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African Dwarf Frogs – Hymenochirus

Common name: African Dwarf Frog

Scientific name: Hymenochirus

Average Adult Size: 2 and a half inches

Place of Origin: Congo regin of Africa, India

Typical Tank Setup: Bare bottom aquarium as dwarf frogs can fit small gravel into their mouths causing internal problems. Also a terra cotta pot is great for them to feed in. They need plenty of hiding places and lots of enrichment to keep themselves entertained.

Recommended Tank Size: Dwarf Frogs can be kept in a minimum of 10 gallons.

Compatibility: They do well with other Dwarf Frogs in groups of 2-3. Dwarf frogs can go with any fish that won’t eat them or won’t fit in their mouth. Do not over stock your tank as frogs can be sensitive to ammonia levels and poor water qualities.

Temperature: 72-82°F

Water Chemistry: pH 6.5 – 7.5

Feeding: sinking pellets, daphnia, earthworms, tubifex worms, guppy fry. Too much bloodworm can cause bloat so feed in moderation.



  • Slightly smaller then a female
  • Skinnier in the body then a female
  • Post Axillary Subdermal Gland – small glad behind each armpit, can be whiteish or pinkish in color. (looks like a little pimple). The role this gland plays in mating is not well understood.
  • Males will reach sexual maturity at 9 months old.
  • They will sing to attract a female. This sounds like a quiet buzz or humming.


  • Slightly larger then a male
  • Chubbier body then a male
  • Females have a cloaca (small bump) between their legs. This is where eggs and waste are passed.
  • Females reach sexual maturity at 9 months old

Breeding: Males will call out the females and sometimes do a mating dance to attract a female.  If he finds a female who is ready as well he will grasp her from behind, right above her legs. She will swim to the surface of the water doing  lots of flips. She will lay her eggs at the surface and scatter them around while the male fertlizes them on the outside of her body. She will do this in short bursts over a time period of 30 minutes to a few hours.

Additional Information: African Dwarf Frogs or ADF are great little frogs that can be owned in the aquarium hobby.  They are fully aquatic meaning that they do not need a basking area or land to come out of the water but they will dart to the top or float (this is called burbling) to get oxygen.

The average life span of this frog is between 3-5 years or longer if cared for properly. Their cousin, the African Clawed Frog are easy to mix up with dwarf frogs. Clawed frogs have webbing on their back feet only and none on the front, they also grow to 6 inches+ whereas dwarf frogs have webbing on all feet and only stay small.