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African Dwarf Frogs

Discussion in 'Amphibians & Aquatic Reptiles' started by Azaezl, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Azaezl

    Azaezl Member

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    Here's a little guide I've written for a few forums that may be of use to you(it also has a couple of quotes from a fellow frog keeper) ;

    Common Name : African dwarf frog, congo frog; do not confuse this frog with the African clawed frogs(these will get much bigger and will eat small fish)

    Scientific Name : Hymenochirus boettgeri or Hymenochirus curtipes

    Origin
    : Central Africa

    Family: Pipidae

    Max size Up to 1.5 inches.

    Setup: The general guideline is a gallon per frog but I'd say it depends on the size of the tank and whether you will be keeping anything else with them. For a frog only tank example; in a 5 gallon I'd recommend no more then 3(I personally have kept 5 in a 5 gallon but I was very strict with water changes and keeping an eye on the water stats). 5 or 6 in a 10 gallon, up to 9 in a 15 gallon but again it all depends on filtration, maintenance etc. You don't have to have a filter with frogs but it means that you will have to do extra water changes and keep a closer eye on water quality as is the case with fish they cannot tolerate nitrite / ammonia. Beware of internal filters which can trap the frogs delicate legs if they get sucked in, cover it with fine mesh to prevent this from happening if the filter has large gaps. African dwarf frogs prefer their water pH 7.2 - 7.6, but other people have kept them at slightly higher / lower PH and have had them spawn before.The tank should have a secure lid so the frogs can’t escape and the water should be treated with dechlorinator as it should for fish. A heater is essential as well as they need a constant temperature between 21 - 27C. A sandy substrate is best for frogs as they 'suck' their food in when they lunge for it and large pieces of gravel could get lodged or they may even swallow some which is not good as it can kill. I purchased a frog only to have it die a few weeks later because it's digestive system was blocked by a piece of gravel it had somehow managed to swallow in the shop I purchased it from. I've found that it's best to have caves / tunnels / hideouts dotted about the tank for them to hide under when they feel the need, mine seem to be more active when they know there are plenty of hiding spots. Plants, real or fake are also a nice addition as it gives more cover for them, large leaved plants seem to be preffered as they like to lounge about on things and large leaves are just perfect for this!

    Here is my current 15G setup, all fake plants, a coconut cave, a plant pot & 2 moss ball caves which are a favourite hideout;

    [​IMG]

    Tankmates: You should keep frogs in groups as they enjoy each other's company, I'd say try to get at least 3 but 2 bare minimum, as with anything else the more the merrier applys(as long as you have the space). Only keep dwarfs with peaceful fish, I have read that corys are 'good tankmates' but I disagree, with them both being bottom dwellers they compete for food on that level and the corys are alot quicker at finding food. I had my frogs in with some corys for a few weeks whilst I setup another tnak for them and they really struggled to get food as the corys are alot quicker then them at finding food. I've found them to be so much happier / livelier in a species only tank. If you plan on having them with fish I'd recommend having just them for the bottom, maybe a plec as well(space permitting), they make ideal tank mates for bettas(well most bettas anyway), most peaceful community fish should be fine with the frogs but as I have already stated it's best to have just the frogs as bottom dwellers.

    General info: Frogs are diurnal which means they are active both day and night(i'd say more so night time), mine tend to laze about during the day in positions known as 'zen' basically they get themselves in some rather odd positions, such as standing up against the glass and they will stay in the same position for long periods of time(I, as I'm sure most frog owners in there time have disturbed them to make sure they aren't dead) sometimes they even fall backwards because they just totally relax and lose balance. Quite often they will float at the top of the tank because they are feeling particularly lazy and don't want to have to make a long trip to the surface of the water to gulp air. Frogs also shed their skin, you don't often see it as they don't completely shed a whole layer of skin in the way a shrimp sheds it's exoskeleton but it's more little patches of skin are shed and even those aren't often seen as the frogs eat them.

    Here are some of my frogs doing some of the aforementioned odd positions;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Feeding : African dwarf frogs will take most live and frozen insect type foods, mine love bloodworms & beefheart. I vary the times I feed them, sometimes it'll be every day with a 2 day gap, or it will be every other day, but they do really gorge themselves on food. You have to be careful with them as they are greedy and can become very fat which isn't healthy for them. They search for food by smell not sight, they will lunge at each other when looking for food(and anything else that they smell). If they are kept with fish, you can squirt food at them with a turkey baster to ensure they eat before the fish eat it all or like I used to when they were with fish feed them at night when the fish are less likely to spot the food and steal it before the frogs get a chance. If you do keep them with fish, make sure the frogs are getting food and the fish aren't whipping it away before they get the chance.

    Frogs eating;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7UP6wCg578

    and at night, this video in particular shows how they lunge at anything, including each other, but don't worry they don't harm each other;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1HHqFux87k

    Sexing and breeding : African dwarf frogs are quite hard to sex unless you have a few to compare. Females are usually bigger than males and have a pointier tail. Males are slightly darker and skinnier and their skin looks more bumpy. Adult males have two white bumps(sometimes pinky coloured) one behind either foreleg on their side. There are reports of African dwarf frogs breeding(as you can see in the video / pics below) but it is said the tadpoles are very hard to raise. Mine spawn on a regular basis I'd say the male grasps the female at least once a week(usually more) and sings every night, so I think I might just have one very horny male frog. Male frogs are reported to sing regardless of whether a female is present, it's just an indication that they want to breed(much like a male betta who makes a bubble nest). The males have a singing pose(see pic below) and fan their feet as some sort of mating dance.

    Male's 'bumpy' skin
    [​IMG]

    Male in a singing pose;
    [​IMG]
    Video of a male singing, you may want to whack your volume right up;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAZ8xTtAlPY

    Grasping the female, this is known as 'amplexing', also you can see the males spot behind his front legs;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Breeding videos;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrppaymoJL4

    In these one's you can see the unusual way they lay eggs, the female swims to the surface and turns upside down releasing the eggs, she doesn't always make it to the surface(probably from exhaustion as they can go all night) here is a short video of my female laying;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntbyKkfnLao

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcpykCa1Ba8

    Eggs on the surface;
    [​IMG]

    Tadpoles;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYbNH5Im90M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esv-egS_ho0

    In this video you will also see some footage of how the adults do a very good job at eating the recently laid eggs at the surface, as well as the tadpoles about to hatch(rocking motion) and the tadpoles free swimming(well as best they can).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imnvnGuZiL4

    Raising tadpoles
    How to recognise a dwarf frog : Not to be confused with African Clawed frogs (Xenopus Laevis) Dwarfs have webbing between their feet and tiny black claws. They are rarely sold in an albino or golden form. Do not keep dwarfs with clawed frogs or they will be eaten. Clawed frogs have no webbing between their front feet and have buggy looking eyes on the top of their head. Dwarfs have flatter looking eyes more towards the sides of the head. Dwarfs also appear skinnier around the waist.

    A dwarf;
    [​IMG]

    A clawed;
    [​IMG]

    On the whole they are fantastic little creatures and I'd highly recommend them to anyone, they provide hours of entertainment with their strange little antics and are a pleasure to keep.
     
  2. Jonathan P

    Jonathan P Member

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    Wow Azaezl - that was incredible. It helped to confirm a lot of what I have discovered while caring for them and taught me so much more.

    Your information about how the male and female get together makes me wonder what mine were doing. I'd call it more of male on male or female on female for territory or something. What do you think? (PS these are the ones in my betta tank).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Could it just be an inexperienced male trying to "woo" a female?
     
  3. Azaezl

    Azaezl Member

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    I'm not sure, I've never seen that before, probably just a confused male :lol: did he sing before hand?It's definately a male who's grasping as you can see his spot and I'm pretty sure the other one is female as I can't see a spot but it could just be the angle they are in. I suppose it could be 2 males in some sort of pre-mating competition as described by Mark armstrong but I only have 1 male in a tank full of females so I couldn't tell you much about that. I'll ask Mark and see if he has any idea.
     
  4. raptorrex

    raptorrex Inactive

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    a simply stunning post Azaezl! it, imho, deserves to be pinned. Respect :good:
     
  5. Azaezl

    Azaezl Member

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    Thanks boboboy :D It's still not a complete guide as I haven't managed to raise any tadpoles past a few weeks, I'm hoping to document that process as much as possible seeing as how difficult it is.
     
  6. Azaezl

    Azaezl Member

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    Way ahead of you boboboy :p I have a 5G setup just for them;
    [​IMG]
    I have a filter in the tank, it's pointed towards the side of the glass so there is virtually no flow(I was considering getting a betta) but if they don't survive again I may well try filterless, there's plenty of plants to keep the water nice and I'll be doing frequent water changes anyway. The adults eat most of the eggs left in the tank and any that do hatch don't stand much chance with the adults. I did notice that very few eggs fungused, I'm guessing they weren't fertiliized or something, the hatch rate is quite high with them, well with my ones anyway, I'd say at least 90%, it's just trying to keep them alive that's the difficult part.
     
  7. Azaezl

    Azaezl Member

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    Jonathan I asked Mark what he thought your frogs are upto and his answer was that they are more then likely juveniles who are just starting to mature and are 'trying it out' so to speak. Apparently his juvenile males did this as well, so nothing to worry about, your frogs are just learning how to breed, I'm sure they'll manage it eventually :D
     
  8. Jonathan P

    Jonathan P Member

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    Thank you so much for the information. Please thank Mark also. That makes me feel better about how they are living. They now have some plants and seem to really like them.

    I hope to move them and their betta friend to a larger tank soon.
     
  9. STEVE2493

    STEVE2493 Member

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    r these ok with cherry shrimp?

    thanks
     
  10. tamalematt

    tamalematt Member

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    Help! My ADF is acting weird. For weeks he spent most of the time at the bottom, hiding under rocks, etc. Now, he is constantly on the top, and I don't think he is eating the blood worms I give him anymore?

    Any suggestions?
     
  11. kevinthecow

    kevinthecow Member

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    Your tank is absolutely beautiful! I want to put sand into my tank but I'm afraid about the gravel and where I should keep it. I also love that coconut cave! ): I wanted one from walmart, but then i was concerned about my shrimps getting in there w/o coming out.
     
  12. hihi100202

    hihi100202 Member

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    wow vry good info, im now thinking about geting dwarf frogs, but would thay be compadible w/ shrimp,plecos&guppies?
    the pleco would be like 5 inches max size shrimp r ghost shrimp,guppies are, well,guppies. my tank is 10gallons. if i get any, i think i will get 2. so can u tell me anything? like:should i? plzz help!
     
  13. fishing for info

    fishing for info Fish Fanatic

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  14. scn26

    scn26 Member

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    I am hoping someone can provide some insight into my african dwarf frog issue... I bought 2 frogs a while ago and one died two months ago. We finally got another frog over the weekend; our original frog 'latched' onto her almost immediately and has not released in over two days. Is this normal? I called the tore where we bought them and all they had to say was 'sounds like they are mating', (duhhhh!) I think I could figure that out on my own.

    Thanks!
     
  15. Oscar Betta

    Oscar Betta Member

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    I got a few, there awesome!
     

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