Loading... Please wait...

All prices are in All prices are in USD

African Dwarf Frogs: Combating "Conventional Wisdom" with Common Sense

Posted by

Searching the internet about African Dwarf Frogs will soon yield this "Conventional Wisdom": 

"...Typically, one frog for every 1 or 2 gallons of water is ideal...." 

How many frogs for this tank? How 'bout ALL OF THEM!

Ideal for WHO? The frog? Or who's selling Aquariums? Many websites seem to follow this common misconception without any real explanation, other than a misguided human emotion that these frogs wouldn't like confined spaces.

There's no scientific rationale behind requiring 1-2 gallons per frog. 

It's a line of logic taken from setting up a standard aquarium, and considering of the needs of fish, who need space to swim, and plenty of oxygenated water to breathe, neither of which the African Dwarf Frog require. However, 1-2 gallons per frog would be good if you are setting up a unfiltered tank like a Goldfish Bowl... you'd then only have to change the water about every two weeks or so.

In nature, African Dwarf Frogs only have need of water to keep their skin supple. 

ADF's do not produce a skin mucus which enables them to emerge out of water onto land like other amphibians, that's the only reason they are fully aquatic. Other than that, they could live in water which merely keeps their skin moist. Of course, they can be at home in larger bodies of water than what an EcoAquarium offers, but as for a NEED to have such... emphatically NO!

A more critical water need for this species is WATER DEPTH. Most specifically, THE LESS THE BETTER...

In nature... such as in the rainforests of the West African Congo, the African Dwarf Frog evolved in shallow rainforest swamps, a habitat of stagnant low-oxygenated water, in very shallow water depths. Unlike most fish, ADF's breathe air with lungs, and go to the surface to gulp air. As a bottom dwelling creature, the frog subsists quite well in shallow water depths which give them a quick trip to the surface to breathe. Put them in an environment where the water depth is deeper, the frog can survive, but the longer trip to the surface for air is more stressful, and in the wild, would present more exposure to the frog from predators. In a natural environment, you would not find these frog in deep water at all.

The idea these frogs need space, is also a misconception. 

African Dwarf Frogs role in life is simply to eat, avoid getting eaten, and make more frogs. In nature, it's behavior is dictated by instinct & environment, which again, would be the muddy bottom of a rainforest swamp.

The frog is a natural wait & pounce creature for acquiring it's meal. The African Dwarf Frog has very poor eyesight, a heightened sense of vibrations in the water, and a keen nose to smell out food. You may have seen these frogs in a familiar "Zen Pose" standing motionless. This is an evolved trait of still stalking, waiting for something like a tasty water bug to wander by. It also is a defensive posture that helps make them invisible to larger predators. Unlike fish, ADF's don't school & swim seeking food, preferring instead for food to come to them. Kinda like an aquatic couch potato. They don't migrate & don't have a extensive range, except along the shallows of whatever shallow pool of water they'd inhabit.

Remember, when searching the web, seeking out information about African Dwarf Frogs (or ANY topic) there is tons of "Conventional Wisdom" out there... some accurate, some simply a regurgitation of other information posted elsewhere, without much foundation of fact. It sounds right, but really... is it really right? If you have questions, count on us to help give you answers. Our wisdom isn't always conventional, but at least count on it to be grounded in fact.