10 Signs That Say Your African Dwarf Frog Is Dying

Some beginners often become surprised when their African dwarf frogs die suddenly. The new owners might miss the signs of their African dwarf frog dying. If you detect the signs earlier, you can save your dwarf frog from an early death.

Before the situation gets worse, African dwarf frogs show several signs that say your dwarf frog is dying. Your sick dwarf frog will lose appetite, show lethargy, disorientation, pale skin, cloudy eyes, and so on.

In this article, I’ve explained 10 signs with detailed information that say your African dwarf frog is dying. So, let’s go through this article without any further ado.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Dwarf Frog?

The lifespan of an African dwarf frog depends on the care level, habitation, and other environmental factors. Generally, African dwarf frogs do not live much longer in the wild.

Generally, these aquatic frogs survive 2-5 years. The average lifespan of African dwarf frogs is around 5 years in the wild. On the other hand, there are records of living up to 20 years in captivity.

African dwarf frogs live a shorter time than in captivity due to having predators, adverse weather, and other complexities.

10 Signs Of African Dwarf Frogs Dying

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your African dwarf frog, you should take immediate action. So, it’ll be better to know about these signs beforehand. Let’s check them out.

1. Loss of Appetite

African dwarf frogs aren’t picky eaters like other pets. These aquatic frogs have a voracious appetite. So, African dwarf frogs tend to eat anything that they find to eat.

When your dwarf frog eats properly, this is a good sign of their sound health. Showing no interest in food means something wrong to your frog. The primary symptom of a dying African dwarf frog is its loss of appetite or less eating.

But, you should give a little time to newly brought African dwarf frogs. These new frogs require a bit of time to get adjusted. Before this, your new frogs may not eat anything.

2. Lethargy

The energy level is one of the most significant factors in determining the physical soundness of your frog. Generally, African dwarf frogs tend to be playful. Their social nature helps them remain active.

When your African dwarf frog is dying, it’ll show lethargic behavior. It can be an underlying sign of dropsy, metabolic bone disorder, fungal or bacterial infection, etc. In worse conditions, your sick dwarf frog may die.

3. Cloudy Eyes

Whenever African dwarf frogs become sick, the integrity of their lens gets affected. Otherwise, healthy African dwarf frogs have clear eyes.

See also  African Dwarf Frog Death: 10 Causes & Prevention

Eye cloudiness is a significant sign that says your African dwarf frog is dying. The eyes of African dwarf frogs become cloudy when their immune system gets depressed.

It can happen due to several factors. Such as high levels of toxins in the water, poor water quality, infectious diseases, etc. Along with cloudy eyes, you may notice several other health issues in your African dwarf frogs.

4. Pale Skin

A dying African dwarf frog will show pale skin for 1-3 days before their death. Generally, the skin coloration of a healthy African dwarf frog is muddy brown or a mixture of brown and olive green. When the immune system of your dwarf frog gets distressed, it’ll affect the skin of your African dwarf frogs.

But, pale skin can be a sign of their aging process too. The skin of African dwarf frogs becomes pale before shedding. It may turn almost white.

All you need to do is to observe their shedding. If your African dwarf frogs shed their skin, the paleness of the skin will be gone. Your dwarf frog will get their original darker coloration back.

But, it’ll be a matter of concern when your African dwarf frogs do not shed after an entire day of remaining pale. You should search for the potential reasons behind this symptom. Otherwise, your frog will die within 1-3 days.

5. Open Wounds

Your African dwarf frogs might get hurt while playing or swimming rapidly. If there are open wounds, cuts, and bruises, these will invite harmful bacteria into the boy of African dwarf frogs. As a result, your African dwarf frogs remain susceptible to bacterial infections due to their sores.

These bacterial infections may get fatal when the infections do not get healed fast. So, an unhealed open wound is a sign that your dwarf frog is dying soon.

6. Broken Limbs

Broken limbs are another sign of the quick death of African dwarf frogs. If African dwarf frogs break their limbs, it’ll be hard for these frogs to swim comfortably. Moreover, these frogs will struggle to reach the surface of the water to breathe.

As a result, there’ll be a higher chance of death because of not getting proper oxygen. Sometimes, these dwarf frogs can’t reach their food because of their broken limbs. In consequence, broken limbs result in the quick death of your African dwarf frogs.

7. Excessive Shedding

Shedding is a natural process of African dwarf frogs as a part of their growing up. These frogs need to shed their skin regularly to soften the skin for smooth breathing.

But, excessive shedding is a sign of a dying African dwarf frog. When African dwarf frogs become infected with the deadly Chytrid fungus, these infected frogs will shed too much. Besides, it can happen due to high levels of ammonia, nitrite, or toxins.

If you do not treat the condition, your African dwarf frog will die soon. So, you must not neglect this deadly sign of shedding. 

8. Red Skin

If the underside of the legs of African dwarf frogs turns red, it may be a severe sign of your dying frog. Generally, it happens due to an opportunistic bacterial pathogen. Your African dwarf frogs may die when red leg syndrome gets severe.

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Since early detection is difficult, red leg syndrome can be fatal to dwarf frogs. According to research, the mortality rate due to red leg syndrome is 80%-100%. When the situation worsens, there will be additional dying signs of your frog. Such as lethargy, anorexia, etc.

9. Staying At The Top Of The Tank

If your healthy African dwarf frog stays at the top of the tank, the reason may be its sluggishness. But, it can be a serious sign that says your African dwarf frog is dying.

Your African dwarf frogs may float at the top of the tank due to having excess fluid in their bodies. This condition is known as dropsy. Also, inappropriate water parameters can cause this abnormal behavior of dwarf frogs.

If you do not fix the situation, your African dwarf frog will die. So, staying at the top of the tank is a prominent sign of a dying dwarf frog.

10. No Movement

If you notice your African dwarf frog motionless, it can be a sign of your frog’s death. Your African dwarf frogs will float with their belly up. Also, you may notice no movement for hours. It is the final sign that your African dwarf frog is no more.

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!]

Do African Dwarf Frogs Float When They Die?

Since African dwarf frogs are fully aquatic, these frogs stay underwater all the time. These aquatic frogs come to the surface only for breathing. When these dwarf frogs die, they’ll stop swimming.

Since all organs of a dead frog’s body stop functioning, a dead African dwarf frog won’t be able to swim. As a result, your dwarf frog will stay still for a longer period when it dies. Also, you’ll notice its legs remaining sprawled.

But, you need to differentiate whether your dwarf frog is dead or not. Sometimes, your African dwarf frog may float despite being alive.

african dwarf frog good closeup

Do African Dwarf Frogs Play Dead?

Sometimes, the dwarf frog owners might become shocked seeing their healthy frog motionless. After a while, the frog may start swimming again. So, people often wonder whether African dwarf frogs play dead or not.

The answer is yes! African dwarf frogs can play dead for various reasons. Hence, you should look for other symptoms when your frog floats motionlessly.

In the wild, these aquatic frogs do this trick to fool their predators. Samely, African dwarf frogs can play dead in captivity. It can happen due to improper water conditions, stress, manipulation, and so on.

If you are interested to know 10 causes and prevention of their death, you can take a look at this article.

How To Prolong An African Dwarf Frog’s Lifespan?

Although the average lifespan of an African dwarf frog is 5 years, maximum dwarf frogs can not reach this limit. There are several things that you can do to prolong the lifespan of your African dwarf frog. Let’s see what you can do to increase the lifespan of your dwarf frog.

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1. Keeping Water Parameters Right

Since African dwarf frogs are entirely dependent on water, small changes in water parameters can take the life of your African dwarf frogs. So, it will be your top priority to keep the water parameters right, if you own an African dwarf frog.

You can take a look at the following chart consisting of the ideal parameters for these fully aquatic frogs.

Temperature68-78 degrees Fahrenheit (20-26 degrees Celcius)
Ammonia0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm
NitrateLess than 20 ppm

2. Less Handling

The less you handle your dwarf frogs, the less these frogs get sick. African dwarf frogs have pretty sensitive skin. Rough handling can make these frogs stressed.

Moreover, there are chances to pass toxic elements and harmful chemicals through the pores of the frog skin. If you need to hold your African dwarf frog, you should take proper precautions before handling the frog.

You can check this article to know if you can hold African dwarf frogs.

3. Proper Feeding

An improper diet causes nutrition deficiency and other fatal diseases. Along with a proper diet, you should provide the required supplementation and vitamins. Otherwise, the bones of your African dwarf frog will be brittle.

Your frog will be prone to illness. To prolong the lifespan of your frog, you should maintain a good diet of nutritious foods. Check this article for detailed information about the African dwarf frog diet and feeding guide.

4. Good Filtration

Since you feed your African dwarf frogs regularly, there’ll be uneaten food. Besides, your frog will produce waste. These wastes and leftovers raise the level of ammonia and nitrite.

If the filter doesn’t work properly, improper water parameters will make your frog stressed and sick. Hence, a strong filtration system is a must for your African dwarf frogs.

See this article about the significance of filtration for African dwarf frogs.

5. Reduce Stress Factors

Several things may make your African dwarf frog stressed. Such as poor water quality, noise, wrong tank mates, a strong current of filter, etc.

On the other hand, stress can lead to the death of your African dwarf frogs. So, you should reduce such stress factors if you want long accompany of your dwarf frog.

6. Quarantine The Sick Frog

If you have multiple African dwarf frogs, you should remove the sick frog. If your frog has an infectious disease, it can spread the bacteria to others. So, it’s necessary to quarantine the sick African dwarf frog and continue treatment separately.

What Should I Do With Dead African Dwarf Frogs?

No matter how upset you become, you should take action with your dead African dwarf frogs. The very first thing that you need to do is remove the dead frog.

If your frog dies due to infectious diseases, the dead frog will spread the bacteria to other tank mates. You should bury or incarcerate your dead African dwarf frogs as soon as possible.

Final Words

I hope you got your answers from this article. The mentioned signs will help you take steps to save your dying African dwarf frogs. You should observe your African dwarf frogs regularly to understand the signs of their illness.

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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