African Dwarf Frogs - One Dead from massive internal bleeding, metallic smell in tank
Last Sunday, I purchased a 2-gallon hex tank setup and a trio of then-healthy African Dwarf Frogs. Not thinking of the devastating effects of an uncycled tank on amphibian inhabitants, I did not wait to place them into their new home. Further investigation has revealed that I am an idiot.
My tank specs:
2 Gallon Hex
1 non-fluorescent bulb, unsure of wattage (came boxed with aquarium, setup did not say)
Bettasafe water dechlorinator (it's all they had that would dose on a measurable single gallon basis - I figured that frogs and bettas are both tropical, so it should be fine)
Feeding Zoomed Sinking Frog Pellets (fed twice a day, about 10-15 pellets total)
Undergravel Filter w/airstone (No mechanical or chemical filtration)
Smooth river rock substrate, too large to fit in frogs' mouths
No heater - room stays at a steady 73 degrees throughout the day and night, water feels lukewarm to the touch (no thermometer)
No other decorations
Formerly 3 frogs in tank, 2 left
Just before the first frog's death this morning, there were Blue Bell and Purple Waffle plants, fresh from Petco, in the tank. I noticed a baby Mystery Snail on the leaves, but I have removed the plants to plastic cups with clean water in case they were the cause of the problem (or in case they're harboring microbes). I vacuumed the gravel thoroughly yesterday afternoon, and I have performed one feeding in a makeshift dish since them (the food was eaten/removed cleanly and promptly). I performed a 50% water change yesterday, and a 30% water change today. I plan to continue doing 30% water changes until I can improve the water parameters.
The deceased frog's early symptoms included lethargy and spending extended periods of time floating near the top of the tank. A day later, I noticed a red spot on the frog's lower leg - I dismissed it as mild skin irritation, but then I noticed that the redness was becoming more pronounced, and that arteries and veins were becoming very clearly outlined in red. The condition quickly worsened, though I could not see that it had spread to his abdomen. When I extracted him from the water, he did not appear to have any swelling as is present in red leg, nor was he exceptionally bloated as would be expected in a case of dropsy. However, there were notable pinkish splotches on his back and stomach, that I did not notice before because he was doing his normal froggy thing and swimming normally. His behavior, up until ten minutes before he died, was relatively normal.
In addition, the tank has a rather odd metallic odor. Ammonia tends to smell more like urine, and there's a bit of that, but it seems to have a metallic odor in addition to that.
I have no water test kit, and I will not be able to go to the store to buy a proper filter or anything else until Saturday at the earliest due to having no car. The remaining two frogs appear to be vigorous and healthy, and show no signs of internal bleeding. They're sticking close to the substrate and swimming around occasionally - normal froggy behavior. I have no safe method of placing any of the animals in quarantine, so I did not do so.
My question is, what can I do until I'm able to retrieve a proper filtration system and some Stress-Zyme? I'm a college student with next to no transportation, and a midterm tonight that prohibits me from trying to go out and solve my problem right away. Currently, the tank is bare aside from the substrate, water, and under-gravel filter.
Having had them lil bugger before as well...sounds like a pretty obvious fwd matter of Ammonia/ NO poisoning; they do not like ANY NO's / Ammonia, they're IMO more senstive to poor water quality then Tetra's are.
You may want to read over this hear too http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...an-dwarf-frog/
Not having a test kit you won't know what you're dealing with in that case to be safe the only thing you can do is do a daily water exchange of about 40% (always use conditioned water that's round about as warm as the tank!).
Thanks, both for the advice and the luck - I'll need every last bit I can get. I was fairly sure it was NO/ammonia, but the vein discoloration could also be an indicator of a serious bacterial infection. The other frogs are still hanging in there (no signs of burns/internal bleeding), and a friend will be giving me a ride to the store tomorrow afternoon for the necessary supplies.
One last thing. I'm planning on getting a Tetra AquaWhisper filter (submersible, not a "hang on the back" filter, as one would not fit this tank) and some StressZyme to get a colony of bacteria started ASAP, as well as some sort of small, smooth object to give them a dark place to hide and sleep. I'll also take a water sample and the frog's body in to the store for testing and whatnot. Is there anything else I should do or get for this situation? When I get the supplies tomorrow, should I do a 100% water change and basically "restart" the tank? What should I do with the plants?
Sorry to hear about your frog.
It will take some care to keep the remaining two healthy in that small a tank. A filter would be good, but watch having too many bubbles or too much current at the surface. Makes it hard for them to catch a breath. If you're set on sticking with the 2 gal, plan on frequent water changes (like daily). A 5-10 gal aquarium might be easier to keep up with.
Ours really seem to enjoy having floating plants to squirrel around in. Hornwort/pennywort/whatever to give them some cover and break up the current. If your plants were harboring anything, the frogs have already been exposed to it. Wont hurt anything to put them back in. Although the 'purple waffle' sold at Petco I think is not a true aquatic plant and might eventually rot.
As Angel079 said, lots of partial water changes until you can get to the store. As long as you're using dechlorinator they won't be bothered by having the water too clean. I'd trust her about how the frog passed. She knows her stuff. Probably still want to google 'chytrid fungus' and 'red leg disease' so you can recognize them if they ever pop up.
Best of luck with the frogs and the exams.
I've heard that the particular model of filter I'm going after doesn't have an exceptionally strong current, and I plan to cover the intake with a bit of netting so I can guard against the frogs' legs being caught in it. I'll also be sure to throw the purple waffle plants out. I might just buy some darned silk plants at this point, because this is the third time I've bought live plants from Petco and they haven't really been aquatic at all. Never again.
I would switch to a 5gal in a hearbeat, but they won't accept a return on this 2gal because it's been in use and the packaging is open - I don't have money just drop on a whole new tank, and I don't think my parents would be too pleased if I came home with an empty extra tank anyway. This whole thing has been a nightmare, but switching out a bit of water every day isn't a huge deal either, I guess. If i could go back in time, though, I would've definitely sprung for that 5gal Eclipse...
If you're talking about the lil black in tank filters from Tetra - COVER the intake with some mesh/ window screen anything really a sock if you had to...these intake gaps are just perfect sized for the frogs to get their legs stuck (then stuck can't go up for air etc). If you'd like it consider a sponge filter....much safer for them buggers.
I'd really urge you to also pick up a liquid test kit for AT LEAST Ammonia, NO2, NO3; they last forever and are just priceless to have around the tank! Don't buy the strips thou they're so inaccurate that by the time you'd get a reading one or two frogs would prop already be dead.
Do you have anyone around you with a tank that's been going for a long time? If so ask them to borrow 1 filter pad or sponge; keep it wet during transport and wash all this muck into your tank. That'll be all the needed bacteria right there.;-)
When you're at the store anyway check out the reptile section; they always have half coconuts with holes for caves there, my ADF loovvveeeddd these.
Do you have live plants in there? If so that's wonderful and very helpful in your situation do not take them out leave them in there. Based of whatever your water tests like I said do a ~50% w/c each day until the peaks are over.
Sounds like you have the determination to give your frogs the care they need. And they really are cool critters. One thing that will help keep things clean is to use a siphon vac once or twice a week. A 3' length of surgical tubing or air hose that you'll have left over after you buy your filter will work and let you get at the gunk on the bottom.
Soooo much good DIY info (and helpful members) on this site for ppl on a budget. Might keep an eye on craigslist. I've seen ppl on there basically giving away 10 gal glass tanks. Good luck, and hope you stick around.
The biologist in me has revealed the answer to my metallic smell woes. The breakdown of enzymes often results in a coppery odor - but you may be asking, why would a large concentration of enzymes be in my tank water? The empty milk jug I was using to store extra dechlorinated water is almost surely to blame. I thought I washed it out very well, but I opened the jug today and was greeted with the scent of rancid milk, and the same coppery scent permeating my tank. They've been swimming in deluded rotten milk and ammonia this whole time - no wonder they're having issues! At least they can tolerate relatively acidic pH, or else this whole thing would be a far bigger mess. If I'm right, the pH test at the pet store should show that it's unusually acidic.
I might go ahead and see what 5gal tanks they have. If they have a 5gal hex with a fluorescent lighting fixture, I'll be sold on that - a 5gal corner eclipse probably won't fit on the built-in wall shelf in my dorm room. Yeah, I don't REALLY have the money to do that right now, but I could probably make it work if it's under $50. Are the Bio Wheel filters any good?
I'm going to do a 90-100% water change to get rid of the ickynesss from the milk jug once the dining hall opens and I can grab a few condiment containers to hold water samples in, then put the plants back in. As for whatever they end up living in tomorrow, it'll be cleaner and better than what they have now.
Sorry for the double-post, but would this sort of DIY filter work for my setup, assuming I found a small enough bottle to fit my tank? If I don't find a good filter at the store, I may try this out.
YouTube - How to make a cheap aquarium filter
I would also use a water bottle instead of a Coke bottle, just to prevent any unnecessary gunky buildup in it.
OK, new data! I just bought a Tetra Whisper 3i filter, as the 10i was way too big for my tank. I have a bit of aquarium-safe mesh over the intake just in case. I also got my water tested at the store, and my ammonia/nitrates/nitrites were...oddly perfect. However, my pH was very slightly alkaline, so I purchased a test kit and some stuff to fix the pH. The test kit read 7.2. Unfortunately, I didn't read the fine print on the neutralizer - the API stuff that brings a tank to 7.0pH (NOT the pH down) is apparently not suited to planted tanks, so I'm going to return it later this week and get something that's plant-safe. Or would it be OK to use a small amount of the neutralizer?
I also plan to test some tap water to see if it's something I'm adding to the water, or if the tap water in the dorms is just alkaline. Anything else I can do?
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