Sand Pro's/Con's for ADF's?

Discussion in 'General Amphibians' started by pantherash, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. pantherash

    pantherash New Member

    I just downgraded my 2 ADF's from their 10 gallon to a 5.5 gallon (they just hang out around the edges and in their floating log anyways so seemed like a waste of space and my cleaning efforts, not to mention much easier to move a smaller tank when I do move!) and I have been wrestling with the idea of trying sand instead of gravel for a long time now. They eat out of a terra cotta pot bottom thing, so I don't think they would eat the sand, but what are people's experiences with sand and ADF's? Or sand in general? I love the look of sand much better than their current river type gravel, but don't know if sand is difficult or if it'd be worth it? Any opinions would be great! Thanks.
  2. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Hello! :)

    Sand is actually the preferred substrate for African Dwarf Frogs. For one thing, it mimics the sandy bottom of the Congo River, where ADFs are quite prevalent. But aside from being aesthetically pleasing, ADFs also enjoy sand for digging and sifting through for leftover food. It is easier on their delicate skin and webbed feet than gravel, and allows them to burrow and create small depressions for a feeling of security. Also, I've been told that sand is much easier to clean, as the waste remains at the top of the substrate.

    There are two main disadvantages to using sand in your frogs' aquarium. First, there is a small risk of impaction, particularly if you use a coarse sand. Since your frogs eat on the terra cotta surface, I don't imagine this will be an issue, though. Just make sure to get a fine grain sand as a precaution. The second disadvantage is that sand will not cooperate with all filters. Any under gravel filter will only serve to stir the sand around and create a horrendous mess. Some power filters may be too much in a small tank as well. I would recommend setting up a small, low flowing sponge filter if you haven't already. I set up a DIY sponge filter in my sister's betta tank and it worked great. All you need is a small air pump, airline tubing, filter sponge, and a pencil to poke a hole halfway through the sponge. (I also used some hot glue--or you can use aquarium silicone--to seal up the end of the tubing, then used a push pin to poke holes in the part of the tubing inside of the sponge. This was to further diffuse the movement of the water.)

    Final words of advice: If you do decide to use sand, make sure you rinse it very well prior to putting it in your aquarium. Aside from cleaning the sand, this will also help rid it of loose particles which will cloud up your water. Finally, be careful about changing all of your substrate at once. Much of your beneficial bacteria resides in the gravel. If you are confident that your filter media contains enough beneficial bacteria to support your aquarium, then it's not a huge deal, but if you recently changed the filter, or are not sure how stable your tank's biosystem is, you may wish to switch out the substrate in sections rather than all at once. 
  3. pantherash

    pantherash New Member

    I went with the sand (had a coupon wahoo!). I don't have a filter on the tank, I always cleaned it/changed water every week or so, so that's not an issue. I got the natural colored sand, and there are some darker pieces mixed in, which my frogs decided they wanted to eat, so they started munching...I immediately put food in their little "bowl" and they ate that. I saw one of them later spitting sand out of her mouth, so I think she got the memo that it wasn't food. I haven't seen them trying to eat it since that first night I switched it, so I think they're okay, or else I would have just switched back to the gravel. They seem to have done some landscaping, so that's cool to see. So looks like everything should work out. Thanks for the reply!
  4. pantherash

    pantherash New Member

    Well, I think I caught the other frog eating sand last night. It's been days, I don't see why she would start eating it now, I feed them every other day..and she is the fat one who eats all the food almost every time! It looked like she was just gulping mouthfuls of sand down I was shocked. She's pretty huge right now, which I've seen her get before, so really not sure if it's because she's full of sand or not. After I saw her doing what I thought was eating the sand, looking closer it looked like she was spitting out water because the sand infront of her mouth would part. I have no idea...if she ate it, it's done...I haven't seen her do it today. Just thought I'd throw the update up here. Hopefully I don't have the dumbest frog ever...
  5. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Hahaha, "Hopefully I don't have the dumbest frog ever..." That made me laugh. :p

    Sometimes the frogs will pick up the sand in their mouths to move it around and sift through it for food, but won't actually swallow it. If she is actually eating it though, then you should be concerned. Just observe them carefully and make sure they are only landscaping, not actually ingesting the sand.
  6. pantherash

    pantherash New Member

    Yeah, I have been watching them frequently...the only problem is that they are such attention hams that whenever I watch them they stop what they're doing to come over to where I'm watching from...I'll have to be stealth. I thought the other one was eating it again today, but she was actually shedding and doing weird movements for that haha. I will keep watching!

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