Strange African Clawed Frog deaths

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Ashes2ashes

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May 4, 2010
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So, yesterday my 7 month old female albino African Clawed Frod died really suddenly, and then tonight my male died in the exact same manner. I know I cannot cure them as they have passed on, but I was curious if anyone had seen anything like this before since I cannot seem to find these particular symptoms anywhere. Elliot (my female) seemed completely fine until out of nowhere she kind of started bucking the top of my aquarium and swimming really spastically. She has always been a little silly in the way she carries on so I didn't think much of it, but a short time later she quite literally went stiff and dropped dead to the bottom of my aquarium. I pulled her out to check for signs of life and she was already stiff. Then, tonight the exact same thing with my male. He started bucking the top and swimming spastically and then a short time later went stiff and died. In between the first death and the second I was treating with salt in hopes that if it were bacterial that might help, but it seemed to have no effect. The water params are normal. lowish nitrates/0 nitrites/0 amonia. It is a 20g tank and I do water changes once or twice a week depending on what I feed them. I alternate feeding between live crickets, live worms, and reptomin floating sticks. The most recent things they had to eat before dying were crickets from the pet store. There were no markings on the frogs skin, no red legs, and no bloating. No outward signs of illness I could see at all. I hope one day when I'm not as sad about losing Elliot and Biff I can keep another pair, so my hope is that maybe someone has seen this before and might have some idea of what killed them. Clearly it was either contagious from one frog to another, or something in the food they ate. They had no other tank mates aside from a few ramshorn snails. It is a planted tank with chain swords, Luigia, and water sprite. Sorry this is so long, just hoping I can get some answers. I know that not that many people on AC keep clawed frogs, and that most people keep dwarfs but I thought it was worth a shot to ask. Thanks in advance for any info. - Ash
 

GoldLenny

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Sounds more like a contamination issue.. pesticide, household chemical, etc... especially from your description which sounds like they had seizures or nervous system attack of some sort.

Trace back exactly what happened in and around the tanks in the preceding hours prior to the episodes.

Had you fed them each a particular food item? Possibly one of the foods you fed them were contaminated.

Do you have a pH test kit? I'm not sure how much pH shock would affect aquatic frogs compared to fish but pH shock, temperature shock or osmoregulatory shock in fish can also caused quick and unexplained deaths. My blog of fish health and disease resources includes sections on non-disease and stress related health issues.
http://goldlenny.blogspot.com/2007/02/disease-illness-diagnosis-treatment.html

I probably need to go through that old page and check for broken links and other updating.... but why do today what I can put off till tomorrow! ;-)

One other thing you can do is fill out the Sick Fish Questionnaire and post it here. That will help you think of everything that might have caused a problem and/or maybe one of us will see something. Here's my blog for the questionnaire... http://goldlenny.blogspot.com/2009/06/sick-fish-questionnaire.html
 

Ashes2ashes

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Instead of the myriad live foods (and their associated risks), in the future I'd suggest a quaity pellet food designed for frogs, available at www.Xenopus.com $3/lb.

Thanks for the info, but I am a big believer in variety of food and also in occasional live feeding. I keep my frogs on a staple pellet rich in calcium and vitamins for their main diet, but I also feed live every so many days. I think most creatures are healthier for having variety and personally I think it is worth the risk rather than having them eat the same thing every day for the years that they are alive.


Sounds more like a contamination issue.. pesticide, household chemical, etc... especially from your description which sounds like they had seizures or nervous system attack of some sort.

Trace back exactly what happened in and around the tanks in the preceding hours prior to the episodes.
I am really not sure it could be pesticide related since nothing new was added at all anytime soon before the first frog became ill, and the second frog seemed to come down with it 24 hours later without having had anything added or taken away except for being slowly acclimated to some salt water for the treatment of bacteria. It was not ph shock. My ph was the same 7.5 it always is and the temp was the same 77 degrees it usually is. As I stated in my post, the last thing they had to eat were sone crickets the day before the first frog died. I don't know if the crickets were contaminated or not, but it seems like they would have become sick at the same time if that were the case, instead of 1 and then the other 24 hours later. I really think it was most likely bacterial or parasitic, but I wanted to see if anyone had a similar experience with ACFs and wanted to share what happened or if they knew exactly what caused it. Thanks for the replies.
 

msjinkzd

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sounds to me like it could be chytrid. Chytrid is a fungus that effects amphibians. When my adfs got it, they did spastic behavior at teh top of the water. it can also be characterized by thickening and whitening or reddening of the skin. It was a real problem a couple of years ago.
Here is a link to a page: http://www.amphibianark.org/chytrid.htm
 

Ashes2ashes

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Ty for the info Rach, that actually seems and looks like exactly what happened to them. So I am going to start the long process of trying to get rid of it so that my aquarium will be safe for future creatures.
 

BioHazard

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Instead of the myriad live foods (and their associated risks), in the future I'd suggest a quaity pellet food designed for frogs, available at www.Xenopus.com $3/lb.
Admittedly, there can be some risk with live foods, but I really think the benefits outweigh the costs, especially for certain animals. The live foods provide mental stimulation, and variety in the diet that I don't feel can be replicated fully in a pellet. I know the alligator at my lfs can be given all the pellets in the world, but his scales get dull and he loses a lot of color without his live mice. :)

I'm so sorry about the frogs, Ash. :( I was really hoping Biff would pull through.
 

GoldLenny

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Did you have a change in temperature in the tank in the day(s) prioer to the health issue? I know many bacteria and fungi and parasites will spread more rapidly at their preferred temperature so IF you had a change in temperature that cause the water to get warmer or cooler.... but usually warmer, than it normally would be, that could be the condition that led to the speedup of the fungi... presuming that's what it is.

I'm reading through the link and I see this SNIP, "For instance, some of the most important amphibian population declines associated with chytridiomycosis have occurred at high elevation locations that have a cool temperature range (< 25oC or 77oF) that is most optimal for the growth of Bd."(END SNIP), so it appears this fungi likes what might be considered a cooler temp from tropical temperatures.

Technically, a low pressure front/zone and a lowering of the temperature could mimic the above. The article also mentions "seizures" as one of the symptoms and that certainly fits in with what you described.
 
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waterboiloveswater

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Hay I had this problem a few time and I can tell definitely tell you it is NOT a parasite or bacterial problem
You frong had a Seizure or nervous system attack
This could be could froM a few this but I’ll go throw the more common things

1) something new in the room or tank water
Maybe a moth or bug with pesticide, or harmful chemicals, got in the room and in to the water.
Spraying aerosols (Like frbreas, sensual oil’s, spray on deodorant, and perfume) in to the air and it got in the water. Maybe you cleans the sides of the take and the chimcal some how got in the water. Thing of this nature

2) the crickets you feed them had something on them. sometimes the places wear you get you feeder bugs spray stuff on them to clean or disinfect Them plus crickets are just not clean. I do believe you can and sould implement diversity in there diet but cricket and roaches are not the best thing. I would higly recomend worms and cherry shrimp or glost shrimp ( ghost shrimp arnt as nutritious as cherry shrimp) bigger frogs could eat rosy barns but to be on the safeside only feed them to fully grown females because frogs can’t digest fish bones as that well but fish fry should be safe if they can find them all.

3) bad breading, if the frogs have bean inbreeded there nervous system could become like a ticking time bomb and something just set them off but I don’t think this is the case because they both did it with not much time in between

Some one said useing frog pellets to feed them on the future but I personally fill like high/medium -quality turtle pellets and sticks are more nutritious
 
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