African Dwarf Frog -  Hymenochirus boettgeri  
Fish &Frog Journal

I started this journal due to the lack of info I could find on my frogs.
I have loved all my aquatic family: frogs, shrimp, goldfish, danios and more over the years!


Pg. 1 , Pg. 2 , Pg. 3, Pg. 4 , Pg. 5 , Pg. 6 ,
Pg. 7 , Pg. 8 , Pg. 9, Pg. 10Pg. 11, Pg. 12, Pg 13

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Frog Habits

  1. Shedding

  2. Floating

  3. Mating
    video of our frogs actively fertizing eggs here


  4. Fighting

  5. Singing

  6. Social

  7. Life Span

  8. Hunting

  9. Jumping

All the aquatic family:
Tank Set up

Web Links  

Frog Care

  1. Housing

  2. Feeding

  3. Cleaning


Gives a new
meaning to wanting to be in the middle !

Do you see the white bumps in the armpit area of the two males? Can you find the otto cat in the background?


Skin shedding: This looks really strange at first like the frog is having a full body hiccup or seizure but it's perfectly normal. They will some times eat the skin after shedding as well. New shedding behavior observed 9-11-03.

Floating: They will float in very odd looking positions not moving, don't be alarmed. It's just a normal thing for them to do just like hiding under plants or tank objects like a pagoda or bridge.

Mating aka snuggling: The male claps the female just above her back legs. She does all the swimming for both of them for a day or so. At night they invert still attached and push their abdomens out of the water and lay a few eggs at a time. They can lay eggs upwards of 50-100 a night. Our males are noticeably smaller than the females. The females also have a slightly longer tail whereas the males have developed a bump/gland in their underarm area. These characteristics are apparent in some of our photos. The males are not always too picky about who they grasp and often have odd coupling positions that aren't very effective for mating.  I used to worry about the smaller males being drowned by the larger males grasping them so roughly and not letting go. But the little males always managed fine and eventually got away. We occasionally get to see a conga line of frogs all attached in a group snuggle. For video of active egg laying click here

Fighting: Some ADF owners have noticed what they think is fighting which I thought was mismatched mating. I have noticed stomping with singing and definitely what looks like big time wrestling competing for terrority. To learn more check out the bulletin board.

Singing: The male sits at the bottom perfectly still looking and emits this whistly clicky sound and sometimes stomps his back feet. After singing for a day or more, we usually notice more snuggling.

Social: My local pet store and others have said that these little guys [African Dwarf Frogs] are not social. In our observation, they interact quite a bit with each other and choosing on pile on top of each other rather than having individual space. Maybe it's just our interpretation of their behavior.

Life Span: They can live more than 10 years. Be prepared to make a commitment to these critters.

Hunting: Our frogs will hunt worms at the bottom of the tank or live feeder fish by hanging out really still then snapping at a passing by fish.  Then suddenly they gulp down the worm or fish. They will eat anything that fits in their mouths. It's rather amazing to watch.

Jumping: Just because these little critters live your tank does not mean they can't jump. Be very careful when transporting them or cleaning their tanks. I recommend placing your hand over the net if you're moving them in a traditional net and if in a tank always have a top on it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Twice I've forgotten this while cleaning their tanks and had an ADF leap out of the net and up a foot or so it seemed.  One can imagine this could be fatal, you could lose them, they could jump somewhere unsafe, other pets could grab them, etc.... This also can not be good for them since they must be in the water all the time to breathe & survive. Read about a harrowing rescue from a garbage disposal here.


Our diverse aquatic family requires regular cleaning at least a 1/3 water change once a week. 

We have two ways we clean our tanks. We use siphon $3-5 dollars for small tanks.  And vacuum clean the gravel with it as it siphons water a third of the tank water out.  We do this without removing anyone from the tank. We add more prepared water to the tank.

If needed, we do a more extensive clean to our tanks (as done weekly with betta tank). We remove all the decorations and the critters to a small holding tank with their tank water. If there are fish in the frog tank, we'll sometimes separate the frogs from fish so to not make hunting too easy. We must be very careful in moving the frogs because they will jump to their doom if uncovered even in the net during the moving process. To learn how NOT to clean a tank click here

We wipe down the sides of the tank with a tank scrubber less $5 at the pet store. We then use a siphon [also purchased at a pet store for small tanks $3] to clean the gravel and take quite a bit of water. We leave some water at the bottom. Live plants will do better if undisturbed so leave them planted and siphon around them. We add fresh room temperature treated tap water replace all the decorations and critters. Be sure to clean & replace filters as directed.

*Side note, if there are live worms in the bottom of the tank, we just stir the bottom to loosen debris and siphon a bit above the gravel as to not suck out all our worms. Our filters come with instructions on when to replace them.

Web Links:

Click on the image of the ADF to go to and learn about all different kinds of frogs. Reproduced with permission.

A place we visit regularly is the bulletin board on . It's a great way to chat with other ADF owners and learn more about them. You can ask specific questions & get input.

David Cecere's web site about feeding and caring for ADF and their tadpoles at

More frog links:

*Alternatively some amateur tadpole growers use LiquiFry and brine shrimp versus David Cecere's suggested use of infusoria and daphnia. LiquiFry for egglayers also feeds both brine shrimp and encourages natural infusoria.

Blue Spruce Biological Supply offers a variety of interesting science supplies including daphnia, infusoria, microscopes, magnifying glasses, and containers. They ship quickly.

LFS Live Food Kits has some interesting kits including daphnia, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and infusoria. Their brine shrimp egg price beats my local pet store by leaps.

To learn more about live food for fish & frogs check out:

To learn more about pet shrimp and a great forum

To contact us:


Visit the frog links below as the first several links have lots of good information about frog care & housing needs. The frogs are completely aquatic - staying in the water all the time. We have noticed they really like to sit at the top of the tank with their nose out. We have plants and tank decorations so they can enjoy this and make little air bubbles with their throats. They need places to hide to be happy as well.  They are most active at night. They can be aggressive eaters and will eat most things [including fish and shrimp] that fit in their mouths.

It's best to set up a tank with treated [de-chlorinated] tap water a few days or week or so before buying and adding any frogs & fish. The critters will also need time to adjust to the temperature before adding them to the tank. It's very important the tank have a top since the frogs will jump out to their doom, potentially hurting themselves or drying up and then dying.  I have learned that these frogs vary in sizes from 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches.  Be careful of overcrowding and tank conditions including temperature.  We had our tanks too cold and one our ADF's lost a finger to an infection because of it. Read more about it here.  There's an old formula one inch of aquatic critter for every gallon.  Remember they are swimming in their own waste, the decay of uneaten food, and dying plant parts if you have live plants - it's vital you keep the tank clean and water balanced read about cleaning below.

To learn about our set up click here


Feeding ADF bloodworms <- Yes they'll eat by hand. We wiggle the thawed bloodworm and as you can see they gobble them up.

African Dwarf Frogs will eat most things that will fit in the mouths and rather aggressively too. So, be aware that little fish will be frog food. That's not necessarily a bad thing as long as you bought the little fish with the intention of feeding them to your frogs. We prefer to feed our frogs feeder fish not those we plan to keep & love.

We have fed our frogs a variety of foods including: live tubifex worms, frozen bloodworms, live brine shrimp, frozen glassworms and very occasionally feeder fish. We used to just drop the frozen cube of worms into the tank and as it thaws they eat the worms. But we think George may have died eating to large a mouthful of glassworms this way. I also think that thawing them, rinsing them in a net to minimize debris, and either using a feeder cone for worms or using a toothpick to remove them keeps the tank cleanier of nitrates.

If using tubifex worms, add a few small clumps at time. Too many tubifex worms will really dirty your tank. They live in the muck at the bottom of your tank. When you buy them you must thoroughly rinse them before adding to the tank. You can store them in your frig for weeks and feed them a variety of things like flake food or baby food. They have a mixed reputation. We suggest you do some research on the web whether or not you want to use tubifex worms. They are highly nutritious.

We got a bad case of leeches in one our tanks; we believe from a batch tubifex worms from our local pet store see pg. 7 . We haven't bought any in a long time because the leaches was such a nasty thing. (*And every time I've tried since I have to spend a lot of time fishing out the leeches before feeding them to my frogs. Nasty!)

Pet store staff knowledge seems to vary. One of the stores I went to had staff that didn't know the difference between bloodworms and tubifex worms. Bloodworms are midge fly larvae and very similar to glassworms which are the immature stage of a non-biting insect that resembles a mosquito. Tubifex worms are very similar but different from black worms are a sort like an earthworm living in mucky stuff. The live worms burrow in the gravel with just their tail sticking out. They will increase the nitrates in your tank and if a batch of them die your whole tank will crash & die. So, use sparely and only what your fish/frogs will eat.

Mostly, we think diversity in food makes them happier and their lives more interesting. We are fortunate to be able to purchase all of these foods at our local pet stores.

I do not suggest dried or freeze dried foods. They are messy and not as nutritious in my opinion. (However those foods can be good for a betta with less risk for diseases. more about Our frogs also will eat foods we feed the fish but the worms are their favorite. We use a variety of foods for our fish depending on the fish and the tank.  Some of the foods include sinking catfish pellets, special semi floating tetra food, live brine shrimp, and the standard flake food. Our fish also seem quite fond of the frogs food. Our aquatic family gets to enjoy a variety of foods and hopefully is healthier because of it.

We've experimented in the past and enjoy growing and keeping live food sometimes. To learn more about foods & live food check out these links They will describe some critter care but for more info:

To learn more about daphnia click here
To learn more about brine shrimp click here

Tadpole food: We used LiquiFry for egglayers and flake food when the tadpoles are tiny and then live daphnia and brine shrimp as they get a bit bigger.

Copy of FrogtadpolePata023_3.jpg (10572 bytes) For more details of our tadpole adventures check out our journal.

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