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Will this filter eat my frogs?

597 Views 18 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Stepheth
So I received for Christmas two African Dwarf Frogs, allegedly from Brookstone, which I researched and found was awful. I have purchased a 3.5 gallon tank, a heater, new gravel, new plants, new everything, and plan to move my little inch-long frogs next Saturday. They are doing okay so far, and I'm preparing the tank today.

My only concern is the filter. It is a c10 Hagen Elite Mini Underwater filter. It is only a few inches long and not very big. It creates a current but from what I can tell it doesn't have too much sucking power. I have read horror stories in which the little frogs get stuck and drown in the filters, and I was just afraid of that happening. Can someone tell me that this little filter won't eat my frogs?

Should I just not have a filter, and stick to water changes?

Also, it has a noise, and I was wondering if that might also trouble the frogs.

I'm sorry, this whole aquarium thing is quite new to me, but I'm doing my very best to do everything right and to give these frogs a good life!

Any answers will be appreciated.
Thanks!
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With ADFs filters aren't really needed. They are pretty clean (compared to my ACF anyway, LOL) so it won't make a big difference either way, as long as you keep up on water changes. If you want to use the filter, you can always wrap a nilon stocking around the part that sucks in water, so your frogs wont get caught in it.


I would actually get a tank that is at least 5 gallons though. Tiny tanks like that are a pain to cycle and keep good water quality with, and ADF sound have at least 2 gallons of water per frog.
Hello Jess. So you suggest that I should just take the filter out and do partial water changes? I could do that. How often, would you think?

And also.. I read that it was 1 gallon per frog. They're really very small, and the tank that I'm moving them from is only half a gallon--so I'm pretty sure anything would be a step up.

I'm also heard the word cycle quite often, does it refer to the nitrogen cycle?

Anyway, thanks for the input! :)
IMO, most of the frogs who got "sucked in" were already dead to begin with. Most healthy animals can get away. That being said, you can take nylon stocking, stretch it out, and wrap it around the intake (you can use a rubber band to secure it).

Whether or not to use the filter is really up to you. With such a small tank (5+ gallons is definitely better) you'll probably be doing frequent water changes anyways. If you decide to upgrade to a larger aquarium, the filter will be more useful since it'll help your biological filtration by providing a spot for your beneficial bacteria to grow (the sponge in the filter).

By the way, I would return the gravel and get larger "river stones" or sand if you want substrate. Gravel can be swallowed accidentally by the frogs and it's very rare that they survive such an instance.

Good luck with your new frogs and kudos for taking the time to properly research their care :).
This is all so confusing. For every three suggestions, it seems that two others oppose that suggestion. Such as tank size, or what substrate to use.

I think I'll use a nylon stocking. Someone also suggested cheese cloth.

Also.. Sesami, how often is frequent? I was thinking 20-30% water changes every week or week and a half.

And finally. I researched and contemplated the gravel long and hard. This gravel I bought is bigger than the food they eat, and smooth as not to injure them. In addition, I hand target feed them with tweezers, so I don't really think eating from the bottom will pose a problem either way.

Thank you so much for your input!
Well, I don't think anyone is opposed to 5-gallon tanks for frogs, some people just keep them in slightly smaller tanks.

I would do a 20% water change every week but you'll need to decide a schedule based on water parameters. If you test your water and find ammonia or nitrite, you've waited too long to do a water change or need to do larger ones. Small aquariums are very unstable so unfortunately spikes like that aren't uncommon. You may find that the only way to keep water quality up is through 100% water changes (since it'll be difficult to cycle a small tank) but hopefully the filter helps out :).
But... 100% water changes are horribly stressful for the frogs! :confused:

Also... Why is it more difficult to keep a smaller tank 'cycled'? And I know that 3.5 gallons seems like a faux pas, but they're moving from a 0.5 gallon tank...

-confused-
The more I ask.. The more confused I get. I apologize.
But ammonia is deadly toxic so stress is better in this case.

It's harder to keep small tanks cycled because there's so little room for error. You don't have much dilution in such a small volume and your bacteria populations are also smaller. Think about it this way...let's say you have a teaspoon of some toxic chemical. If you spill it in a large body of water (like a pool), it'll probably be diluted, possibly to the point of not even harming anything. Put that same amount in a fish bowl and you have dead fish.

Over-feeding, having a power outage, mis-dosing a chemical, forgetting to dechlorinate water (or having your water company add something that you don't know about), missing a water change...those are all things that can put stress on an aquarium system. A large tank will often be OK because toxic substances get diluted, the filters are stronger, and the beneficial bacteria populations are large enough to deal with the problem. But in a small "desktop" tank, you're likely to have a crash and lose animals (or severely stress them).

Moving them into a larger tank is good, I agree. But you have to also understand that those aquariums are not very stable. That's why small aquariums are never recommended for beginning aquarium owners :(.

I don't mean to scare you and I think you did a great thing for the frogs. But, unfortunately, it's the truth. Those tiny desktop tanks are good for pets like ghost shrimp and not much else.
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Okay.. I know, I realize, and you are scaring me, just for the record.

I plan to get an ammonia test kit tomorrow, and for now the frogs are staying in their old tank, but understand that their old tank is only half a gallon big! I know that isn't my choice.. I was given them in this condition, but I'm trying to do everything I can to help them. Everything I novice like me with a limited budget can do though--is not absolutely everything.

I don't plan on having more aquatic pets, just these two little frogs. I bet the ammonia in their little tank is pretty high--though I've been doing lots of water changes, and make sure they eat every bit of their food. They only eat twice a week, five little blood worms or so, and have hardly any waste. I've read they're quite hardy animals, and they've been doing good so far, being active and such.

I just.. Kind of felt the need to defend myself there, but I'm restating this. I'm a novice, an amateur--I don't know anything. But my worst fear is for Kenneth and Pontius to die...And so I'm asking you kind people of the internet for any suggestions or advice. :(
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I'm not attacking you if that's what you thought :confused:. You kept saying you were confused so I tried to give you more information and other ways to look at it.

You were given advice. Both Jess and I advised that you get a 5-gallon or larger. Since that's not possible, you'll just have to deal with the ammonia problems with frequent water changes. It's not ideal but of course it's better than their current situation, I agree. It's great that you care about these frogs and got them a larger tank :).

What heater did you get? A common issue I hear of with small tanks is that they're difficult to heat.
Uhm.. A Submersible Aquarium Heater by Marina, the smallest one available. The guy at the petshop (I've heard they're unreliable, but he did seem to know what he was talking about) said that I could even get a size up, if I wanted, but the room the tank is in never falls under 70 degrees, so I deduced that this would be fine. I do not have a thermometer, but the tank seems to be a comfortable temperature.

And I guess I feel distressed, because these things that are being suggested to me are things that I just can't do. I'm sorry. I'm a worry wart, and have developed quite an attachment to these frogs.
Definitely get a glass thermometer, they're only $2. I don't doubt that the heater isn't working properly but it's good to have in case it breaks--otherwise, you might not even notice. Sadly, a lot of aquarium heaters fail in the "on" position. I've had this happen several times.

No problem, I understand. Have you checked your local craigslist ads? Or freecycle? Sometimes you can get aquariums for free or really cheap. I've gotten several that way :). If you lived near me I'd give you one for free but I doubt you do.
Yeah, no one is trying to attack you here. But let me say- Before I knew any better, I tried ADF in a small desk-top like yours. Mine never lasted longer than two weeks, even though I fed them right, and my water tested perfect every time. :( Aquariums like that are simply too small to support any kind of life, other than shrimp.
Also, you would be making your life a LOT easier by getting yourself a bigger tank. The water quality is so fragile in those small tanks, even forgetting about one or two water changes could have devastating effects on your little frogs. Larger aquariums give you more room for errors... And trust me, as a newbie, you will be making lots of 'em. Like, I could be weeks or even a month (in my laziest times, LOL) late on my water changes for my bigger aquariums, and still have no issues. But, when I was breeding feeder fish in my 5 gal tank, the would drop like flies if I missed water changes.


You could always try a bin aquarium too. Not the prettiest to look at, but hey, it works!
Its not hard to find some cheap, used aquariums either. I have 4 or 5 extra aquariums in my garage right now that I would love to get rid of if you lived by me, LOL.
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It would be hard for me to take care of any fish, because I haven't done it before. The fish are not always expensive, but the accessories are.
Okay.. Lots of responding to do... @@
Thank you everyone for caring.

Firstly..
Sadly, a lot of aquarium heaters fail in the "on" position. I've had this happen several times.
.. I thought you weren't trying to scare me.

Also.. I'll get a thermometer, and I bought a ammonia test kit today. Why did no one tell me it was horribly poisonous? @@ Anyway.

I think I'm going to continue with my plan to move to them to the new tank, which, despite it's 'small' size.. Is still seven times bigger than the one they're in now.

I just had a question about betas. My friend's had a beta for years in a one gallon tank. I realize that frogs are not betas of course, but betas are a bit bigger than shrimp.. And are also bigger than these frogs. They've already been living two plus months in the stupid half gallon tank.

I realize that I should get a bigger tank, these babies jump around, and maybe I will, but not right now. Right now I am broke.

As spoken by Urofan...
The fish are not always expensive, but the accessories are.
I, again, was just given these for Christmas, and no one had any idea what I was getting into. I will take the best care of them that I can--within my current means, and hope for the best.

I'll keep you guys posted, if you wish, on my progress.

One last thing, is there such a thing as doing water changes too frequently?
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Ammonia tests in both tanks are reading basically zero. Whew. One less thing to worry about.
That's great to hear, the water changes must be removing the ammonia as it's produced :).

When you get the chance, test nitrite too. That's the other toxic chemical. If you can't afford the test kit, most pet stores will test for free.

As for bettas, they can survive in very small spaces. They are extremely hardy (hardier than your frogs, in fact) and capable of breathing air. It's not good for them, though, and they don't really thrive. Bettas kept in small tanks are much more prone to health problems, behavioral problems (some bite their own fins), and shorter lifespans. Keeping a betta in a vase (or other small container, but a vase is common) is often compared to keeping a dog in a crate for it's whole life. Just like the fish, the dog will probably survive for a while--but it's not good in the long run. Bettas can definitely be kept in "desktop" tanks but the aquarium should ideally be at least 5 gallons (and heated) with anything under 2 gallons being cruel IMO.

As for the water changes, you can do as many as you want as long as you're careful about how you do them. In other words, make sure the temperature of the new water isn't too different than the temperature in the tank and that the water itself isn't too different (this won't be a problem unless you suddenly decide to use bottled water, move somewhere with a new water source, etc.). Water changes shouldn't be stressful to animals if the new water is similar to the old water but cleaner :). They actually seem to be refreshing--the animals in my aquariums are always brighter and more active after a water change.
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You seem to be trying your best to do the right thing for your fish and to understand what their needs are. I'm not going to keep fish because of the huge responsibility of testing the water to make sure it's correct. I was interested in possibly owning salt water fish until I found out how difficult it was to maintain the proper salt level and other things in the water.
Thermometer, well established; Cycle, properly added; Ammonia, 0.

Froggies seem active and content, not that I can read their expressions or anything.
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