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When your child’s school sends her home with a new amphibian friend, you’ve got to adapt your aquarium to suit the little jumper’s needs – ASAP!

Being the mother of an animal-friendly 9-year-old girl is hard enough. But when the school starts sending her home with new additions to the family, you’ve got to be prepared for anything. That’s exactly what happened to us a few weeks ago. My daughter came home with a care sheet and permission slip to adopt two African Dwarf Frogs (ADF for short). This was a new species to me, and so we set out to learn about them, together.

We soon learned that creating a home for an ADF is straight forward. Being that they are tiny freshwater aquatic frogs, they can’t be in a tank that’s too deep, as they have to spring to the surface to breathe. The substrate should be sand or larger gravel, as frogs can eat smaller gravel, which blocks their intestines. ADFs appreciate live plants or other decorations that offer different levels for them to sit on, and use them as hiding places.

Our ADF tank is a 10 gallon, complemented with large gravel and stones of various colors (it’s a 9-year-old girl’s tank, what can I say?). She planted a small African Sword in the tank, along with some elodea. To finish off the décor, the tank is furnished with unique little statues and decorations. To keep the environment comfortable for our froggy friends, the tank is heated to 78 °F.

Here’s something I learned pretty quickly – it’s important to have a lid on the tank. ADFs are known as being escape artists… this typically does not end well for the frog.

The care sheet that came home with the frogs stated that we should feed them brine shrimp. As I’ve never had any luck hatching live brine shrimp, I use frozen brine shrimp, frozen blood worms, and a frog pellet I ordered online. Apparently, these little guys can’t see well, so it’s suggested that they have a food dish or are fed with a pair of tweezers, as they can easily miss their meal or lose it to something else in the tank.

As far as tank mates, you shouldn’t pair the frogs with anything large enough to eat them (common sense – I didn’t have to look that one up), as well as any living thing too small that will be eaten by the frogs. I chose to put a couple wild livebearers I had in with them (since the fish were all males, there was no concern about the frogs eating the fry).

So far, our experience with ADFs has been pretty easy. We did lose one, but because there were no outward signs of what caused it, we’re hoping it was due to “froggy old age” (he went peacefully in his sleep). I imagine wherever the school orders them through probably isn’t the best source for live animals, and so the stress of being shipped, and then cared for by a classroom of pre-teens probably didn’t help much.

I’ll keep you posted as to the health and wellbeing of our sole ADF… and thank goodness it’s summer vacation, because I don’t have any more room for new surprises!

Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.
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