FAQs About Xenopus laevis,
African Clawed Frog Diseases 3
FAQs on Xenopus Disease:
Xenopus Disease 1,
Xenopus Health 2,
Xenopus Health 3,
Xenopus Health 4, Xenopus
FAQs on Xenopus Disease by Category:
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Keeping African Clawed Frogs and
Monks, Amphibians, Turtles,
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
Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?
<Hello, and thanks for making an effort to provide a useful image!>
I’ve been having an issue with one of my female clawed frogs for about a
month now. I noticed some kind of bruises on my frog’s mouth, I
contacted a vet that has some experience with amphibians but he was
unable to help since he was not familiar with this species.
<Xenopus is very widely kept my scientists, and only occasionally as a
pet. Can I direct you to some reading directed at scientists?
You're almost certainly dealing with some sort of opportunistic
bacterial infection, perhaps Aeromonas but hard to say without a
microscope and doing Petri dish cultures. But the advice given
on those websites is what I'd be following. Tetracycline in particular
seems to be a good first choice antibiotic. Do remember to use as
indicated, and do remember to remove carbon from the filter (if you use
I decided to treat this frog with Maracyn 2 per the directions on the
package in a hospital tank and he redness was appearing to subside but
now it appears to be back again. There is redness around the nostril now
too. I’ve tried applying Bacticine with a q-tip to the affected area and
Epsom salt baths feeling maybe this was not a bacterial infection and
perhaps some kind of physical injury. It looks *slightly* better right
now than the picture I’ve attached but I’m not convinced it’s really
healing and going away.. there also appears to be a lump on the other
side of the mouth you can see from the attached picture too.
Is there anything else I could try? The frogs weight is normal and is
still the most eager eater I have out of my four clawed frogs, so
whatever this is, she is still acting like her usual self. This frog is
kept in a 40 gallon breeder with three other frogs, which are not
experiencing any issues.
I’d appreciate any advice I could get, thank you.
<The fact he's still eating is promising. Go with Tetracycline and you
should get a result. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?
I’ve placed an order for tetracycline, it was not easy to find any online
though. Hopefully the product API sells is sufficient?
<Should be. Be sure to use as indicated. Remove carbon from the filter if
used. Antibiotics work better if given orally; baths (i.e., adding to the
water) can work but aren't as reliable, may need to be repeated. Good luck,
Re: Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?
I started tetracycline treatment in a spare 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter.
I went to go change out 25% of the water and add another packet of antibiotics
and my frog apparently my frog spawned a clutch of eggs? Pretty weird, I’ve had
this frog for over four years and never had this happen before. I even have a
oft frisky male with three females and never seen eggs happen, ever. Should this
<Nope. Exposure to unusual chemicals has been known to trigger spawning in a
variety of amphibians and fishes. Indeed, the whole point of domesticating
Xenopus in the 1930s was using them as pregnancy tests -- when drops of urine
from pregnant women were added to their aquarium, they'd spawn! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Clawed Frog, Some Kind of Infection?
I think the tetracycline treatment has been successful. The
redness around the snout has gone away for the most part and the nostril
now. The swelling appears to be gone too.
<Great! Lovely to hear some good news from our correspondents... it's
usually "oh noes, my fish is sick!" Hope the froggy gets completely better
before too long. Cheers, Neale.>
My Albino frog (condition not mentioned)
hi, i have had my albino frog for quite some time buying it when it was hardly
any bigger than a Congo frog, It has grown within a Large Community Tank 320L
(im from UK so don't use Gallons) and now is what i expect Full Size taking up
the most of palm of hand However within the past week i have noticed -kind of
hard not to.
That One of its eyes has became Swollen and Red, As if
it had gotten some sort of Black eye, however at first thought i thought perhaps
it had a run in with one of my Catfish, but as the days passed its mouth seemed
to be forced Open and i see a large Red ~Something~ Only be described as some
sort of Growth and it shows no signs of Stopping and only getting Worse, The Red
Growth is only on one side of the mouth and Seems to be under the Eye as well.
Looks like it might be a clump of Red Flesh but i fear it could be a tumor and a
Death Sentence to the frog. i don't really have another Aquarium set up suitable
for the frog without Risking others or himself being Eaten. If there is anything
i can do to Improve his/her Condition i would greatly like to know as i can find
little on the internet.
If worse turns to worst and indeed there is nothing i can do, Perhaps there is
something i can do to make its Last days as comfortable as possible.
It might be worth a note to mention that all my Fish both Scaled and those
without scales are Healthy and fine, Water Conditions are also more than
Satisfactory and there is no Problems with other Tankmates.....Plus there is
nothing missing from my tank so he hasn't Eaten someone bigger than he can chew.
i Greatly look forward to hearing back Your Opinions and Feedback, Thanks for
listening (Reading).....Lee H.
<Hello Lee. The short answer is that medicating aquatic frogs is somewhat
difficult, and the best/most reliable approach is to use antibiotics. A vet will
be the easiest source of these, which is awkward I know, but in the UK, the only
legal way to obtain antibiotics. Your frog would appear to have an opportunistic
bacterial infection, often referred to as Red Leg.
This is invariably fatal unless promptly treated with antibiotics such as
tetracycline. A vet will provide you with details on dosing, etc. Expect to pay
around £15-30 for treatment, which may include injections (the best way to
deliver drugs) rather than stuff you add to the water (a pretty hopeless method
in serious cases). The RSPCA and PDSA may also be able to help, and speaking
with people in your local reptile pet club or store may provide some tips on
vets able to provide useful support. To be clear: there are NO reliable
off-the-shelf medications sold in pet stores, which is why prevention of disease
in amphibians is so important. Mixing frogs with fish invariably goes wrong
eventually, and while it's hard to say what the immediate cause of your problems
was, damage by a catfish or some other spiny aquarium resident is one
possibility, even when the frogs aren't kept with predatory or aggressive
fishes. Cheers, Neale.>
ACF went rigid during water change
I've just experienced something horrifying and was hoping for some
information! I have a young African Clawed Toed and was just moving him
a holding tank while I cleaned his tank. (The filter was apparently not
working well so the tank needed some extra TLC.) I used a net to catch
and as I went to put him into the new tank his whole body went rigid and
stayed that way.
<Ah, yes... actually a quite common "reflex defensive mechanism" quite a
few animals employ to ward off predation... That is, having their bodies
tense, unmoving if/when frightened, in a dangerous situation.>
I assume he's dead and my heart is breaking. Was it a
heart attack? Stroke? Impossible to know?
<Could be; but I would not "toss" the animal just yet>
When I purchased him he had a nub
for an arm and a bum eye (clouded over and sunken in). He was my little
rescue frog and was healing very well (his arm had grown back and was
missing fingers!) Before catching him for cleaning tonight he was moving
about and avoiding the net more than usual. He seemed mad while in the
and would not chill out. It's like he tried to hop out of the net and
frozen in time. He's in the holding tank now with just enough water to
cover his body, but not so much that his nose is under water.
When I first
put in he would move his torso every so often as though to take in air,
that could have been residual muscle twitching, I suppose. I haven't
movement in about an hour now, just almost standing on the rocks with
legs stick straight and his arms straight by his sides. I'm pretty
devastated. Is there any hope?
<Yes there is. Bob Fenner>
Re: ACF went rigid during water change
Almost 20 hours later and Rigor
Mortis has set in, so it would seem that he has left us.
Thank you for your quick response, it helped me calm down enough to get
through the work day. Information is so powerful in that way.
My guess is a cardiac event due to the blood pooling. Thank you again.
I'm so glad that you were there to help.
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>
gagging frog 1/6/14
I have an African clawed frog for the past two days he
has been "gagging".
I thought he was dead because he was tank on his back. When i got the
net to get him he moved i don't want to lose him. How can i help him?
<Can't help without knowing something about the environment. Just to
recap, you need an aquarium (at least 5 gallons, preferably more); a
heater (not optional, the water needs to be at 25 C/77 F); a filter
(again, not optional); and the right sort of food (you can buy frog
pellets or use a variety of small frozen foods like bloodworms and brine
shrimps). In the meantime, have a read here:
Also follow the links at the top. Virtually all problems with aquatic
frogs are related to their environment, i.e., how well (or not) they're
Hope this helps, Neale.>
African Clawed Frogs; hlth.
Hi. I had two African Clawed frogs, a male and a female, each a little
over a year old. I changed out their water about 3 weeks ago and my
female laid eggs all over the tank. This was her first batch, I never
saw them mating, and none of them hatched. After she laid the eggs she
stopped eating completely, but my male seemed fine. Tonight I found her
dead at the bottom of the tank. Do you have any idea what happened?
Should I be worried about my male?
<African Clawed Frogs, Xenopus laevis, should live for at least 10 years
in captivity, so if one dies after only a year or two, then you should
definitely review environmental conditions, diet, and other aspects of
healthcare. Or put another way, yes, you should be concerned, if not
actually worried. As for specifics, it's impossible to give any insight
without information on the size of their aquarium (should be at least 10
gallons, preferably 15+ gallons); diet (varied, no "feeder fish", and
only fed every other day); temperature (subtropical, around 20 C/68 F);
and water quality (filter essential, plus at least 25% water changes
Start by having a read here:
Xenopus are legendarily long-lived animals under the right conditions,
but they are prone to dietary problems as well as bacterial infections
if not maintained correctly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Clawed Frogs 12/31/13
Thank you for responding so quickly. My frog is kept in a filtered 10
gallon tank, but it is not heated.
<One possible problem right here. Do remember these animals come from
Africa. So while they don't particularly need very warm conditions, they
do need warm room temperature upwards. In a centrally heated home kept
around 20-22 C/68-72 F then a heater won't be needed. But cooler than
this isn't recommended.>
His tank is at 65F right now. Is this too far away from
<It's a little cool for good health, yes. Is there a warmer room in the
house? Alternatively, get a fish tank heater (preferably one with a
wrap-around plastic grill to prevent burning) or use an angle poise
light with a bulb (a regular incandescent could work, but a reptile
vivarium heat lamp would be better). So lots of options depending on
your cost and convenience needs. Do note that the warmer the frog, the
more active it will be, and the faster (and therefore better) it will
Increased metabolism also boosts their immune response, reducing the
risk of disease. So while you can keep Xenopus in quite cool water,
adding a little warmth has many benefits.>
He also eats pellets every day.
<A good sign. But do try varying the diet a bit. Earthworms are an
exceptionally good treat, rich in minerals and vitamins. But even
better, their guts contain partially digested plant material that
provide useful fibre that will minimise constipation, a common problem
when animals are kept in tanks. If you collect your own, obviously avoid
anywhere pesticide sprays have been recently used.>
I've tried feeding him worms and shrimp, but he didn't seem to like
<Hunger makes the best sauce! Don't be afraid to starve your Xenopus for
several days, even a week before trying something new. That said, modern
pellets are an excellent staple, provided you're buying a good quality
brand. Labs that maintain Xenopus use nothing else and have great
There's a very good summary of their needs here:
This is designed for people keeping them in labs, but the basic rules
apply to pet Xenopus too.>
I will check the pH of his water, try skipping a couple days of feeding
per week, and try shrimp again. He doesn't appear to have any
sores or lesions though. Thank you again for responding and the reading.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Albino dwarf frog ailment... Not... actually Xenopus, fdg.,
My 3-year-albino dwarf frog has not eaten for 30 days.
I have seen it swim around the tank vigorously when I drop his
usual diet of a block of frozen blood worms
<... search WWM re these sewer worm, Chironomid larvae. A poor staple
into the tank. Instead of searching for and eating the worms in one gulp
as usual, it just swims back up to the top of the water and spends most
of the time motionless in one spot, hanging onto the tops of plastic
plants with its claws. There are small pieces of shredded skin hanging
off its body and it of course looks thinner after not eating for 30
days, but no sign of disease. It is four inches long,
<... this isn't Hymenochirus (ADF) but Xenopus (ACF) likely... Let's stop
here and have you read:
Scroll down. Bob Fenner>
living alone in a 10 gallon tank with 2 plastic plants, a plastic cave,
and a plastic frog statue. I changed the filter and the water, but have
not changed the temperature of the water. Last year when it
stopped eating for just a few days, several dark spots developed on its
stomach and then disappeared. I have not seen any other signs of
discomfort or disease besides not eating and peeling skin. How can the
frog stay alive for so long without eating and have the
energy to swim around? What should I try to encourage the frog to
Re: Albino dwarf frog ailment
Thank you for your help. We will try a better diet and search at the
websites you suggested.
Just as I sent my email to you, my son offered the frog his
regular diet by holding the worms up to its mouth with a
tweezers and the frog ate the whole block in one gulp! I am still quite
curious to know how it could stay alive without eating for a month.
<...search re Xenopus laevis... very tough animals... used in
research for various studies... as well as ornamentals. Again, the diet
you have results in deficiency syndromes, as well as outright disease...
including for folks handling the fly larvae... Read. BobF>
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.>
Bruises on African Clawed Frog 2/5/13
Hello! Last night, and I don't know for how long, my 2 year old albino
African Clawed frog Bean managed to somehow get the tube cover off of my
water filter, and got himself stuck in the tubing. I got him out, and he
looks no worse for ware, but his back legs are bruised. His left leg
much more than the right, and he lost one of his claws in this process.
His bones seem to be in tact; in his struggle in the filter tube, I
think he mostly just had water running over him. The constant flow of
water must have bruised him, or his struggling to get out must have
bruised him. His webbing between his toes doesn't seem to be torn
anywhere, though his toes are a bit swollen from the debacle. I've put
him in an isolation tank, with shallow water so he doesn't have to use
his back legs so much so he can still peek up and get air. Other than
putting in some drops to help prevent
infection, and keeping his water warm, is there anything else that you
would recommend I do? He's a wonderful well mannered little frog, and
otherwise in good health up until this mess. I'm keeping a close eye on
him, and he hasn't gotten any worse (or better) in the last few hours.
Thank you so much for any help you can give.
<Damaged frogs can recover well (and their close relatives, Axolotls,
are famous for their ability to regenerate missing toes). Your main
problem will be secondary infection, i.e., Red Leg. Fish antibiotics can
work well, especially if used as a preventative. Do read here:
The problem is that once infection starts, treating is difficult, so
prevention is the game here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bruises on African Clawed Frog 2/7/13
Thank you so much for your quick help! He is doing a bit better today,
his redness has gone down, and a lot of his bruises are now getting to
that kind of white scabby color. He has no new injuries, so red leg or
anything hasn't set in as far as I can tell. He is a bit active today,
swimming around a lot despite his injured feet. I don't know if this is
because he is cranky and in pain, or because of something else. I've
noticed a few times after he goes for a swim, he does a few almost has
recoiling jerks of his feet as if he's hurt himself by swimming, but
that doesn't seem to stop him from swimming around again moments later.
He is has a tiny amount of Maracyn in his water to help try to prevent
<Do see the previous linked article; Maracyn II or Maracyn Plus are the
ones you want to use, rather than Maracyn. In the US, Maracyn, Maracyn
II and Maracyn Plus are widely sold in pet shops.>
It is the best medicine I could get him, it is against the law in my
state to get him anything stronger without a vet visit (I think the long
car ride would do him in).
<Same in the UK; in any case, your vet will prescribe the best
medication AND the best dosage, so strongly recommended.>
Would you recommend anything else? Is it alright for him to be moving
around so much with his feet still in poor shape? He is in a large
shallow jar about the width of a dinner plate now while he is under
I've attached a photo of him today.
Thank you again, and all the best,
<Red Leg is difficult, even impossible to treat without antibiotics.
Call your vet if necessary. At least in the UK, buying antibiotics this
way isn't much more expensive than buying regular medications from pet
stores that won't work for this sort of thing anyway. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bruises on African Clawed Frog 2/10/13
His injuries are healing well enough, but I think some kind of fungal
infection may have gotten to him while his immune system is down. He is
twitching a lot mostly in his injured feet, but now his hands. No vet would
sell me any antifungal/antibiotic stronger than the Maracyn oxy I have. Is
there anything you can recommend? He's a strong little frog, and I'm sure
his injuries will heal (his injuries are only in his toes now, as opposed to
his whole feet a few days ago) if he has time, but this fungal (?) mystery
twitching thing worries me greatly.
<Go to an aquarium shop and buy an antifungal medication. Methylene Blue is
an old school medication that should be safe with aquatic frogs, but it's a
mild medication and does tend to stain things blue. Where I live, the UK, my
favourite medication for fungus and Finrot is eSHa 2000, a good, reliable
medication. It's widely sold in Europe but doesn't seem to be sold in the
US. In the US, something like Kanaplex would be a good, if not better
alternative, combining anti-bacterial with anti-fungal properties.
Thank you!!! 3/4/13
Hey there! A few weeks ago, you helped me to treat my frog Bean
after he had gotten stuck in his water filter. While he has lost a few
toes (though I am hoping they'll come back) he is back to his normal
self, alert, swimming around, eating lots and croaking at night. So
thank you so much for all of your help in getting better again, I don't
think I would have been able to do it without you.
<Ah, this is good news Kelsey; thanks for the update and the kind words.
albino frogs, hlth. 12/14/12
We have two albino frogs that we have had in a 10 gallon tank for about
<Are these Xenopus? The African Clawed Frog?>
They have been doing fine, until recently one of the frogs appeared to
be stuck to filter in the tank
when I came into work in the morning.
At first I thought he was dead, but when I tried to remove him from the
tank but he began to move. So I knew he wasn't dead. I
removed him from the tank and put him in a small tank. He has just
stayed at the bottom of the new tank and occasionally floats upside
down. I use a net to turn him back right side up and he seems to
stay that way for a few hours. He does not appear to be eating or
swimming much and his back legs don't seem to move at all.
The outline of his back feet and the tops of his front arms appear to
have a red outline.
The other frog has been rather quiet and not eating either, but I have
kept that one in the big tank. I recently added some plant bulb s
which have sprouted in the tank, but I didn't think that these would
harm the frogs?
I have added a few drops of Start Right to both tanks to see if that
Any suggestions on what we can do to save one if not both frogs?
Lori and Adah
<The aquarium is probably too small, but have you tested water quality?
What is the water temperature? What are you feeding these frogs? Xenopus
laevis is relatively easy to keep, but they do have some needs, and if
you don't provided for them, then things go badly.
Almost certainly you are dealing with something called "Red Leg". It
usually happens when frogs aren't kept properly. It's treatable, but you
will need a combination of Maracyn II with Maracyn Plus. Otherwise a
slow, painful death is certain.
ACF hlth... repro.! 12/9/12
Hi I have been researching dropsy or bloating in Xenopus laevis. My frog
appears to be bloated but I cannot tell. She has been like this for quite
<May be... full of eggs, perhaps egg-bound>
She appears to active and is eating fine, which is why this has never
worried me before. She is housed with an albino male, who does not appear to
be bloated at all, in a 20 gallon tank with adequate filtration.
She does eat more then him but she is by no means overfed which is why her
size concerns me. I feed her ReptoMin sticks every 3 days.
<I'd add other foods here>
The tank was cooler around 65 degrees,
<Needs to be warmer; this could be a factor>
but with winter coming I have slowly warmed it up to about 72 degrees. Any
help would be appreciated, I have attached a picture of her for you to see.
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: ACF hlth... repro.! 12/11/12
Thank you very much. She appears to be improving. Must have been the cold
<Ah, good. Thank you for this update. BobF>
Xenopus; health 6/10/12
i have a problem with my male African clawed frog. he is about 10 months
old. i was keeping him with my female acf in a 20 gallon tank, with a
small mechanical under water filter, doing full water changes once a
week, every week. about a month ago i noticed that my male was lethargic
and only ate quite little. he seemed to have an appetite, would start
eating but then stop very quickly, like he was full. then i noticed some
red 'veins' on his belly. he also would stay on top of the water a lot
and breathe, keeping his head out, instead of just touching the surface
with his nose. i isolated him in a small tank with no filtration and
treated him with tetracycline foe 5 days. then i gave him 12 minute long
Baytril baths (2,5 mg in 0,5 liters) for 10 days. no medicine was added
to the water where he was living and i was doing half water changes
every day. he didn't get better, nor worse. after that i treated him
with Chloramphenicol - 130,8 mg/g in 30 liters for 3 days. then i left
him without treatment for a few days, keeping up with daily water
changes. during all treatments he was shedding quite often. as he still
didn't get better i treated the water he was in with Octozin for 3 days
and since then i have left him without any treatment. what should i do?
he hasn't been eating much. after a while he almost stopped. since 3
days ago he's been eating a little more, but not enough or the way he
used to and should. just a little more. he sings a lot and since
yesterday swims around a lot. but he doesn't look well. red "veins" are
more visible on his body - belly and legs. should i start the
tetracycline again? is Chloramphenicol more effective? any help is much
<Do have a read here:
This is a very useful and succinct review of Xenopus health. The likely
problem is what we call "Red Leg" which is really any opportunistic
bacterial infection, similar to Finrot on fish. For a bit more depth,
see the RSPCA (the main UK animal charity) document on Xenopus. While
aimed at professionals like scientists who work with these animals,
there's much of use for pet owners too.
Section 4.10.4 on Common Diseases discusses Red Leg as well as Nematode
infections, the two commonest problems. Diagnosis and treatment are
outlined. Pet shops may not be able to provide the necessary antibiotics
(specifically, Oxytetracycline) but your vet will surely be able to.
Sick ACF! 5/3/12
Hi, my name is Sam and I have had my ACF from about a year now. I
changed the water in her 5 gallon tank about 2 weeks ago and she seemed
<Aquarium is far too small...>
I noticed this time that the water got really dirty really fast,
<…which is why this happens.>
and when I went to change the water again, I noticed that her front and
back legs seemed somewhat pink in color and she seemed a bit bloated.
<And in turn, poor environmental conditions have stressed this animal,
weakened its immune system, and now caused what's likely a bacterial
Her energy seems fine, and she seemed to be eating, but I am a bit
worried because of all the stuff that I have read online. I went to the
pets store and the lady there told me to use Melafix,
<Useless; don't waste your money on this.>
a product they had to treat bacterial infections.
<Not much chance of success. Melafix is, at best, a preventative. If a
frog is healthy but sustained slight damage, it can help to minimise the
risk of infection. But that's it. Once infection sets it, Melafix is
about as useful as a chocolate teapot.>
I put some in the tank when I got home, but I am still worried about
her. Any suggestions about what is wrong with her and what I should do
to treat her would be extremely helpful! Thanks again! Sam!
In particular, review comments on bacterial infections, Red Leg, and
There is a picture that is attached as well. I know the quality is not
good, but she likes to move around so it was the best I could do with my
phone. Thanks again!
<Photo too blurry to be any use at all. But hope the linked article will
help. Cheers, Neale.>
Xenopus toad query... hlth., env.
Hello, I have two albino Xenopus toads which I bought about two months
The pet shop could not tell me what sex they are and because of how
young they are, it is unforeseeable so far. Recently, the larger of the
two named Patra has developed what looks like charcoal markings on the
bottom of the front feet, and I cannot find any information as to what
this could be. They are both housed in a 3 gallon tank
(I know this is too small but they
are small at the moment) with two ceramic flower pots and large pebbles
and rocks to hide behind. The water is dechlorinated etc. with
tap-safe, is kept at 30 degrees and is cleaned about every four days as
at the moment there is no filter. They are both fed on
Meal worms, blood worms and the occasional bits of meat and catfish
pellets, recommended by my exotic pet shop. Can you enlighten me as to
what this could be, and should I be worried? thanks
<Hello Chloe. Do start by having a read here:
One of the best web pages to see photos of sick frogs and toads is
While Xenopus is normally extremely robust, bacterial infections are
not uncommon when environmental conditions aren't right and
haven't been for a long time. That web page provides some ideas on
suitable antibiotics. Yes, 3 gallons is way too small, and long term,
will cause problems. If the toad doesn't seem to have anything
similar to what you see on that page of sick toads, and otherwise seems
healthy, I wouldn't worry too much for now, just sit and watch them
over the next few weeks. Do also be aware of the "nuptial
pads" that MALE frogs and toads (including Xenopus) develop on
their front legs during the mating season. These may come and go
depending on the time of year. You can see photos online. Nuptial pads
are used during spawning to hold onto the female. They often look like
rough callosities. Cheers, Neale.>
help needed with African frog
I have two African Clawed Frogs in a 40 litre
aquarium. They were doing very well and cohabitated
peacefully with the other inhabitants of the tank. Recently I
noticed that one of the frogs was suffering from a swollen leg.
The swelling is in the "ankle" area just before the
webbed feet. The webbing seems okay but the affected area has
become dark black.
The frog is not moving much, preferring to hover near the surface of
the water and seems to have difficulty in moving that particular
leg. He is eating normally, but not moving much. The temperature
of the water is 78 degree Fahrenheit and I carry out water changes
regularly. The other frog seems to be in good health. Can
you give me some advice as to how to treat this problem? Thank
you very much.
<Hello Donald. Do have a read of this page, here:
Redness and swelling of the limbs is dangerous, and difficult to treat
without antibiotics. It's a bacterial infection, but triggered by
environmental conditions, so review and act accordingly.
Re: help needed with African frog
Just wanted to thank you for finding the time to write back with your
valuable advice. The frog's leg is slowly getting better day by
Thanks a lot!
<Glad the help was useful. Good luck, and thanks for the kind
Aquatic frog question. 2/20/12
I have an albino African clawed frog, and just lately she has this
slime/mucousy stuff coming from her mouth. Is this normal or is she
I couldn't find any info about this online anywhere!
<Shedding skin as transparent sheets happens from time to time and
isn't something to worry about. But white slime or fluff isn't
normal, and can be a sign of bacterial infection. Start by reading
What aren't you doing that Xenopus needs to stay healthy? Go
through that article, and make changes as needs be. There's also a
good visual summary of diseases here:
My baby African Clawed, hlth. 99 2/17/12
I recently saved a baby African Clawed Frog from a local pet store. He
was previously rooming with another SCF s little bit older, and was
doing absolutely great! I clean their tank (25 gal) weekly, and
I found some marks on baby that resemble bruises. I
immediately segregated him from the other frog and goldfish. Are there
any recommend treatments tot the little guy? Thank you!
<Hmm, if the frog is basically healthy and feeding, you may
want to leave things alone. Otherwise, Methylene Blue is a good, mild
medication that doesn't seem to harm frogs. Remove carbon from the
filter, if used, because that'll neutralise any medication.
Naturally, ensure zero levels of ammonia and nitrite by providing good
biological filtration, not overfeeding, and doing regular water
changes. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Hump on albino African clawed frog
Dear WWM Crew:
I have an albino African Clawed Frog that has been happily
sharing a 20 gallon tank with a cichlid for over two years. The
frog is about 4 inches long by now. We also have two cats that
have always shown fascination for what's going on in the fish
tank, and they spend endless hours watching the movements of the
frog and fish.
<Hmm fascination isn't quite the word here the cats view
both frog and fish as food.>
Just in case, I always tape the lid of the tank and I cover the
gap where the pump goes in, in order to prevent
"accidents". <Quite so.>
Well, turns out that all this time the cats were actually on a
surveillance mission and the other night they finally decided to
put to use the intelligence they had been gathering, and launch a
Shortly after we all went to bed, I heard what seemed to be
someone gagging and vomiting. I run to my daughters' bedroom
only to find them placidly sleeping. I then went downstairs and
found the following peculiar scene right by the front door, two
rooms away from the fish tank: one cat looking at me with a
"I didn't do it" look in his face, another cat
violently gagging and throwing up some kind of white foam, and
the albino frog on the ground trying to take advantage of the
distraction to make a escape.
I immediately put the frog back in the tank and checked for
injuries and scratches. All I could see was a little wound in its
right hind leg that looked scratched and as if the skin had
<Yes; a puncture wound of some sort.>
Otherwise, the frog was swimming and moving around (first
frantically, but then it settled down). I have no clue why the
one cat that apparently bit the frog was gagging so violently,
but the following morning she was ok.
<Some amphibians do secrete mild toxins through the skin, and
these can irritate predators. I have seen a housecat foam at the
month after biting a European Toad; after a few hours, the cat
I have looked it up and I cannot find any data about albino frogs
being toxic to cats.
<Yes, Xenopus do have poison glands in the skin.>
The frog also looked fine the following morning, but by the time
I came back from work, it had developed an enormous lump in its
I was hoping it would be swelling from being hit or bitten by the
cat, and that it would go away, but it's been four days and
the lump is still there. Any clue on what to do about this?
<Could be infected; a vet would probably recommend an
antibiotic at this stage. The aquarium is a great environment for
bacteria -- warm and wet -- and frogs are notoriously sensitive
to such infections. Would have a vet look at the frog. Or else,
get a general antibiotic as per aquarium fish, e.g., both Maracyn
1 and Maracyn 2 together for the widest range of protection, and
dose as per aquarium fish.>
|Re: Hump on albino African clawed frog
Thanks! I have already started the antibiotic. Frog seems to be ok,
although the lump is still there.
<Okay. Good luck, Neale.>
Your help and advice is much needed. Xenopus sys.,
Dear WWM crew,
Thank you for reading my email. I recently bought an Albino African
<Small? Or just a "frog" size of Xenopus laevis I'll
Im not sure of the age. When I first brought him home he was fine. I
set up the tank after doing research on this little creature because
the pet store that sold him to me didn't know much about their
<Mmm, ours: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above>
I have a 10 gallon tank filled up half 2/3 the way. Right now I have a
heater, which I keep at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and smooth rock display
for hiding places. I decided to keep with a smooth glass bottom with a
dark cloth around the outside since I didn't want him accidently eating
sand or rocks. I have not gotten a filter
<Absolutely necessary. Amphibians are very sensitive to
accumulated metabolite and variation in water quality>
yet but change the water ever couple of days so its not too messy in
the tank. The pet store said that they just put fish pellets for the
fish in the tank and guessed that the frogs ate them too, I have bought
freeze dried Hikari Tubifex Worms or him to eat. Sadly, now that I've
had him for a couple of weeks Im noticing very strange behaviors and I
cant seem to find any diseases that match his criteria.
<Highly likely these are all traceable to environment... You NEED an
When I first brought him home I used hard water because I didn't find
any articles saying I couldn't. He was fine at first but after a couple
of days he started swimming oddly, swimming up to the top and then
floating down over and over and when Id turn on the light or walk
towards him he'd start thrashing his legs. Doing more research I found
out hard metals are toxic so I bought Aqua Safe Plus by Tetra which is
a water conditioner and dechlorinator all in one. I changed all of the
water and added the conditioner in to fresh water.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
re establishing cycling in aquatic systems. Simply changing the water
here won't do>
So to keep you updated on the time frame he was in the hard
unconditioned water for about a week then I changed the water with the
conditioner. I still used the hard water but I thought the conditioner
would help, but he wasn't getting any better, in fact he was getting
worse, he was now trashing at random times and spinning so that his
belly would be facing up and then he'd flip over for about a minute over
and over. Then he would stop and just float around my guess was that he
was exhausted from thrashing. Today I decided to get regular city tap
water for him and added the conditioner/dechlorinator to the water
hoping he would be able start controlling his legs. When he first
started thrashing I thought he was just nervous around people but now I
fear there is something more going on. It seems almost like he is
epileptic and it gets set off by people walking towards him. I haven't
moved him to a shallow tank because I often look over and he is
floating at the top where he can breathe. The closes symptoms I have
been able to notice are cramping leg or slightly paralyzed leg syndrome
but I wanted to check in with the experts before I tried any remedies.
Any advice you can give would be very helpful. Sorry for the length, I
wanted to give you as much detail of the situation as possible. Thank
you for your time.
<One last time; this system needs ongoing biological filtration...
Is this clear? Bob Fenner>
I have 4 ACF's (2 male and 2 female) that are all 4 - 4 1/2
years old, housed in a 30 gallon tank. (I realize this may be a
bit small for them, that they should be in at least 40
<Indeed, but shouldn't be an immediate cause of
They have been housed the same for at least 3 1/2 years, with 2
filtration systems and a water heater that is set to 75º.
<Sounds good, but do let them cool down in the winter a bit.
72 F/22 C is about right for the winter months. This replicates
the subtropical seasons a bit better, and ensures overall better
health. But again, unlikely to be a serious cause of
They are fed both ReptoMin pellets and freeze-dried blood worms
about 2 - 3 times a week (read other places that we are not
supposed to feed every day/every other day?).
<I'm not too stringent on this aspect. Yes, daily feeding
is unnecessary, but at the same time, daily feeding won't
cause problems if the water quality is good. The main thing is
you have clean water (0 nitrite and 0 ammonia) and frogs that are
neither skinny nor fat, but gently rounded about the
We recently started feeding, as a treat, frozen cubes of shrimp.
(Not sure what brand...bought at Petco. Tiny shrimp frozen into
cubes). We have also fed earthworms as a treat once every few
months or so. Their tank is also bedded with small gravel rocks
(the colored type). I know from reading about these frogs that
these types of rocks are not recommended, but we had never had
any problems with them before, so we never removed them.
<Again, rocks are unlikely to cause problems if they're
smooth. Jagged rocks are a serious risk, as is sharp gravel.
Rounded gravel might annoy the frogs because they can't dig,
but shouldn't cause problems. Occasionally frogs swallow
gravel, and that is serious, but it's a rare problem. Smooth
silica sand is the ideal.>
We also treat the water with Amquel Plus.
A few weeks ago, we noticed that one of our males was getting
unusually skinny. He had lost all of the black coloring on his
arms/fingers, and looked to be very emaciated. His veins also
appeared to be a much brighter red and more visible than the
veins on the other 3. We observed all 4 ACF's when we fed
them, and this particular frog seemed to be so lethargic that he
either refused to or could not swim to the top to feed.
<This sounds like a bacterial infection. "Red Leg"
is particularly common. See here for ideas on treatment:
We tried doing a water change and tried to feed more of the
frozen shrimp cubes (once thawed, they would sink to the bottom)
in order to give him a fair chance to eat. It seemed like he was
hungry and searching for the food, but most of the time he
appeared to be lost. He would just keep swimming side to side,
but never up. (He would go up for air every once in a while, but
would never stay to eat). We decided to remove him from the
larger tank and quarantine him. The others are eating just fine
and do not appear to be acting strangely. They also appear normal
physically, except for our biggest female (please see last
picture attached - skin discoloration: might be hard to see. Her
skin has always been somewhat yellow compared to the others.
Picture is trying to show lighter/whiter spots on her skin. Look
between eyes and on her back, closer to the left arm.)
Thinking our quarantined frog had some sort of bacterial
infection, we began treating the water with Pimafix (made by API,
described as an Antifungal Fish Remedy...bottle indicates it also
treats internal and external bacterial infections.) I bought this
to try only after speaking to somebody at Petco. This did not
seem to help any.
<Pimafix won't help here. At best, this medication is a
preventative, like the sort of thing you'd add to a cut or
graze to prevent infection. It's a fairly mild medication and
doesn't do anything to treat bacterial infections once
established in the fish or frog.>
In the quarantine tank, he seems to be eating okay. He is now
going to the top to eat. In addition to pellets and blood worms,
we have also been feeding earth worms more often (not in the same
feeding), trying to bulk up his diet in order to put some more
weight back on him? He now has the black marks on his
fingers/arms again, but is still extremely thin. He has been in
this quarantine tank for approximately 2 weeks, and we do not
notice any poop in his tank. With the amount that we have been
feeding and watching him consume, if he was not pooping, I would
assume that he would be bloated, as if he were blocked. When he
has not eaten, he appears really thin around the waist/stomach
area. His legs also still look very thin (like you can see his
I cannot seem to find any useful information on ACF's getting
thin while still eating plenty. I have attached several pictures
(best I could take at the moment). The lone frog is the skinny
one that I am emailing about. I have also included several
pictures of the other 3, to give you an idea of how big the
others are. The pictures of the lone frog are about 15-20 minutes
after a feeding of blood worms. I would assume that if he had
swallowed a gravel rock and was impacted, that he would be
getting bloated more and more after each meal? If you think this
is because of a swallowed rock, are there any ways that I can
help him pass it? If you think this is more of an internal
infection, can you recommend any treatments? Any advice or
suggestions that you could give would be more than
<Do note that Red Leg is easier to prevent than cure. Xenopus
are hardy, and can live 20 years. But they have their limits, any
a combination of stress factors including physical damage can
make them vulnerable to Red Leg. Hope this helps. Cheers,
Re: Skinny Xenopus 9/22/11
Thank you for the quick reply.
<You're most welcome.>
I plan on picking up some Maroxy 2 this evening/tomorrow.
Just a couple of side notes: I emailed you guys a couple of years
ago with a picture of my from with ammonia burns/septicemia. (The
homepage picture for Xenopus Disease). After a dose of Maroxy 2,
an added filtration system, and proper water changes, he healed
up just fine and is doing well!
<Always good to hear a positive outcome.>
Also, I was reading your Xenopus Reproduction section and noticed
that you didn't have any pictures up. It also sounds like
most people don't have any idea what the frogs will look like
when mating. I just wanted to send you a couple of pictures that
you could add to your site if you wish. Like I said, we have 2
males and 2 females. All 4 were going at it in these pics.
<Please do send those along! Would be happy to add them to
whichever article they'd fit best it!>
Again, thanks for your help.
<Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: Skinny Xenopus
I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I
believe we have jacked up our tank cycle. I have two tanks setup.
The first is the 30 gallon that all 4 ACF's reside in. The
other is a 5 gallon quarantine tank.
(This tank was never properly cycled...trying to do that
The 30 gallon tank is showing 0 Ammonia and Nitrites, somewhere
between 30-40 Nitrates, and the pH level, no matter what I do,
continues to plummet to 6.0 (possibly lower).
<Does sound as if the aquarium lacks carbonate hardness. Use a
carbonate hardness test kit (sometimes called a KH test kit and
more or less equivalent to an alkalinity test kit). Carbonate
hardness measures the amount of carbonate and bicarbonate in the
water, and it's these that prevent pH drops. Alkalinity
isn't quite the same thing -- water can be alkaline because
of things other than carbonate or bicarbonate -- but again, the
higher the alkalinity, the more the water resists pH drops. In
your case, you're after a moderately high carbonate hardness
I have even tried pH 7.5 (API) to raise the pH level, but it
<Often don't. These buffers tend to assume you already
have reasonably high levels of carbonate hardness. E.g., in a
Rift Valley aquarium, you've got a coral sand substrate and
Rift Valley salt mix in the water.>
I used the recommended dose for the 30 gallon and it raised the
pH from 6.0 (or whatever is was at prior, possibly in the
5's) to approximately 7.0.
Now, 3 days later, I am closer to 6.4 and dropping. From what I
have read, and from the local pet store owners I have spoken
with, Nitrates and pH go hand in hand.
<No, they don't. Nitrate can form nitric acid in water,
and yes, this lowers pH. But in most aquaria this effect is
trivial. The major sources of pH drop are accumulation of organic
acids from the biological filter and general decay of organic
material including plants within the tank. CO2 from livestock
will also lower pH.>
The higher Nitrates rise, the more unstable and acidic your pH
can be. I know that when a tank is properly cycled, Ammonia and
Nitrites will drop to 0 while Nitrates will start to rise. With
weekly and routine water changes, you should be able to keep
Nitrates in check.
The 5 gallon tank had housed the sickly frog, with a carbon
filter. When we began treating with Maracyn 2, we removed the
filter and did not replace.
The only filter cartridge in the filter system now is the black
filter that came with the system. I do not have any rocks or
livestock in this tank at this time. I assumed (and probably
incorrectly), that the bacteria that had grown on the black
filter would be sufficient to cycle this tank. We removed about
75-80% of the water that was treated with Maracyn 2 and replaced
with Amquel Plus conditioned water. After this, Ammonia and
Nitrites were reading 0.25, Nitrates were 5ppm, and pH was
approximately 7.4. Now, 3 days later, Ammonia and Nitrites are
closer to 0.50, Nitrates have remained constant at 5ppm, but pH
has plummeted to 6.0 (possibly lower).
pH straight out of our tap is above 8.0. From what I have heard,
from online and from pet store owners, Amquel Plus can lower pH
SOME, but not by this much. Do you have any ideas? Are you guys
available to speak with over the phone? I am getting mixed
messages from the local pet stores. Some say to add Nitrate
reducing chemicals and pH stabilizers while others say to do a
10% water change once a day for a week to lower Nitrates and
<Start reading here:
Have a look at the Rift Valley salt mix, and make up new water
using that, but to begin with, only use HALF the dosage
recommended, since you don't need water as hard as Rift
Valley cichlids. Another thing is to draw the water from the tap
and let it sit overnight, and ideally 24 hours, so that any
dissolved gases can evaporate. Some tap water is chemically
In the morning add 50% the recommended dose of Epsom salt, baking
soda and marine aquarium salt mix, stir well, and then do your
water change. (As you'll notice, you're using fractions
of teaspoons of each chemical, so this is a really cheap way to
buffer water.) Do this for the next week, changing 20% of the
water in the aquarium each day. By the end of the week you should
find the aquarium is very much more stable, and you should have
water chemistry around about 10 degrees dH, 5-10 degrees KH, and
about pH 7.5. Perfect for your frogs!>
At this point in time, I do not have a "safe" place for
my frogs to live in if I have to cycle their tanks from scratch.
I cannot seem to find any consistent information for cycling with
livestock, or if this is even possible. Any suggestions or ideas
you have would be appreciated.
Skinny Xenopus 10/21/11
Just wanted to follow-up with you guys. I have attached a series
of pictures. The first 4 are from when I first emailed you guys
about my frog looking emaciated, refusing to eat, and while he
was behaving as if he was lethargic (around Sept. 20, 2011). You
had responded that this sounded like red leg. I began treating
with Maracyn Two. (Treated for the full week and had removed the
carbon filter during that period). After the full week of
treatment, we replaced the carbon filter to end treatment. At
that time, he was only willing to eat night crawlers.
A few days after the first round of Maracyn Two treatment, he
took a turn for the worst. His toes/feet were tightly clamped. He
started getting open sores on his "knees" and the
webbing between his toes became infected and began to rot off. I
read a little more into red leg and found that in the later
stages, these frogs can start to develop open sores and their
limbs will rot off. I also read that once it gets to this point,
there is almost nothing you can do for the frog, that it is
already terminal. Sure enough, his toes started to slowly rot
away, down to the bone until the bones snapped off. Not willing
to accept the fact that our frog was probably past the point of
saving, we tried a full week of very aggressive antibiotic
treatment. Once again, we removed the carbon filter and we began
dosing with Maracyn Two AND Maracyn TC (Packages said both treat
the same things expect that TC also treats septicemia). The
packages for these medications say to dose once daily for a full
week. We were dosing every twelve hours with each. (Basically
quadrupling the recommended dosage - pet store owner suggested
that he doses his fish/frogs with medicine every twelve hours
when they are sick - he mentioned that after 12 hours, the
frog/fish has absorbed everything they can from that dose). The
next 4 pictures show his condition while treating with these two
medications. (Maracyn Two causes the water to turn cloudy while
the Maracyn TC turns the water orange).
While treating, the fuzziness on his toes went away (webbing
completely disappeared), his toes were less red, and his sores
actually started to heal. During this time, he also started to
eat frozen blood worms in addition to night crawlers. And then we
made a terrible decision....
We stopped treatment after a week. We were concerned with the
cloudy/orange state of the water for longer than a week,
especially since we were dosing him 4x the recommended dose. We
replaced the carbon filter to stop the treatment. He was still
eating at this point. We were (and still are) feeding him once a
day with the frozen blood worms. He was willing and able to eat a
whole cube. We figured as long as he was now eating and pooping
regularly, that maybe we were headed in a good direction. But
then his sores started to get worse, and he developed more. (One
behind each arm and one on his back side). His toes also began to
rot away more rapidly. During this period is when we noticed bare
bone exposed/snapped off on his toes.
The next 2 pictures show this condition.
Kicking ourselves in the rear for stopping the double treatment
with the Maracyn medications, we went back to the pet store to
get more of each.
While there, they recommended we try KanaPlex (made by Seachem -
active ingredient is Kanamycin). This medication says to dose
once every 2 days, for a maximum of 3 doses. Again, we went with
the more aggressive route.
Instead of every other day, we are treating with this medication
once a day. We are also not going to stop treatment until his
wounds are healed and he looks to be back to normal. We are on
day 5 of this treatment and everything seems to be getting MUCH
better. He has developed new webbing between his toes and it
looks like he might be regenerating skin/meat on his toes with
exposed bones. His sores also seem to be healing. During this
entire period, he had also became so skinny that he lost his
"fat packs", the large humps that these frogs use as
energy storage around each kidney.
With daily feeding and a daily dose of this medication, he has
"refilled" one pack and is working on the other.
With all of that being said, I do have a question or two.
1) Do you know at what point overdosing with any of these
medications might become an issue? They seem to be working and
not harming at this point, but is there a time limit that these
doses might be good for? Will they eventually begin to do more
harm than good? Also, have you had any experience with successful
treatment of red leg once it gets to the point of rotting limbs
off? From what I have read, a lot of websites recommend to
euthanize once it gets to this stage.
<It's crucial to finish off all courses of antibiotics.
Not only for your own use in a given situation, but because
incomplete usage of antibiotics is one of the major reasons why
so many dangerous bacteria have become antibiotic-resistant. Now,
in general, they rarely cause harm to animals, so you can use
them as often as you want. The only likely danger is to filter
bacteria, but if the filter bacteria are okay, or you're able
to keep the water clean in other ways (e.g., through use of
Zeolite or very regular water changes) then this won't be a
major worry. And yes, I agree:
once the bones are visible in the thigh or shins, it's time
The odd lost toe isn't a big deal if the frog isn't
otherwise in trouble; amphibians may even regrow lost toes. But
if Red Leg is happening, and the main part of the leg is
infected, so much so the leg is clearly gangrenous, it's time
to painlessly destroy the frog. I'm not an expert on
euthanising frogs though. However, the RSPCA (the British
equivalent of the ASPCA in the US, publish a document on Xenopus
welfare that includes information on euthanasia.
In a nutshell, they recommend MS-222, which may involve talking
to a vet or animal rescue. A fish anesthetic like Clove Oil might
work, but because frogs breathe air, and can hold their breath
quite a long time, this isn't something I'd recommend
unless you understand what you're aiming to do and how
you'd prevent the frog from breathing.
Benzocaine has also been used to kill frogs humanely, and may be
worth considering. Benzocaine can be purchased from
2) This frog is still quarantined from my other 3 ACF's. I
know that this disease is HIGHLY contagious. Our sick frog was
housed in the main tank with the other three for a long time
while he was emaciated and lethargic, before quarantined and
started treatment. The others have not shown any signs, except
for two days ago. I noticed that while they were stationed at the
bottom of their tank, (presumably sleeping/resting), all three
had clamped toes/feet. None of them are looking red, I cannot see
their veins as I could with the sickly one, and they are all
still very well rounded and eating normal. As soon as I turn
their light on, or disturb their tank in some other way, they
"awaken" and they spread their toes like normal. I
don't think I ever would have noticed their feet had I not
been caring for this sick one. Should I start treating their tank
with the normal recommended dosage incase they have the early
stages of red leg? Or is it normal for these frogs to have
clamped toes while they are sleeping?
<I would assume all frogs are infected and treat with
antibiotics. If nothing else, you'll prevent any spread of
infection, even if the frogs are healthy now.>
P.S. I have also attached a couple of pictures of the other 3
frogs. You can see that they look MUCH healthier than this sick
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Dark spot on African 3 Clawed Frog
I have a 3 year old female African 3 Clawed Frog who has a filtered 20
gallon tank all to herself. She has had a dark spot on her back for
several months that seems to be getting larger. She does not act sick
or have difficulty moving, but I am concerned that it may be a tumor
(perhaps a melanoma of sorts)? Have you ever seen anything like this?
Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide. I'm pretty fond
of the little critter.
<I can see the patch, <<RMF deleted these 25 megs of
pix>> but it doesn't look obviously serious to me. Perhaps
genetic, perhaps damage to the skin at some point. If the frog is happy
and feeding well -- it's tank looks lovely and clean! -- then I
wouldn't worry too much. There's a nice page of photos of
Xenopus diseases here: http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm
Take a look, and be mindful of what sort of things to look out for on
your frogs. Cheers, Neale.>
My Albino Clawed frog just shed its skin and is has
not stopped twitching since. Arms, fingers, toes, legs...pretty much
anything that he can move is twitching. He is still swimming around
just fine but he has never twitched (to my knowledge) before. I was
nervous that perhaps his water was dirty and affecting his new skin so
I changed out close to half of it.
I feel really bad for him. Is there anything I should do or is this
normal. It doesn't look normal.
<Hello Emily. Sometimes frogs shed their skin more quickly than
normal when there's irritants in the water. So
check the water is clean (i.e., filtered) and that you're using
water conditioner with each weekly water change (use a conditioner that
removes not just chlorine but also Chloramine, ammonia and copper).
Check that there's nothing "foreign" in the water, like a
rusty nail, that might be producing toxins or irritants.
Finally, do make sure the diet is a good, balanced one. Frogs can get
nerve damage from a monotonous diet, just like humans can. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
Short of all this, no, there's nothing specific I'd recommend
beyond a good water change (50% perhaps) and a "wait and see"
attitude. Cheers, Neale.>
<Hi there. Am responding in place of our usual amphibian
staff; as they seem to be out>
I noticed just an hour ago that one of my female frogs looked
very weird. On one half of her body (her left side) is swollen.
She only appears swollen in the stomach area. It kind of looks
like it could be a hernia to me, but I couldn't find any info
online about frogs with hernias. She appears to be swimming
alright, other than wobbling just a tad.
<Mmm, your images are very small, but I think this one
specimen may just be gravid... developing eggs internally>
I have a 110 gallon tank. There are only two albino African
clawed frogs, both females. They are also pretty big. I have had
these two frogs since they were pretty small (a little over 7
months now), and they have never had anything wrong before.
I also have 3 cichlids. They are pretty calm and rarely
aggressive. If they get aggressive it is usually only towards one
another and not towards other tank mates. I have 6 other small
community fish as well.
<Surprised these haven't been consumed by the
I'm not really sure what information is important. I do
regular and consistent water exchanges. I do use aquarium salt
and stress coat. I just put in two live plants for the first time
yesterday. Every time I have had my water tested it has come out
good. I get it tested by my local fish store.
I feed super color cichlid pellets, and I supplement with a dried
mix of krill, red shrimp, and Mysis shrimp. I also supplement
with bloodworms sometimes. I have not noticed her eating anything
tonight, other than her skin that she just happened to be
I am not very experienced with frogs. I just read about not
having gravel in the tank, which I have in my tank of course. I
am leaning towards thinking she is impacted, but she doesn't
look like the photos of other frogs I have seen that are
<To me neither>
I currently have her in quarantine in a smaller tank. I was
afraid of her swimming around too much, or being stressed out by
other tank mates while being hurt. I included some pictures, but
they are small.
Thank you so much in advance for your help! I want to help my
little girl out.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/xenopusdis.htm
and the linked files above. I would do nothing to
"treat" this animal. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick frog
After doing some further research, I am also surprised that
everyone in my tank seems to get along. I've never seen the
frogs be aggressive towards the fish or each other, and vice
versa. My frogs and cichlids are pretty calm and docile from what
other people have been saying.
Thank you for the information! That makes me feel a lot better. I
added her back to the big tank, and she is still eating and
swimming perfectly fine.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
African Claw Frog tumour?
My two year old albino ACF has suddenly developed a lump under the skin
at the top of his leg, just down and across from his bottom.
He appears to be his normal self, feeding and swimming without any
difficulty and the lump doesn't appear to have changed at all in
the last couple of days and he is not bloated or discoloured in any
way. I feed him
every other day on a mixed diet of frozen thawed red/white mosquito
larvae, Artemia, daphnia etc, live mini meal worms and dried fish
<Sounds a good variety of foods.>
Is this likely to be a tumour or some sort of bowel blockage?
<If the swelling is in the limbs, then yes, a tumour of some sort,
benign or otherwise, is likely. Abdominal swelling caused by
constipation is usually very obviously such, and constipated animals
tend not to want to
eat much. The use of Epsom salt and live daphnia or live brine shrimp
will usually shift constipation. But tumours are virtually impossible
Fortunately, they're quite rare, and if they don't obstruct a
sense organ or orifice, shouldn't cause the frog any undue harm.
With luck, the tumour may subside in time. In the meantime, do review
basic living conditions, in particular things likely to promote tumour
formation -- water quality, lack of vitamins, chlorine in the tap
water, use of copper, etc.>
Many thanks in anticipation for your advice.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: African Claw Frog tumour? 6/13/2011
Many thanks for your reply Neale, it is very much appreciated. Since
posting my message, my frog has allowed me a better opportunity to get
a really good look close up at the lump and it is in fact where I can
best describe as directly over his right bum cheek (were he to have
one!) I can say with some certainty that it is not in his leg. His
stomach and the rest of his body is not bloated and I have watched him
eat both the frozen food and the live with his usual vigour in the last
few days but the lump has not passed nor changed in size/shape.
My husband is firmly in charge of keeping the tank in tip top condition
and I am confident this is all at the correct level. It really is
baffling and I feel rather helpless and very worried about my little
<Sorry I can't offer anything more concrete to guide you to a
If you Google terms such as "tumour" with "Xenopus"
you'll see that such things are commonly investigated in
laboratories, Xenopus laevis being one of the classic lab animals.
Tumours may be genetic, but they can also be caused by exposure to
heavy metals (for example copper) and various other chemicals that are
toxic rather than immediately fatal. Vets can remove tumours depending
on where they're located on the animal, and when performed
properly, the frog can go on to enjoy a long and happy life.
Re: African Claw Frog tumour? 6/16/11
That's all noted, many thanks for your advice Neale.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick African Clawed, please help
I have had my ACF Gus, for almost 10 years now. He has never been
ill in his life with me, until I noticed some worrying things
over the last few days. Gus has always been on a diet of
ReptoMin, and maybe once a week frozen bloodworms. Gus lives in a
55 Gallon tank, with no fish of any kind. He lives alone, with
lots of fake plants and hiding places. He is a very spoiled frog!
He has a waterfall filter that I run a few times a week. I do
regular water changes as well. I decided to do a full tank
draining last weekend to redecorate his space. I put him in his
bucket until cleaning was done, and returned him to his home. Oh,
and just to add, it is tap water, and I always put tap water
conditioner in with every water change. Later that night I
noticed he was curled up in a ball sort of , legs tucked in. I
didn't think much of it because sometimes he sleeps this way,
but he did not do his usual night singing, and did not eat his
bloodworms that night.
The next day I noticed he was shedding excessively, and has not
stopped since. The webbing in between both back feet is also
torn, and red around the tears. He also has some small white
spots that appear cottony, and a few small red spots as well. For
the last 4 days I have kept him in a 5 Gallon sort of hospital
tank, changing the water every day, and doing a diluted Pedialyte
bath once a day. He has been eating for the last 2 days, very
well actually. But he is still sluggish, and his still shedding
like crazy. Any ideas?? I love him very much and I want to get
him the proper treatment. People have told me everything from
Lamisil, to aquarium salts, to tetracycline and I am not sure
where to begin! Here are some pics of recent days.
<Hello Ally. Your Xenopus is a good age, so broadly, I'd
imagine you're providing good care and that this infection is
one of those things that happen even in the best run aquaria. But
with that said, do double check the filter is working properly,
and remember, it should be running 24/7, 365 days a week. Each
time you switch the filter off some of the bacteria die, and when
the filter is off, there's nothing removing ammonia. I
mention this because young Xenopus may well be hardier than older
specimens, and just like people, as Xenopus get older, they
become more sensitive to disease as their immune system starts to
weaken a bit. In any event, check the aquarium has good water
quality -- zero ammonia and zero nitrite -- and also check your
water chemistry is appropriate -- hard, neutral to basic water is
better than soft or acidic water. Medicate as per Finrot in fish.
Your local reptile/amphibian pet shop should be able to advise
here, but if all else fails, a broad spectrum antibiotic should
help. Injected antibiotics from your vet have the best chance of
helping, while antibiotics the frog can eat work almost as well.
Antibiotics added to water are the least reliable because of
issues to do with dosing. Remove carbon from the filter because
that will remove medication. Red Leg is a distinctive health
problem with these frogs for which treatment is difficult, and
unlikely without help from your vet. There are some useful photos
Re: Sick African Clawed, please help
Thanks so much for the advice, me and Gus really appreciate it!
His webbing appears less red today which I suppose is good! I
will try doing everything you suggested!
<Good luck to you both, and we're glad to help where we
can. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick frog part 2 5/8/11
I had written you about my frog Gus. Well I have confirmed now it
is indeed some sort of fungus. He has stopped shedding, but now
he has white little cotton ball things all over him. How do I fix
this?? Please help thanks! I bought aquarium salt and tetra
fungus guard..are these safe and please advise on the dosages
<Methylene Blue is available at aquarium shops and is
particularly safe and effective, which is why it is used for
treating baby fish and even fish eggs. It is known to be safe
with frogs. Look for medications that contain just this chemical,
such as Kordon Methylene Blue and Interpet Methylene Blue. Use as
directed, paying particular attention to concentration, water
changes, and the removal of carbon from the filter (if used).
Other antifungal medications may work, but I'm not familiar
with their safety or otherwise when used on frogs. Cheers,