Dead African Dwarf Frog – 10 Main Causes You Must Know

The African dwarf frog is a fascinating species that aquarists have added to their tanks. We want to arm you with useful information in this article, especially about some African dwarf frogs’ warning signs of impending death.

Make sure to read the entire article to ensure you don’t miss anything crucial.

African Dwarf Frogs: A Quick Overview

African dwarf frogs are members of the Hymenochirus genus.

There are four species of African dwarf frog, according to Wikipedia, including the Zaire dwarf clawed frog (Hymenochirus boettgeri Tornier, 1896), the Eastern dwarf clawed frog (Hymenochirus boulengeri De Witte, 1930), the Western dwarf clawed frog (Hymenochirus curtipes Noble, 1924), and the Gaboon dwarf clawed frog (Hymenochirus feae Boulenger, 1906).

african dwarf frog

Similar to other frogs, the African Dwarf Frogs live their entire lives in the water, unlike many other amphibians.

Although they spend the majority of their time underwater, they must surface to breathe. These frogs are tiny and weigh no more than a few grams each.

Their color varies, mainly falling between olive green and brown with black spots. These frogs can live up to 20 years and reach a length of 3 inches (7.5 cm), but their average lifespan is only five years.

​​Why Did My African Dwarf Frog Die?

Sick Before Buying

Finding a trustworthy store to purchase your frogs is a crucial first step. Verify that no frogs are floating around in the tanks; a reputable retailer will get rid of them immediately.

Never, ever purchase frogs from a tank containing inactive or frogs with tiny white spots.

Lastly, confirm that the staff is competent. Inquire specifically about the nitrogen cycle, the maximum temperature at which a species can survive, and other details. You shouldn’t trust someone to provide your future pets if they don’t know the answers.

Poor Acclimation

The thermal tolerance of many frogs from temperate climates can be increased through hardening and acclimation. However, most tropical frogs are unable to adapt to cold temperatures.

The poor acclimation of African dwarf frogs is not an exception; it can be fatal. Before placing them there, be sure to thoroughly check the tank’s temperature.

We also advise you to ask the shop or an expert what their preferred temperature is so that you can adjust your home accordingly.

High Ammonia Or Nitrite Levels

African dwarf frogs can suffer from high levels of ammonia and nitrate, usually over 40% for pH and over 40ppm for nitrate in the water.

Since there can be fatally high concentrations of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite in water, you should purchase kits that test for their presence. It’s also preferable, though not required, to have a pH test kit.

The majority of these kits do cost not too much money.

Attempting To Escape The Tank

Frog species have the characteristic of being extremely active and lively once they are placed in a new tank or environment.

Even though they are typically not very active when they are placed in a new environment, they become very active and swim and jump around to explore their new home and find a relaxing spot.

If they are not closely watched or the tank is not adequately covered, they could easily escape during this time.

If yours is trying to escape, you may need to check a few things, such as the water’s temperature, pH level, and water hardness. The water’s temperature and pH level should be between 6.5 and 7.5 and 80°F, respectively.

Incompatible Tank-Mates

Your African dwarf frog may be dead for a variety of reasons, including its compatibility with other species. Avoid keeping any large fish, such as bettas and goldfish, that could easily harass or eat your frogs or are classified as aggressive or semi-aggressive.

Even though a nippy, aggressive fish may not be able to swallow a frog whole in one bite, numerous bites can seriously harm the poor, helpless frogs.

Snails, livebearers, fancy guppies, platies, endlers, neon tetra, cardinal tetra, and other friendly tank mates are available.

Wrong Diet

​​The majority of novice keepers overfeed their frogs. These African dwarf frogs will get fat if you keep overfeeding them. Their lives will be cut short and their general health will suffer as a result of their obesity.

Since decaying, uneaten food releases ammonia and other harmful substances into the water, overfeeding will also contaminate the water in the tank.

If you’re using commercial aquatic frog food, then follow the directions on the label for how much to feed your frogs at each feeding. Most of them state that each frog should receive three or four pellets per meal.

Wrong Filter Selection

The choice of filters is crucial to the well-being of your African dwarf frog. Your frogs would be dead if the filtration suddenly changed.

We advise using a standard, high-quality filter that is compatible with your tank. You should pick an adjustable flow filter if you don’t want a lot of water flowing through it. Its re-filtration system, however, is one feature that makes it a good option for African dwarf frogs.

With this system, users can fully customize the water flow of the filter without sacrificing effectiveness or filtration quality. It offers mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

Poor Handling

You are not permitted to hold your African dwarf frogs unless there is a genuine emergency. The skin of these dwarf frogs is quite thin and sensitive. Their skin is porous, allowing the noxious substances on your hand to penetrate it.

In addition, rough treatment can result in rib breaks and other injuries. On the other hand, these aquatic frogs cannot go for more than ten minutes without water. Therefore, your careless handling may result in the death of your African dwarf frogs.


Although African dwarf frogs are typically low-maintenance pets, they are still living things that are susceptible to a wide range of illnesses. For instance, dropsy, bacterial infection, fungal infection, impaction, and so forth.

One of the illnesses that most frequently affects or has the potential to cause death to African dwarf frogs is dropsy, also known as bloat. Numerous other frog species that are kept as pets can also develop dropsy.

Old Age

They have a five-year lifespan on average. While some people can live longer, many people pass away sooner. Thus, growing old could be the deciding factor in your dwarf frog’s death.


What causes an African dwarf frog to float and remain motionless for a while?

When they’re feeling sluggish, African dwarf frogs frequently choose to float at the surface of the water. They avoid having to use all of their energy to swim to the top when they float in this manner.

In the final stage, you can tell from a death of a frog is floating still if it stops eating, if its skin is not shedding properly, and if all the other bizarre behaviors have been shown.

There is nothing you can do to stop the body from shutting down if all previous symptoms were present before this stillness. It’s difficult to predict when it passes away.

Can I touch an African dwarf frog with my bare hands?

Touch an African dwarf frog with bare hand

Frogs can carry the Salmonella bacterium, which can cause serious illness in humans, especially in young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, just like other amphibians and most reptiles.

Salmonella contamination cannot be determined by looking at a frog. The majority of salmonella-carrying frogs appear to be in perfect health, but they secrete the bacteria in their stool, contaminating their aquarium water and perhaps anyone who comes into contact with them, the aquarium, or aquarium water.

After interacting with frogs, anything they have touched, or while cleaning an aquarium, always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and running water.

How often should I change my African dwarf frog’s water?

When keeping African dwarf frogs, water changes are essential. To maintain the ideal level of gases in the water, a 15-20% water change is needed at least twice per week.

You must also keep an eye on the algae, which can offer some variety in fish diets but too much of it can indicate poor water quality.

What signs indicate a dying African dwarf fish?

There are some telltale signs that your African dwarf frog is approaching death. Such as

  • A light skin tone
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Cuts, bruises, and bleeding
  • A lot of shedding
  • Dark eyes
  • Finding it challenging to swim
  • Adhering to the tank’s top


For those who want to adopt African dwarf frogs as pets for the first time, this article serves as a beginner’s guide.

The ability to plan and be fully informed will change the game, save money, and shield your frogs from illnesses that could shorten their lives or cause them to be death.