ACF is eating gravel! ...and now has an enlarged, lopsided tummy! :(


Our 55-gallon Goldfish tank came with 2 ACF (Craiglist acquired). We've had the tank for about 3 ,months now and everyone has been doing great. Not really any hassles between the large Goldies and the frogs.

I typically drop down pellets for the frogs; this is their main food source, as well as anything extra the Goldies don't eat. Both frogs have appeared healthy, sometimes lounging or hiding in caves, sometimes floating around the tank and going up for air.

Since my boyfriend has been out of town, I have been checking on the fish most days....I just noticed that 1 of the ACF is quite fat! Upon looking closer, it's stomach is quite expanded and lopsided; part of it is distended and very fat. Also, it looks kinda lumpy inside. There are no other distress signs; no wounds, infections, and the frog is acting fine except for swimming a little awkwardly (of course, he has a lopsided and huge tummy!!))

I watched him for a while...and saw him eating the aquarium gravel!! Usually, he would mouth it, figure it's not food, and spit out. Nope, he is NOW EATING THE GRAVEL. I witnessed it personally; within the 5 minutes of feeding and watching, he ate/ingested 3 small pieces of gravel.

The other frog is looking fine, nothing odd behaviorally or physically.

Any advice or help!?! Can he possibly pass all that gravel thru his system? Is he as good as gone by now, with all the rock inside him?!? Ay ideas to help "cure" him? Is it because I have skipped some feedings (only feed 1x per day sometimes, sometimes still 2x per day)

Please, we are looking for any ideas. (Lilo and Stitches are our frogs names, and I just love watching them!)


HI there, sorry about your frog (cute names though).

I don't know what to tell you about helping your frog pass the gravel, if he even can. But I wanted to post to wish you well and also to suggest you remove him from the gravel as soon as you can. Since you have witnessed him do this more than once, he's likely to keep at it. So if you can, you need to either remove the gravel from the tank or remove him from the gravel. (Do you have a hospital tank?) This is why it is generally recommended that frogs not be kept with gravel substrate that is a size they can swallow. Smooth stones which are too big for their mouths, bare bottom tanks, and so on, are much more suitable environments.


Thanks for your reply. Yeah, when we inherited these guys, we didn't know a whole lot; did some research, but never came across not putting them in gravel. The previous owner said he had raised them and were raised in this same tank with these fish and set-up. And everything has been fine the past 3 months, until now...

We have already removed all the gravel and put them back in tank.. Any suggestions on getting Stitches to pass the gravel? Any way he even can?! Ay other suggestions on how to now fix this?

Again, thanks for your help!


I would recommend not feeding them for a couple of days. They will be fine for that amount of time, and if he's got a blockage then the food will make things worse.

Do you know about checking their abdomens with a flashlight? You can shine a light through the frog and look at his stomach- if there's a dark spot, then he hasn't yet passed the gravel. You can do this after the fasting period.

Then after the fasting, if the blockage is still there, you could try giving him some peas with the shell taken off- these are digestive aids and might help.

Keep in mind I don't had experience in this situation, this is just what I've read briefly. I hope they do okay. Keep us posted.

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