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Old 14th July 2008   #1
artie gecko
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Default African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

Hi all. I'm posting here for the first time. I did perform a search and didn't find this exact question already answered. I apologize if I missed it.

I've been searching the internet trying to find very specific information about safe (or not) levels of iron in the tank water for an ACF. I know (have read several places) that ACFs are very susceptible to metal poisoning. The metals most commonly mentioned are Chloramines. I haven't managed to find any discussion of specific safe levels of iron. I know all tap water in my area has some and on the city water it has not been an issue.

However, I am moving to a place that is on unfiltered well water that is _very_ high in iron. As in, the water is actually tinged orange. It is graded as safe for human and animal consumption (my brother who lives there uses it for his birds) but I am worried that it is too much for my frog to handle.

If, in fact, that much iron is deadly, does anyone know of an easily aquired water treatment solution that removes iron? I know letting the water set out doesn't get rid of iron. I normally use Stresscoat brand drops to remove the Chlorine in the place I live now, but I don't think that will work on iron.

If that much iron is dangerous and there is no affordable way to remove it I will not be able to keep my frog. That would be sad since I've had him for four years already and I really enjoy him, so any help you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your time.
artie



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Old 14th July 2008   #2
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

I think you may be right that the iron is deadly. The problem with this sort of well water is that the iron is Ferrous iron, a pale green almost clear solution. On exposure to air this becomes rusty brown ferric hydroxide. The hydroxide forms a film which clogs fish fry gills and will not do frog's skin any good.

I understand the treatment is easy. You make a simple water treatment plant. Aerate the water to convert the iron to ferric iron and filter through sand to remove the sludge. You should be able to set up a home made system with a couple of buckets, one aerated with an air-stone, and the other drilled in the bottom and filled with sand held in place with something like horticultural fleece.

If after this the water on further standing remains clear it is safe, but check the pH as well!



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Old 14th July 2008   #3
artie gecko
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

Awesome! I did not know that. Thank you very much Oceanblue. :)
I am glad there is an easy and safe way for me to keep my frog.

Someone else recommended using a water treatment solution called "Aquasafe" that is normally for fish tanks. It advertises it can "neutralize" iron. Would that be essentially like doing the same thing as the aeration method or would it still be potentially dangerous to non-scaly aquatic things?



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Old 15th July 2008   #4
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

I'm not sure, Like most proprietary mixes it's hard to work out what is in there. It probably contains sodium thiosulphate to remove chlorine and some sort of chelating agent (the adverts talk about neutralising heavy metals copper lead and zinc).

The agents to bind these are not always very good on iron. They are organic compounds and can gradually release the iron again as they break down. You may need a lot with your water and they also bind calcium. Making your own water treatment plant is probably better. I've seen the aeration method on a "industrial" scale at a fish farm with a borehole: They let the water stand in a lagoon with stirring for about a day then filtered it through a sand bed. The sand bed was about 15cm/6inches deep. I don't know how long you would need to bubble air through a bucket, probably an hour or two is enough and a day is overkill.

The thesis downloadable from this website gives details of plants for use in developing countries http://epubl.luth.se/1402-1617/2002/292/




Last edited by oceanblue; 15th July 2008 at 18:10. Reason: reference added
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Old 17th July 2008   #5
Nicole
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

I also have well water with my ACFs. I use bottled spring water. It costs about $0.79 a gallon at Wal-mart. As long as it names it source it is okay to use.

Just another option. Good luck to you and your ACFs!



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Old 17th July 2008   #6
artie gecko
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

oceanblue, Thanks for the additional info. I will keep all of this in mind. I feel like now I'm armed with some options and I can test them out a bit before I have to move.

keechoo, I did consider buying spring water. I'd prefer to avoid doing that because of the cost it would accrue in space, gas, and cash. The jugs are more expensive where I am unfortunately. It is still a good last resort though.

:)



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Old 18th July 2008   #7
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

If memory serves aeration is a relatively ineffective way of oxidising iron. Filtration via Manganese media will remove disolved oxygen quickly an easily.
The most obvious answer IMO would be to introduce a chemical oxidiser - chlorine. Clorinate the water, filter out the iron particulate and then treat to de-chlorinate.

(Please note this post is based entirely upon a science project I did in school quite some time ago, check everything I just said my memory isn't what it used to be!)



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Old 18th July 2008   #8
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

I too based my original post on memory, I've been cramming up on this! Lasher's post is correct. If the water is very acid with a lot of dissolved CO2 then until the pH rises iron can remain ferrous and dissolved. If you only need a bucket now and then you can take your time. For speed you can get manganese media which oxidise the iron and filter at the same time or you can chlorinate, filter and dechlorinate. There are some quite cheap water treatment tablets for expeditions based on chlorine which come with appropriate dechlorinator tablets.



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Old 20th July 2008   #9
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

Thanks for your input, Lasher. Okay, so if I'm understanding correctly, you and oceanblue are saying that the aeration system might work but very slowly? Or would I still need to chlorinate to get rid of the iron and then dechlorinate with a water treatment tablet?

I don't suppose either of you recall the names or brands of the water treatment tablets you're talking about?

I have been trying to do my own share of research on these ideas as well. I find it very difficult to sort through it all and figure out what is legit. I have little to know chemistry knowledge at all so it is hard to do. I really appreciate more knowledgeable people being able to give me advice even if it is from memory. :)



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Old 20th July 2008   #10
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

Start by finding out if the iron level is a real problem and get a handle on measuring it. There are iron measuring kits available used by people who supplement planted aquaria. The one I have is by Hagen and seems to work OK. I used to use iron supplementation in a fish tank, I don't use it with my axolotls.

Their test kit used for non-chelated iron uses 3 drops reagent in 5ml. I economized and cheated with a test tube marked at 33 drops water and used 1 drop reagent. (I haven't used it for years-best before 12/31/2003!)

Also measure the pH. Their wide range test kit is economical at a similar 1 drop to 25 drop cheat! Ground waters can be very acid until the CO2 is bubbled off.

See what the water measures from the well and after aeration standing and filtering.

In the absence of kits there are two ways of getting some idea of how big a problem there is.

1. Does the water taste metallic?
2. Fill a pop bottle to the brim: cap it and leave it. Half fill another and shake it. Let it stand and shake it again. Compare the two bottles and see if the half full bottle has brown in it.

The tablets I used were puritabs but you may be better off using a drop or two of the cheapest own brand chlorine bleach you can find then using a standard aquarium dechlorinator based on sodium thiosulphate.

It seems a pity to start adding yet more chemicals if you can get away with a simple aeration and filtration, but you do need to know if it gets levels down to safe.



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Old 9th September 2008   #11
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

i just want to put in some suggestions that might make things easier.

firstly, this is not a serious suggestion, but rather a fun experiment, you could try using magnets. place strong magnets at the bottom of a bucket, or run the water through them slowly, and see what happens.

for a more practical solution, i would suggest setting up a proper echo system. if you have a 5 gallon planted system you should be able to house 3-4 frogs pretty comfortable without having to do many water changers at all. if you upgrade to a ten gallon, i saw one with an incandescent hood fixture for $25, you could get away with practically no water changes at all. the reason i like incandescent is because you can get $5 power compact lights at wal-marts fish section to give you efficient plant lighting at a low cast, but that's not relevant here.

a few things to keep in mind for a healthy semi-ecosystem. use sand, not gravel. sand wont allow uneaten food and waste to accumulate under the substrate level. also, plants can very as long as they are not problematic (poisonous or terrestrial), but you should have one fast grower. i've found this plant will change from water system to water system, but generally anacheris, hornwart, duckweed, etc. will all do a good job for this purpose.

a last thing to consider is nitrate levels. nitrate is the end product of the nitrogen cycle, and is generally remover by plants and anaerobic bacteria. no store bought filter, generally speaking, can remove it. this is the primary reason for water changes. as mentioned before, plants can sometimes do the job, but i always like to use a deep sand bed as insurance. simply put 4-6" of sand will reduce or eliminate nitrates. if the tank is too small for this you can mound some in a corner and have a normal substrate level throughout the rest of the tank.

just an FYI, when i set up a tank i don't use filters or often heaters, depending on temp fluctuation. i just use the tank, lighting, sand, and plants. it's simple, energy efficient, and i can often go 6 months without dealing with anything, maybe more.

oops, the point of the above was to suggest bottled water. if your only changing it twice a year its not so bad.



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Old 25th October 2008   #12
Martin Truckenbrodt
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Default Re: African Clawed Frog safe in high iron water?

Hello,
very interessting discussion!

I would be very interested in the taxic value of Fe .
I could imagine that in some rain forests the Fe value is quite high.
But the other point is that Xenopus lavis is not a tropical species.

If you ar not living in the middle of a industrial center or beneath a coal power plant (translated by google) you can try to use rain water or spring water. It would be just easier as to use chemistry or other stuff of the aquarsitic industry you don't know if you really need it.

Bye Martin



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