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African Dwarf Frog Lifespan: How Long Can It Live?

African Dwarf Frog Lifespan

As if they reflect the cosmos on their skin, African dwarf frogs (ADF) are not only talked about amongst frog enthusiasts but also famous among pet lovers.  These amphibians rarely leave water bodies and live quite an active life despite being fragile.

It’s common for people to wonder about the African dwarf frog’s lifespan and ask how long it can live. These frogs usually live from 5 to 7 years. Depending on their type, habitat, and health condition, they may live up to 15 to 20 years.

They stand out amongst other frogs easily. It’s a bummer for frog lovers that they have a short life. But with proper care and measures in captivity, their lifespan can be increased. 

African Dwarf Frog Lifespan: How Long Can It Live?

African dwarf frogs were first discovered by the end of the 1800s. They became famous as aquatic pets in 1970. They have been reported to live for around 4 years. 

But if the weather conditions are agreeable and the geographical location has fewer predators, they may survive for 5–7 years. 

Some people think African dwarf frogs’ lifespan will decrease in captivity as they can’t quite survive in prolonged, challenging, or not-so-compatible conditions. But on the contrary, African dwarf frogs can live up to 20 years in human care!

Both male and female lifespan is the same.

To understand their lifespan better, we must learn more about African Dwarf Frogs – From egg to tadpole to almost full frog.

African Dwarf Frogs’ Life Span Depending on Different Habitat

African dwarf frogs living in the wild have to face challenges that other ones in captivity don’t have to. If not taken proper care, they in captivity won’t even live to their minimal age expected. 

If you learn more about the challenges they face, you will be able to increase their lifespan.

African Dwarf Frog Lifespan

The Lifespan of African Dwarf Frogs in the Wild

These frogs tend to live in rivers that have slower currents and in shallow ponds. They only ever come out of the water slightly for air. They usually originate from the Congo River Basin.  

We can also find them in Africa, northern Cameroon, and Nigeria. They only live 4 to 5 years or a maximum of 7 years in the wilderness. Some reasons for that are given below. 

  • They are not good swimmers. So if the current gets too fast, or the water gets concentrated because of pollution, it gets harder for them to survive.
  • They always face threats from predators. This is one thing pet frogs don’t have to go through.
  • Typically, they live in water temperatures from 23 to 26 degrees Celsius. So when this changes in nature, these frogs’ lifespan gets lower. 
Lifespan of African Dwarf Frogs in the Wild

The Lifespan of African Dwarf Frogs in Captivity

These frogs, unlike other frogs, cannot live without water. So, to keep them as pets, you must buy a water tank or aquarium. It doesn’t usually take more than 5–6 gallons of water for one African dwarf frog. 

But if you have 4 to 5 frogs, or you have communal fish as well, then a water tank or aquarium of 21–25 gallons will do fine. They can live up to 15 years in captivity with proper care. 

Since the condition of water and food consumption can be adequately controlled while keeping them as pets, these amphibians have lived longer.

Lifespan of African Dwarf Frogs in Captivity

How to Increase the Lifespan of Pet African Dwarf Frogs?

Even though in the wilderness, the lifespan of these amphibians depends on luck and nature, that’s not the case in captivity. We can artificially provide them with an atmosphere that can increase their lifespan.

Pet African Dwarf Frogs

Ensure the Right Tanks Internal Atmosphere

Since the frogs usually grow up to 3 inches (7.62 cm), the water flow should not be too harsh or fast. The water should be filtered 2 to 3 times an hour by a filter. 

  • Substrate: sand is the popular option for a substrate. You can also use gravel. But we have to ensure we have rinsed the substrate properly before putting it in a tank. 

This is a must, as they might spread bacterial diseases or have specks of dirt. We also have to be careful that the gravel or stones are big enough for the frogs not to end up swallowing them as food.

Ensure the Right Water Parameters

  • Temperature: These frogs live in 72-80° F water. So the temperature should be controlled, if needed, with a heater. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature every day. 

Also, you have to make sure that the tank is not under direct sunlight, as that might increase the temperature. 

  • Density: African dwarf frogs may die sooner if the water gets too dirty or heavy. So the 20% water should be changed once a week, and around 7 to 8% should be changed monthly. The density or hardness should be around 6 to 21 DGH. 
  • Acidity: African dwarf frogs live in slightly acidic water. The PH level is usually 6.4 to 7.6. Their water must be purified as high levels of ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite from normal tap water will be highly risky for them. You should ask yourself about pH: how low is too low, in the case of African dwarf frogs? 

No-Touching Increase the Lifespan of ADFs

African dwarf frogs are small and fragile. Despite being active and enthusiastic, their bones or organs can get severely damaged if handled too much. 

Humans, especially kids, mustn’t touch them. They need to be taken care of gently. This affects their lifespan directly.

No-Touching Increase the Lifespan African Dwarf Frogs

Tanks Lighting

African dwarf frogs are accustomed to a normal day-night cycle in the wild. So it’s important that, as pets, they are being kept in a similar atmosphere. Their tank should get at least 8–12 hours of normal daylight and be kept in a quiet and dark place later on. 

You can use different artificial tank lighting options to create that day-night cycle for them as well. We must do this as they cannot live in a prolonged, challenging atmosphere. 

Proper Diet Plan

Being omnivores, these frogs eat almost anything that fits their mouth. They keep munching on whatever food items they can get around them. This is their survival instinct at play. They don’t have tongues or teeth, so they usually use their claws to get food to their mouth and swallow them. 

African Dwarf Frogs Proper Diet Plan

There are multiple food options for them. You have to make sure that the food items are not in big chunks and are easy for them to swallow. They need to be fed once a day, twice at max. A few minutes after they are done eating, extra food items should be removed or cleaned off. 

They eat food from the ground. So the food items need to be reaching that level as well. Most food should be frozen. They usually eat-

  • Frog food pellets
  • Freeze-dried brine shrimp
  • Tubifex worms
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Blood worms
  • Insect larvae
  • Black worms, etc.

Tank Mates

These frogs are, by nature, very friendly. You can add multiple African dwarf frogs in one aquarium. You can also put communal fish with them. But be careful that your frogs are getting fed well. 

Otherwise, they’ll start eating the fish. Eating live fish may cause them to have Aquatic Dwarf Frog Diseases, which can be lifespan-shortening for them.

African Dwarf Frogs Tank Mates

Frequently Asked Questions

People who want to increase the lifespan of their favorite African dwarf frogs have many questions floating in their minds. Surely, learning more about these frogs will help in doing just that. 

Q: Will African dwarf frogs die at room temperature?

As long as the temperature is within 72-80° F, they’ll be fine. In special cases, you may use a room heater or water heater. 

Q: How long can African dwarf frogs survive without food?

They have been reported to survive for 3 to 4 days without food. This is contingent upon the fact that there is food lying around them which they munched on, for example, decorative live plants, etc. 

Q: How do I know if my African dwarf frog is dying?

There will be multiple signs. Weird swimming patterns, floating on water, not eating properly, staying still, shedding skin too many times in a month, pale skin, etc., are the primary symptoms. 

Final Words

African dwarf frogs are exquisite looking and have adorable characteristics. This has made many frog lovers ask around about the African Dwarf Frog Lifespan: How Long Can It Live? 

Sadly, they don’t survive longer than 5 to 7 years in the wilderness. But with proper care, they can survive decades! As pet lovers, people should gain adequate knowledge about them.

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