FAQs About African Dwarf Frogs,
Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks,
African Dwarf Frogs,
Dwarf African Frogs 1,
Dwarf African Frogs 2,
ADF Reproduction, &
FAQs on: Amphibians 1,
Amphibians 2, Frogs Other Than African and Clawed,
African Clawed Frogs, Turtles, Amphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,
adf's always hiding
I have a 15 gal tank: water temp always between 77-80: Established tank
with 4 guppies: Water PH perfect,
<Meaning what? The perfect pH for frogs isn't necessarily the perfect pH
Nitrite and nitrate levels are correct.
<Zero for the nitrite, and nitrate less than 20 mg/l?>
I purchased 2 ADF” from the pet store. They were active, swimming all
over the place about a week ago. As soon as I put them in my tank, they
found a hiding place in the silk plants and except for going to the top
for air, I rarely see them or even find them. I have a difficult time
feeding the frogs because of the guppies, even with a turkey baster. I
have no idea if they eat or not. Can you explain why they were so
incredible active and funny in the store, and now you wouldn’t even know
they are in the tank...
Thanking you in advance
<These little frogs don't really like being kept with fish, and prefer
the company of their own kind. Certainly add some more frogs, and if
it's an option, remove the fish. Simple. Do also bear in mind these
frogs are somewhat nocturnal in the wild, so appreciate a shady tank
with lots of plants. Weird coloured substrates and brightly coloured
fake plants won't help. They will come out for the right food (mine
certainly do) for example frozen bloodworms but they are indifferent to
dried foods and pellets. It's a good idea to add a block of frozen
bloodworms to the tank every 2-3 days during the evening, and you should
find the frogs come out and feed, even if the lights are on, if the tank
is nice and shady (floating plants are ideal). Hope this helps. Cheers,
Re: adf's always hiding 9/26/13
I guess you can already tell I've only had fish and 55 gallon tanks
I'm downsized now that I'm retired and I believed what Petco told me
about the frogs. I guess that means a new small tank for the frogs. I
was seeking info about frogs and found your site and I'm so appreciative
for all the information.
<Not necessarily; my African Dwarf Frogs live with Cherry Barbs,
Otocinclus and Featherfin Rainbows, and as soon as I add frozen
bloodworms or brine shrimps, the frogs come out. The tank is not
especially fancy; internal canister filter, some Anubias, and a bunch of
floating Amazon Frogbit.>
With that said...I'd like to add more guppies to this 15 gallon tank.
Local stock at the Pet stores in the are are limited in the variety of
guppies available with the larger pretty tails. Do you know of a
reputable online site where I can purchase a better selection of
<Afraid not; certainly, from my vantage point in the UK, I'd usually
recommend either attending auctions (many cities have fish clubs where
pedigree Guppies sell for next to nothing) or else get hold of a less
inbred variety (even "feeders") and simply quarantine them before use.
Farmed Guppies are, sadly, less robust than they were in the past.
Endler's aren't so bad, but doubtless they'll get weaker over time as
people breed them (and in-breed them) to get specific varieties.>
African Dwarf Frogs; one missing
Hello, I cleaned the aquarium gravel with a vac today.
I have 2 frogs. I can always find them, but now I can only find one!
If he got buried in the gravel, will he find his way out?
I have exhausted everything I know to find the other one.
Thanking you in advance,
<Yikes; am hoping the missing frog didn't get vac 'ed out... And that it
somehow is "just hiding". DO look on the floor; as they can stay out of
water for quite a while; and move a good distance. Hymenochirus spp.
don't "dig in gravel" (though can in mud, leaves). Bob Fenner>
Re: African Dwarf Frogs 9/24/13
Hi again, and thanks so much for a quick response. The vac is a nice one
with a nice screen in place that won't allow any critters to be inhaled.
I didn't "dig" in the gravel, but did stir it around gently with my
yes, they surely can jump..LOL. Yes I've checked everywhere on the
floor, etc. down the hallway, just everywhere, short of going
inch-by-inch. I'm alone during the day, so no interruptions with
children or pets. The gravel is about an inch deep, and I just fear he's
under it somewhere. that's why I asked if he could "dig his way" out of
it..Hope you're right and he's just
hiding somewhere. They were fun watching them together, so cross
your fingers he's in the tank somewhere...
<Ah yes; I might go ahead and re-run my fingers through the gravel.
ADF Strange mating behavior 8/22/13
I have two ADF's in a 2.5gallon heated, filtered tank. I have had them
They both sing
<?! Are these Hymenochirus? Males do hum/buzz to attract females; but
are rarely heard by aquarists>
every night and have what appear to be white pimples in their armpits,
which led me to believe they were both males.
For about a week the have been "mating" constantly but for short periods
of time. There have been no eggs as a result. a couple of nights ago I
saw them "mating" and the "female" seemed to be doing all she could to
remove the other frog. I left them alone because I figured she would
dislodge him as she usually seems to. When I awoke that next morning,
they had not eaten any of the food from their bowl (this is weird for
them). Last night the same thing happened and when I woke up, one pellet
out of 4 was gone (so SOMEONE ate) and they are STILL attached (they
usually seemed to always detach during the day which gave me peace of
mind that the "female" could get some rest).
Should I leave this alone or should I do something?
<I'd leave alone>
I'm still pretty sure both of the frogs are male, there has been no eggs
and they both sang like crazy until lately :( . I'm afraid the "female"
is eating but stressed and I'm afraid the horny male is simply not
eating (and also not going to the surface enough, it seems like only the
"female" gets her snout out of the water. Advice please!! :(
<Mmm, I'd ask that you peruse our postings re the genus/species:
the linked files above; and keep us posted re your observations,
speculations. Bob Fenner>
African dwarf frog, stkg./sel, beh.
I have had my African dwarf frog for at least 7 years and I always worry
that he/she is lonely? Do they get lonely if they are not w other
frogs and should I get a friend for him/her ? thankxxxx
<I don't think that Hymenochirus "get lonely", but do find them more
interesting in groups. Bob Fenner>
Please can you explain this! ADF Beh., repro.
I have had one female and one male ADF for over a year. They have
been getting on together no problems at all. Mate all the time
after a water change etc. All of a sudden today, one of them is
upside down not moving, with the other one holding on to it tightly with
its head in the other ones belly. It does look as if the one
underneath is dead and may be the other one is eating it!
This has really shocked me!
Do you have an explanation at all.
<Of course it might be dead -- and you should know by now! But do be
aware that during mating ("amplexus") frogs will cling in all sorts of
odd positions. Sometimes so many males will climb on top of a female
they drown her, but that's not common (obviously, or frogs would have
died out by now!). In any case, prod the unmoving frog with something
small but not sharp, like a pencil end, and see if it reacts. If not,
either remove if you're sure it's dead, or else isolate in a net, away
from the other frogs, in the water, for a few hours to see if anything
happens. In the meantime, do read:
Check you're doing everything right, taking particular note to aquarium
size, filtration and temperature.>
Frogs stuck together 11/1/11
I have 2 African dwarf frogs about 3 years old. The smaller one keeps
getting his arms stuck in the gills of the larger one. It's like
he's getting a piggy back but he's in to his elbows in the
others gills. I have to pry them apart using the end of the fish net. I
don't think they are mating, why is this happening every 2 weeks or
<Hello Libby. Adult frogs don't have gills, and tadpoles have
feathery external gills. So whatever else is happening here, it's
not a case of one frog's arms getting stuck in the other frog's
gills. Amplexus, the mating grip, does sound more likely. Cheers,
African Dwarf Frog Amplexus-Male at Wrong End! 10/29/11
My male frog sometimes mounted the female at her head end, and grasped
her around the upper part of her body. They have sometimes mated
properly, and produced many tadpoles, which I am raising. Last week he
mounted her the wrong way, stayed on for hours at the bottom of the
tank, and prevented her
from going up for air often enough. She struggled, but could not get
There was no way I could separate them; when he finally released her
she may have been injured in some way, and died soon after. Is this
behavior as odd as it seems?
<Hello Sheila. Inept mating behaviours during amplexus are common
among frogs. It isn't common for the female to be unable to throw
off a misguided male, but I'm sure accidents like the one you saw
here happen from time to time. If you ever watch wild frogs mating,
it's insane! Not much advice I can give here, unfortunately. Good
luck rearing the tadpoles. Cheers, Neale.>
Strange Frog & Snail Behavior 8/1/11
Hello, I have several questions regarding my aquarium and am really
hoping you can help. I currently have an apple snail (I believe its a
<Apple Snails aren't compatible with Bettas;
they have much different requirements.>
a crown-tailed beta,
<Total aside, it's pronounced "better", not
"beater", from the native name, "bettah". Now you
can show off to your friends!>
and two ADF in my 1 gallon tank.
<This tank is too small. Switch to a tank at least 5 gallons in
size, with a heater and biological filter.>
The bottom is live gravel.
<What do you mean by "live" gravel? By itself gravel
doesn't filter the water. An undergravel filter with a pump that
draws water through the gravel can work, but do you have an undergravel
filter? With a filter plate under the gravel and 2-3 inches of gravel
I recently added a small dracaena plant and am worried that it will rot
if kept fully submerged underwater since its not a true aquatic plant.
Ive also seen the snail crawling on it; does it have any chemicals /
toxins that could harm anything in my tank? Should I remove it?
<Yes, and treat like a houseplant.>
I've also noticed one of my two frogs has begun to unwillingly
float to the top, and has a lot of trouble staying down.
<Stressed, sick, maybe dying.>
I don't see any sign of fungus on him, or any bloating / swelling.
I watched him eat at their last feeding and neither frog has any lack
<Stressed. What's the water quality like? How did you cycle the
filter before adding livestock? Do you measure ammonia or
What do you think this could be, and how could I treat it?
<Poor care and a too-small tank are the problems.>
And along with the frogs strange new behavior, Ive noticed the apple
snail acting unusually. Hes always occasionally climbed all the way to
the top to breath, but instead of crawling back down like he usually
does; hes started un-sticking himself and drifting back down to the
bottom. Theres no discoloration of his shell or body, and there hasnt
been any change in his diet. Is this dangerous in any way to the snail
or any of the other tank inhabitants?
<Yes, dying snails quickly pollute small aquaria.>
Would it harm my frogs if it were to land on them? Well, thank you for
your time; Id really appreciate any answers or advice you can give me.
<Lots of work to do. First, buy a bigger tank. Two, install an
adequate filter if you aren't using one. Do also read:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Strange Frog & Snail Behavior 8/2/11
Okay, thank you so much for all the information! I read the articles
and they really helped. I'm going to take out the dracaena plant
right away and put it in a vase or something.
<Will need soil, not too damp. Quite easy to grow, and can get very
impressive. Dracaena sanderiana is typical.>
I'll consider giving the snail to my grandmother, whose tank is
kept at a more suitable and stable temperature than my beta tank.
<Confused by this. Bettas need MORE stable temperatures than Apple
The thing about Apple Snails is they need to be kept cool some of the
year, around 18 C/64 F, for maybe three months, and the rest of the
time warmer, 25 C/77 F. Your Betta, by contrast, must be at 25-30
C/77-86 F all year around.>
And since the frogs need more space, I'll use my birthday money for
a larger tank with the proper heating & filtration they need.
Thanks again! :)
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Is my ADF depressed?
I got 2 ADFs over a year ago from Brookstone,
<Yikes... I do wish they'd stick to inanimate gadgets>
and I learned so much on your site to give them a proper and happy
I had a male and a female, and they mated often. My male died a few
weeks ago, and the female doesn't eat as much as she used to, and
she hides a lot more. She actually buries herself under the river
the aquarium. The water temperature is warm -- mid 70s, and nothing
else has changed.
<Mmm, could be a/the issue here... I'd raise the temperature to
the upper 70's, low 80's F. And the water pH? These need to be
regulated... Do see Wiki, elsewhere re Hymenochirus husbandry>
Could she be depressed and in mourning?
I got a new juvenile last week, but haven't seen any change in her
Am I giving her little frog brain too much credit??
<Anthropomorphising I identify w/ human-ness in the west. Bob
Re: Is my ADF depressed? 3/28/11
haha - thank you, Bob!
I thought I might be personifying her too much.
I do test the pH, etc. regularly, and it's safe. I'll turn up
Thank you for the quick reply and very informative website.
<Certainly welcome. Am glad we are of service, help to
I hear ya on the Brookstone purchase. I know better now than to promote
their business in frog sales.
<And you, BobF>
ADF, death, life-span 2/15/10
Thanks so much. I love to learn and learned a bunch. He died and will
be buried in the backyard where our cats are buried when they were
through with mortal life.
<Glad to have helped. But do reflect on why this frog died, and
think about what you did wrong (if anything). If you can use the death
of this frog to highlight problems with the aquarium more generally,
then it won't have given up its little froggy life in vain! Cheers,
That's the way I always think!! How long do they usually live? I
think he was at least 8 or 10 yrs old.
<A good age for Hymenochirus. The much bigger Xenopus (up to 15 cm/6
inches long) can live for twice that.>
We do have an underground filter and I think the dirty gravel that
probably resulted from the overfeeding I felt my husband was doing, and
the lack of fiber you mentioned must have been the cause.
<Both worthwhile thoughts.>
As the day went on, the patches became more in number all over his
Feeling that he should not be in such a chemical water (the water was
pink from the solution we put hi in a sick tank) very long, I put him
back into the aquarium. Sounds like this was a bad move.
<Possibly, but sounds like he was dying anyway.>
An hour or so later, he was more floating and less moving, and
definitely on his way out. The water temperature was not mentioned.
What should it have been? We keep it between 71--76 degrees, although
it probably could have
gotten colder when I cleaned the tank, and then when we put him in a
separate container with the Ick solution.
<Low temperatures, for short periods, a few days for example,
won't harm Hymenochirus or indeed most tropical fish. But it does
make them more sensitive to bacterial infections, and if they
aren't returned to warm water conditions within a few days, serious
problems will set in. In any case, the optimal temperature for
Hymenochirus is something middling, 25 C/77 F being ideal. Cheers,
thanks soooo very much for the education!! I have never known such help
was available thru the internet and never did well in school. LOVE this
education!!! :) :)
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
African Dwarf Frogs - Twitching, lethargic 3/2/08
Hi guys, <Hello,> Thanks to
your wonderful site my husband and I have had 2-3 aquariums up and
running for several years with no problems at all in at least a year.
We have 2 adult African Dwarf Frogs that had lots of little froglets a
few months ago. We couldn't possibly keep them all (21 total) but
were waiting for them to grow up to be strong healthy frogs before
selling them to our local Ma and Pa fish store. They were in a tank
that's way too small to support all of them (5 gallons, but lots of
the frogs are still very small), but we did frequent water changes and
kept a very close eye on all water parameters. The tank was completely
cycled, we'd never see any ammonia or nitrites, and the water
changes took care of nitrates fast. We're moving and things have
been hectic, the tank went a few days without a partial water change
and my husband tested the water - Ammonia had spiked off the chart! The
frogs were all on the bottom, lethargic, and a few of them were lying
on their backs and twitching. We immediately did a 50% water change and
retested. Ammonia was still WAY too high, so we waited a few hours and
then did another 75% change. Still too high, so we moved some fish
around, completely cleaned our 20 gallon tank and moved them into it
last night. <Doesn't sound promising. A good rule during times
of chaos is to STOP feeding livestock. Anyway, if you see an ammonia
spike in an otherwise stable aquarium, do check for overfeeding and/or
dead livestock. It may be that one frog died, decayed, and that was
what overwhelmed the existing filter.> This morning I checked on
them and 5 out of 21 are on their backs twitching, the rest are very
lethargic, and a few of them have their legs twisted around their other
leg. It's not looking good... Water parameters are fine in this
brand new tank. We've added some gravel from our very old cycled
tank to assist the cycle in this new one and will be picking up some
BioSpira when the pet store opens later today. <Hmm... gravel
(unless part of an undergravel filter) doesn't do all that much to
speed up cycling, so don't rely on it. Much better to divide the
media in the existing filter into two, put one portion in the new
filter, and then let things recover. A mature filter can easily
tolerate a 50% loss of media without any serious water quality
problems.> Our frogs are our babies, we feel terrible that we let
this happen to them. We were planning on giving some of the babies to
the LFS today but are terrified that they'll just put them down
since they look so bad. We'll keep them for as long as we feel that
we can do some good to help them. <Good. Sometimes time helps.
Additional aeration plus regular water changes will also help.> To
further compound the problems, we MUST move their tank to our new place
today which is sure to traumatize them. Is there anything that we can
do to help them other than make sure that this new tank cycles fast,
being vigilant to water quality issues? <Transporting the frogs,
providing they are parceled out into spacious containers, a few per
container, shouldn't really cause major problems. Keeping them warm
and dark during transit will help, as will being quick. But compared to
ammonia spikes, simply being moved about for a couple hours is neither
here nor there.> Thank you so much, you guys are great. Heather
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
African Dwarf Frog acting strangely/manic... and non-heated, non-cycled Betta... systems 12/2/07
I purchased an African Dwarf Frog along
with a male Betta about two weeks ago. <Mmm, these don't always
get along> These are my first aquatic pets I have had the pleasure
of having, and I'm already quite attached! I have done a lot of
research but I am still learning... Well today, I decided to do some
water changes for the first time, having been a little over a week
since the frog and Betta were settled in. I originally was planning to
have them in the same tank, but after I placed them together my Betta
started to get aggressive, and then I learned that 1 gallon is too
small to keep two creatures together in. <Yes> So, for a while I
had Robyn (my ADF) in my 1 gallon tank and Reno (Betta fish) in a
"Betta planter" that I bought. I felt bad for Reno because he
didn't have much water to swim around in (probably less than 1/2
gallon), so this weekend I bought him a 1 gallon tank also. I did a 25%
water change for Robyn's tank, and introduced my Betta to his new
tank. <Mmm, both these animals are tropical... need steady, high
temperature> I am concerned because ever since the water change,
Robyn has been swimming up and down like crazy, and keeps pressing her
nose up against the side of the tank, it seems like she wants to
escape. <Maybe> Is there something wrong with the water?
<Could be> I made sure to buy it at Petco and it's called
"Beta Water", but it says it's suitable for frogs as well
and has a neutral pH, etc. <... am not so sure. What are the
ingredients? I would change a good deal of this water out for just dechloraminated tap> Reno, on the other hand, is going crazy in his
tank as well, and I think it's because the plastic creates a mirror
effect and he can see himself and thinks it's another fish.
<Likely so> Will seeing this constantly stress him out too much,
or is it just normal for him to swim around that much in a new tank?
<Likely will be okay in time... a few days> What about Robyn?
Before I did the partial water change she just liked to hang out in the
little cave I got her, and poke her head out occasionally. I am really
concerned, I don't want them to die :( Also, as a note: The 1
gallon tanks I bought both come with an undergravel filter and an air
stone that has a little plastic tube around it (I guess to minimize
current?)? I have heard a ton of conflicting information on whether or
not this air pump is safe/good to use in my tank with my Betta or my
ADF. <Are fine... but... what re cycling?> I would really like to
use them because I like how they look and I think they will keep the
water cleaner, but I don't want to endanger my frog or make my
Betta unhappy.? Any suggestions? Please help, and thank you! -Valerie
<Yes... for you to read... Which you were directed to do before
writing... Start here for Bettas:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked
files above, particularly on Nitrogen Cycling... Bob
A behavior question, ADFs -11/14/07
Hello, We have a tank with 4 Dwarf African frogs...so far
they are doing great. But they do something that makes my son anxious
because he thinks they are hurting one another. Basically, what we see
is that one will clamp on to another one and squeeze for long periods
of time. What do you think?? Thanks, Melanie <Probably fine. Frogs
naturally cling to one another when spawning. It's called
"amplexus". The male holds on tight, and as the female lays
her egg, he sheds his sperm over them, fertilising them. In the wild,
you'll see huge clumps of frogs, all except one being males, with
the poor female in the middle of the bundle. Provided the frogs are
otherwise happy and healthy, I wouldn't worry about it. Cheers,
Dwarf Frog, floating on back... 03/17/07
have 2 dwarf frogs that are about 4 years old. Today, I went to feed
them and one of them was floating on it's back. I flipped him back
over and he has been floating at the top since, occasionally ending
belly up again. I have moved him out of the tank so he is separate from
the other. I have read that they usually sink to the bottom of the tank
when they die. <Mmm, no... depends on cause, how long they've
been dead...> There is definitely something wrong. Could it be a
disease, or is it his time to go? Any advice would be great!
<Perhaps just a bit of trapped gas... I would not give up hope here.
Try other foods... bloodworms, blackworms... Bob Fenner>
Frog Legs for Dinner? Hymenochirus beh., sys. 2/22/07
Thanks again, Pufferpunk. <No
problem> I'll return Jet this weekend so he can mix with his own
kind. Now I have a question about the frogs, Slim and
Chance. They used to be so cute every evening, swimming and playing and
crashing into things. But lately they've become
reclusive and sluggish. I really don't think I feed them
too much but they aren't as eager for their food anymore, which is
those delicious Frog and Tadpole Bites. I've given them
frozen bloodworms a time or two, but not many at a time. I
shook them (gently) out of their hidey holes tonight so I could
photograph them to show you how normal they look. Do you
think the light is too much for them? It's just your standard 150W
bulb. <Not if you plan on boiling them for
dinner. Sounds like an awful lot of light for that
tank. I would think a 60wt bulb would be enough to warm up a
5g tank. What's the temp in there?> At one time I had
some floating plants in there, and that diffused the light
some. But I took all the live plants out and replaced them
with fake because the live ones were rotting and stinking up the
water. What do you think? Am I just being a
worrier (a general tendency of mine)? <Probably too hot for even the
plants. Check the temp--should be around
Dead Frog Scam? - 02/10/2005
Hi I just bought 2
African Dwarf Frogs today. When I bought them, they were floating at
the top of the tank and not doing much moving at all (if at all). I
asked the worker at the store and he said that that's just what
they do. <Though they ARE somewhat sedate animals, I have
never seen them too terribly inactive at stores.... Usually they're
milling about at least somewhat.> On the ride home, they didn't
move in the bag. When I got home, I emptied the bag into the water
after letting it sit for a while and they simply floated to the bottom
of the tank and didn't move. <Not at all a good sign.>
Eventually, one floated (not swam, floated) to the top with his nose
near the surface and didn't move at all. The other simply stayed on
the bottom on his back. <Yeah, that's not at all
normal.> After about an hour of not moving, I took both frogs out of
the water (I have other fish and if the frogs are sick I don't want
to get the fish sick) <I'm not sure many diseases can transfer
from amphibians to fish - but if they were to die in the tank, it could
severely foul your water and cause problems for the fish that way.>
and put them into other containers. <Any response when they were
removed from the water? Also, what were the temperature(s) of all of
these tanks/containers? Any idea of water parameters, including at the
store?> They both stayed in the exact same position, one with his
nose near the top, the other on his back. I gently poked both and they
appeared to move slightly (when I first placed them in the tank) but
other than this I have seen no movement. Is it likely that I was sold
dead frogs? <Well, it certainly doesn't sound too good. I would
absolutely consider returning them to the store - if they're not
dead, they're almost surely very unhealthy. Also, do keep in mind
that cold temperatures can be harmful to the frogs - if the tank water
is very cold, it would cause them to be quite inactive.... Definitely
try to find a store that has more active froggies for you to look at,
and do a bit of research as to their needs before you purchase more; it
sounds to me like the store you visited might not know much (if
anything) about them. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Dwarf African Frogs
Hi, I need help. I need info. on Dwarf
African Frogs. I seen u have a pic of one on your web site but no info.
I want to know if we can take them out of the water and hold them for a
few minutes? <Yes. Though these species are capable of staying
in the water continuously, they are aerial respirators, and can/do
leave the water at times in the wild> How often do they have to come
up for air? <Hmm, "every few minutes"...>
etc...... Please help i can not find anything on the internet that is
helpful. I have 4 in my tank with guppies, tetras and live plants.
<Do use the links on the page, and your computer's search
engines... with the common and scientific names. Bob Fenner> sue