Frogs are an uncommon sight in a tank, whether it is terrestrial, semi-aquatic, or fully aquatic. In general, aquatic and semi-aquatic frogs are preferred over others, while terrestrial frogs are more suited for terrariums.

There aren’t many species of frogs suited for a tank with fish because of the predatory nature they possess. And some can even produce slime on their skin, which can prove to be harmful to fish.

So, it boils down to a handful of species that have become quite prevalent in the market. Some of these are common, while others can be hard to find.

Here, we will discuss six popular aquatic frog species that can be good companions for your fish tank or water-land hybrid tank.

African Dwarf Frog

About Aquatic Frogs
Scientific name Hymenochirusboettgeri
Other names Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog, Congo Dwarf Clawed Frog
Distribution Africa
Size 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 in)
Temperature range 22 to 25 ℃ (72 to 77 ℉)

African Dwarf Frogs are mainly found in freshwater bodies such as streams, creeks, ponds, flooded forests, and swamps in the equatorial region of Africa (tropical). Their habitat stretches from Nigeria to Cameroon, all the way up to the Congo basin.

These frogs are tiny, non-aggressive frogs that spend most of their time underwater but do visit the surface from time to time to gulp some fresh air.

It is sometimes mistaken for the African Clawed Frog (Xenopuslaevis), which looks similar but is bigger in size than this one.

The African Dwarf Frog is much smaller than the African Clawed Frog and has a much tiny, slenderer snout than the latter. The eyes are also positioned closer.

Whereas, the latter has a much wider snout, and the distance between the eyes is much more than the Dwarf one.

Frogs, in general, are easy to take care of and do not require much attention. You can feed them whatever you feed your fish, but it should be mostly non-vegetarian.

Cichlid flakes, high-quality pellets, worms, brine shrimps, etc., are popular choices for these frogs. However, they tend to feed as much food as you give them, so try to avoid that. Feed them once a day or two.

For tank specifications, the size should be at least 10 gallons. These frogs aren’t very big, but they do like big spaces. The water temperature should be between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lighting should be moderate and must follow a day/night cycle. The substrate should be pebbles or gravel. Ensure the gravel size is large enough so the fros will not accidentally ingest them.

A good filter is a must to keep the water clean and healthy. And for decoration and plants, it’s all up to the preference of the owner. However, they do like to rest on rocky surfaces from time to time.

Indonesian Floating Frog

About Indonesian Forg
Scientific name Occidozyga lima
Other names Green Puddle Frog, Rough-Skinned Floating Frog, Pearly Skin Puddle Frog, Pointed-Tongued Floating Frog
Distribution Asia
Size 3 to 6 in (7.5 to 10 cm)
Temperature range 64° to 90°F (16° to 32 °C)

These varieties of frogs are found all over the Asian continent, namely Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and a few other countries.

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Indonesian Floating frogs do not come under aquatic or semi-aquatic because they spend most of their time on the surface of the water body, hence the name “floating” frog.

Green Puddle Frogs are very adaptive and are found in a wide variety of freshwater habitats like marshes, swamps, flooded grassland, lakes, ponds, rivers, etc. Thus, they are quite common and very cheap to buy.

These frogs are quite hardy and do not require much care. They have been known to thrive in different temperatures and pH ranges, so it is hard to specify their exact water parameters. Although they thrive in tropical and subtropical environments.

Indonesian Floating Frogs are carnivorous in nature and mostly feed on small worms and insects. So, you can follow a non-vegetarian diet that you would do for a carnivorous fish.

In addition to that, they can easily spend their lives in a 5-gallon tank. However, it is advised to get at least 10 gallons so it doesn’t feel cramped.

For plants and other decorations, you can choose freely because they will spend most of their time near the surface. You can also add some floating plants to make them feel at home.

Having said that, they have a tendency to jump out of the water. Thus, a fully enclosed lid is highly advised to avoid such circumstances.

Western Clawed Frog

About Western Clawed Frog
Scientific name Xenopustropicalis
Other names Tropical Clawed Frog
Distribution Africa
Size 2 to 4 in (5 to 10 cm)
Temperature range 72 to 82 °F (22 to 30 °C)

Western Clawed Frogs are from the same genus as African Clawed Frogs, with a slight difference in genetic composition. They have similar appearances and habitat requirements.

But the unique thing about this species is that it has a diploid genome, i.e., ‘2n’ ploidy. This makes it quite unique because frogs are haploid (‘n’, 26 chromosomes), in contrast to the ‘46 chromosomes’ in this species.

These frogs have been heavily bred throughout the years for genetic studies in different fields regarding developmental biology. So, finding them in the market, online or local, isn’t very rare.

The term ‘clawed’ refers to the presence of bird claw-like feet, especially on the front limbs. They have very little webbing on the front claws.

They are also small frog species but can live for about 7 to 8 years. This is less than its African Clawed Frog cousin.

And when it comes to their tank preferences, 10 gallons is the minimum requirement. Also, ensure the tank is fitted with adequate filtering options. A few air-stones will also help mimic their natural habitat.

Western Clawed Frogs are also carnivorous and feed mostly on worms and insects. You can get creative with their diet, but make sure to understand their nutritional requirements.

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Many like to add non-vegetarian flakes and vegetables to their diet to ensure a complete nutritional package.

They enjoy tropical temperatures, i.e., warm waters, and a UV fluorescent lamp will do wonders for them. It helps them obtain heat for their bodies’ proper functioning, as they cannot regulate their bodies’ temperatures.

Surinam Toad

About Surinam Toad
Scientific name Pipapipa
Other names Star-fingered Toad
Distribution South America
Size 12 to 17 cm (5 to 7 in)
Temperature range 70 to 75 °F (21 to 24 °C)

Surinam Toads are among the bigger semi-aquatic amphibians that have roots all over South America. The countries where they are mostly found include Surinam, Tobago, Trinidad, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, and a few others.

They are not incredible hoppers or swimmers. They are generally quite big and show little movement.

Although these are toads, they have webbed feet for swimming. Thus, they tend to shift between water and land from time to time.

Surinam Toads really like the monsoon, and during the dry season, they tend to dig into the soil to hibernate and wait for the rain to come.

These types of toads are primitive, and their appearance is quite unique from what you generally see. Their bodies and heads are quite flat, and they almost have a box-like appearance when viewed from the top.

On top of that, they have thin, long claws in the front and strong hind-webbed limbs for swimming. You might see them in the water periodically, but they tend to rest on a surface most of the time.

Surinam Toads have a very thin, slightly pointed snout and small eyes on either side of the head. And they come in a variety of colors, such as light brown, grayish-white, and dark blackish-brown, with freckles and bumps all over the skin.

They enjoy warm waters, just like any other tropical freshwater frogs or toads, but these amphibians are better suited to hybrid land-water habitats, such as paludariums or terrariums with water.

Another unique feature of primitive toads like this one is the way they reproduce. The eggs are attached to the female’s back after getting fertilized by the male, and she develops a layer of skin on top of the eggs like a protective cover.

When the tadpoles are ready to hatch, they burst out of the skin. This makes the back of the female look like something out of an alien movie. This can be very heart-wrenching for people with Trypophobia.

Chinese Fire-Bellied Toad

About Chinese Fire-Bellied Toad
Scientific name Bombinaorientalis
Other names Oriental fire-bellied toad
Distribution Asia
Size 2 in (5 cm)
Temperature range 75 to 78 °F

The Oriental fire-bellied toads are exclusively found in Northeastern Asia, and are very popular among many people, especially for terrariums.

These semi-aquatic amphibians are actually frogs, despite the term ‘toad’ in their name. These frogs do not have wart-filled skin like the toads.

The bright colors of these frogs may indicate they are poisonous, but it’s actually not the case. However, the slime secreted by their skin may irritate the skin, so be careful.

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These frogs have really bright colors, especially on their bellies, which have a fiery-orange and black pattern on them, giving them the name “fire-bellied”.

Chinese fire-bellied toads are very hardy and resilient and can thrive in a vast range of temperatures. However, they prefer warmer temperatures like those of sub-tropical rainforests.

A day and night cycle automator would be a wonderful addition to the tank. And alongside it, install a UV lamp for basking purposes.

These frogs are habituated to living in the rainforests of China, so they need a relatively humid environment. If you already live in a humid area, then it’s fine, otherwise, you can artificially alter the relative humidity inside the tank.

People like to manually spray water all over to keep it humid. But sophisticated devices can do the job more efficiently and at regular intervals.

You will not need to care much about the substrate in the water section as these frogs will not dive that deep. However, for the land portion, you can use old leaves, coconut husks, damp moss, etc., that can help you mimic their natural environment.

Oriental fire-bellied frogs are carnivorous and eat the same as other frogs do. You will not have to worry about feeding them if you already have carnivorous fish because these amphibians share the same diet plans.

Poison Dart Frogs

About Poison Dart Frogs
Scientific name Dendrobatidae
Other names Dart-Poison Frog, Poison Arrow Frog
Distribution Central and South America
Size 1.5 to 6 cm (0.5 to 2.5 in)
Temperature range 72 to 84 °F

Poison Dart Frogs are not just one species, but a whole family of frogs known for their poisonous slime secreted by their skin. And there are hundreds of them all over Central and South America.

This poison comes from their diet, which includes insects, worms, etc., that secrete poison of their own. This poison doesn’t harm the frog, rather it is transferred to the skin for protection from predators.

Interestingly, these frogs are totally harmless when bred in captivity because their diet contains normal food rather than poisonous insects. The captive-bred Poison Arrow Frogs are harmless.

That being said, they can prove to be very amazing pets to be kept in a semi-aquatic environment. These frogs spend a lot of time on land, but they are not terrestrial. They are seen spending time in the water as well.

However, they are not incredible swimmers. They lack the webbed feet that many common household aquarium frogs or toads have.

However, do not let this change your mind about keeping them. When it comes to color and patterns, these frogs are at the top.

The color combinations these species have are unmatched. They are beautifully patterned and tiny, which makes them a perfect combination for tropical-themed aquariums or paludariums.

When it comes to caring for them, you need to understand the habitat they live in. If you live in a cold area, you need to have a thermostat or a temperature regulator to keep them warm. Or else, there is a high chance that it might not survive for long.

However, their diet only revolves around small insects. They do not eat anything other than insects, especially live ones. But the good part is they can be fed all types of insects. The only requirement is that they fit in the mouth.

The size of Poison Dart Frogs can sometimes make it hard to keep it with bigger creatures, especially fish. Captive fish like Cichlids or Oscars will see them as food.

Let’s Summarize!

So now we have discussed the best possible aquatic or semi-aquatic frogs for your tank, let’s see if they are worth buying, in general.

Firstly, frogs are easy to take care of as they do not require hefty water changes or expensive filters. They are surprisingly resilient and can tolerate changes in their environment.

However, they are also skittish. They tend to leap away if you suddenly approach them. So you should handle them with caution and should probably install a sturdy cover over the tank.

So, in conclusion, they are indeed good pets, and before you go out and buy one from the market, make sure to thoroughly research them beforehand.

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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