As their name implies, African dwarf frogs (Hymenochirus curtipes) are tiny amphibians from central Africa. African dwarf frogs are relatively easy frogs to maintain, as long as you provide them with suitable housing, water and food. They often cohabit well with peaceful fish species, making them wonderful for mixed-species aquariums. Always be sure to wash your hands after handling African dwarf frogs or their cages, as they may carry salmonella.
How to Care for African Dwarf Frogs
African dwarf frogs are small animals, but they require plenty of room to move around; at the very least, provide a 10-gallon aquarium. Avoid aquariums taller than 18 inches to ensure that the frogs -- who breathe air from the surface -- can reach the surface easily. You must use a cover or lid of some type when keeping African dwarf frogs, to prevent them from escaping. You can keep African dwarf frogs of both sexes in small groups, but avoid overcrowding, which can lead to stress and disease. Cover the bottom in gravel and incorporate numerous plants, logs or other items that can serve as hiding places.
African dwarf frogs are most comfortable in aquarium water between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. At temperatures below 72, the frogs may not eat as much and will be less active; cold temperatures also inhibit their immune systems, which makes them more susceptible to infections and illnesses. If the water a steady 72 degrees, you must utilize an aquarium heater. Temperatures above 82 degrees, meanwhile, may stress frogs and cause them to eat and defecate more often, increasing the labor and costs of their care.
While not as sensitive to water chemistry as some fish are, African dwarf frogs require very clean water to thrive. Use de-chlorinated water to fill the tank, and strive to keep the pH between 6.5 and 7.5. While you can try to keep the water clean by performing frequent partial water changes, a filter will keep the water much cleaner and cut down on necessary labor. Use a low-power filter, and cover the inlet hose with a screen to ensure that the frogs are not sucked into the filter.
Unlike most other frogs who eat only live, moving prey, African dwarf frogs will accept food that is alive or dead. Rather than having to purchase live insects or fish on a regular basis, you can feed your frogs frozen or preserved bloodworms, brine shrimp or bits of fish. You can also feed them sinking fish pellets or shrimp pellets. Feed African dwarf frogs every other day. Feed them as much food as they will eat in two or three minutes; feeding more than this will just foul the tank water.