African dwarf frogs are aquatic pets that do not require a lot of maintenance. But even so, they need to be in a clean environment in order to be at their best and have a long lifespan.

This is why keeping the aquarium clean is a crucial aspect of successfully housing African dwarf frogs as aquarium pets.

Good news! Cleaning the aquarium does not take a whole lot of work. It is in fact quite easy, but you just cannot sleep on it and need to clean the aquarium regularly.

In this article, I will try to guide you on how to properly clean a tank of African dwarf frogs.

How does an African Dwarf Frog Tank get dirty?

How does an African Dwarf Frog Tank get dirty
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Before you read any further, I think you first need to understand why exactly an African dwarf frog aquarium may get dirty. Well, there are a number of reasons why an aquarium housing frogs can become dirty.

First of all, your pet frogs will naturally produce waste, which makes the water dirty.

Another thing that can make the water dirty is dust from the substrate of the tank. Occasionally, dust from substrates like gravel and stones settles in the water after some time has passed, giving the water a cloudy appearance.

It can also happen because of the leftover food in the aquarium. African dwarf frogs are slow eaters, and if you are feeding them live food, such as bloodworms or blackworms, the worms will keep on living in the tank and create a mess. Such instances can be dangerous, as leftover food will definitely create a bacterial bloom in the water.

Can I take my African Dwarf Frogs out of the Water?

Can I take my African Dwarf Frogs out of the Water
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Before cleaning the aquarium, you need to take the African dwarf frogs out of the aquarium in order to perform a thorough cleaning. These frogs do not survive outside of water for very long though, so it’s best that you move them to a different bowl that is full of water in the meantime. Make sure to cover the bowl with something so that the frogs don’t jump out.

10-step guide to cleaning an African Dwarf Frog Tank

An easy 10 step guide to cleaning an African Dwarf Frog Tank
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Here, I will provide you with a step by step guide on how to proceed with cleaning an aquarium housing African dwarf frogs:

Step 1 – Prepare the Water

It’s best practice to prepare the water that you will add to the aquarium ahead of time. Depending on the size of your tank, fill a container with however much you need (20 gallons, for example), and then treat it to remove any chlorine. Given that African dwarf frogs are known to be intolerant of chlorinated water, dechlorinated water is absolutely essential.

Step 2 – Remove Frogs from the Tank

Take the frogs out of the tank and put them in a temporary container (a bowl, for example), and cover the lid so that the frogs do not escape.

If you are not doing a thorough cleaning and are just changing the water, then you can skip this step.

Step 3 – Drain the old Water

Drain from 1/4th up to 3/4th of the old water in the tank. The ratio really depends on how much filth there is in the water. You can use a small plastic container, a siphon hose, or even your filter to take the water out

Step 4 – Take Out and Clean any Decorations

Take out any decorations you have inside the aquarium. Take the live plants out as well. Wash them with clean water and scrub them with a brush. Afterward, set them aside.

While you’re at it, also take out any heaters, thermometers, and lighting you may have installed in the aquarium and wipe them with a dry paper towel.

Step 5 – Take Out and Clean the Substrate

Now it’s time to take out the substrate you’re using in the tank. You do not need to take it all out unless you plan to sanitize the tank in order to treat any diseases. You can use any small hand shovel to do this.

Once you’ve taken them out, place all the gravel in a fine colander (you know, the thing most people use to wash rice), and then wash them with hot water. You should also use a brush and scrub the dirt out with it. By doing so, you will get rid of any algae that have built up on the gravel, as well as any debris.

Afterward, give them a good rinse with clean water, spread them on a towel, and set them aside for drying.

You can use aquarium vacuum too to make life a bit easier. Watch this video to get an idea about how to use this.

Step 6 – Remove leftover Food

Any leftover food in the tank will result in a bacterial colony growing in it. Therefore, look very closely for leftovers, such as any uneaten worms, insects, or food pellets. There may also be shed skin from your frogs left in the tank. If you spot something, remove it from the tank immediately.

Step 7 – Clean the Aquarium inside and outside

It is time you wipe the walls of the aquarium from the inside as well as from the outside. Use a paper towel or a soaked microfiber cloth to clean. Do not use any cleaning agents that contain chemicals, as they will pollute the new water immediately.

Step 8 – Bring back the Substrate and Decorations

Now you can bring back everything that you have taken out of the tank. Start by putting the substrate back in, followed by any decor, live plants, and electronics.

Step 9 – Put in fresh Water

Bring the new water and refill the tank completely. Before bringing the frogs back inside, make any necessary adjustments, such as the water’s temperature.

Step 10 – Bring the frogs back in

Now that the tank has been cleaned completely, you can bring your frogs back to their home from the temporary container. Give them a little bit of time to settle down in their freshly cleaned environment.

Read Also: Do African Dwarf Frog Tank Need Filter?

How often do you change African Dwarf Frog Tank’s Water?

How often do you change African Dwarf Frogs Water
Image Credit: stephlynneballard, Instagram

Sometimes, if your aquarium is not too dirty, a water change can be enough. But, because the frogs produce waste naturally as well, it is necessary to change about 20% of the water in the tank at least twice a week to keep the tank clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my African Dwarf Frog’s tank?

Partial water changes should be done weekly, removing about 25-30% of the water. A full tank cleaning might be needed every 4-6 weeks, but it depends on the tank size and filtration system.

Can I use tap water to refill the tank?

Yes, but make sure to treat it with a dechlorinator first to remove any harmful chemicals. African Dwarf Frogs are sensitive to chlorine and chloramines.

What’s the best way to clean the tank decorations and gravel?

Use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate and remove waste without disturbing your froggy friends too much. Decorations should be rinsed with dechlorinated water and scrubbed if necessary.

Do I need to remove my frogs while cleaning the tank?

For partial water changes, you can usually leave them in. For a full clean, it’s safer to temporarily move them to a holding container with some of the tank’s original water.

How do I maintain the right water temperature during and after cleaning?

Refill the tank with dechlorinated water that’s close to the tank’s original temperature to avoid shocking your frogs. Use a water thermometer to check.

What tools should I have for cleaning the tank?

1. Gravel vacuum/siphon
2. Algae scrubber or sponge
3. Bucket for water changes
4. Dechlorinator for tap water
5. Water test kits to check water quality after cleaning

How do I know if I’m over-cleaning the tank?

Over-cleaning can remove beneficial bacteria. Watch your frogs’ behavior and water parameters. If your frogs seem stressed or water tests show a spike in ammonia or nitrites, you might be overdoing it.

What are the signs of a dirty tank that needs cleaning?

1. Cloudy or smelly water
2. Excess debris or waste on the bottom
3. Algae overgrowth on the glass or decorations
4. Frogs attempting to escape or showing signs of stress

Can I use soap or detergents to clean the tank?

Never use soap or detergents; they’re toxic to amphibians. Stick to hot water and a dedicated aquarium scrubber.

After cleaning, how do I reintroduce my African Dwarf Frogs to the tank?

Acclimate them by gradually mixing some of the new water with their holding water before releasing them back into the tank to prevent shock.

Wrapping Up

If you have a filter installed in your aquarium, it will reduce the amount of dirt accumulating in the tank. In this way, you can buy yourself more time, as you will not need to clean a tank with a filter as often as you need to clean one without it. They are also not very expensive.

I hope you will now have an easier time cleaning the aquarium for your beloved African dwarf frogs. What was your experience in your first attempt? Make sure to let me know in the comments below!

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