African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis)

African Clawed Frog

Also known as African Claw-Toed Frog (Xenopus laevis)

Author: John Wellington

Updated: March 24, 2018

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The African clawed frog is one of the easiest frogs to care for. They’re completely aquatic so a  small-sized aquarium will suit their needs perfectly. Not only do they not require a large tank, they eat nearly anything you place in front of them, they’re hardy and widely available online and in pet stores. African clawed frogs are an interesting species and great for beginners.

In captivity, African clawed frogs can live up to 30 years. Adults can grow up to 4 – 5 inches and they’re incredibly hardy; Some keepers have reported them surviving for days and weeks without food (although I don’t recommend intentionally starving your pet).

In the Wild

The African clawed frog is native to regions in Africa like Nigeria and Sudan. They have, however, been introduced into parts of South America and even Europe. Because they’re 100% aquatic, they can be found in ponds, streams and other bodies of water in sub-Saharan Africa.

Probably the most notable feature of this species is their claws. They have webbing between their claws on the hind legs but no webbing on the front. This, accompanied by the country they hail from, is the reason they’re named “African Clawed Frogs”. Also, this species is often confused and mislabeled as an African Dwarf Frog in pet stores. They’re very similar in appearance but have some small differences; not having webbed front feet and having eyes on top of their heads.

Xenopus, or “African clawed toad”, have eyes positioned on top of their heads. They are constantly scavenging for food and looking above, waiting for food to fall. A lateral line system spans the length of their body, giving them the ability to sense movement. This, accompanied with their sensitive fingers, makes them adept at locating a range of food sources.

As I mentioned above, they eat almost anything. They use their claws to shred organic matter such as dead fish and even tadpoles. They are currently the only amphibians known for doing this.

African Clawed Frog Tank Setup

Because this species is aquatic, an aquarium is the best option for caging them. You can go as big as you like but a 10-gallon tank is considered the minimum for one African clawed frog. I suggest fitting your aquarium with a screen lid as well. This species, while still in the water, are known to propel themselves out of tanks without lids. Here is a quick overview of the items you will need for their enclosure:

  • 10-gallon tank or bigger
  • Hiding places (using live or artificial decorations)
  • Screen lid
  • Medium gravel substrate
  • Filtration system *Optional

Place medium sized gravel on the bottom of their tank and fill it with at least 12 inches of clean, dechlorinated water (see the water quality section below for more information) and decorate using live or artificial plants. Providing a hiding place for your African clawed frog is a must. They like the safety of hiding among plants, in hollowed out logs and decorations, etc.

African Clawed Frog Tank Setup

An example of how to set up a tank for an African clawed frog.

While African clawed frogs survive in stagnant water in the wild, you should not let them swim in dirty water in captivity. It needs to be cleaned at least once a week or you can install an amphibian friendly water filtration system to decrease the amount of cleaning required.


One of the best qualities in caring for this type of frog is you do not need special lighting. While some frog species require UVB and basking lamps, the African clawed frog survives just fine without them.

Now, having said that, if you want to provide a light for them, you can. Many keepers use a hood light above the tank in order to see them better. You would be wise to give them a normal light cycle though. Try to provide them with 12 hours of dark and 12 hours of light.


This is yet another admirable quality for African clawed frogs; They do well at room temperature. So long as the heat stays between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, your little aquatic frog will be happy and healthy.


A substrate of medium or large sized gravel is generally what you see on the bottom of most African clawed frog’s tanks. Using small gravel or pebbles is frowned upon because this species can accidentally consume it while eating. Pebbles, once inside your frog, will remain in their stomach and will not be digested. The build-up of rocks and pebbles inside your pet will result in serious injury and even death! Because of this, many keepers opt for using gravel that is too big for your frog to consume.

Water Quality

The most important part of your frog’s habitat is clean, dechlorinated water suitable for amphibians. You must remove chlorine & other harmful toxins from the water before placing your frog into it! Here are two methods for removing chlorine from normal tap water:

  • Use a dechlorination agent
  • Let the water sit for 24 hours

Among the items listed above, the fastest way is to use a dechlorination agent. These water conditioning agents are cheap and readily available online or at your local pet store. It’s probably the most utilized method because they remove both chlorine and chloramine.

Another option is to fill the aquarium with tap water and let it set for 24 hours. The chlorine will evaporate out, leaving you with dechlorinated water. However, this option might not be safe depending on the water in your local area. Some jurisdictions add chloramine to drinking water which is harmful to amphibians; letting the water sit for 24 hours will not remove chloramine. I suggest calling your city to find out what they add to their water supply.

Using bottled water* The final option is to buy bottled water. Salts and minerals are usually added after the water has been treated, making it a great option for frogs. This is generally considered a safe method and is common practice among amphibian keepers.

African Clawed Frog Diet

Feeding your African clawed frog is one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning one. Once tamed, they have been known to take food directly from their keeper’s hands! The occasional nibble on your finger is common-practice but fear not, it won’t hurt because this species doesn’t have teeth (or a tongue, actually).

Feeding African Clawed Frog

A picture of an albino African clawed frog eating from its owner’s hand.


You have plenty of options when feeding your pet. Aquatic frog & tadpole pellets are readily available at your local pet store. You can also feed them waxworms, minnows and other feeder fish, bloodworms, and earthworms. They’ve even been known to eat dog and cat food as well. Nearly any kind of organic food material, dead or alive, floating near your African clawed frog will be consumed.

  • Aquatic frog pellets
  • Waxworms, bloodworms, and earthworms
  • Feeder Fish

Whatever you choose, remember that a balanced diet is best. Feed them a variety of food and they will remain healthy.

As far as how much you feed them largely depends on their age and size. I suggest only feeding them what they will eat in roughly 30 minutes and feed them daily. Overeating is less of a problem then undereating; When they are full, in most cases, they will simply stop eating. Pay attention to your frog’s size, though, and feed them accordingly. If they’re a little overweight, try feeding them once every other day. If they’re skinny and don’t look healthy, you should feed them more often and consider giving them supplements.


In the wild African clawed frogs lay eggs during the rainy season; from late winter into the springtime. In captivity, however, they often reproduce spontaneously. This isn’t always the case. Should you decide to breed your frogs, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started.


Before we dive into it, perhaps its best to start with “sexing”. Female African clawed frogs are bigger than males by roughly 20%. They are also described as being more “plump” with chubby legs. A small bump can be seen between their legs where eggs are passed (this is called the “Cloaca”).  Males are smaller, sporting slim legs and a nuptial pad on their forearms which is black in coloration after reaching maturity.


Now that we’ve established the differences in males and females, I’ll list a few tips for breeding African clawed frogs. Simulating a spring-time rainstorm is a sure-fire way to help your frogs reproduce. In order to simulate a spring rain, most keepers will lower the temperature of the water to 65 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the water level to drop a few inches. These conditions are held for 30 – 45 days. Meanwhile, clean their enclosure by doing partial water changes. After 4 – 6 weeks, increase the water temperature to 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit and increase the water level back to normal.

This will simulate a spring-time flood and should induce reproduction. I suggest doing this before night time. After you increase the temperature and water level, shut the lights off and leave them alone. Darkness gives them a sense of security which is always an added benefit.

Fertilized Eggs

Once the mood is right, so-to-speak, the male frog will call out to the female. The sound is best described as a cricket under water. Sometimes this call also accompanied by a dance. In return, the female will respond with a clicking noise. The male, using his arms, will grasp just above the female’s rear legs (this is known as “Inguinal Amplexus”) and essentially squeeze her. The eggs will pass through the female’s cloaca and the male fertilizes them outside of the body. A female can lay hundreds of eggs and the entire process can last from two hours to two days.

Once mating is finished, you should remove the eggs from the frog’s tank. African clawed frogs, when hungry, have been known to eat their own eggs. Place them in a separate tank with clean water at a temperature of 80 – 82 degrees. These eggs will hatch in 48 – 96 hours.


The new African clawed frog tadpoles will feed on micro-organisms and will transform into froglets in about two months.

Handling Your African Clawed Frog

You’ve probably guessed by now, seeing as these are aquatic frogs, that handling an African clawed frog is not something you should make common-practice of. If you’ve decided not to use a water filtering system, you’ll need to clean their tank at least once a week and transferring them to a safe location is okay. Be mindful not to stress them and avoid handling them as much as possible.

Once tamed, however, these frogs have been known to eat food from their keeper’s hands. This can be an enjoyable aspect instead of handling.

Infographic for African Clawed Frogs

Infographic for African Clawed Frogs


98 Questions & Answers

  • Robert

    I have had an ACF for about 2 years now in a 55 gal. tank. I just moved (from the city to a more rural area), and for the first time I’ve heard the frog making croaking noises. I didn’t ever notice this before, unless it just started. Do you know what it might mean? The frog seems healthy and happy. Could it be that it hears more crickets outside and it’s responding to that? Could it just be happier than it was before? Or would it be a sign of stress from the move?

    • John Wellington

      My guess is that the temperature of the water is more suitable to their liking! Could this be accurate?

  • Amanda Smith

    I have a 14 year old ACF who hasn’t been eating for about the last week. I’ve had her since she was a baby and I’ve never had this issue. I moved her from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon about 2 years ago and I also switched from pellets to live food at the same time. I use a Marineland biowheel filter and tap water. She seemed to love the new tank and new food. She’s bad at catching prey so I hand feed her and she is always very enthusiastic.

    I tested her water with a testing strip and found it was off the charts in every category except nitrites, which was zero. So I changed put in a new filter, gravel vacc’ed and did about a 25% water change. I used Prime water conditioner. That was yesterday. Today I tested her water again and the nitrates were slightly better but the pH and hardness hadn’t changed. So I did another 25% water change, again using Prime.

    I’m wondering if ther is anything else I should be doing. Also, she molted (maybe twice?) in the last week so I’m not sure that has out her off her food.

    A completely different issue I wanted to ask about… She has had a lump on her lower left abdomen for years. She used to be on small gravel and I assumed she had eaten some but it has never gone away. Should I have a vet look at it?

    • John Wellington

      It sounds like you’re doing everything right, considering you’re using water conditioner and doing partial water changes. As for the lump, you’re probably right about your suspicions. She may have consumed a piece of small gravel. That also might be why she isn’t eating.

  • Terri Black

    John, I’m so glad I found this site. I have raised African Albino claw frogs for many years. My first male lived for 28 years. We are working on starting over again. Right now we have an adult female and have ordered one new female and one male. How long should we keep them isolated from our other female? We don’t want our baby girl frog (she’s an adult but our baby) to get sick. Thank you for this site I was thrilled to hear so many who are frog people too!!!!

    • John Wellington

      Hi, Terri! That’s awesome! 28 years is really good for a ACF! You can keep them isolated for two – four weeks. Also, you’re probably aware of this, but it would be a good idea to make sure the frogs are similar in size before keeping them in the same enclosure. A juvenile ACF might get picked-on by an adult, for example.

    • John Wellington

      15 gallons or bigger! You can get “40 gallon breeders” pretty cheap sometimes but you certainly don’t need something that big.

  • JRC

    I have a couple questions. So my ACF was doing very well. We got her about 6 months ago being told it was an AFrican Dwarf Clawed Frog (yes I now know they don’t exist). She was very small and She was a very healthy eater (would eat 7-8 wax worms every 2 days or 3-4 earth worms every 2 days). Over the past month she has drastically reduced how much she eats and almost looks like she has seizure actionS every now and then. She used to come up to the side of the tank and was always right there to greet you. Now she doesn’t. She just wants to hide all the time. I am wondering if she has maybe ingested rocks would this effect her? Is there a way to help get the rocks out. Besides the fact that I was misinformed greatly by the pet store what kind of frog it was and also that she was supposed to be for my son, I have grown cray attached to her and love her company. I’m worried and would be sooo upset if she died. Thank you for the time to read this. Your page has been extremely helpful.

    • John Wellington

      Hey there! Sorry to hear your ACF isn’t doing so well. I’m not sure if there is much you can do if she has swallowed some rocks. Definitely switch to rocks that are too big for her to eat. I’m sorry this reply won’t be of much use. I would encourage you to contact a local vet to see what they recommend. Also, what is the water quality like?

  • Kim

    My large, albino frog escaped the tank sometime early this morning. I came downstairs to what I’ll call a “blood bath” near my front door (across the room from the aquarium). Surprisingly the frog was still alive, but hours later died. I have no idea how long he was out of the water. I had him almost 8 years and haven’t seen these frogs at any pet stores since my purchase. I still have a smaller (calmer) green one, so I hope that one has a long life ahead of him.

  • Debbie

    I have a fully grown albino ACF that is currently in a 55 gallon tank with other fish. I am considering downsizing and moving the frog to a 10 gallon tank in my sons room. He would be either by himself or possible with 1 other fish. Will this be a safe move since he is used to being in a larger tank?

    • John Wellington

      He will probably be fine. It’s quite a downgrade though. Consider a 15 gallon?

  • S.A. London

    Hi, we have 3 African Clawed 2 albino and one not which has recently changed colour to be almost black!? Do you think it’s ok?

    • John Wellington

      Hey! How old is the one that recently changed in color? They do have the ability to change color! Don’t be too alarmed by this.

      • S.A. London

        Thanks, not entirely sure how old but we think close to 10yrs, and the change has only happened in the past few months. They’ve all been living together about 4yrs now, so the only recent change we can think of is changing their food from frozen to dry bloodworms… could this be it?

      • John Wellington

        I’m not sure! They mostly eat anything you give them lol. You could try switching back to their old food and seeing if that helps?

  • Cas N

    I have two albino clawed frogs, one of them is really plump and the other one is very skinny and keeps going into the corner and bumping into it. This is my first time owning frogs of any sort and I’m concerned he may be depressed

    • John Wellington

      Are the two frogs around the same age and size (aside from plumpness)? When you feed them, does the smaller one get a chance to eat?

  • Lindsey

    Hi John!
    One of my two clawed frogs passed recently. :(. Does my other frog need a friend? Are they social creatures? There are currently 6 fish in his 20 gallon tank (they are all over 1 inch. I made the mistake of having a smaller fish once and you can guess what happened). I will get him a frog friend if you think that is best, but if he’s just as happy on his own, I may leave my tank as it nis for now. I will say that he’s been a lot more active since I added the new fish. Thanks!

    • John Wellington

      I get this question a lot and I wish I knew the answer. I haven’t found any information that suggests they get lonely. Your one frog will likely be just fine on it’s own!

  • Juliette Jarin

    I have a 20 gallon tank with 2 ADFs.I think that they are killing and eating fish large and small😱I need advice on what to do.I have 2 20 gallon tanks but I’m afraid they will eat the fish in that one .too.UGHHH 😩HELP!!😆

    • John Wellington

      Yeeeahh lol I’m not sure I can do anything to help with that. It can be challenging finding tank mates for clawed frogs because they’re good at killing fish. Usually they won’t bother anything bigger than them but that’s not always the case. How big are the fish they’re killing compared to your frogs? Are you keeping them well fed?

  • Peggie

    I’m reading these comments about frogs living 20-30yrs and I’m wondering what we are doing wrong. We’ve had 3 or 4 frogs and the longest we’ve ever had one was a couple years. It seems I just get attached to them and then they die. I’m not sure what we are doing wrong. We have a 65 gal tank, water temp is 82-84 degrees. Is that too warm (from what I’ve been reading) and water level is at 21”, is that too deep? I was feeding the frogs freeze dried blood worms/brine shrimp every night, then one of the frogs died suddenly. The other one stayed alive a few weeks later, but quit eating. We bought frog pellets, but didn’t seem too thrilled about them. We have an angel and 3 silver dollars as well as a pletco an upside down cat fish and an albino cat fish. Can the water temp be lowered to 60-70 degrees and the other fish be okay? We really would like to get a couple more frogs, but want them to live longer than a couple years. I had them eating out of my hand😢 Can someone help us figure out what we are doing wrong? I miss seeing our frogs.

    • John Wellington

      I’m sorry to hear that, Peggie. I recommend lowering the temperature a little. Between 65 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, how often do you do water changes and how do you do them? Also, what type of water are you using and you treating it?

  • Cathy Kelley

    I like the idea of not having gravel but the artificial plants I have need an anchor. Also I have a 16 gallon tank with 12 inches of water and they love it and will prop up by one foot to peep out the water.

  • Elvia Smith

    I believe my frog has dropsey. He is very bloated. He looks like the frog Shrek blew up and made a balloon out of. Can I use aquarium salt to help him?

  • Samantha

    Hey! So Ive had my ACF For almost a year and recently he started turning a little bit darker with some black marks on him. He’s use to be in a 10gal tank with a loach when they were babies and I moved them both to a 40gal tank a couple months ago. The color change happened randomly but if you have some incite that would be awesome!

  • Daisia Godsey

    Can you safely house 2 ACF together in the same tank? Right now I have the 1 ACF and 2 koi and they get along great once Frogger (my son named him lol) realized he couldn’t eat them cause they was too big. But I have been considering getting another one but I got him by accident. See he was sold to me as an african dwarf frog and I’m not sure I’d be able to find another one.

    • John Wellington

      Yes, they can be kept together. My recommendation is to keep them separate unless they’re close to the same size. Putting a juvenile ACF with an adult might cause problems.

  • John

    Can you use a bioactive substraight under gravel and use live plants with a clawed frog

    • John Wellington

      I believe so. Make sure the gravel is too big for the frogs to eat. I don’t know enough about bioactive substrates for aquatic frogs to be much help here.

  • Lisa Foster

    My big Albino Clawed Frog jumped out of the tank. I am not sure how long he was out, maybe overnight. I found him at the front door in the morning. I figured he would be dead, but he wasnt. I gently put water on him and put him back in the tank fully expecting him to die. He dirtied the water with a huge poop. It is now two days later and he has red veiny lines on him. He is kind of looking beat up but still goes up for air. I have not fed him yet. I am worried about him. Has anyone had this experience? Let me know how it ended. His tank mate is fine. She is not totally albino and a bit smaller.

    • John Wellington

      Any update on this? I haven’t had that happen but I imagine he will be okay. Best wishes

  • Adele Veilleux

    Ok, so I took in two african clawed frogs, they’re the albino ones lol, ive never owned frogs before. One of the two is continuously eating the gravel. It is medium sized, but he is currently trying to pass a rock or two and i’m stressing! He’s done this before and passed it but it’s pretty darn stressful in the meantime because it’s clearly a big rock coming from a small little belly. Anyway will they be alright if i remove gravel all together in this tank? It’s making me too anxious that they are going to die. I also feed them brine shrimp from the pet store and i feed them every other day currently. Is that enough?

    • John Wellington

      Yeah it’s fine to remove the gravel! You don’t need it. Another alternative is to get some gravel that’s too large for them to eat.

  • Krystina

    Hello! I recently got two ACF that started as tadpoles. They are now frogs and I’m trying to get things together for them. I am just a little confused, do I need a heater? I got a tank and have it filtering to get running and it seems to be a bit colder than the recommended temp. With them being such tiny frogs I’m very worried about keeping them alive and healthy in the best environment possible. Any other suggestions for baby frogs would be greatly appreciated as well!

    • John Wellington

      What’s the temperature at? These guys generally do well at room temperature (around 70 Fahrenheit).

      • Krystina

        The thermometer is reading around 65-68.

      • John Wellington

        That’s a bit on the cool side but its within the acceptable range.

  • Bobby Maroudas

    Have moved house. Koi had to be relocated. I am moving my frog to a smaller garden pond. I feel he/she needs company. I see that a large fish will be company?

    • John

      Fish too big could eat your frog. Vice-versa, fish too small might be killed by your frog. It’s a difficult balance lol.

  • Dee

    Hi, we have had our Albino ACF for 20 years. We bought her at Walmart for $5. Recently we got a new plecostomus the fifth one I think. Anyway Whitey is now very bloated. What should we do? We have never had any problems until now. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the new fish would it?

    • John

      If the new Plecostomus is the only change to the enclosure you might consider removing it? The bloating could be from impaction of overeating but since you’ve had Whitey for 20 years I seriously doubt that’s the issue. I’m at a loss.

  • Caitlin

    Hi, is a 50 gallon tank too big for my frog? Also, what’s the maximum height the water can be? What other animals can be in the tank with him?

    • John

      That should be fine. Try to keep the depth of the water between 8 to 12-inches. As for keeping other animals in the tank, the general rule is to use docile fish larger than 1-inch. Anything smaller might become a meal for your frog.

      • Daisia Godsey

        we had an Oscar 3″ long and an african cichlid about the same size and our frog killed both of them.

      • John

        Geez. African cichlids are usually pretty aggressive too. How big is your frog?

      • Daisia Godsey

        we have had him for almost 2 years so he’s probably 4-5 inches now.

  • Joshua Anders

    I have a 40 gallon tank with many live plants and wood etc.. I have 4 black Moors 3 gold fish one massive.. then 2 sucking loaches at the bottom… I wish to buy two frogs but I’m not sure they will go with the fish I’ve got or maybe the sucking loaches.. what can you advice for me to do …?

    • John

      The general rule-of-thumb when it comes to housing African Clawed Frogs with fish is that the fish should be docile and larger than 1 inch. Anything smaller will probably become the frog’s food.

  • Susan Sumpter

    Is there a difference other than color of the albino or golden clawed frogs than tutti’s

  • Gladys

    I have recently purchased 2 dyed African clawed frogs. They are presently in a community tank with goldfish that are larger than them. My ACF’s are about 2 inches long when they stretch their legs. How long before I have to get them out of the tank? They get along well with the fish for now.

    • John

      So long as the fish are bigger than 1-inch in length, the ACF will most likely not bother the fish – even when full grown. Anything smaller than 1-inch will could become food for the frogs.

  • Craig

    I was searching for African clawed toads, when I got to my local store the guy told me he had made a mistake and that he had african three clawed frogs, I was unaware of the species but he advised me that they were pretty similar they would grow to a length of around 15cm max and that they would be fine as an addition to my home aquarium, on his advice I purchased 2 of these amphibians which are now housed with my fish in the main aquarium. Upon a little digging I found out that these animals can get upto 7 inches and live for 20 to 30 years. Can anyone please help should I move them to their own tank do they require a perch as I have been told they are completely amphibious and spend all of there time under water and also that the will come out and sit on a log of available. They are still clearly young only around 6cm long at the moment but eating blood worms and brine shrimp 1 of each frozen cubes every 2 days at present but they have been eating and dead fish that have died while they have been in the tank should I be worried oor the live fish as at the moment their mouths don’t seem to be wide enough to get a fish in there. Any advice and or tips would be appreciated, also should I provide stones or some form or substrate I.E. Mud or sand

    • John

      Hey, Craig. This type of thing seems to happen fairly often. There is an African clawed frog, which this page is all about. Similarly, there is an aquatic frog known as an African Dwarf Frog and the two difference species are often mistaken for one another – even by pet store associates. The easiest way to tell the difference is on the “claws” on their front arms. ACFs don’t have webbing. ADFs do have webbing.

      So, yes, they can live 20 – 30 years. Since they’re still young you don’t have much to worry about but in the future, small fish could fall victim to your frogs. Anything smaller than 1-inch in length. They need about 8 – 12 inches of water and you don’t need to provide them a place to perch outside of the water because they won’t use it. Place a screen lid on the aquarium (they can jump out).

      I recommend reading this page for information or the ADF care sheet page if that’s the type of frog you have.

  • Qash

    Why are we not supposed to be handling our frogs? Mine swim right into my hand. Is there a reason why we shouldn’t?

    • John

      It sounds like your frogs are friendly. That’s awesome! The reason I don’t recommend handling frogs is because their skin is semi-permeable which can potentially put them at risk of injury if you touch them while you have chemicals on your hands. Soap, for example, both bother you as much as it will bother them.

  • Heather

    This may sound like a stupid question but I have had an african albino for a few years. Shes a healthy girl. When I bought her, she was with another frog. I was thinking of buying a companion but she has eaten any other fish I’ve attempted to put in with her. Do they get along with other frogs?

    • John

      Yep, they will get along for the most part. I don’t recommend introducing a baby or juvenile frog into her enclosure. It would probably end up like the fish. Also, what size of fish did you have with her? Anything larger than 1-inch in length?

  • Jess G

    I got a frog growth kit for my kids for Christmas. The African clawed frog tadpoles finally arrived this week. Approximately 15 tadpoles arrived, all survived initial shipping, transport from the address to our home, and for approximately 48 hours after.

    This morning, we went to check the tank and every single tadpole has died. We will try again, but what could have gone wrong?

    -They were shipped to my parents, as we do not get USPS. They put about half tank of bottled water and put the bag if tadpoles in (still sealed) to adjust temperature slowly.

    -They were driven to our home that evening. They are barely days old, so we weren’t surprised there wasn’t much movement. We opened their bag, added a little tank water, and after a few minutes dumped the lot in the tank.

    -As instructions said to feed once any were swimming, I added a tiny punch of the provided food.

    -Before I went to bed, I topped off the tank with well water. It is UV treated but we do not add anything.

    -The following day, most of the tadpoles were far more active with maybe 5 or more clearly more so than the rest. All were observed to change position. One small one was discovered deceased and was removed. Another tiny bit of food was added, water still clear.

    -Over the course of the day, they were fine. Before bed, I covered about 3/4 of the tank with a dishtowel to block some of the nightlight. As it is one of the small critter keeper style tanks, at least one full vent side was still exposed and should have provided plenty of air.

    -The next morning, all tadpoles were deceased, water slightly cloudy. Water temp measured at 70.4F. Tank had been in front of a window that gets no direct sun this time of year.

    Could the temp have dropped too much overnight? Other ideas?

    • John

      Its hard to say what happened. UV-treated well water is perfectly fine. UV treatment inactivates pathogens rather than killing them like chemical treatment does. Since dormant pathogens aren’t harmful, you end up with safe, clean drinking water without chemicals like chlorine. You mentioned they were in a critter keeper near a window? Did you happen to have a thermometer that records the highs/lows over the last 24 hours? Windows are notorious for letting in cold air. Critter keepers aren’t very large either. My first guess would be that the temperature dropped a bit too much over night – being near a window and in a small amount of water.

      Don’t give up! Tadpoles are hard to raise 🙂 Please let me know your thoughts on the cold window theory.

      • Sherry L Jarecki

        Im a sch. custodian. One of the new teacher has two clawed frogs in his class rm. His tank was way to small so I gave him a larger tank. The water at the school has alot of clohrine in it. I’ve read your comment that waiting 24 hrs it may not evaporate. Now I’m worried. I gave him guppies & added the sch. water the next day most died so when filling the frog tank We waited 24 hrs. Then I added guppies & waited until the next day, I figured if the guppies survived it would be ok to put the frogs in there new set up. What’s your thoughts

      • John Wellington

        A water conditioner can help with dechlorinating the water. They’re inexpensive and can be found online or at most pet stores (even super markets). Most the time, letting water sit out for a day will remove most the chlorine. Stirring can help too. This doesn’t work for all water though. Chloramines last longer! Either way, I highly recommend water conditioner if you’re using tap water!

  • Jennifer

    As a gift, I was given an African Clawed Frog when I was 16 years old. I am now 48 years old and I still have the 32 year old frog. I would humbly suggest that since these frogs live sooooo long in captivity, that people should really think twice before adding them to their aquarium. My frog is also very agressive and seems to eat any other living creature put into the tank so it doesn’t make a very exciting aquarium. Sorry if I sound resentful, but the novelty has worn off.

  • Sadie

    I have two African clawed frogs who (I think) are female. Ive had them for two years and I keep them in approx. 6-7 inches of water and they’ve always seemed perfectly happy but lately I’ve noticed them jumping more often (I don’t have a filter system I just do water changes) and I worry it’s because the water is too shallow. Is there any chance frequent hopping and sploshing around is a symptom of distress? They do it once in a while maybe once an hour.

    • John

      How deep is the water level? Also, have you made a change in water depth over time?

      • LMJ

        My son was given a 5-6 year old frog from his friend. It was a grow your own project at school, I believe. He didn’t know what kind he was, but told us he would live for a very long time. I used Google Lens just now (we have had him for a year) I believe he is a ACF (front feet have no webbing). We have him in a 10 gallon enclosure but they kept his water level at around 3″, so that’s what we have done. Fred seems to like poking his head partially out. After reading this forum I’m worried. Should we add more water? We also have small gravel/rocks in his tank. How would I know if he has ingested any?

      • John Wellington

        A lot of people have about 12-inches of water in the enclosure and they place a screen lid over the top of the tank so the frog doesn’t get out. One of the ways you can tell if its impacted is if it has a large stomach. I would recommend switching out the small gravel for something bigger.

  • jax

    Hi / please advise what i can feed eggs turning into tadpoles soon hopefully. do many different advice / i have 2 tanks filled with eggs :)). please advise what and how much . i have temperature at 22 degrees – is that ok too . thanks

    • John

      The water should be a bit warmer – 25 or 26 c (around or just below 80 Fahrenheit). You can feed them a variety of things but it needs to be small or “fine”. Ground-up shrimp pellets, bloodworms, or even some boiled spinach would work.

  • Debbie

    I have an African claw frog and one of his eyes is all red and swollen is there anything I can do

    • John

      I recommend calling a veterinarian and asking for their advice. Also, make sure the water quality is good. That’s very important. It needs to be clean, dechlorinated water.

  • Ki Catherall

    dear john
    Yes it was like that but actually much bigger around its middle section. Is it being overfed? Or do we need to feed ours more?
    Best wishes

    • John

      It could be one of two things. It might be overfed. Which, btw, if your African Clawed Frog is as big as the one in the picture, you’re good. Any bigger than this and you’re probably overfeeding it. There is one other possibility though. The other frog may have ingested some rocks. You said it was bigger around its middle section, right? If its legs weren’t as chunky as its stomach, it may have some small gravel/pebbles trapped in there. Do you recall if that frog was in a tank with small gravel substrate?

    • John

      I suppose you can buy them whenever you want to 🙂 Just be sure to have their habitat setup and ready when you get one! You can buy them from local breeders or pet stores.

    • Susan Sumpter

      I order from planet inverts and highly recommend alpha Pro breeders. Both are connected and you can google or find group on Facebook. They are guaranteed!

  • Donn DeCaro

    I have an African albino frog.was doing great until a wk ago when I went to clean the tank and noticed it convulsing like a seizure and noticed afterwords it wasn’t using its back this normal or did something go wrong?

    • John

      Hey, Donn. I’m sorry to hear about your albino African clawed frog. I think it’s safe to say that something went wrong… I hope he will be alright. Can you give us an update on your pet? Is he doing okay?

  • Robin Robinson

    My ACF jumped out of his habitat. Did not eat for three days. Eats well now but his poo is loose. Is there something that I can do to help him to get back to regularity?

    • John

      I recommend getting a screen lid to keep him from jumping out again! It might take him a few days to heal and get back to normal. If he continues to act strange, my only recommendation is to speak to your veterinarian.

  • Denise Fouad

    I recently got an ACF at my local pet store, am currently housing it in a 20 gallon aquarium, it is a male my question is how high can I put the water level, I do have a lid a to prevent it from jumping out and b to stop my cat for harming it, I have seen to many mixed videos about this some videos say make sure the water level is low enough for the frogs foot to touch the bottom and it’s nose to be able to rather the top, while other videos say why do frog keepers keep a space from the water level to the top of the tank, any help on this will be greatly appreciated.

    • John

      Hey, Denise! The most important aspect of the water level in your ACF’s enclosure is the depth. The recommended water level is approximately 12-inches in height. It doesn’t matter if the tank is 14-inches or 140-inches tall, the water should be around 1 foot deep! I hope this helps!

  • Olivia

    Hello , I had 2 African Clawed frogs however 1 passed away this morning not too sure how but he had a damaged mark on his leg and I think he caught it on the cup I use to pick them up with and put into my bath when I’m cleaning them out, anyway I have 1 frog left and I wanted to know will he mourn for the other frog ? And when he croaks is he calling for the other frog ? Or just calling for a mate ? Also is it bad to keep only 1 frog ?

    • John

      Hey, Olivia. I’m sorry to hear about your ACF passing away. I wonder if he got stuck or his leg injury caused his death? Either way, again, sorry to hear about this. I wish I could tell you whether or not the other frog will mourn. I’m not sure if anyone has the answer to that. As for the calling, it’s most likely looking for a mate.

    • Rebecca Lesly

      Sorry to hear of the loss. We too lost one of ours. We had 2 females and they where super close to each other. But I found once I put a sucker fish in the tank my remaining frog baby is much happier seeing now she has I guess a companion. They do fine alone but do prefer company of sorts. Luckily for our sucker fish he is huge so she cannot eat him although she did try at first which was funny because she had his tail in her mouth and he was on her back cleaning her. They have since then became very close friends and like to hide out together from time to time. I am not saying this will help much but it has helped our lonely frog baby to not feel so alone. My parents had the frogs for 15 years before they where given to me as a mothers day gift 5 years ago. So they do live a long and happy life for sure. The one that passed away, ended up just being much much older then the one still kicking. Good luck with your Froggy baby I hope you can find her some kind of happiness in the end.

  • Naomi

    What sort of filtration system? Can you be very specific, maybe even suggest a few brands? I don’t think a filtration system is really “optional” unless I’m maybe doing it wrong/using the wrong tools.

    • John

      So sorry for the late reply. The filtration system is definitely optional. some keepers prefer not to use them as they believe the noise/vibration of the system is harmful to the frog(s). Personally, I don’t believe that but I respect the beliefs of those who do! If you don’t use a water filter, simply clean the water manually – perform partial water changes as needed or, if need be, do a full water change.

      Anyway, as for the water filter, that can be a touchy subject due to the number of different filters and types of filters (mechanical, biological, and chemical). A tetra whisper filter is a popular item due to low vibration. I hope this was helpful!

      • Ki Catherall

        We saw a very what we thought was a large and bloated looking albino frog yesterday and I’m now wondering if ours should look like that also? Are we not feeding him enough? We feed every other day worms and there is vegetation in his tank.
        Best wishes

      • John

        It’s hard to say. The bloated looking albino frog you saw may have been overweight. Was it much bigger than this one?
        Albino African Clawed Frog

      • Sherry

        I don’t have clawed frogs buy I have fired bellied toads. They laid eggs. I had 50 tads ended up with 28 baby frogs. In my opion when having tadpoles not all will survive.water temp. is very inportent . I fed mine blanched spinach & blood worms.I used a turkey baster to such up waste & uneaten food daily. Good luck , best wishes.

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