African Clawed Frog Care 101: Foolproof Guide For Beginners

African Clawed Frog Care

African clawed frog is one of the best options for beginners who want an easy-to-care pet. But, before buying an African clawed frog, you should get clear ideas about their requirements and needs. Hence, if you are a beginner, you may be badly in need of a foolproof guide of African clawed frog care.

If so, then this article is for you. After researching a while, I have summed up detailed information about the habitat set up, feeding guide, handling, reproduction, and care guide of several sectors.

Thus, I urge you to go through this article to achieve a crystal clear concept of African clawed frog care.

African Clawed Frog Overview

If you have decided to keep an African clawed frog as a pet, you should have checked its overview in short. It will help you understand whether keeping African clawed frogs as pets will be worthy or not. Let’s check the following table.

Scientific NameXenopus laevis
Common NameAfrican clawed frog
Required Temperature68-78 degrees Fahrenheit
Required pH7.0-7.8
TemperamentHighly aggressive
Care LevelEasy-going
LifespanUp to 15 years

African Clawed Frog Habitat Setup

The very first thing that you need to take care of is to set up African clawed habitat properly. In the wild, these frogs can survive in varieties types of places including wetland, alpine, desert, and so on. Usually, you can find them in creeks, ponds, shallow rivers, etc.

So, when you keep an African clawed frog as a pet, you should mimic the natural environment of habitation in captivity.

Let’s see what you will need for the habitat setup of an African clawed frog.

  • A tank of the right size
  • Screen lid
  • Hideouts
  • Substrate
  • Heater
  • Air pump
  • Filtration
  • Rocks
  • Woods, branches, logs, etc.
  • Live or artificial plants

Choose A Proper Tank Of Right Size

Firstly, you need to choose a tank of the right size.

The minimum requirement for an African clawed frog is a tank of 10 gallons capacity. On the other hand, if you keep more than one frog or different species of tank mates, you will need to buy a tank of 20 gallons. Make sure that the height of the tank must not be higher than 12-15 inches.

As African clawed frogs are fully aquatic, these frogs do not require land area. But, they often reach the water surface to breathe oxygen.

So, the water level must be suitable for African clawed frogs so that they can easily reach the surface. However, the experienced owners suggest keeping the water level about 12 inches deep.

If you are looking for a suitable tank for your African clawed frogs, you can check out the tetra aquarium tank.

Tank Cover: Do African Clawed Frogs Need a Lid?

You must have already known that African clawed frogs can not survive without water. So, if these frogs go out of water in any situation, they will die. Besides, there are possibilities of injury because of jumping over the floor.

On the other hand, African clawed frogs are great jumpers. So, these frogs tend to jump out of the water pretty often when there is no tank cover. To avoid accidents, African clawed frogs need a lid over the tank.

You can buy a glass aquarium cover, screen-type tank cover, aquarium hood, and so on. Make sure that the lid becomes fits over the tank. Otherwise, you should buy such a tank that has a cover with it.

Lighting For Day/Night Cycle

You might have noticed that the experienced owners recommend keeping UV lighting for pet frogs. On the other hand, basking light is a must for several pets like bearded dragons. So, this is pretty normal to worry about adjusting special lights for African clawed frogs.

 As African clawed frogs are nocturnal animals, they need normal aquarium lights. It will help these frogs maintain a cycle of 12 hours of the day and 12 hours of the night.

Otherwise, African clawed frogs do not need any special lighting. Such as basking lamps, UVB lamps, heat lamps, etc.

So, African clawed frogs do not have any special requirements for lighting. These pets are exceptions in this case.

Temperature: What Temperature Do African Clawed Frogs Like?

Generally, African clawed frogs do pretty well at room temperature. As these frogs are entirely aquatic, they depend on the warmth of the water. So, the required temperature for African clawed frogs is around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. But, these frogs can thrive well in temperatures between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Aeration: Do African Clawed Frogs Need An Air Pump?

Usually, African clawed frogs breathe oxygen from the top of the water through their lungs. These frogs come to the water surface to breathe in every 15 minutes. Hence, these frogs do not require any aeration system.

Besides, African dwarf frogs may struggle to handle the turbulence of the air pump. It can lead to an accident causing your pet frogs to jump out of the tank.

So, if you feel the need for an air pump for your African clawed frogs, you can keep a low-powered air pump. A standard air pump will keep your pet frogs happy too.

Aquarium Heater: Do African Clawed Frogs Need A Heater?

The heater is not an essential item for the habitat set up of African clawed frogs. The water temperature of the African-clawed frog tank must not be lower than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, if the tank water has to be at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, the room temperature should be around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thus, African clawed frogs can survive at room temperature if the water temperature remains within the ideal range. But, if you live in a cold country, you should attach an aquarium heater to keep the tank water warm.

Do not forget to keep an aquarium thermometer to maintain the ideal temperature of the water between 18-24 degrees Celsius (65-75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Choose Larger Size Substrate

An essential item of the African-clawed frog habitat is the substrate. Substrate covers the floor of the tank and helps the plants grow.

While choosing a substrate, you should ensure that the substrate does not change the quality of the water. Also, the substrate must be undegradable.

For African clawed frogs, you can choose sands, gravels, baked clay, etc. When you choose gravel as substrate, pick the larger sizes and weight of gravels. Consequently, your pet frog will not be able to digest those larger particles.

Besides, you should not worry even if your frog eats up sand. The sand particles are too small that these will pass down after ingestion.

However, you must check that the substrates do not have any artificial coatings, dyes, or colors. Also, the substrate should be smooth and easy to clean.

If you want to go for sands, I’ll recommend the Carib Sea Super Naturals Crystal River Sands. Besides, for gravel, the Carib Sea Peace River Gravel must be the best choice for your African clawed frogs.

Décor For Creating A Naturalistic Appearance

To bring out a naturalistic vibe, you can put several tank accessories. In the list of décor, there are hideouts, plants, branches, logs, stones, pipes, hollow woods, etc.

Hiding spaces will help African clawed frogs take shelter or rest. Also, other accessories, including rocks and branches, will create a natural appearance at the bottom of the tank.

Water Quality: What Kind Of Water Do African Clawed Frogs Need?

As African clawed frogs are fully aquatic, you should take care of their water parameter. The experienced owners and researchers suggest keeping these frogs in distilled or spring water.

Also, tap water is strictly forbidden for African clawed frogs. That is because tap water contains a high level of chlorine.

But, you can use tap water after removing chlorine and other heavy metals. Keep in mind that your African clawed frogs are highly sensitive to metal ions and chlorine.

So, you can make the tap water safe by applying two methods. These are-

  • Keeping the water sit for 24 hours
  • Using dechlorination agents
  • Using aquarium starter bacteria additives

Let’s take a look at the following chart of required water parameters for African clawed frogs.

Optimal pH6.5-7.8
Optimal KH4-12
Optimal GH5-20
Optimal Temperature68-77 degrees Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees Celsius)
NitrateLess than 20 ppm
Ammonia1 ppm
Nitrites0 ppm

Do African Clawed frogs Need Filtration?

Being fully aquatic, African clawed frogs can not survive if the water condition is poor. On the other hand, these frogs produce ammonia naturally as wastages.

To keep the water parameter accurate, African clawed frogs need filtrations. The aquarium filters filter out the toxic particles from the water by biological filtrations.

In this process, the friendly bacteria colonies of the aquarium filter digest the produced wastages in the water.

If you keep an aquarium filter, you will not need to change the water frequently. However, you should choose filter carefully before buying.

Some aquarium filter makes too much noise and vibration. Hence, this may put your African-clawed frogs under stress.

Besides, make sure that the inlet slots of the filter are smaller than the legs of clawed frogs. Otherwise, the legs of your African frogs get stuck in those holes.

I recommend you zoo med canister filter for the tank of your African clawed frogs.

Can African Clawed Frogs Live Without A Filter?

Filtration is essential to keep the water clean for African clawed frogs. But, there is an alternative way to keep the water parameters right without any filtration.

Your African-clawed frogs can live without a filter if you change the water regularly. Every week, you should change about 20% of water. Also, you must change the water whenever you notice a higher level of nitrates, ammonia, etc.

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If you want to change the water periodically, you can use water-change kits. Otherwise, you can change with a bucket or pot.

Tankmates For African Clawed Frogs

African clawed frogs are highly aggressive. If you want to keep several pets in an African-clawed frog’s tank, you should choose the tank mates carefully.

What Can You Put In A Tank With African Clawed Frogs?

Good Tank Mates For African Clawed FrogsBad Tank Mates For African Clawed Frogs
Slightly larger and semi-aggressive fishMultiple male African clawed frogs
Multiple female African clawed frogsBaby & Adult African clawed frogs
Betta fishSmall fish like guppies, mollies, etc.
Large cichlids
Dwarf shrimps, freshwater snails
African dwarf frogs

Due to the aggressive temperament of African clawed frogs, you should choose slightly larger and semi-aggressive fish as tank mates.

You must not keep multiple male species of African clawed frogs together due to their rivalry. But, you can keep several female African clawed frogs with one male, African clawed frog.

Make sure that you are not keeping tadpoles or baby African clawed frogs with adult African clawed frogs. Besides, these frogs make wonderful cohabitation with betta fish.

On the other hand, small fish like guppies, mollies, etc, will not be good options as tank mates. That is because African clawed frogs can easily gobble them up. Moreover, large cichlids can nip your African clawed frogs.

Besides, you must not include dwarf shrimps, freshwater snails, small fish in the choice list of tank mates.

Sometimes, many owners think of keeping African clawed frogs with African dwarf frogs. Although African dwarf frogs are cousins of these frogs, they are peaceful. Hence, African dwarf frogs will not be compatible with African clawed frogs.

Can African Clawed Frogs Be Kept Alone?

African clawed frogs can not cohabit with all types of animals. The temperament of these frogs is immensely aggressive and outrageous.

Because of their vulgar nature, African clawed frogs can be kept alone. Otherwise, there are high risks of fighting between an African-clawed frog and its tank mate. Moreover, your African-clawed frog might kill the other tank mates.

So, if you want to keep their tank mates, you can keep their species as tank mates. Otherwise, it will be better to keep these aggressive frogs alone.

Can African Clawed Frogs Live With Fish?

African clawed frogs can share their tank with fish. But, not all fish are suitable tank mates for them.

Firstly, the fish has to survive in the same water parameters. Besides, the fish must not be super aggressive. Semi-aggressive fish can coexist well with African clawed frogs.

However, make sure that the size of the fish is almost the same as your African clawed frogs.

Handling: Can You Touch African Clawed Frogs?

African clawed frogs are not the types of pets to be cuddled or handled. These frogs do not prefer handling or touches. You should not touch or hold your pet African clawed frogs.

Their skin is pretty sensitive to chemicals and toxins which can be passed by your hands. Moreover, there are risks of spreading salmonella bacteria from these frogs to the owners due to handling.

Besides, you must be well aware that African clawed frogs are fully aquatic. So, if you keep them outside of water for more than 15 minutes, these frogs will die. Hence, the experienced owners do not encourage to touch or hold these African clawed frogs.

Feeding: What Can I Feed My African Clawed Frogs?

For beginners, it is a serious concern to decide what types of food should be fed to their pets. Also, you should know the right quantity to feed your frogs. Undoubtedly, if you want to take the best care of your African clawed frogs, you must have a proper idea of their feeding guide.

Hearing about the omnivorous diet of African dwarf frogs, you might have mistaken assuming the same diet for African clawed frogs. If you are interested to know the details of the African dwarf frog diet, you can click here.

Although African clawed frogs are basically carnivores, these frogs have a great appetite. Moreover, being cannibals, sometimes African clawed frogs kill and eat their species.

African Clawed frogs eat up other animals or meats of fish, worms, shrimps, etc. African Clawed Frog’s diet includes feeder fish, larvae, brine shrimp, bloodworms, waxworms, crickets, tadpoles, earthworms, small guppies, small crustaceans, snails, etc.

Moreover, these frogs eat both living and dead prey. As African clawed frogs are scavengers, these frogs eat up organic wastages, dying or dead arthropods, and so on.

In short, African clawed frogs gobble up anything that fits in their mouth. Also, your pet-clawed frogs enjoy dog foods and cat foods too. Do not forget to give them supplementation as well.

However, if you are looking for buying pellets for African clawed frogs, I will recommend omega one frog and tadpole food.

Besides, you must have appropriate knowledge of their staple foods and occasional foods.

How Often Should African Clawed Frogs Eat?

It depends on the size and age of your pet African clawed frogs.

You should feed your pet African clawed frogs twice a day if your frog is still a baby. Otherwise, it will be enough to feed an adult African clawed frog every other day. Besides, you can give them the highest three minutes to eat as much as they can.

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If your pet frog is skinny and weak, you should feed your frog more often. However, African clawed frogs survive up to 3-5 days without eating anything.

African Clawed Frog Care In Reproduction Phase

The care reproduction phase includes mating, breeding, fertilizing eggs, and hatching tadpoles.

An African clawed reaches its sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months. Naturally, the early spring to late summer is the mating season for these frogs. So, you should remain careful, especially during this season.

In this period, you should increase the temperature of the water a bit. So, set the temperature at 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides, you should keep the aquarium lights off.

If the temperature and water condition are accurate, the female African clawed frogs lay eggs up to 200 eggs. The very first thing to ensure is creating a no disturbance zone. It will help fasten the breeding time. Generally, it takes 2-4 days to hatch the eggs. Besides, the water temperature should be around 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

As African clawed frogs have fame for their cannibalistic nature, you must separate the eggs and tadpoles from them. That is because these frogs tend to eat up their eggs and also baby African clawed frogs.

So, when the eggs are laid, you must separate the adult African clawed frogs. By providing proper diet and facilities, you can raise tadpoles to adult African clawed frogs.

You might get a detailed idea of African clawed frog tadpole care from African dwarf frog eggs and baby care. As both of these frogs are cousins, the eggs care guide will be almost the same.

Maintenance Of African Clawed Frogs

Proper maintenance is a vital part of the African clawed frog. Here are some tips that you should follow to ensure a healthy environment in captivity. These are-

  • Check the filter, thermometer, heater, and other equipment of the African clawed frog tank regularly. If you notice any unusual thing, you should take necessary actions immediately.
  • Make sure to wash your hands with warm soapy water before handling your pet African clawed frog. The same thing goes for after touching your pet frog. You can also use gloves.
  • You can keep an automatic timer to check the day and night cycle of the aquarium lights.
  • Most importantly, you must rinse the filter every 15 days. In case you do not use filters, do not forget to change the water.
  • Also, you should ensure that the tank lid becomes fit over the tank. Otherwise, your pet frog might jump over the tank.
  • Lastly, you must clean and sanitize the African-clawed frog tank regularly.
  • Moreover, you should monitor your African clawed frogs carefully. If your pet frog shows any signs of sickness, you must seek professional help from a reptile vet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some good tank mates for Albino African Clawed frogs?

Some good options for Albino African Clawed frog tank mates include other amphibians like newts and salamanders, medium-sized fish, betta fish, and female Albino African Clawed frogs, etc.

Do African Clawed frogs need land?

African Clawed frogs are fully aquatic and do not require access to land. They do need to breathe air, so they must be housed in water no deeper than 12 inches. In deeper water, clawed frogs struggle to reach the surface to breathe.

Can African Clawed frogs live together?

Multiple male African Clawed frogs can’t live together as they can get very aggressive and temperamental. However, you can keep multiple female African Clawed frogs in a single tank or keep one male African Clawed frog with multiple female African Clawed frogs.

How to clean African Clawed frog tank?

Here are the short steps to clean African Clawed frog tank:

1. Prepare necessary supplies: bucket, siphon hose, algae scraper, soft-bristled brush, dechlorinated water, and net.

2. Move the African clawed frogs to a temporary container with tank water.

3. Drain tank water using the siphon hose.

4. Remove and clean decorations and equipment.

5. Scrub algae and debris off the tank walls.

6. Clean substrate with the siphon.

7. Refill the tank with dechlorinated water.

8. Acclimate and return the African Clawed frogs to the tank.

What are the differences between male vs female African Clawed frogs?

Male African Clawed frogs exhibit a small and slender physique, whereas females appear larger and more round. The males possess black patches on their hands and arms, facilitating their grip during amplexus with females.

On the other hand, female African Clawed frogs have a more distinct cloaca and noticeable hip-like bulges above their hind legs, which house their internally located eggs.

Are African Clawed frogs poisonous to humans?

African Clawed frogs are not poisonous to humans. They do not produce toxins or venom that could harm humans or other animals.

However, it is important to note that some amphibians, including frogs, can carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. So, it is always important to practice good hygiene when handling any amphibians, including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling them or cleaning their tank.

Why are African Clawed frogs illegal?

African Clawed frogs are not illegal in general, but they may be illegal to own or sell in certain areas due to their status as an invasive species.

According to the Washington Invasive Species Council, African Clawed frogs were first identified in Washington state in 2015 and have since been confirmed in several cities. They are considered an invasive species because they can harm native ecosystems by competing with and preying on native species.

In some areas, it is illegal to own or sell African Clawed frogs to prevent their introduction into local ecosystems.

Final Words

African clawed frogs are very easy to care for. I hope this article helped you get enlightened about the full details of African clawed frog care. These are some basic information of a varied array of frog maintenance. You will be able to take care of your frog better when you get enlightened more about this.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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