Care Sheet For African Dwarf Frogs


African Dwarf Frog Care Guide

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 5 gallon 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:
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 mostly likely eat them.

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

ADF Tadpole Development | Amphibian Forum | 96366

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.
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.


Wonderful post Lucy! Thanks for writing this up


thanks for your time and efforts interesting information


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.


Great article LUCY! (didnt find it before )

You make me want to get one!


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.


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.


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.


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.


how does the food stay in the bowl without floating out in the water?


The frozen blood worms or frog & tadpole bites sink and in my experience stay where it lands.


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 don't have tiny place they can get stuck in.


Great addition jarrin!



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?


HI Rasbo_otto, welcome to FishLore

Yes, for sure, put something over even the tiniest openings.
You might get a kick out of this:

Enjoy the forum!


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.


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


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?


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


Thanks Lucy,
That was great to bad I read that too late.
How ever my local fish store was mostly bang on with what you stated.
Also however both my ADF's vanished the tank was checked thuroughly several times.
I assume they made a quick get away 3 months or less in between.


This info was very useful, thank you! I have 2 and one ate his skin and the fliped over onto his back. I would have panicked if I had not read these posts so THANK YOU!!


Welcome to FishLore!
We're glad you found this helpful.
Some of the stunts they pull can really give us a start. lol

One of mine looked like he was having spasms the other day.
I ran over to the tank and all he was doing was wiggling out of his shed using all four flippers!
Silly thing!

Enjoy the forum!


Thanks for all the wonderful info here I just got myself one of these little critters and I love him to pieces already with your help I hope he lives a long long time I am using sand with a dish and will let you know how that works out


Lucy, would you think a sand substrate is okay for these frogs? Their only tank mates are going to be ghost shrimp or nerite snails.

I do have a dish to put the food in. It's a little terra cotta dish from a small flower pot.


HI Nut-meg. I've heard pros and cons.
There are members who successfully use sand.


I'm using sand in my tank right now, and it seems to be working out. The frogs are good at just grabbing their targets (unless the target is an unsuspecting shrimp. They dart off pretty fast ), and not the sand. Though the sand is a new addition, in the past couple days.

I think it might just depend of the frogs, themselves. I used to have some that would try to eat anything, if it looked at all like it might be food, including gravel and each others flippers, where as, the two I have now are a lot more laid back, and don't go after anything that might be even a little eatable, like the others did.


Great Article Lucy ~

In addition to the Meds for ADF's, Lamisil baths can be used also for the Chytrid Fungus. Also if the frog stops eating they can safely be giving Pedialyte Baths to get some nutrients into them and to possibly stimulate their appetite. (Thanks again to Mac)

They are best kept in pristine as possible water conditions with no (0) trace of Ammonia, Nitrite and low Nitrates.


You're Welcome Lucy ~ I hope this is ok to post, please edit if it's not ok.

Pedialyte Bath for Aquatic Frogs

by Mac & JBOT

A Pedialyte bath may help to get nutrients (electrolytes) in aquatic frogs and possibly stimulate their appetite in those not eating well.

Use clear, unflavored Pedialyte (not at full strength!).


In a small frog safe container (e.g. never-seen-soap tupperware), mix 1 capful of Pedialyte with 10 capfuls of fresh, dechlorinated (or dechoraminated) water that is the same temperature as tank water's temerature. Alternatively, tank water can be used. Transfer the froggy to the bath for 1 - 2 hrs but do NOT exceed 2 hours. Floating the bath container in a (heated) tank helps to keep it warm.

Watch closely for any adverse reactions. If they start to "freak out", take them out of the bath. It helps to give them something like live plants (e.g. Java fern) in the bath to hide under, to feel more calm. Do not try to feed, while in the bath.

Additional steps: When a frog has not eaten in a long time, I have had to really coax with frozen but thawed bloodworms repeatedly to get them started again.

Author: Mac & JBOT
Copyright © 2009 Flippers 'n' Fins, Inc. All rights reserved.


That's so good to know. Most of the frogs I've lost have started to refuse to eat, and despite my efforts with bloodworms and brine shrimp, might have starved. I was never sure what killed them,.


Hi, I am a new member. When I had sand substrate, I fed my froggies in a small wine glass and they took to it right off.
I originally put sand in aquarium, but then went with no substrate and just plants, and no problems. What my little guys really like is I got a smallish aquarium approved rock (4 inches) and elevated it
high enough for them to just get under with a little wiggle room. They think they are hiding, but
you can still see and enjoy them. I got some of those plastic hose washers(they come in
colors or black) and tied them together with fishing line to the height my froggies wanted. They really like to smoosh
themselves into places, and I have had no problems with anyone getting stuck and drowning.
I have cory catfish in with my froggies and they even hang out together! They eat the same food
and everyone gets enough. Just make sure you get 2 cory's. They really do better if you
have 2 or more. I have also tried froggies and Betta's, but agree with earlier post that it depends on personality of
betta ( and you can only do this if your frog will eat pellets, or you need to feed blood worms at night so betta doesn't eat all
the worms before frog gets there).
I love my froggies and cory's. If I could only have 1 tank, (ok 2), it would be froggies and corys in 1
and just regular old goldfish in the other.



This is what I needed. Thank you soooo much. I love my little froggies


Thanks for the info!

Similar Aquarium Threads

Paper Spiders
Ms rose
Paper Spiders

Random Great Page!

Did You Know...

Are you curious how people dechlorinate water when using a python water changer? See this thread:
Dechlorinating Water While Using The Python Water Changer

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom