Care Sheet for African Dwarf Frogs

Care Sheet for African Dwarf Frogs

  • Author Lucy
  • Creation date
ADF's are sensitive to water conditions so please cycle your tank without fish or in this case without your new frog. :)

African Dwarf Frogs are fully aquatic. They grow to about 1.5" from nose to rear not counting their flippers.
It's not unusual for them to hang out during the day and become more active in the evenings and at night.
They need to breath air so don't be alarmed to see your frogger make a quick dash to the top, take a gulp of air and shoot back down to the bottom.

Your Frog's Home:
They do best in a stable water temperature of 75-80F
You should allow 2.5-3g's of water per frog. I have 2 in a 5g mini bow with the filter setting on low.
Too strong of an intake can suck up their little flippers. Too strong a current may prevent then from getting to the top for air.
Ideally it should be between 12-18" high. Any taller your frog might have trouble getting to the top for air before tiring out.
A lid is a must. They're great escape artists and can squeeze through a tiny space.
Avoid gravel that can fit in their mouth or has sharp edges.
Small smooth river rock works well.
Plastic, silk or live plants will make your tank look nice and give your ADF a place to hide.
A cave is a nice addition, again, make sure it doesn't have sharp edges.
Only use aquarium safe products and make sure any holes are large enough for the frog to swim through.
A stuck frog will drown.

ADF's are meat eaters. You can feed your frog thawed frozen blood worms or brine shrimp.
Frog and Tadpole pellets are also a good choice.
Avoid Freeze dried foods or hard pellets that can cause blockages.
Feed them once a day or 2 small meals a day. Just enough to see their belly bulge a little.
It won't hurt your adult frog to skip a day but young frogs should be fed everyday.
They're bottom feeders and will root around looking food.

Thanks to Frogbreeder for these recommendations:
Frogbreeder said:
Mysis shrimp; brine-shrimp; glassworms (mosquito larvae); bloodworms (best fed sparingly, if at all); beefheart; blackworms; tubifex worms; earthworms; whiteworms; talapia fish; tuna or salmon steak; shrimp, mussels and prawns (from the grocery store); gammarus and krill (not particular favourites but some frogs will eat them); even canned tuna or cooked chicken breast (but these are messy); smaller frogs will eat smaller foods such as daphnia (water-fleas), cyclops (water fleas), bosmidea (water fleas). Although liver is sometimes recommended, it should probably be avoided since there is new evidence to suggest that feeding liver can cause vitamin A toxicity (personally, I believe this to be true).
Tank Mates:
I prefer a species only tank. They would be perfectly happy by themselves.
However taking into consideration the tank size they can live with peaceful mid to top dwelling fish.
ADF's are slow to find their food so fast moving or aggressive fish might eat all the food before it gets to your frog.
They're bottom dwellers and will hunt their food, rooting around the substrate. If the fish get to it first your ADF could starve.
If the fish can fit into the frogs mouth it may become food for your ADF.
If the frog can fit into the fish's mouth, it will become food.
I've heard of people being able to keep Otos or ghost shrimp with them.
However remember they do like brine shrimp as snack.
A Betta may or may not work. It depends on the Betta's personality and tank size. Always have an alternative plan in case someone needs to be moved.

ADF's are often seen floating with their flippers spread eagle or what looks like they're standing in the water. They're relaxed and it's normally nothing to worry about.
I've actually seen mine hang out like that and slowly to fall over on it's back. Silly frog. He wasn't ill, they just do that sometimes and quickly right themselves.
It's also common for them to hide to feel safe.
In contrast if your frog is always at the top or always hiding, it could be a sign of illness.

They shed about once a week and it's perfectly normal. You may even see skin shaped like a frog in the tank.
It's actually full of nutrients and your frog might eat it.

However, if it comes off in tatters or shreds this may be a sign of illness.

It's hard to tell them apart when they're young.
The female is rounder and larger than the male. She has a slightly longer tail (more of a bump)
When the male matures he'll have a small pink or whitish bump under his arms.
Sometimes the males will sing. Much to my disappointment, I've never heard my male sing.
Edit: Since writing this, I have heard my males sing, if that's what you want to call it. lol
It's more of a Zzzzzzt Zzzzzzzt sound.

When they are ready to mate, the male hugs the female from behind and holds on to her midsection. This is called amplexus. She'll deposit her eggs and he fertilizes them.
If you don't remove the eggs the frogs or tank mates will eat them.

For more on breeding ADF's see Frogbreeders guide.
It's very well written with great illustrations:

ADF Tadpole Development

Anatomy Of A Frog

(Thanks Mac)
There are very few medications that are safe for your frog.
Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 can be used for bacterial infections.
Maroxy or Benzalkonium Chloride can be used for fungus.
Edit: This may not be a complete list of frog safe meds.
However, please do a lot of research before using any meds with ADF's in your tank.

It's recommended to quarantine any new frogs for at least 3 months due to the Chytrid Fungus
This fungus effects amphibians, not fish.

*Not to be reprinted or copied without written permission from the author or the admin of FishLore. Original article written on January 15th, 2009.
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