12 African Dwarf Frog Health Problems [And Treatment]

As a new owner, it might be a bit difficult for you to diagnose the health problems of your African dwarf frogs. There are certain signs for each health problem of your frog. On the other hand, the early you can recognize the disease, the early you can start its treatment.

In this article, I have penned down all information regarding African dwarf frog health problems and their treatment that I found through my immense research. This article will enlighten you to understand the severity of your frog’s disease and home remedies.

However, some health problems are fatal. So, keep in mind that this guideline is not the final solution for your pet’s illness. You must take your pet dwarf frog to a vet in emergencies.

What Diseases Do African Dwarf Frogs Get?

Usually, African dwarf frogs get sick because of the lacking of proper maintenance and care. That’s when various types of germs, bacteria, viruses, or parasites attack your frog.

Besides these, your African dwarf frogs can suffer from diseases due to their wounds or injuries. Moreover, your African dwarf frog can get affected by environmental and nutritional malfunctions.

I have made a list of common infectious diseases which African dwarf frogs usually get in captivity. Let’s check out the list of dwarf frog diseases.

Bacterial DiseasesFungal DiseasesParasitic Diseases
Red-leg SyndromeChytridiomycosisRhabdiasis
Brucella inopinataSaprolegniasisStrongyloidiasis

Diagnosis, Causes, And Treatment Of Infectious Diseases Of African Dwarf Frogs

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!]

Bacterial Infection Of African Dwarf Frogs

It is pretty hard to spot the signs of bacterial infection. Besides, these symptoms are not gradual like the symptoms of fungal infection. You’ll notice sudden signs in case of bacterial infection.

1. Red-leg Syndrome

Symptoms: Why is my African dwarf frog turning red?

If your African dwarf frog is turning red, it may be red-leg syndrome.

Because of the inflammation in the liver, spleen, and other abdominal organs, your African dwarf frogs turn red in this health problem. It’s a bacterial infection that is caused by Aeromonas hydrophila.

Let’s check out other symptoms of red-leg syndrome in African dwarf frogs.

  • Redness on the underside of the abdomen and legs of your African dwarf frog
  • Lethargy
  • Severe weight-loss
  • Anemia
  • Bleeding in serious situations
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Open sores which do not get healed quickly
  • Absolute inactivity and lethargy before death

Treatment Of Red-leg Disease

The very first thing that you should do is to isolate your affected African dwarf frog. Since this disease is caused due to gram-negative bacteria, the drug or medicine has to be effective to destroy this bacteria.

  • If your frog is in an early stage of red-leg syndrome, you can treat your sick frog by giving a bath mixed with a 2% solution of potassium permanganate or copper sulfate.
  • Notice whether your dwarf frog does not get better after one week of having this Sulfamethiazine bath or not. If not,  you can give an effective bacteriocidal antibiotic like tetracyclin orally or intramuscularly to the affected frog.
  • Add a dose of ¼ tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.
  • Besides, you can add enrofloxacin in the tank water of the affected African dwarf frog.
  • You have to change at least 25% of the tank water every three days.

2. Dropsy

Sometimes, you might notice that the stomach of your African dwarf frog becomes swollen. But, the head, limbs, or other organs of your frog are not swollen. In this case, it can be dropsy.

Symptoms: How Do You Know If Your Frog Is Bloated?

The most noticeable sign of dropsy is the sudden bloating of your African dwarf frog.

The bloating will not be as same as the appearance of being fat. In dropsy, the affected frog will have a bloated stomach due to the fluid substance in the lymphatic system.

When the lymphatic fluid does not drain properly, this fluid stays up in the abdomen. No wonder this causes extreme pressure on other organs and keeps your dwarf frog in severe pain.

Let’s check other symptoms of this health problem on African dwarf frogs.

  • Swollen stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stop eating gradually
  • Discomfort in movement
  • Pain
  • Staying at the bottom of the tank

Need To Talk With A Vet Right Now?

Owner: Thomas Jarrell

Treatment: How Do You Fix Bloat In African Dwarf Frogs?

Before fixing bloat in African dwarf frogs, you need to find out its reason. With the aid of a vet, you can start by fixing the bloating after proper diagnosis.

See also  African Dwarf Frog Diet & Feeding Guide [Interesting Facts]

Generally, bloating or dropsy is a bacterial infection. But, vitamin toxicity-induced kidney failure may lead to dropsy in your African dwarf frog. Also, your frog can get bloated due to swallowing any indigestible particles of the substrate.

In case your dwarf frog is bloated for any metabolic condition, an altered diet prescribed by a vet may fix the bloat.

On the other hand, if the bloating or dropsy is the result of bacterial infection, you must treat the tank first. To fix bloating in your pet dwarf frog, you must ensure the proper cleanliness of the frog tank.

Hence, you should empty the tank and sterilize the entire tank filling 10 percent bleaching solution. Besides, you have to disinfect all décor and cage items by boiling. Do not forget to remove and replace the media, plants, filter, etc.

Also, you must refill the tank of the African dwarf frog tank with dechlorinated water. For this, a three-stage filtration system will help prevent any hazardous bacterial attack.

The final solution is to drain your African dwarf frog with dropsy.

How Do You Drain A Frog With Dropsy?

Unfortunately, you can not drain the lymphatic fluid of your African dwarf frog with dropsy. In this case, you must take the professional help of a vet.

The vet can empty the extra fluid from the abdomen of your affected frog. This will make your affected dwarf frog feel better. You must not ever try to drain the fluid of the frog on your own.

It may cause serious damage to other organs of your African dwarf frog.

However, you can add salt in the tank water to make the sick frog feel better. The purpose of adding salt is to extract the excess fluid. But, your African dwarf frog may not tolerate this because of being a freshwater amphibian. It may lead to its death too.

3. Mycobacteriosis

Symptoms of Mycobacteriosis in African Dwarf Frogs

Your African dwarf frogs look pretty bad due to this bacterial attack. This poor frog will show the following symptoms of Mycobacteriosis.

  • Non-healing open sores
  • Dermal ulceration
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Skin discoloration
  • Swollen body
  • Cloudy eyes

Treatment Of Mycobacteriosis

There are mainly two popular ways of treatment of Mycobacteriosis.

  • Amputation of the infected body parts
  • Vaccine administration of clarithromycin, rifampin, isoniazid, azithromycin, and so on.

But, you need to take a vet’s suggestion before providing any medicine. In addition, you should maintain the good husbandry of the African dwarf frog tank.

Fungal Infection Of African Dwarf Frogs

African dwarf frogs are also susceptible to a fungal infection that can be fatal sometimes. In addition, you can notice visible gradual signs of fungal infection of your affected dwarf frog.

Why is my African dwarf frog skin peeling?

There are a few reasons why your African dwarf frog skin is peeling. Sometimes, it can be a matter of worry. On the other hand, it can be the usual behavior of your pet frog.

African dwarf frogs peel skin due to bad water conditions, fungal infection, the high toxin in water, and so on. Moreover, shedding skin is a natural process for African dwarf frogs due to their growth.

Like many animals, African dwarf frogs shed their skin while growing. These aquatic frogs grow pretty quickly. So, it is normal behavior for your African dwarf frogs to peel their skin while growing up. You need not worry about this type of shedding.

On the other hand, sudden parameter change in water, poor water condition, the inappropriate water temperature can be the reason why African dwarf frogs start peeling their skin suddenly.

To maintain a good water parameter, you must adjust an aquarium filter for your dwarf frogs.

Also, the reason for African dwarf frog’s skin peeling can be fungal infection too. Let’s check out how you can understand whether your pet frog is normally shedding or it is a fungal infection.

Owner: Michelle Ebel

Shedding Or Fungus: Why Does My African Dwarf Frog Look Fuzzy?

If you notice fuzzy, cottony patches on your African dwarf frog’s skin, it may be a fungal infection.

Sometimes, the owners get confused between normal shedding and shedding caused by diseases. When your African dwarf frog sheds its skin, the skin will be taken off in one piece.

But, your African dwarf frog must be sufferer from fungal infection if it sheds its skin into pieces.

1. Chytrid Fungus On African Dwarf Frogs

Symptoms: How Do I Know If My African Dwarf Frog Has Chytrid?

It is pretty easy to recognize an African dwarf frog affected with Chytrid fungus. I have summed up the symptoms by which you can readily determine the health problem of Chytrid.

Let’s check these out to know if your African dwarf frog has Chytrid.

  • Roughness on skin
  • Reddening on skin
  • Constriction of the eyes’ pupil
  • Shedding skin in pieces
  • Excessive shedding
  • Skin ulceration
  • Discoloration in skin
  • Showing sluggish behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Floating
  • Hiding all the time
  • Hind legs being trailing behind
  • Lacking of reflexes
See also  Can Two African Dwarf Frogs Live Together?

2. African Dwarf Frog White Knees

White knees of white spots on the body can be the symptom of fungal infection. You should check out if your dwarf frog has fuzzy patches and broken shedding.

All of these are signs of chytrid fungal infection. You can search for other symptoms to make sure of the health problem of your frog.

Why is my dwarf frog turning white?

Due to fungal infection, African dwarf frogs can have small white cottony patches all over their skin.

Also, the small white spot can grow larger and spread on the body. It can make your African dwarf frog turn white.

You can check out other signs to ensure whether the health problem is a fungal infection or not. Also, the frog tank usually smells bad in such cases.

Owner: Lisa Snellenberg-Penner

3. African dwarf frog fuzzy foot

The whitish spots or fuzziness on foot are included in the symptoms of fungal infection of African dwarf frogs. It may seem like your frog’s feet are rotting. If you notice the fuzzy foot of your African dwarf frog, it must be a fungal infection. Do not waste a moment to take professional help in such cases.

Treatment: How Do You Treat African Dwarf Frogs For Chytrid?

The treatment for Chytrid fungus depends on the stage of this disease. If you diagnose this health problem at an early stage, benzalkonium chloride can help your sick frog. Otherwise, you can use 75% of diluted hydrogen peroxide.

In addition, the experts suggest adding 10 squirts of Lamisil into 400-500 ml of water. For better treatment, you can use 2% Malachite green once a day to clear up the fungus.

However, you must take suggestions from a vet before providing these medicines to your sick dwarf frog.

4. Zygomycosis Of African Dwarf Frogs

Symptoms Of Zygomycosis

  • Visible fungal infection in the mouth area
  • Redness in the abdomen
  • Nodules over the skin
  • Loss of balance
  • Lethargy
  • Skin discoloration


If you notice the symptoms of zygomycosis in your pet dwarf frog, you must take your affected frog to a vet as soon as possible. However, do not forget to isolate your affected frog from other frogs or tank mates.

5. Viral Infection Of African Dwarf Frogs

Like many other fish and amphibians, African dwarf frogs are also prone to viral infections. Your African dwarf frogs can also get infected due to Ranaviruses.

Symptoms Of Viral Infection

Although the signs are somewhat confusing, you can check out the following clinical symptoms of viral infection. These are-

  • Unusual swimming behavior
  • Abnormal body posture
  • Lethargy
  • Buoyancy deficits
  • Erosive skin sores
  • Swollen abdomen and thighs
  • Discoloration in skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Bleeding from mouth and anus
  • Hemorrhage of several internal organs


Unfortunately, there is no cure for the diseases of Ranaviruses. The experts have not got any vaccine or treatment for such diseases.

When you notice such symptoms, you must quarantine your affected African dwarf frog. To prevent spreading, you can disinfect the entire tank of the affected African dwarf frog with all equipment. For this, you can use a 3%-5% bleach solution.

6. Ich On African Dwarf Frogs

Usually, the aquatic livings tend to get infected with ich.

You might have found ich in the tank mates of your African dwarf frogs. Hence, it’s pretty common to wonder if your African dwarf frogs get ich too!

The experts and experienced owners said that there is no possibility of African dwarf frogs getting ich.

Because of the mucus membrane on the skin of African dwarf frogs, these frogs are not likely to get ich.

Owner: Marley Miranda

7. African Dwarf Frog Bump On The Head

There can be several reasons behind the unusual growth, lump, or bump on your African dwarf frog. The reason can be parasitic infection, fungal infection, abscess, tumor, cysts, etc.

Sometimes, these small bumps heal themselves. In such cases, there’s no need to worry. Hence, you need to monitor the bump or lump for several days to find out the health problem.

When the bump gets white and fluffy, it can be a fungal infection on your African dwarf frog. Sometimes, your dwarf frog may get wounds. These wounds can form abscesses by getting infected. From such abscesses, you will notice a white substance come out.

On the other hand, if the bump develops reddening inflammation, it may be a bacterial infection.

Besides, your African dwarf frog may ingest tapeworm that can turn into larvae. It will form a bump on the African dwarf frog.

In addition, the bumps can be a tumor, skeletal deformities, or cysts too.


Firstly, you need to monitor the bump growth for a few days. Sometimes, the bump bursts and drains out the pus or fluid substance. In this case, you need not worry about the bump unless you notice any inflammation.

Otherwise, you must seek help from a vet to clean out the bump. According to the vet’s prescription, you should provide proper medications to your sick frog.

Is Pimafix safe for African dwarf frogs?

As an anti-fungal, the experts and experienced owners suggest using Pimafix. Pimafix is safe for your pet African dwarf frogs to heal their wounds.

On the other hand, Pimafix fights against fungus as well as bacteria. In addition, using Pimafix does not cost any side effects or harmful effects on African dwarf frogs.

8. African Dwarf Frog Cloudy Eyes

Hazy or cloudy eyes of African dwarf frogs are a sign of health problems. After all, a healthy frog must have clear eyes. There are a few reasons for which the eyes of your African dwarf frog can get cloudy. These are-

  • Immune system gets weak
  • Bad water parameter
  • Bacterial infection
See also  How Long Can African Dwarf Frogs Go Without Food?


The very first thing that you need to maintain is keeping the tank water clean and fresh. You can provide slightly salty water.

Besides, you should maintain a proper feeding guide with good supplementation. If you want to know details about the African dwarf frog diet, you can check out this article to get a fool-proof feeding guide.

Besides, if you find additional symptoms of bacterial infection, you should take administration of dosage according to the vet’s prescription.

9. African Dwarf Frog Parasitic Infection


African dwarf frogs can suffer from several types of parasitic health problems. You can detect such parasitic infections on your dwarf frog by noticing certain signs.

These are-

  • Getting skinner
  • Thick skin
  • Edema
  • Loss of interest in food
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty in movement
  • Lump on the body


The drug has to kill the parasites or worms in African dwarf frogs. Hence, you must take professional help at first. After proper diagnosis, the vet can instruct you with an accurate dosage of vaccine. However, the experts give Doxycycline, Diethylcarbamazine citrate, etc. to treat parasitic infection of African dwarf frogs.

Why Is My African Dwarf Frog Staying At The Top Of The Tank?

Generally, African dwarf frogs come to the top of the tank to breathe oxygen. But, when your frog starts floating or staying at the top of the tank,  there must be something wrong.

African dwarf frog stays at the top of the tank mainly because of dropsy. Overfeeding, lack of energy, improper water condition, pregnancy, etc. can make your African dwarf frog stay at the top of the tank.

If the tank environment doesn’t suit your pet frog, your dwarf frog may want to leave the tank.

Hence, these frogs tend to stay at the upper section of the tank. For this, you should ensure keeping the tank environment comfortable.

Besides, you must keep compatible tank mates for your African dwarf frog. You can also go through this article for some suggestions of compatible tank mates for African dwarf frogs.

On the other hand, if the reason is dropsy, you should take essential steps to drain out the excess fluids.

Owner: Michelle Ebel

Why is my African dwarf frog turning red?

If an African Dwarf frog is turning red, it may be suffering from red leg disease caused by a bacteria called Aeromonas hydrophila. However, this is not the only reason why an African Dwarf frog may turn red. 

Do African dwarf frogs shed skin?

African Dwarf Frogs do shed their skin as they grow, which is a normal behavior for this species. Shedding of the skin usually occurs when the frog is still young and growing quickly, but even when it is fully grown, the frog can shed its skin once a month. 

Why is my African dwarf frog floating?

African dwarf frogs generally float on the surface of the water to chill and relax. They can also float to breath in air. However, there can be some other reasons for floating, such as overfeeding, inadequate water conditions, lack of energy, and a disease called Dropsy that causes fluid to accumulate in their bodies.

Another reason could be that the frog is too young and hasn’t learned how to exhale air from its lungs. If the frog is bloated, it could be due to the nature of the food eaten, such as bloodworms and some types of shrimp, which can be carriers of parasites that can kill African Dwarf Frogs.

Why does my African dwarf frog hide behind the filter?

African Dwarf Frogs may hide behind the filter because it is instinctual for them to hide from predators and adapt to their environment.

In nature, African Dwarf Frogs are an easy meal for other animals, so they seek deep water and spots where they’re out of sight in their tank.

Another reason could be that they are feeling threatened by unsuitable tank mates, especially aggressive fish, crabs, crayfish, or turtles, so they sometimes go into hiding out of fear of being preyed on by other tank mates.

It is also possible that they are simply seeking a dark and quiet spot to rest.

What does a sick African dwarf frog look like?

A sick African Dwarf Frog may display several symptoms that indicate its poor health, such as lethargy, a loss of appetite, weight loss, skin discoloration, open sores, dermal ulceration, lumps and bumps, and cloudy eyes. 

What is the red leg disease of African dwarf frogs?

Red leg disease, also known as “pink belly disease” or bacterial dermatosepticemia, is a bacterial infection caused by Aeromonas hydrophila that is commonly found in captive African dwarf frogs. The disease is characterized by reddening of the under-skin and loss of appetite, and can be fatal if not treated promptly with appropriate antibacterial therapy.

Final Words

Keeping African dwarf frogs as pets is a responsibility to keep these frogs healthy and sound. I hope this article enlightened you about several common health problems of African dwarf frogs and their treatments. Maintain pre-cautions for these diseases to enjoy long accompany of your pet frog.

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. 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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