Home | Amphibians | Keeping the African Bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus: the Importance of Cleanliness in Assuring a Long Life for Your Pet

Keeping the African Bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus: the Importance of Cleanliness in Assuring a Long Life for Your Pet


African BullfrogThe robust African bullfrog shares with the fire salamander and Chinese/Japanese giant salamanders the distinction of being the longest lived of all captive amphibians. I personally know of 2 specimens that lived for 21 years in captivity, both owned by the same person (interestingly, although housed separately, they died within a few days of one other). The unpublished longevity record for the species is 50 years.

Ammonia – an Ever-Present Threat
However, one easily-overlooked point – terrarium hygiene – can very quickly end their potentially long lives. In my experience, a lack of attention to this critical point is the most common cause of African bullfrog deaths in captivity. Despite their burly, somewhat tank-like exteriors, African bullfrogs are extremely sensitive to ammonia toxicity…tiny metamorphs and huge, decades-old adults are equally vulnerable.

These frogs usually (but absolutely not “always”!) defecate in their water bowl. The bowl should be cleaned at least once daily, even if it does not appear fouled. Frogs soaking in fouled water will absorb ammonia through their skin and can die in short order.

Daily care while you are on vacation or otherwise absent from home is a must…a day or so of missed cleanings can easily kill a treasured old pet (think of how you’d feel then!).

Useful Products and Techniques
R-Zilla Terrarium Cleaner is safe to use on water bowls and terrariums, but wherever amphibians are concerned it is essential that all surfaces are rinsed thoroughly after being disinfected. Be sure to use a water conditioner  to de-chlorinate water used in the bowl and in spraying the substrate.

A very useful product of which I was made aware recently is Hagen Cycle. It is contains huge populations of live beneficial aerobic bacteria, is being increasingly used in laboratory frog colonies, both for aquatic species and in the water bowls of others. I believe it is an important product to consider when keeping large frogs, which produce copious amounts of nitrogenous wastes (it is not, however, a substitute for water changes).

As your frog may also defecate outside of the water bowl, it is important that the entire terrarium can be easily cleaned. Simple set-ups are therefore preferable for African bullfrogs (when designing planted zoo exhibits, I always allow for a floor drain and false bottom, so that the substrate can be hosed down without removing the frog). Washable terrarium liners are very useful in African bullfrog enclosures.

Further Reading
You can read more about African bullfrog natural history and captive husbandry in the following articles on this blog: The African Bullfrog – Devoted Parent, An Appetite for Cobras , and Feeding African Bullfrogs.



  1. avatar

    Hi frank

    Hey frank my supplys i orderd from petco are going to arivie today. So ill have my crickets setup and calicum but after going trew your’e links i see there is still accoupple things i left out for haveing a peftect setup so im going to list off what i have and let me know if im forgetting anything or if anything is more usefull then what i picked please. I figured i’d post this here cause “cleanliness assuring a long” life :).

  2. avatar

    im sorry i accdentlu enterd that too early… what i have picked out is

    Reptofliter 125 gph- 50gal tank.

    terrarium moss 30-40 gal.

    repti calclum “without d3”

    Gauge- humidity & temp dial.

    exp-Terra plantation chimps -brick 7 qt

    overation 700 submersible filter-up to 50gal

    overation 700 replacement media (2)

    tetra perto filter cartidges-3pk

    repti-gio tropical lamp 26w

    -thanks cody
    102$ total which is beter then i would have got a petco btw.

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      You may not need both filters, although extra can’t hurt. The 700 is very effective…regular water changes still impt…an ammonia test kit is useful.

      Not much known about their UVb needs, but many have been raised without. They do bask, however…you might be better off with a 2.0 (I believe it is 13 wts) repti-glo.

      I’s stay away from plantation chips or any wood chips…they will swallow. Sphagnum moss is safer than most substrates, but not necessary…may complicate cleaning.

      I use repticalcium with D3; no real studies, but seems to work.

      best, Frank

  3. avatar

    Thanks frank,

    Thanks for the reply i didn’t get on it last night as i was tired from settingup the cricket habbitats. From the crickets that came in the mail.

    Got both 29gals setup with cardborde and shreaded paper. they’ve been doing great with the heat rangeing from 70-80 water seems to be working fine. I orderd water pillows but they haven’t arived yet and won’t for another 6days due to holiday and then the weekend. feeding the crickets organic straw berrys grown at my house no pestisides, A pinch of fish flakes, and small ammount of organic potoato.

    The reason why i orderd 2 filters was its beter to be safe then sorry.

    when i was fish keeping my longtime filter broke down and i lost some beuityfull topic fish before i could get a new one “most stores around here arent verry good for pets” Inless its a dog or cat.

    And last but not least what would you reccomend as a substrate.

    I know gravel is terribly easly swallowed and sometiems mistaken for sitting prey and i have to turn attention away and flatin it out. But i cant figure out what to do for a good floor. If i cant use the chips or coco husk for same reason of gravel.

    My current delma is they still have the gravel allthough none have eatin any lately for i reduced the ammount of creatures running around till i can make it more hunt safe. I’ve been freezing the crickets and dropping them on a flat tubbaware dish for the frog works great even if crickets are dead frog seems to take automaticly.



    • avatar

      I rarely use substrate for large frogs, unless in an area where they will not be feeding…land areas I use are driftwood (i.e attached to stone base, as sold for tropical fish, cork bark wedged between glass, the turtle pier mentioned earlier, smooth flat shale or other rocks that will not leach minerals. You can dress up with java moss, floating live plants etc. If essentilal, sphagnum moss can be tried but can be swallowed, also acidifies water over time. Sheet moss is safe, and often “comes to life” when wet…you can lay it down over g;lass bottome, rocks, wood chips…frogs may move it around, tear up over time but worth trying, looks very good, can be rinsed.

      Tong-feeding or dropping very useful, some frogs will feed if moved to another bare-bottomed container, others not.

      Best, Frank

  4. avatar

    I have many driftwood logs etc that are peftect and i allredy use in water area “incests climb up on them and are noticed fast” What type of rocks leech chemicals? I know that concrete does leard that the hard way when i was young allthough nothing died the water was just ruined and had to be changed.

    The reason i ask this is cause i have alot of drifrent rocks around, And most are safe but i was wondring about the larger black rocks and medium size im not shure where they’re colected from but looks like same rocks used on logging roads just in larger peices.

    as for the tank should i make it barebottemd in the water with many floating areas like you sujested insted of haveing it half land with gravel slumping off. I thout that when new coco husk arives i could make a layer of gravel 1inc deep layer of husk 2 inc deep and have it slump off into a water area. But if this is a mistake please let me know.


    • avatar

      I don’t know enough about rocks, unfortunately..i tend to stay with the types sold for use in tropical fish tanks…shale especially. Black rocks sold as river rock in nursery supply stores, some aquariums are safe and large, tough to swallow; trap detritus though. Bare bottomed much better…also for cleaning, esp as frogs grow, I would not use coco husk at all; in addition to swallowing, will get all over, clog filters, etc. pothos and some others can be grown in water, anchored somehow and then draped over land; looks fine. Gravel slumping into water not ideal…as frogs grow, they trash shoreline, land area sinks, and even if covered some gravel will surface, maybe be swallowed. best, Frank

  5. avatar

    thanks frank!

    thank you frank i read the message idmidently and then realised i have a creek 200 Yards from the house

    With all my big flat smooth river rock needs…

    I moved them into a empty shallow water tank while i rearanged there new habitat.

    Now it is bare bottem with medium rocks around the large rocks (for grip to stand) a long thick swamp log (perfect for climbing). the log lays just above the water with large rock islands around it for easy acces. and multiple fake wood accesories to climb up on and to snatch pray off of. Allso at this moment fake plants. Im keeping it easy to clean till filters arive so i can clean it once every two days like i have been but more thoruly now cause not as much debree gets caught under the rocks as did the gravel.

    Hope filters arive soon but i think everything will go well now. Thanks for you’re help frank!

    • avatar

      Sounds good, Cody. A simple gravel washer will help remove debris, and will accomplish a water change at the same time. Ammonia build-up is the main concern with water quality, but small frogs in a large tank should be easy to manage.

  6. avatar

    Hey frank

    I have a coupple questions and a update.

    First i’ve been offer new species like crane flys and an accosinal flying like ant bug to there diet which i will nolonger feed cause they’ve been regurateing the bottem (abdomen). And i rember my bluegill’s i use to feed them too would do the same.. I’ve been feeding them small black spiders that are all over my swamps edge and commen in fields.. are spiders a good food? Allso we have alot of moths around here and was wondring if i should offer some of them but someone once told me moths wingpowder was toxic is this true?

    Thats all for my questions.

    As for a update i had to sepparate the two frogs due to the rapid growth of the larger one “10days can make a big drifrence in size and hunts skill” and the smaller guy is starting to take basic fear advoiding process in the tank. “aka missing out on food” and diveing when the otherone shows intrest in anything..

    I have no more problems with the gravel swallowing sense i upgraded to river rocks tank is easyer to clean too.. As for my big frog she ate 3 peices of gravel in her young life before it was removed and i was i bleive she still has 1 or two peices in there.. Shes feeding normaly and verry active but last night she wouldn’t accept any food after a cricket or two. So i went to bed as it was late and she had been eating normal in the morning. I woke up the next morning to find 1 whole floating under water a dead spider some partly digested potato bugs and other stuff it was allso much skinnyer but still a decient weight. i belive it passed a blockage or a blockage moved somehwere else so we will have to see i remain watching..

    as for my crickets 500 was alot and i have 2 tanks setup with its hard to tell but maby 100-150 in eac they are doing relly well and been going strong for the past 4 days i have recently started takeing 10-15 and putting them in a seprate small enclosher and feed them organic strawberrys and beat greens and fish flakes. so those ones will be pact with nutreients is this a good idea? and i feed the colnys fish flakes beat greens greenbeens cat food and dog food “as some people on the internet suggested”

    Thank you

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      Thanks for the update…interesting re the ants; many herps eat them, but some species produce distasteful chemicals, etc..maybe regurgitated or difficult to digest.

      I use spiders on occasion, and they are part of the diets of many species. Bites would seem to be a concern, but I’ve not seen any problems myself. I’d avoid if possible, or use sparingly, just to be on the safe side. Most impt thing is for you to take care when collecting…there are so many species, and even small ones can break the skin with fangs. We know little about their toxins, and people seem to have varying reactions to bites.

      Fish flakes and all types of fruits/vegetables should be fed to crickets, definitely improves nutritional value. here’s a related article: http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2012/07/11/crickets-and-carotenoids-study-examines-cricket-nutrient-levels/

      Best, frank

  7. avatar

    Hey frank we have one speices of lizard here in grays harbor washington and i’ve been watching them alot the past few years for the remind me of alota lizards in japan i think i recently identifyed it as “northern alligator lizard” verry cool lizard with the ablity of functioning in low temp and being able to digest food and grow at tep of 11deg c. (52) F and a friend of my dads once kept 2 of these for quite alongtime with no heat rock and not the best of care.. i was wondring if you can give me any information on habaitat or needs out of cerosity you may move this wherever..

    If you have any info on this lizard i’d relly like to know thanks!

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      Very interesting species…I’ve found them there on visits as well. Not sure why they are neglected by herp keepers. They adapt to just about any habitat other than true desert; I found them in orchards and suburban yards as well as brushy scrub and forest edges. They are cold tolerant as you say, but need to warm up by day; properly cared for captives have lived into their 20’s, They need lots of room, exposure to UVB, a hot basking spot (bulb as opposed to hot rock) and a diet comprised of a variety of invertebrates; some accept canned monitor foods and a bit of fruit as well. Pl let me know if you need more info. Best, frank

  8. avatar

    Hey frank I have two lights i can’t use for my frogs but set aside exo-terra reptile vision cfl bulb 26w and a repti-glo tropical lamp -26w + coco fiber and forest floor bedding i recently froze one of my tanks of crickets in a tight jar for vitiman d3 source for my frogs i powder and drop on a lid and they eat them find it better so the white crickets dont start swiming in water and get all powder off of them.. so i have a 29gal tank free my 100gal as allso not in use but i fear this would be to big lol. if u could let me know some good heat rocks or substrate what ever i need to setup the best enviorment for one.

    I’ve allso been researching the lizard on yt for setups and most ppl keep in alot lesser enviorment then i would but with succes.

    these lizards seem verry hardy and i love there rough skin they fasnate me expescily because its relly cold here and there are tons of them around the farm and i’ve literly never seen any speices of lizards besides it here in grays harbor doesnt seem to have many competators.. the guy i knew who once kept two of these just fed them dried mealworm husks.. i wouldnt do this but i found it intresting that they will seattle in verry well to non live foods from outside.

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      Be careful with youtube “success” stories, etc…a 5-10 year longevity may sound impressive, but many hearty species should live much longer, and breed, in captivity; some of the longevities I mention…1 35 year old red salamander, 44 year old musk turtle, 19 year old Cal newt etc amaze folks but are often run-of-the mill in zoos and the collections of experienced keepers; always provide optimal habitats…remember to that wild caught animals will have parasites, and should be treated..some parasites are self-limiting and not a problem, but ideal conditions are necessary as the stress of capture will depress the immune system.

      Sorry, I’m not sure what you are asking in the first paragraph, pl let me know best, frank

  9. avatar

    I was asking what products you would recommend for this speices of lizard to make the optmal habatat for long lived life. and i dont look for youtube for the success stories because alot of them are less then optmal habatats but i do look for the good ones as a idea for a habatat that they need.. insted of doing this i thout i’d ask you. I was allso saying two of my tanks in use atm the 55gal. houses my two bullfrogs and i have a 29gal thats free allso a 100gallon tank in storage but i think it would be way to big to heat up etc will a 29gal work? and ifso let me know what lights i should have for this lizard substrate etc.. feeding would be no problem after he seattles in. and i allredy have afew lizard products but not the whole setup as i said i have a exo-terra reptile vison cfl bulb 26w and a repti-glo tropical lamp 26w are these usefull bulbs and if not what would be. I allso have forest floor bedding and coco husk is this suittible bedding if not what would be? and any other products needed to make the best setup the Northern allgator lizard.

    • avatar

      Thanks, Cody. You can use a 29; a 100 would be interesting, perhaps house a male and several females? As long as you provide a hot spot…basking area of 85-90F, rest could be cooler..in fact, the large temp gradient you’d establish in a 100 would be ideal. Both bulbs fine…the UVB (repti-glow) should be within 12 inches of basking spot, however…not all allgator lizards will climb up on rocks to bask; i that case, you’d be better off with a halogen, which disperses UVB further, and provides heat as well. Even in a 29, you’d need to build up the basking site a bit. Substrate is good…I’d cover with dead leaves just to limit ingestion, but similar lizards do not often have problems with substrates. Enjoy, Frank

  10. avatar

    Thanks frank

    I know theres alot of information about there cousins. But not awhole ton about the northern speices like would they need humidity in the tank as some reptile speices? If so this wont be a problem ill probly setup the 29gal at first with 1 male if i can find a way to tell them appart and bring the 100gal out of storage and fill it with proper substrate and grow live plants in it what plants would be good to grow for a lizard habitat “if any for these guys” i often find them under outskirts of cut grass and and another plant i dont know the name my dad said it looks like “dune grass” allthough this is not it my grandma planted it and it grows easy with long stands comming off it in all dirt hmm dont know what its called”sorry offtopic”.. but my plan was to house one lizard in a small enviorment of perfection or as cloce to it then as he grows setup my 100gal with live plants “which leaks water” but its a verry small ammount and if u replace the silicon it retains water again for about 2weeks of fish keeping.. this wont be a problem for a reptile will it?

    glad to know the whole tank doesnt have to be heated up for the larger tank i don’t know why i didn’t think of that allredy (>.<)

    Is there any easy way to tell male and female northern allgator lizards appart?
    if not this is not a problem.

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      Plant species is not impt as they are very adaptable; you may need to protect base with rocks; I’d stay with tough house plant species such as the cast-iron plant (resembles many in their habitat), snake plants, Chinese evergreens; natives fine too but may die off in winter even if given light, etc. Tropicals grow year-round.

      Silicone is safe for herps; misting tank 1-2 x day is fine for humidity; provide a shallow water bowl also, although not all will use. Place some damp sphagnum in one of the caves/hide-aways.

      Males have larger pores on the inner rear legs and near cloaca, but this is not reliable unless you’ve seen many adults, as there’s some variability. Some species exhibit size differences, females larger in some, males in others; males heads often broader. A good field guide will have specifics; sorry, I don’t recall the details on northern species.

      Glad you are interested, we need more info on these, best, Frank

  11. avatar

    Hey frank

    Hey frank i was wondring if you can give me the link to a good halogen bulb i can buy for further placement of UVB and heat. allso i was noticeing that there is more nutrient mixes for reptiles will i need any other then clacium and d3? Which i use for my bullfrogs

    allso just out of curiosity i was wondring if you can use a normal heat lamp like used for crickets for heat with the UBV (repti-glow) untill i get a good halogen bulb sense it will take about 6 days to arive.

  12. avatar

    Hi frank

    New alligator lizard is going great. It addapted relly fast takeing crickets within the first 2 hours which was supriseing.. I noticed the way it turns it’s head sideways and takes in all its sourroundings such as humidy and temp gague and crickets etc.. I looked up its sub family and it is related to the komodo dragons this means its in the moniter subfamily right?
    Anyways how often should i dust it’s crickets and food with d3 i gave it one dusting of 3 crickets allredy. And about the heat lights

    I orderd

    1x zoo med desert UVB bulb lighting combo with basking light (incase this is beter UVB) then (repti tropical glow)
    1x repti halogen heat lamp-75w 5000hr

    will these do?
    she/he doesnt seem to mind the heat lamp
    untill the others arive either i allso have a heating pad under the basking spot i’d say its 80-90deg at basking spot and she/he stays there alot.

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      You’ll have more than enough to heat the terrarium…it’s difficult to estimate temps, so be sure to use a thermometer and check both hot and cool side.

      This article on Chameleon diets is applicable…try for as much variety as possible.

      Lizard taxonomy has undergone many changes recently, due to new DNA-analysis technology. Alligator lizards are placed in the same InfraOrder as glass and lateral fold lizards; monitors are in a separate infraorder, along with Gila monsters and earless monitors. You’ll see many variations on the net; the best source for taxonomy info is this site, researched by the Am Museum of natural History.

      They are, however, quite monitor-like in their behavior and, as you’ve seen, very aware of their environment.

      Best, Frank

  13. avatar

    Hey frank

    I got just afew last questions left. The alligator lizard i have i belive is a female and is pregnet should i realise her and look for a male? She has addapted quite well and likes the easy food it seems no limit to her hunger so i don’t feed her too much reason why i think its a female is a semi small head due to its long wide body.. this could just because its eating well i cought him/her near the garden and allthough i’ve watched these lizards never inspected them verry clocely. So i cant tell if its male or female but there breeding season starts in spring when they first wake up and babys start hatching bye june and later i read allso i was wondring if these give birth via live babys like the wandering snake and ganderner snake around here because it is not hotenough to lay eggs. the web says they cary live young that devlop and and then drop out in sacs then hatching shortly after.

  14. avatar

    Thanks for the info frank! i guess we will have to wait and see she does like her burro i have 2 hide outs in her/his tank one is half a river tooth (condenced peice of wood that was a knot off a fur or hemlock has been under water for many years) i split those in half and chizzle out the middle makeing a cave one side went to my bullfrogs..I allso have a fake rockformation cave with a plane crashed onto it that she seems to like more then the river tooth burrow alltho i’ve noticed digging in the natural wood burrow as of behavior she moves inbetween the heat and lays flat then will go to the burrow for 30min.

    Im submmiting there location to local fish and wildlife so they can update seatlite info as i did for the olympic mudminnows near my area.

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      My pleasure…Great that you are getting involved in reporting to F&W…they are always understaffed, and volunteer info has made a real difference in many places and with many animals; keep records of what you do..it will look good on a resume if you decide to go into this field. Best, Frank

  15. avatar

    Hi frank

    Hey frank i was colceting grasshoppers today when i accdently knocked the back off one. And in it there was a large parastic worm or maggot looking creature I was wondring if grasshoppers cary parasites?

    • avatar

      Hi Cody,

      Glad you brought this up. All invertebrates (and other free-living animals) carry parasites; same for farm-reared crickets,etc. Generally not a concern as regards feeding to other animals, especially species not native to the food animal’s habitat; I’ve written a bit about this here; please let me know if you need more info, Best, Frank

  16. avatar

    Hey frank last thing…and feel free to move this where ever it fits…
    I want your imput on this both substrates of the forest floor bark and coco husk dirt was troublesoume in the short term allthough thank goodness there was no swallowing… But i had to baith my baby once or twice a day when she started sheading bc she rubed her face and body on glass and burrowed down onto woodchips and dirt getting irratied eyes she could hardly keep open.
    i switched to safe shelfliner at this moment and used paper towls after the inccadent and shes much happyer.
    Good things i learned from this “she relly likes baths” and a spritz from the bottel every now and then unfortinitly i learned this later on and she got dehdrated and stoped moveing around but after some good soaks and good sprays shes back in good spirits.

    Im supprised at how much intrest the alligator lizard turns twords feeding and it will eat grasshoppers and crickets via hand and in seprate empty container allthough she isnt too happy with being picked up she likes pettings and spritzing but dont pick her up or shell have a wack at you allthough shes a small lizard.
    can you provide me with a link for good feeding tongs? i cant find any that arent semi harmfull or relly shortlooking. hard to tell over internet…

    Im allso makeing a list right now at thatpetplace for

    new zeland sphagnum moss ( as for some soft bedding that wont hurt the eyes ) cant hurt to try
    and terraterium liner green (bc most ppl are starting to use this i see) figured i’d try it
    and some gravepine decortations and african mopani wood ( to add life )

    I allso want to get a good pair of feeding tongs if you can give me the link to some

    thanks sorry for the long scrambled message!

    • avatar

      Please write anytime, great questions and observations. Interesting to see how well the alligator lizard has adapted…maybe on your way to breeding in the future…

      Substrate a tough question with African bullfrogs; I’ve kept them in “naturalistic” exhibits using a mix of dead leaves and sphagnum..both less likely to be swallowed than chips, earth, and seem to pas through system when they are. But shelf or cage liners definitely easier, safer; upholstery foam or similar is useful as well; holds water nicely but may be avail only from wholesalers; here in NYC I was able to get in garment district, but others have had trouble finding.

      I use these plastic tongs for a variety of creatures; just today for giant water bugs- I’ve worked with everything from mambas to tigers, but do not put my hand in the giant water bug tank!! They are 7″ long; the steel model listed on same page is 10 inches…good for picking up debris etc, but I do not like to use for feeding “lungers” such as Af Bulls and most other frogs.

      Best, frank

  17. avatar

    Hey frank

    I’ve allso been makeing plans to turn a old desk (in good condition) into a large reptile cage as my lizard is happy in her tank we setup the 100gal fish tank and i think that the 29gal and both 100gal are long enough but not wide enough..
    My dad was a carpenter and i am quite handy allso..

    I recently did this for my crickets takeing a oldd much smaller then the desk im going to use for my reptile… And its been working relly good for my crickets alot beter then glass fishtank, i made a hindge on the bottem so i can open it for easy cleaning allso stocked 3 clean setups with cardbord and paper and ducktape under eac this seems to be working relly well there is no spaces for any of the crickets to get under.. anways offtopic

    I wanted to make one of these for my lizard and install a glasswindow on the front but leave the all the sides we reinforced the sides and are takeing the top of the desk off to design a screen to fit the enclosure but it would mostlikely be a 80-150 gal setup with much more space wide then a fishtank has to offer.. i wanted your’e thoughts on this and i’ll let you know how it works out.

    • avatar

      Great skill to have…most of my family was in one building trade or another, but the gene skipped me; I did a few simple desk and other conversions, recruited family to help, longed to do more each time I came across a good candidate.

      Solid walls with a glass front usually better than all glass for most creatures…essential for some…security rather than being “on view”. . Will likely help with heat retention as well, can use stouter branches, heavy rocks with less chance of problems…I have an old plastic aquarium with solid sides, glass front (designed for marine animals, before all glass tanks were available…very useful

      Enjoy, let me know how all goes frank

  18. avatar

    How often do you clean out an african bullfrog enclosure and what type of chemicals do suggest using?

  19. avatar

    Do you think using a handheld steam cleaner is a safe way to clean a african bullfrog aquarium?

  20. avatar

    I may be purchasing aan african bullfrog in the future. I may be using an old 40 gallon take for its enclosure. Lifting the tank and rinsing it will be a hard task. Do you know of any cleaners that would not need to be rinsed after use? Just spray and wipe.

    • avatar


      Microbe and bacteria-based gravel and substrate cleaners should be safe (see here and here), but I’ve not tried without rinsing; in addition, they are designed to work over time. You would likely be better off with a removable terrarium liner and water bowl. The liner will absorb most of the waste that is not deposited in the bowl. The glass below can be cleaned with hot water. On occasion, if needed, you could remove the frog, fill partially with water/bleach, siphon , refill with clean water and an instant De-chlorinator, siphon again. But likely not necessary of you keep up on routine cleaning. Best, Frank

  21. avatar

    I read on the internet that dri-dek rubber tiles used for dog kennels was a good substrate for reptiles. What is your opinion?

    • avatar

      Hello Teddi,

      They can be very useful; I’ve used similar materials for large monitors, snakes in zoos. Some tortoises may attempt to consume, but otherwise ok..best to check with manufacturer re possibility of anything dangerous leaching from pads, esp in damp/wet conditions, best, Frank

  22. avatar

    Can dri-dek be a good substrate for african bullfrog? Thanks

    • avatar

      Hello…please see earlier response – best to check with manufacturer re possibility of anything dangerous leaching from pads, esp in damp/wet conditions, when amphibians are being kept. best, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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