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Re: xenopus frogs with health issues

Subject: Re: xenopus frogs with health issues
by longhairedgit on 2007/12/5 9:08:02

There are lots of causes for swelling in xenopus frogs, the first , and perhaps most common cause is related to the frozen aspect of the diet. Frozen fish in particular often causes problems with thaiminase, a substance that robs the frogs of essential b vitamins, and this leads to hyperthyroidism, loss of efficient co2 exchange in the lungs, radical weight gain and some neurological issues. These are all factors that have osmotic swelling as a secondary consequence.Therefore it is very important to keep the fresh component of a frogs diet high to preseve access to b vitamins, and not to allow a thiaminase to negate the b vitamins that are going tin , or already making the b vitamins in the frogs system useless.

Water quality is of some importance too, bacterial levels wont always show on a test kit, and if theres a lot of waste about amphibians of just about all kinds are martyrs to saprolegnia, and this will affect the osmotic balance of the skin at low level. Obviously at high level they will overtake a frog, blanche out its skin go fluffy, and kill it in short order, so you always have to look out for cleanliness, even if you arent as worried about the ammonia and nitrite and nitrate levels as you would be for a fish. Its definately worth using oxygenators to help gaseous exchange at the surface that will aid removal of harmful decompositional gases that will scorch a frogs skin, and create a difficult environment for saprolegnia to take hold within.

Renal failure is also a prime candidate to be a cause of swelling. A diet too high in beefheart, and bloodworm or other meat products will also cause liver damage, hepatic lipidosis, and the tissies will consequently sswell with water. Excessive vitamin A will have much the same effect, it does much the same thing in reptiles too, water oedema is a known complication. You might find the levels in fishfood too high for these frogs.

Crickets are a useful dietary addition , though you must be careful not to feed them on a diet high in oxylates, so perhaps avoid feeding the crickets on spinaches , sprouts and cabbages prior to offering them to the frogs, sweet potato , orange etc would be better. They can be given yeast additives and this will go to the frog, over time reversing much of the nutritional deficiencies they may be sufferring from, so dont dismiss them out of hand.

An easy way round many of these problems is to provide the frogs with and artificial diet, xenopus diets are commercially available, and tetra reptomin will do as a stand in. Limit the amount of frozen fish you give them, and use other foods such as glassworm and blackworm, which while similar to bloodworm are less fatty. Never use beefheart, and if you give them fish, make it fresh and not from the very fatty groups like salmon and trout, and no tuna either. Other foods are whiteworms, chopped earthworms (home cultured) crickets, recently moulted mealworms, etc.

Giving them live fish such as feeder guppies would seem to be ideal, apart from one major problem, and that is the pathogen known as aeromonas hydrophilia, which is now common as muck in imported fish, and it kills frogs and toads in droves by transmitting to them orally, and causing the condition known as "red leg" which is invariably fatal. With the huge amount of asian fish about, goldies etc, and integrated shop systems your chances of avoiding aeromonas in feeders is practically nil.

Many xenopus are farm raised, so it might be worth trawling the american market on the web for xenopus diets, they will be balanced, and can be used as a major staple with a few treats here and there. They will be the most economical way to feed your frogs on the proviso of course that there arent food recognition problems, and since yours take flake, im assuming they will eat almost anything.