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African Clawed Frog Questions - Please Help

Discussion in 'Amphibian - General' started by Jethro86, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. Jethro86

    Jethro86 Member

    So I recently aquired 2 African Clawed Frog froglets from someone who recived them and didnt want them. As far as I know, up here in NH the pet stores dont seem to really have much info on them...or carry them. I have pretty much helped these frogs so far based on trial and error...but would like a second opinion on how im doing to insure that the time and money invested on these little guys dosent go to waste. So far I moved them from a gold fish bowl that i recived them in, into a 10gallon aquarium. Theres one male albino, and one green female. They werent feeding at first, but after I removed ALL gravel from the bottom of the tank, they seem to be getting pretty fat and happy from the tadpole/frog pelletts ive supplied them. The bigger female seems to enjoy the occasional shrimp pellets as well. From what I researched...I equppied the tank with a couple hiding places, and some fake plants, which seems to keep them pretty content.

    My main concern right now seems to be with tank preperation. After going through this forum, I noticed that nobody does a full tank water change weekly, which is what I do. I dont use a filter at ive heard that moving water upsets these frogs, so im going completley stagnant. I move the frogs into a smaller goldfish bowl temporarily while i empty ALL the water from their normal tank, wipe it down, rinse off all objects within, and then completley re-fill the aquarium with fresh clean water...adding a bit of TETRA AQUASAFE to nutralize the horrible things in my well water. I was supprised to learn that some of you guys let bacteria grow, and only do partial water changes...I have absolutley no aquarium care knowledge and have no experience with fishtanks and what not. I dont really get "Cloudy" water as much as i get the frogs droppings on the tank bottom, and a really gunky, stinky film at the top water line...other than food peletts making a mess, the water seems to stay pretty clear. I do this complete water change and breakdown WEEKLY, because I am paranoid about salmanila and other bacteria that could cause problems...

    My question is my above care acceptable? And could someone explain this "partial water change" and "allowed bacteria growth" when it comes to careing for the tank itself.


    - Jethro
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Hello and welcome to HerpCenter!
    I don't know anything about the frogs but as a long time aquarium keeper I can explain the water change situation for you.
    When you empty a tank and fill it with fresh water, you are creating a perfectly empty, sterile, environment. This is non existant in nature. Using a filter is necessary both for the removal of solid waste as well as the neutralizing of liquid waste. There are bactera that will grow in the tanks that live on all surfaces as well as in the filter media. When you introduce the animals you also introduce these bacteria.

    These bacteria grow in the presence of oxygenated water. By using a proper filter you not only oxygenate the water but give the bacteria much more surface on which to live and grow.

    With leftover food or the animals eliminate, ammonia is formed in the water. This is highly toxic! The bacteria will grow and multiply consuming the ammonia converting it to a substance called nitrites. This too is toxic though not as bad as the ammonia. It still has to go!
    A second type of the bacteria will grow consuming the nitrites converting it to nitrate, basically plant food! This is known as the "Nitrogen cycle" and requires approximately 6 weeks to mature.
    By completly dumping everything and starting over frm scrach each time the cycle cannot happen and the bacteria cannot grow and multiply.
  3. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    I pulled this off a caresheet for you hope it helps

    These are strictly aquatic anurans. At least 1 gallon of water
    per animal, with the depth no more than 12 inches and no less than
    six. Do not use distilled water. Bottles of tap water should stand
    open for at least 1 day before being poured into the tank to outgas
    chlorine and related chemicals. Alternatively, 2 tiny (1 mm cube)
    crystals of sodium thiosulfate can be added to each gallon bottle at
    least 1 day prior to use.
    African Clawed frogs are specifically adapted for stagnant
    water conditions. Although aesthetically pleasing to the keeper
    mechanical and/or electrical filtration invariably produces adverse
    long-term effects on the frogs. Constant water movement no matter
    how slight is sensed through the highly developed lateral-line
    system and results in severe stress. The effect is insidious and can
    be compared to what would happen to a human if (s)he were
    compelled to live where sandblasters and jackhammers were in use
    24 hours a day.
    99 % of the water should be changed by bailing, siphon, and/or
    spigots every 3-4 days, or whenever it becomes extremely cloudy.
    When in doubt about changing the water, try to err on the side of
    cleanliness, though extreme fastidiousness is unnecessary. At every
    water change use a towel to remove any algae and accumulated
    exudate which form on the tank walls, but do not use any type of
    algae-inhibiting or water-purifying chemicals other than the
    minuscule amount of sodium thiosulfate mentioned above.
    Metal ions are toxic to Xenopi, lowering their resistance to
    infection. Make absolutely certain there is no metal of any kind in or
    on the tank or upon which water can splash and drip back into the
    tank, e.g. from a screen or light fixture. Never clean the tank with
    soaps or caustics or allow such compounds to come in contact with
    the water. Do not use pest-strips or insecticides in the vicinity of the
    The Clawed Frog is quite comfortable in ascetic surroundings,
    provided they are suitably spacious. Do not use a substrate of small
    stones, as these can be accidentally ingested. Avoid living plants, as
    the frogs uproot them quickly. A few sterilized medium-to-large
    rocks are sufficient to break up the physical monotony of a plain
    Adult Xenopi may be gently handled, although they're
    notoriously slippery. They must never be netted, however, because
    their thin fingers may be inadvertently entangled and amputated by
    even the finest mesh. Since they desiccate easily they must never be
    kept in a dry situation for more than a few minutes.
  4. Jethro86

    Jethro86 Member

    Wow, thanks for the quick responses! Thanks much Merlin for the bacteria explination, atleast I have an understanding as to why its important. Also thanks to mshrmheadcharge for the care sheet. Thats pretty much what ive been doing, the stagnant water thing with no filter. I guess my main concern outside of other care and feeding comments that might help, would be if this Stagnant water system is ok for these frogs. All the care sheets say never to use a filter beacuse of the stress on the frogs it causes, yet every time I come in contact with anyone who owns any of these guys they all have filters and say allow bacteria build up...

    I think the stagnant water thing is working (altho ive only had them for a little less than a month.). Just curious as to weather or not the Amonia build up in a weeks time is bad for the frog's health...

    Other than that...keep the replies comming, any suggestions are good suggestions at this stage of the game...

    - Jethro
  5. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Hmmmmm, stagnent water.... Maybe this is why i have NEVER had luck with these guys. I have always tried them in my 29 gallon fish tank with no luck.

    With a 10 gallon, you won't get enough ammonia to worry about in a weeks time.
  6. arboreal3

    arboreal3 Member

    I used to catch African frogs both dwarf and regular sized ones in San Diego when I was a kid in the most algae ridden ,broken glass, and stagnant runoff creeks around. Yet they were very abundant and appeared healthy.
    For the 3 dwarfs I have now I might turn off my aquarium filter for a week to see how they react since it causes some turbulence. My fish probably won't like it though!!
  7. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    i don't think you want to turn your filter off with fish in the tank, the ammonia can build up very quickly and become toxic...
  8. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    As mentioned, clawed frogs thrive in stagnant water. Filters will provide too much turbulence and noise and wreak havoc on the frog's lateral line. It's extremely stressful. This can also be said for many fish and other aquatic pets, so it's important to research what the natural habitat of your frog/ fish/ turtle is. Filters can be great tools, but horrible devices at the same time, depending on what animal you use it for, what kind of filter, and what size the habitat is.

    I personally don't use filters for my clawed frog either. I change out about half to 3/4 of the water once a week and use only a piece of driftwood as tank decor. It's also important to check the ingredients of any water treatment agents you use. What's safe for fish is not always safe for frogs.
  9. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    No prob :) Im glad I could help ya out!
  10. Drache Dame

    Drache Dame Elite Member

    What's the difference between african clawed frogs and regular underwater frogs?
  11. arboreal3

    arboreal3 Member

    The regular underwater frogs that you are thinking of have to be African clawed frogs since any other aquatic frogs are far less common.
  12. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    There's really no frog called a "regular underwater frog", so what exactly do you consider a regular underwater frog? The most commonly seen fully aquatic frogs in pet stores are African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis, and African dwarf frogs or dwarf clawed frogs, genus Hymenochirus. Rice-paddy frogs ("floating spotted frogs" to the pet industry), Occidozyga lima, are also seen from time to time and are heavily aquatic.
  13. Drache Dame

    Drache Dame Elite Member

    The reason I ask, is at our store we have what are simply labeled as "sm underwater frogs" and "albino underwater frogs" upon closer inspection, I realized that they are indeed african water frogs. We use a filter in the tank, and It's interesting to learn that they don't like filters. I also want to know about how big do they get, because cutomers are always asking, and I never know the exact answer. Also, how many can you keep in a simple 10 gallon tank? thanks for everyone's help. I love to learn new information so that I can pass it on.
  14. Jethro86

    Jethro86 Member

    From what information ive gathered, What youve got at your store is almost certainly African Clawed Frogs, because their close cousin, the African Dwarf Frog doesnt usually come in the Albino variety...and they also dont usually get as big. If taken care of properly, African Clawed Frogs can usually get to the size of a fist. This is all purley thru research tho, i dont have any first hand knowledge for you as the two I have are only frogletts, (about a max of 2 inches from butt to snout so far), and i didnt know these guys even existed before "adopting" them about a month ago...
  15. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    African dwarf frogs/ dwarf clawed frogs don't get very big, less than two inches. They also don't have "claws" on their rear toes like the clawed frogs do. I'd estimate an adult clawed frog at about 4-5 inches long and fat. They're quite unsuitable for keeping with fish. Aside from the fact that filters do them harm, they also eat fish. At 4-5 inches, most aquarium fish make a tasty snack. I would only keep one or two clawed frogs in a 10 gallon.
  16. MRHickey

    MRHickey Elite Member

    I have had mine with a filter for several years and they have had no problem, but I don't use a bio-wheel (tends to produce a lot more vibration because of the dual filtration system), I use a whisper, and mine have had no problem, a friend of mine did research on lateral lines (my friends and I are fish geeks aka Marine Biology Majors) if you raise the frogs from a young age in an environment with filtration they do not exhibit signs of stress, if you put them in a new environment when they get older that has filtration or unusual vibration or motion in the water they will stress badly. It is the same for fish and other aquatic amphibians, they require conditioning. I have never changed the type of filter on my frogs for this reason.

    Males are MUCH smaller than females, and tend to make a fair amount of noise at night. If you don't feed regularly, or you are late on a feeding it is not inconceivable that the female will attempt to eat the male when they are full grown, be careful about tank mates, I have seen tanks in which the frogs have attacked large cichlids as well as plucked the eyes off of snails. They are voracious predators.

    All and all they are easily the most dynamic and fun animal you can keep in an aquarium.
  17. Drache Dame

    Drache Dame Elite Member

    Thanks for everyone's information. Do they need any type of heat or photoperiod? Should people provide them with a heater in the water, if so what should the temperature be?
  18. MRHickey

    MRHickey Elite Member

    The temperature of the room should be adequate, if you are concerned about your house being too cold, a good rule of thumb is, what is comfortable for you is comfortable for them. If you are the type that keeps your house pretty cool then you can try putting a small tank heater in the tank. I don't use anything fancy lighting wise, they are in line with my iguana set-up so they get 12 hours a day of light, however I am not sure how necessary that is as they are shade loving, and tend to live in murky water
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