How Long Do African Dwarf Frogs Live For?

African Dwarf Frogs make a great addition to any home aquariums you may have. They are active, busy, and very entertaining to watch! 

They also get on well with any other tank mates you throw in with them, which makes them a very popular freshwater pet. 

How Long Do African Dwarf Frogs Live For?

These little guys don’t live longer than 5 years, but this will vary depending on the level of care they receive. 

This article is going to discuss the lifespan of these little frogs, as well as all the information you need in order to give them a happy and healthy life! 

What Is An African Dwarf Frog?

African Dwarf frogs are tiny frogs that are native to Cameroon, Nigeria, and the Congo river basin. 

They are amphibians that spend most of their time underwater, and due to their easy habitat requirements and care, they are commonly found in pet stores all over the world. 


These tiny frogs are truly adorable and only grow to around three inches long.

Their color makes it easy for them to blend into the bottom of river beds and ponds, as their base color can range from olive green to gray/brown. 

Their bellies tend to be lighter than the rest of their bodies, and they are all covered in black spots, no matter what their base color is. This enables them to camouflage around leaves, plants, and mud. 

Females tend to be larger than males by around 40% and their shape resembles that of a pear, along with a pronounced genital area. 

Males differ in appearance from females as they have glands behind their front legs, which create bulges making them easy to differentiate from females. 

These little frogs don’t have tongues or teeth, and use their webbed feet to scoop food into their mouths! 

Behavior And Temperament

As mentioned above, these little guys are very entertaining to watch, which is what makes them such popular pets.

Once the sun goes down, is when they become most active, and they spend most of their time playing underwater. 

They have a docile temperament and are happy to be placed in the same tank as other aquatic animals. The only animal they may have problems with are small fish, as they may try to eat them. 

Sometimes, males will make a buzzing sound to attract females, and you may also find these guys floating on the surface of the water with their arms spread out.

While they may look like they are playing dead, this is just their way of relaxing! 

What Are Some Good Tank Friends For These Frogs?

What Are Some Good Tank Friends For These Frogs?

As mentioned, these frogs get on well with a variety of different aquatic creatures, so finding some friends for them will fill your tank with all kinds of fun activities. 

As one would assume, the best tank mates for them would be other African Dwarf frogs.

They are very social with each other and will thrive in groups of 3 or 4, not to mention they will all look adorable playing underwater together!

They also get along well with other species of frog, so you don’t need to keep them with their own kind. 

Other creatures they can live well with are guppies, corydoras, and tetras.

Any other non-aggressive fish can be added to the tank, as long as they aren’t small enough for the frogs to mistake for food. 

Bottom dwellers such as large snails are also good additions, as well as small shrimp.

These kinds of creatures will also leave the frogs alone, which is a great thing as you won’t need to break up any conflict in your tank. 

Caring For An African Dwarf Frog

While their cute appearance may make you want to handle them, this should be avoided unless you are wearing gloves. 

This is because holding these frogs can lead to health problems for those who touch them, as they carry a variety of diseases. 

The most prominent disease they carry is Salmonella. If you must handle them, do so with a net, or wear gloves. 

If your skin comes into contact with an African Dwarf frog, then you must disinfect the area immediately. 

These frogs spend all of their time underwater, only coming to the surface for a breath of fresh air. Therefore, handling them and taking them out of the water is also dangerous for them. 

If they spend longer than 15 minutes outside the water, it can lead to dehydration and death, so they should be kept in their tanks at all times.

Their skin is made for moist, humid environments, and cannot withstand dryness, so they should not be removed from their tanks. 

Tank Size

For each frog that you own, you should have around 3 to 5 gallons of high-quality water.

While they are tiny little frogs that don’t require much space, they do like to roam around, so a 10 to 15-gallon tank should be fine if you only have a couple of these little frogs. 

In the wild, these frogs enjoy living in shallow ponds and rivers, and will often move into flooded forests, so a deep tank is not recommended. 

This is because they must swim to the surface to get a breath of fresh air regularly, and as they enjoy hanging out at the bottom of the tank, you must ensure that they are able to get to the surface quickly when they need air. 

The bottom of their tank should be filled with a substrate that is fine, like sand, or gravel You just need to ensure that the individual grains are large enough so that they don’t swallow any pieces. 

Your African Dwarf frog will also need some entertainment in its tank, so opting for some live plants is always a good idea. They are able to feed on these plants, swim around them and hide in them. 

However, you must ensure that these plants are secured beneath the substrate, as these frogs are passionate diggers who may dislodge them if you aren’t careful. 

Lighting And Filtration

Lighting And Filtration

In order for your African Dwarf frog to live comfortably in their tank, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the filter. 

Although these frogs enjoy swimming to the bottom of their tanks, a strong current in the water will affect their ability to do this, so you’ll have to ensure that the filter is reasonable. 

When it comes to lighting, they need an adequate amount, about 10 to 12 hours each day. They are nocturnal creatures, but they use light to remain on a healthy time cycle. 

Luckily, they don’t require any fancy or expensive aquarium lights, a simple aquarium light will suffice. 


Although these frogs are omnivores that can survive eating plant-based foods, they will really benefit from meaty foods. 

You should offer your frog a variety of protein-rich foods, such as blood worms, earthworms, fish fry, and brine shrimp. 

They will devour fattier foods such as tuna, salmon, and beef heart as they love them so much, but these should be reserved for once-a-week treats.

This is because these little frogs can gain weight very easily, so overfeeding them can lead to issues later down the road. 

As long as they are eating high-quality foods, these frogs do not need to eat every single day.

They are fine with being fed three to four times a week, and you should portion out their food properly, as anything that gets left behind will have a negative impact on the water quality. 

Health Conditions

As with all kinds of animals, these tiny frogs are susceptible to a variety of health issues. They may contract a bacterial infection, and this can lead to redness in their eyes as well as in their skin. 

You may also notice a change of behavior in them, such as a lack of appetite and lethargy. Fortunately, bacterial infections can be treated in these frogs easily with a good dose of antibiotics. 

Fungal infections are also something to be wary of with these frogs, and they will appear as fuzzy little areas on the body of the animal.

These infections can spread from frog to frog, so if you notice any of these patches on one frog, you should separate it from the rest of them until the infection has been cleared. 

Dropsy is also another infection that can be contagious to different frogs and can be caused by bacteria or parasites. 

If you notice any of the above illnesses developing in one of your frogs, or you merely notice a change in their behavior, such as in their appetite, you should seek help from your local veterinarian, as catching these illnesses early can prevent them from developing into something serious later down the line. 

Final Thoughts

It’s normal for you to want to increase the lifespan of your little frog.

As long as you provide it with the appropriate care, it can lead a healthy life, but it is unlikely it will live much longer than 5 years. 

However, to ensure they live as long as possible, you must ensure you are purchasing your frog from a trusted source and providing it with the highest quality food possible. 

The conditions in their tank must be pristine, and you should always be aware of the health conditions to look out for, as well as their symptoms. 

You should also remove any stressors from their environment, such as aggressive tank-mates that want to do harm to them. 

We hope this article has helped you understand how you can help your African Dwarf  frog live a long and happy life.

Dorothy Razo