Do African Dwarf Frogs Need Filter?

african dwarf frog great closeup

African dwarf frogs are one of the easiest frogs to care for beginners. Although these are low-maintenance frogs, these frogs require your special concern for maintaining their water quality. Since African dwarf frogs thrive in freshwater, many beginners ask- do African dwarf frogs need a filter?

African dwarf frogs need a filter in captivity. Since African dwarf frogs are fully aquatic frogs, these frogs can not survive without water. On the other hand, these aquatic frogs are sensitive to water quality. To keep the tank water fresh and clean, an aquarium filter with an accurate flow rate is a must for African dwarf frogs.

I have researched a while, finding out the necessity of filtration and the best filters for African dwarf frogs. In this article, I have penned down all information that I’ve got regarding filters for African dwarf frogs. Let’s go through this article without any further ado.

Why Do African Dwarf Frogs Need Filter?

Because of being fully aquatic frogs, keeping African dwarf frogs as pets is a bit challenging. But, your worry about maintaining the water quality can be solved by getting a good filter. Now, you may wonder why African dwarf frogs need filters when you can do this manually.

Hence, I’ve explained below 3 reasons for the necessity of keeping a filter for African dwarf frogs. These are-

1. Removing Solid And Semi-solid Wastes

An aquarium filter clears out the solid and semi-solid wastages of the tank. Such as leftover foods, rotten plants, fish poop, and so on. Besides, these frogs pollute the tank water when they shed skins.

This removal is the very first part of the filtration process. It is named mechanical filtration too. By trapping such big particles of wastages, you can maintain the water quality stable.

However, you should remove the filtered products every two weeks. Otherwise, the water quality remains deteriorated when you let the filtered wastages rot for months.

2. Removing Toxins

The harmful ammonia is produced naturally from the wastages of African dwarf frogs and their tank mates, rotten plant leaves, and other decaying organic materials. This ammonia is toxic to African dwarf frogs.

In captivity, your pet African dwarf frogs will not survive if the amount of ammonia gets higher than 0 ppm. So, without a filter, it is almost impossible to remove the toxins from the water.

There remain some beneficial bacteria to African dwarf frogs in the media of the filter, which convert the ammonia to nitrates.

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On the other hand, this nitrate is not harmful to your dwarf frogs below a certain level. In this way, an aquarium filter can remove the toxins of the water by this biological filtration.

3. Removing Harmful Chemicals

In addition, an aquarium filter can remove harmful chemicals through chemical filtration. Usually, African dwarf frogs do not require chemical filtration. But, this will be badly essential when you need to reduce the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite level in the water.

An aquarium filter absorbs the harmful chemicals using carbon of its activated charcoal. In this way, the water of your African dwarf frog’s tank will be free from harmful chemicals and odor.

What Should You Consider Before Choosing An Aquarium Filter For Your ADF?

There are several types of aquarium filters with different characteristics. But, you have to choose a perfect one for the tank of your pet African dwarf frogs. Hence, you should consider some things before choosing an aquarium filter for your pet frogs.

Let’s check these considerable points out.


Before buying an aquarium filter, you must check out its capacity. If you choose a filter of 5 gallon capacity for a 10-gallon tank, it will not work out.

Hence, you should choose such a filter rated for the exact or higher capacity of the tank of your African dwarf frogs. Otherwise, the chosen filter will not be able to handle strong water currents for the big size of the tank.

Flow Rate

Another significant factor to consider is the flow rate of aquarium filters. The experts made a thumb rule for this.

The flow rate of your chosen filter should be 8-12 times the amount of water in gallon per hour. So, if your frog tank is of 5-gallon capacity, the flow rate of the filter should be between 40-60 gallons per hour.

Media Type And Amount

Media type and the amount of media determine the level of quality of an aquarium filter.

Filter media is such a type of filtering system that detaches and filters out the unwanted particles from the water. If you want to put your favorite media, you should choose certain filters with trays to fill media.

Besides, you should check out the number of filters in the capacity. If the capacity is high, the filter will have more surface area to colonize the beneficial bacteria.

So, you should keep in mind these factors before selecting a filter for your African dwarf frog.

Noise And Vibration

Some filters make too much noise and vibration. But, some filters do it moderately. On the other hand, African dwarf frogs get stressed quickly because of such noise and vibration. For this reason, you must check beforehand how noisy your chosen filter is!

Easy Maintenance

To make your life easier, you should choose filters which is easy to maintain. The filter should be easy to set up, open up, and detach the filtered components. Besides, it should allow you to see the filter media.

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Durability And Reputation

Lastly, you should consider its durability. You must not want to pay for such a filter which will not last long. Hence, you can check out the reviews and recommendations. After researching a while, you can determine which aquarium filter to buy by checking out their reviews.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Like Filters?

The answer is a bit complicated.

Although filtration is essential for African dwarf frogs, filters might be the reason for disturbances and discomfort for your frogs. Hence, the researchers made a hypothesis that African dwarf frogs may not like filters.

You might have known that African dwarf frogs like to stay in steady and motionless water. These frogs do not like much water movement. On the other hand, filters cause vibration in the water no matter how good the filters are.

In addition, aquarium filters tend to make more or fewer noises. But, African dwarf frogs are pretty sensitive to noise because of sensing the vibration.

Moreover, these frogs become stressed due to noises and vibrations. These may lead to their sickness. Sometimes, it may cause death to your dwarf frogs. However, you can check out this article to know how to improve the lifespan of your frog.

Hence, you should choose aquarium filters for your African dwarf frogs carefully.

What Kind Of Filter Do African Dwarf Frogs Need?

There are several types of aquarium filters of different brands. You can choose any one of them for your African dwarf frogs after checking out the features.

The most common types of aquarium filters are hang-on back (HOB) or power filters, internal canister filters, sponge filters, fluidized bed filters, under gravel filters, external canister filters, etc.

As African dwarf frogs are not good swimmers, they can not adjust to strong water flow. You might have known that dwarf frogs can reach up to only 3 inches. So, your African dwarf frog will easily get carried away by strong water flow.

Thus, you should bring such an adjustable flow filter. Besides, the filter has to maintain both biological and mechanical filtration.

Considering all of these conditions, African dwarf frogs will be better with external canister filters. These filters contain cartridges and own built-in internal pump placed between the filter and tank. The biggest advantage of this filter is to avoid transferring the vibrations into the tank.

Can African Dwarf Frogs Live Without A Filter?

The water of the tank gets dirty soon mainly because of the wastes produced by your African dwarf frogs. Besides, the leftover foods, rotten plants, etc contribute toxins to the water. For this reason, African dwarf frogs require a good filter to remove the toxins from the water.

African dwarf frogs can live without a filter if you frequently change the tank water. In case, you are not interested keeping an aquarium filter, you should do the water change manually. Otherwise, your African dwarf frog will not survive.

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For this, you have to treat some water to fill the tank halfway and keep it aside. Then, you should remove your pet dwarf frog gently from the tank. Keep your dwarf frog into a temporary tank for a while.

After this, you have to empty the tank and refill it with pre-treated, freshwater. Therefore, you can bring your pet dwarf frog back to its tank.

However, changing water periodically is a hectic job for any African dwarf frog owner. Generally, you should change around 10%-20% water once a week.

If you keep multiple dwarf frogs together, you will need to change the water more often than usual.

What Filter Is Best For African Dwarf Frogs?

I’ve researched a while to find out what filter will be the best for African dwarf frogs. Seeing lots of recommendations and positive reviews, I can suggest you go for Zoo Med Canister Filter.

This filter is convenient for your pet dwarf frogs and easy to maintain. You can easily see the media through its transparent body. So, you can replace the media when you notice its urgency through the clear body. Besides, its flow rate is pretty moderate.

In addition, this filter is easy to set up. Also, you can get it at an affordable price.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Need Aeration?

Although African dwarf frogs are fully aquatic, these frogs do not have any gills.

Despite living underwater all the time, dwarf frogs come to the surface to breathe fresh air. Hence, these frogs do not require aeration at all as they do not breathe from the water. But, you can adjust the aeration system to let your dwarf frogs play with the bubbles.

It can be a source of entertainment for your African dwarf frogs. However, the aeration system promotes beneficial bacteria in the tank where these good bacteria flourish in an oxygen-rich environment. It will keep the tank water healthy and fresh too.

Nevertheless, if you do not keep an aeration system, it will not create any harmful effects on your pet frogs.

Do Dwarf Frogs Need Air Pump?

Dwarf Frogs don’t require air pump. If you want to add bubble effects in the frog tank, you can keep an air pump.

It will aid your pet frogs to remain playful and happy. Otherwise, there is no stereotype rule for keeping an air pump for African dwarf frogs. After all, these dwarf frogs do not need an air pump in captivity.

If you search for an air pump, my recommendation will be Exo Terra Repti-Flo Air Pump.

Final Words

Keeping African dwarf frogs is both fun and responsibility. To keep your dwarf frog happy and healthy, it is essential to maintain the water quality good. I hope this article enlightened you about the necessity and required features of a filter for your African dwarf frogs.

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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