My poor babies - Bubonic Plague? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy My poor babies - Bubonic Plague?

Greetings all! I need help, or rather our frogs need your help.

We have had 2 ADFs for a little over a year in a one gallon plastic fish bowl - no filter, no air bubbles. When I used our well water, I would have to remove the frogs, thoroughly clean the tank, and replace the decorations and frogs. I decided to use bottled spring water one time and everything was great, the frogs did fine and the cleanliness/clearness of the bowl stayed for 6-7 weeks, no smell etc so I continued to use the bottled water.

Two months ago we decided to get an aquarium and more ADFs (From PetSmart). We got a 10 gallon tank and another 8 ADFs for a total of 10. We also got a filter for a 10 gallon tank as well as a heater - the tank has maintained 72 - 78. I have been feeding them Frog & Tadpole pellets. In watching them, they all seemingly ate fine.

PetSmart told me that I would probably need to change the filter every 2 - 3 months and change "some" of the water out about that time as well.

Two weeks after having the tank set up, one of the little frogs got a front leg stuck in the filter - I used an ice pick to pry the filter apart and when I was able to wiggle him out, I saw that his hand had already been amputated; little guy only lasted 2 more days. I went to PetSmart looking for something to prevent this and they gave me a foam looking filter cover.

Approximately a month ago (we have had tank one month at this point) I noticed the tank was getting cloudy. I checked the filter and it was very dirty, so I changed it. The cloudiness cleared up for about 10 days. When the cloudiness came back, I changed out about 30% of the water. After another week it didn't get better so I changed about another 25%.

Four days ago the water was still cloudy and one of our little guys started doing this bounce off of bottom and then float at top and around, he died the next day. Then another died the next day. I took water in to PetSmart to test and they said "everything" was well within desired levels, the problem isn't related to the water.

Yesterday, another frog died - number 3. I looked on this forum and saw a post about not using spring water....we were convinced this was being cause by the water. I moved the little froggies to a smaller tank for the night to get them out of the "bad" tank.

I did some research online and found this site. Following some of the suggestions like no bottled water, today I spent most of the day cleaning everything in the tank to the finest detail. I used out well/tap water and water conditioner and put the froggies back home.

Now 3 of them are taking turns doing the dead-frog dive! ANY suggestions? I just dont understand. Up until yesterday when I took them out of the tank, and the water changes I did - nothing is different that I can see/feel.

Thank you soooo much


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 03:00 AM
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What specifically did PetsMart test for? Would it be possible to get your own test kit and record the actual numbers? Bringing in a water sample is useful for getting a general idea but all aquarium owners should really have their own way to test.

While the bottled water didn't help, that wasn't your main problem. This is essentially what happened:

-A brand new aquarium was set up but not cycled (aquariums have to be cycled before you introduce animals...pet stores love to leave that part out!).

-The tank was stocked too quickly with too many animals (I would keep 5-6 frogs MAX in a 10-gallon and they should be added over time).

-Ammonia built up, followed by nitrite, since the tank lacked the needed beneficial bacteria (cycling an aquarium is basically just a process to make sure you have some beneficial bacteria to start with). Ammonia levels would have been very high at this point (because of all the frogs), had you tested for it. This would have undoubtedly stressed the frogs (and would have killed most fish), suppressing their immune systems.

-The aquarium finally started to cycle and stabilize. You got your first bacteria bloom (the good guys who turn toxic ammonia and nitrite into fairly safe nitrate), hence the cloudy water (it wasn't actually a sign of something bad).

-Unfortunately, you accidentally killed off most of the new bacteria by changing the filter pad and doing large water changes. The filter pad shouldn't be replaced very often, it can instead be rinsed occasionally with water. That way you keep some bacteria. You should never clean out the filter the same day as a water change--it removes too much of your bacteria at once, without letting the system recover.

-The aquarium starting cycling again and so the cloudiness stayed as you got another bacteria bloom. Your water parameters were ok at this point since the bacteria started being able to keep up with the ammonia and nitrite (the loss of a few frogs helped this since your tank was now more reasonably stocked).

-The well water and spring water may have had different pH. It was a good switch to make but the switch should have been more gradual. pH shock may still be affecting the frogs but the best you can do for that is wait and see what happens. By cleaning out the whole tank, however, you killed off the bacteria again. This means that you'll begin having (or already have) ammonia spikes...followed by nitrite spikes. Both compounds are very toxic. The aquarium will need to re-cycle from scratch.

Hopefully that all made sense. I do want to say that it's awesome you wanted to improve your frogs' environment. It just looks like you were mislead a bit along the way.

This is what I would recommend:

-If you can, pick up Tetra SafeStart (formally known as Bio-Spira). It's a product that literally contains the beneficial bacteria you need. You can pour it directly into the tank or onto the filter pad (I do the latter) to cycle your aquarium almost instantly. Most aquariums will cycle overnight with it (but test your water in case of a bad batch). Don't settle for any other product, no matter how similar it sounds. PetsMart WILL try to substitute something else if they don't have it.

-Test the water daily and keep track of your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. You want chemical drip tests, not strips.

-Perform frequent small water changes (remember to vacuum the gravel, if you have any) but leave the filter alone. 5% twice a week would be fine. If you get a bad ammonia spike, you can change more (no more than 10% for the time being).

-Read up on the nitrogen cycle. You can start here: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f77/c...ium-43789.html

-Don't add any more animals to the tank. This includes the "algae eaters" pet stores may try to sell you. I would, however, add some hardy live plants such as java ferns. They'll soak up ammonia and help speed things along. PetsMart stocks java ferns regularly. You can tie them to rocks, leave them floating, etc. They're pretty adaptable! The only thing they don't like is to have their "roots" totally buried.

Good luck and please keep us updated! Don't be hard on yourself, either, it sounds like you care about your frogs and are doing your best. Sadly, pet stores just want to make sales .




~Stephanie

"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 #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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This makes me soooo mad! One guy at PetSmart told me I could add up to 20 frogs and another guy told me as many as I wanted because they aren't that dirty! It is so sad that these people are setting up pet owners for very bad situations.
I appreciate your advice and will go today and collect the items you suggest and hopefully save the rest - once the "death bounce" starts, is there a way back for the frog or is that it?
Also, PetSmart recommended that I switch from the pellets to blood worms - would you suggest that? He also didn't give me an amount? or frequency of feeding?
Is it typical for this problem to occur 2 months after the tank was established?


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 04:41 PM
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20 frogs? Wow. Even if they weren't that messy, that'd be way too crowded psychologically! A 10-gallon aquarium is pretty small (and usually not recommended for beginners for that reason).

I'm not 100% sure what the "death bounce" is. I'm guessing the frogs are gasping for air and/or trying to escape (but they have quirky behavior like that sometimes, too, so it could also technically be coincidence). I don't think it means the frog is necessarily going to die so I think you have a shot .

If they're eating the pellets (a lot of frogs won't eat them), you can continue to feed those. It's a good idea to supplement their diet, though. They can eat bloodworms, brine shrimp, small earthworms (they'll probably need to be chopped up), fruit flies, krill (not too much but they make a good treat), blackworms, and very tiny crickets (often sold as "pinheads"). See what they like . Avoid freeze-dried foods, go for frozen (thaw them out in a cup of water) or live. Remember, regardless of what you feed, try to vacuum out any uneaten food.

I usually just feed what the frogs can eat within a couple of minutes or until they all look like they got some food.

The problem would take a while to show itself, yeah. At first, you had enough water in there that ammonia would have been diluted. It takes some time to build up to the point where it's harming the frogs (well, it was always harming them, it just wasn't killing them). It also went through the cycle twice because of the filter being changed along with the large water changes.




~Stephanie

"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 #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Well since your last replies, I went and got Tetra Safestart and added that to the tank; I bought 3 plants and added them to the tank. The drip/drop test kit is too expensive so I got some strips that tested what you mentioned. All turned out "ideal" BUT the "Nitrate" and "Nitrite" pads turned GREY! They should have been white or shades of pinks. We will see what the next few days hold - we lost 2 more frogs today so we are down to just a few If this doesn't reconcile I may give it up entirely, and stop the reckless loss of life. Thank you for your help.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 06:29 AM
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you will get it figured out, it isn't hard once things are set up nicely. It is just not as easy as they claim to start. Keep in mind a lot of these pet store workers are college and high school kids that are just working a part time job, they don't always know what is going on.

You don't have to give up entirely.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZooMama67 View Post
Well since your last replies, I went and got Tetra Safestart and added that to the tank; I bought 3 plants and added them to the tank. The drip/drop test kit is too expensive so I got some strips that tested what you mentioned. All turned out "ideal" BUT the "Nitrate" and "Nitrite" pads turned GREY! They should have been white or shades of pinks. We will see what the next few days hold - we lost 2 more frogs today so we are down to just a few If this doesn't reconcile I may give it up entirely, and stop the reckless loss of life. Thank you for your help.
Don't give up, aquariums are easy to maintain once they're stable. Actually, if you have nitrate, that's a GOOD thing. It means you have both kinds of bacteria present now, the ones that convert ammonia to nitrite and the ones that convert nitrite to nitrate (nitrate is used by plants or removed through water changes--it's not usually toxic unless a ton builds up).

The fact that you don't have ammonia shows that your tank is cycling nicely. You'll have nitrite for a little while but it sounds like it's almost gone (since you're already getting nitrate).

Take the strip tests with a grain of salt. They rarely give accurate numbers (I have even tested this myself, using the drip tests to compare). They showed that some nitrite is present and some nitrate is present--don't take them to mean that you have off the chart amounts. When you can afford it, get the drip tests. Even just the ammonia and nitrite tests would be fine...it would be useful for actual numbers as far as those are concerned .

I know it's difficult to see your frogs suffering but it honestly sounds like your aquarium is cycling normally now (I've probably cycled at least 30 aquariums at this point between mine and other tanks I maintain/maintained). Once it's stable, a small weekly water change and the occasional aquarium tests are pretty much all you need to do. Your frogs are much better off than the ones stuck in those BiOrb things and Brookstone kits!




~Stephanie

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


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