ADF Emergency (Please Help)

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Mar 15, 2023
Hello Everyone, I tried to post this in another forum, but it does not seem to have activity, and this is a sensitive situation, anyone who can help , please do so!


Hey everyone,

My name is Jay and my friend Lindsay has been caring for ADFS for many years now. the current tank is a 10 gallon with lots of artificial plan life and little cave like rock enclosures. the residents of the tank are 1 ADF (female) , 1 Betta (Female) 1 golden mystery snail (sex unknown) and one tiny black snail that only comes out at night (breed and gender unknown)

Lindsay adores her frogs and her aquarium, and is diligent about things like water levels, overfeeding, and any issues that may arise.

Recently (Maybe 2 to 3 days ago) her ADF blew up like a balloon, I am not a vet or even a frog guy, but today I took these photos. I am hoping some of you "fish nerds" can recognize this. Is it dropsy? can it be fixed, is there something inside the frog.

I did my best with the photos, hopefully someone has an "aha moment" and maybe we can save this little gal.

Currently she is floating to the top, getting air then forcing her way under plants to stay submerged.

Thank you to all eyes on this, and feel free to move it if its in the wrong spot,


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Please take a read through the "unhealthy fish" sticky and provide as much detail as you are able.

It could easily be dropsy. Dropsy is a symptom rather than a disease and can have several causes. In frogs it is usually caused by lymph fluid not draining properly from the lymph nodes and begins building up in other parts of the body. The cause isnt known, and the only treatment would be a vet draining this excess fluid.

Maybe carefully going through all the questions throws something up. Its possible the frog ate some gravel or a stone and it got stuck and is blocking things up.

Im not knowledgeable about frogs, but hopefully going through all the questions gives relevant infirmation to someone who is.
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

The frog is red around the face and on the back legs. Has it been injured?

There are very few medications that can be used on amphibians, Methylene Blue and Triple Sulpha (Tri Sulfa) have been used and sometimes work. Most fish medications will kill frogs. Diseases are one of the reasons frogs and fish should not be kept together.


Dropsy normally causes fish to bloat up overnight, do a stringy white poop and stop eating. If the frog is still eating and doing normal poop, that is a good sign. If the frog stops eating, that is a bad sign.

It might have air in its intestine or it could have fluid in its abdomen. Air will usually cause the frog to float up. Fluid normally causes them to sink.

It might be developing eggs, however that normally causes them to get fat over a few weeks, not a few days.

Tumours and cysts normally take months to make them that fat.


Check the water quality for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.

Do a big (75%) water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. the clean water might help the frog fight off any infection around the head and jaw. You might need some sort of antibacterial medication like Methylene Blue or Triple Sulpha, but check with a frog specialist first.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens so any medication (if needed) will work more effectively on the fish.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Contact a zoo or herpetology department and see if they have any ideas, or check online for a frog forum. If it was a fish, I would have more info for you but I only know the basics on frogs.

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