African Dwarf Frogs (Hymenochirus boettgeri) are interesting little frogs that can be a an excellent addition to your aquarium. They are really something, so that is no wonder this frogs have actually been such a popular an option in the aquarium community for years. On height of that, lock are sold at most pet shops and also at economically prices.

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Even though African Dwarf Frogs are an extremely hardy and also beginner-friendly, castle do have actually some certain requirements girlfriend will require to understand about.

In this guide, I will share some practical tips and take friend through everything you require to understand on just how to take care of them and should you choose African dwarf frogs as your pets.

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Quick note aboutthe African Dwarf Frogs

NameAfrican Dwarf Frogs
Other NamesCongo frog, afri Dwarf Clawed Frog, West afri Clawed Toad and Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog, ADCF, ADF, DAF (abrev)
Scientific NameHymenochirus boettgeri
Tank dimension (optimal)5 gallons (~20 liters)
BreedingMedium – an overwhelming
Size5 – 7 centimeter (2 – 2.5 inches)
Optimal Temperature23 – 26 °C (73 – 79 °F)
Optimal PH6.5 – 7.5
Optimal GH5 – 20
Optimal KH4 – 12
NitrateLess than 20 ppm
DietCarnivore / omnivore
TemperamentPeaceful (with caution)
Life spanup to 8 years
Color FormFrom olive eco-friendly to brown with black spots

Taxonomy Problems and Identification

There is a most confusion and also misunderstanding in ours hobby. Pet stores and aquarists often use multiple terms describing different species and subspecies. Because that example, such terms as ‘African Dwarf Frog’, ‘African Dwarf Clawed Frog’, ‘West afri Clawed Toad’ and ‘Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog’ have actually all been applied to define the animal commonly retained as a pet.

In many cases, all these terms indicate to the genus Hymenochirus within the order Anura that is composed of four species:

Hymenochirus boettgeri (Central afri Republic, the autonomous Republic that the Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon),Hymenochirus boulengeri (Democratic Republic the the Congo),Hymenochirus curtipes, (Democratic Republic that the Congo)Hymenochirus feae (Gabon).

They all look quite similar. So, it deserve to be difficult for a hobbyist to see the difference in between all 4 species. Note: However, in practice, the most common recipient that the surname isHymenochirus boettgeri.

Origins, natural Habitat of the African Dwarf Frogs

African dwarf frogs are native to tropical main Africa, whereby they live in an extremely shallow ponds, rivers, swamps, etc. Surrounded by shaded dry forests.

Description of the african Dwarf Frogs

The african Dwarf Frog is a tiny animal. We will certainly usually acquisition them in pet shops in ~ 1 inch (2.5 cm) in size however they can reach 2.5 inch (7 cm) in length (snout come vent) when completely grown. With most fogs typically measuring at about two inch (5 cm).

Although this are completely aquatic amphibians, they carry out not have actually gills but rather have lungs. So, castle still require to achieve the oxygen on the surface of the water.

These frogs execute not have great eyesight. They mostly rely on their smell and also water vibrations. The african Dwarf Frogs have a an extremely delicate framework with lateral lines across their bodies. These lines have the right to detect changes and movements in the water the can aid them find food.

While carnivorous, afri Dwarf Frogs carry out not have a tongue or teeth for that matter.

With a little care and attention, the life span of these frogs is 5 – 8 year old. There have been reported situations of them life as lengthy as 10 add to years. So, they can be an ideal pet in any kind of home and you might be able to get to reap your frogs for many years to come.

Difference in between African Dwarf Frogs and also African Clawed Frogs

Sometimes african Dwarf Frogs are also referred to together African Clawed Frogs (Xenopus laevis) because they perform have tiny claws on your feet. It is extremely essential not to do this mistake!

The problem is the the african Clawed Frog is a specifically voracious predator. It is no unheard the them come attack and kill fish even larger 보다 themselves. Lock use an effective clawed hind feet to rip lock apart and also literally support them in the mouth with strong arms. These frogs will certainly eat other frog types as well.

The arrival of the afri Clawed Frogs (Xenopus laevis) right into a community tank will result in a massacre. Castle absolutely can not happily co-exist alongside various other fish, shrimp, frogs, etc.

Be really careful in pets shops, since these two species might look comparable when they room small, therefore, part pet shop keep and also sell the african Clawed Frogs together the african Dwarf Frogs.

African dwarf frogs (Hymenochirus boettgeri)African Clawed Frogs(Xenopus laevis)
Colorfrom olive green to brown through black spotsoften greenish-grey
AlbinoNo albino form confirmedpossible
Size 5 – 7 cm12 – 14 cm
Webbedfour webbed feetwebbed hind feet while their front feet have actually autonomous digits
Eyeseyes positioned top top the side of your headeyes on the peak of their heads
Noisemalesmales and also females

Warning: african Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) is an invasive species. They are illegal come own, transport, or offer without a allow in the following US states: Arizona, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, brand-new Jersey, north Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Hawaii, Nevada, and also Washington state. However, that is legal however to own Xenopus laevis in brand-new Brunswick (Canada) and also Ohio, in any type of case, examine your state laws!

The actions of the african Dwarf Frogs

The afri Dwarf Frogs spend their entire life underwater. Also though lock come as much as the surface of the water because that air native time to time, they do not require any type of dry surface in the tank.

They are an extremely shy frogs and a many times they will swim away from you when you acquire near them. However, african Dwarf Frogs are additionally pretty smart for your kind. So, with time castle will acknowledge you.

From time to time friend can likewise see them floating motionless on the surface of the water. If this could seem strange, the is certain normal. It allows them to breathe in repose rather than swimming up and down the water column.

By the way, afri Dwarf Frogs room not the finest swimmers. Lock can also drown if castle cannot reach the surface.

In many guides about the african Dwarf Frogs, friend will see that they are calm and also docile creatures. Well, this is true… yet only to some degree since they space still predators. In the aquarium, they will shot to eat anything the fits in your mouth.

They are mainly nocturnal. They sleep for long periods of time (up come 12 hours) and usually energetic during the night.

African Dwarf Frogs are not territorial. On the contrary, they room social definition that castle would rather be in teams of their own.

Because of their poor eyesight, they are super clumsy.

Molting african dwarf frogs

They shed their skin every two to 3 weeks. They will certainly rub themselves against various surfaces to just help quicken the shedding process.It is recommended to leave it there together they will eat their burned skin. However, if the old skin is still in the tank after ~ 24 hours, you need to remove it. Otherwise, it deserve to foul up the water.

Feeding afri dwarf frogs

Despite lacking tongues or teeth, african Dwarf Frogs are scavengers-carnivores. So, ideally, they need to feed in ~ the bottom the the tank by picking up some sinking foods in the kind of pellets and also granules and also wafers. In reality, it may be not that simple.

When it come time to feeding, I believe that this is the most problematic part of caring because that them. The is not that they are picky eaters. No! they are just slow and also inefficient eaters. As I have said before, african Dwarf Frogs execute not see very well, for this reason they have to rely ~ above smell and water vibrations. It makes them really awful at finding your food sometimes.

African Dwarf Frogs are finest fed on a variety of raw meat. Your diet deserve to include:

tuna,shrimp,brine shrimp,bloodworm,earthworm,tubifex worms,trout,salmon.

They will conveniently eat plankton (daphnia) part pellet foodstuffs and, as soon as young, flaked food. Basically, any type of fish food will execute as long as the sinks.

Note: Brine shrimp deserve to be messy.

Important: If you decide to feed them freeze-dried/dehydrated food, they could just it is in bloated. If so, shot switching come live food for a week or so to see if it removes up. The very same is about blood worms. That is not recommended to feed them blood worms more than 1 – 2 times a week (only together a treat). This worms are high in fat and can cause significant bloat or obesity.

How frequently do you feed them?

Adult afri Dwarf Frogs frequently only eat every various other day or contempt less, relying on the tank setup. Juveniles should be feed day-to-day or 4 – 6 times a week.

Tip: If your food is not consumed within like 30 minute to an hour you must remove that and shot again a couple of hours later.

How lot do you feeding them?

Some aquarists say the they feed African Dwarf Frogs until they i will not ~ eat anymore. Is it good?

Actually, it counts on the feeding schedule. Because that example, it may be yes sir if we feed them this means 2 – 3 times a week. However, if us feed them every job they will end up obese if they space overfed.

How to feed them in a neighborhood tank?

African Dwarf Frogs cannot really compete with fish in a community tank. So, you need to ensure the the food doesn’t get consumed by other fish or the can even starve them. There space some methods to execute that:

By feeding simultaneously, but at different areas of the tank.Use a long syringe and feed each one individually v brine shrimp and bloodworms. Eventually, lock will identify the syringe and also actually walk to it as soon as they view it. But it’s a lot of effort.Net feeding. Put sufficient food (for fish and frogs) in the net and let lock eat indigenous it. By doing so, you will not leave a bunch the extra food that will rot and also ruin the water. Note: perform not leave the net for much more than 5 – 10 minutes there. They can get caught and also not have the ability to swim up for air!

What finest to Feed her Frogs?

There is no straightforward answerto this question. The most necessary thing is the the afri Dwarf Frogs require diversity in food.It will certainly be a bad idea to offer them 1 or 2 variants of food all the time. Adjust up your food.

Keeping and Housing afri Dwarf Frogs

African Dwarf Frogs are usually straight forward and also easy to care for.However, because that optimal results, here are some handy tips that you have to follow in stimulate to save them in one aquarium.

· Tank Size

I carry out not prefer to use poor language yet “The one gallon a frog” point is a finish nonsense and should no exist. Of course, you have the right to keep castle this method but will they thrive? i seriously doubt so. In addition, it is always easier to preserve the aquarium if over there is much more volume.

For these factors African Dwarf Frogs need long tanks (not tall) and also should be housed in a 5-gallon (20 liters) tank minimum.

Keep in mind the they come indigenous shallow body (often much less than 20 customs or 50 cm). So, perform not placed them in high or deep tanks due to the fact that it is stressful because that them. Remember, they space not the ideal swimmers. Ideally, the water should not be more than 10 – 12 customs (25 – 30 cm) deep or so.

Tip: that is much safer to have a lid for her tank because they deserve to really it is in escape artists. Ensure the none that the facets placed in the tank with high sufficient for the frogs to crawl out.

· Water parameters

Make certain you have actually your PH level at least 6.5 – 7.5, KH 4 – 12 and also GH 5 – 20 because that the ideal results.

As the name suggests, african dwarf frogs are natives of warm regions, they prefer a warmth habitat. A tank kept between 23 – 26 C (73 – 79 F) would certainly be in ~ the exactly range. However, heaters and also any various other electronic elements should be carefully hidden or inserted out that reach, so the the frogs can not interfere through them while castle are exploring their environment.

It is really great to have a thermometer to keep track of her water temperature to watch if it’s in a selection for them.

· Filtration

African dwarf frogs execute not create a most waste. Therefore, depending on the tank setup you might not require a filter. Because that example, if you have actually a most plants and do 30-50% water alters weekly.

Personally, ns still recommend using filtration, specifically if you are planning to save fish as well. It absolutely helps the tank remain clean.

The tricky part here is the these frogs prefer reasonably still or slow-moving water and bubble filters, aeration, etc. Cause a most disturbance in the water. Together a result, the vibrations really stress and anxiety out the frogs. In addition, due to the fact that of your clumsiness, african dwarf frogs can gain stuck in intakes.

That is why:

Use sponges come cover intakes.Choose filters wherein you can change the flow.Use sponge filters, so the frogs don’t get blown far by a mechanically filter.

· Substrate

You deserve to have a ceiling bottom, soil, gravel, or sand. Every choice has pros and cons.

A ceiling bottom tank is safe and also the most basic to clean. You can just usage a turkey baster come remove any type of of the waste or any kind of uneaten food. But it does not look esthetic. In addition, the absolutely does not replicate afri dwarf frogs’ natural habitat and will stress and anxiety them out eventually.Make certain that it is large enough that it will not be swallowed accidentally during feeding. Swallowing gravel will result in intestinal blockage and death in the african dwarf frogs. Also, these frogs have very delicate skin and also they can easily injure themselves. So, you desire to make certain that you space using a smooth substrate without any kind of sharp edges. It can reduce the threat of laceration the the skin.Soil or Sand is generally more favorable as substrates. It offers the aquarium a much more natural and realistic look. African Dwarf Frogs frequently spit that out. So, it poses a limited risk of physics injury.

· Plants and Decorations

Plants, leaves and also decorations will offer a natural atmosphere for them and also they also carry out them a sense of security and also make lock feel more secure in the tank.

As one option, girlfriend can additionally use Pothos plants in the tank. Their roots will create a wonderful environment for the frog.

Always use aquarium familiar decorations that carry out not have actually sharp edges. Another word of caution, quarantine anything friend put right into the aquarium for at the very least a week. Afri dwarf frogs are especially sensitive. Your skin is very absorbing.

· Maintenance

Clean the tank when a month simply like any kind of other aquarium. Gain a kit (net, scrubbers, etc.) and clean within (algae) and outside. Carry out not forget to check the water parameters and also do water changes accordingly.

Basic Tank tools (links to inspect the price on Amazon)

SexingAfrican Dwarf Frogs

It is quite easy to tell the difference between males and females.

Males space slim and also smaller than females. The females are often 30 – 40% bigger than males when completely mature. Castle have additionally pear-shaped bodies due to the fact that their abdomens fill through eggs together they reach a mating stage.Females have a little little tail in in between the legs.Males have a red/whitish bump near their armpit. They room on both sides. These space so-called reproduction glands. These breeding glands secrete pheromone to entice the females. They build during sexual maturation and also enlarge during the breeding season.Males deserve to “sing” or “hum”, that is prefer a tiny zippy or buzzing noise. Castle will frequently do this at night. It additionally attracts females.

MatingAfrican Dwarf Frogs

They reach sex-related maturity at approximately 9 months of age. As soon as a male and also female meet and they space both sexually prepared, the male clasps the female just above her rear legs as she swims around. This is recognized as Amplexus.

The female lays she eggs in ~ the surface ar of the water, and as she go this, the male fertilizes them. Mating frequently occurs end the course of a solitary night, although periodically it can take even longer.

BreedingAfrican Dwarf Frogs

Females carry out not lay all the egg at once. Every spawning releases just a dozen eggs. In general, relying on the size of the females, they deserve to produce in between 150 – 700 eggs.

Temperature plays an essential role in breeding. The allude is the eggs will certainly not flower at temperatures below 22°C. Under normal conditions, the egg hatch in ~ 1 – 2 work of oviposition.

During the next 4 – 5 days, hatchlings continue to be at the water surface attached by a mucous thread. Just after that, they begin swimming. They acquire their back legs in around 10 days or so and also then your front legs develop about 24 days. Completely grown tadpoles reach about 2 centimeter (0.8 inches). That takes them about 1 month to transform right into frogs.

The tadpoles are completely carnivorous and, due to their tiny size, call for micro-organisms on which to feed throughout the first few days.

African Dwarf Frogs are also cannibalistic. They generally eat every one of their eggs before they also hatch. Lock will also eat their own tadpoles. So, friend will must remove eggs and raise the babies separately.

African Dwarf Frogs and suitable Tankmates

They space social creatures and like the firm of their very own kind. The ideal situation for the african Dwarf Frogs is a species tank. However, if you room planning to keep them in a neighborhood tank girlfriend should know their instincts.

African Dwarf Frogs and Fish

African Dwarf Frogs can and will try to eat anything the fits their mouth. Therefore, any type of fish that is much less than 1 customs (2.5 cm) length deserve to be/will be consumed one day. Execute not save them with small Tetras, Guppies, Gourami, etc.

Also, there is an additional side of the coin. You would not desire to save them with any type of fish that are big, wild or nippy. For example, Goldfish, Cichlids,puffers, etc.

Lots the time world ask the question about compatibility african Dwarf Frogs and also Betta. Over there is a feasible chance depending upon your Betta. Lock are like every species; part are much more aggressive than others. Over there are many reports wherein African dwarf frogs make good companions v Bettas! However, unfortunately, over there are additionally many an adverse ones.

African Dwarf Frogs and also Dwarf Shrimp

African Dwarf Frogs will eat all her dwarf shrimp. It is merely inevitable.

However, some varieties can be large enough to swallow. For example, Amano shrimp andGhost shrimp can grow up come 2 inch (5 cm). So, they do have a chance to survive.

African Dwarf Frogs and Snails

They will periodically eat infant snails or snail eggs. In other cases, afri Dwarf Frogs will certainly not bother freshwater snails in the tank. Even if they deserve to fit lock in the mouth, their difficult shells will discourage them.

African Dwarf Frogs and Crayfish

Absolutely not. Do not keep African Dwarf Frogs and also crayfish together. Crayfish will certainly eat her frogs.

Disease and Infections of African Dwarf Frogs

Unfortunately, diseases and also infection space not rarely things in between dwarf frogs. The most common are:

Bloated Frog aka Dropsy


Internal bacterialinfections almost always fatal.Abnormal buildup of serious bodily fluids due to improper human body metabolism.It is no lethal and also often aquarists drained it with a needle themselves, wherein the leg and also belly met.

Personally, I perform NOT introduce to play a doctor. If friend stick a needle in the wrong ar you can reason damage to an body organ that deserve to be lethal. Even if that helps, that does not deal with the problem, together a result, it typically comes back.

Red Leg

If you watch some red lesions that sometimes kind on the hind legs and swellings, that is the sigh the the bacteriumAeromonas hydrophila. Other signs incorporate muscular spasms, lethargy, and vomiting. When it gets into the blood, the pet will not survive.

Treatment: (Tetracycline oral: 1mg/5g body weight for 5 days).Use salt at a concentration the 100 mM and add 100 micrograms every ml oxytetracycline come the water for a week.Change the water every day. Isolation infected animals and all animals it had contact with. Disinfect every nets and tanks.


Fungal and also bacterial infections often go hand in hand.

Causes: by epidemic of the skin by theBatrachochytrium dendrobatidis(fungus).

The skin of the afri Dwarf Frogs i do not care thicker, i beg your pardon reduces its ability to act together a permeable obstacle for electrolytes. Together a result, it leads to an imbalance in the blood chemistry. The is usually fatal.

If you see some troubles with her African Dwarf Frog:

remove that frog and also put that in a different tank,ask professional vets,contact with the association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians.

Handling afri Dwarf Frogs

African Dwarf Frogs space not pet you deserve to play with. Do not take it them out of the aquarium. Their porous skin can result in fatal dehydration within 15 – 20 minutes. They simply cannot survive exterior of water.

However, if you have to transfer them from one aquarium to another, use a soft net, extending the opening to ensure afri Dwarf Frog does not jump out.

Do no touch them through bare hands unless there is no option. In this case, they need to be absolutely clean and wet. Save in psychic that any residue on our hand (even soap) african Dwarf Frogs will absorb v the skin. Ideally, you have to use gloves.

Note: once you handle them girlfriend interfere through their soft skin. It can leave them open to infections or also death.

Do no touch afri Dwarf Frogs from different aquariums wearing the same gloves. You can transfer infection.

Potential health and wellness Hazards

African Dwarf Frogs is a potential source ofSalmonella. In fact, if girlfriend buy them indigenous a pets store, they deserve to have you sign that you have actually been instructed around this problem. To prevent transmission:

Use gloves.Wash hands completely after contact.Do not clean the tank devices (including nets, feeding dishes, etc.) in sinks where food ready occurs.

BuyingAfrican Dwarf Frogs

When you select African Dwarf Frogs in ~ the store make sure that they room healthy and active. They need to be swim away as soon as the save staff is trying to fish them the end for you.

In Conclusion

Hymenochirus boettgeri, frequently known together the african Dwarf Frogs, are low maintenance and basic species to care for. They carry out not require big tanks, so also beginners will have the ability to keep them without problems due to the fact that they room hardy and undemanding.

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African Dwarf Frogs are the cutest tiny animals and also are widely easily accessible and search after together pets.