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Dwarf Frog Factoids

Origin

Tropical West Africa

Maximum Size

Females 1.25," males 1"

Temp

Very flexible

Water

Clean water with +pH.  

Attitude

Shy.  Slow eaters.

Weakness

Won't eat flake foods.

Swimmers

Forward and backward

Security

Loves hiding places 

Foods

Loves bloodworms

Breeding Age

10 months

Brood Size

Lots of eggs

Incubation

2 to 4 days

Fry Food

Infusoria then brine shrimp and microworms

Metamorphosis

Starts at two months

Fry Threat

Insufficient small food

 

 

LA
Who can tell the sexes of African dwarf frogs at this age?

Cute but Slow:  Obviously you added one of these guys to your aquarium because they’re cute.  However, they can be hard to keep – mainly because your fish eat all their food before these guys hear the dinner bell.  By the time dwarf frogs start looking for food, it’s gone.  If you turn the lights off, you do give these guys a feeding advantage.  Their smellers work well.  Better yet, give them a tank all to themselves.

LA Pic
This dwarf frog is less than an inch long and will never get "big."

Origins:  Dwarf frogs originally came from the warm parts of West Africa.  The dwarf frogs sold today are spawned commercially, not captured from the wild.  Our last 200 pack came from Hong Kong.  We’re not sure of the exact species because they’ve probably hybridized.

LA
Yes, dwarf frogs really are small.  Note the front feet.

LA
Dwarf frog between a mollie and a snail.  They are runts.

LA
Some dwarf frogs eat better than others.  Frog pellets are the size of a grain of sand.

LA
Same chubby dwarf frog gal starting to eat really well after two weeks or so at Aqualand.

 

Size:  Way smaller than clawed frogs. Compare them to the size of the penny in the earlier picture.  Baby dwarf frogs often come in at ½-inch – very hard to keep.  Look for inchers or better.  They may cost a smidge more, but they’re worth it.  The teeny ones just sit back and let even little neons eat all their food.  Adults will breed at the huge size of 1.25 inches.

LA Pic
The three dwarf frogs below are cheering for the guy climbing the wall.

Totally Aquatic:  Although they breathe air, dwarf frogs stupid enough to crawl out of your tank will dry up quickly.  Keep your water down a bit to discourage escapees.  Better yet, keep them covered.  Dwarf frogs love to crawl out.  (None of these frogs score high on the SATs.)

LA
Give them a wood island covered with Java moss and they will come out of the water.

LA
Dwarf frogs spend most of their time on the bottom but occasionally swim.

LA
Once in a while, dwarf frogs stand up and look around.  Nice full belly.  It will get bigger.

Hiding Caves:  Dwarf frogs live on the bottom and hide under your decorations -- or behind your snails.  They want to hide during the day.  Give them several places to lurk during the day.  They come out in the evenings and patrol for food. 

LA Pic
Top right guy gets the idea.  The other dwarf frogs still wonder what's going on?

LA Pic
We dropped in some snails to clean up the worms the dwarf frogs miss.

LA Pic
He/she finally catches on and catches lunch.

LA
No sand.  This dwarf frog sits in a pile of frog pellets not seeing them at all.

LA
Not the best profile, but at least this dwarf frog's pointed at the food.

 

Foods:  Forget flake foods.  Dwarf frogs prefer bloodworms – frozen or dried.  Hikari juices up their frozen blood worms with extra vitamins.  Other good foods include blackworms, tubifex worms, chopped earthworms, and brine shrimp.  HBH makes frog pellets for them  Other brands are also available.  All fishes love these foods and devour them rapidly.  Dwarf frogs look for their food on the bottom.  In a tank with no substrate, you can give them frog pellets.  They're attracted to the smell of some brands.  Dwarf frogs can't see well.  They seem to find their food by smell or accident.  They bite on bits of gravel (or each other) as readily as actual food.  By the time they decide to eat something, any fishes in there have thoroughly scoured the area.  We saw two of these guys trying to eat strands of Java moss fluttering in the overflow of a power filter.  Dumb.  Most of them that nabbed these pellets quickly spit them out at first.

LA Pic
Dwarf frogs swallow, spit it out, then swallow, repeating several times.  Note his (or her) fat belly.

Gulpers:  Regular frogs catch prey on their sticky tongues.  Sticky tongues aren’t much good underwater.  Dwarf frogs have no tongues and gulp their food whole.  They’re not fish eaters.  They need foods stupider and slower than themselves -- worms work well.

LA Pic
Dwarf frogs probably mix best with other dwarf frogs.  Don't crowd them like this.

LA Pix
Up for air ...  then back to the bottom to look for food.

LA Pic
Once dwarf frogs start adapting to frog pellets, they really pork out.

Mixers:  Mix them with very small community fish.  Female bettas mix nicely with dwarf frogs.  Or keep them by themselves.  Big fish won’t eat them but will pick on them.  Dwarf frogs just might survive in one of those executive aquaria.

  LA
Quite a bit of difference in male and female dwarf frog belly sizes.

LA
Same dwarf  frogs as the top frogs after six weeks.

LA
Is this female dwarf frog ready to spawn or what?

LA
Wall-to-wall froggies.  Dwarf frogs mix well with female bettas.

LA
Standing room only.

Sexing:  Female dwarf frogs grow larger.  Males develop black breeding pads on their “fingers” for grasping the females.  Their forearms also turn black.

LA Pic
Amplexus in action.  Thus the "R" rating.

Spawning:  If you’ve kept your dwarf frogs for a year, you’re ready to spawn them.  Or, theyre ready to spawn themselves.  Keep them in their own large tank with four to six inches of water.  Feed them a variety of foods.  Change half their water.  Add 12 to 15 degree cooler water to trigger spawning.  Ron Kruger (who used to live in our neck of the woods) reports that his dwarf frogs lay eggs at the surface.  Dwarf frogs will eat their own eggs and tadpoles.  

Ron Pix
Ron shows a baby tadpole next to an adult on that anacharis.  Then you see the tadpoles.  Then you see the tadpoles developing their legs.  Must be that New Jersey air, Ron.  Thanks for the pix.

More Spawning Info from Ron:  LA’s dwarf frogs never did spawn.  Ron says his frogs often spawn over a period of days -- especially if several mature pairs join in the process.  A spawning pair turns upside down, releases eggs at the surface, and returns to the bottom.  They repeat this process several times.  The floating eggs stick to any plants they bump into.  Since dwarf frogs eat their own eggs and tadpoles, Ron recommends removing the egg-covered plants to another container.  Dwarf frog eggs stick to nets, fingers, and cups, so remove them carefully.  Thanks for the added info, Ron.

Even More Info from Ron:
  02/17/04    Eggs laid.
  02/20/04    Eggs hatched.
  02/24/04    Tadpoles are free swimming.
  02/26/04    Begin to consume newly hatched brine shrimp.
  03/29/04    Legs first appear.  Begin to eat frozen brine shrimp.
  04/28/04    Legs fully formed and tail gone.  Appear as tiny tiny frogs.
  08/13/04    First time laying eggs of their own.  Although still not full size!

So it seems that dwarf frogs become sexually mature around six months of age.

LA Pic
Actually a clawed frog double standing in for this shot.

Tadpoles:  Baby dwarf frogs look like catfishes because two long tentacles grow out from their top lip. They eat infusoria.  For faster growth, get them on to brine shrimp or microworms as soon as possible.  (Other tadpoles have rasping lips for eating algae.)  Dwarves are carnivores.  Dwarf frog tads start turning into frogs in two months.

LA
One last photo of a full-figured dwarf frog.

Last Word:  Dwarf frogs present a challenge for most people.  Do not get one just because they are cute.  LA and Ron Kruger.
 

J Laville, Washington State, August 4, 2010
I noticed on your Dwarf Frog page it says they will not eat flake food. I have four dwarf frogs in with four blind tetras. I feed them tubifex worms (which they love) and the tropical crisp flakes. All four frogs come out and eagerly eat the tropical crisps, which are a form of flake food. Just thought I'd share with you my experience.


A:
 Thanks for your report on your experience.  I couldn't get mine to eat flakes.  Maybe I was spoiling them on fancier foods.  I've noticed that many picky fish will eat the Tetra Crisps also.  I'm adding your info to my dwarf frog page.  LA

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