Spindly leg syndrome (SLS) is a relatively common musculoskeletal abnormality associated with captive-rearing of amphibians with aquatic larvae. We conducted an experiment to investigate the role of environmental calcium and phosphate in causing SLS in tadpoles. Our 600-tadpole experiment used a fully-factorial design, rearingAtelopus variustadpoles in water with either high (80mg/l CaCO3), medium (50mg/l CaCO3), or low calcium hardness (20mg/l CaCO3), each was combined with high (1.74 mg/l PO4) or low (0.36 mg/l PO4) phosphate levels. We found that calcium supplementation significantly improved tadpole survival from 19% to 49% and that low calcium treatments had 60% SLS that was reduced to about 15% at the medium and high calcium treatments. Phosphate supplementation significantly reduced SLS prevalence in low calcium treatments. This experimental research clearly links SLS to the calcium: phosphate homeostatic system, but we were unable to completely eliminate the issue, suggesting an interactive role of other unidentified factors.