African Dwarf Frog – Care Guide & Info

African Dwarf Frog in aquarium

The African Dwarf Frog aka Zaire Dwarf Frog, Clawed Frog, Gaboon Dwarf Clawed Frog, Marble Frog, just to mention but a few, have been classified twice and the first scientific name was Xenopus Boettgerri but was later reclassified into its own genus Hymenochirus.

The species lacked a common name up until 1996 when one Norman and Erica gave them the common name “The Dwarf Clawed Frogs.”

Unlike other types of frogs, the African Dwarf Frog will not live long when removed from the water; therefore, when you keep them as a pet in the house, they would appreciate some space at the top of the aquarium, as they are fond of going up to breathe. The one reason that makes many people adopt them as pets is that they are quite comical. 

And if you are lucky to get the junior African Dwarf Frog, then you will have a ball because unlike their older counterparts they love to play along the waterline or lie on floating plants

Characteristics of the African Dwarf Frog

The African Dwarf Frog has issues with sight, which might be hard to believe given their compound eyes. So the problem here is that they are long-sighted, which means that they cannot see anything that is right in front of them, well if this was the case in humans, then the riddle “hiding in plain sight” would be practical. 

African Dwarf Frog

You might, therefore, be wondering how it even gets to eat because it will be difficult to place food far away given the sizes of aquariums. The clawed frog does have a strong sense of smell that they use to locate food and they are also highly dependent on vibrations. This, therefore, means that the Dwarf frog has a hard time in the high seas because with this type of sight problem and their docile nature they will definitely be at risk of attack.

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How to feed the African Dwarf

Frog lovers also have a hard time feeding the African Dwarf because placing food in the tank and waiting for the frog to locate it is a long shot. This, therefore, means that you have to feed it personally, maybe find a Daf feeder that you can use to lower with food into the aquarium dangle it, so it can produce vibrations and attract the frog. 

Sea animals don’t run short of disgusting characters and this one doesn’t fall far from the likes of shrimps that feed on their discarded shells. The Marble frogs have a funny way of growing and this they do by discarding the outer layer of their skin, and mind you it is not done once or twice, but every few weeks. 

For first time owners, you might think that your frog has lost it or that it is having a fit because when shading their skin they tend to turn and twist violently. Well, just relax and wait for it to blow you away by eating the very same skin it has been violently shedding off; personally, I wouldn’t want to experience any of the shading processes. 

african dwarf frog swimming

How to care for your African Dwarf Frog

When it comes to caring for your pet, there are a number of perspectives to this concept; for one you have to look at its health from the time of adoption. There are some symptoms that will tell you, your frog is unwell, for example, if you notice that it is shedding its skin excessively, the abdomen looks swollen, or it has swollen joints. 

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Other things to watch out for are the color of its skin, some dwarf frogs might have inflamed or discolored skin, and some may lack appetite thus become very thin.

Such symptoms are best examined by a vet; still, on care, there are the foods that your dwarf frog can’t do without and which are also a balanced diet. 

African Dwarf Frog Diet 

The Zaire dwarf frog can be fed on the fish food pellets that are sunk into the aquarium, other types of food are brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and Bloodworms.

Food should be given in the morning and evening, and raw foods such as the tuna steak can be fed at least once every week. Cooked food includes the catfish pellets, pieces of mussels and prawns. 

Important to note is this type of frog doesn’t feed on fish flake food or raw fish meat that contains Thiaminase. Remember also that the African Dwarf Frogs don’t have teeth or a tongue, therefore, their mode of chewing is by initiating violent side by side jerking motions to break down the food; and the reason why some of their meaty foods are frozen is because they are easy to break before digesting. 

The African dwarf frog owners should also stay away from the misconception of maintaining the blood worms as the pet’s main source of food. The reason being that the worms lack the relevant needed nutrients; for example, they are low in protein and lack the essential amino acids. 

Create a natural environment 

To properly care for your pet, you have to provide an almost natural environment that is the gravel, the vegetation and of course company. One question that comes to mind concerning the favorable water temperature for the African Dwarf frog is that the current effects of global warming have greatly affected the weather and water patterns.

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 So how do they manage to stay alive, because the temperatures don’t remain constant, and as you digest on that let’s see how you can equip your aquarium.

Your dwarf frog is an escape artist though it won’t live long outside water, be sure to provide a lid for the aquarium and enough hiding places, even though they are not anti-social.

Cleaning the Aquarium

Water temperatures can be regulated by a heater and since they like tropical water, you could ensure that the temperature remains at 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit and 20 to 26 degrees Celsius.

For the clean freaks, you can keep your soap to yourself unless you want to make your frog sick, instead, use a bacteria supplement to help maintain the aquarium environment clean. 

Water in the aquarium can be processed by an under-gravel filter at least 3 to 5 times in an hour. Check to ensure that the frogs are not struggling to swim against the filter’s current because that would mean that it is too powerful for them.

Since the aquarium is located in the house, with a lack of enough natural light, you could include some lighting features that will provide up to 8 or 12 hours of light in a day. 


Vegetation in the aquarium is the frog’s comfort zone when they are tired of swimming, and which you should not fail to provide be it natural or artificial. 

And just like human beings your African Dwarf Frog needs company and you could, therefore, introduce other frogs of the same species (both sexes) or get the community tetras or loaches that are also docile.

But remember if you don’t feed your clawed frog properly, it might end up eating the small fish that you introduced as company because while in the wild they scavenge for food and mostly feed on insects.