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Inch and a halfers just starting out.
Origins: Clawed Frogs originally came from Africa. The ones sold today are spawned commercially – none are captured from the wild. The albino version costs about a third more than the greyish/greenish/brownish “normals.”
Size: Baby Clawed Frogs sell in the inch to inch and a half range. At this size they fit well into a community tank of fishes. When they grow to adult size, they will eat any fish they can catch. They can catch them all at night.
Illegal in California: Clawed frogs that escaped into California ponds ate all the native fish, frogs, and crayfish and literally took over because most fish dislike the taste of Clawed Frogs. Since they breathe air, they cannot survive in Iowa ponds that freeze over. They could not handle our cold temperatures either. Still, don’t release unwanted critters into the wild. At one time they used these frogs for pregnancy tests. The urine of pregnant women triggers them to spawn. Guess the testers gave up on them because they couldn't sell them at the local drug store.
Hiding Caves: Clawed Frogs live on the bottom and dig under your decorations. They want to hide during the day. Give them several places to lurk during the day. They come out in the evenings and patrol for food. Actually, any time you put food in their water, they smell it and start rooting for food on the bottom.
Foods: Flake foods are accepted by small Clawed Frogs but are not filling. Feed them the reptile “stick foods” that float. Clawed Frogs look like cigar smokers when they chomp on these. HBH makes a pellet that little frogs greedily gobble. Half-grown Clawed Frogs will eat feeder goldfish. Adults will gulp down a nightcrawler (or two). When they get a little size on them, they try to swallow each other. They rarely complete the process. Unlike most frogs, clawed frogs will eat non-living foods.
Bottom Hunters: When Clawed Frogs smell food in the water, they instinctively start methodically searching for food on the bottom. Eventually, when they come up for air, they find the food at the top. Once they find the floating sticks, they eat them eagerly. Adults shove them in with both hands. If you gently squoosh the air out of these floating foods, your frogs will find them faster on the bottom. They never learn to start looking at the top first -- always at the bottom.
Escapers: If they can climb over the edge of your tank, they will bail. Keep your tank covered or lower the water level. Once Clawed Frogs get out, they are helpless on land. They dry out rapidly on your carpet.
A: Thanks for the info. I'll add it to my clawed frog page. LA
Mixers: Mix your clawed frogs only with fish too big for them to swallow. (Remember that they continue growing after you add them to your tank.) Consider adding them to African cichlid tanks. They should mix well with cichlids too small to swallow them and vice versa.
Sexing: Female clawed frogs grow larger and have an extension on their butts. Males develop black breeding pads on their “fingers” for grasping the females. Their forearms also turn black.
Spawning: If you’ve kept your Clawed Frogs for a year, you’re ready to spawn them. Keep them in their own large tank with four to six inches of water. Feed them a variety of foods. Thawed krill make a great conditioning food. Change half their water. Add 12 to 15 degree cooler water to trigger spawning. Keep an eye on them. The breeders will often eat their own eggs.
LA Female on left. Pair over grid to exclude them from the eggs.
Egg Protection: The grid above comes from an old fluorescent light fixture. Trim it to size with a pair of side cutter. Then drag the rough edges on a concrete sidewalk to smooth the edges, so they will not cut your frogs. You could use a file or belt sander, but the concrete sidewalk works much faster. Two layers of this grid will give even more egg protection.
Darren S, South Padre Island, TX, April 9, 2011
I really enjoyed your clawed frog article -- it provided a lot of the information I was looking for. I didn't actually see a picture of them mating so I thought you would like to include a picture of my frogs. I took this three nights ago (4-6-11). The female is between 5-6 inches and I've had them for a year and nine months. I don't care to go through the trouble of raising the babies so I also have a plecostomus (7 inches long) in the tank. I assume he will eat the eggs. These frogs live in a 40 gallon tank.
A: Excellent as Mr. Burns would say. Thanks for the pics. I'm adding them to my clawed frog page. By the way, lots of their eggs will fall down in between the rocks where the pleco can't reach them.. Get ready for some interesting tadpoles. They will eat small pellets. LA
Tadpoles: Baby Clawed Frogs look like catfishes because two long tentacles grow out from their top lip. They eat infusoria or powder-fine fish food. (Other tadpoles have rasping lips for eating algae.) These “tads” start turning into frogs in six weeks.
Last Word: Just a warning that these innocent looking 1.5-inch clawed frogs grow into real fish eaters. LA
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