What Is an African Dwarf Frog?

Britt Archer
Britt Archer
Frog
Frog

An African dwarf frog can delight children as well as adults who like to watch the antics going on inside an aquarium. These aquatic frogs, also commonly known as the aquatic dwarf frog or scientifically as hymenochirus boettgeri, are an easy-care addition to a fish tank and can provide hours of amusing viewing. An African dwarf frog will swim to the surface for a breath of air before zooming back down through the tank, sometimes too fast to allow a subtle or graceful stop. They will get along well with other fish and frogs, and even hum or buzz a love song to their ladyloves. African dwarf frogs may appear to be loafing, or even dead, as they lounge motionless in the tank, limbs spread out, before perking up again.

These types of frogs are entirely amphibious and do no require any time spent on land. They can’t take air from the water as fish do through their gills, and they must make periodic trips to the surface to sustain themselves with air. They prefer a warm, heated tank with filtered water and live food. African dwarf frogs need plants or other material behind which they can rest or hide because they do not like constant exposure. Without a place to hide behind, these frogs may become stressed and not exhibit their normal behavior. Rocks, logs or caves formed from one or both of these items suit the African dwarf frog’s shy temperament.

Caring for African dwarf frogs is not difficult and requires just a few basic requirements. An African dwarf frog does best with a fellow frog or two, or a mate for company, rather than living a solitary existence. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the frog’s companions are male or female because aggression usually is not an issue. They can be kept with fish, but usually do better with non-aggressive types because of the frog's own non-aggressive nature. They prefer live food, such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

An African dwarf frog, unfortunately, will often leap enthusiastically from the top of the tank, necessitating a barrier placement at the top of the aquarium. If this happens, and the frog leaps away, it must be found and scooped up and put back into the tank as soon as possible. These types of frogs will not survive long on dry land.

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