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REPTILE / health & care

African Dwarf Frog Care Guide


5 Cool Facts About African Dwarf Frogs


  1. African dwarf frogs live 5-7 years on average
  2. They can grow up to 3” long. 
  3. These pets are aquarium dwellers and cannot survive out of water like some other frogs can. 
  4. They can live alone or with similar-sized tropical community fish 
  5. They have lungs and breathe air at the water’s surface. 


African Dwarf Frog Care and Tips: 


African dwarf frogs make great aquatic pets. They’re amphibian animals, meaning they’re born underwater and breathe using gills when they’re little. As they grow up, they breathe some air. Unlike most other frogs, these pets are entirely aquatic, so they live alongside fish. This means that their habitat needs to be an aquarium/fish tank. 


How Should I Set Up My Frog’s Aquarium? 


  • Aquarium Size - These little friends do not need that much space. So a 5.5-gallon (21-liter) aquarium can comfortably house 1 or 2. If you plan to have community fish living alongside them, then you need to increase it to at least a 20-gallon (75-liter) fish tank. 


  • Location - Put the aquarium in a quiet area out of direct sunlight and drafts. 


  • Lighting - Direct sunlight can mess with the temperature of the tank. Instead, use an aquarium lamp with a timer to create an 8-12 hour day for them. 


  • Substrate - Aquarium substrate, like gravel or sand, should be rinsed prior to putting it in the habitat. These things can carry a lot of dirt and bacteria that need to be gone before it’s safe for the tank. Line the bottom with 1” of substrate and vacuum it weekly using an aquarium vacuum


  • Water- Only use dechlorinated water inside your African dwarf frog’s habitat. 10% of the water should be changed weekly, and 25% of it should be changed monthly. Use aquarium water test kits to test the water at least once a month or take samples of it to a testing center. 


  • Cleaning Supplies - The tank should be cleaned using aquarium scrubbers that help remove algae.


  • Filter - An aquarium filter should be able to circulate the water in the tank at least 3-5 times an hour. Check at least once a month to make sure the filter is running properly.


  • Aquarium Décor - Make sure to add at least one submerged cave for your pet to hide in. Plants and other aquarium furniture can be placed near the surface for your pet to rest in and eat their meals. Rinse the décor at least once a month to remove algae. 


  • Temperature - Your African dwarf frog prefers their aquarium temperature to stay at an ideal 70-82°F (21-28°C). Use an aquarium heater to maintain this temperature and an aquarium thermometer to monitor the temperature. The heater should use 5 watts of power per gallon (3.79 liters) of water. Make sure to check the temperature every day.


How Should I Introduce My New Frog to Their Aquarium? 


  1. Line the bottom of your aquarium with the rinsed substrate. 
  2. Fill the aquarium halfway with dechlorinated water. 
  3. Add the power filter, heater and thermometer.
  4. Add the aquarium décor. 
  5. Fill the remainder of the aquarium with dechlorinated water. 
  6. Add beneficial bacteria starter to the water.
  7. Turn on the filter to circulate the water for at least 2-3 weeks before bringing your frog home. 
  8. Once the aquarium is fully cycled, it’s time to get your frog. Keep your frog inside the bag they came in and insert them into the tank for 10-15 minutes to acclimate them to the temperature of the aquarium. 
  9. Remove frogs from their bag using a net and place them in their new home. 


When/What Should I Feed My African Dwarf Frog? 


If your African dwarf frog shares an aquarium with smaller fish, it’s extra important that the frog be fed properly—otherwise, those fish may become dinner. Fish can also turn the tables. Because frogs are slow eaters, make sure the fish they live with don’t dart in and gobble up their food.


Your frog’s main food should be frog food pellets that sink to the bottom of the tank, where frogs tend to hang out. You should give them these once in the morning and once at night. Offer frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms and tubifex worms as occasional treats. 


When to Talk to a Veterinarian: 


Contact an aquatic veterinarian if you notice any of the following signs: 


  • Unusual swimming pattern
  • Thinness or decreased appetite
  • Abdominal/coelomic swelling and/or bloating
  • Inflamed or discolored skin
  • Swollen joints
  • Excessive shedding of the skin




  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water


Information in this article isn't intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and isn't a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.