Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs About Xenopus laevis, African Clawed Frog Nutritional Diseases

FAQs on Xenopus Disease: Xenopus Disease 1, Xenopus Health 2, Xenopus Health 3, Xenopus Health 4, Xenopus Health ,
FAQs on Xenopus Disease by Category: Environmental, 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, TurtlesAmphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

 Beware of Bloodworms, Sewer Fly Larvae... implicated in disease. Wash your hands if touching!

Albino dwarf frog ailment... Not... actually Xenopus, fdg., rdg.     6/21/13
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 food>

 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 eat?
 Re: Albino dwarf frog ailment

Thank you for your help. We will try a better diet and search at the websites you suggested.
<Ah good>
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>

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 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.>

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 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>

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>

911 -- very sick albino African black-clawed frog... env., nutritional, reading as usual 7/8/09
We are new pet owners, and have obviously done something seriously wrong in caring for our 6-month-old albino African black-clawed frog.
<I see an abscess on the leg>
She is kept in a 5 gallon tank with a Whisper 10 gallon filter and sand substrate. As the water has remained clear,
we have been negligent in changing the water more than once a month.
<Too infrequent>
We feed her bloodworms
<Solely? Insufficient nutritionally>

about three times a week (she has been a voracious eater, I might add). I do not know the ammonia or nitrate levels -- we do not have the tools to check those levels at this point (nor did we understand the importance of monitoring such things in caring for our first aquatic pet when we purchased her).
<Likely there is too much nitrate presence... These issues of nitrogenous matters are covered on our site>
About three weeks ago, I performed a 50 percent water change and had unknowingly used a water conditioner that was expired. Our frog lost her appetite about 10 days ago -- not eating many bloodworms at all. Then I noticed some small reddish/purplish spots on her left upper leg (above the knee). These continued to grow and at one point developed a white kind of fluff on top.
At this point I sought help from the fish store where we had purchased her.
The owner was convinced this was a bacterial infection stemming from a chemical burn and quite possibly poor water conditions.
<Likely so>
She gave us a treatment plan that included water changes every three days and Triple Sulfa (1/4 pack per dosage -- spread over five days).
After following the treatment plan for a week, I've noticed only changes for the worse. My frog's entire leg is swollen to the point that she can no longer use it effectively. The red/purple spots expanded and then today opened to reveal a white and puffy-looking wound which is trailing a wispy white matter. This wispy white matter is all over the tank -- attached to the plants, etc.
The frog is barely moving -- I've already declared her dead once today (to the utter horror of my 9- and 7-year-old daughters whose beloved pet this is). I do not hold out much hope, but I thought I'd look for another opinion. (The pet store where I purchased her was closed yesterday and today, so I haven't been able to take her in for an assessment.)
I've attached a picture (not the greatest quality). Thank you in advance for any information that you can give me. If we can't save this frog, maybe we can save a future pet.
Tiffany Leone
<Only time, with improved water quality, nutrition will tell. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Albino African clawed frog, hlth. 12/4/08 hello, I have had my albino clawed frog for about 3 1/2 years now. we have been through a lot together, and he has survived 3 other frogs, when I first got him. I got a 75 gallon tank this past summer just for him. I have silver dollars and other fish, but they all live peacefully. Anyway, yesterday, I noticed that he was at the bottom of the tank, almost on his back. I thought he was dead. I slowly brought him to the surface, and he started gasping for air. I did all the research I could find, and although he wasn't red at all, he couldn't use his back legs. I left him in the net at the top of the tank, checked my water, it all came out clean, and then had to leave. When I came back, he was worse, gasping, falling on his back like a seizure, and he was red on his arms, and legs. I had read where antibiotics help, so my husband and I gave him some, opened his mouth, and put some down his throat. <Mmmm... I would not do this... too indiscriminate (Antibiotics... "against life"...), too likely to be more toxic than of use administered orally here> Is there a better way? <Likely so...> He is still eating, bloodworms, but is weak. Today, he is not as red, but still can't swim. Any advice is greatly appreciated, and although he is just a frog, he is my most favorite pet. The only thing I can think would be causing him stress is I have a sucker fish, a plecostomus but have had it since the start. I really don't want him (jabba the hut, aka kfc), to die, but don't want him to suffer either. Please help. Thanks, Michele <Well... the twin most common sources, possibilities as root cause here are nutrition and environment... which in turn entail many other inputs... The best thing period will be to move this animal to other quarters... Where the possibility of bullying will be eliminated (should it be the Pleco or other tankmate)... and a smaller, shallower world will be better for the frog to get about for air, food... Next, I would supplement this animal's diet... by soaking the food offered ahead of time with a HUFA, Vitamin product... like Selcon, MicroVit... to discount there being a deficiency syndrome at play here. Bob Fenner>

Albino Frog Not Acting Right 7/23/08 Dear WWM Crew, Help; I have an Albino Frog named Freddie for a year now. He is in a 10 gallon tank with a filter, heater and an air pump. The temperature is set at 73 degrees. All readings are normal: Ph 7.0, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates 10. <Good> Freddie has been always a good eater who has always been active. Freddies diet consists of the following: frog bites; alternating with one of the following frozen brine shrimp, frozen beef heart, <Though I too have fed this to Xenopus (many moons back), I would not nowadays> frozen daphnia and frozen/dried blood worms. Just recently I noticed that Freddie has not been so active. On occasions when I fed him dried blood worms he started to spit it out. I also noticed that he was shedding which is fine, but then he started to have a trail of stringy white material hanging from his feet for approximately two days now. When looking at his back, I noticed a black spot approximately the size of a pea at the bottom right side just above his leg. I immediately moved him to a hospital tank and set it up with a heater, a filter and started treating him with Maroxy. For the last two days he started darting around wildly; could this be a parasite problem? <Mmm, no, not likely... Where would such come from?> Also, could the black spot be an impacted piece of gravel; he did have a bowel movement with no problem yesterday. Is this treatment sufficient or should I be doing some other treatment instead like Maracyn-Two? Please give advice. Again thanks for your help Jean. <Mmm... perhaps a nutritional issue at heart is my best guess, I'm going to suggest bolstering this Frog's diet... with vitamin addition to either the present foods, or dusting crickets before offering. Bob Fenner>

Re: Albino Frog Not Acting Right... vitamin referral... off site 7/23/08 Dear WWM Crew, Thank you for your advise. I will change the diet of my Albino Frog. I have one question though, What is dusting crickets and how do you do it? Thanks again for your help - Jean <See the various herptile sites re... BobF>

Dusting Crickets, Re: frog hlth. 07/28/08 Hi WWM crew, I read on the Internet that I am suppose to be feeding my Aquatic Frog dusted crickets. I have a question, how do you dust crickets for a frog that is aquatic; doesn't the dust come off in the water? I tried to research this on your website, but can not find any information on dusting crickets or giving aquatic frogs their essential vitamins. Thanks for your help ahead of time. Jean <Hi Jean. This sounds like a total waste of time (not to mention impractical). Instead of trying to make "one" perfect food, try offering a variety. Frozen bloodworms are a great staple, but augment this with live brine shrimps, live daphnia, frozen crustaceans such as krill, and even very small earthworms. The more different things you offer, the better. Just as with humans, when animals eat a varied diet, malnutrition is rarely a problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Bloated Frog 1/3/07 My albino African claw-toed frog, Bridezilla, is normally quite large. However, she is now quite swollen with what appears to be fluid (she ripples when she swims). She is otherwise engaging in all her normal behaviors, eating, swimming, snuggling with one of the Koi in the tank (they are buddies) and taking food from Frogzilla, a regular African claw-toed male, who is much smaller than she. I am very fond of my frogs, so am trying not to panic about her water retention. Help! Thanks, Sharon Kaczorowski, Delaware < These things are almost always diet related. Food sits in their gut and bacteria break it down instead of the frogs digestive fluids and cause gas. Try raising the water temp to increase the frogs metabolism. Then go to Kingsnake.com and try to find a frog vet that can give you more specific recommendations such a medications.-Chuck>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: