10 Awesome African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates (Compatibility Guide)

Unlike their larger cousins the Clawed Frogs, African Dwarf Frogs are gentle amphibians that coexist well with fish in tropical aquariums. Since they are so small and peaceful we need to choose fish that are just as gentle. So here are the 10 best African Dwarf Frog tank mates to keep!


10 Compatible African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates

Here are 10 oof our favorite tank mates for African Dwarf Frogs:

Cardinal Tetra

cardinal tetra

While the Neon Tetra is just as peaceful and a lot cheaper, I’m a big fan of Cardinal Tetras. They are larger, have bolder stripes, and look even more stunning in schools of 6-12 individuals.

Cardinal Tetras are excellent African Dwarf Frog tank mates. The only important requirements are that your water is on the acidic side (pH 5.0-6.5) and warm (76-84F). When given optimal water and a planted tank with plenty of thick plants to hide among they may even spawn for you!

Cardinal tetras accept a wide range of smaller prepared and fresh foods like brine shrimp nauplii and micro pellets. Just make sure your Dwarf Frogs get their fair share as Cardinal Tetras can be ravenous feeders!

  • Scientific Name: Paracheirodon axelrodi
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 2½ inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Guppy

guppy fish

Nearly every aquarist keeps Guppies at one point or another. They are some of the oldest tropical fish in the hobby and come in hundreds of varieties. Guppies eat just about anything you feed them and tolerate a wide range of pH and temperatures. So long as your ammonia and nitrites aren’t too elevated you can expect to find Guppy fry on a regular basis!

While the fry may occasionally be snacked on by a Dwarf Frog (as well as the other Guppies) adults have nothing to fear. Being true omnivores Guppies appreciate a mixture of plant and animal matter; algae and soft plants will be picked at just as often as Tubifex and other meaty items.

Guppies will regularly hybridize between varieties and the babies may display any number of color patterns! The surprises that come from raising them are never-ending, securing their place as excellent Dwarf Frog tank mates!

  • Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 1½ to 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Corydoras

Corydoras

Corydoras are a staple of the trade because they come in a variety of subdued yet handsome patterns and are unfussy eaters. They are also quite active, boldly scooting along the bottom and midwater area instead of skulking in the dark like other catfish.

While there are nearly 100 species of Corydoras they all have nearly identical care requirements: soft to neutral pH (6.0-7.0) and tropical temperatures. Despite being small fish they are exceptionally long-lived when treated well, with reports of 15-20 years not uncommon!

Some of the best tank mates for African Dwarf Frogs include the Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus) and Julii Corydoras (Corydoras julii). Both are especially hardy, not too large, attractive, and easy to find!

  • Scientific Name: Callichthyidae family
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 1-3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Bamboo Shrimp

Shrimp are always risky when keeping with small predators like Dwarf Frogs. However the Bamboo Shrimp is a notable exception. It’s too large to be eaten by the Frog yet unwilling to try eating any of its tank mates either.

Also known as Wood Shrimp, these medium sized crustaceans are filter feeders. Instead of attacking things with their claws they use furry mitten-like arms to gather floating plankton and food particles from the water.

As a result they need a place to sit within a strong current, such as near a filter outflow, to feed properly. Powdered algae wafers, flakes, and daphnia are just a few items they prefer. Shrimp formulas are best, however, because they contain the right proportions of plant to animal matter shrimp need.

Hikari Tropical Shrimp Cuisine Fish Food, 0.35 oz (10g)
  • Formulated diet for all types of freshwater ornamental shrimp
  • Natural color enhancers like spirulina, seaweed and alfalfa meal
  • Includes astaxanthin which helps to reduce color fading

Unfortunately, like most crustaceans, Bamboo Shrimp don’t live a long time: 1 to 2 years is typical. However they are beautiful, fascinating to watch, and excellent alternatives to fish!

  • Scientific Name: Atyopsis moluccensis
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Length: 3-4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Betta

male betta fish

Everyone loves Bettas, including African Dwarf Frogs! They have a reputation for being super-aggressive but that really only applies to males and generally towards one another.

Bettas tend to ignore other fish and frogs, making them excellent community tank residents. They can be a little slow to eat, so make sure there are more than enough bloodworms and pellets to go around.

Red, blue, and other colors are typically what you find in pet stores. However as of this year, a new Globetta has hit the market. They have been genetically engineered to produce jellyfish and coral fluorescent proteins. While they look neon in regular light they positively glow under UV radiation!

  • Scientific Name: Betta splendens
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Length: 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Territorial

Honey Gourami

honey gourami in aquarium

Dwarf Gouramis are much more common in the trade (and also great African Dwarf Frog tank mates). However I also recommend the bright orange Honey Gourami as an alternative.

Considering how shy and reclusive they can be, a heavily planted tank with smaller tank mates is the best way to keep your Honey Gouramis feeling confident and active. Like all Gouramis (including Bettas) they prefer warmer temperatures (76-84F) and soft, acidic water (pH 6.0-7.0).

They are also bubble-nest builders; when well fed on small carnivorous fare the males take on an intense orange and black tone as they court the plain silver females.

  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster chuna
  • Origin: South Asia
  • Length: 2-3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Shy

Zebra Danio

zebra danios

Zebra Danios are some of the toughest, easiest to care for fish around. They tolerate a wide range of pH conditions (6.0-8.0) and temperatures (65-80F) and will eat nearly anything provided. This makes them popular not only for aquarists but also laboratories that need aquatic model organisms for studies.

They come in an assortment of colors and patterns, including albino and long-finned. However all Zebra Danios are schooling fish and need their own company to feel secure. 6 is the bare minimum with more always being better.

Zebra Danios are also one of the six fish species recently engineered with jellyfish and coral DNA into Glofish. Glofish will happily school and breed with their wild-type cousins and fill the upper water zone with colorful activity.

  • Scientific Name: Danio rerio
  • Origin: South Asia
  • Length: 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Cherry Barb

cherry barb

Cherry Barbs are small, schooling barbs that fill the same role as Tetras in their native land of Sri Lanka. These small, active nano fish are ideal tank mates for Dwarf Frogs and other peaceful animals because they keep mostly to themselves.

The ruby red colors of males look stunning against a backdrop of dark green plants like Vallisneria or Cryptocoryne (also native to Sri Lanka). Make sure you have at least one female per male to ensure they have someone to show off for.

If you’re interested in breeding them, provide plenty of fresh and live foods like daphnia and brine shrimp nauplii. Cherry Barbs are threatened in the wild due to overharvesting for the aquarium trade. Providing tank bred specimens is the best way to ensure wild stocks remain safe!

  • Scientific Name: Puntius titteya
  • Origin: Sri Lanka
  • Length: 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling; Shy

Dwarf Otocinclus

Otocinclus

Large algae eaters like Common Plecos and Chinese Algae Eaters make poor tank mates for Dwarf Frogs because they can be somewhat aggressive. They also have the bad habit of attacking soft-skinned tank mates to rasp slime from their skins, which can be fatal.

Dwarf Otos are both small and very mild-mannered. These schooling catfish will also control most green algae infestations with gusto. They are also very easy on plants and won’t even eat soft bodies species like Elodea.

Since the majority are wild-caught I recommend giving your new Dwarf Otos time in the pet store to settle in in case diseases or stress issues arise.

Or if you can’t wait to get your otos home, set up a quarantine tank for observation and to prevent diseases from spreading to your other fish.

Tetra PRO PlecoWafers 5.29 Ounces, Nutritionally Balanced Vegetarian Fish Food, Concentrated Algae Center (16448)
  • age_range_description: all ages
  • Item Package Height: 7.75
  • Item Package Length: 1.75

Once settled, Dwarf Otos have a hearty appetite for such small fish! Eventually the algae will run out and you’ll need to provide Spirulina wafers and other prepared vegetarian items.

  • Scientific Name: Otocinclus vittatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 1 to 1½ inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Hatchetfish

Marbled hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata)

There aren’t many true surface dwelling fish in the hobby however Hatchetfish are pretty easy to find. These characins are closely related to Tetras and have nearly identical care requirements; elevated tropical temperatures and a soft, acidic pH.

Hatchetfish have such a deep chest because they have pectoral muscles designed to allow them to not only break the water’s surface but actually fly for short distances by beating their wing-like pectoral fins!

When not being threatened they will leap from the water and steer themselves to catch low-flying insects.

Since they are well evolved to leap, a tight-fitting lid is essential. Hatchetfish are easily startled by sudden movements and fast tank mates. However they are hardy, eager eaters, and one of the most unique fish in the hobby.

  • Scientific Name: Gasteropelecidae family
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 2-3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Shy

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