African Dwarf Frog Care, Diet, And Tank Set Up

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How to Care for African Dwarf Frogs

African Dwarf Frogs, as the name suggests, are small frogs that are native to Africa. Caring for one may seem difficult at first, but it can be easy if you do it right. Whether you want to have your own African Dwarf Frogs, or you are watching them for a friend, this wikiHow will teach you how to care for them.


  1. Set up a tank for your African Dwarf Frogs.They can live peacefully with some types of fish and snails that live in water.
  2. If you intend to have an unfiltered tank like a goldfish bowl, 1–2 gallons (3.8–7.6 L) per frog is ideal so you will not need to change the tanks water every couple of days.Otherwise, you need to have some method of filtering to avoid toxic ammonia from the frogs waste to build up. African Dwarf frogs do not need a lot of space. In nature, these frogs evolved in very shallow small pools of rainforest swamp-water. They do not school like fish, preferring instead a safe, quiet, predator-free world with plenty of places along the bottom to hide. As long as there is an effective filtering system, any size shallow tank will do. Also, make sure the tank has no gaps in the top as many frogs have escaped and sadly died.
  3. A filter is a must.In nature, African Dwarf Frogs live in water depths shallower than 7-8" deep. Deeper water depths can add stress to African Dwarf Frogs who live on the bottom, yet must swim to the surface to breathe. While African Dwarf Frogs can co-exist with tropical fish in an aquarium, in doing so, always set up your tank for the needs of fish, not frogs in mind. African Dwarf Frogs can tolerate water conditions that can be toxic to fish.
  4. Use gravel or sand as a substrate, 1 inch thick (2 cm), or enough so when you push down with your finger you cannot feel the bottom.
    • If you use rocks or pebbles, be absolutely sure that the rocks aren't too big. African Dwarfs can easily get trapped under a rock and suffocate. However, do include some structure along the bottom of the tank, some nook or cranny, where the frog can hide. African Dwarf Frogs are sensitive to vibrations & movement, and will often seek the security of a confined space in an instinctive quest to avoid predators. Simply be sure the frogs cannot get trapped. On the other hand , make sure the gravel is not too small because African dwarf frogs may accidentally swallow some gravel and could potentially die.
  5. Use live or frozen food, such as bloodworms, and brine shrimp.You can also feed them commercial frog pellets. Variety is healthy. Do not feed freeze dried food because it may cause bloating. Be sure to remove any uneaten food after ten minutes. You may also feed them sinking pellets if its a must, but be sure to put them  on a plate first so they are easily found
  6. Cleaning the frog's tank once a week will ensure health.Do partial water changes weekly to stabilize the ph and remove any nitrites/ nitrates. Remove about twenty percent of the water and replace with de chlorinated tap water .
  7. Provide hiding places such as small terracotta pots, logs, plants and moss.Household mugs also make a good hiding spot for your frogs. 
  8. Use real or fake plants.Make sure that the fake plants are silk, not plastic. Hard plastic plants will scratch and cut their bodies. If you would like real plants make sure you meet the requirements of those as well.
  9. Water should be around 70-75 F.Use mini water heaters if necessary with caution. Monitor water temperatures closely if you use any heater.
  10. Young African Dwarf Frogs prefer to be housed in groups.Older mature frogs prefer a solitary existence except during breeding season. Males housed together won't fight; however, males and females may breed. Female Frogs are the more dominant of the species, more aggressive & hungrier during breeding time.
  11. African dwarf frogs (ADFs) are often mistaken for African clawed frogs (ACFs), but the two are very different from each other.ACFs grow to be much, much bigger than ADFs, possibly reaching the size of a softball in adulthood. ACFs will eat almost any fish (or frog) that they can fit in their mouths, so they should not be kept with ADFs. ACFs can carry diseases that are fatal to ADFs. ACFs have no webbing on their front feet, so they have long claws (if you see small black claws on an ADFs back feet, don't be worried; they are supposed to have these). ACFs can also be good pets, but be sure to research them and accommodate their needs in a separate place from fish and ADFs.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What is the life span of a African dwarf frog?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The average life span of these frogs is five years, but they can live as long as 20 years.
  • Question
    How long can dwarf frogs survive out of water?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    These frogs cannot survive out of water for longer than 20 minutes in low humidity, as they dry out. Care should be taken when handling African dwarf frogs, especially when considering them as a pet for young children.
  • Question
    How do you tell what gender they are?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The males are slightly smaller than the females and skinnier too. They also have a post axillary subdermal gland. This is a small gland behind each armpit, and can be whitish or pinkish in color and looks a little like a pimple.
  • Question
    My African dwarf frog hugged my other frog. Why is this happening?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    When female frogs are getting ready to lay eggs, the male frog will do what looks like hugging or taking a ride on her back because as soon as the female lays eggs, the male will fertilize them. They're not hurting each other but you'll need to be prepared for some new frogs in your life now.
  • Question
    What if the food gets lost in the gravel?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    African dwarf frogs have terrible eyesight; they're almost blind! As they move around the tank, the frogs will smell the food and eat it. You can use an eye dropper to place pellets where your frogs are more likely to find them.
  • Question
    How do you know if an African dwarf is female or male?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Lift the frogs up and look for signs of a white bump on the back of each front leg. This subdermal gland indicates a male. During mating it should be easier to spot the difference: the male is the frog clinging to the back of the female. During the mating season, the male frogs sing to attract females.
  • Question
    Why is my frog floating?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    There are two possible reasons for a floating frog. Your frog could be relaxing or it could have died. Give it some time and see if it snaps out of it. You can check whether it is responsive by gently prodding it.
  • Question
    What happens if I don't keep my frog in a group?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Your frog may become depressed, not sleep well and not want to eat if not placed in a group.
  • Question
    How many eggs will an African dwarf frog lay?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It really depends on how good the breeding process goes and if the frogs are healthy but usually 76 eggs.
  • Question
    How many of those eggs survive?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Most of the eggs survive.
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  • Have two African dwarf frogs to keep each other company ( optional but recommended )
  • Always be sure to have a minimum of a two-inch gap of air space between the lid and the surface of the water. This is due to the fact that frogs don't breath oxygen through the water, but they breathe actual air just like us!
  • Also, be sure that the aquarium you are using isn't too deep, or else the frogs won't be able to swim to the top to get air, and they may drown.
  • Keep water around 8 inches deep maximum. Keep slow surface flow. Some surface flow needed for oxygen. Air bubbles make too much vibration for frogs. Smooth soft decoration and substrate. Sand is good as food collects on top only making it easier for frogs to find. Don't have tight spots for frogs to trap themselves in. Provide small hiding spots for them. Look for high surface area bio and mechanical filter media. Use as much as possible. Frogs can tolerate dirtier water than most fish but a weekly 15% water change or 30% bi weekly change is good. Use tap water in hard water areas as frogs prefer hard water. Make sure to condition water to remove chlorine and heavy metals. 10 hours light 14 hours dark is good. Don't keep near windows unless black out blinds are used to stop uv build up lots of algae. or radiators or speakers from stereos or tv. They love blood worms. Frozen tropical fish food is good. Mixed varied diet is good. Only feed small amounts that are consumed within a few minutes. They go well with amano shrimp adults 1inch big as clean up of left over food.
  • If they are in a bowl ( which is not recommended ) add a plate to act as the lid.
  • Don't have other types of small fish that swim at the bottom of your tank. Your frog can get aggressive with them and the frog and the fish will get stressed.
  • Blood worms cause bloating, so use as a treat.


  • Remember that African Dwarf Frogs have Salmonella so never handle the frog outside of the tank.
  • The African Dwarf Frog has a large array of animals that it can live with safely, but there are a few it cannot live with, such as crayfish, cichlids - fish like damselfish or surfperch, turtles, and in rare cases, goldfish. Most animals are fine, but the select few can be extremely violent or simply bigger and may attempt to eat the frog. Remember, in nature, African Dwarf frogs are food for fish, birds, snakes, and mostly any animal larger than them. Instinctively, African Dwarf Frogs will consider anything larger than them as a threat, and anything smaller than them as potentially frog food.

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Views: 321,589

April Allin

Jun 28, 2019

"I was getting two African dwarf frogs, and I was very excited. Then I realized something - I didn't know a thingabout them! I searched the web for hours, but all the websites were pretty bad. Even Wikipedia. Then I decided to look at wikiHow, and I actually found good information. I managed to keep them alive. There could've been more info, but other than that, it was really good."
Rated this article:


Jan 24

" My brother has wanted a pet frog since he was three! His 10th b-day is coming quick, so I decided, why not get himone? I did some research on them and dwarf frogs seemed ideal. One problem though: We had no idea how to care for them. This article was super useful because it told us what to feed them, how to feed them, where to keep, how to keep them, and everything in between."
Rated this article:

Mary O'Connor

Apr 26, 2019

"Learning the use of a filter and ability to have friends was helpful. I think my male Betta ate my African Dwarffrog after 3 weeks of harmonious living! Hard to believe my Betta ate him as they're both so small! Want to set up another tank just for frogs."


Jun 22, 2019

"I'm glad the article said the depth of the water, not too deep or they can't get air, and warned not to placeplastic plants with them as they can cut the frogs' bodies. I wouldn't have known that and may have added a plastic plant, so I'm glad I read it."

Marcia Folk

Jul 25, 2019

"My frogs keep dying, so I was looking for better ways to help them. This article gave me several pieces of infothat I was not doing. I will implement these things and help my frogs. Feeding techniques were very useful."


Jul 18, 2019

"This article helped me because it told me things that I did not know about African dwarf frogs. For example, I didnot know that freeze dried food is bad for them. Therefore, this article was very helpful for me."
Rated this article:

May Izkovich

Nov 25, 2019

"I was planning on getting an African dwarf frog, so this was extremely helpful. I learned that freeze-driedbloodworms are bad for them, and that they need air to breath and that the water can't be too deep."

Keisha McNaught

Jun 6, 2019

"I now know why my frog died. I placed the frog in a 35 gallon, which was too deep. Thank you for the article whichwill definitely save another frog from going to frog heaven prematurely."


Nov 7, 2019

"I love my little guy, full of personality, just needed basic info to keep him happy. He hangs out with my candypleco like little pals. "


Feb 10, 2019

"We want a frog, and we need to research how much things are going to be. You gave us lots of info, this is a goodweb website. "

Dawn Gustafson

Jun 17, 2019

"The best tips were the food plate and loving blood worms, how long they live, and how to change the water. Thanks."

Colleen Carleton

Feb 12, 2019

"I'm getting ready to move my frogs from one tank to another, and this really helped me prepare their best habitat."

Garry Lemar

Mar 6, 2019

"I have just bought three African dwarf frogs, and this article has been very helpful in its advice. Thank you."

Fred Cowen

Sep 26, 2019

"I would like to get one of these frogs soon, so I'll be doing some research. This helped a lot. "

Patricia Spandau

Mar 22, 2019

"I didn't realize frogs needed a lot of hiding places. I will add some more things to my tank."

Isabella Quimby

Sep 22, 2019

"It helped me learn a lot, now I think I might get one. We already have some at school. "
Rated this article:

Liz W.

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Date: 06.12.2018, 14:41 / Views: 52363