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This profile was written by Debra Ann an active contributor to the site.  



African dwarf frog

Hymenochirus boettgeri, etc.



    Commonly kept in today's aquariums, the African dwarf frog can be a peaceful member of a community setup.
Quick stats:
    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 1.5" (38mm) Total Length
    Tank: The tank height should be no more than 16 inches max, preferably only 12
    Strata: Bottom mostly, middle
    PH: 7.0 to 7.2 but they can live in a wide range of PH levels
    Temperature: 70's, do not let the temp. drop below 70° or above 80°


    Order: Salientia or Anura
    Class: Amphibians
    Family: Pipidae
    Genera: Hymenochirus
    Species: boettgeri, etc.

Common name:

    African Dwarf Frog
Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Central Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon and through the Zaire Basin to eastern Zaire.
Life Span:

    5 years

Skin Shedding:

    ADF's shed their skin every 1 to 2 weeks. It only takes a few moments.

African dwarf frog



    Frozen or freeze dried bloodworms & brineshrimp, Reptomin, any brand of sinking commercial frog food, flake food, livebearer fry.


    Bare or gravel.


    Live or Silk plants. ADF's do not eat live plants.

African dwarf frog

Tank décor:

    Provide adequate hiding places. Caves, etc.


    Quieter models of filters are best. ADF's do not do well in high current tanks.


    Turn off lights just as you do for your fish. ADF's need a night/day.
African dwarf frog

Tank maintenance:

    Perform once a week water changes/gravel vacs. Male dwarf frogs "sing" when trying to find a mate. ADF's can be kept with other aquarium fish. The fish should be non- aggressive and in general small. You must make sure that the fish do not eat all of the food before the dwarfs have time to eat. Do not keep ADF's and ACF's in the same aquarium! African Dwarf Frogs are very active and add an interesting touch to any aquarium. Although entirely aquatic, dwarf frogs have lungs and periodically rise to the water surface to gulp a breath of air. Their water must be clean and chemical free. ADF's have webbed front and back feet.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: BritandChris
I have kept these little guys on several occasions in fact I can only remember one tank I ever set up without them... Very individual these frogs. Had a pair that liked to float on top of the water with their front webs (hands) touching, sometimes so close they looked like they where kissing! Just added a pair to my thirty gallon community tank and ill be moving up to a 55 soon..
From: Tee
I have two dwarf frogs that share a 5 gallon hex tank with a few ghost shrimp. I feed them frozen bloodworms every 2 days. Once a week during water changes I take them out of the tank and place them in a holding tank with their fav food...bloodworms. They go on a feeding frenzy and I'm happy knowing they are getting enough to eat. They are very active and rarely sit still in the tank except when they go into their "floating" zone. I test the water regularly and I watch during feeding to make sure they are eating properly. Needless to say I love my little frogs. I think I have a male/female.
From: Marta Wells
When I set up my tank I used hardy tetras to help establish the nitrogen cycle. When I added my two ADF, the fish were eager to eat the frozen bloodworms. I began using a turkey baster to feed the frogs. They jump up to pull the worms out of the baster and the fish swim around to get the leftovers without eating all the worms. The frogs are so cute when they dart up to grab the worms and it gives me the assurance they have eaten. Fun way to bond with my little "Tap" and "Toe!"
From: Donal O' Halloran
I have two African Dwarf Frogs,one about 1.5 inches from nose to back legs,the other 2 inches from nose to legs. I originally got 1,but when I saw another one in the shop a month later I had to get him as well. I think I have 2 males, but I'm not entirely sure. I give them(along with the fish they're in with)frozen bloodworm every three days or so. I have seen them nibbling on cucumber I put out for my otos though. I feed them live earthworms every fortnight as well. The black widow tetras and them always fight for the earthworms .I have several caves around the tank,but they only use one,usually preferring to rest on the bottom or the leaves of my fake(silk) plants.
From: Margaret Lewis
Hi! I have had 2 ADF's for two years now. Innitialy they were in a 46 gal., 18 in. tall bowfront. Last Aug. they were moved to a 125 gal., 24in. tall tank. They are doing great! So height doesn't seem to be a problem for them! They are doing fine with a 18 in. black and white spotted eel,fire eel,2 rope fish,2 rubber eels,6 dojos and lots of rainbows,tetras and peacock eels. Food is not a problem as I feed a very varied diet of flakes, shrimp, blood worms,beef heart,live cut up worms, cut up meal worms, brine shrimp and veggies. Not at the same time of course, because they all like variety. Worms seem to be their primary choice. Just cut the worm in two and then run water in the sink and(milk) the worm. Place it between your thumb and index finger and run your fingers down. This gets rid of all the dirt inside the worm and it will not soil your tank! Use a pair of scissors to cut them into bite size bits! Your fishes will love you for it!!!

From: Stuart Halliday
I'm from Scotland, UK. I've got 11 of these cute frogs and I help to run the Yahoo Dwarf African Frog Group if people wish to learn and talk about them. For good care, give the frogs lots of different types of food when young. I give raw Tuna steak flesh, bloodworm, ReptoMin and HBH's Frog and Tadpole bites once a day when young then only once every other day. They need to smell the food to find it so oily smelly food like the tuna is perfect. They love to ram into the substrate after going up for air, so a fine gravel or even sand is better.
From: Irene Gibson
I just love these little creatures. I have 2. One is kind of shy and the other is a little monkey so to speak. When I am sitting on the chair beside the tank he will stand on the bottom right across from the chair and stare me out. Actually, that means he wants his blood worms. I feed them frozen ones. Only thing is the fish love them too, and I have to make sure he gets some. The fish will take them right out of his mouth. So I put my hand in and he swims to grab the worms and then he lies out flat in the tank with arms and legs outstretched so that the fish cannot get them. Also, he does try to nip at them when they try to steal his food if he gets the chance. I also feed them pellets, but they love the frozen blood worms.
From: DJ Cancer
Great pet. Its amazing that out of all of the colorful cichlids and everything else I got everyone loves the frog. When he comes down from getting a breath of air he will hit fish on his way down. I looked in the tank today and I saw him sitting on the nose of my Green Terror. He loves to find spots under the decorations in the tank or he likes to pick a corner of the tank and stand there. Great for beginners and havent seen a fish that wants to eat him.
I love this frog! They are very interesting to watch and get along with almost any kind of fish. Slightly overfeeding with flakes is great for this little guy, as he will eat any food on the bottom. He can be a little shy, but mine in the past have been pretty active. I've also found them to be good companions for even the most aggressive betta. They do tend to stay pretty still for long periods of time every now and then, so just give them a gentle poke if you're not sure whether or not they're alive...
From: ucantremember
This is a pretty great description, but it doesn't mention something that most first timers with this species worry about: the frogs assume some pretty odd positions, just stretching out and floating in the tank, and it's nothing to worry about, just part of their "Zen" charm. Great site!
From: Sarah Clark
I had two little guys but one got crushed by a giant rock =( but I still have one and he is doing great! He eats 2 pellets a day. When he's being lazy he'll let himself float up to the top of the tank so he doesn't have to go very far to get a breath. These little guys do best with 2 or more and they do great with little guppies, platies,mollies, neon tetras, plecos, and much much more but I cant list them. Have fun with these hardy frogs!





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