African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates: 19 Best & Worst

Size matters when it comes to choosing the best tank mates for African dwarf frogs (Hymenochirus).

Not to big to eat the frog, but not to small the frog gobbles them up.

Small, peaceful schooling fish are your best bet, and in this article, I’ll introduce you to my best tanks mates for African dwarf frogs.

What makes a good tank mate for African Dwarf Frogs?

Small Size

African dwarf frogs are tiny little guys, usually no more than 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) long.

So, they do best with tank mates that are small as well. 

With bigger fish, you run the risk of your frogs getting nipped at, harassed and possibly even  eaten.

I would really recommend that you only add fish that are 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) or smaller. That way, your frogs will stay off the menu.

Non-aggressive

Some species of fish are just jerks, now matter what size they are.

Not a huge surprise, it’s true for some people, too.

But seriously, avoid any fish that is listed as aggressive or semi-aggressive. Nippy, aggressive fish might not be able to gulp down a frog in one bite, but repeated bites can do serious harm to the poor defenseless froggies.

Pro Tip: Some online resources state that you can keep African dwarf frogs and Bettas together. However, this can be very risky. It all depends on the personality of the individual Betta. Some Bettas will harass and attack dwarf frogs so I don’t recommend taking this risk. You’d be gambling with your frog’s life.

19 Best African Dwarf Frog Tank Mates

Snails

Snails make a great addition to any frog tank. They’re totally peaceful and may even be able to clean up uneaten food and algae around the tank.

Some species of snails can breed like crazy in an aquarium so I recommend sticking to these two species:

1. Nerite Snail

  • Appearance: rounded spiral shell in a variety of colors and patterns, some have small horn-like spikes that grow on their shells
  • Min. Tank size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 65°-85°F (18°-29°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1 inches (2.5 centimeters)

Nerites are my number one choice for an algae eating snail. And the really nice part, they do not breed in a freshwater environment. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The only real downside to these snails is that they do lay eggs that stick to rocks and other decor, which can be a little unsightly, but the eggs will only hatch in brackish water.

2. Mystery Snail

  • Appearance: rounded spiral shell that comes in a variety of colors, black and gold are the two most common colors
  • Min. Tank size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 65°-82°F (18°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1 inches (2.5 centimeters)

Mystery snails are super cute. I love how they have really long antennae that whip around as they glide around the tank. These guys are great at eating algae and any leftover food from the bottom of the tank. They can reproduce in a home aquarium, but only if you have a male and a female, so you can prevent unwanted babies by keeping only a single snail. Mystery snails lay their eggs above the water line so you can remove the clutch of eggs as long as you see it before they start hatching. 

Livebearers

Livebearers are a group of fish from Central and South America. They get their name from the fact that, instead of laying eggs, they give birth to live young. These guys definitely have tons of babies, but usually adults eat up the young fry.

3. Fancy Guppy

  • Appearance: slim-bodied fish, females are usually a drab silver color while males have large flashy tails and often have brightly colored bodies
  • Min. Tank size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 75-80°F (24°-27°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1.5 inches (4 centimeters)

Guppies are a great starter fish that can be found in just about every live fish store. There are lots of different color varieties that you can mix and match. You can keep 1 male to every 3 females in a mixed tank. Or even better, you can keep an all male tank and enjoy all the crazy colors. 

4. Platy

  • Appearance: platy fish have a similar shape to guppies but are larger and a bit heavier-bodied, they come in a wide range of colors and patterns, males and females look the same
  • Min. Tank size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 75-80°F (24°-27°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2 inches (5 centimeters)

Platies are an active schooling fish that is really peaceful. The one problem you might have keeping this species with frogs is that they might swoop in and eat the frog’s food before they have a chance to eat. These little guys are super cute but a school of them is kind of like a little fish tornado. Platies are really social so they’ll do best in a group. 

5. Endler

  • Appearance: Endlers look very similar to guppies, they are a long-bodied, slim little fish, males have larger, more colorful tails
  • Min. Tank size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 75-80°F (24°-27°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1.5 inches (4 centimeters)

Endlers look like technicolor guppies. Seriously, the males look like you asked a child to draw you a colorful fish and they used every crayon in the box to do it. These are close relatives of the guppy, and are even more beautiful, in my opinion. These are undemanding little fish that are very, very peaceful.

Pro Tip: Although they are livebearers, I do not recommend that you add swordtails or sailfin mollies. They can easily grow to over 6 inches (15 centimeters) and could pose a risk to your frogs.

Peaceful Tetras

6. Neon Tetra

  • Appearance: small, slim-bodied fish that has a blue stripe that goes from the nose to about ¾ of the way down the body and a red stripe that runs from the dorsal fin to the tail
  • Min. Tank size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 68°-82°F (10°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1.5 inches (4 centimeters)

These little beauties are one of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby. They are extremely peaceful. Neons do need to be kept in a group of five or more to be really happy. Make sure that your tank has enough room to accommodate a school. I highly recommend these little guys. They are so cute and easy to keep.

7. Cardinal Tetra

  • Appearance: extremely similar to (and often confused with) neon tetras, the red and blue stripes on a cardinal tetra extend all the way from nose to tail 
  • Min. Tank size: 15 gallons (57 liters)
  • Temperature: 70°-85°F (21°-29°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 3 inches (5 centimeters)

Cardinal tetras are very similar to neon tetras, but are a slightly larger fish. They are an excellent directional schooler that will do best in a larger planted tank.

8. Rummy Nose Tetra

  • Appearance: long, slender fish with a silver body, bright red head and black and white stripes on the tail
  • Min. Tank size: 10 gallons (39 liters)
  • Temperature: 64°-82° F (18°-27.7° C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1.5 inches (4 centimeters)

These lively little fish are always very striking in a tank. They’re very easy to care for and will readily accept most foods. They do need to be kept in a group of five or more or else they can become very nervous and unhappy.

9. Black Skirt Tetra

  • Appearance: laterally compressed fish with a deep chest, silver body with vertical black stripes and a long, trailing black anal fin
  • Min. Tank size: 15 gallons (57 liters)
  • Temperature: 72°-82°F (22°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2.5 inches (6 centimeters)

Black skirt tetras (aka black widow tetras) are a shy little schooling fish with an extremely peaceful nature. They do best with tall plants and lots of hiding places when they feel shy. This is another schooling fish that needs to be kept in a group of five or more to feel secure.

10. Corydoras Catfish

  • Appearance: small catfish with a domed head that tapers sharply towards the tail, color pattern depends on species
  • Min. Tank size: 20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Temperature: 72°-82°F (22°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1-4 inches (2.5-10 centimeters)

There are over 161 species of corydoras catfish, and many are available in the aquarium trade. Double check the species as some may grow over 3 inches (7.5 centimeters). I really love corydoras, they like to swim along the bottom in a big school (you should keep five or more) and play around like a bunch of little kids.

They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors and are very peaceful. They’re great little bottom feeders that will scour the substrate for uneaten food. Corydoras spend a lot of their day digging in the substrate so they’re best kept in a tank with a sand substrate. Sharp substrates can damage the delicate barbels that surround their mouths.

11. Zebra Danio

  • Appearance: slim bodied fish with iridescent blue and gold stripes that run from nose to tail
  • Min. Tank size: 20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Temperature: 65°-75°F (18°-24°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2 inches (5 centimeters)

Zebra danios are hyperactive little fish that love to zip around the aquarium. Technically, they can be kept in a 10 gallon tank, but I really think they should be kept in at least a 20 gallon because they need lots of room to swim. This species is a lot of fun to watch and is super peaceful. 

12. Cherry Barb

  • Appearance: long-bodied fish with small fins, females are a golden tan color with a black bar that runs from nose to tail and have red fins, males get bright red during spawning
  • Min. Tank size: 20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Temperature: 68°-80°F (20°-26.7°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2 inches (5 centimeters)

Cherry barbs are a great little community fish that can really add a pop of color to your community tank. This is an active schooling fish that needs to be kept in a group of five or more. They do best in a tank that has a mix of densely planted areas and open swimming areas.

13. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

  • Appearance: silver to golden body with an iridescent stripe that runs from nose to tail, small fins with patches of red color on the anal, dorsal and caudal fins
  • Min. Tank size: 10 gallons (39 liters)
  • Temperature: 65°-75°F (18°-24°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2 inches (5 centimeters)

White clouds are often overlooked because they are sold primarily as feeder fish. But they really are a great little community fish that’s really hardy. They are active and should be kept in a group of five or more so that they will feel more secure. Once they get acclimated to a tank they really start to color up and look beautiful. 

14. Celestial Pearl Danio

  • Appearance: dark blue body covered in bright yellow speckles, a red-orange belly and and fins
  • Min. Tank size: 10 gallons (39 liters)
  • Temperature: 68°-80°F (20°-27°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1 inches (2.5 centimeters)

These little beauties haven’t been in the aquarium trade long, but they’re really starting to gain popularity. They can be shy little fish, so I really recommend a heavily planted tank. They really are beautiful, no description or even photographs can do them true justice. 

15. Harlequin Rasboras

  • Appearance: coppery orange body with a very deep chest, dark brown to black funnel-shaped patch on both sides of the body
  • Min. Tank size: 10 gallons (39 liters)
  • Temperature: 73°-82°F (23°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1.75 inches (4.5 centimeters)

I love this little nano fish. Their coppery metallic color is really striking. They’re an active, top-dwelling fish that needs to be kept in a group of five or more.

16. Praecox Rainbowfish

  • Appearance: laterally compressed fish with a small head, chest and back arch sharply and then taper down to the tail, silver scales that have an iridescent blue-purple sheen, anal and dorsal fins hug the body and are bright red
  • Min. Tank size: 30 gallons (113 liters)
  • Temperature: 73°-82°F (23°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2.5-3 inches (6-7.5 centimeters)

I am pretty biased about this species, I’ve kept them for years. They are so peaceful and so beautiful. They need to be kept in a group of five or more, but the more you have the better their schooling behavior and colors will be. In the live fish store, they typically don’t show their best colors, but once they get acclimated to a tank, they are spectacular. They need a larger, heavily planted tank but are well worth the investment.

17. Chili Rasboras

  • Appearance: tiny, slim-bodied fish that is dark red, large eyes and a black bar that runs from chest to tail 
  • Min. Tank size: 10 gallons (19 liters)
  • Temperature: 68°-82°F (20°-28°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 0.5-1 inch (1.25-2.5 centimeters)

This tiny fish packs a punch. They do best in a group of five or more. They move with this darting motion that’s really interesting. Chili rasboras can be very shy so they do best with tall plants that they can hide in.

18. Otocinclus Catfish

  • Appearance: small suckermouth catfish, torpedo shaped body, usually has a gray back with large black bar that runs nose to tail and a white belly
  • Min. Tank size: 20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Temperature: 75°-80°F (24°-27°C)
  • Care level: medium
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 1.5-2 inches (3.75-5 centimeters)

These little guys are a joy to watch. Oto cats are extremely social so it’s crucial that they be kept in a large group, 10 or more if you can. They will gladly scour the aquarium to eat green algaes and will need to be fed algae wafers once they’ve scrubbed the tank clean.

I recommend quarantining them for 2 weeks to a month because they are often wild caught and highly stressed by the time they get to the live fish store. They also require very clean water and don’t do well with large swings in water parameters. So, I don’t recommend them for beginner fish keepers.

19. Honey Gourami

  • Appearance: laterally compressed fish with modified pectoral fins that are whisker-like feelers, pale honey gold color, females are a bit more drab with a brown body and a dark bar from nose to tail, males become brighter orange when spawning
  • Min. Tank size: 10 gallons (39 liters)
  • Temperature: 75°-80°F (24°-27°C)
  • Care level: easy
  • Diet: omnivore
  • Size: 2 inches (5 centimeters)

This little beauty is probably the most peaceful of all the gourami family. Males can become aggressive with each other, so it’s best to only keep one per tank. These little guys are fascinating to watch. They’re rather shy, but they’re still very curious. They’ll swim around and explore using their feelers to investigate their environment. Honey gouramis do best in a heavily planted tank. 

Tank Mates to Avoid

African Clawed Frogs

African Clawed Frog

You absolutely cannot mix African dwarf frogs (Hymenochirus sp.) with African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). 

The two species often get mixed up in the pet industry, partly because the common names are so similar, especially since some places label African dwarf frogs as African dwarf clawed frogs.

It’s like they’re trying to confuse people. 

And you might think, “They come from similar places and they’re all frogs, so it will all be one big happy froggy family. Yay!”

No, that is not how it will go.

Sadly, what will actually happen is the clawed frogs will quickly grow much, much larger than the dwarf frogs. And then, the clawed frogs will happily devour the dwarf frogs.

Very, very sad.

Large Fish

African dwarf frogs are pretty small. Large fish are definitely dangerous to them.

Generally, fish will eat any tank mate small enough to fit in their mouths. Even super peaceful species can’t resist gulping down tiny fish, shrimp or amphibians that cross their paths.

It’s just a natural instinct.

So, it’s better to be on the safe side, don’t add fish that get bigger than 3 inches (7.5  centimeters).

Pro Tip: When considering tank mates for your frogs, make sure to research how big they will be as adults before you bring them home. Some fish are little and cute in the store but then grow in to a 2 foot tank buster a year later.

Aggressive Fish

Some fish can be pretty feisty, even if they’re small.

Research the temperament of fish you’re considering for your tank. Avoid anything that says aggressive or semi-aggressive. 

Just don’t take the chance.

Mean fish, even if they’re too small to eat your frogs, can harass and harm frogs. If the frogs get stressed too much, they might die from it.

Goldfish

I just wanted to mention goldfish specifically because people often don’t realize how big they get, especially common and comet goldfish.

They might look little and cute in the pet store, but goldfish quickly grow to become 6 inch long eating machines. 

Goldfish can and will eat your frogs once they’re big enough, so don’t even think about putting them in a frog tank.

Shrimp

This one might seem weird, but putting shrimp and African dwarf frogs together can end in tragedy… for the shrimp.

Your frogs may decide that your shrimp look like a tasty treat, which technically, they are. Adult shrimp might be OK with African dwarf frogs, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

And the frogs will definitely gobble up any baby shrimp they come across. 

Who can blame them, really? Shrimp are delicious, especially with cocktail sauce.

Which Tank Mate Is Right For Your African Dwarf Frog?

The biggest thing to remember when you’re picking out tank mates for your African dwarf frogs is that size matters.

Get your mind out of the gutter! We’re talking about aquariums here!

But seriously, make sure that you get tank mates that are too big for the frogs to eat, but not so big that they’ll eat the frogs.

Small, peaceful schooling fish are your best bet. Since many of them prefer the upper parts of the water column, they may not even interact with the frogs on a regular basis. 

There are a lot of great little fish on this list that you could stock your aquarium with and make an awesome little community tank with your frogs.

I wish you and your little froggy friends all the best!

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Katherine Morgan
Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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