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Family: Pipidae

Common Name: African Dwarf Frog

Origin: The Congo basin in Africa.

Compatibility/Temperament: Don't keep ADFs with nippy or aggressive fish. Some fish they can be kept with are cories, rasboras, tetras and otos. They can sometimes be kept with bettas only if the betta's personality allows it. ADFs will become much more outgoing and active if kept in groups, therefore its highly advisable to set up a tank, ideally planted that offers enough room for a group (min 10g).

African Dwarf Frog Diet

ADFs do well with a varied diet of freeze dried or frozen bloodworms, baby shrimp or krill. They can also be fed chopped up earthworms, Reptomin and live blackworms. Frozen foods should be thawed and freeze dried food needs to be rehydrated to avoid digestive problems. Some frogs do learn to accept pelleted foods over time, however be prepared to feed solely frozen foods.

ADFs don't have very good vision and rely on their sense of smell to find their food. A turkey baster can be used to put food directly in front of the frog. Often in a community situation the frogs prove too slow to get enough food. In these cases care must be taken to hand feed the frog, or the frog must be moved to its own tank.

Young frogs (under 1") should be fed daily, while adult frogs can be fed every other day.


Generally these frogs are sold as juveniles at stores, often skinny and malnourished. They quickly grow once put in a proper environment. Males top off at about 1" body size, while females may be twice this size.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

5 gallons for a pair.

Ideal water parameters for African Dwarf Frog

The African Dwarf Frog should be kept in an aquarium with the temperature ranging from 70 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. All ADFs are captive bred, and so they are not as sensitive to water parameters, pH of 6-7.5 is fine. ADFs are sensitive to ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels and water parameters need to be monitored regularly. A filter is needed to help keep the water clean and the tank needs to be cycled. Make sure the filter isn't very strong or else the frog will be in danger of being sucked into the intake. The intake will need to be covered to prevent this from happening.


African dwarf frogs are aquatic frogs that spend their entire lives underwater. They breathe air from the atmosphere, just like we do. ADFs are shy and will need places to hide. You can use real or fake plants, driftwood or store bought decorations. Make sure fake plants and decorations don't have any sharp edges that the frogs can hurt themselves on. Make sure their tanks are completely covered! The frogs can and do jump. They will not last very long on land, and dry out about as quickly as fish do.

For substrate these frogs prefer sand but gravel will work as long as it doesn't have sharp edges. Sand allows them to eat their food easily. If using gravel, it is advisable to use a small plate for their food to keep it from sinking in the gravel. The frogs quickly learn where to find food if it is always in the same place.

Male frogs remain much smaller than female frogs. The bodies of the males will generally top off at about 1", while females may be twice this size. This is one way to sex the adults. Male frogs will develop a post axillary subdermal gland upon sexual maturity, which is the most reliable way to sex the frogs. This will appear as two white pimples behind the forearms of the frog (on the armpits). Males will also sing in order to attract a mate. Captive breeding is quite easily achieved, though raising the tadpoles proves challenging at home.

An albino, or "blonde" variety of this frog is also available, though extra care must be taken in ensuring these are not African clawed frogs as mix ups are more likely to occur.

Chytrid fungus is a disease fatal to all ADFs, though commonly carried by clawed frogs (as they are immune), and has plagued pet store frogs for years. To prevent harm to your current frogs, it is vital that you quarantine any new frogs for 3 months before adding them to the main tank. This is the time frame needed to ensure that Chytrid fungus is not carried by a frog.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: fishfreak2009, Olympia
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