EMERGENCY: African Clawed Frog turning blue


What is the water volume of the tank? 95L
How long has the tank been running? 3 years
Does it have a filter? Yes, two
Does it have a heater? No
What is the water temperature? 20°C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) Two male African clawed frogs (they lived together before I had them)

How often do you change the water? Usually every two weeks but I had a depressive episode and it hasn't been changed in over a month
How much of the water do you change? 40-50%
What do you use to treat your water? Fluvial Aqua Plus Water Conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Yes

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Freshwater Master Test Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0.50ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: >160ppm
pH: 7.6

How often do you feed your fish? 3x per week
How much do you feed your fish? 2 frozen bloodworms cubes between the two frogs
What brand of food do you feed your fish? N/A
Do you feed frozen? Yes
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 3 years but they had several owners before me
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Three hours ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Floating horizontally at surface and turning blue at joints and face
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No but he is quarantined
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? He was severely malnourished but as mentioned that was several years ago
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? He is lethargic and floating at the surface

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
When I got home he was floating at the surface of the tank, over the past few hours his joints became blue followed by his face area and rear feet. One eye appears to be dilated.

Update: I can see what appears to be a lump on his back, he is no longer floating at the top of the tank. I think he may be impacted? I was lead to believe that fine gravel would be suitable substrate but I now realise that I may have been misinformed.
Does anyone know how to clear a possible impaction?

Please do not lecture me on my poor care, I already know.


Depending on the size of the gravel it may just pass on its own. If not try feeding a cook peeled pea or daphnia, they tend to be a natural laxative in fish maybe it would help your frog.


Hi welcome to FishLore!!
I'm sorry your frog is ill. The one thing that jumps out are your nitrates.
It would be a good idea to do a series of water changes to get that down to the 20 ppm range.

I've never kept clawed frogs just ADF's. Almost very issue of bloat they had was after I allowed the nitrates to get to high.
Sometimes they survived after correcting the water issues, sometimes not.

High nitrates in drinking water can effect human kidneys, not sure about if the same is for aquatic frogs but it's my belief that it does adversely effect them since they absorb toxins through their porous skin.

I don't know if this is the issue with your frog but it's a good place to start.

If he is impacted I agree with ghelfaire, but adding little bit to that. Make sure the pea shelled and don't feed the whole thing at once. Feed a few bits, fast for a couple days then repeat.

Good luck!

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