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Freshwater Aquatic Frog for Your Aquarium

For those who think out of box and like to explore newer aquatic lives in their drawing room aquariums, aquatic frogs could be a perfect leap from the traditional choice of keeping colourful fish only. One among the several aquatic frog species that can adore your tank is African dwarf frogs.


As the name suggests, the low-maintenance frogs are natives of Africa. The cute little amphibian does not weigh more than a few grams and are up to 2.5 inches long. They vary in colour from olive green to brown with black spots. They are very active and rarely found sitting on the water bed. Sometimes they are found floating on the surface. They stay underneath water but need to rise above the water level for breathing as they have lungs instead of gills, unlike fish. Their average life expectancy is five years but can live up to 20 years.

The males are slimmer and a gland is found behind each of their front legs which believed to be useful for mating.

An interesting thing about these frogs is that they sing or hum during mating or when they are excited. The females are 40 percent larger than the males and are pear-shaped. Their genital region are more pronounced and known as ovipositor.

During mating, the male grabs the female around the abdomen area as a result the she can’t move. This happens generally after one or two nights of humming by the male. The female then swims (with the male in tow) to the bottom and lays eggs (one at a time) and the male fertilizes it by releasing its sperms in the water. This can take several hours. She signals the male by remaining motionless after releasing the eggs. Then the male releases her.

They can however, be mistaken for the African clawed frogs, when younger but the later are more aggressive and bigger.

The African dwarf frog prefers to eat at the bottom of the water bodies, they are mostly found in creeks, shallow lakes and ponds. As they are olive and brown in colour, they can easily camouflage with leaves and stones at the bottom of the water body and save themselves from the predators.

The trend of keeping them in aquariums started in 1960s. These frogs are suggested to be kept in a group of two or more due to their social nature. Very high or deep tanks over 20 inches in height are not recommended, as they need to come to the surface for breathing. These amphibians are not great swimmers, so water currents should be kept low. The optimum water temperature should be 75–82°F. The pH of the water should be maintained between 6.5 and 7.5. These frogs cannot survive out of water for longer than 20 minutes in low humidity, as they will dry out.

Tropical fish such as neon tetras can be used as their tankmates, although aggressive fish will often fight or injure the frogs. As African dwarf frogs are slow eaters, it is not uncommon for tankmates to eat all the food while they go hungry. In that case, the food can be directly delivered to the bottom of the tank (such as with a turkey baster).

African dwarf frogs do not have teeth, so they swallow their food whole. They can be given blood worms, brine shrimp, water fleas (daphnia), shrimp, and various brands of commercial frog food. These frogs also eat mosquito larvae, black worms, guppy fry, glassworms, tadpole bites, reptomin, gammarus, dried krill, baby shrimp, frozen beefheart, small fish, small earthworms, snails and brittle shells.

These frogs should never be held outside the tank, both for the safety of the frog and the children around, as they may be the carriers of Salmonella, which might cause several diseases.