African Dwarf Frog

The African dwarf frog is a native amphibian of Equatorial Africa.. As they primarily originate from streams and rivers, they spent their whole life in water. They are often treated as pets. If you want this addition to your aquarium, you must check out some of the crucial facts. One of them is that they are not compatible with aggressive fish communities. Thus, your aquarium must have a school of docile fish to welcome the amphibian. The most fascinating fact is they were first adopted as pets in the year 1970. Gradually, their popularity as a pet has been rising since then.

A Brief Overview About the African Dwarf Frog

  • The dwarf frog bears similar resemblance to the African clawed frogs. The African dwarf frog size is smaller than the clawed frogs. Hence, they are also known dwarf clawed frogs. These species have basically a green skin tone of various shades ranging from deep to olive green. The black and brown spots present on the skin are fairly prominent. Initially, their skin looks rugged.
  • Like the conventional frogs, all the feet are webbed. They possess black claws on their hind legs. They lose these claws with the passing time. The eyes are situated on either side of the head. They spent most of their lifetime under water. Since they have lungs, they only come on the water surface to grasp oxygen for inhalation. 
  • The male frogs are skinnier than the female frogs. Sometimes, the frogs hug each other and do not move for a day or more. Do not worry! It is a normal posture for them as the African dwarf frog tank mates

Read Also: Pixie Frog: Guide to The Second Largest Frog in The World 

Potential Health Problems, Diet and Care of the African Dwarf Frog 

African Dwarf Frog is a low maintenance addition to your tank. However, it does not mean that they do not suffer from health issues. African Dwarf Frog too have the chance of the following health issues. You must know them to detect whether your pet is healthy or not:

Common Health Issues

Fungal Infection

Causes and Symptoms 

  • Eyes Discoloration 
  • Cotton like white growth on the skin

Caring Tips

  • Change the quality of the water
  • Isolate the frog
  • Call your nearest aquatic veterinarian!

Bloat or Dropsy

Causes and Symptoms 

  • The lymph fluid fills up the lymph nodes and instead of draining accumulate on the normal tissues 
  • The frogs will appear to be inflated

Caring Tips

  • Do not try to drain the fluid on your own. It may damage their internal organs 
  • Consult an exotic vet to drain the fluid out 

Bacterial Infection

Causes and Symptoms 

  • Changing color of the skin or reddening
  • Open sores
  • Cloudy eyes

Caring Tips

  • Upgrade the quality of tank’s water
  • Call the aquatic veterinarian at the earliest.

The African dwarf frog care will help you to sustain your new pet in a healthy and friendly environment:

  • As they are new to your water tank or aquarium, introduce them gradually.
  • Make sure the tank is not overcrowded with other aquatic inhabitants
  • To keep a dwarf frog you need to keep a fish one inch size per gallon of water
  • Prevent your tank to be overcrowded as it can stress the frog and makes it prone to diseases
  • The water must not have a quality issue. Proper filtration and routine water change make the water fit for thriving
  • This frog spends most of their time on the tank bed. So, there must be no to little bottom feeders inside the aquarium

What Do African Dwarf Frogs Eat

African dwarf frog food must consist of balanced nutrition. When you are petting this creature, you must supply them with a daily dose of balanced meal! It will keep them healthy.

  • Black worms, frozen food worms, brine shrimps and tubifex worms are the two primary foods of these frogs. They will always prefer to feast on these lists.
  • Pellets or fish pellets are another common food source. You should give such food because these frogs are slow eaters and the pellets liquify in the water quickly. The best way to feed the pellets is to put them on a petri dish for your pet. 

They do not require feeding multiple times a day. Feeding it just one time is enough for the day. Spare them a couple of minutes for consuming the food. Remove the excess food and clean the water thoroughly. Defrost and rinse the frozen food in water before giving them to your pet amphibian. 

Can I Get an African Dwarf Frog for My Aquarium? 

They are the perfect aquatic pet you can ever have at your home or any place. Keeping a dwarf frog as a pet is an excellent choice. Reading of such potential diseases may make you think that they are vulnerable. Actually, a healthy environment and diet will be a boon to their lifespan. Moreover, never forget the healthy habitats as well!

Size of the Tank

  • Each frog requires a good quality water of 3-5 gallons. Though they are not much of a space-taker, you should always leave some space for mobility. If you are thinking of getting one or two frogs a tank size of 10-15 gallons is perfect. 
  • When in the wild they prefer to live in not so deep water. They also love to roam about in monsoons when the forest is flooded. So, purchase a shallow tank for them!

 Setup of the Tank

  • The African dwarfs breathe through their lungs. Thus, they need to swim up to the surface of water on a daily basis. Since, they love to dwell at the bottom and have a tendency to stick any substrate. So, the tank should not be much deep.
  • Sand is an unmatched substrate. However, there is a chance that your pet may swallow the substrate! To avoid such a situation, use standard sized gravels. The gravel should be large so that the frogs cannot swallow them. Use live plants for decoration. 
  • The frogs prefer camouflage. The plants will help them to hide easily. If the plants have large leaves, you may see your pet lounging on one of those leaves. The plants should be kept firm underneath the substrates. 
  • Never underestimate their digging capability! They can even uproot the aquarium plants. In addition to the plants, use woods and rocks to support their hiding. 

Lighting and Filter Aspects

Filter plays a key role in the well-being of the frogs. The dwarf swimming frogs can swim down to the bed of the tank. They are not really comfortable with the strong currents. Regulate the air pressure and the filter in a manner that the current inside the tank is reasonable. 

Never ignore the lighting part. The frogs are nocturnal but 10-12 hours of lighting in a day keep their health better. There is no need for fancy lights. The standard aquarium lights are completely fine to maintain the proper ambiance. 

There are other points you should always focus on for the well-being of your water frog pet:

  • The pH level must be 6.5-7.8
  • The water temperature must be 72-78 degree Farenheit
  • The hardness of the water must not exceed between the gH level of 5-20

What is the Breeding Cycle of African Dwarf Frog?

An adult African dwarf frog is ready for mating when it is around 8-9 months old. The females can lay upto 750 eggs in one go provided the following conditions:

  • If the condition of the tank is favorable
  • The stomach of the female is large enough to carry eggs
  • Signs of Maturity

Sadly, around 80% of the eggs won’t make into tadpoles. Most of the tadpoles also do not reach the adult stage. The female frog takes 2-3 weeks for spawning. It is then ready to hatch the fertilized eggs. 

During spawning, the female swims and the male grabs it by the hind legs. This activity is known as Amplexus. The female lays eggs, provoking the males to eject sperms on them for fertilizations. 

Fact Check:

  • Like all amphibians, they can change their genders if they are staying with the same gender.
  • It is likely that the parents will have their eggs and even tadpoles! So, if you see the presence of african dwarf frog eggs in the tank, keep them in a separate tank at the earliest. 

Signs of a Healthy and Unhealthy African Dwarf Frog 

The following symptoms will help you to determine whether your freshwater aquarium frogs are healthy or not:

Healthy Symptoms

  • Clear eyes
  • Vigorous eater
  • Active swimmer
  • Prefer to camouflage most of the time
  • Settle on the bottom and come upto the surface only during breathing

Unhealthy Symptoms

  • Bloating
  • Lack of interest in feeding
  • Discoloration of the eyes
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Not exhibiting any reflex
  • Weight loss

Fun Facts

  • They can have excellent mating with bettas. Your tank should have sufficient supply of food and space for them to sustain. 
  • With an adequate care the African dwarf frog lifespan can extend upto 5 years
  • It is an omnivorous animal
  • They can be the ideal aquatic pet
  • They are of low-maintenance 
  • Each adult ranges from 1¼ – 2 inches in length

Reference Link


Q. Will African dwarf frogs eat dead fish?

Yes, they are happy to feed on dead fish. Basically, they are opportunistic scavengers. In other words, if they are hungry and out of readymade food, they will binge eat any dead fish lying in the tank. You can try your pet by creating such a familiar situation.

Q. How many African dwarf frogs should be kept together?

Each frog requires a minimum of 5 gallons of water. So, it is recommended to keep a couple of frogs in a 10 gallon aquarium. It will offer them sufficient space to swim or roam around. 

Q. Do African dwarf frogs sing when they are happy?

No, actually their singing indicates that there is some sexual triggering in them. The male usually sings and attracts the females. The females also sing and respond, occasionally.

Q. Why is my African dwarf frog so fat?

If your African Dwarf Frog is fat, it may be a matter of concern! It can be the sign of bloating. It is a situation when the fluid is accumulated in the body stressing the internal organs. Consult your vet at the earliest! 

Q. Will African dwarf frogs eat tetras?

 No, they usually do not prefer tetras. They like fish that fit in their mouth perfectly. If you have not fed them tetra at the tadpole stage, it is unlikely that they show any interest in it. 

Q. How often should I clean my African dwarf frog tank?

Cleaning the tank once in every week is highly recommended. They generally do not create much waste. However, they are highly sensitive to the quality of water. A clean water wll ensure that your frogs are thriving!

Q. Are African dwarf frogs blind?

The African dwarf frogs are not at all blind. Their eyes are located on either side of their heads. They are almost blind for near-sighted visions and have a vision range of 7 cm or far for far sightings. They mainly depend on smell and touch for preying.

Q. Do African dwarf frogs eat snails?

When in the wild they eat snails that fit in their mouth. Besides, they also feed on small snails, snail eggs, fish, etc. You cannot keep snails and frogs in the same tank. They only prefer that they can manage in one gulp!

Q. Do African dwarf frogs need a heater?

A heater is needed to maintain the temperature of the water. They can bear upto 72 degree Fahrenheit temperature. Depending on the temperature outside, you need to regulate your aquarium heater.

Q. Can African dwarf frogs jump out of the tank?

Honestly, there is a chance! They are very good jumpers. In the wild they often jump to return back in the water. When in captivity, they may jump accidentally and come out of the tank.

Q. What do African dwarf frogs need in their tank?

A standard aquarium of 10 gallon, 10-12 hours of lighting, enough substrate to stick to, plants and rocks for camouflaging, a proper supply of food, clean water and hygienic ambiance are required for the frogs to thrive in the tank.

Q. Can African dwarf frogs live with fish?

Yes, they are friendly with fish. Make sure the fish mating with the frogs is not aggressive. They fail to survive if such a situation is there in the tank. They are good to stay with docile fish.

Q. Can you touch African dwarf frogs?

No! They are very sensitive. It is possible that your pet may get an injury while touching. They prefer hiding. So, you can just look at them but do not touch them.

Q. Do African dwarf frogs need land?

These tiny creatures prefer land only for breathing. Rest of the time, they love to settle in water. In fact, they spend their whole life under water. If they do not have lungs, they may not have come to land just for breathing!