African Dwarf Frogs – Species Profile & Facts

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Are you one of those people who want to keep an African dwarf frog in your tank, but you do not know all the details about the species and you are not sure what requirements the frog needs in order to be happy?

Then you should read on and learn more about the African dwarf frog and see whether it is right for you. This is a complete guide about the species. From care requirements, its feeding patterns, breeding, what tank mates it goes well with and much more.

You need to know that the African dwarf frog requires quite a moderate amount of care and attention. And before you decide to get one, make sure that you are prepared for this.

It is not really a demanding species, but there are some specifications that you need to keep in mind. I will cover them all in this article.

Also, please consider reading my other article about the most interesting facts of African dwarf frogs.

African dwarf frog is a lovely species that is peaceful and quite small. It grows to about 3 inches at most, so they are quite appropriate for tanks of about 10 gallons or more.

They are quite interesting – they are pretty much nocturnal animals, which means they will be at their most active at night. They are aquatic animals, which means that they live in the water for the majority of their lives.

If they spend too much time (more than 20 minutes) out of the water, then they can die. Let us take a look at the specifications and requirements of the African dwarf frog.

African Dwarf Frog Tank Conditions

When you keep an African dwarf frog, you will want to make sure that the living conditions are right for the animal. As I already said, this species is an aquatic animal, which means they live in water.

But if you do keep them out of it from time to time, make sure that the aquarium is in quite a humid environment, which the frogs prefer. If not, keep them in water most of the time. Let us take a look at some of the specifications and settings that the African dwarf frogs will strive in.

Water Parameters

There has to be a decent amount of light in your aquarium. So, make sure that you purchase some LED lights and have the aquarium in a light environment.

As for the water parameters, the African dwarf frog does not require any specific requirements. But there are some parameters that still need to be respected. So, try to keep them at these levels.

The temperature of the water should be around 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (or 22 degrees Celsius to 26 degrees Celsius). The ph of the water should be around 6.5 to 7.8, so you can see that the animal can adapt to different alkalinities of the water.

As for the GH and the KH of the water, they should be around 5-20 and 4-15. So these are some rough requirements for water parameters, make sure you measure the water often and make necessary changes.

Tank Size

As for the tank size for the African dwarf frogs, you should aim to have at least a 10-gallon tank if you intend to keep one or two frogs in your tank.

If you want to have more of them, then you should consider getting a bigger tank; the tank size will also depend on how many fish you want to have in your tank, what sort of settings there are and of course how much vegetation will there be.

There are no general requirements as to maximum size for a single frog. So, you can also have more of them together, as long as the tank size is at least 10 gallons or more. Make sure that the water is not too deep, though. Frogs like to swim up to the surface and check out what is happening in the upper layers of the water.


The substrate is quite an important factor for African dwarf frogs, as they will spend a lot of their time in and around it. However, it is not choosy and will adapt to various types of surfaces available.

The best options for the African dwarf frogs in terms of the substrate are either gravel or sand. Both options are viable. If you prefer to have gravel in your tank, make sure that it is not too fine (the gravel pieces should be large so that the frogs do not swallow them).

There should be about 2 or 3 inches of the substrate on the aquarium floor. Make sure that you clean and rinse it thoroughly before you put it into the tank. And also clean it regularly to prevent unwanted pieces coming into it and to prevent dirt from collecting.


African dwarf frogs like to have plenty of vegetation in their tank as they like to swim around them and also take rests regularly and sit on the plants. Having live plants would be a very good idea, as they prefer it over artificial plants.

Plants such as hornwort, rooted plants such as java fern and other similar plants are very good for this type of setting. If you do not want live plants in your tank, then artificial plants are fine too.

If you have rooted plants, also make sure that you cover the plants with substrate deep enough so that the frog does not dig them out. That might happen. It does not really matter in the end what vegetation you have. Just as long as you have plenty to keep the frogs and also the fish in the tank happy.


In terms of equipment needed for your tank, let’s take a look at what equipment is best suited for the African dwarf frog. To begin with LED lights, I have said that these animals prefer to have a light environment with plenty of lighting. So, make sure that you have LED lights in your tank.

But you will also not require to have some special LED lights – as long as you have them to keep enough light in the aquarium.

If we move on to the filtration, this is quite an important part. African dwarf frogs are slow swimmers. Which is why they can get easily affected by a strong water current from the filter.

You need to get a filtration that is good enough for the size of your tank, but also not too strong that it carries the frogs away.

Another specification of the African dwarf frogs is that they can be quite sensitive to too much noise and vibrations. So, if you have a water pump, make sure that it is not too loud. Or if it is, isolate it properly and allow the frogs to have peace and not get overwhelmed by the noise and vibrations coming from the pump.

African Dwarf Frog Diet

African dwarf frogs are not demanding eaters. Considering that they are omnivores, they can eat a large variety of foods. Some frogs might be fussy eaters, which means you will have to manually feed them; but these cases do not occur often. In the majority of cases, they are happy to eat many different foods.

They are big fans of meat and meaty food. The best food for the African dwarf frogs is frozen food or live food or even a combination of both. You want to keep the food sources varied and try to not feed them the same food every day, as this will keep them happier and also healthier.

As for what foods they like to eat, they like fish fry, mosquito larvae, brine shrimps, bloodworms, krill, earthworms and more. You can feed them according to your preferences.

Remember not to overfeed them. It is advisable to feed them once a day or even less. While they are young and small, feeding them once a day is advisable. Later on, you can slowly decrease the feeding times and keep it to once a day or less.

Breeding African Dwarf Frogs

African dwarf frogs are good breeders. Sometimes, though, you might want to give them some encouragement. Breeding the frogs on your own might be a good idea to keep frogs for yourself and have them for the future. There is a process to speed this up, though.

What you need to do is to lower the level of the water gradually over a 4 weeks period until it reaches a level of about 3 inches. You want to do this in a separate container, though.

When the water reaches this level, you want to rapidly increase the level of water back to normal with warm water. The temperature of the water should be maintained at all times at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to keep this level of temperature for 2 weeks.

In the meantime, this will trigger the breeding process amongst the frogs. Feed the quality foods and a bit more than you have been feeding them beforehand, but do not overfeed.

You should see that the females should by now be carrying eggs. These will be spawned (around 700) of them. As soon as they are, make sure that you remove the frogs from the container. So that they do not eat the eggs.

These eggs will then begin to hatch, which takes up to 6 days. And with that, the process of breeding is complete.

African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates

One reason why this species is very popular is that they are very peaceful and do not interfere with other animals in the tank too much. As long as they are fed and cared for properly, of course. And the same goes for other species in the tank. Keeping the animals in the aquarium happy is essential towards achieving a good, peaceful community tank.

African dwarf frogs are perfect for tropical freshwater community tanks. They will happily coexist and live with other peaceful species and fish. Again, if you are stocking the aquarium with frogs and fish, make sure that it is not too overcrowded and that you do not put too many of them together. Enable them to have enough breathing space to live.

Some of the best tank mates for the African dwarf frog include guppies, platies, mollies, corydoras, danios, tetras, (neon tetra, serape tetra) and other similar fish. As of other companions for the frogs, they will go well with some shrimp like cherry, ghost or bamboo shrimp, as well as some species of snails.

Avoid putting aggressive fish next to the African dwarf frogs – they might quickly become prey.

Treating & Preventing Diseases in African Dwarf Frogs

There can be several factors that might cause disease in African dwarf frogs. For this reason, you want to keep the water quality good at all times and also make sure that you feed the frogs quality food.

One of the most common diseases that the frogs might contract is a disease known as dropsy. This disease can be deadly – the frogs start to bloat and looks stressed. You cannot really prevent this disease fully, but there are some measures you can take to reduce the risk.

Diseases can be caused by parasites and bacteria you cannot affect, but cleaning the tank regularly and also make sure that the water and the gravel are clean, might reduce the risk of such bacteria developing. Other diseases and infections include fungal infections, red eyes, loss of appetite and more.

A big number of these diseases can be prevented or at least minimize the risk by keeping the water clean, in the right temperatures and also have the conditions that suit the frogs properly.

If anything should happen, there are also antibiotics to keep them safe and healthy.

Can You Hold an African Dwarf Frog in Your Hand?

You can. But remember that you can only hold it out of the water for about 15 to 20 minutes before it dehydrates. But in general, the frogs should be kept in the water for the vast majority of time.

If you do handle it, make sure that you are gentle as they can be sensitive and can get injured quickly. And also make sure that you put the into the water after 5 or 10 minutes for certain.

Handling them can also cause you to contract salmonella if you touch or get the bacteria from the body of the frog and do not wash your hands properly after.

So holding it might be a bit unnatural to them, but if you really want to do it, then do it for very short amounts of time. The general consensus, though, is not to do it, and especially children should not be allowed to touch them.

Will African Dwarf Frog Jump Out of the Tank?

This can be a problem in your tank. They often do jump out of the water in their natural habitat, because they land straight back in the water.

And we know that African dwarf frogs are animals that need to be in the water to survive, so if you have a frog in your tank, make sure that you get a lid for your aquarium to prevent them from jumping out of the water. If they do so, they might die if you don’t put them back in the water in time.

How Long do African Dwarf Frogs Live?

It depends on the level of care they receive and the conditions they live in. If the conditions are right and they receive proper care, then they can live for up to five years. Make sure that they are fed quality food, are cared for in a proper way and keep the quality of the conditions on a high level. In this way, you may prolong the lifetime of an African dwarf frog.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Bite You?

Almost certainly it won’t, because they are very peaceful species and they will also be peaceful towards other species in the tank. But if you do handle them, make sure to respect their time out of the water.

They might hurt you in another way as they can transmit salmonella to you (or the bacteria on its body) if you do not wash your hands properly after handling it.


African dwarf frogs are friendly animals that can liven up any tank. They can fit into smaller tanks with a minimum size of 10 gallons, but they are perfect also for larger, community tanks. They will thrive in more tropical conditions with slowly moving currents.

Make sure that you adjust the conditions to the frogs, and they will be glad and happy to be in your tank. Keeping the frogs happy is as important as keeping the fish in your tank happy.

These aquatic frogs that only live in the water can be very nice small friends of yours if you keep the right maintenance and good care for them.

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.

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Questions and Answers

i have a betta a snail and an african dwarf frog. im worried about feeding bloodworms that are frozen. does that mean that they are dead?

    Frozen bloodworms do not live, they are dead. Because they are frozen, they are still good, and are very healthy for betta and African dwarf frogs too. Before feeding them the frozen bloodworms, place them in aquarium water for a few minutes so they melt. After the bloodworms are melted and have the same temperature as the water, you can feed them to your betta and frog.

Would ADFs be okay to live with Kuhli Loaches?? I’ve got a 30 gallon tank I want to stock. I have experience keeping a tank in the 6.8-7.2 PH range without much change with live plants.

Chris Bibeau October 18, 2020 Reply

Hi! Believe it or not, our dwarf african frogs is 21 years old. We originally had 3. The other 2 had passed, but froggie still goes on. And…her favorite thing…watching TV. 🙂

Why would you say they can be out of the tank for 15 to 20 MINUTES? It’s more like seconds..these african dwarf frogs will die VERY FAST if out of the water for basically any amount of time. Maybe you made a mistake with the typing and meant seconds but any new owner reading this will KILL their ADF if they think they can hold this frog for 20 minutes..

Hi well I fed my adfrogs and platies bloodworms the other day…the water has developed a bad odor and the water has become a cloudy green. what happened? Help!

    Overfeeding is always a problem. Feed them just as much as they can eat in 1-2 minutes. Makes sure you remove all the leftover bloodworms. If they don’t eat all the food, it will start decomposing really fast. Frozen bloodworms will pollute the water very fast and you end up with green cloudy water.
    Now, to fix this issue, I suggest reducing the lighting time to about 6-8 hours a day. Make water changes 3 times a week and if you can, add some aquarium plants or photos to your tank. These actions will help you make the aquarium clean again.

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