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Thread: Calcium deficiency in African dwarf frogs

  1. #1
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    Default Calcium deficiency in African dwarf frogs

    I have had my three African dwarf frogs for two years now. In the last month, I have noticed more and more broken/missing claws and I believe that they are suffering from calcium deficiency. They are most likely vitamin D3 deficient as well because they are not getting a balanced frog pellet. I understand that they need vitamin D3 to absorb calcium properly? Other than the missing toenails, the frogs seem very happy and healthy. They are active, have a great appetite, clear skin, etc.

    I feed my ADFs a variety of frozen foods including bloodworms, mysis, and brine shrimp. These frogs absolutely refuse to eat pellets. I have tried different brands including Reptomin frog and turtle pellets and food meant specifically for Xenopus frogs. Even after fasting for several days, only one out of three frogs will accept pellets, and he only ate a very small amount. I am not sure how else to give them the calcium and vitamins they need.

    Is it possible to give them calcium and vitamin D3 by adding it to their water? If so, is there a brand of liquid calcium that any of you have used and would recommend? Maybe I could soak their food in a calcium/vitamin solution? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I love my little frogs and don't want them to develop skeletal issues.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Calcium deficiency in African dwarf frogs

    I believe that you're worrying needlessly due to the facts that you've successfully maintained these frogs for two years, which is an achievement in itself; many people seem to have difficulty keeping them alive for more than a few days or weeks. You also say that "Other than the missing toenails, the frogs seem very happy and healthy. They are active, have a great appetite, clear skin, etc.". If that's the case, you don't want to run the risk of trying to mend something that isn't broken by adding stuff to the water that will alter its chemistry and possibly do more harm than good.

    I'm offering this advice on the basis that I kept and bred Hymenochirus frogs for over 20 years. Frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms are fine in my experience and I've bred them when those two frozen foods have formed their staple diet. Live foods like tubifex, Daphnia and white mosquito larvae are ideal. Not only are they more nutritious but the frogs' hunting behaviour, which is sometimes cat-like, is very engaging to observe. Like you, I never had any success in getting them to accept dry, pelleted food and there were never any bad consequences as a result.

    To summarise then, my advice is to just keep doing what you've been doing and don't worry about their claws not having black tips or appearing to be missing.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Calcium deficiency in African dwarf frogs

    Thank you; that is good to hear. I got paranoid after reading about metabolic bone disease in amphibians. I'll keep feeding pellets to the one frog who will eat them once a week or so and not worry about the other two for now. I think I might try to keep some live daphnia and add them to the frogs' diet, too. It sounds like fun.

    Since you have kept them for 20 years, how long on average do ADFs live? I've heard everything from 5 years to 15 and I have no idea how long I should expect to have them.

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    Default Re: Calcium deficiency in African dwarf frogs

    The oldest dwarf frog I ever had lived to be 8 years old but that was exceptional as I found that their usual lifespan was around 5 years. I've also read accounts of people having dwarf frogs that lived for 10 years or more.

    It'll probably be interesting and worthwhile to try and culture Daphnia. I've never done it myself but there are plenty of videos on YouTube showing different methods.
    Last edited by Geoff; October 16th, 2018 at 04:15 PM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: Calcium deficiency in African dwarf frogs

    If you're really worried about the calcium, give them a couple fruit flies dusted with calcium powder. Also daphina, moina (a small relative of daphina), and fairy shrimp (and maybe clam shrimp) would be good foods. Daphina and moina can be cultured by keeping a bin outside filled with cheap plants like elodea out in the sun to get the water nice and green, feed them yeast a few times a week and they should be good. Fairy shrimp are just brine shrimp except can live in freshwater for a few months and can be cultured by adding eggs to an aquarium, filling it up, and once they lay new eggs and die you drain the water, let it dry, wait a few months, then repeat the process. Fairy shrimp can eat yeast and fish flakes.

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