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How To Treat An African Dwarf Frog Lying On Its Back!

African dwarf frogs have been steadily increasing in popularity over the last few decades and although they are still nowhere near being in the top 10 most commonly kept pets, they are a surprisingly popular pet in North America and Europe now.

Due to this, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking about various problems that they have been having with their pet African dwarf frogs.

One of the more common questions that we have noticed people asking about on a regular basis is about their pet African dwarf frog lying on its back.

Unfortunately, we have actually seen more and more people reaching out about their African dwarf frog laying on its back recently suggesting that people may be making easy to avoid mistakes when caring for their African dwarf frog.

This made us want to publish this article going over the more common questions that we see from the community about African dwarf frogs laying on their back as well as the most common mistakes that we see people make.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers fix these very common mistakes and have their African dwarf frog back to normal health as soon as possible.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Lay On Their Backs?

African dwarf frogs do not normally lay on their backs and this type of behaviour is usually an indication of a problem with them.

The problem can range from issues with the frog’s diet or its water parameters to serious health problems and issues with parasites or bacteria.

We have seen some people claim that it is “normal” for African dwarf frogs to lay on their back but this is incorrect.

From what we can see, the people reporting this behaviour as normal have poor water parameters in the tanks that their African dwarf frogs live in so it is “normal” for them but it is only happening due to not caring for their African dwarf frogs correctly.

A healthy African dwarf frog should not randomly lay on their backs unless there is excessive water flow in the tank and even then this is technically a problem with poor water control and the water flow should be drastically reduced.

The normal resting position for an African dwarf frog is with its arms and legs splayed and leaning slightly forward.

“Don’t be surprised if your African Dwarf Frogs just float with their arms and legs outstretched. This is normal. These guys from @froggyslair are so chill. Thanks for sending them to us, Froggy’s Lair!” by BenSpark is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Why Is My African Dwarf Frog Upside Down?

The most common reasons that African dwarf frogs will lay on their back is due to a poor diet, poor water conditions, excessive stress, high water flow, and the frog being weak due to various health problems.

Some of these common issues are very easy to fix and your African dwarf frog can return to normal quickly once the cause of the behaviour is remedied.

We often see people who keep pet frogs of various species report that this behaviour is more common in frogs purchased from large pet keeping chain stores too rather than with frogs purchased seem independent breeders.

As we have never purchased a African dwarf frog from a chain store we have no experience with this directly but there are a large number of reports of various issues with frogs purchased from large chain stores.

Some of the health issues that can cause your African dwarf frog to lay upside down can be dangerous so booking a short video call with a veterinarian to check your frog over may be worth it.

Bloat can be common in African dwarf frogs too and in some situations, this can cause it to lay on its back but our article on how to treat bloat in African dwarf frogs may be helpful.

How To Treat An African Dwarf Frog Lying On Its Back!

There are a number of treatments that can fix the common causes of a African dwarf frog laying on its back ranging from bringing its water parameters back in line with that the frog requires to improving its diet.

Some of the health problems that can cause your frog to lay on its back will require specialized treatments though so seeking assistance from a vet is recommended if you think your frog is sick.

To correctly treat any potential problems with the water parameters in your African dwarf frogs tank you will probably need a water test kit.

This will allow you to test a wide range of different factors of the water to really narrow down on any potential problems. If you do identify a potential problem with your water parameters then it is generally easy to fix.

A number of frog food products on the market are not nutritionally complete and lack some essential vitamins and minerals that your frog requires.

Using the main food for your frog-like No products found. and then adding in treat foods as you wish is usually a good idea.

It should help to keep your frogs energy levels up and prevent them from becoming weak due to problems with their diet that can sometimes cause them to roll onto their backs.

Should I Be Worried About My African Dward Frog Laying On Its Back?

Although most problems that will cause an African dwarf frog to lay on its back are easy to fix, it is an early indication of a potentially serious problem.

You should always pay attention to all potential issues causing your African dwarf frog to lay on its back and work towards fixing them as soon as possible.

Even if the problem is minor, they can rapidly become a serious issue and the longer that your African dwarf frog is exposed to the issue, the harder it can become to fix while the chances of long term issues with your frog also start to increase.

This is true for any unusual behaviour in your pet frogs, you should always try to investigate potential causes as soon as possible to fix the issue quickly.

If your African dwarf frog is laying on its back due to serious health issues then there is usually a number of other symptoms involved that can be used to identify what’s actually wrong.

There are a number of parasite and bacteria treatments that may work but you really should be getting a diagnosis from a vet if you think your frog is ill. The vet will also be able to offer you specific treatments for the illness that your frog is suffering from too.


That brings our article going over why your pet African dwarf frog may be lying on its back. The more common causes of this behaviour are usually down to water parameters and a poor diet not offering enough energy to your frog with both being easy to treat. The more serious issues such as various health problems can be easy to fix if you catch them early enough too so the odds are usually in your favour of your frog making a full recovery.