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 not swimming properly
I have had 2 ADFs for about 6 weeks and one seems to be doing very well (eating,
active, growing) and the other is not. The other seems to have a hard time
swimming (flips around erratically, struggles to maintain direction and seems to
even struggle with crawling along the bottom) it almost seems as if she is
partially parylized, but in different limbs at some times and sometimes she just
falls on her back at the bottom. She seems to be interested in food but is
struggling to find it.
Nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are all 0 according to my test strips. I can't
find any info on what might be causing this issue. She is very thin as well. I
have separated her into a smaller tank so its easier to reach the top and so I
can monitor her food intake.
Is there anything else I need to be doing? Does she maybe have an injury?
She doesn't seem to have any physical signs of injury or infection.
Thank you so much!
<Hello Kelsey. African Dwarf Frogs are not fond of deep water or strong water
currents, so your first thing to check is that neither apply here.
The fact your frog is underweight would tend to suggest the lack of stability is
more weakness than anything else. Optimising diet will help here: live or frozen
bloodworms and brine shrimps are good starting points, and if necessary,
separate the two frogs, as you're doing -- though do ensure the second tank has
water quality at least as good as the main tank. Isolating frogs and fish in
'hospital tanks' that aren't properly heated and filtered will only make things
worse. African Dwarf Frogs are fairly hardy animals, but they are prone to
starvation, so I will direct you to
some reading, here:
Medicating or treating sick frogs is difficult, but there are a few options. But
first, get the frog feeding! Cheers, Neale.>
Help please for my African Dwarf Frogs
Hi - Just so you know, I am one of those people that Google everything
and anything and am usually pretty successful in finding answers to my
questions. Well I have been searching for a couple days (at least) to
try and figure out what is going on with my ADFs...well one ADF in
I haven't had any luck and it may be that it is an issue that is hard to
word in a Google search. I don't have much faith in the knowledge of the
staff at my local pet store so I am writing you. I'm sure you are
inundated with emails but I figured I'd see if you could help.
I have a 5 gallon, heated and filtered tank and in it are 4 guppies, one
mystery snail and now 2 ADF's. I had just one ADF for a few months and
then decided she (I assume she is a she as I never hear singing like I
have in the past with males) may like to have another ADF to interact
<Understood. But like most frogs, they're not really social as such...>
Prior to my adding the 2nd ADF (Ginger), my 1st ADF (MaryAnn) seemed
like a happy active frog. She would always come when I tapped on the
glass, would follow my finger and dance around for me, and would eat
heartily Frozen Bloodworms and/or Brine Shrimp.
After adding Ginger to the tank, MaryAnn is a different frog. She hides
out of sight most of the time, barely eats and seems to want to run from
me versus being happy to see me. The new frog (Ginger) is acting normal.
Is active and eats heartily.
What happened to MaryAnn?? Could she be upset that I added another frog?
<Bullying is certainly a possibility, the solution for which, oddly
enough, can be adding more -- it's harder for a bully to harass two
frogs than just one. On the other hand, a useful trick is to remove the
bully, rearrange the tank enough it looks different, then after an hour
or so, return the bully. With a bit of luck, this has a "reset button"
effect because the bully is now the newcomer again, and the original
frog has a chance to assert itself better.>
Ironically, I hesitated at first to get a 2nd frog as I really enjoyed
the "special" one on one time I had with MaryAnn. I only got the 2nd
thinking it would make her happier to have a little friend.
<Always dangerous imagining animals are people. They're not. Their minds
are very different, and animals that aren't gregarious, like frogs,
really don't notice or interact with other frogs outside of breeding.
Since you're offering the food, you are actually more "interesting" to
them than other frogs!>
I don't know if it is my imagination but she does appear to be a tad
bloated. That could be due to the fact that I fed her often....not sure.
<Possibly, so do try cutting back the food a bit, or using something
with a laxative effect, like Daphnia or Brine Shrimp, to see if it
Either way, do you have any idea what could be wrong??
Let me know please when you have a chance.
Thanks in advance
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Help please for my African Dwarf Frogs
Hi Neale -
Thank you so much for your response.
I am not sure why but I originally drafted this to you in September but,
for some reason, it didn't go through until October 10th. Possibly
because I was on a different computer. Anyway, MaryAnn passed a couple
<Oh dear; sorry to hear that.>
I will not be getting another frog to keep Ginger company based on your
response below. As long as one frog is happy without another, I am happy
with just the one!
<Indeed, this is the case. Good luck with your remaining batrachian
African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
This morning, I noticed my ADF (I've had him for 8 months)
covered in a semi-transparent film. It's barely 1/16th of an
inch thick and seems to cover his whole body. It's very difficult to see
unless I'm very close to the tank.
<Quite normal for sheets of skin to be shed periodically, sometimes in
alarming amounts. Generally safe to ignore, so long as the frog is
otherwise normal, and there's no evidence of fungus (such as threads) or
bacterial infection (such as red-white patches).>
I can't figure out if this could be a fungal infection or if it's a
normal pre-shedding thing. The forums are all over on this. Do you have
any diagnosing suggestions?
How long should I wait before attempting treatment? Do you have any
suggestions on treatment options?
<Sit and wait for now! If the skin doesn't come away cleanly over the
next couple weeks, then certainly think about what might be done, and
anti-fungal or anti-bacterial as the case may be. But a happy, hungry
frog is probably a healthy frog.>
He lives in a 5.5 gallon tank, fully cycled, with 1/2 tank water changes
weekly (using RO DI water). His appetite is really good, I just can't
figure out what to do about this weird film.
Thank you very much.
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Thank you so much for replying to me so quickly. You have no
idea how much I appreciate this.
I was hoping you'd say it was normal shedding - I just never saw it look
like that before (then again, I have to be practically
nose-pressed-to-the-glass to see this transparent film all around his
body). If it does turn out to be serious, which meds do you recommend?
I'd like to have them on-hand just in case.
<In all honesty, have a quick read here...
They give examples of the most common diseases, and describe some
suitable products easily obtained (in the US) by aquarists. Elsewhere,
when it comes to anti-bacterial medications, you either get them through
a vet, who'll
choose the right one for you, or else switch to an alternative type of
medication, like eSHa 2000.>
I do have another question, if that's alright with you.
I just finished dealing with chytrid fungus with my other ADF. (both
frogs were never in the same tank/room as each other, chytrid frog is at
home and filmy-frog is at work.). I always use fresh gloves when
frog-related and am pretty confident that the fungus has not spread from
the sick frog to my other one (I've had the chytrid frog for about 2.5
I bought this one at PetSmart as a companion for my first and didn't
realize until too late that he very likely had the fungus - judging from
the tattered skin shreds all over his body.
I've been extremely careful in my treatment (gloved hands, new container
after every round of lamsil baths) and (fingers crossed) I think I've
finally beaten it (after 3 rounds of treatment - it's been exhausting).
It's been about 3 weeks with no further tattered shedding and he finally
has a really good appetite.
<A really good sign with amphibians generally.>
I'd like to know how long should I keep him in isolation prior to him
being considered "safe" to live with another frog? Do I have to worry
about the fungus still transferring over to the new frog when I bring
the two together?
<Chytrid fungus is a serious threat, and I'd be super-conservative here.
I'd be waiting at least 6 weeks before combining the two frogs. Since
frogs don't get lonely, there's no overwhelming reason to combine them
anyways, and you may decide to keep your formerly
Batrachochytrium-infected frog in
its own tank indefinitely, or at least for a good few months yet.>
I plan to buy one of those test-kits for the chytrid fungus just to make
sure he still doesn't have it but I think the fungus might still be in
<Indeed possible, which is why I'd sterilise, as far as possible,
anything exposed to the Batrachochytrium fungus. Chuck out anything
difficult to clean but easily replaced (sand, bogwood, plants) and
thoroughly clean with hot soapy water anything that can be properly
cleaned (rocks, gravel, ornaments). You can't do much about filter media
without killing the bacteria, but you might decide whether deep cleaning
the filter and replacing the media with mature media from another tank
is the way to go. It's what I'd do, anyway. Obviously change all the
water, scrub the glass, heater, etc. Fungal spores will tend to lurk in
crevices, which is why soft and porous things, like sponges, wood and
plants, are especially bad. The ideal situation is to move your "cured"
Chytrid frog into an entirely new aquarium that you know is
Batrachochytrium-free, and take if from there. In this situation, the
only way Batrachochytrium would carry across would be on the frog (which
we hope is clear) and any minute drops of water on the frog (hopefully a
very small risk). Moving healthy frogs into a system that once had
Batrachochytrium fungus in it is more risky because of all the places
the Batrachochytrium fungus might still lurk, unless we thoroughly
cleaned the system so well it was practically sterile. It's a toughie!
There are aquarium products out there for sterilising aquaria, but you'd
need somewhere to house the frogs during the process, and of course some
mature filter media you can take from a clean tank afterwards, to jump
start the filter once the sterilised tank is reassembled.>
He lives in a cycled 2.5 gallon tank with a little plant, 3 gallon
filter and several hidey-holes. Once a week I conduct 1/2 tank water
<All sounds great. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Wow. Your responses are above and beyond. Thank you so much. There is so
much information and nothing is consistent on the internet.
<You're assuming I'm right, of course...!>
The website you sent...the film looks kind of like how it does on the
fungus frog, only more transparent and there's an even coat of it all
across my frog. That leads me to think that somehow my little guy
managed to catch a different fungus. Should I wait for the chytrid test
kit or start treating him with Methylene blue? (I tried to find Mardel
Maroxy but it wasn't available online).
<Regular, generic fungus is easily cured with clean water, good food,
and aquarium anti-fungus medicine (remembering to remove carbon from the
filter, if used). So you could use this, prophylactically even, to
eliminate the possibility of regular fungus. As/when the chytrid test
kit turns up, you can of course use it.>
Also, I know this is kind of silly to ask, but if I do a whole tank
treatment should I still sterilize everything or could the medicine
treat the tank as it is helping my frog?
<Hard to know. In theory the medicine should eliminate the fungus from
both frog and aquarium, but it's hard to say. Hospital tanks tend to be
clean and empty of decorations so that the medicine can get everywhere.
tanks have more sand, plants, etc., so while the medicine might work
through the frog, you can't be sure about the decor. A conservative
approach is justified here. By all means hope the tank is chytrid-free,
but keep a close eye, and don't assume it's chytrid-free, at least not
until you've had a good few months of success.>
I ask because right now I don't have any extra media. When I got the
chytrid frog, I didn't know at the time how serious the disease was so I
wasn't as careful as I should be when handling my other tanks. At this
point, it's safe to assume that all tanks at home are infected.
<A wise assumption.>
I've seen some websites that talk about beating chytrid with heat and
Do you know how true that is?
<There has been some research into the use of salt, with some positive
outcomes. But it seems unlikely salt concentrations strong enough to
kill the fungus are safe for a freshwater frog across the long term.
need some further evidence before I'd recommend this approach. Cheers,
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Once again, thank you.
One last question and I'll be out of your hair. Do you know what
happened to the Mardel Maroxy or the Maracyn Brand? I remember ordering
it from Amazon about a year ago for my fish tanks but I can't seem to
<Hmm... just looked and found both on Amazon.com. So not really sure
what to say here! To be fair, neither would be my first choice for
treating bacterial infections in frogs. Tetracycline-based antibiotics
perhaps a bit better. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Oh. My bad. I originally clicked a couple of discontinued links. Anyway,
thank you once again. You are a lifesaver.
<The candy or the inflatable jacket? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
Your website is incredibly helpful when it comes to my questions and
general information. Thank you for that.
In the last couple of days, the fuzzy outline went from barely there to
very visible. I tried capturing it on camera but my phone had a
difficult time focusing on him (blurry outline from the fuzz). He's in a
bare-bottom tank right now (for ease of treatment) and as you can see,
there's a lot of reflections.
<Indeed, but not a problem. This frog is looking healthy from what I can
see. A little extra weight might be nice, but if he's eating well, then
I think he'll be okay. There's no obvious damage to the skin that I can
see, and if there are loose 'sheets', that may be normal shedding.>
I'm starting with Maracyn 2 for bacteria infection (internal/external
according to the box), along with a Methylene blue dip once a
day...because whatever it is, it's getting aggressive. From there, I
plan to go with a Maroxy treatment for general fungal infections and
possibly I'll add Methylene blue to the tank if nothing else seems to
<Don't overdo the medication! Medicate when you identify the problem,
rather than randomly. If the frog is making progress under its own
steam, then complete the current course of medications and then step
Interactions between medications can cause problems in themselves.>
Have you or anyone you known ever seen something like this? Any
suggestions for treatment?
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
I may have panicked a bit...
What started as a faint outline of fuzz, spread and thickened significantly on
the frog's skin in the last few days, it's about 1/8 inch thick now. He looks
like a little fuzz-ball. I've had this species for 8 months now, so I know this
can't be shedding.
So, I figured I'd find the safest medications for frogs and try them one after
another and see if anything can bring the skin back to normal. I'd rather not
wait until his appetite diminishes - cause with ADFs, I've learned that once
their appetite goes, then they die within a couple of days.
<Does depend rather on their starting body weight, but yes, I agree.>
Thank you for your advice and I will be more careful with the medication. I will
not mix them, and be more careful with them.
<If the frog is suddenly getting mucous-y, I'd be wondering if something (like
copper) is irritating the frog's skin. I'd suggest also looking to see if the
filter is removing all the silt, because when this gets stuck on the mucous, it
can make things look a lot worse. In any event, medicating as per a bacterial
infection is likely the first thing to do, but thereafter, I'd do substantial
water changes, and leave a few days, before starting anything new. Do bear in
mind that sometimes a second course of an antibiotic is necessary, so it's not
always that the antibiotic was 'wrong' it's more that it needs a second pass.
ADF Odd Behavior 6/10/17
My daughter is working in Alaska for the season and asked me to care for
a Betta and an ADF.
They have been here for almost 3 months and she had them for a month
before that. The aquarium with lights and filter seem to work fine. My
ADF (Mr. Kite) likes to hide behind the filter with his nose up to water
top. He is
active and the Betta doesn't ever bite him just snoops around him from
time to time.
<While I'm not wild about combining African Dwarf Frogs with fish of any
kind, Bettas do get along better with them than most other fish. Both
require warm, relatively still water, and both prefer a diet based
small meaty foods as well as good quality micro-pellets. Still, there
remains the challenge of ensuring the ADFs get enough to eat, so do keep
any eye on them at feeding time.>
This behavior seems odd although he has always done it. Is the water too
<ADFs will struggle to swim up to the top if the current is too strong,
but assuming gentle air-powered filtration, they should be fine. Having
floating plants helps enormously, as ADFs enjoy basking at the surface,
just under the lights. Something like floating Indian Fern will do the
it's about 9 to 10 inches deep. I am new to aquatic pets but they sure
do grow on you.
Has anyone else noticed this type of behavior? Thanks, Nancy
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
African Dwarf Frog; beh., repro.
Hello! First of all, great site and great information.
I have 2 adfs in a 5 gallon filtered tank with 1 male Betta. Jet (the
Betta) seems to be fine with them and they with him. We are still trying
to determine the sex of each frog.
<Agreed, difficult to do, but you can find photos online. Males do tend
to be smaller and more angular, while females are bigger and chubbier,
and have a tail-like thing between their legs out of which the eggs
The frogs were purchased together, and the pet store was a local mom and
pop shop that had just received their shipment of adfs that morning. One
adf is very active. Rarely hides, loves his reflection, loves to float,
swim to Top but mostly hangs at bottom and be active. The other loves to
be lazy, hide in its cave and be by itself but does come out sometimes.
Note: they were separated for first night before placed together. They
both seemed to be inactive and just adjusting.
<I wouldn't worry about variation in behaviour too much, provided all
are feeding. Like humans, some frogs are shy, some are more outgoing.>
Once they were together in Betta tank, the active one came to life
personality/behavior wise, the other stayed less active. The two do
interact on occasion, and they do ear together. The Betta will swim at
top and bottom. He will swim by them or peek and see what they are doing
but doesn't aggress on them and they don't seem to interact with him
They will freeze him out or just keep doing what they are doing. All
<Indeed. Had a question about Bettas and frogs yesterday, and what I'll
say is this: while they can work, and are a better combo than most
frog/fish match-ups, it's still important to ensure the frogs can feed
easily. Both Bettas and frogs dislike strong water currents and need
warmth, so a gently-filtered, heated aquarium suits them both. On the
other hand, the frogs are slower feeders, and because they're air
breathers, they do need a clear run up to the surface or they'll drown.
Bettas sometimes become hostile to them, so floating plants are useful
for providing shade and shelter, making it easier for the frogs to
clamber to the top, rest a while, and then slip down to the bottom
without attracting too much attention. Indian Fern is a good choice for
However , yesterday I noticed that the frog that is less active likes to
hang out near top of tank, up near filter, with half his body out of
water, half in water.
<Not unusual. Contrary to what many suppose, ADFs will bask at the
surface, even half-clambering out on top of floating plants if they
One leg balanced against filter, one in water. He seems to go there
somewhat often. I found him a short bit ago actually hiding between
heater and filter Cover, under the water then head out of water...but at
top and head out of the water a lot none the less.
<They are air-breathers, and as I said before, need an easy way to get
to the top and rest awhile. If the current is too strong, or the depth
of the tank is too much, they'll find ways to "perch" closer to the
surface. Bear in mind they're happiest where the water is no more than
20 cm/8 inches deep, and air-powered filtration is a much better bet
than all but the smallest internal electric filters.>
As I work during the day I can't tell you how long he stayed/stays there
but I saw him there this morning. He went to the bottom before I left
and at some point in 12 hours went back up. I thought they stayed in
water for long hours. Water test results from 6 in 1 test strips are
we test water with strips weekly as we have the Betta (he's high
maintenance believe it or not) and he only seems to do well with water
between 78 and 80). Water temp. as of this email is 78. we have an
aquarium heater. we live in new England, our weather is bi polar to say
the least so we decided to be prepared as this our first attempt at fish
Right now due to filter I do water changes roughly every three to four
weeks provided tests read ok but wonder if now that I have frogs (they
only moved in a week ago) if I should change it more often. Water test
results as of this email:
Nitrate: safe (20-40) Nitrite: 0 (none)
Total hardness: borderline (50-150) water stays on line...
Total chlorine: 0 (none) Total alkalinity : 40-80 low to moderate PH:
7.4 to 7.8 (neutral to alkaline) - the color/line is very difficult to
distinguish the cross over but its definitely on the line of the 7.2 to
They are eating well too. Once I put the food in front of them they eat
immediately. One on each side of cube. They go nuts for their food. We
will worm on hand feeding later once I know frogs are OK on normal
feeding schedule, and we get thru this bump. We also make sure that the
Betta is in a breeding net so that they can eat in peace, the Betta can
stay in his tank and then the Betta gets a treat as reward in hopes this
will train him to get accustomed to this routine. Right now I use kabob
sticks to put the tube flex worms On, hold in front of the frogs and
they immediately eat. Its the only food they have eaten quickly and
responded to at all. I feed them once every other day
<Provided they're feeding, and they're able to rest at the top of the
tank in comfort, chances are your African Dwarf Frogs are fine. Warning
signs of trouble include loss of weight (i.e., not getting enough to
eat) and the
appearance of red or pink patches on the skin (bacterial infections).>
I'm sorry I could not provide more information but any thoughts or
knowledge you have would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
African dwarf frog help 8/8/16
I have Googled and read for hours and cant find my answer anywhere so I
thot I would ask.
I have 2 ADF I believe male and female he gets on her back often but she
never swims around except what looks like her trying to get him off and
usually last about 30 min.
<It could easily be she doesn't want to mate. Do listen out for the
quiet croaking these frogs make when mating. That's often a good sign
that the male is serious about reproduction. As for the female, you may
see her swell up with eggs and then almost overnight seem like all that
body mass has gone. In reality though what tends to happen is African
Dwarf Frogs mate freely, but the eggs are lost to the filter or the
tadpoles fail to thrive through lack of food. In other words, you can
reasonably expect mixed sex groups to be laying eggs, the tricky part is
finding the eggs and removing them for careful rearing. The tadpoles are
small, need suitably small foods, and run the risk of being consumed by
other frogs (or fish) in the aquarium with them.>
She never goes to the top is this considered mating. I have never seen
eggs and wasn't sure if she is just not mature yet or what was going on
<African Dwarf Frogs are usually sold at more-or-less adult sizes, so
assuming they're eating well and putting on weight, you can assume
they'll reproduce within months if not weeks of introduction if
environmental conditions are appropriate.>
Will she deffinatly swim to surface to lay the eggs if so why had she
not layer any eggs or moved to the surface?
<"Definitely" is a bit adamant for this sort of question! While some
frogs do like to bask at the surface, others do not. Spawning normally
happens among floating plants or bushy plants (such as Java moss) at the
How do I know when she has reached maturity? Thank u for your time.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
ADF Question; beh.
I have an ADF that seems to get violent spurts of energy after eating,
he'll dive and rise really hard, hit the sides of the tank, and make me
think he's been suddenly poisoned! Without any idea of what to do to
help him, I find that he's still living after several more hours... He
eats freeze dried blood worms, do you know if I could be doing something
wrong that's making him freak out? My other ADF in a different tank,
eating the same food, is docile after eating... If that helps.
<First off, let me direct you here:
Keeping ADFs isn't especially difficult, but there are some common
Making the tank too deep is one. 20 cm/8 inches of water is probably the
limit. They find it difficult to swim upwards more than that, and act a
bit loopy if they have to. Next up, dried foods aren't the safest/best
food for them. Imagine if you were fed just freeze-dried foods all the
time. Once inside the gut they expand, and that can cause problems if
they've eaten too much. Regular frozen or even live foods make most
sense, alongside dried pellet foods designed for them. My guess would be
a combination of difficulty swimming and some type of chronic
constipation is causing what you're seeing, and fixing diet and/or
environment will help a lot. Cheers, Neale.>
African Dwarf Frog Question
Hello, Bob & Company!
I’ve written you before about my marine aquarium (which is doing wonderfully,
with happy fish and growing corals) but today I’ve got a question about an
inherited frog. My son recently inherited a Betta and an African Dwarf Frog
(webbed front feet, ID confirmed). The person he got them from had housed them
together but we immediately separated them for their own good. Both are doing
well - in separate tanks.
I’ve taken custody of the frog (as my son is in college “with the Betta” and had
only room for one tank in his apartment). I used your site to establish the
frog's tank and water parameters (I already had an appropriately-sized, cycled,
FW tank running and growing live plants, so fortunately that wasn’t an issue)
and feeding schedule (thank you for the wonderful resources - I’d have been lost
<Glad of use.>
Here’s the question: Clyde (the frog) eats well and is really fun to watch.
She’s quite active, especially in the evenings, and she loves creeping around
through the plants. Periodically, though, she seems to “stand up” on her hind
legs and stand there, frozen, for almost a minute. (She does this maybe once
every few hours.) At the end of that time, she falls backward (almost like a
person doing a “trust fall”) and right before she hits the substrate, she flips
back right side up and goes back about her business. Is this a normal behaviour?
<Pretty much, yes. Often they "stand up" before swimming up to gulp air, I guess
to minimise the distance they travel and/or look out for predators. They aren't
strong swimmers and are likely easy prey once in open/mid water. In the wild
they inhabit very shallow pools, and offering some floating plants so they can
rest before doing the return journey seems appreciated.>
She doesn’t seem stressed, she’s eating (and pooping) well, and her activity
level is high, but not frenzied. I couldn’t find anything about this on your FAQ
pages (I read them first) and wondered if this is a “frog thing” or just Clyde
being odd. She’s about a year old, if that makes any difference. And yes, my son
named her Clyde before we realized she was female.
Thanks in advance for the help!
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 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.
I've 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, I've noticed the apple
snail acting unusually. He's always occasionally climbed all the way to
the top to breath, but instead of crawling back down like he usually
does; he's started un-sticking himself and drifting back down to the
bottom. There's no discoloration of his shell or body, and there hasn't
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