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Do African Dwarf Frogs Need A Heater?

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By Lindsey Stanton

African Dwarf Frog Hopping Around

African dwarf frogs are fascinating creatures to have at home, but they also need to be well cared for. They are fragile animals and they demand specific conditions, with the temperature being at the forefront. So, do African dwarf frogs need heaters?

The simple answer here is that yes, African dwarf frogs do need heaters. Once again, unless you live somewhere warm, you will need a heater for these little guys. Remember, they come from Africa, a continent that is generally very hot.

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What Temperature Do African Dwarf Frogs Need?

african dwarf frog swimming
Image Credit: Charlie Tyack, Shutterstock

African dwarf frogs require the temperature to be at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit or about 24 Celsius but this is the bare minimum. They prefer to live in temperatures of 26 Celsius or about 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can African Dwarf Frogs Live Without A Heater?

Once again, an African Dwarf frog is best kept in fairly warm conditions, and only if you live in a tropical climate will you be able to maintain that warm temperature in the tank. Ok, so if the temperature drops a couple of degrees below the minimum, the frogs probably won’t die straight away, but they won’t be happy or healthy either.

If the frogs get too cold, they will more or less shut down. They will stop eating more or less, their metabolisms will shut down, and then their internal organs will start to go too. If an African dwarf frog is too cold for too long, it will die. It might take a while, but at the end of it all, it won’t survive.

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Should I Get An In-line or Submersible Heater?

Something that you will need to decide is whether to get an inline heater or a submersible heater. There is a pretty big difference between the two.

In-line Heater

inline aquarium heating
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Inline heaters function by being connected directly to your aquarium filter. The heater is connected to the outflow tube of the filter. The water passes right from the filter into the heater, and then to the tank. Some people really like inline aquarium heaters because they are hidden from view, and therefore result in a nice-looking aquarium. However, they can also be much harder to maintain than normal aquarium heaters.

On the other hand, once again, these heaters are not in the aquarium, so there’s no chance of an animal bumping into them. What is important to note is that these are external heaters that are attached to external canister filters. They are ideal for large setups that use external filtration. However, for something like an African dwarf frog tank, it is usually not used, unless you are looking to heat up a whole lot of water.

Submersible Heater

Image Credit: Flups, Shutterstock

The far better option for an African dwarf frog tank is the submersible heater. These are small and independent heating units, usually in the shape of a tube. They are submerged in the water and use a heating element to heat water. The only thing these are connected to is a power source. These tend to be best for smaller and more basic setups. Yes, they do take up some space in the tank, but they are generally so small that this is negligible.

Submersible heaters tend to be far more cost-effective, and they require less maintenance than inline heating units. Simply put, for an African dwarf frog tank, it’s a submersible heater that you want.

What Size Heater Do I Need?

Well, as a rule of thumb, you are going to need about 5 watts of power for every gallon of water you have in the tank. Therefore, a 10-gallon tank for African dwarf frogs would require a 50-watt heater, and a 20-gallon tank would need a 100-watt heater. Therefore, what you need to do is calculate how much water you have in the African dwarf frog tank and then go from there.

african dwarf frog swimming
Image Credit: Dan Olsen, Shutterstock

Should I Get A Thermometer For My African Dwarf Frog Tank?

Yes, you should buy a thermometer for your African dwarf frog tank. Most aquarium heaters do not actually come with a thermostat, at least not one that tells you how warm the water is. Once again, African dwarf frogs require their environment to be quite warm, and sure a heater will do just that, but you also need to be able to monitor the temperature. A good aquarium thermometer, preferably a digital one, will allow you to monitor the temperature with ease. Remember, it’s all bout keeping your frogs happy and healthy.

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The bottom line is that you want to get a nice little aquarium heater for your African dwarf frogs. The frogs can get very ill if they are too cold. They need the air temperature and the water to be quite warm, and unless you live somewhere exceedingly warm, maintaining the ideal temperature for African dwarf frogs is just not doable. It doesn’t have to be a fancy heater, but it does need to get the job done.

Featured Image Credit: Charlie Tyack, Shutterstock

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