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When you think aquarium you automatically think fish. But has it ever occurred to you to raise frogs in the aquarium too? These little amphibians can be very nice little guests in your tanks. Let’s get to know more about them and learn how to take care of the Hymenochirus.

Although they are amphibians, that its, they live both in and out of the water, there are a species of frog that is quite happy to live in the water full time and, therefore, are quite suited to live in an aquarium, even without any island. One of these is the Hymenochirus species, one of the most common on the market.


They originated in west-central Africa but have actually been bred in captivity for a great many years. These tiny little frogs have a life expectancy of between 8 and 15 years and are called dwarf frogs because, at most, they reach a length of 3-3.5 cm. They are really darling and ideal for aquariums because they remain small even when they are adult.

If you would like a dwarf frog, make sure you don’t mistake it with a Xenopus. These frogs live quite happily in the aquarium too but they grow to a much larger size (up to 15 cm!) and are expert predators, while the Hymenochirus is timid and shy. Both are common species and sport a brown colour, although the Xenopus is often a bit pink in the albino version (it is rare to find an albino Hymenochirus). To make sure you have the right frog, check its front paws. The Hymenochirus has webbed toes, Xenopus don’t.

african dwarf frog hymenochirus boettgeri


Caring for frogs living in your aquarium, like taking care of any animal you adopt and take into your home, is not without its rules and regulations. To ensure their health and wellbeing you have to be aware of each one’s special needs. The Hymenochirus, being very small, are also quite delicate. It’s best to house them in their own aquarium. They are timid and would not be able to get to the food before the others have finished it, or they could be eaten by the larger predatory fish they live with.

You don’t need huge tanks to raise Hymenochirus frogs. It’s best to keep them in small groups of 4 to 5 in an aquarium of some 30 litres. There should be a layer of non-abrasive sand on the bottom, better yet if its soil or large pebbles (they eat on the bottom of the tank and thus also swallow gravel or sand, which could give them intestinal problems). Put in plenty of plants and places in which they can hide.

The topic of proper nutrition for your frogs is a bit more complicated. Some of them will eat just about anything right from the start, while others are pickier. They are not big fans of dried foods, so it’s best to provide them with live or frozen foods. And they should not be fed every day, too much food will actually kill them.

Another important factor to take into consideration is that, like all frogs, the Hymenochirus is also a great jumper and the aquarium must be covered! And being small, they can squeeze through a myriad of places to get out, so make sure you have closed every possible escape route.

suitable aquarium for aquatic dwarf frogs Cayman by Ferplast

With the right precautions in place you can enjoy caring for your Hymenochirus in the aquarium. Tiny and shy, they are funny little creatures and if they feel like they’re being watched or are in danger, they stop dead in their tracks and hope no one will notice them, a bit like mimes! As cute as they are, there’s no doubt you’ll fall in love with them!

aquatic african dwarf frog hymenochirus boettgeri

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