Care Sheet For African Dwarf Frogs

Discussion in 'Amphibians' started by Lucy, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    African Dwarf Frog Care Guide :;froglove

    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 a minimum of 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:
    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


    (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.
    T.C. Tetracycline (Credit to rpayne36 for this addition)
    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.

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  2. pinkfloydpuffer Fishlore VIP Member

    Wonderful post Lucy! Thanks for writing this up :)

  3. Mike19 Well Known Member Member

    thanks for your time and efforts interesting information :)

  4. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    :) Thanks! I lovvvvvvvve my frogs. They're so entertaining.
    I've been busy and haven't had a chance to add pics yet.
    Hopefully sometime this week.

  5. Alessa Well Known Member Member

    Great article LUCY! (didnt find it before :;smack)

    You make me want to get one!

  6. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Thanks Alessa!
    Or two? lol
  7. pinkfloydpuffer Fishlore VIP Member

    Makes me miss Jethro... poor guy only lasted like a week. :( I'm pretty sure he had that frog fungus...
    Maybe some day I'll get another one.
  8. chuckyduck Valued Member Member

    I keep my ADF in a 5 gal with a betta. I currently have gravel, but am planning on switching to pool filter sand. Will my frog be okay with the sand? I feed him frog & tadpole bites. If he has trouble eating in sand, I could place a small dish on top of the sand to hold his food. I just don't want him to choke on sand.
  9. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Sand is an option, I'm pretty sure they can pass it easily enough.
    The way mine go after food on the bottom, I imagine they would digest quite a bit, so for my personal preference, I don't use it.

    A small dish is a good option. I use one.
  10. chuckyduck Valued Member Member

    Maybe I'll use a dish like my gerbil's food bowl. It's small and has high walls to keep the food in and the sand out.
  11. SWfreshmen31 Valued Member Member

    how does the food stay in the bowl without floating out in the water?
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  12. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

  13. jarrin Valued Member Member

    i have found that they will hide any places the can fit even if they tend to get stuck there they will try to hide there agin. i had a castle in my tank for my adfs to swim in and had to remove it due to the always hiding in the tiny lil places. even if these items have only a hollow bottem the will dig to get under then so i buy items for my tank that dont have tiny place they can get stuck in.
  14. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Great addition jarrin!
  15. Rasbo_otto Valued Member Member


    What do I need in addition to my generic aquarium hood to ensure these little guys arn't going to end up on the floor?

    My hood has a few openings in the top for filter and heater with about an inch of space not being covered by either. Should I put a net in these cracks?
  16. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Hi Rasbo_otto, welcome to FishLore :)

    Yes, for sure, put something over even the tiniest openings.
    You might get a kick out of this:
    Omg, Is that my frog??

    Enjoy the forum!
  17. Kupcake Well Known Member Member

    You should be leaving access to air above your water line when you have frogs to allow them to breath, I lower my water line about 1" below the black strip and I have no fears of escapees. Also I have hoods that cover the majority of my tank surface.
  18. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Something to keep in mind. They can easily climb the heater and filter cords so any openings should be covered.
  19. ZeeZ Well Known Member Member

    ADFs don't take well to airstones?

    I just recently read that ADFs don't take well to airstones/air pumps because of the water vibrations. Is this true?
  20. jenste Well Known Member Member

    for wild caught (never seen in stores) yes this was true. in the wild vibrations in the water mean something bigger is swimming by and that is dangerous.

    in the home aquarium, these frogs have always been exposed to filtration systems that keep the water moving so the vibrations do not disturb them.

    I would suggest however that you keep the water flow directed at a corner so that there is not a swift enough current that they would have to fight to get to the surface to breathe