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Fish/small hobby sized aquarium infestation


Our aquatic dwarf frog has been with us for 3 years, healthy, while living in a small 2 gallon tank in the recent year.  He came to us as a surprise gift in one of those tiny but seemingly efficient "Brookstone" -? super mini aqauriums that claim to be self-cleaning and come with a bamboo plant.  Unfortunately, I was comfortable with that for 2 years as he seemed fine, the water was clear and fortunately he didn't seem stressed, but finally I transferred him to a 2 gallon tank (so he could swim more) and was instructed by my local pet store that simply doing partial water changes every 2-3 weeks with purchased spring water would be fine - no need to use filtration, though filtration is always better than not.  Up to that point, I had many years of 10 gallon motorized- filtrated fish tank aquariums experience under my belt and wanted to be done with all it takes to upkeep aquariums once the last of our beloved goldfish and plecostomus -sp? died.  Tonight I noticed something gross and concerning in our froggy's tank.  Teeny tiny little white lint-like looking (definitely white) lines hanging out in the water.  I looked close thinking it was lint from a paper towel or something stuck all-over the outside of the tank.  I looked closer with a magnifying glass (that I use to "inspect" our frog for health) and sure enough, the white things swim.  Well, most of them seem to hang there motionless, but a few definitely swam.  They are so tiny, you have to really look close and pay attention to see them move.  Upon further inspection, I noticed the tank is just infested. They're all over and the tank is full, though the water doesn't seem cloudy. --it's still fairly clear.  It just looks like it's ready for another water change.  I'm shocked as, - I consider myself quite an observant person when it comes to this kind of stuff, and wonder how long they've been there.  I'm afraid that whatever they are, even if I start a fresh, new tank -and believe me, I would be OCD-ish more than normal about not getting any of that water on me or cross-contaminating anything around the area, -and rinsed our frog off carefully, a parasite or worm or mite (whatever they are) is bound to come along with Mickey into a brand new tank.  There have been no live plants in this tank and no other non-micro animals (such as snails, fish, frogs, algea-eaters,etc.) in this tank.  He's been in this one for about a year - though it used to have the old bamboo plant in it until I took it out a few months ago.  It has only had regular aquarium rock gravel in it for "substrate" -is that the right word? -no soil or sand. When he lived in the Brookstone -? mini aquarium, we had put a snail in there to control the algea problem -and that was about 2 years ago now, though the snail could have emitted something onto the bamboo plant or frog.  Since he doesn't live in a big, filtered tank, I'm afraid he won't be able to be medicated, and I can't imagine holding still the tiny, slippery dwarf frog to medicate his skin, nor be able to grasp him from a net.  I'm afraid -after reading what seems to be some legitimate and correct website material- that I may have to euthanize him (with novacained topical anti-biotic ???) and then, not only is that sad, but, - will he really feel no pain -?  I wish I could drop medicine into the tank and it would kill the invaders off, including the ones possibly in his body and/or on the frog.  It doesn't look like any of these white things are attached to his skin, but I did notice a few weeks ago that his legs were starting to look much pinker than normal. I assumed he needed a water change, I did that and added some aquarium salt -thinking he had the start of red-leg- and it went away.  His under-legs are just a hair pink in the last few days I noticed, but I have been thinking that is normal coloring or I'm overdue for a partial.  I haven't noticed what I would consider to be itching, discomfort, stress, sickness, depression, irritability .. and I'm used to watching fish over those fish-tank years for changes in behavior, illness and signs of stress.  Mickey doesn't ever appear to be scratching on rocks or scratching or rubbing up against glass.  He doesn't act out of the ordinary or dart in a concerning way.  He acts normal.  He eats.  He has bright, clear eyes.  He swims.  He relaxes - or what appears to be relaxing.  He hangs out.  He does the zen meditation "burbling" poses.  His skin appears to be clean, of beautiful camoflauge -sp? coloration of normal, healthy aquatic frog skin and without any mucous or fuzzy patches or cloudiness.  I noticed a few days ago that he darts around when I turn the light on in the room (not a light in his tank) and that's different.  I'm also going to call the petstore tomorrow asap, but came across your sight as I hope you might have some feedback or even some questions for me, as I am afraid the petstore might not have many answers.  I wonder if every pet store employee is an aquatic-frog expert.  I really hope the way I expressed the story (since I jumped around a little with when he lived in certain tanks) made sense to you and comes across the way I know it to be.  I thought I noticed some white dots all over his skin a few weeks ago, and wondered if they were tiny air-bubbles.  (I'm familiar with ich, and it didn't look like ich at all.)  Later I noticed they were gone.  Tonight I didn't see anything.

Whatever you can tell me, I sure appreciate any feedback very much.  Thank-you, -concerned aquatic pet-owner.

Unfortunately I'm no frog expert, but my brother happens to be. I spoke with him about your issue and we agree that there is nothing to worry about unless the frog's behavior starts to change drastically.
When I used to have smaller tanks, I could not put UV sterilizers on them because they're too expensive, and I noticed exactly this from time to time and never had any illeffects from them. Many of my brother's tanks (weird as it sounds) have little macroinvertibrates like this 24/7.

That said, I agree they make me somewhat nervous and they're certainly not aesthetically pleasing. I'm sure they also take up a considerable amount of O2 and other dissolved nutrients, so you may want to get rid of them. Partial water changes and anti parasitic (even though they're not active parasites) will do the trick to get rid of them. That said, I'm not sure how frogs tolerate medication (sorry I forgot to ask my brother about this), so you can't go wrong with partial water changes until you see results. Don't get discouraged, they will probably not go away for a while and then they'll seemingly disappear over night. Sorry I couldn't be more help.


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I can answer questions relating to the scientific aspect of the hobby (fish ecology, biology, genetics, etc. ), aquacultural and breeding aspects, and have experience with nearly all "brackish" fish in the trade. I also have lots of experience breeding fish, like angelfish, tetras, cichlids, and various livebearers. I also have lots of experience with many freshwater fish, especially "monster" fish, like stingrays, arowana and Saratoga, cichlids, catfish, etc. Please ask questions about anything except for true saltwater (reef) tanks.


Too much to fully list, but I will never have never enough to satisfy myself.

River Watch of Colorado Monster Fish Keepers USA Canoe/Kayak

Student, but I've been involved in many projects involving aquaculture and fish biology. I'm currently helping design a massive stream improvement project on the St. Vrain river. I am studying fisheries ecology, techniques, hatcheries, and management practices for north american freshwater systems.

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