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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11512
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have an ADF who was fairly healthy when I first got her.

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I have an ADF who was fairly healthy when I first got her. She thrived for quite a while. However, over the past few months she has become very thin, with white on her joints, and her webbed feet have curled up. I quarantined her away from the other frogs, in a smaller tank where she won't have to compete for food or swim too far for air, or fight the current of the filter. With frequent water changes and feeding she is doing well: active, eating well, etc. But she still has white marks on her body and curled feet. What else can I do for her??

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in herps. I would like to help with your question tonight. Some additional information will be useful.

Are the white marks raised or are they flush with the skin?

What shape are the marks?

A photo would be especially helpful, if it's possible. You can upload a photo by clicking on REPLY, then at the top of the area where you would type is a tool bar with icons. Click on the little paper clip icon (it's right next to the YouTube icon). Instructions will pop up. On some browsers, this doesn't work. if that happens, you can put your photo on one of the free photo sharing websites, such as Then come back here and paste the link to your picture in a REPLY.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Anna! Thanks so much for your reply!!!


The marks are centered on mmy ADF's joints -- the less fatty/muscle tissue, the more white there is. Also on her back, where the litltle ridge-like archs are on either side of the spine. They seem fluish with the skin though from what I can tell there may be some thickening where it appears.

Thank you for getting back to me. This is a very strange condition - one I've never seen before. I want to do some research to see what I can find out. Curled up toes usually mean a frog is very sick, often near death, but those white marks are very odd. It almost looks like some kind of bone disease that is showing through the skin. I'll see what I can find out for you, and you'll receive an email when I post again. I'm sorry not to have a quick answer for you, but I want to explore all the possibilities. I appreciate your patience.

Hi again. I have checked all my sources and discussed this with another of our herp experts. No one has seen anything like it. To me, it looks like something internal is going on, and as it progressed, the weight loss resulted in the skin settling down on the bones. The pressure from the bones can cause the skin to lose color. What you need to get to the bottom of is why the frog is losing weight despite eating well. You have taken all the appropriate measures you can take on your own. The next step would be to have the frog checked for internal parasites. If there are none, the problem could be the result of a metabolic disorder, or even cancer. Both can cause weight loss.Unfortunately, when these little frogs develop internal illnesses, they are very difficult to treat. For the best chances of success, the frog would need to be treated by a herp vet who is comfortable treating such a small patient. The following link will take you to a directory of herp vets. You may have to call a few to find one who will treat your frog.

The other option is to continue as you have been, and simply keep the frog comfortable for as long as possible.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it will work out well for you.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks so much for your reply, Anna. I will see if someone local can help us; but it's reassuring to know that I am helping her to some extent. She seems pretty content right now. I love to see her gobble up every meal!


I hope I can do better for my mating pair who are in the big filtered tank and occasionally "hooking up." So far, so good... the only issue I have is that the Ph is a little high in both tanks... 7.5 or so. I will work on adjusting it back down to a more neutral number and just focus on water quality and food quantity.


Thanks again!

You're welcome. Actually, your pH is fine. They do best with a pH between 7.2 and 7.6, and that's also the range in which breeding occurs. Adjusting the pH often leads to more problems than it cures because once you start messing with it, you have to be diligent about keeping it the same. It's changes in pH that are most harmful. It's a myth that a neutral pH is best for most aquatic organisms. A neutral pH is very hard to find in the natural world. You can confirm pH ranges for ADFs here:

I wish you success with your mating pair. It sounds like they are off to a good start.

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Hi Kat,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Bitsy. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Bitsy is doing well, thanks Anna! She's eating with gusto, hiding creatively, and her scrawny little legs seem to be filling out a bit. I feel hopeful about her prospects. :)


Now if I could figure out if the other two are making eggs or not... I might submit a question about that...




Thanks for the update, Kat. I'm so happy to hear that Bitsy is doing well. I love getting good news. Here is a very comprehensive link on breeding ADFs. You might want to check it out.