African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus spp.): A Fascinating Addition to Your Reptile Collection

The African Dwarf Frog, also known as Hymenochirus spp., is a popular aquatic pet that originates from parts of sub-Saharan Africa. These small and charming amphibians are often kept in home aquariums due to their easygoing nature and unique behavior. In this article, we will explore the characteristics, habitat, diet, and care requirements of African Dwarf Frogs to provide you with a better understanding of these fascinating creatures.

The Basics of African Dwarf Frogs

African dwarf frogs, known scientifically as Hymenochirus spp., are small aquatic frogs native to the rainforests of Central and West Africa. They are a popular choice for pet owners due to their petite size, interesting appearance, and low-maintenance nature.


African dwarf frogs typically grow to only 1-2 inches in length and have a plump, rounded body shape. They come in a range of colors, including brown, gray, green, and albino. Their most distinctive feature is their large, expressive eyes, which bulge out of their head and give them a comical appearance.


African dwarf frogs are social creatures that are often kept in groups of two or more. They are active swimmers and spend most of their time in the water, using their webbed feet to propel themselves through the tank. They are also known for their unique vocalizations, which sound like a series of clicks and pops.

Housing and Care

Key takeaway: African dwarf frogs are small, low-maintenance, social aquatic creatures that require a specific tank setup, a meat-based diet, and attentive observation to stay healthy and happy. It is important to handle them with care and to have more than one frog in a tank to prevent boredom and depression.

Tank Setup

African dwarf frogs are relatively easy to care for, but they do require a specific tank setup to thrive. A 10-gallon tank is a suitable size for two frogs, but larger tanks can be used for larger groups. The tank should be filled with clean, dechlorinated water to a depth of at least 6 inches, and a filter and heater should be used to maintain water quality and temperature.


African dwarf frogs are carnivorous and should be fed a diet of meat-based foods such as frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. They should be fed once a day, and any uneaten food should be removed from the tank to prevent fouling of the water.


African dwarf frogs are generally hardy animals, but they can be susceptible to certain health issues if their tank is not properly maintained. Poor water quality can lead to bacterial and fungal infections, while a lack of proper nutrition can lead to metabolic bone disease. Regular water changes, a balanced diet, and attentive observation can help prevent these issues.

Interacting with Your African Dwarf Frog


African dwarf frogs are delicate creatures that should be handled with care. They should never be picked up or held, as their skin is sensitive to oils and chemicals found on human skin. Instead, interactions should take place in the tank, where the frogs can be observed and fed.


African dwarf frogs are social animals that enjoy the company of others of their kind. Keeping two or more frogs in the same tank can help prevent boredom and depression, leading to a happier, healthier pet.

FAQs for African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus spp.)

What is an African Dwarf Frog?

The African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus spp.) is a small, aquatic frog that is native to the freshwater habitats of Central and West Africa. They are popular pets due to their small size, peaceful temperament, and ease of care.

What do African Dwarf Frogs eat?

African Dwarf Frogs are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including prepared commercial frog food, frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other small invertebrates. It is important to provide a varied diet to ensure they are getting all the necessary nutrients.

How do you take care of an African Dwarf Frog?

African Dwarf Frogs require a suitable aquatic habitat, including a tank with water that is changed regularly and kept at a consistent temperature. They should have a place to hide and climb, as well as a varied diet. It’s also essential to keep the tank clean and monitor the water quality to prevent illnesses.

How big do African Dwarf Frogs grow?

African Dwarf Frogs are small and typically grow to be 1.5 inches in length. Females are usually larger than males.

Can you keep African Dwarf Frogs with other fish?

African Dwarf Frogs can be kept with peaceful freshwater fish, but they should not be housed with aggressive or predatory species. It’s essential to ensure that the other fish in the tank are not too large or too aggressive as they may harm the frogs.

Do African Dwarf Frogs require a heater?

Yes, African Dwarf Frogs require a heater to maintain a consistent water temperature of around 78-82°F. It’s also essential to have a good quality thermometer to monitor the temperature and ensure it stays within the appropriate range.

How often should you feed African Dwarf Frogs?

African Dwarf Frogs should be fed once a day and given enough food to last for 2-3 minutes. It’s important not to overfeed them, as this can lead to health problems.

How long do African Dwarf Frogs live?

African Dwarf Frogs can live for up to five years in captivity when provided with proper care and a suitable environment. However, their lifespan may be shorter if they are not given adequate care.