Jacob's Reptile info

African Dwarf Frog Care

February 14 2021

African dwarf frogs are small aqueduct frogs that are easy to take care of. They are also known as ADFs. They are very active and make a great addition to your aquarium. This guide explains everything you will need to know about caring for African Dwarf Frogs.

Normal Behavior

Most of the time, African Dwarf Frogs will stay at the bottom or the middle of the tank. They will occasionally come up to get air and start burbling while doing so. Burbling is when AFDs come up to the surface of the water, spread their arms and legs out, and get air or blow bubbles.

Tank Supplies

ADFs need at least five gallons of water per one frog. They like to be kept in pairs, so you will need at least a ten gallon tank. Since they can go with other fish, make sure that you have the right size tank for the frogs and the fish. Glass aquariums work better than plastic aquariums because they are easy to clean. Make sure you get a lid for the tank so the frogs don’t escape! You will also need a heater. Get the right size heater for your tank (look at the chart below for the wattage) and set it to 78°f. I recommend getting an Aqueon pro heater because they are adjustable and don’t fall apart as some other heaters do. For a filter, get one that is gentle (such as a sponge filter or a low-power filter) because they have small webbed-feet that can easily get stuck in a filter. You can get regular fish rocks for your AFDs. Fake plants or live plants are good for frogs. Some live plants that African Dwarf Frogs like are Dwarf Anubias, Java moss, Java fern, and more.


African dwarf frogs are very picky eaters. My frogs would not touch the pellets, but they devour bloodworms. I feed mine every other day 4-8 worms with a long aquarium tweezer. I get Omega One Frozen Blood Worms and cut each piece in thirds. Make sure to let them completely thaw before feeding them to your African Dwarf frogs. You can also feed them live black worms once a week. They are high in protein and one meal of them is enough for 1 week (great if you are going out of town). I would not waste your money on the pellets because my frogs don’t even notice them.

Tank Mates

ADFs can go with almost any type of tropical fish. Some popular African Dwarf Frog tank mates are rosy red minnows, platies, molies, guppies, tetras, and more. Never put an ADF with a betta fish because bettas are known to be aggressive toward other fish. I have mine with rosy red minnows (they were originally supposed to be food for my turtle, but she could not catch them) and they get along great. You might see your frogs nip at the fish’s fins. This is normal. African Dwarf Frogs have poor eyesight, so they probably think that the fish’s fins (and heater, plants, and filter) are food. Also, any fish that is bigger than the frogs, such as cichlids, are not good to have with them.

Setting Up the Tank

Before you get the frog, you are going to need to set up the tank and let it cycle. Place the tank on a flat sturdy surface. Before putting in the gravel, fill the tank halfway up. Then, slowly dump the gravel in the tank. Turn the filter on so the debris from the gravel gets cleaned up. Fill the rest of the tank up and add the dechlorinator and or enzymes. Rinse the plants in hot water and then put them in the tank. Place the heater in the tank and let it adjust to the temperature for 20 minutes without plugging it in. After 20 minutes, plug the heater in. You will need to let the tank cycle for a week before adding the frogs.

Additional Things to Know


African Dwarf Frogs carry salmonella in their feces. Always be careful when cleaning the tank, because the water can have salmonella from the frog. Wear disposable plastic gloves when cleaning the tank and wash your hands well after.


AFDs can only see 7 cm in front of them. They might try to eat plants because they can’t see what it is. Don’t be alarmed, they won’t be able to eat them.


African Dwarf Frogs shed their skin about one a month. They turn white and then dead skin starts coming off. You should scoop the dead skin out of the tank with a net as soon as possible.

African Dwarf Frogs are a great pet. They are active, hearty, and don’t require a lot of tank maintenance. If you have an aquarium, or are going to start one, I would highly recommend getting AFDs.