With their penchant for darting up, down and all around in your tank at lightning-quick speeds, African dwarf frogs are quite the entertainers. Watching their water acrobatics, however, isn't always easy, since they're more active in the black of night. Although you may want to see them when they're full of energy, it's important to offer your frogs a regular night and day cycle. Plus, they aren't exclusively active at night.
African dwarf frogs are nocturnal, but don't think that their nighttime escapades mean they're lazy amphibians who do nothing during the day. They are less active during the day, but you'll still see them swim around, check things out and shoot up to the surface for a breath of air. They'll spend part of the day sleeping and resting, and that calls for plenty of hiding spots. Terracotta pots, plants and other decorations help them seek out less-trafficked areas where they can rest peacefully. Plop a few floating plants in your tank and you'll likely see your frogs occasionally rest near the surface, under the plant cover.
A proper day and night cycle helps your African dwarf frogs feel more comfortable in being active at night and rest easier during the day. You'll read some advice that suggests artificial room light is enough to stimulate daytime when the lights are on and nighttime when the lights are off. That's true if you have a well-lit room that's lit for 12 hours a day and dark for the other 12. If you have a difficult time seeing into your tank with your room lights on, or if those lights aren't on for a solid 12 hours, you should invest in aquarium lighting. A low-light environment, which is typically 1 to 1 1/2 watts per gallon, will work well, unless you have live plants that call for more.
African dwarf frogs might spring into action at night and hunt during that time in the wild, but that's one element you don't need to re-create. Simply feed the amphibians when you feed your other fish or when you spot your frogs hanging out in the open during the day. Because you should move their food back and forth in front of their face, or spit it out of a baster in front of them, it's difficult to feed them when you can barely see into the tank at night. If you work or otherwise cannot feed them during the day, flick their aquarium light on briefly at night or shine a flashlight into their tank to locate them and fill their bellies.
While they won't win a Grammy award any time soon, African dwarf frogs put on quite a musical show in your tank, and it often goes down at night. Males sing in attempt to attract a mate. Sometimes females answer back, but it's mostly the males with the lead vocals. The singing sounds like humming and it can be quite loud, although cute. If the slightest noise wakes you up or prevents you from falling asleep, you probably won't want to have your frogs' tank sitting in your room. African dwarf frogs may also sing during the day, but it's most common at night.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.