African Clawed and Dwarf Frog: Xenopus laevis and Hymenochirus boettgeri These aquatic frogs make excellent pets for people new to owning exotic animals. Living their whole lives in water, caring for a clawed or dwarf frog may only be a little more complicated than caring for a goldfish. As always, though, it is important to take the proper steps so your frog lives a happy, healthy life.
Basic Info Age: 5-15 years, although some have lived to 20 Size: 2.5 inches for dwarf frogs, and up to 5 inches for clawed frogs
Behavior The main difference between dwarf and clawed frogs is that the clawed frog is an aggressive predator. That means in most circumstances it should live alone. Additionally, some fish can harm the docile, little dwarf frog. If you want to keep a dwarf frog in a tank with other fish, it should be with other docile community fish, such as tetra or goldfish.
Both are quite active, loving to swim and float around. Both are entirely aquatic. That means they live their lives under water, coming to the surface briefly for air. That makes these pets ideal for watching, but you won’t have much of an opportunity to “play” with them.
Diet Both dwarf and clawed frogs can be fed frozen bloodworms, frozen brineshirmp, and live guppies. Clawed frogs can also receive night crawlers and specially formulated pellet food. Talk to a vet before deciding on a diet for your frog. You cannot feed your frog flake food like you would a goldfish. This food lacks all of the nutrients that your frog will need for a healthy life. In the winter, your frog’s metabolism may slow down, so you will need to feed your frog less.
Environment & Caging It is important to provide your frog with enough space in its tank so that it can swim around. For dwarf frogs, a general rule is two gallons of water per frog. For clawed frogs, it should be 10 gallons of water per frog. For dwarf frogs, do not put too much water in the tank, because it will make it hard for them to reach the surface for air.
Your frogs will also need places to hide. One of the easiest ways to do this is to include a terra cotta pot turned on its side. Additionally, you can include anubias nana plants in the tank for additional hiding areas. These plants are strong enough that you should not have to worry about a clawed frog shredding it to pieces. Making sure you provide your frog with high-quality water is a must. Keep it between 70-75 degrees (buy a heater if the temperature is dropping below that). A quiet filter is strongly recommended; both types are extremely sensitive to water vibrations. Change the water in the tank routinely to make sure your frog’s environment stays clean. Typically a 25% water change is needed weekly, but this should be based on regular water quality testing as one would do for fish.
Both frogs can stand incandescent, fluorescent or no light. Make sure to turn out the lights at night for them.
Veterinary Care We recommend a physical examination every 6-12 months for your frog, where we can check your frog for any warning signs and order blood work if necessary. In the meantime, keep an eye on your frog for changes in appetite, skin color, or activity level. These could be signs that your frog is sick.