Welcome to the Reed Frog care sheet and keeping guide, see also the Breeding Reed Frogs section.
Common Reed Frog Care Sheet
These small frogs inhabit a vast area of Africa. Although they are generally small they often make this up in their vivid colouring. Some species will also change colour which can be due to localised populations, mating season, temperature fluctuations or the stage in their development.
|The frog on the right is a typical example of the bright colour you are likely to come across this one is brightest golden yellow/orange with a lovely black edged gold line from the snout tip extending to just above the armpit although it may continue almost to the back of the frog.
They have little round suction cups on the end of each digit and have a horizontal pupil set in to a sort of metallic gold coloured eye. Their toes are particularly brightly coloured and in this species they are almost red.
Housing Reed Frogs
As mentioned in the introduction this frog covers a large area of Africa but generally they all live in a similar environment, this is the edges of ponds and slow moving water where they live in the reeds (hence their name).
|In captivity you need to invest in an aquarium of at least 24 inches long together with a heating systems and some artificial plants. A 24 inch tank will happily hold 6 – 8 adult reed frogs.
This information and the equipment suggested is a basic set up for these frogs, if you are wanting to go deeper in to their keeping and would like to try and breed them you may need a more complex set up mainly including a larger permanent water area which is planted with real plants and in some species aquatic plants for egg depositing areas.
Reed frogs are resilient creatures but they will not withstand long periods of cold weather, in your tank you will need some form of heating to raise the temperature to around 24C – 26C during the day and 20C – 22C at night.
|An under tank heat mat covering 1/3 of the tank will suffice but as they will be lots of substrate above it you may need to use overhead heating in the form of a ceramic heat emitter or even a low (40w) spot lamp.
If using a ceramic heat emitter or heat mat make sure you use a thermostat control to keep the temperature even.
The substrate for these frogs needs to be moisture retentive but not sodden, they need moisture to prevent their delicate skins from drying out but too much water or too high a humidity level will cause problems for them and can lead to rapid fungal and bacterial outbreaks.
|The bottom 2 inches of the tank should be covered with small pebbles or orchid bark to which 10% activated charcoal can be added. Make sure to wash the gravel before using it to remove any chemicals which may be sticking to it.
This base layer should be topped with a further 2 inches of fresh sphagnum moss.
Humidity control is taken care of by the heater combined with the large water bowl which will give off moisture as the water evaporates. As it warms up it will in turn heat the substrate which will release its moisture in to the air. Aim to keep the relative humidity at around 40% – 60%. A humidity gauge will tell you what humidity levels are
|A dish of water should always be available to the frogs, this should be at least 4 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep. It is a good idea to create a ramp of some sort leading out of the water, this is not for the frogs but for the crickets you will be feeding them – they ALWAYS fall in the water! The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply trail a small artificial plant in to the water dish. The water MUST be changed on a daily basis as the frogs sometimes defecate in the water.|
|Reed Frogs are carnivores and will need a supply of fresh insects of a suitable size. The basis for your frogs diet will probably be crickets as these are readily available, inexpensive and nutritious. Small to Medium sized crickets are the best size to select for large juveniles and adult reed frogs.
You can purchase live food from Global Live Food (UK only)
|Crickets alone though will not be sufficient and other food insects like waxworms, mealworms (heads removed), small locusts and earth worms should all be offered.
Whatever food you do use it should be dusted with a good quality multivitamin supplement to add other trace elements and calcium which may be lacking in the insects alone.
The reed frogs will spend most of the time stuck under the artificial plant leaves and tank walls near the top or tucked in to one of the corners of the lid. These frogs do occasionally like to bask in the sun for a while so if you added a piece of bog wood you can aim a spot light at this for basking purposes.
These frogs will often defecate on the walls of the tank so it will become dirty quite quickly depending on how many frogs you have in the tank. It is advisable to clean the tank every 2 to 3 weeks and remove the moss and gravel for cleaning.
If the moss is clean it can be re used and the gravel should be washed before replacing it.
The empty tank should be sterilised to ensure it is clean, use something like Ark Klens to do the job.
Any droppings on the tank should be removed and the tank itself thoroughly cleaned to prevent mould from growing on it. During the cleaning process the frogs should be kept in a plastic container with a secure fitting ventilated lid.
Put some wetted kitchen paper in the container with them to keep them moist.
This marks the end of our common reed frog care sheet for beginners.