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.

Owner: Vieno Carlos

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.

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.

See also  Do African Dwarf Frogs Jump Out Of Water? 7 Reasons Why

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.

Owner: Vieno Carlos

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.

african dwarf frog health problems and treatment infographic including red leg syndrome, dropsy, mycobacteriosis, zygomycosis, viral infection, bump on the head, parasitic infection

Want to get a printable version of this infographic? Click here! [If you want to use this infographic on your website, please link back to this post as the source!]

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.

Owner: Michelle Ebel

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.

See also  Can An African Dwarf Frog Live In A 1 Gallon Tank?

African Dwarf Frog Died Suddenly

Sometimes, African dwarf frog owners express their wonder when their African dwarf frogs die out of the blue. Although the upbringing may seem perfect to you, there may remain some inconveniences to killing your dwarf frogs.

In maximum cases, poor water quality can cause sudden death to your African dwarf frogs. If you keep your African dwarf frog tank overstocked for a long time, your African dwarf frog will die one day. Besides, wrong diet, aggressive tank mates, and other stress factors can be responsible for the sudden death of your African dwarf frogs.

Chytrid fungus can be another reason that may take the lives of your African dwarf frogs. Although there should be some prominent symptoms of every inconvenience, the African dwarf frog owners may miss them. As a result, the death of these fully aquatic frogs seems sudden to them.

Owner: Adriana Patiño

Why Do My African Dwarf Frogs Keep Dying?

An African dwarf frog owner shared his comment about these frogs- African dwarf frogs die like flies. Are your African dwarf frogs keep dying? Then, there must be lying something wrong in your entire upbringing of African dwarf frogs.

If such tragic incident continues in cases of your newly brought frogs, you may not acclimate your African dwarf frogs properly. The next reason can be the wrong habitat set-up.

Sometimes, the owners tend to overstock the enclosure. Your African dwarf frogs may die jumping out of the tank if you keep such chances for these frogs. Also, the powerful intake of the filtration system can suck up your baby African dwarf frogs.

Moreover, stress is a significant underlying factor in the death of African dwarf frogs. If you do not recognize the compatible tank mates for your frogs, your African dwarf frogs may keep dying. Not only aggressive tank mates but also improper water parameters can make your dwarf frog stressed.

If you do not remain concerned about keeping ideal water parameters, high levels of ammonia and nitrite can take the lives of African dwarf frogs. When you repeat these mistakes, your African dwarf frogs keep dying.

African Dwarf Frog Dead At Bottom Of The Tank

You might find everyone saying that the dead African dwarf frogs will float at the tank surface. But, you can find your dead African dwarf frogs at the bottom of the tank.

Initially, the dead African dwarf frogs will remain at the bottom of the tank being motionless. When the dead frogs start decomposing, gas will be formed inside the digestive system of the dead frogs. It’ll make the body of dead African dwarf frogs buoyant, which causes your dead frog to float.

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.

Owner: Bobbie Sissom

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

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.

See also  Why My African Dwarf Frog Has Bump On Back?

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.

Owner: Thomas Jarrell

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of African dwarf frog?

If you provide proper care and facilities, a captive African dwarf Frog can survive up to 5 years. Some of them can manage to live longer.

However, some pet African dwarf frogs might die earlier due to diseases or mismanagement in care.

On the other hand, there are records of living for 20 years of an African dwarf frog.

Do African dwarf frogs float when they die?

African dwarf frogs may float to the surface of the water when they die. This is due to the gas produced by decomposition causing the frog’s body to become buoyant, causing it to float. However, that doesn’t mean floating will always occur when a frog dies.

African dwarf frog bloated and died, Why?

There are several reasons why an African dwarf frog may become bloated and die. One possible cause is a bacterial infection that can lead to dropsy, a condition where the frog’s body becomes filled with fluid.

Another possible cause is poor water quality, specifically high levels of ammonia and nitrite, which can be fatal to African dwarf frogs.

Here’s an article I wrote about how long African dwarf frogs can live with dropsy.

What does a dead African dwarf frog look like?

When an African dwarf frog dies, it will often float to the surface of the water due to gases produced by decomposition causing the frog’s body to become buoyant. The frog’s skin may also appear pale and its eyes may be cloudy.

Additionally, dead skin that looks shredded and hangs off the frog for hours is a red flag that the frog will probably die soon.

Are African dwarf frogs hard to keep alive?

African dwarf frogs are generally considered to be low-maintenance pets and are not difficult to keep alive as long as their basic needs are met.

They require a clean and well-filtered aquarium with appropriate water temperature, and a varied diet consisting of commercial frog food and live or frozen foods such as bloodworms.

However, poor water quality and inadequate diet can lead to health problems and even death.

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.

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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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