African Dwarf Frog Shedding Their Skin

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Today’s article will cover a very common species that is bought on a large scale by indoor aquarium owners. More exactly, we’ll talk about the African dwarf frog, and why they shed their skin.

Also, I will tell you how often the African dwarf frog sheds its skin and if you should or should not remove the shed skin from the tank. But first, let’s see what are the four most common reasons because of which African dwarf frogs shed their skin.

Reasons Why African Dwarf Frogs Are Shedding Their Skin

As I said, there are 4 main reasons for your frog to shed their skin. I’ll start with the usual one, that is most likely to happen in any aquarium, no matter its composition:

1. Shedding Skin as They Grow

Shedding their skin as they grow is a normal behavior that appears at every specimen of the African dwarf frog. It usually happens when the frog is still young, and it grows more quickly.

However, even when it’s fully grown, the frog can shed its skin once a month. This is totally normal, so don’t be nervous about it. When the shedding process is complete, the frog might start to eat the left-over skin. This is mostly normal too.

It happens, so that your frog can regain important nutrients that the skin contains, and were lost during the skin shedding process.

How can you tell the shedding process is happening naturally?

In most cases, the frog will appear whitish, before the shedding happens. If this state passes after the skin was shed, you can be sure there’s nothing unusual about your frog’s health state. However, if the whitish state remains, the skin shedding has another reason behind it:

2. Shedding Due to Fungal Infection

This is the second most common reason for your frog shedding its skin. Actually, this might be the reason for skin shedding, if the whitish state doesn’t go away once the whole shedding was completed.

African dwarf frogs are quite susceptible to fungal infections and other diseases that might spawn from these infections. Usually, a fungal infection will appear as fuzzy or cottony patches or sores on your frog’s skin.

When the skin shedding happens because of a fungal infection, your frog will shed its skin in pieces, or patches. This is totally different from the natural skin shedding, which happens in one piece (like it takes off a suite).

A very common fungus that threatens frogs is the chytrid fungus. How can you tell if your frog is infected with this? A common symptom could make its appearance as thrashing movements in the tank while the frog tries to climb out of the aquarium.

How can you treat this disease, so your frogs will live healthy in the tank? A great solution for such fungal infections is Methylene Blue, which usually will clear up fungal infections. Also, it’s good to know that amphibians are safe if you treat them with this substance.

If you notice a fungal infection in your tank, it’s best to separate the frogs that show symptoms, so the other won’t get infected too. And to be sure you do everything right, call an exotic animal vet, who will tell you exactly what to do next.

3. Shedding Due to Bad Water Conditions

Another common motive for frogs shedding their skin is the bad water conditions inside a water tank. What does this mean? The conditions inside an aquarium include a multitude of things.

For instance, African dwarf frogs are very delicate animals. Due to this, you really need to pay attention to what you place inside your tank. For example, don’t put sharp objects in the aquarium, because these can easily cut or bruise them.

Such things could include broken pottery that might look good in your tank, but be dangerous for your frogs. Also, gravel with sharp edges is another that you need to stay away from.

Water conditions include other aspects as well. For instance, pay attention to your water’s cleanliness. Also, the water temperature is very important to e kept in check. Usually, a temperature of 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable for such frogs (but you can raise it up to 82 degrees at max).

If your tank sits in a place where not much sunlight enters, make sure you create regular periods of day and night using aquarium lights. Also, don’t over or underfeed your frogs either. This could lead to more problems, not only skin shedding.

4. Shedding Due to Change in Water Parameters

Sudden changes in water parameters can also lead to skin shedding. African dwarf frogs, just like other species don’t react well to sudden water parameter changes. Such changes can lead to certain problems, among which skin shedding is a common issue.

Because of this, you need to pay close attention to the water parameters inside the tank. I already mentioned above some of these parameters, when I talked about water conditions. However, those were in the case of bad water parameters.  

The same is true, in the case of sudden changes in parameters, if those are already set at perfect levels. If certain changes happen, not even big ones, your frogs will be affected by them, and the result could easily be skin shedding.

To make sure your frogs stay healthy, always keep your water parameters in check. It’s best to take a look at them each day, if possible, this way you’ll ensure the best conditions for your African dwarf frogs.

Now that you know about the 4 most common reasons because of which frogs shed their skin, you should also know how often they do this.

How often do African Dwarf Frogs Shed Their Skin?

African dwarf frogs shed their skin periodically if the cause is natural. However, there isn’t a precise time when it happens. Some specimens will shed their skin once or twice a month, while others more rarely then that.

If the cause isn’t natural growth, their skin could be shed way more times than usual. Because of this, you should keep them in a healthy environment and feed them regularly, but don’t overfeed. Also, if you notice any signs of possible diseases in the tank, take the infected frogs and put them in a separate tank, to protect the others.

Now, maybe you’re asking yourself what is to be done with the shed skin that they leave behind.

Should You Remove Shed Skin from Aquarium?

Earlier in the article I mentioned something related to this: if the skin shedding happens naturally, then you probably shouldn’t remove the skin from the tank. That is because your frog might eat the left-over skin to recover nutrients that were consumed during the shedding process.

There is an issue with this approach: you can’t know for sure if the frog will eat the skin or not. Sometimes it happens, other times it doesn’t. To make sure you do it right, just leave the shed skin in the tank for a day or two, to give your frog enough time to eat it, if he wants that.

If the skin is still there after 2 days, you can probably remove it from the aquarium. Also, if the skin shedding isn’t happening naturally, and the cause is a fungal infection, remove it from the tank. It’s best if your frog won’t consume it, since the shed skin is infected, and it might lead to other health problems.


In this article we talked in detail about skin shedding at the African dwarf frog. Let’s quickly recap what you found out today:

At first, I told you about the four most common reasons that cause skin shedding at this species. As you can see from above, skin shedding can be a natural step in a frog’s life.

However, there could be other reasons for it shedding its skin. If the cause isn’t natural, you should make sure your frog lives in a healthy environment. If there seems to be a fungal infection on your frog’s skin, separate the infected frog from the others, and use Methylene Blue to treat the infection. Or if it’s not enough, turn to a specialized vet.

Also, keep your water parameters in check at all times. If sudden changes appear in temperature or water composition, your frog can start shedding its skin all over again. It’s best if you check these levels regularly, once a day or two.

If you do everything by the book, your frog will only shed its skin when it’s naturally required (while growing for instance).

Featured Image: Flickr

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Questions and Answers

I don’t use a filter for my African dwarf frogs they are healthy but I want to make sure that’s ok

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