African Dwarf Frog Death: 10 Causes & Prevention

Nobody wants to face the tragic moment of finding their pet frog’s sudden death. If you are keeping an African dwarf frog, you may want to improve its lifespan. Hence, you should know the causes and prevention of African dwarf frog death beforehand. These may help your African dwarf frog live a few years more with you.

To save my pet African dwarf frogs from unexpected death, I have researched a while to find out 10 potential causes of their death and solutions.

In this article, I have shared all essential information to enlighten you about keeping your dwarf frog healthy. So, I urge you to go through this article in case you want to prevent the unexpected death of your pet.

Are African Dwarf Frogs Hard To Keep-Alive?

The care level of African dwarf frogs is moderate.

Since African dwarf frogs are fully aquatic, these frogs are pretty sensitive to water quality. Therefore, you have to remain extra careful in maintaining the quality of tank water. So, if you maintain good water filtration, African dwarf frogs will not be hard to keep alive.

In addition, the diet and feeding guide of African dwarf frogs is simple. Besides, like other frogs, there is no such hassle of changing substrate, misting, or providing basking light for African dwarf frogs.

Why Did My African Dwarf Frog Die?

Sometimes, the owners become shocked when they find their African dwarf frogs dead. As a dwarf frog owner, a common question must be hovering around your mind- why did my African dwarf frog die?

I have figured out 10 potential reasons that might cost the life of your pet dwarf frog. Let’s go through the list.

1. Sick Before Buying

There are several cases of the sudden death of African dwarf frogs a few days after their arrival at your home. In such cases, the probability can be their sickness from beforehand.

Your newly arrived African dwarf frog might be sick before buying. So, there is nothing that you can do to save your dwarf frog from such early death in such cases.

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2. Poor Acclimation

Poor acclimation is another potential reason behind the death of your African dwarf frog. Since African dwarf frogs can thrive in only water, they need to acclimate to your tank water.

If you suddenly remove your dwarf frog from shipping water, your frog may not adjust to the new water. As a result, your African dwarf frog dies early.

3. High Ammonia Or Nitrite Levels

The very first condition of keeping an African dwarf frog as a pet is to maintain the water quality. The level of ammonia and nitrite must be 0 ppm in the tank water.

The presence of ammonia and nitrite in water can kill your African dwarf frog. This is because African dwarf frogs can not withstand the presence of ammonia and nitrite at all.

So, high ammonia and nitrite in the water may be the cause of why your African dwarf frogs died probably.

4. Attempting To Escape The Tank

Another tragic reason behind your dwarf frog’s death can be their attempts to escape the tank. Usually, African dwarf frogs tend to escape when these frogs try to avoid the toxins in the water. Toxin or poor water quality makes your frog stressed.

However, African dwarf frogs are naturally good jumpers. When these frogs jump out of the water and are not brought back in the water immediately, they will die.

After all, these dwarf frogs can not survive without water. Also, their delicate body can get hurt after falling on the floor.

5. Incompatible Tank-mates

Incompatible tank mates can be the answer to why your African dwarf frog died. Being extremely peaceful animals, African dwarf frogs can not share a tank with aggressive tank mates. Besides, African dwarfs frogs are too tiny to outcompete with other tank mates for food.

Also, African dwarf frogs do not have any teeth or claws to defend themselves. So, if you keep bigger or aggressive tank mates, those animals can harm your African dwarf frogs. Sometimes, the bigger fish or frogs can gobble up African dwarf frogs.

6. Wrong Diet

Wrong diet, inaccurate insect size, and inappropriate feeding schedule can lead to poor health of your African dwarf frog. If you do not follow the right diet chart, your African dwarf frog will suffer from malnutrition too. As a result, their immune system will get weak.

In addition, some African dwarf frog owners tend to overfeed their frogs. But, overfeeding causes obesity to your pet frog that leads to death.

Also, some owners tend to feed the food of other animals to African dwarf frogs. This can be unsafe for your frog. Therefore, your pet frog will die.

7. Wrong Filter Selection

An aquarium filter is an essential piece of equipment for bringing up your African dwarf frog. While selecting filters, you must keep in mind the filter capacity, flow rate, media type, and so on. When you choose a filter of the strong current, your African dwarf frog can not adjust with it.

Besides, getting stuck into the filter can lead to the accidental death of your dwarf frog. On the other hand, if the filter fails to remove the toxins and other harmful chemicals, your pet African dwarf frog will die due to bad water parameters.

8. Poor Handling

You must not hold your African dwarf frogs without any emergency or valid reason. These dwarf frogs have pretty delicate and sensitive skin. The oils and harmful chemicals of your hand can go into their porous skin.

Besides, rough handling can cause injuries and broken ribs. On the other hand, these aquatic frogs can not survive without water for more than 10 minutes. So, your African dwarf frogs can die because of your careless handling.

9. Diseases

Like other animals, your African dwarf frog might die suffering from illness. These frogs can get sick by several diseases. For example- fungal infection, bacterial infection, dropsy, impaction, and so on.

Sometimes, these frogs get infected from the sores of their injuries. Thus, these diseases can lead to the death of your African dwarf frog.

Fungal Infection: Why Is My African Dwarf Frog Turning White?

You might have noticed white, cottony patches over the skin of your African dwarf frog. Sometimes, one small white spot can get expanded. Along with such a sign, you should try to notice whether your frog shows a lack of appetite or not. If these signs match, your African dwarf frog may suffer from a fungal infection.

Red-Leg Syndrome: Why Is My African Dwarf Frog Turning Red?

African dwarf frogs can turn red due to various fungi, viruses, or Aeromonas hydrophila. The experts term it as red-leg syndrome too. Usually, this happens when the tank of African dwarf frogs is not cycled properly.

Chytrid Fungus In African Dwarf Frogs

Chytrid fungus attack can be another deadly cause of the death of your African dwarf frogs. If your frog is affected by this deadly chytrid fungus, it will show several signs. These are loose skin, loss of appetite, lethargy, sudden weight loss, attempts of escaping the tank water, and so on.

Dropsy In African Dwarf Frogs

If you notice severe bloating of your African dwarf frog, it may be dropsy or edema. Your affected frog will show difficulties in movement. This happens due to eating up gravels, sands, hard substances, etc.

When the digestive system gets blocked up, the abdomen of your African dwarf frog float up. If it’s not treated properly, your pet frog can die.

10. Old Age

African dwarf frogs can accompany you up to five years under your surveillance with proper care. But, every living creature has to face death. So, reaching into old age can be the final reason for your dwarf frog’s death.

How Do I Know If My African Dwarf Frog Is Dying?

There are certain signs by which you can realize that your African dwarf frog is dying. Such as-

  • Pale skin coloration
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruises, cuts, and bleeding
  • Excessive shedding
  • Gloomy eyes
  • Having difficulty in swimming
  • Sticking to the top of the tank

These are some common signs that define that something is wrong with your African dwarf frog. Finally, when you find your frog lying belly up and floating without movement, your African dwarf frog is probably dead.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Play Dead?

You might have noticed sometimes that your African dwarf frog floats at the top of the tank without any movement. Or, sometimes you might see your African dwarf frog stuck with the side of the filter when it seems no trouble getting out of there.

Several experienced owners confirmed that African dwarf frogs play dead. Whenever you notice such odd incidents, these may be one of their idle behaviours. When your African dwarf frog is in a sluggish mood, it stops movement or swimming.

No wonder such behavior of your pet frog makes you worried. But, when you find your dead-pretending frog jump or start swimming suddenly, it must be entertaining.

How Do You Prevent Early Death Of Your African Dwarf Frog?

Although you can not expect immortality from your African dwarf frog, you can certainly increase the lifespan of your pet with accurate maintenance.

To prevent the early death of your pet ADF, you should maintain guidelines of care. Let’s go through the following points to get enlightened more.

1. Choose Healthy African Dwarf Frog

The initial step of preventing the early death of your pet is choosing such an African dwarf frog of good health. A healthy frog must have greater survival chances than a sick frog.

Besides, you should check up if there are any signs of skin discoloration, bruises, wounds, etc. Not to mention, you should keep your newly arrived frog quarantined from its other tank mates. 

2. Setting Up The Tank Properly

After bringing your pet home, you should set up the tank properly at first. Make sure to adjust the fitting tank lid. Also, you should inspect if there are any sharp décor items in the tank. Do not forget to keep the temperature of the water within the ideal range.

How Do You Keep African Dwarf Frogs From Escaping?

Since African dwarf frogs are great jumpers by nature, these frogs tend to escape from the tank. Hence, you must keep a tank lid over the tank. But, you should make sure that the lid is well fitted.

Moreover, these dwarf frogs try to escape from the tank water when the toxin level gets higher. So, if you want to keep your pet frog from escaping, you should control the water parameter too.

3. Acclimating Your Frog Immediately

To prevent early death, you should acclimate your African dwarf frog as early as possible. For this, you need to slowly replace the shipping water in small quantities with the conditioned water. This acclimation will help your African dwarf frog get along well with the new environment.

4. Ensuring Good Filtration

Research shows that maximum African dwarf frogs die because of bad water parameters. Being fully aquatic frogs, these frogs are pretty sensitive to water quality. Look at the following chart of required water parameters for African dwarf frogs.

Ammonia0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm
Nitrate5-25 ppm
pH6.5-7.5
KH4-15
GH5-10

The tank water gets easily polluted with the wastages of ADF, leftover foods, rotten plants, etc. Hence, the amount of deadly ammonia and other compounds increase in the water which becomes a threat to your dwarf frog’s life.

For this reason, you must ensure a good filtration system to save your frog from an early death. You can take a look at this article to know if African dwarf frogs need a filter or not.

How Often Should I Change My African Dwarf Frog’s Water?

If you do not keep any aquarium filter in the tank, you must change the tank water periodically. In such cases, you should change at least 10%-20% of the water once a week.

5. Keeping Compatible Tank Mates

You might have known that African dwarf frogs are peaceful and friendly pets.

In addition, these frogs are too small in size. So, when you keep bigger tank mates than African dwarf frogs, those tank mates hurt or nip your frog.

Also, there are records of swallowing up African dwarf frogs by their aggressive tank mates. For this reason, you need to keep compatible tank mates for your African dwarf frogs.

If you are confused regarding the selection of tank mates of your ADF, you can go through this article for more information.

6. Providing Nutritious Food

Providing a nutritious diet with proper frequency is essential to keep your pet African dwarf frog healthy. You should feed your adult dwarf frogs at least 3 times a week. But, you must feed the baby African dwarf frogs daily.

Since these frogs tend to get obese quickly, you should remain concerned about the frequency. You must remove the leftover foods after 30 minutes.

However, you can take a look at this article to know details of the African dwarf frog diet and feeding guide.

How  Can African Dwarf Frogs Go Without Food?

If your African dwarf frog is not starving already, your frog will be able to pass some days without food.

Generally, African dwarf frogs can go for 3-5 days smoothly without food. But, if you feed them beforehand, these frogs can survive up to three weeks.

The duration of survival without food depends on the stored fats in African dwarf frogs’ bodies. However, you must not leave your dwarf frogs without food for a long time without any emergency. Otherwise, you will find your pet dwarf frog dead.

7. Regular Maintenance

If you do not clean the tank regularly, your African dwarf frogs may get infected by several diseases. To avoid deadly fungal or bacterial infection, cleanliness is a must practice keeping your pet frog hale. But, you must avoid using detergents or soaps while cleaning the décor items and tank.

However, if you want a detailed guideline about improving their lifespan, you should click here.

Final Words

With proper care and love, you can get accompany of your African dwarf frogs for more than five years. I hope this article enlightened you about the potential reasons for your dwarf frog’s death and its prevention.  Do not forget to take proper steps to prevent the early death of your adorable pet frog.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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