African Clawed and Nitrate issues - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2007, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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African Clawed and Nitrate issues

Okay, I've managed to do something to increase nitrates. I'll provide the background and maybe you'll have some tips. I've read Sasami's cycling thread and I'm trying to incorporate those key points - but I'm not getting something right.

The nitrates in my ACFs tank were less than 40 ppm, but I wanted to get them lower (according to the test strips I had, the 40 ppm mark was the "stress point". I assume that's based on fish, but it can't be good for frogs either?).

All other endpoints were good, according to the test strips. pH was 7.2, nitrite was 0. I don't remember alkalinity and hardness, but they were within "normal" ranges.

So, I decided to add some java fern and start doing more frequent water changes.

The other thing that has changed is I was somewhat worried about feeding rosie reds so much after a conversation in another thread, so I've been feeding beef heart a bit more than I used to.

Since the above changes (java fern and beef heart), despite water changes, the nitrates are registering at closer to 200 ppm and I can't seem to get them down!

The frog isn't acting weird, but I'm concerned.

I saw some dead java fern, I made sure I got that out, and I have to go in with a turkey baster and try to get out bits of beef heart after she eats because she makes such a mess with it.

Could it be the rotting food/fern increasing nitrates? If so, I'm tempted to go back to the minnows despite the debate. She did well on them for 5 years.

I'm also wanting to upgrade the size of her tank if that's the issue. She's in a 10 gallon...is that too small? I would have upgraded earlier but it seemed the 29 gallon tanks I looked at didn't really give more length/width and to go up more than that would require some serious planning for floor space.

Her substrate is sand, if that's important, and she has the java ferns and some plastic plants.

I also have a waterfall filter and I change the filter every few weeks.

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Millie
Mom to 2 crazy kitties and 1 African Clawed frog.

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Last edited by millie121; 09-09-2007 at 09:49 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2007, 10:36 PM
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How often do you do water changes and how much water do you change?

I bet it's the beefheart...most likely some of it is sinking to the bottom un-noticed and rotting.

Maybe try mostly feeding insects, pellets, feeder guppies (those should be a lot safer then the minnows...just be careful where you buy them), brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and krill. ACFs need a pretty varied diet anyways.

The small tank is definitely not helping, either. It's not so much that she needs a ton more swimming room but rather that in a larger volume of water nitrates won't build up as fast. ACFs are pretty messy animals so they need a decent-sized tank and a good filter (what brand is yours?). Maybe look into 20-long tanks? They are short in height but pretty long...perfect for ACFs. Adding a second or stronger filter will help as well.

But one thing I'd do first is ditch the test strips. They can be terribly inaccurate...there's a chance your nitrates are perfectly fine! If you can't afford a test kit right now then take in a water sample to be tested at the petstore .

Oh, and one thing I should mention...java ferns shouldn't be planted in the substrate or the roots will rot, killing the plant. Tie the fern to a rock or piece of driftwood...you'll have much better luck .




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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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I'd been doing water changes every few weeks (pretty much when I have to change the filter, I'd do other general "clean-up" stuff, too). At any of those changes I'll do about 20% to 50%, just going by how the water looks or how much of a mess she's been making eating. I'll also have to ADD water in the mean while due to evaporation. Since I'd noticed the apparent increase in nitrates, I started doing weekly (about 20%), but this past weekend I stripped the whole aquarium, but added a tiny bit of the old water back in along with stress coat. When I cleaned out the sand in the bottom, I got some murky water, but it wasn't horrible.

The filter brand I have..not exactly sure. I bought the entire set-up together from PetSmart (aquarium, hood, filter); I have a separate heater, but it's only necessary in the winter. The actual filters are TopFin, so the housing unit might be the same. I used to have a biowheel, but it splashed water all over the place.

I have mosquito larvae and bloodworms for her also, but they are in frozen cubes and make as much mess as the beefheart because of the way they fall apart. I'll look into those other food sources. The petshop I went to long ago used to have live brine shrimp. I have a very limited selection here, though (which is why I haven't switched to guppies - nobody has 'em). What are your thoughts on regular old silver minnows from a bait shop?

I'll also look for an actual test kit next time I'm out, and I'll start looking at the aquaria some more. The 20 long sounds interesting - I saw them at the petstore, but they didn't have any with HOODS, which is an absolute necessity. I'll look online.

I don't currently have the java ferns "planted" - I think I remembered that from some other thread. I had one (the one I bought) tied to a decoration, but it keeps reproducing, so there are a bunch a little ones floating around. Some seem to be wrapping themselves around stuff - I'm just letting them do what they will - is that okay?

Whew - thanks!

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Mom to 2 crazy kitties and 1 African Clawed frog.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 07:42 PM
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Hey!

I just wanted to ask, how do you feed your frog? Like do you just throw the food in the tank??

Because I have a special needs frog who can't eat on his own because he has has deformed front legs, so he can't push the food into his mouth. I have to hand feed him with forceps. It took him awhile to figure out the forceps meant food and to stop running away from them but once he got the idea he reallly got the idea!

Now when I go near his tank he freaks out cuz he knows dinner is coming! Sometimes he jumps right out of the water and grabs the food before I can even get it into the water!

But anyways, my point is that because he eats everything off the forceps and hardly any food gets in the water his water takes a very long time to get dirty. I don't know if you'd want to go through the trouble of feeding your frog this way but if you did it might help keep the tank cleaner because you wouldn't have to worry so much about rotting food.

Good luck!


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millie121 View Post
I'd been doing water changes every few weeks (pretty much when I have to change the filter, I'd do other general "clean-up" stuff, too). At any of those changes I'll do about 20% to 50%, just going by how the water looks or how much of a mess she's been making eating. I'll also have to ADD water in the mean while due to evaporation. Since I'd noticed the apparent increase in nitrates, I started doing weekly (about 20%), but this past weekend I stripped the whole aquarium, but added a tiny bit of the old water back in along with stress coat. When I cleaned out the sand in the bottom, I got some murky water, but it wasn't horrible.

The filter brand I have..not exactly sure. I bought the entire set-up together from PetSmart (aquarium, hood, filter); I have a separate heater, but it's only necessary in the winter. The actual filters are TopFin, so the housing unit might be the same. I used to have a biowheel, but it splashed water all over the place.

I have mosquito larvae and bloodworms for her also, but they are in frozen cubes and make as much mess as the beefheart because of the way they fall apart. I'll look into those other food sources. The petshop I went to long ago used to have live brine shrimp. I have a very limited selection here, though (which is why I haven't switched to guppies - nobody has 'em). What are your thoughts on regular old silver minnows from a bait shop?

I'll also look for an actual test kit next time I'm out, and I'll start looking at the aquaria some more. The 20 long sounds interesting - I saw them at the petstore, but they didn't have any with HOODS, which is an absolute necessity. I'll look online.

I don't currently have the java ferns "planted" - I think I remembered that from some other thread. I had one (the one I bought) tied to a decoration, but it keeps reproducing, so there are a bunch a little ones floating around. Some seem to be wrapping themselves around stuff - I'm just letting them do what they will - is that okay?

Whew - thanks!
For a 10-gallon with an ACF you might want to try doing two 20% water changes a week...this will help a lot especially since they're so messy. Top Fin filters aren't really that great but they aren't horrible either. Maybe some time in the future you could look into AquaClears...those are my personal favorites . Not much more expensive then a Top Fin, either. Oh, and in the future don't change your filter media the same day you do a water change...you'll be killing off a lot of bacteria and that can lead to ammonia/nitrite spikes. That's a great thing about AquaClears...you mostly just change the carbon and rinse the other stuff off rather then replace it. This means all the bacteria stay. And they have filter media that is designed to help get a small colony of nitrate-eating bacteria going .

I don't know about the bait shop minnows...They aren't really a common food for ACFs and I don't know if it's because they are bad for them or because they aren't as easy to get.

With the frozen foods you should thaw out the cube in a cup of tank water anyways so I don't think there should be a huge mess. I thaw it out for a few minutes and then use tweezers to take out the food and feed it to my fish/frogs/crabs. Is there a petstore or anything that you could order guppies? It's crazy how you can't get them. Where were you getting your minnows? Wouldn't that place be able to get them?

If you're looking online I totally recommend Pet Supplies, Dog Supplies, Cat Supplies, Pet Meds & Pet Products: Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Supplies . They have great prices and service. There are a lot of different frozen foods on there, too, that you could check out.

Yeah, that sounds fine . I just wanted to make sure you didn't plant the java fern since a rotting plant would certainly not help!

Oh, and you know what some less messy frozen foods are? Krill and silversides. I don't know if silversides would be a good staple but krill is an awesome food for pretty much every animal, it seems. You could just defrost a whole one and feed it...no mess there .




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"We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice."


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-11-2007, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dragonrain and Sasami!

I will ask about ordering the guppies - I'd honestly never thought of that (duh); I just figured if they didn't carry them as part of their normal stock (PetSmart that is, which is where I get the rosies; Pet Supplies Plus even stopped carrying the rosies) I was just out of luck.

When I do feed her the other items, I hold it for her and she swims to get it. She just makes makes bits of it fall off while swallowing, even if I give her small bites. I think she just likes to make messes

I didn't know that about filter change/water change (i.e., not to do at the same time). Thanks for that.

I feel like I have several important things to incorporate here over the next several weeks and we'll see what happens!

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Mom to 2 crazy kitties and 1 African Clawed frog.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-11-2007, 07:51 PM
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Yeah, definitely keep us updated.

Oh, and even if you can only get a couple guppies you could always breed your own. Healthier, cheaper, and way easier...they breed no matter what you do .




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