Is My African Dwarf Frog Pregnant or Bloated?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Here are the main common signs to look for to determine whether your African Dwarf Frog is Pregnant (carrying eggs) or just bloated.

Is My African Dwarf Frog Pregnant or Bloated?

If you have some African dwarf frogs, males and females, you might wonder if your female African dwarf frogs are pregnant. Well, what you need to know right off the bat is that African dwarf frogs are egg layers, not live bearers, so they are never actually pregnant.

That said, there are ways to tell when female African dwarf frogs are ready to lay eggs. Today we want to talk about breeding African dwarf frogs, being able to tell whether they are pregnant or just bloated, and how to take care of African dwarf frogs tadpoles too.

How To Tell If My African Dwarf Frog Is Pregnant?

One of the first things we need to say here is that African dwarf frogs never actually get pregnant. Only animals like mammals which give birth to live offspring get pregnant.

Animals which give birth to live offspring are known as live bearers. African dwarf frogs do not give birth to live offspring. They lay eggs, which therefore means that they are never actually pregnant.

With that being said, there are still some ways to tell whether or not African dwarf frogs are ready to lay eggs. Now, something else important to note is that it is very difficult to get African dwarf frogs to breed and to lay eggs at home, extremely difficult.

Therefore, right off the bat, the chances that your frog is ready to lay eggs is not huge, However, there are some ways to tell.

Males & Females

African Dwarf Frog Male and Female

If you have male and female African dwarf frogs in the tank, there is a chance that the female’s reproductive cycle may be triggered, or in other words, if there are males and females in the tank, there is a chance that she may lay eggs.

However, the females do require the presence of males for them to start laying eggs. If there are no males present in the tank, a female African dwarf frog is not going to produce or lay eggs.

Of course, this means that you need to be able to tell the difference between male and female African dwarf frogs.

Moreover, if the male frogs are harassing the female African dwarf frogs and constantly following them around, it is an indication that she is carrying eggs and ready to lay them.

The males can tell this quite easily and will begin to compete with each other for dominance, and therefore the right to fertilize the female’s eggs once she lays them.

  • Female African dwarf frogs have a large tail bud and are generally quite large and chunky, whereas the males have virtually no tail bud and are noticeably smaller than the females.

Getting Big

One easy way to tell if your female African dwarf frogs are pregnant is by taking a look at them.

If they begin to get what appears to be fat, especially if their abdomens are increasing in size, there is a good chance that the female is carrying eggs.

A female African dwarf frog can lay several hundred eggs in one go, up to 750 in a single spawning, so this will give her a much wider and bulkier appearance.

However, it does need to be noted that these frogs can suffer from some severe bloating conditions, so this size difference is not the best way to tell.

During this time, the females may also eat a bit less due to a lot of interior space being taken up by eggs.

The Conditions

A good way to tell if your African dwarf frogs are pregnant is by examining tank conditions. We did already mention that getting these frogs to breed is very hard.

There is one specific thing that needs to happen here. In the wild, African dwarf frogs are spurred on to breed by the changing seasons and changing weather.

In captivity, to get a female African dwarf frog to produce and lay eggs, the water level in the tank needs to be lowered by about 7 cm or 2.75 inches in the course of about 4 weeks.

After you have done this, you then need to use warm water to increase the water level in the tank back to its original level, and the water should be heated to around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

This temperature should be maintained for roughly 2 weeks. If you feed the African dwarf frogs high quality food for the duration, they should then produce and lay eggs.

This is important to know, because if this process has not occurred in your aquarium, then chances are almost zero that any African dwarf frogs are pregnant or ready to lay eggs.

How Long Are African Dwarf Frogs Pregnant?

As we have already established, African dwarf frogs are technically never pregnant, because they lay eggs.

Once a female starts producing eggs, which she will do when the right conditions are met, as described above, it will only take 2 to 3 weeks for her to be ready to mate and lay those eggs.

An African dwarf frog can easily lay a clutch of 750 eggs every 3 to 4 months, if not more, depending on the conditions.

Once the mating between the male and female African dwarf frogs has completed, the female will more or less instantly lay those eggs, so she never actually carries them for very long.

The gestation period inside of the eggs is about the closest thing to pregnancy as possible. Once the eggs have been fertilized and laid, it will take roughly 48 hours for those eggs to gestate and hatch into young African dwarf frogs tadpoles.

Is My African Dwarf Frog Bloated?

Alright, so, if your frog looks like it is getting very big and fat, you might be concerned about bloat. African dwarf frogs are susceptible to developing a bloating condition or illness known as dropsy, as well as milder forms or just generally bloating.

Here is how to tell if your ADF is bloated VS pregnant;

Size & Fatness

If your frog is getting very fat and round, almost like a balloon ready to pop, and the abdomen is very smooth and round, it is probably bloated, not carrying eggs.

An egg carrying female, if she is really full of eggs, her abdomen might look like a bag of marbles. In other words, you may be able to see individual eggs.


While African dwarf frogs are carrying eggs, they will not eat as much as they usually do, but they will still eat.

On the other hand, African dwarf frogs that are bloated probably won’t eat at all.

Are There Eggs?

There are some bloating conditions like dropsy which cannot be cured, and there are other less severe forms of bloat that can be cured.

Bloating may be caused by a variety of factors. If the large belly goes away without any eggs being laid, your African dwarf frogs were not pregnant.

Changing Water & Temperature Conditions

Keep in mind that African dwarf frogs need those special conditions (water level and temperature changes) to begin developing eggs, plus there also have to be males in the tank.

If neither of these things are present or have occurred, your frog is bloated, not pregnant.


Pregnant African dwarf frogs, although they are a bit heavier and chunkier than normal, will usually behave like business as usual.

In other words, their behaviour won’t change all that much, at least not until mating happens.

However, a frog with bloat may be moody, act unconventionally, stop eating, or stop moving altogether.

Skin & Coloration

African dwarf frogs which are ill, such as if they are bloated or suffering from dropsy, may shed their skin or lose a lot of their color.

A pregnant frog usually won’t shed her skin and she won’t lose color either. If these things happen, your frog is sick, not pregnant.

What To Do If My African Dwarf Frog Lays Eggs?

If your African dwarf frog lays eggs, if you don’t care about breeding, simply leave the eggs in the tank.

The adult frogs will quickly eat up most of the eggs present, so everything will take care of itself. Even if not all the eggs are eaten by the adults, those that hatch probably won’t survive for long and may still be eaten.

However, if you had planned on breeding your African dwarf frogs and keeping the eggs, or in other words, allowing them to hatch and then raising or selling the tadpoles, you need to remove the parents from the tank immediately.

Removing the adults from the tank is the only way to prevent the African dwarf frog eggs from being eaten. You should remove the frogs and place them in another tank with the ideal living conditions.

Conversely, on the other hand, if you are serious about breeding your African dwarf frogs, you can always set up a breeding tank and have the frogs lay their eggs in there. Once the eggs are laid, you can then return the African dwarf frogs to their original home tank.

How Do You Take Care Of African Dwarf Frog Tadpoles?

African Dwarf Frog Tadpole

Alright, so the eggs which your African dwarf frog laid should hatch within 48 hours of being laid. Keep in mind that depending on the conditions, it may take up to 7 days for the eggs to hatch.

If you want to keep and raise those African dwarf frog tadpoles, you need to ensure that they have the right conditions, especially when it comes to the right food and proper feeding.

Below are the best tips to follow to take care of African dwarf frog eggs.


Keep the temperature in the tank with the African dwarf frog tadpoles between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

These little guys are very small and don’t retain body heat well, so they need the water to be quite warm.

Water Cleanliness

Make sure that the tank with the African dwarf frog tadpoles has excellent filtration. Yes, African dwarf frogs are very sensitive and fragile, and this goes double for the tadpoles.

The water needs to be kept exceptionally clean. You have to be very careful here, as tadpoles can easily get sucked into the filter.

Many would recommend forgoing the filter and just doing 10% daily water changes to prevent the tadpoles from dying due to the filter intake sucking them in.

Water Movement

With the above point in mind, you do need to make sure that the water in the African dwarf frog tadpole’s tank has virtually no flow or movement.

As opposed to what you might think, these frogs are not strong swimmers and they do not like anything which even slightly resembles a strong current.


The only other thing left to do is to feed the tadpoles. When they are first born, for the first few days, their mouths will be too small to eat solid foods.

Really the only thing to feed the tadpoles are microscopic protozoans. You can go for some simple liquid fry food or powder/flake fish food.

After 7 to 10 days, the tadpoles will be large enough to eat other foods such as brine shrimp, whiteworms, and Cyclop-eez.

Reintroduction To The Parent Tank

It is going to take between 13 and 16 weeks for the tadpoles to grow into fully grown African dwarf frogs, at which time you can move them back into the same tank with their parents.


The bottom line is that African dwarf frogs are never actually pregnant, but they do lay eggs. If you have females and males in the same tank, and you spur on their breeding using that water level/temperature change technique we discussed, chances are that breeding will occur.

Just remember that African dwarf frog tadpoles have an 80% mortality rate, so don’t be discouraged if not too many of them make it.

Photo Credits: Stevengosch and Samantha Ramsay / FlickR