photos next time. We do specifically ask for photos around 500 KB in size, otherwise one or two people's messages will fill up our e-mail space, causing other people's messages to get bounced back unread.>
I have had my blind Albino African Clawed frog in a 10 gallon tank with a couple of what were suppose to be feeder guppies
<Wrong food for this species, and a darn good way to introduce parasites.>

but he can't see them to get to them so they are now pets I suppose and live plants for about a month. I have been feeding him feeder/ghost shrimp
<Not adequate food; shrimp contain Thiaminase, and long-term, this will cause all sorts of problems through Vitamin B1 deficiency. Good staples include earthworms, wet-frozen bloodworms; in moderation, prepared dried foods may be accepted, but used too often will cause constipation.>

because they hang out on the bottom of the tank so they are easy for him to find. I have tried blood worms and of course he can't see them so it is just a mess.
<Indeed. The blue and white pebbles aren't helping here and were a really bad idea. If you use plain "smooth" silica sand the bloodworms won't sink in, and the frog can find them through touch and smell. With pebbles the bloodworms will just fall into the cracks. I cannot stress too strongly how important research is when keeping pet animals, and just because a pet shop sells something it doesn't automatically mean it's worth buying.>
A couple of days ago I got him a new bunch of shrimp and 1/2 of them turned white and died.
<As they do.>
They weren't fuzzy or anything just not see through anymore.
I don't know if it makes a difference but most of the shrimp were pregnant.
<No difference.>
But before this my frog developed black spots which almost look like markings on his back and hind legs.
<Looks normal to me.>
He eats fine and moves around just fine doesn't act sickly anyway. The people at the pet store I got him from said that without his eyes (which are completely missing BTW) they couldn't for sure say he was Albino
so he might not be and was probably just his natural markings coming in.
<Likely so.>
But I thought he was a little big for him not to have any markings yet if he was going to have any. His Veins on his feet and one very defined vein on his arms are visible too. I attached a photo of him in the tank and out of the tank. If you could let me know what you think about the pet stores response and what I might need to do different if there is something wrong with him and/or my tank and what it may be I would really appreciate it.
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

African Clawed Frog has sores on his arms 5/26/10
I have a African clawed frog who is now 2 1/2 years old. Just recently I purchased a few feeder fish, within the first day of their purchase one of the fish had died, and short coming so did the rest. However before the fish passed they were slowly getting this white fuzzy crap growing on there scales.
<Fungus, typically follows on from exposure to poor conditions, either in the pet store or at home. Feeder fish are often maintained by retailers in dismal conditions.>
Now I am afraid that my frog has it. He's got white fuzzy's on his arm and on the black sticky part of his arms it is red and looks like sores.
<More likely Red-leg from exposure to poor conditions in your aquarium.
If you add a bunch of fish to a small aquarium, water quality can plummet, and the frogs won't be able to handle that.>
How do I treat this? What should I do?
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

African albino dwarf clawed frog problem 4/8/10
Hi there. Would really like your help. I have a 60litre aquarium with few fish in. I had 2 adcf.

The first one was dies about a month ago now. He went at first plump in this belly, then within a few days it swelled into what can only be described as a balloon. I could see through it, and was just air didn't see no block etc. He ended up at the top of the tank so full of air he couldn't come down at all no matter how hard he tried. He just floated. The next day he died. That was a month ago, now I notice on the remaining frog the beginning of this bubble seems to be happening, but from the top of his head down to bottom, instead of sole on his belly. I don't want him to have the same fate. Any idea how to help or what this is?
<Unfortunately I do not>
Iv had him 2 and half months. Water checks for everything all ok.
<What re actual measures?>
Temp a stable 27c. Has mixture of granular sinking food, odd flake left by fish and blood worms weekly.
<I would go easy on offering these last... may be too hard for the frogs to digest>
The first frog looked like he was going to pop, and sadly this lil man seems to be going same way. Thanks in advance. Kerry
<Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/xenopusdis.htm
and the linked files above... Nothing you state "jumps out" as a probable cause of disease here. Bob Fenner>

Re: African clawed frogs...
Cycling Update: Ammonia 1.0, Nitrite .25, 1/18/10
<Ammonia at this level is very toxic, so I wouldn't feed at all for two days out of three, and I'd be aggressive with the water changes. Do make sure your tap water has zero ammonia (some water supplies do contain some
ammonia) and if your tap water has ammonia, be sure to use a water conditioner that removes ammonia as well as chlorine and copper.>
pH 8, Nitrate 0 The frogs are active, eating well, and look healthy. The 3 remaining Tiger Barbs are showing some signs of distress.
<Yes, Barbs are very sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.>
You can see they are gasping a bit. As for the Green Corys, they look fine.
<I bet they're unhappy with the cobblestones though! Have tried decorating with cobblestones, and while pretty, eventually I changed to sand or fine gravel. Why? Firstly most fish hate the cobblestones. They can't burrow
nicely. Secondly, the cobblestones trap detritus and quickly make the tank messy. Best avoided.>
My tank looks extremely clean from the decreased feedings and daily water changes.
<Do remember water clarity and water quality are quite different things.>
Thoughts or comments?
Thanks, Alex
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African clawed frogs... 1/18/10
Thanks again Neale. Well you are correct. I tested the tap water before and after adding my chlorine/chloramine conditioner and received 1.0 ammonia readings.
<Do note that you will get a "false positive" AFTER treating water with chloramine in it, so do check the water *before* adding water conditioner or dechlorinator. That's what matters. Chloramine, as its name suggests,
breaks down into chlorine and ammonia when it reacts with some water conditioners. If a water conditioner says it treats for chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia, then this isn't a problem. But if the water conditioner only treats chlorine, not chloramine, then the ammonia sits around afterwards. More of a problem. So, to recap, test your water without any conditioner added. If it contains ammonia, or if you want to be careful, simply choose a water conditioner that treats chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia, all at the same time.>
So any recommendations on the product to buy?
<Many brands; all should work fine.>
I'm sure the product you advise will take care of ammonia as well as chlorine in my tap, so maybe I should just stop using this generic conditioner altogether. Kind of hard cycling out ammonia when every water change, I'm adding more.
<Again, do make sure you don't have a false positive.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

African Clawed Frog Excessive Shedding & Loss of Appetite 12/27/09
Hello. Zota is a female AFC just under 2 years old. I house her in a 10 gallon tank with a few live plants, a small terracotta flower pot & a couple other ceramic (food safe) dishes for her to hide in, & a few scattered large rocks. I use a heater which seems to keep the water around 78 degrees, but after some recent reading I have dialed down the temperature a bit and will be trying to keep it closer to 74-ish.

I have been de-thawing a single frozen brine shrimp and feeding her one daily, although after reading other posts it sounds like this may be too frequent?
<I would use other food. Artemia are not sufficient nutritionally. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/xenopusfdg.htm
As a tadpole, I fed her aquatic frog pellets in a little bowl in the bottom of her tank. She does not seem to find/ eat food that floats so I am limited to food that will sink and sit in her feeding bowl.
<Mmm, and feed her "in place"... in the main tank>
I sometimes hold food for her and she will take it from my hand, but I have been unable to induce her to eat for a few days now...
For the past week or so, her skin shedding has increased dramatically and I am very concerned. She does not seem to be eating her skin nor is she interested in her shrimp (very odd). I do not see any visible spots/ discoloration/ or sign of irritation on her body. I am wondering if I should treat her with some sort of internal bacterial medication
<I would Not>
even though I do not know what the problem is. If this sounds like the best course of action, can you suggest a particular product to look for in a pet store?
Also, I had heard these frogs were very sensitive to sounds and was told using a filter was the equivalent of them listening to a jack hammer all day.
<There are quiet filters available... an external canister or internal power filter would be ideal>
I use a battery operated vacuum for quick upkeep/ removal of debris in her tank and when I change her water, I usually change all of it and rinse out her aquarium and I do this approximately every 3 weeks.
<I would not change all the water... I would change a third or so every week. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm
I treat the water AquaSafe and use quick dip strips to reassure myself that I do not have chlorine/ nitrate/ ammonia/ etc... issues. Your site seems to recommend using a filter. I have a whisper filter for a 10-gallon tank that I could use if you don't think the sound is too much?
<Should be fine.
Do make sure the opening to the top is small enough to keep your Frog from getting out>
Thank you in advance for your time & consideration. I adore my frog & want to help her get healthy again.
<I salute your efforts. Do change the food choice/s here and discontinue the wholesale water changes and all should be fine. Bob Fenner>
Re: African Clawed Frog Excessive Shedding & Loss of Appetite 12/28/09

Wow! You are guys are great! Thanks so much for the quick response. I made a donation to the site & will be telling others about you all.
<Ahh, I thank you>
I did not mean "brine" shrimp... I meant to say I've been feeding her one krill a day which are pretty large.
<Ahh! That's a "shrimp of a different colour!" And nutritional value.
Euphausiids are fine as a supplementary food (not a staple)>

I'm going to look for earthworms at the pet store and try switching between the 2 products. For a new food routine I thought 1 krill one day, cut up worm the next day, followed with a food free day, then repeat. Does this sound good?
<Mmm, actually, no... I'd feed a dried/prepared food principally. Search the Net with the string: "foods for Xenopus">
I changed her out to a 20 gallon tank I own which has a nice filter and kept the 10 gallons worth of her old water to start it up along with all of her old plants & goodies.
<Very good>
It was quite an adventure in my kitchen today moving fish between 3 tanks & a lot of 6 gallon buckets/ pots & pans full of water. Several hours later & me with very pruny hands, everyone is in their new homes. I will take your advice on how to change the water- which sounds like what I do for my fish tanks.
<Yes. Identical>
There is so much information online, it is hard to know what to follow.
<Best to try to understand underlying science, discern fact over statements that are unfounded, untestable opinion>
I had read elsewhere that frog water should be completely changed out instead of just 1/3 at a time, but you folks sound much more knowledgeable.
<We/WWM do/es have a huge collective practical and scientific experience>
Zota ate a krill tonight & seems to be feeling better. I'll keep an eye on the skin shedding. I would love to find her a full-sized (as opposed to "meal" sized) tank mate so she's not alone. She was the only one in the biology lab at the university I adopted her from. As a Washington state resident, I'm under the impression that I cannot buy one and have it sent here. Any ideas on how I could find her a buddy would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, Craig's List... an open statement of what you're seeking... on "Pets Wanted"... letting the local livestock fish stores know what you're looking for... An email to the few Net "frog" groups>
<Thank you for sharing Shannon. BobF>

African Clawed Frog itch ala Bob 12/08/09
Hello WWM,
I've written in before and received very good advice about my cycling tank and African clawed frogs. But I'm having a bit of trouble now with an itchiness problem and hope you could shed some light.
<Let's try>
This itch came on while they're feeding. It grew more severe over days, happened to just one frog first, but later 3 frogs of the 4 frogs I have showed the same itchiness. It could send them to a fit of scratching, rubbing the legs and scratching arms and even the head, during and within some time of feeding.
There was also a bit of dark thing along their fingers (inside, not back of hands). It wasn't fluffy or cottony, looks just like a pencil line, and when that part shed the skin was dark. I guess they shouldn't be nuptial pads, because if I'm not mistaken, 2 of the 3 itchy frogs are females. The 4th frog, a male smallest in size, was pretty much unaffected - no itch, no dark thing. He's a loner and doesn't swim much. One more thing is that he refuses ReptoMin.
<Picky feeder>
The first time I noticed this was Nov 19, about 10 days after my tank was cycled. What I did was:
- a lot of 30% water changes
- added back a new carbon filter (which I removed on Nov 10). This made a big difference.
<Very good>

- removed dubious items like spare sponge
- reduced feeding. This seemed to have helped too.
By now the itchiness has been brought down to say 80% less, but it's not completely gone. The dark thing on the hands is still there, and it can seem lighter at one time and darker other times.
I would like to ask what this could be, and what I should do i.e. medicate or somehow troubleshoot further?
<I think this may be "just behavioral", but accentuated with water quality issues. How to put it; your frogs are "itching with anticipation" re their food, "scratching all over" at the prospect>
Here's a bit of details about my tank.
- 20 gallon (to be raised to 30 g)
- frogs are a few months old, 2 boys and 2 girls
- pH 7.2, KH 4-5, GH 9, nitrate <10 ppm, no ammonia or nitrite, achieved by one-third of Rift Valley salt mix (though I skipped the marine salt i.e. Red Sea since the onset...should I be?)
<I would leave this out>
- diets include ReptoMin, Hikari bloodworms, Hikari brine shrimp, and sometimes frozen krill, bits of salmon, dried Tubifex and gut loaded mealworms, daily feeding, skipping one day per week
<Sounds very good indeed>
- no supplements, yet
- regular, small water changes, daily debris cleaning
- no decoration, just a handful of plants and scattered pebbles from the start
- dechlorinator is AquaSafe
I'm very worried. In the past few months they've pulled through unfiltered tank and cycling, I just hope it's not some internal damages. I'm very much obliged to your help. Thank you.
<I think your frogs will be fine in time... They do shed their skin, and DO have claws... The itchiness will likely go with growth, improvement in their development. I would try not to be overly concerned here.
Oh, do read here for review:
and the linked Xenopus files above.
Bob Fenner>
African Clawed Frog itch ala Neale 12/08/09

Hello WWM,
I've written in before and received very good advice about my cycling tank and African clawed frogs. But I'm having a bit of trouble now with an itchiness problem and hope you could shed some light.
This itch came on while they're feeding. It grew more severe over days, happened to just one frog first, but later 3 frogs of the 4 frogs I have showed the same itchiness. It could send them to a fit of scratching, rubbing the legs and scratching arms and even the head, during and within some time of feeding.
<Have you checked the ammonia/nitrite levels? These sound like what might be called "irritation" behaviours.>
There was also a bit of dark thing along their fingers (inside, not back of hands). It wasn't fluffy or cottony, looks just like a pencil line, and when that part shed the skin was dark.
I guess they shouldn't be nuptial pads, because if I'm not mistaken, 2 of the 3 itchy frogs are females.
<Nuptial pads are distinctive, and look like callouses. Finrot (or Redleg as its called on Frogs) is very different.>
The 4th frog, a male smallest in size, was pretty much unaffected - no itch, no dark thing. He's a loner and doesn't swim much. One more thing is that he refuses ReptoMin.
<I'd be offering more than just dried foods.>
The first time I noticed this was Nov 19, about 10 days after my tank was cycled. What I did was:
- a lot of 30% water changes
- added back a new carbon filter (which I removed on Nov 10). This made a big difference.
- removed dubious items like spare sponge
- reduced feeding. This seemed to have helped too.
By now the itchiness has been brought down to say 80% less, but it's not completely gone. The dark thing on the hands is still there, and it can seem lighter at one time and darker other times.
<Would check water quality and also water chemistry.>
I would like to ask what this could be, and what I should do i.e. medicate or somehow troubleshoot further?
Here's a bit of details about my tank.
- 20 gallon (to be raised to 30 g)
- frogs are a few months old, 2 boys and 2 girls
- pH 7.2, KH 4-5, GH 9, nitrate <10 ppm, no ammonia or nitrite, achieved by one-third of Rift Valley salt mix (though I skipped the marine salt i.e. Red Sea since the onset...should I be?)
<If you leave an ingredient out, it's not a recipe anymore, it's just a bunch of stuff...>
- diets include ReptoMin, Hikari bloodworms, Hikari brine shrimp, and sometimes frozen krill, bits of salmon, dried Tubifex and gut loaded mealworms, daily feeding, skipping one day per week
- no supplements, yet
- regular, small water changes, daily debris cleaning
- no decoration, just a handful of plants and scattered pebbles from the start
- dechlorinator is AquaSafe
I'm very worried. In the past few months they've pulled through unfiltered tank and cycling, I just hope it's not some internal damages. I'm very much obliged to your help. Thank you.
<I'm not sure at all what's going on here. It is normal for Xenopus to shed a certain amount of skin. Xenopus are messy animals, and frequent water changes are important, especially if the filtration system is modest. Four Xenopus would be quite a lot of animals, and in a 20 gallon tank, I'd be using a reasonably robust external canister filter, something like a Fluval 105 or Eheim 2211. I certainly wouldn't rely on an air-powered sponge filter or some poky little hang-on-the-back filter. I'd be aiming for turnover rates around 6 times the volume of the tank per hour. I wouldn't medicate until I'd zeroed off all the potential problems: ammonia, nitrite, unstable pH. I'd stop feeding entirely, do a big water change (75% maybe) and see how things panned out over the next few days. If itching stopped, then you could be fairly sure the problem is a water quality one, and that would allow you to plan accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

African clawed frog swimming strangely and discolored 11/20/09
My son has a ACF that seems to be taking a turn.
<Oh dear.>
It has been healthy and fine, to this point, but I did notice it was turning a darker green color in blotches, rather than staying it's pretty light green color.
<This tends to be a reaction to poor environmental conditions. Essentially a bacterial infection. Can be treated with antibiotics, e.g., Maracyn II (Minocycline) and Maracyn Plus (Sulfadimidine and Trimethoprin, but best avoided.>
It lives with two other fish and a snail, and we change out the water by 2/3 weekly.
<Actually, these frogs should never be kept with fish. Whatever habitat you keep them in should be adequately large, maintained at around room temperature (rather than tropical temperatures) and ALWAYS filtered. Changing water instead of filtering just doesn't work. Do see here for the basics:
We have floating plants for the bowl. The frog is swimming in a twisting motion, and then stops and just floats.
<Sounds bad.>
Sometimes it seems to stay slight twisted almost upside down. This appears to be different behavior than we have seen to this point (one month).
<You see, it takes about a month for things to go wrong.>
I have removed it from the big tank and put it alone with a bit of shrimp in water that has been dechlorinated to see ---I am not sure to see what!
Is it dying or is there something I can do for it to try to save it?
<Maybe not at death's door, but certainly severely stressed. Review the conditions in the tank. It needs a tank at least 10 gallons in size (ideally twice that for an adult) at about 15-20 degrees C in temperature
and filtered with a good, strong filter. A small internal canister filter would be ideal.>
Thank you. Susan
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African clawed frog swimming strangely and discolored 11/20/09

Thank you, Neale...
<Happy to help.>
I am not sure how the Pet Stores stay in biz. ugh
<I look at it this way: A sales clerk wouldn't stop himself selling me a ghastly pair of yellow trousers with pink polka dots.
<<Hey! I bought those!! Heeee! RMF>>
It's up to me to make an appropriate choice. So with a pet shop: They'll sell any animal to anyone who pays the money, regardless of the ability of that person to keep that animal. Yes, I agree, the *ethics* is totally different, since it's an animal we're talking about, an animal that can suffer in various ways. But so long as the law doesn't enforce some sort of ethical dimension, it's up to us to make sure we research the needs of those animals prior to purchasing them. I do my best to help people *after the event*, but often-times that isn't much good, perhaps because the animal is too far gone, or else because my correspondent doesn't have the funds or space to house the animal properly. It's a thorny problem, I admit.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Xenopus; reproductive behaviour; physical damage 11/15/09
My juvenile male African clawed frog was trying to convince my female to mate - he was in position holding on to her waist and when she just decided to lay there, he started reaching up with his hind legs and kicking her in the head.
<This is what they do...>

This doesn't concern me - I have seen it before...often with the female tapping her foot in annoyance and disinterest.
<Not sure the foot tapping is "annoyance" -- it's always important not to put human emotions onto animal behaviours. But yes, females may not be ready to mate, in which case they can become stressed. Adding a second mature female will divide up the male's time, and this is hugely helpful.
Adding some floating plants, such as Indian Fern, will give the female some hiding places, and that helps too. Obviously, in the wild the female can swim off, but in a very small tank that isn't possible. Think about the size of the aquarium, and whether it is adequately large for the specimens you have.>
But this last time, my male kicked so hard that my albino female is now covered with scratches! Near her eye and near her armpit...
<The males develop specific horny pads on their hands used during mating, or amplexus, as its called with frogs. These horny pads grab the skin and make it possible for male frogs to hold onto what are slippery, slimy animals. Any damage done should be slight, and naturally heals up assuming good water quality. Your should see what male sharks do to their lovers...>
I added some aquarium salt in the water
<Wouldn't be my first thought, but Xenopus is reasonably tolerant of salt so no harm will be done. Not much good will be done either, it has to be said, and the old idea salt prevented infection is nonsensical (and mostly put about by the manufacturers of boxed salt). Strong salt solutions are antiseptics, that's true, hence gargling with salt when you have a mouth ulcer. But a teaspoon of salt per gallon? Useless. Much, MUCH better to concentrate on providing optimal water conditions (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite) and water chemistry (moderately hard to hard, basic water; 10-20 degrees dH, pH 7.5). Make sure your filter is adequate and working properly, and that you do regular (weekly) water changes. Keep the temperature sensible, not to high and not too low. Room temperature, between 15-20 degrees C is ideal.>
What else can I do to help the female heal?
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

AACF. Xenopus hlth., fdg. 11/10/09
I have a Albino African clawed frog in a ten gallon by her self with natural river rocks and a cave. I feed her Tubifex worms and red wigglers.
Recently I noticed that the one side of her stomach looks purple-ish almost like from the inside out. I was wondering if this is normal. I had a aacf when I was little and don't remember her ever looking purple.
<Hello Faith. No, it's not normal. Do read here and see if the symptoms you're seeing matches anything described.
Note that bacterial infections of the skin (such as, but not limited to, Red Leg) are usually caused by physical damage, poor environmental conditions, or both. I'd also make the point that live Tubifex worms are notoriously disease-laden and haven't been recommended as "Safe" foods for decades. Bloodworms and mosquito larvae are better, and small earthworms best of all. Wet-frozen foods should be safe though, and while freeze-dried foods are safe, they should be used only sparingly because they tend to cause digestive tract problems. Cheers, Neale.>

African clawed frog hlth., beh. 11/05/09
Hello my African clawed frog was pretty bloated but the bloat went away
<That was lucky.>
I have 2 questions he is still losing skin why?
<In very small amounts, this is normal. But if the frogs are constantly shedding, there may be a problem with diet or water conditions. Do read here:
Keep an open mind, and pay particular attention to water chemistry, water quality, and aquarium size. The fact your frog was bloated in one point strongly suggests an underlying problem.>
And please tell me why he is some of the time he is at the top of my tank with his head sticking out
<It is natural for them to rest among floating plants, basking under the sunshine. They will try to do the same thing in captivity. Cheers, Neale.>

Possible sick albino African claw frog- 10/25/09
I have an albino ACF that as of yesterday has a red spot in between her eyes, and her veins in her feet are red as well. For the last couple months I have had her in a five gallon tank with a filter. Yesterday I moved her into a 10 gallon tank with a filter with the same gravel and plants from the previous tank. I change her water in it's entirety every three weeks. i feed her bloodworms and shrimp pellets every other day. she hasn't eaten in two days, but other than that her behavior is normal. I was wondering if there is something i should do, or a way i can test to see if she is alright. please help me.
<Hello Theresa. Generally, when aquatic frogs (whether Xenopus or Hymenochirus) develop red patches on their bodies, it's a sign of bacterial infection (often called "Red Leg"). You will need to use an appropriate antibiotic, either bought from a pet store specialising in reptiles and amphibians (an option in the US) or from a vet (most of the rest of the world). Do read here:
Since Red Leg is caused by environmental issues, do review how you are keeping these frogs, particularly in terms of water quality and water chemistry. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Possible sick albino African claw frog 10/25/09

Thanks for the quick response!
I woke up this morning and her spot is diminishing and she hasn't stopped eating. Should I still pick up the antibiotics or did the change of water and environment do the trick?
<If the wounds are healing, i.e., there's less blood and inflammation visible, then sure, leave it for a couple days and see what happens. But do daily water changes, maybe 10-20% for the next few days, so you keep conditions tip-top. If this doesn't help, then yep, antibiotics are probably best. Cheers, Neale.>

African Clawed Frog damaged extremities 10/15/09
Hi, we have an African clawed frog that we have had for several months. He is in a 20 gal tank with an Oscar.
<Have you read anything about the natural diet of Oscars in the wild?

Alongside things like crabs and crayfish,
<They also eat frogs. Keeping the two species is going to end badly.>
Just in the last 2 days he appears to be losing an arm and now the other arm appears to be injured too.
<Very likely physical damage. So far as your Oscar is concerned, this frog is food.>
It started about two days ago with white string like stuff hanging from his arm so I called our local pet store and they told me to treat him for a bacterial infection.
<The white stuff is decaying flesh. You need to get this frog to a vet. It needs antibiotics.>
I did that and he seemed to be better in the morning however by last night his arm was almost completely shredded.
<No surprise at all.>
From his elbow down to his fingers is just an open wound and as of this morning his other arm is starting to have the same white strings. Local pet store said to continue to treat and it would regenerate its arms.
<Regenerate its arms? Of course it won't! The arms are gone. The two options here are treating it with antibiotics, or else euthanising it, both of which will require a vet. You cannot euthanise a frog in the same way as a fish because (obviously) they breathe air, so anything adding to the water won't kill them. For gosh sakes, stop this cruelty, and call a vet or an animal welfare charity.>
He appears to be acting normal besides the obvious. He appears to be eating, he doesn't eat much in front of us but he is good sized and doesn't appear to be losing weight rapidly or anything. He is swimming around but cannot really use his arms.
<Well, maybe if you treat this frog, he'll recover to a degree, and will manage without his arms.>
His legs seem to keep him moving. His actions are the same as before this happened. I can't find any more information about this on the web and just want to make sure I do the right thing for this frog.
<Much written about Xenopus laevis here at WWM; do start here for the basics:
Note these frogs need relatively cool conditions, and certainly not a tropical aquarium. Keeping them with fish isn't recommended, let alone with a fish that eats frogs...>
My concern was that the Oscar had damaged him but the local pet store didn't think so.
<Second dumb statement from this pet store.>
Do you think this could be the case?
They have grown up together in the aquarium and I have never seen either be aggressive to the other.
<You can play Russian Roulette a bunch of times and not get killed. Doesn't make it safe.>
Oh, we also have an algae eater which also hasn't been aggressive as far as we have seen. Thank you for any advice you can provide.
<Plec-type catfish will opportunistically rasp at the decaying flesh on any animal that can't move properly. Nature red in tooth and claw, and all that. So get this frog out, NOW, into its own aquarium. Call a vet. Treat with antibiotics. Euthanise humanely if necessary. Next time you stick two animals together, check to see what they eat first. Hope this helps.
Cheers, Neale.>

Young albino frog... ID, hlth. 9/10/09
Hi I recently added some small albino frogs with my large frog .
<When you say "small frogs" and "large frogs" do you mean different species? I mention this for two reasons. The big species is (usually) Xenopus laevis, a subtropical species. The smaller species are Hymenochirus spp., and these need tropical conditions. So right from the get-go you have different temperature requirements: around 18-20 C for the Xenopus, and around 25 C for the Hymenochirus. Keep one too warm, or the other too cold, and you're going to cause problems. Secondly, Xenopus is an opportunistic predator, and it can, and will, eat Hymenochirus given half a chance. Do see here:
One of the small frogs has what looks like a air bubble come up on his leg.
<If it's still there some hours later, I'd be very concerned. Likely physical damage and some type of bacterial infection; treat with a suitable antibiotic. If there's a specialist pet reptile shop in your neighbourhood, then ask for help choosing a medication there. Otherwise, consult your vet.>
He looks and acts fine. Is this something bad?
<Potentially yes, very.>
Thank you Bonnie
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Young albino frog 9/11/09

Thank you for the info. Sorry I didn't say the frogs are the same species.
I will check with the pet store for medicine. The web site is great I printed it for farther information. Bonnie
<Glad to have helped. Good luck, Neale.>

Is my Albino ACF sick? 9/6/09
I have a new Albino ACF that I got about two weeks ago.
<Question: How did you mature this aquarium first? You can't expect to add a frog to an immature tank and expect him to do well.>
He was perfect looking when I bought him at our local Wal-Mart, but now he has tiny little black dots covering his back from his head to his toes.
<Xenopus tropicalis, Xenopus longipes, and some other Xenopus species are grey with small black spots. You may have one of these other species. Refer to Google re: systematics, photographs of the genus. What you are seeing may be entirely normal.>
He is otherwise healthy, I believe. This started about three to four days ago after he shed his skin. I keep him in a 10 gallon aquarium. I also have two Mixed Balloon Mollies, one Black Molly, an odd looking Algae eater similar looking to the Plecostomus (though I have not found a picture of him anywhere on the Internet that tells me exactly what he is),
<Presumably Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus or Pterygoplichthys pardalis, the two common "Plecos" of the US trade.>
an Apple Snail, and two Orange burst Glofish.
<Obviously, this collection of animals isn't REMOTELY viable in a 10 gallon tank. For a start, Mollies need a good 20 gallons or more, and the water should be brackish. Danios (what you call Glofish) need a tank 60 cm/2 feet long if they're to be happy, and should certainly be in groups of 6+ to avoid bullying and premature death. Even the frog needs a tank bigger than this, 15-20 gallons, minimum.>
They all share the same tank.
<Why? Did you research the needs of *any* of these fish before you bought them? At least some Xenopus, e.g., Xenopus laevis, need subtropical water, whereas Mollies like things fairly warm. There's no good reason to mix any of these animals.>

I did not like the gravel in the tank so I opted to put seashells in it instead (I hope this will not harm them and I cleaned the shells well before I put them in).
<Seashells are a bad idea. Two issues. Firstly, they harden the water.
Mollies won't mind, but your other animals might. Secondly, they trap food, leading to pockets of decay and foul water.>
I constantly keep a check on the water and the Nitrates are at 40 mg/L, Nitrites are at 0 mg/L, the water is very hard at 300 ppm, Alkalinity is at 180 ppm, and pH is at 7.2. I have now managed to get the Nitrates to the fringe of being okay for the fish, but I have trouble keeping it down.
<Nitrates not critical for Xenopus, but is so for Mollies, which, in freshwater rather than brackish, are hypersensitive to nitrates above 20 mg/l.>
I use Tetra Easy Balance with Nitraban, which says is supposed to help maintain the tank with less frequent water changes.
<Garbage. Don't believe the marketing!>
I do not get a lot of time to do water changes so this works well for me.
The water is crystal clear, I use Tetra Whisper filters with Carbon, I keep a heater, which I have just lowered to a temperature of about 80 degrees F since I was treating the tank for Ick and it was at about 85 degrees F.
<Far too warm for Xenopus laevis, though Xenopus tropicalis won't mind. Do, please, read here:
The treatment was performed a few weeks before I added the ACF. I love animals and I am very interested in keeping a colorful and diverse tank.
<I love animals too. However, we all have to learn to separate out affection for animals as an abstract concept from the hard work of giving animals what they need. This is the tricky part to life. Animals are
demanding and expensive. That's why I don't keep all the animals I'd like!
I'd love a pet dolphin, but that's never going to happen. But what I can do is review the needs of whatever I see in the aquarium shop, and then put together what I need to keep them. In your case, you have a collection of fascinating animals, yes, but not necessarily in the conditions they need.>
I have an air stone. I have three plastic plants in the tank and feed the fish and frog a blended diet of Wardley Tropical Fish Flake Food, Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers (my Mollies love them), and Tetra Freeze Dried Blood Worms (also a favorite among my Mollies). I have done extensive research about all of my fish and the frog and have been able to improve my tank. When I first started, my fish were dying left and right, but now all of the new ones I have been great, with the exception of a small Pleco that
ended up with a very bad looking abrasion just under his eye and a big hole in his tail fin before he died. I can't seem to keep the Pleco very well since he was my second one.
<Your tank is too small for Plecos. Even the common species need 55 gallons. Sure, not when they're 2-inch babies, but they grow fast, and in small tanks will react quickly to bad water quality. Things like sores and ulcers are often signs of environmental stress, so looking backwards from that, my best guess is that something in your tank wasn't right. Review, and act accordingly. We're happy to help here at WWM, so if you want advice on a fish *before* you buy it, feel free to ask. We're not selling anything. In fact, we'd just as soon convince you NOT to spend your money if we think a fish wouldn't make sense in your aquarium.>
I try to keep the tank maintained as well as possible with my work schedule. None of my fish seem to have any problems. The frog eats very well and is semi-active and has gotten more active since I first brought
him home. I also am able to see some of his veins, mostly in his legs and one on his lower back. They are very thin red lines. I suppose they are his veins, they look veiny. So, is it normal for my frog to have little
black speckles or dots all over his back and is it normal for me to see the red veins or whatever they may be?
<Difficult to say. When Xenopus and Hymenochirus frogs are stressed, one of the things that does happen is their skin reacts, becomes irritated. On humans, you'd call it a rash or inflammation. Anyway, if left uncorrected, the skin starts to become damaged, and you end up with bacterial infections, such as the notorious Red Leg.>
I have attached a picture of the frog. including the picture as an attachment is the only thing I can do with this email. Am I being paranoid? I did hours of research last night to no avail. I even tried the suggested Google search engine on top of the others I had checked and Google sent me right back to your page. I laughed hilariously at that and decided to give up on my search and finally send you an email. I had to get some sleep first though as I had ended up staying awake until 4:30 this morning researching this issue. Please help me, I would hate for my new frog to die.
<I would hate that too. As another animal lover, I'm really keen you enjoy your pets and that you pets are healthy living with you. In this case, I think the frog is not so much ill yet as reacting to environmental stress.
As such, fixing the conditions, e.g., if this is Xenopus laevis, as is usually the case, then cooler water will be important. A more varied diet will help, with the accent on soft rather than dried food. And so on. See
the article mentioned above.>
I am beginning to get attached.
<Thanks for writing, and good luck, Neale.>

I see reddening... RMF
Re: Is my Albino ACF sick? 9/7/09
Thank you much for your advice Neale.
<You're welcome.>
I did not research the fish at first since it was a start to a hobby I thought my husband and I could enjoy.
<Ah, enjoyment of this hobby tends to be in direct proportion to the research done first! Like gardening or foreign travel. Numerous good books out there, many inexpensive but useful.>
I started out with a 20 gallon tank that was given to me, with just Black Tetras, Red Tetras, and the Algae Eater I referred to at first, however that tank is now sitting empty in our back yard due to my lack of knowledge at the time in cleaning it and it got a crack across the glass from one side to the other.
<We've all done this... cracked the glass by dropping something heavy.>
I have since learned not to do a full water change and more importantly not to use such hot water.
A mistake that I will most definitely avoid again in the future. After that, we went to the nearest store and bought the biggest tank they had that we could afford at the time, which was the 10 gallon tank.
<In itself, not a disaster, but I would caution you to select fish extremely carefully. Most of the "community fish" you see on sale need 20, if not 30 gallons to do well. Do read here:
This was mainly to get the fish back to a tank quickly.
I then started to research the proper care and maintenance of fish and the different types that you could have together.
Please understand, the town I live in is rather small compared to most, so we don't have much to work with.
<I feel your pain! My hometown doesn't have much of any kind of aquatics at all, just a fairly hopeless garden centre that I tend to use as my benchmark for what a BAD aquatic retailer looks like.>
I am not a small town kind of person and moved around a lot as I got older.
Being only 25 now, I understand the importance of having the resources you need and that it is harder to obtain in a small city.
<Mail order often helpful here. Research your needs first, so you can shop with confidence. I don't even drive, so anything bigger than, say, a 10 gallon tank would have to be mail ordered anyway.>
This being said, the information I obtained from Wal-Mart may not have been sufficient enough to have the kind of fish and aquarium I wanted.
<This chain does seem to have, ahem, a mixed reputation as a supplier of pet animal goods and advice.>
I have had the aquarium for about 4 months now and it was stabilized for about two weeks before I added the frog. Needless to say, I was not happy with the Tetras and gave them to a friend so that I could have more tropical fish that were 'prettier'. I started out with just the Mollies and the snail. I added the Mollies before I got rid of the Tetras and some of them died, I think from bullying from the Red Tetra, which led to the purchase of more mollies so that I finally ended up with the amount that I mentioned in the original email.
<Mollies are not easy, and among other things, are sensitive to low pH, high nitrate, and poor water quality. Their size and liveliness also makes them difficult to recommend for tanks less than 30 gallons in size. Adult female Sailfins can get to 6 inches/15 cm in length! Shortfins are smaller, but still, they're some 8 cm/3 inches long at maturity, so even a "long" 20 gallon tank will be a bit crowded. Furthermore, Mollies do, on the whole, live longer and healthier in slightly brackish rather than freshwater conditions. They don't need much marine aquarium salt mix added to their water, but a bit helps, around 0.5-1 oz per gallon, but that's more than most freshwater fish will tolerate. Hence, many would suggest (including me) that Mollies are best kept in a single-species set-up. Or, at least, combined with other fish that like slightly saline water, such as Guppies, Glassfish or Gobies.>
So, by this time, I had done some research on what type of fish were compatible with Mollies.
<I see.>
Everything that I found suggested that other community fish were okay and my husband wanted Glofish so I got the two mentioned previously. I was aware of the fact that they do better in groups of 6 or more but they are not cheap, to us people in the small town.
<Well, they're not even sold here in the UK, so you're doing better on that count! They're genetically modified, as you probably know, and there's less consensus here in Europe that such things are ethical and/or safe.>
So, two it is until I can afford more, and I have kept an eye on them and they seem fairly happy.
<Two males will fight though, and they can be nippy when frustrated.>
They are very active as all the material I have read suggested they would be.
<Yes, hence the need for a long tank, 60 cm/2 feet being about the minimum.>
The Algae Eater is the only large fish in the tank and keeps mostly to itself.
<Depends on the species. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri for example (the "Chinese Algae Eater" or "Sucking Loach") becomes highly aggressive when sexually mature, and is NOTORIOUS for causing problems in small tanks. The true Plecs though, in general, ignore other, non-Plec type fish (they are pretty territorial towards one another though).>
My research showed that the Mollies and the Glofish were both peaceful fish and were compatible.
<Nothing you read mentioned Mollies preferring slightly salty water? Do please read here:
I have had them together and living, what I find to be very well, together for about a month now.
<A month isn't long.>
As I mentioned before I have just added the frog, mainly because I saw it at the store and they seemed interesting.
<Yes, they are.>
I did a little bit of research before I bought it, but I suppose not enough.
<Often the case.>
I promise you, I am normally a very thorough person, so once I had them all together I made sure to get all of the information I could gather in order to maintain a healthy and peaceful aquarium. So far all is well with the exception of the appearance of the spots on the ACF. I did research the pictures on many sites and I am positive it is an Albino African Clawed Frog, though I wonder if it may be pigmented, but the pictures I have viewed don't seem to match the black spots he has.
<Does sound like the albino morph of Xenopus laevis, a cool-climate clawed frog that doesn't do well in tropical aquaria.>
My main concern was whether it was normal for the frog to do this or if I needed to change something quickly.
<I don't think the black spots are a disease, so there's no immediate danger. But your tank will be too warm for this species in the long run.>
Basically, should I be alarmed or just keep an eye him?
<A little from column A, a little from column B.>
From what I gather you are saying that I should maintain the water and keep the diet varied, with mostly soft or live foods.
<Yes; frogs are prone to constipation when given dried foods.>
I was able to dig up some worms today and cut them into small enough pieces for him to swallow. He definitely loved them.
<I bet!>
I will continue to try to give a variety of food to him, bearing in mind that the live food provides more nutrients and prevents constipation.
I am aware that they need a lower water temperature, so I have started lowering the temperature slowly as to not shock any of the fish with a sudden change.
<There's not much overlap here, to be honest. Mollies absolutely must be kept warm, at least, fancy Mollies from pet stores do. Once the temperature gets below 77 F, they tend to get sickly, and the ideal is somewhere around 80 F. This is too warm for Danios (which do best around 75-77 F) and far too warm for Xenopus laevis.>
What do you suggest that I do about keeping Nitrates down?
<Depends what your tap water nitrate content is. If you have a nitrate level of 20 mg/l or less out of the tap, then regular (weekly) water changes of around 25% should be ample. Just don't overfeed your fish, and take care to remove uneaten food.>
All of my other tests show to be good according to the chart that I have to compare the tests to.
I may be a novice hobbyist, but I do hope to get better.
<You will. I've been doing this for some 25 years, and still manage to kill fish by doing stupid things!>
All things get better with time and some trial and error, otherwise we would not have the technology we have today.
<Yes, very true.>
I did find your information helpful, but for some reason I picture you to be a Simon Cal.
<Both British, may be the clue...>
Not intending to offend you, as I find it rather comical.
<Well, I suppose the point is we're both plain spoken and honest, rather than trying to make friends. If you like me, that's nice, but what I want above all is that you understand what I'm saying. There are also differences in how Brits and Americans use their common language.>
I believe you are a very intelligent person, but feel that you may underestimate the intelligence of those that refer to your site for assistance and guidance.
<Always difficult to judge intelligence from an e-mail; indeed e-mails generally tend to be written casually rather than carefully, so it's all too easy to misjudge things. It's not my intention to alarm or upset, merely to inform and assist.>
Keep doing what you do. You are great, as I am sure you are aware of.
<Thank you.>
I hope to be able to get a bigger tank soon. In the meantime, I try with what I have and maybe it will be okay, though I completely understand the affect the small aquarium may have on the fish.
Please forgive me if my email seems a little scattered, my mind thinks differently than most and I end up confusing myself and others rather easily.
<No problems.>
I find it amazing that I can be an intelligent person but yet so simple minded at times, well a lot. I hope it is a refreshing difference from your normal inquiries.
<Always nice to hear a little more from our correspondents.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

What could be wrong with our Clawed African Water Frog? Env., reading 9/1/2009
Thank you for your help. My son brought home a baby Clawed African Water Frog from school in May. Yesterday, I noticed him belly-up in the bottom on his tank.
<! Water quality?>
I noticed he jerked his back leg every now and then so I put him in a shallow container with water so he could more easily reach the surface for air.
<Change a good part of the water. Stat!>
I checked on him throughout the day yesterday and found that he would go to the top for air but other than that did not move. Last night I put him back in the larger tank and once again, we found him belly-up, but still alive, at the bottom of the tank this morning. I have read information on your site and he doesn't have a bloated stomach, there are no white patches on his body and he has no bloody red areas. He just doesn't move much.
Other than the past two days, he is kept by himself in a 5 gallon filtered tank.
<Too small a world. Very likely the issue here is environmental>

Any suggestions on what might be wrong with him and how I can help him would be greatly appreciated.
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
New Information for previous question
Hello, I emailed a question regarding my son's clawed African water frog earlier today. I just went to check on him and he seemed to "cough" up a cloudy substance. Thought that the new information might help figure out what is wrong with him.
<Read. And quickly fix this animal's universe. B>

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