African Dwarf Frog Care, Food, Tank Mates, And Guide

African Dwarf Frog Care, Food, Tank Mates, And Guide

African Dwarf Frogs are little, calm frogs that would be ideal for a communal aquarium.

Because they are nocturnal animals, you will only be able to see them during the moonlit hours, when you will be able to observe some pretty strange activities from them.

This article will teach you all you need to know about caring for African Dwarf Frogs.

African Dwarf Frog Facts & Overview

Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Olive-green to brown/green
Lifespan: 5 years
Size: 3 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Pipidae
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Fully aquatic
Compatibility: Tropical freshwater communities

African Dwarf Frogs are members of the Pipidae family and the Hymenochirus genus. Hymenochirus boettgeri, Hymenochirus boulengeri, Hymenochirus curtipes, and Hymenochirus feae are the four species that go by the name African Dwarf Frog.

The only distinction between these four frogs is their native habitats, which are fairly similar and lack many identifying traits.

  • The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon are home to Hymenochirus boettgeri.
  • Hymenochirus boulengeri is only found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s northwestern region.
  • Hymenochirus curtipes is a species of Hymenochirus that may be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Finally, Hymenochirus feae is a Gabonese endemic.

They’re all little, totally aquatic amphibians that grow up to 3 inches long and weigh only a few ounces.

They are frequently misidentified as the African Clawed Frog. Although they have a similar appearance, the Clawed Frog is larger and more aggressive.

Keep this in mind when buying your first frog, and instead of relying on labels that may or may not be accurate, conduct your own research to ensure you know what you’re getting.


African Dwarf Frogs are a lot of fun to have in your tank. Because they are nocturnal animals, they will be most active when the sunsets. They will spend the majority of their time swimming in the water, occasionally emerging to the surface to breathe.

These frogs cannot stay out of the water for long periods of time because they will dehydrate and die within 15-20 minutes.

They lack the gills that fish have, instead opting for fully formed lungs. They will swim quickly to the surface for breath, then dive back under a split second later.

The ‘zen pose,’ which is particularly common among these frogs, is another amusing and unusual activity. Your frogs may be seen floating at the surface of the water, arms and legs stretched out, without moving. Even if they appear to be dead at times, this is quite normal!

It’s possible that you’ll hear them singing. A faint buzzing sound is used by an adult male to attract a female.


  • They are amphibious amphibians that spend most of their time underwater. To breathe, they must ascend to the surface.
  • Frogs are gregarious animals who like being around one another.
  • They can spread a variety of diseases, so constantly wash your hands to avoid infection.
  • You don’t have to feed your frogs on a daily basis.
  • They aren’t great swimmers, therefore the water flow must be kept modest.
  • You might see amusing habits like the ‘zen pose.’


african dwarf frog Dan Olsen 1 min

Dwarf from Africa Frogs ranges in color from olive to brownish-green. Despite the fact that their colors vary, they all have unmistakable black dots on their bodies.

These frogs are little amphibians with a maximum size of 3 inches and a weight of a few ounces.

The Pipidae family of frogs share some traits, such as the lack of a tongue and teeth. This indicates that they have webbed feet, which they use to not only move around but also to feed themselves.

They also have a water-absorbing buccal cavity, which allows them to consume by sucking water into their mouth.

How do these frogs know what’s going on around them if they don’t have ears? They have sensitive lateral lines across the length of their bodies that detect movement and vibrations.

There are minor variances between males and females. Females are slightly larger and have a more pronounced genital area called the ovipositor. Males, on the other hand, have a tiny gland behind each front leg that may be seen.

Although the specific function of this gland is unknown, it is widely assumed that it has something to do with mating.

Tank Requirements And Habitat

Given the name, it should come as no surprise that African Dwarf Frogs are found in Africa! They can be found in tropical forests, as well as in Nigeria’s, Cameroon’s, and Gabon’s freshwaters, and all the way to the Congo River Basin.

The climate is humid and warm in this area. Because they are nocturnal animals, they are accustomed to a 10-12 hour cycle of light and darkness.

To survive, these frogs require water or an extremely humid environment.

It is best to set up the tank and create the proper habitat before purchasing the frog, as it is with all other fish.

Tank & Setup for African Dwarf Frogs

Make sure the air above the water is humidified; this will prevent the frog from becoming dehydrated if it leaps out of the water.

As already said, light is quite crucial. Because these frogs are accustomed to regular cycles of light and dark, set your lights on a timer to assure a 10-12 hour cycle.

They don’t require special lightings like other reptiles or amphibians; a standard LED aquarium light will suffice.

Because their skin is so sensitive to pollutants, you’ll need to invest in a good filter and a water test kit to ensure the highest possible water quality. When you complete your weekly 20 percent water change, make sure to check the water. The following are some suggested water parameters for your tank:

  • Temperature: 72-78°F
  • pH: 6.5-7.8
  • gH: 5-20
  • kH: 4-15

Sand or gravel can be used as a substrate. If you’re buying gravel, ensure sure the grains are large enough not to be swallowed by the frog.

There shouldn’t be a lot of water flow. Strong water flows bother these frogs since they prefer to be stationary in the water on occasion.

Even though frogs breathe normal air, you may wish to invest in an air pump or an air stone to ensure that your tank’s water quality is excellent and that dangerous anaerobic bacteria are kept out.

However, because they are sensitive to noise and vibrations, you can disconnect a pump from the tank glass to avoid this problem. For these reasons, you might want to add a layer of insulation between the tank and the stand, such as Styrofoam or a piece of carpet.

Live plants are also appreciated by these frogs. You can put in either floating plants like Hornwort or rooted plants like Java Fern.

If you choose rooted plants, make sure the roots are covered to prevent your frog from digging them out.

Finally, make sure there are plenty of hiding spots around the tank; these animals are normally preyed upon, so giving them places to hide will make them feel safer. You may create concealing spaces with plants, pebbles, and pieces of driftwood.

What Aquarium Size Do They Require?

The majority of individuals begin with a 10-gallon tank, which may hold a small colony of 4-5 frogs. A 20-gallon tank can also be used, but make sure the water isn’t too deep so the frogs can readily swim up for air.

Allow two liters of water for each frog.

Tank Mates

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They’re ideal for tropical freshwater communal tanks. You should have no trouble if you maintain your frogs and fish well-fed and the water conditions optimum.

These frogs are friendly creatures who should be kept in colonies with other frogs.

Small peaceful fish like livebearers (guppies, mollies, and platies), as well as Corydoras, Danios, and schooling tetras like neon tetras, Serpae Tetras, and rummy nose tetras, make excellent tank mates.

If you’re looking for more buddies, the Cherry, Ghost, and Bamboo shrimp, as well as many snail species, can be useful.

Snails and shrimps, on the other hand, maybe mistaken for food, so use caution while using them.

They should make good tank buddies as long as the fish are placid and not too little to fit in the frog’s mouth.

Cichlids and other large aggressive fish should be avoided. They will likely stress the frogs and prey on them.

Are Bettas Compatible With Them?

Yes, you can keep these two together if you’re careful. It everything boils down to your betta’s specific personality. Some Bettas are extremely violent, while others are unconcerned about frogs.

If the Betta is aggressive, it may bully and finally kill your frog, so if you decide to keep both in the same tank, keep an eye on them to make sure they’re compatible.

Keeping Them Together

It’s better to keep these frogs in a small group. They’re very gregarious, so keep them in small groups of at least two or three per tank.


Despite the fact that African Dwarf Frogs are omnivores, they prefer a meat-based diet. To ensure that they get all of the nutrients they need for a healthy frog, try to provide them with a varied diet.

There are several pre-prepared items that should be the foundation of their diet. Typically, these are pellet-based.

A fish fry, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, brine shrimps, krill, and earthworms are some of the delights you can give your frog a few times a week. Feed them beef heart as an extra delectable treat, but just once a month because it is very fatty.

It’s entirely up to you whether you feed them live or frozen food; most of the above meals are available in both frozen and live forms.

Feed your frogs once a day when they’re young, but as they get older, you can feed them less.

Your frogs need to be fed every two days as adults. You should only feed them little bites and only as much as they can consume in 15 minutes.

Overfeeding can lead to obesity and poor water quality, both of which result in stressed fish. Try not to leave any food in the tank that hasn’t been consumed, and remove anything that hasn’t been eaten after 20 minutes.

If your frog isn’t eating properly or is being very picky, you may need to feed them personally using tweezers. Squeeze the food to the point where it is almost touching their faces, allowing them to see and devour it.


African Dwarf Frog Care Food Tank Mates And Guide

These frogs are extremely fragile and sensitive creatures.

Your frogs could be a threat to you as an amphibian. These frogs are not poisonous, although they can carry a lot of bacteria on their skin or in their feces.

Salmonella is the most prevalent bacteria detected, and it is extremely dangerous to humans. Instead of touching your frog, use an aquarium net. If you must handle them, wear gloves and wash your hands well before and after.

Avoid putting anything pointy in the tank, such as pebbles or decorations, because they are quite sensitive. Also, try to keep in and outlets clear so the frog does not become stuck.

The disease dropsy is one of the most common. This disorder is usually fatal and is caused by a combination of factors. Your frog will begin to bloat, indicating that it is in trouble. Unfortunately, a variety of factors can contribute to this, including parasites and bacterial infections.

It is sometimes curable and occasionally contagious, depending on the reason. Consult a vet who specializes in amphibians if you suspect your pet has dropsy.

Fungal or bacterial infections are two other issues that you could face. On the skin of the frogs, fungal infections appear as fuzzy patches.

Chytridiomycosis is a very terrible fungus. The diseased frog should be separated because it is contagious.

Infections caused by bacteria can also be an issue. Distress is indicated by red eyes or skin, a loss of appetite, and tiredness. Antibiotics, in most cases, are effective. Always double-check to see if the antibiotics you’re using are safe for amphibians.

Your frogs will have no trouble if you keep optimal water quality, a good feeding schedule, and the right surroundings.


Breeding African Dwarf Frogs is not difficult if you know what you’re doing. They should reproduce naturally if you give a healthy habitat and a nutritious diet.

Make sure you have a male and a female in your group. Males have a tiny gland behind each front leg, whilst females have a slightly larger vaginal area (ovipositor).

A meal rich in live/frozen bloodworms, blackworms, and daphnia should aid in the spawning process. If they don’t start breeding right away, gradually raise the water temperature to 82°F as a second trigger.

When they begin to breed, they will exhibit some unusual courtship behaviors.

To attract the female, the male will create sounds. The amplexus embrace will then begin between the two of them. They will swim in circles and release 1000 sticky eggs that will cling to plants on a regular basis.

Remove the parents at this point.

It will take 1-2 days for the eggs to hatch. For another week, the tadpoles will remain stuck to surfaces, following which you can give them little chopped-up meals.

The tadpoles will grow back legs first, then front legs. After a few weeks, the tail will start to shrink, and they will have entirely metamorphosed into adult frogs.

Is The African Dwarf Frog Suitable For Your Aquarium?

These frogs are little amphibians that are tranquil. They’re highly popular because they’re so simple to maintain.

If you try to create the greatest possible habitat for your frogs (with the correct tank, water conditions, and substrate), you’ll be able to keep them happy and healthy.

Feeding isn’t difficult; you don’t have to do it every day, and they eat food that’s similar to what your fish eat.

Is this frog the next ideal addition to your aquarium?


African dwarf frogs eat what?

Sinking, carnivorous freshwater fish feeding pellets or pellets specifically made and proportioned for African dwarf frogs should be offered. They can also be fed freeze-dried tubifex worms, as well as thawed, frozen bloodworms, blackworms, or brine shrimp.

How do I feed an African dwarf frog? 

Feed your African dwarf frog once a day, as directed on the packet. If you’re feeding frozen food, make sure it’s thawed and rinsed in fresh water before putting it on the target. Allow your frog to eat as much as possible within 1-2 minutes, then discard any food that hasn’t been consumed.

Will African dwarf frogs eat dead fish?

Dwarf frogs in Africa will consume dead fish. Dwarf frogs in Africa are opportunistic scavengers who will eat any dead fish they come across, especially if they’re hungry.

You should not, however, feed your frog’s dead fish. Eating dead fish can make them sick by introducing a range of bacteria and parasites into their systems. Furthermore, because the frogs are unlikely to complete the entire carcass, the leftover fish meat will decay and pollute the tank’s water.

If you see any dead fish, get rid of them right away. This will ensure the health of the remaining tank occupants.

How often should I feed African dwarf frogs? 

Once a day, feed African dwarf frogs and let them eat as much as they want within 1-2 minutes.

What is the lifespan of African dwarf frogs?

With adequate care, African dwarf frogs can live for two to five years.

Do African dwarf frogs require land to survive?

They don’t, in fact. African dwarf frogs are amphibians, like all other frogs, but unlike most amphibians, they spend their entire lives in water. They lack gills and must surface to breathe, yet they spend most of their time underwater.

How long can African dwarf frogs hold their breath? 

African dwarf frogs can hold their breath for up to 15 minutes underwater, but they must surface to breathe before returning to the water.

What is the best way to care for African dwarf frogs?

Dwarf frogs in Africa spend their entire lives in water and require precise water quality and temperature to survive. For more information, consult Petco’s African Dwarf Frog Care Sheet or speak with a trained Petco Care Center employee.

Where can I buy African dwarf frogs? 

Dwarf frogs from Africa can be found at your local Petco. Check availability with your local shop.

What do African dwarf frogs need in their tank?

In their tank, African dwarf frogs require a number of items, including:

  • Fine sand substrate or smooth gravel
  • Decorative rocks and stones
  • Adequate lighting
  • A heater
  • A water filter that doesn’t produce a strong current
  • A tank cover with no openings
  • Silk artificial plants
  • Various live plants including Java moss, Java fern, Marimo moss balls, hornwort, and anchors

To keep your African dwarf frogs safe and healthy, avoid giving them small decorations to avoid them being swallowed and choking. Also, before putting anything in the tank, clean everything with cool running water. Soap should not be used because the residue can hurt the frogs.

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