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Thread: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

  1. #1
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    African Dwarf Frog

    Other Common Names: ADF, Congo Frogs, Dwarf African Frog (DAF), Dwarf Clawed Frog, Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog, Eastern Dwarf Clawed Frog, Gaboon Dwarf Clawed Frog, Western Dwarf Clawed Frog, Marble Frog

    Scientific Name: Hymenochirus boettgeri

    Other Similar Species: Hymenochirus curtipes

    Native To: Africa, primarily the Congo region.

    Temperatures: 22 -30 C (71.6-86F)

    Humidity: N/A

    pH: 6.8 - 7.8

    Water Hardness: 5-12 d

    Life Span: 3-10 years, 5 years is average

    Enclosure Size: These frogs require a minimum of 1 gallon per frog. Many keepers prefer to allow at least two or three gallons per frog. The minimum tank size is five gallons as it is very hard to accommodate the necessary equipment in anything smaller.
    Larger enclosures are better, but make sure that the tank is not too deep. Very large tanks that are 24 inches deep are too deep for these frogs. They can manage, but it is difficult for them to reach the top to breath air. I do not recommend anything deeper then 18 inches.
    A 10 Gallon (20"x 10"x 12"), 15 Gallon (24" x 12" x 12"), 20 Gallon Long (30" x 12" x 12"), 20 Gallon Classic (24" x 12" x 16"), and 30 Gallon (36" x 12" x 18"), tanks work very well for these frogs.

    Substrate: Do not use aquarium pebbles, sand or fine grain gravel for these frogs. Whenever housing aquatic frogs, a bare bottom tank is normally best. Frogs are really sensitive to environmental contaminates and aquarium gravel can harbor lots of bacteria, poop, uneaten food that will pollute the water.
    If you do not like the look of a bare bottom tank, you can always paint the OUTSIDE bottom of the tank, or attach an aquarium "background" to it.

    Filter: A good quality filter is important to use with these frogs. Complete water changes should be done every week. Filters should be cleaned monthly.
    If your enclosure does not contain a filter, then complete water changes should be done daily. Stagnant water does not filter, no matter what "Green Earth's Aqua Frog" care sheet tells you.

    I have used the following filters without any problems:

    Aqua Clear: 20/mini, 30/150, 50/200, 70/300
    *If your frogs are juveniles, put a sponge over the intake of the AC 70 (previously the AC 300) just to be safe. I haven't had any issues with adult frogs and this filter. The AC 70 is my favorite of all the AquaClear filters.
    Fluval: 105 Canister Filter


    Water Conditioner: Dechlorinate water with amphibian safe products such as “Prime” by SeaChem, “Reptisafe” by ZooMed or “AmQuel” by Kordon.


    Food: All foods should be live or frozen/thawed bug type foods, and should be CB.


    1. Never feed them "frog, newt and tadpole bites" or similar products.
    2. Never feed them fish foods (fish flakes, algae wafers, shrimp pellets, etc....)
    3. Never feed freeze dried foods (like freeze dried Bloodworms)


    Good foods to feed are:

    • Live Earth Worms: Red Wrigglers, European Night Crawlers, African Night Crawlers
    • Live Crickets, less than 1/4" long
    • Live Feeder Roach Nymphs (Dubia, Discoid, Red Runners, Lobster, etc...)
    • Live or Frozen/Thawed Bloodworms
    • Live or Frozen/Thawed Brine Shrimp
    • Live Grindal Worms or White Worms
    • Live Black Worms
    • Frozen/Thawed Glassworms
    • Flightless Fruit Flies, D.hydei (1/8") or D.melanogaster (1/16")
    • Small Butterworms
    • Small Waxworms

    A Note About Bloodworms: *******Some people are really allergic to Bloodworms, even those that do not typically have allergies can experience allergic reactions to these products. You may experience hives, itchy sensations, difficulties breathing, etc... Just be cautious when using this product. Also, do not feed your ADF a staple diet of Bloodworms, some keepers have reported dietary issues from keeping them on this feeder only. Be sure to alternate with other feeders on the list from time to time, in order to have a happy and healthy pet.********



    Social Structure: These frogs are communal, which means you can keep them with other African Dwarf Frogs. If you want to keep your frog singly that is perfectly ok to do as well. These do not need to be kept in pairs or groups.
    Do not house these frogs with other species of amphibians, reptiles, fish or crustaceans (like shrimp, snails, crabs, or crayfish)


    Breeding African Dwarf Frogs:

    Sexing the Frogs: Sexing ADF are easy, provided you have adult frogs. The males will have a pimple like bump on each side next to the arm pit. Females do not have this bump.

    Tadpoles require live feeders: African Dwarf Frog Tads are carnivorous, and fish flakes won't cut it for these little guys. You will want to invest in some different types of feeder cultures. Look into getting:
    1) Microworms (a non parasitic nematode)
    2) Vinegar Eels
    3) Grindal Worms
    4) White Worms
    5) Brine Shrimp
    6) Infusoria
    ADF tads are really tiny (4mm), so you will need a few different types of small feeders as they grow. You will also need to know how to cultures them, so it's best to get your feeder colonies established first before you breed the frogs. The above live feeders are normally available from some feeder farms, fish breeders (check places that breed Bettas or Discus), and larger fish pet shops.

    Stimulating breeding behavior: ADF and ACF can be put in the mood simply by doing a water change. The difference in temperature (slightly lower then the tank water) will help to get them in the mood to breed. Frogs will amplexus and swim together in a loop pattern.
    You will also have to make sure that your frogs are well fed prior to getting them to breed. Make sure that you are feeding them good foods.

    Once the eggs are laid, you will immediately have to either remove the adult frogs or the eggs from the tank. The parents will eat any eggs or tadpoles that they find.
    The eggs will take up to six days to hatch.
    Tadpoles will metamorphosis to be 14 mm long, six weeks after hatching.


    Morphs: Up until recently, there were no morphs available for these frogs. These frogs are now available in the "Wild type" or "Common" variety and they are also available in the "Albino" sometimes called "Blonde" morph. I keep both the African Dwarf Frogs, and the African Clawed Frogs, I have Albinos of both species and Wild Types of both species as well.
    Last edited by GrifTheGreat; April 14th, 2013 at 07:29 AM.

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  3. #2
    Moderator Jenste's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    Good write up.

    Personally I do not believe in not having sand as a substrate and I have fed the Frog/Tadpole bites and would not recommend against them.
    72 Gallon Bow - ACF and GF tank.
    26 Gallon Bow - ACF tank.

    20 Gallon Long - ACF tank.


    "If there were an invisible cat in that chair, the chair would look empty. But the chair does look empty; therefore there is an invisible cat in it." C.S. Lewis, Four Loves, 1958

  4. #3
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    Jen, they are your frogs, you can feed and decorate however you want, but the ingredients that they use in those pellets are complete garbage. I am not a fan of premade pet foods, and there are so many better alternatives out there.

    I won't use sand substrate with my frogs, they could accidentally eat it, but I'm more concerned with it trapping waste or uneaten food. This causes a build up of bacteria, which can be harmful to the frogs. I have met far too many people that own either frogs or fish, and they don't own an aquarium vacuum/python. The ones that do, don't know how to use it properly, and will change the water, but not clean their substrate, or they will wait until the water has evaporated before they will top up the tank.
    The worst I've ever seen was a 75 gallon tank that I bought off of Craig's List, the tank came with Piranhas. Every bucket of water I took out of that tank was black, because I was cleaning the gravel with my aquarium vacuum while I emptied the tank.

  5. #4
    100+ Post Member Bombina Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    great care sheet sandy, do i have to worry if i feed dried bloodworms?
    ive heard theories that feeding these can cause bloating in ADFs.
    "A Righteous man cares for his animals" - Proverbs 12:10
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  6. #5
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    I've been told that the freeze drying process removes all the nutrition out of the blood worms, and that the frogs will starve to death if fed those as a staple diet.
    I don't really see the harm in using them as a treat though. The freeze dried bloodworms cost about the same as the frozen stuff, so I don't see the point in buying the freeze dried kind.

    I have also read posts on forums about bloodworms causing frogs to get sick, I can't remember if it was bloat, but that sounds like one of the issues I've read about. Variety is always best though, and if your pet shop doesn't carry something, ask them about ordering it in, if they won't then look elsewhere, there are lots of places that will ship out feeders

  7. #6
    Moderator Mentat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    Hi Sandy! From another thread Michael wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by mpmistr View Post
    ...
    Also, "does your tank have a proper lid to prevent escape" is another good once. Many frogs are lost due to escape and dehydration....
    So was wondering, if we could add a note about lid requirement to the section discussing enclosure size. Thank you !
    Remember to take care of the enclosure and it will take care of your frog !​

  8. #7
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    I can't edit the above care sheet, otherwise I would. There is apparently only a 3 hour window to fix posts.

    Should I repost it on this thread with the additional information?

  9. #8

    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    What about salmon pellets? I know a newt/salamander breeder feeds those to newts and sals, so I was just curious about feeding them to ADF's

  10. #9
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    I am not sure which brand of pellets that you are referring to, but convenience pet foods are chalked full of inappropriate ingredients, dyes and fillers.

    Salmon pellets sound like a fish food to me, and that is on my list of foods not to feed amphibians.
    Fish is also not the best choice in protein as far as amphibians go.

    There are so many better, more natural healthy options that you can be feeding your pet. Your pet and your pet's health will thank you for feeding them food that is actually good for them. This care sheet has a list of "good foods", why not pick some things off of that list to offer.

    There is unfortunately a lot of people that choose to feed their pets lower quality foods, doesn't mean you have to. Our pets are ultimately the ones that suffer from feeding cheap convenience foods. Read the lables in them sometime, and keep in mind that convenience pets foods are largely made up of "not for human consumption" grade ingredients. I know that I don't want my animals to be eating that.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    I only feed my pets the best thats why im asking lol. Allot of good axolotl owners feed salmon pellets too and ive heard from several people they are a good diet, but again for axolotls, sals, and newts i guess. Id like to get some adf`s and if i do, ill stick with brine shrimp and bloodworms as a treat here and there

  12. #11
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    I wouldn't recommend them for axies, newts or sallies either.

    Do some research on convenience pet foods, where the ingredients come from, how things are processed..... it's enough to make you sick.

    Live is always #1 best option, frozen is you #2 choice. Everything else pretty much should be avoided.

  13. #12
    Jevon
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    Default Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    What would you recommend as a good staple food for them then?


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  14. #13
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    Jevon, no one food item should ever be fed to any pet. A varied diet is essential to all creatures. I posted a food list with the care sheet, I will repost it here for you to take a look at. Any food item being offered should be live or frozen/thawed. A good place to start would be bloodworms, Grindal/White worms and very small earthworms.

    Good foods to feed are:


    • Live Earth Worms: Red Wrigglers, European Night Crawlers, African Night Crawlers
    • Live Crickets, less than 1/4" long
    • Live Feeder Roach Nymphs (Dubia, Discoid, Red Runners, Lobster, etc...)
    • Live or Frozen/Thawed Bloodworms
    • Live or Frozen/Thawed Brine Shrimp
    • Live Grindal Worms or White Worms
    • Live Black Worms
    • Frozen/Thawed Glassworms
    • Flightless Fruit Flies, D.hydei (1/8") or D.melanogaster (1/16")
    • Small Butterworms
    • Small Waxworms

  15. #14
    Misti
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    Hi Sandy, thank you so much for this write up! I have been learning the hard way about the care of the ADF. I just recently lost one I have had just over a year now. The partner I had in the tank with her is still fine. Although he has this odd non colored mole type thing on his lower snout I guess you can call it. he seems fine, eats and runs around the tank. I did learn real quick to stop feeding the pellets to them. They kept bloating and dying. I have been feeding them a varied diet of frozen critters. I am interested to know more details on feeding them earthworms. I am going to be setting up a worm bin for gardening and would like to know how I would go about giving them some on occasion. I realize this is off topic some but I have Cory Cats at home and they also eat those pellet things. I would love to get them off of those as well. any suggestions for them? or is there somewhere you can refer me?

  16. #15
    Sandy Bear
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    Culturing worms is easy to do, I keep four species, Red Wrigglers, European Nightcrawlers, African Nightcrawlers, and Grindal Worms. I would recommend getting the Grindal Worms and Red Wrigglers. Both are very easy to culture.

    For my Grindal Worms, I keep them in 16 or 32 oz deli cups, I have a few holes poked in the lid with a pin. I put about half of the deli cup with damp Coco Fiber. I feed them Oatmeal, but you can feed them lots of other things too. I put the food on top of the coco fiber, and once all the food is gone, then I add some more.
    Check local fish clubs, you might be able to find someone that can get you a starter colony. You might also be abel to find them from fish breeders, pet shops, or feeder breeders.
    Grindal worms are a type of White Worm. I recommend getting the Grindals over the White Worms, unless you have a wine cellar or cold storage you can keep them in. White Worms like to be kept below average room temperature, around 15C, Grindal Worms are much more tolerant of room temperature than White Worms are. The Grindals are smaller though than the White Worms are. Care for both would be the same though, aside from the temperature difference.

    The Red Wrigglers, I keep mine in big rubbermaid tubs, and I have some holes drilled in the lid of the tub. The bedding is a "carbon" source, which can be moistened shredded paper, cardborad, newspapers, etc....
    The food is a "nitrogen" source, so fruits & veggie scraps, pasta/grains/bread, etc.... Basically you do not want to feed them anything with Meat, Dairy, Salt or anything that is a "sauce/dressing". Make sure you bury the food, otherwise you will get fruit flies. You also want to make sure you put crushed up egg shells in your bins, because that will help neutralize any of the acids in the food which can burn the worms. Worms have delicate skin, just like frogs do.
    Red Wrigglers are a type of clean up crew, so basically, the more rotten the food is, the better. Worms have no teeth, so they wait for the food to rot before they eat it.
    Check local gardening clubs, you can probably get a starter colony of them from someone. Also check for Vermicomposting breeders/clubs, feeder breeders, etc....
    I do not recommend using the worms out of your yard, I've tried to start tubs with them a few times, and they crashed everytime.
    To feed your frogs and cory cats, you would pick out the smallest of these worms, or you can probably cut them up too, but that can be more work.

  17. This member thanks Sandy Bear for this post:


  18. #16
    Misti
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    Default Re: Care Sheet: African Dwarf Frog

    wow! thank you Sandy for sharing this information! I greatly appreciate it.

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