African Dwarf Frog Care and Breeding Guide

The hobby of frog keeping is not as old as that of fish keeping but since it was first discovered that frogs could be kept as well as fish, it is one hobby that many aquarists truly enjoy. One of the most popular aquarium frogs amongst aquarium enthusiasts is the African Dwarf Frog. Before its discovery as an aquarium favorite, the frog was not easy to find out of its native home of Africa. Now, the frog is readily available in pet stores and local fish stores. Children are particularly attracted to this frog and for this you can easily find it placed in kid’s rooms. As such here is an article on African Dwarf Frog Care.

Information Chart African Dwarf Frog
Care Level: Medium to difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Dark brown and grey
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Size: 8 CM
Family Pipidae
Diet: Omnivorous
Minimum Tank Size: 2000 to 3000 gallons
Temperature: 20-26 ºC
Water Conditions: pH 6-8
Tank Mate Compatibility Larger peaceful fish

Appearance of African Dwarf Frog

African Dwarf Frog Care

The African Dwarf Frog has webbing between its fingers on its front hands to make it easier for it to move about in water. If you take a close look at the African dwarf frog you will notice that it has the eyes on the sides of the head unlike most other frogs that usually have eyes on the top of their heads. The nose of the frog is also usually pointier as in elongated compared to other varieties of frogs that you will find in the hobby market today.


The African Dwarf Frog is mostly found in a number of small streams and ponds throughout much of Africa. The frog likes to hide in the bottom most part of the water, taking advantage of its distinct coloration to help it camouflage with the litter of leaves and other detritus found at the bottom. The frog is known to spend almost all of its time fully submerged in water only coming to the surface in a few moments to take in air or gobble food. The frog basically lives in fresh water where it spends most of its lifetime.

African Dwarf Frog Origins

As per some studies, African Dwarf frogs were first identified in puddles, streams, shallow ponds, and rivers in different regions of Central Africa during the 19th century. These frogs are members of the Hymenochirus genus of water frog species. And when you see them, you can easily confuse them in terms of appearance with other species, like the African clawed frogs. Even though both African Clawed Frogs and Dwarf Frogs are from the Pipidae family and may look quite similar, they both have behavioral and physical traits. Before adoption, you should understand those traits.

Female And Male African Dwarf Frogs

Many distinct features can make it much easier to detect female and male African Dwarf Frogs. The males are generally smaller in size, and as they mature, they will develop small glands that can be seen behind the front legs or Post Axillary Subdermal glands. They come with a small tail. They buzz very loudly when they try to attract or excite their partners. 

Now coming to the female African Dwarf Frogs, they may look a little larger than the males and have a pear-shaped body. As they grow, they develop longer tails and don’t buzz frequently. In general, these frogs buzz at night, and they remain active during the night. They are nocturnal, and in the wild, they rest during day time and hunt for food only at night.

African Dwarf Frog Behavior And Temperament

There is no doubt that African Dwarf frogs are very fun to watch, making them quite popular among most aquarists. These species are very active during the night. As discussed above, these frogs love to spend their time underwater. So, you don’t have to create an effort to build land or a dry spot in the aquarium. 

African Dwarf Frog Behavior And Temperament

They are 100 percent aquatic and have a set of well-developed lungs. That means, to get breath, they will come to the top of the water. Then, they will rapidly swim down to explore the bottom. 

If they feel like a predator will attack them, they utilize their natural camouflage and escape from the place. They may stay within the artificial foliage or swim under the rocks to keep themselves protected from predators. With these frogs in your fish tank, you can see various quirky behaviors.

Sometimes they love to just float at the surface of the water, spreading their arms out. First, you may think that they are dead. However, you don’t have to worry about this as your African Dwarf frogs are just relaxing. 

These frogs are quite docile by nature and can live well with other freshwater species. However, you may notice aggressive behavior if you keep with small fish species. They may consider the small fish as their food and may eat them. 

But these frogs are really fun creatures to keep in your aquarium, and you will feel happy whenever you watch them. Besides, they can be vocal to attract females; they produce buzzing sounds.

African Dwarf Frog Tank Requirements and & Tank Set-Up

African Dwarf Frog Tank Size and Specifications

African dwarf frog care is quite easy as long as you follow the basic requirements set out for keeping frogs in aquariums everything will just be good to go. Providing a tank that is not too big for the frog is advised. In fact a tank that is at least 5 gallons can do. Here below is a sneak peek at some to the basic tank requirements:

African Dwarf Frog Tank Requirements and & Tank Set-Up

  • A five gallon tank for a single frog but a larger tank will be needed if you need to keep a group of the frogs is a single tank.
  • It is best to keep them in groups because they are highly sociable.
  • They are notorious hoppers/jumpers so ensure that the tank has got a lid over it. Just ensure that there is enough space between the water surface and the lid for the frog to emerge when it need to breathe in some air.
  • For filtration of the tank, a small hang on back filter can do the job perfectly well. A sponge filter can also do the job, so you can use either.
  • The frog doesn’t prefer waters with lots of current and therefore you shouldn’t do much filtration.
  • Always ensure the quality of water in the tank is great because the frogs are very sensitive and will get opportunistic infections easily in unclean environments.
  • The substrate should not contain any sharp gravel and this can easily injure the delicate frogs. Also when placing plastic plants in the tank please never place those with sharp edges because this can be a source of injury for the frogs.
  • When keeping the frog in captivity, ensure that you provide for them what is referred to as day and night. This therefore calls on the keeper to use aquarium UV lights that will act like artificial sunshine for the frogs.
  • As for the water temperature one that is controlled between 75 and 78°F is advised to help keep the frog comfortable in the tank. To be able to achieve this ideal temperature in the tank you can use an aquarium heater.

Filter And Lighting for African Dwarf Frog

One of the most crucial things you will want to watch is the filter. Using a powerful filter system can cause issues for your African Dwarf frogs if you are using a powerful filter system. Even though they can remain for hours on the bottom of the tank, they don’t like strong currents. So, make sure that that filter is reasonable.

On the other hand, you will have to offer them sufficient lighting for around 10 to 12 hours every day. Even though they are nocturnal, they will need light to keep themselves healthy. Well, that doesn’t mean you can use any fancy lighting. You can also use a standard aquarium light setup.

Feeding African Dwarf Frog

One important aspect of African dwarf frog care is feeding. Feeding the frog may not be much of a hustle for you because the frog will generally eat anything that is provided to so long as it is edible. Below are some of the common foods that you can successfully use to feed the frog while keeping it in captivity:

African Dwarf Frog Care

  • Frog food
  • Shrimp pellets
  • Frozen and live food
  • Frozen daphnia
  • Brine shrimp
  • Blood worms
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Black worms

Feeding frogs that are kept in a community tank needs lots of attention due to the fact they have poor eyesight. This therefore calls on the keeper to extend a little bit of courtesy to the frogs when feeding them. Using a turkey Baster or tongs is advised to help you lower food to the frogs when it is meal time. Mostly, if you simply just insert food in the tank without caring much, they may not even realize that you provide them with food and they will not find the food to eat.

African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates

The African Dwarf Frogs are usually readily compatible with other peaceful fish and therefore they can be kept with such fish easily. You should never house the frog with highly aggressive fish as this will cause the lots of harassment that is uncalled for. Fish like cichlids that are aggressive should not be kept in a similar tank with these frogs as they will harass them a lot. The other fish that should not be kept in the same tank with the frog are Oscar due to their aggressive nature.

African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates

Even though they are considered non-aggressive and peaceful frogs, not all freshwater fish species feel the same about them. If you are planning to keep these frogs with other species, then here are some species that can be good African Dwarf Frog tankmates: 

When keeping your frogs with the tankmates, ensure that the tank is not overcrowded and they are getting sufficient swimming space to thrive peacefully. By offering them sufficient space, you will create a stress-free living environment.

Even though the above-listed tankmates are quite compatible with your African Dwarf frogs, betta fish may act a little aggressively, and they can be territorial if they don’t have enough swimming space or if they feel threatened by other species. If you don’t know much about this, it will be better to consult a professional aquatic specialist. It may be noted that your African Dwarf frogs with other Dwarf frogs of different sexes.

Breeding African Dwarf Frog

Breeding your African Dwarf frogs is an easy but unique process. Even though it is not very difficult, the breeding process requires careful preparation. If you follow the procedures properly, you can get many little tadpoles.

Breeding African Dwarf Frog

The first step here is to start the breeding process. To initiate it, you need to stimulate a suitable breeding season. For example, you will have to gradually lower the tank’s water level to around 3 inches or lower than 7 CM. This will effectively stimulate a dry season. After attaining the desired shallowness, you need to add some warm water to the tank. Ensure the temperature is around 80 to 85-degree F. You should maintain this temperature for a few weeks.

You should feed your frog plenty of healthy foods during the water change process. Combine different foods to offer your frogs variety. You will get to know that you have started the breeding process when the female African Dwarf frogs begin to get larger. That means they have eggs.

Once the process has commenced, you need to move out the frogs from the tank to give the eggs sufficient time to hatch. As per the experts, it can take around three to six days. Once the eggs have hatched, you should offer them infusoria before offering them brine shrimp. Give enough time to the tadpoles to grow their legs and attain the shape of a frog.

African Dwarf Frog Common Diseases And Their Treatment

Some disease that generally affects your frog can be seen with different symptoms, but some may remain undercover. The reasons for their diseases can range from an open wound that allows bacteria to enter inside the body to some unknowns. However, some diseases can be treated through proper medications. 

Healthy African Dwarf Frog


If the frog is packing on the gram, – the weight gain is normal if you are feeding them more. However, a rapidly bloated stomach is not a good sign at all. This can be a symptom of dropsy that causes bloating. Such disease has no such causes, but improper diet and bacteria can sometimes lead to such conditions. It is unlikely your frogs will revive from this condition; it is a deadly disease. You should not depend on home treatments and consult a vet as soon as possible.

Fungal Infections In African Dwarf Frogs

A lot of fungi can infect your African Dwarf frog. Some symptoms of such infection normally include tiny white patches on the body, a growing white spot, poor appetite, and dull-looking skin. During this condition, your frog will try to scratch out the fungus by running unto the decoration or plants. The most common sign of fungal infection is white patches. Different types of antifungal medication are available in the market that can cure some fungal infections, but treating Chytrid can be challenging.

Bacterial Infections

Unlike fungal infections where the symptoms are noticeable, bacterial infections in frogs are challenging to spot. Your frogs will not eat properly and may stop eating completely when it happens. They will remain still for a long time and may develop cloudy eyes. Besides, their skin may become a little reddish.

Treatment Options

If you have a professional vet specializing in amphibians, you should make an appointment. They may suggest some over-the-counter medicines to treat your frog condition. General antifungals and antibiotics can work well, based on the type of disease your frog has. Prefer to quarantine any infected frogs to protect the tankmates, and this way, the medications will not harm your snails, shrimps, or other fish. Make sure that all the medications are frog-safe.

Interesting Facts About African Dwarf Frogs

  • These species are ideal for intermediate aquarists. 
  • In terms of size, they can grow around 3 to 5 inches or 8CM.
  • They generally live for around 10 to 15 years, talking about their lifespan. So, if you want to keep them, then make sure that you can take good care of them for at least 15 years.
  • These frog species are completely aquatic. As they have lungs like fish, they breathe at the surface of the water.
  • You can keep your African Dwarf Frogs with tropical fish of the same size, but if your frogs are hungry, they can eat your fish. So, you should properly feed your frog to avoid such issues. 

Is An African Dwarf Frog Good For Your Aquarium?

After going through all the information mentioned in this comprehensive care guide, it can be concluded that these small amphibians are very peaceful. They are quite common and don’t need any special care. So, they are very easy to keep.

African Dwarf Frog in Tank

However, you will have to offer them the right living environment with the right size tank, substrate, and water parameters to increase their lifespan. This will help to succeed at keeping the frogs healthy and nice.

Feeding these frogs is not a challenging task at all. You don’t have to feed them every day. The African Dwarf frogs can eat the same food you use for your fish. So, they can be suitable for your aquarium. 


What Does The African Dwarf Frog Prefer To Eat?

As per the experts, to keep the Dwarf frog healthy for years, they need to be provided with sinking and carnivorous fish food pellets created specifically for the African Dwarf frogs. Besides, you can also offer them blackworms, brine shrimps, frozen bloodworms along tubifex worms. You can easily get all these food products online. 

What Is The Right Way To Feed The African Dwarf Frogs?

Most experts suggest feeding them once per day or following the instructions mentioned on the packages. If you are giving frozen food, ensure that you have thawed and rinsed the foods properly in freshwater before feeding. You should let your frog eat for around one to two minutes and remove the uneaten food. 

Does An African Dwarf Frog Need land?

Well, the answer is no, they don’t need land. Just like other frogs, African Dwarf frogs are amphibians. But different from some amphibians, Dwarf frogs love to spend their lives in water. They don’t come with gills, and that’s why they frequently come to the surface to breathe. But they spend their time underwater. 

Should I Use A Heater For My African Dwarf Frog?

As discussed above, the ideal water temperature level for the African Dwarf frogs is around 68to 78-degree F or 20 to 26-degree C. Using a good quality aquarium heater, and you will be able to keep the water in the tank at the required temperature. The experts suggest going for a 5-watt heater for every gallon of water. 

How Long Can They Go Without Food?

While living in the wild, the African Dwarf frogs can live without food for around two to three days. But different studies have proved that they can go up to 6 days without food. Well, that doesn’t mean that you can feed your frog once every three days. Feed them regularly to keep them happy and healthy.

Conclusion for African Dwarf Frog Care

In conclusion, as you can read above, caring for African dwarf frog is not as hard as you might think. In fact, if you follow all the tank setup and requirement, it is very much manageable. So if you already have an aquarium or even better a terrarium, go and get yourself some African dwarf frog.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.