The popularity of African dwarf frogs has exploded in recent years, and where they could be difficult to find in the past, they can now be found in most pet stores and local fish stores. These frogs have proven to be especially popular with children, and can be found in many kid’s room, plotting their escape from tiny fish bowls.
In the wild, African dwarf frogs can be found in ponds and small streams throughout much of Africa. They normally inhabit the bottom water, using their unique coloration to blend in with the leaf litter and other detritus. Unlike many other frogs, African dwarf frogs will spend their entire lives submerged, usually only coming to the surface to take a quick breath of air or gobble down some food.
While African dwarf frogs are generally peaceful and easy to care for, a prospective owner should be sure that they are provided with a spacious aquarium and fed the proper foods. If proper care is taken, African dwarf frogs can live up to 10 years in a home aquarium.
African dwarf frogs are not demanding when it comes to housing, and they will be quite content in a 5 gallon aquarium. Since they are social animals, they should always be housed in a group of at least three frogs. The added benefit of having them in a group, is that they will exhibit more of their natural behaviors and are generally less stressed. And if they are exceptionally well taken care of in a group with males and females, they may even mate in the aquarium.
The most important thing to remember when picking an aquarium for African dwarf frogs, is that they are notorious jumpers. A tight fitting lid is essential, and if they are kept without a lid, it won’t be long before you see a frog quickly escaping across the floor. If an African dwarf frog is out of water for more than an hour, it usually proves fatal - so be sure to always cover the aquarium.
When it comes to filtration, a small HOB (Hang on back) filter or a sponge filter are ideal for African dwarf frogs (Click here for HOB filter reviews). These frogs don’t do very well with a lot of current, so an aquarium shouldn’t be over filtered. Another excellent choice is a small sponge filter, which provides filtration and aeration for the frogs.
The feeding of African dwarf frogs is the most difficult aspect of owning them. While many fish websites state that frog food, or shrimp pellets are readily accepted, the only food that I find they eat reliably is frozen or live food.
The foods that I have had the most success with, are frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, blood worms. The most readily accepted live foods are mosquito larvae, daphnia, black worms (tubifex if you’re in Europe) and brine shrimp. You can always try dry foods, but I haven’t found one that all frogs will accept.
When feeding an African dwarf frog, it’s important to remember that they have poor eye sight and are generally passive when it comes to eating. To ensure that a frog is getting enough to eat, especially in a community fish tank, they should be fed with either a turkey baster, or with tongs. The easiest way I have found to do this is by training the frogs to equate light tapping on the glass with meal time. After a few days of doing this, they should come to the front of the tank each time you tap, and they can be fed individually with a turkey baster (or tongs).
African dwarf frogs are compatible with nearly all peaceful community fish. This includes most algae eaters and bottom dwelling fish. They should never be housed with aggressive fish or most cichlids, as they will be picked on relentlessly. There are also unconfirmed reports of common plecos attacking African dwarf frogs, so plecos should be avoided if at all possible.
Another type of fish that should be avoided with African dwarf frogs, is fish that have long flowing fins. Because of their poor eyesight, frogs will often mistake the long fins for food, and will latch on, only to be dragged around the aquarium. This will eventually result in torn fins for the fish - something that no fish owner wants.