Water Systems


RO System

Why Xenopus?
Water Systems
The Frogs
Sexing Frogs
Testes Isolation
In Vitro Ferts
Oocyte Surgery
Colony Returns
Recycling Frogs
Natural Mating
Raising Tadpoles
Health & Disease


Web Xlaevis

Updated 1/25/2006

Your Water System

There is no "right" water system and the one you choose will ultimately depend on the size of your colony, the availability of clean water, the money you have to spend, and the amount of time you have to devote to maintenance of the water system and colony itself. A Flow Through System is best if you have a large amount of good quality water and a large colony to house (our preferred method). Poor tap water (assume you have poor tap water!) will require you use distilled water plus salts, in which case you will want to conserve by recycling it, unless you have the space for your own water filtration system. The following are three different set-ups for water systems.


Standing Water Tanks

A colony of under 50 frogs and with limited space for the water system is best housed in standing water tanks. The density of the tanks should not exceed 4 females or 6 males per 10 gallons water. The tanks should be covered with a lid to prevent the frogs from jumping out. We use egg crate with a board on top for weight. Whatever material you choose should be heavy enough that the frogs cannot push it off and full of holes to allow for good gas exchange, that will help to keep dissolved oxygen levels high and to allow ammonia to dissipate.  Water in the standing tanks should be changed 3 times a week, several hours after feeding.


Recirculation Systems

Another alternative is a continuously recirculation system that uses a biological filter. You will need to carefully monitor the water in this system as you are continuously reusing it. You will also need to do a bacterial count on the water re-entering the tanks by plating it (the count should be zero), in addition to the other tests you must run. It is important to note that the water flowing back into the tanks should be at a very gentle trickle. Frogs do not do well on a fast flow of water and can develop "gas bubble disease" because of it. The benefit of this type of system is that it conserves water very well. If you are in an area where the use of water is tightly regulated or you do not have easy access to clean water, this system would be an ideal choice for you. You can also house the frogs slightly more densely in this system, at a gallon per frog. You should change the water three times a week, several hours after feeding.

It has been our experience that the recirculation systems work well initially, but ultimately are very problematic.  The danger with this type of system is that all your tanks are on the same source of recirculation water.  If there is a problem with the water or with one tank, the problem disseminates through all the tanks, endangering your entire colony.


Flow Through System (what we use)

In this system the water drips in at one end of the tank and flows out the other. Our tanks automatically shut the water off when  full. We change the water three times a week, several hours after feeding. However, if you keep the flow rate at a very slight level you can have a continuous flow of fresh water for the frogs while eliminating solid waste. The advantage of this is that toxic waste (ammonia) is kept low, the time spent cleaning the tanks is minimal since the system essentially does it for you, and you can house them fairly densely (a gallon per frog). The disadvantage is that this system uses, and wastes, a lot of water. Also, the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system itself is expensive and time consuming to maintain. However, the frogs are in excellent quality water.

The water in this type of system flows from the RO system into the tanks and then is emptied down the drain when the tanks are cleaned.  All the individual tanks are isolated from one another, keeping the colony free from potential cross contamination.


Companies that Build Systems

There are many places that build frog systems.  Here are a two companies we know of:
US Filter and Marine Biotech.


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