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FISH / new pets

A Set-up Guide for New African Dwarf Frog Parents

Tips from home to health to food and fun.


4 things to know about your African dwarf frog

  1. They’re completely aquatic. Who needs land?
  2. They’re compatible with fish of similar size
  3. They grow to about 3 inches
  4. They live for 10 to 15 years

Your African dwarf frogs’ home


  • One or two African dwarf frogs can live happily together in a 5-gallon aquarium. But if you’re getting more than that, or if they’ll be sharing their aquarium with fish, they’ll need much more space; choose an aquarium of at least 20 gallons.
  • Put the tank someplace without a lot of people traffic, out of direct sunlight and away from drafty spots.
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Light and Heat

  • A lighted aquarium hood provides illumination and cuts down on splashes. (A screened lid also works.)
  • Give your froggies 8 to 12 hours of light a day to simulate their natural environment. An automatic timer can help monitor the light.
  • African dwarf frogs like their water tropical: 68 to 78 degrees. An aquarium heater will keep their water at that frog-tastic temperature. Choose a heater that has five watts of power for every gallon of water in the aquarium.
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Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Choose an under-gravel filter or a power filter powerful enough to process all the water in the aquarium 3 to 5 times per hour. Tip: If your little amphibians are fighting to swim against the filter’s current, you need a less powerful filter!
  • A beneficial bacteria supplement in the water can help keep the environment clean.
  • Don’t use soap or detergent to clean anything in the tank; even a trace amount can make your frogs sick.
  • PetSmart offers free aquarium water testing. Just bring in a sample and we can test the quality within minutes. Check out Setting Up an Aquarium link to story here for more info about aquarium water quality and water testing.

Substrate and decor

  • Layer the bottom of the tank with two to three inches of aquarium gravel. (That’s about 1 ½ pounds of gravel per gallon of water.) Rinse the gravel in clean water before putting it in your frogs’ home.
  • African dwarf frogs especially love plants in their tanks, whether living or artificial. They’ll sit on the leaves for a swim break. (It’s quite adorable.)
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Keeping your African dwarf frog healthy

If your frogs show any of these symptoms, check in with your veterinarian or a PetSmart store associate:

  • Thinness or decreased appetite
  • Swollen joints
  • Excessive shedding of the skin
  • Inflamed or discolored skin
  • Abdominal swelling

If you have to give up your aquatic pets, do not release them into the wild. They won’t do well and may harm the environment.

PETSMART CARES: Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.