Tetra Fish and African Dwarf Frogs: Can They Live Together?

During my years of fish growing, I knew that tetras are relatively docile. Rarely I had any trouble raising that specie along with other fish. However, frogs were a bit of a mystery to me. At a certain point, I began asking myself whether or not tetras and African Dwarf Frogs can actually live together in the same tank.

Yes, tetra fish and African Dwarf Frogs can live together. That is because both species share similar conditions, such as water temperature, pH, and alkalinity. Also, the two creatures are relatively calm and less likely to present an aggressive behavior towards one another. 

As we move forward in this article, I will share with you a few tips to make tetra fish and African Dwarf Frogs coexist. Also, I will present to you a useful video that shows how to feed these frogs efficiently, so they are less likely to attack your tetras due to starvation.

Can African Dwarf Frogs Live With Tetras?

African Dwarf frogs are fascinating creatures. However, that isn’t an excuse to pair them with any random species of fish. They have specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities that make them great tank mates for some fish and poor tank mates for others.

Fortunately, tetras are ideal tank mates for most creatures in an aquarium. The question of whether or not African Dwarf Frogs can live with tetras must be approached from two different directions. 

First, you have to consider whether or not African Dwarf Frogs and tetras are capable of living in the same water. That involves analyzing the parameters and water conditions that appeal to both of them. 

Secondly, if they can thrive in the same water, you must determine whether or not they can coexist peacefully in the same tank. This involves looking at their social habits and attitudes. For African Dwarf frogs and tetras to live together, they must tick both boxes. 

There is no point in the creatures enjoying the same water parameters if their temperaments prevent them from sharing the same space. Additionally, if the frogs and their tetra neighbors have equally peaceful attitudes, but the water conditions they prefer vary, you cannot keep them together. 

So, how do African Dwarf frogs and tetras score in either category? Well, let’s dive right into it:

1. Size Differences

You should keep in mind that aquariums are dangerous places. While fish are not necessarily emotional beings, they will eat whatever they can find. That is not out of cruelty. However, typical fish will get anything that fits in their mouth. 

This is why size differences matter. Fish in a tank that is filled with much larger creatures are always in danger of being eaten. This is why you are discouraged from pairing tank species whose sizes vary too drastically.

Fortunately, the size factor isn’t much of a problem here. African Dwarf Frogs grow to an average size of 3 inches. Regarding tetras, they are entirely in the same boat. Many of them can reach an estimated length of 2 to 3 inches. 

As you can see, neither creature dramatically exceeds the other where size is concerned. Therefore, neither the tetras nor the frogs will automatically view the other as a meal.

2. Aquarium Requirements

Tank size is one of the most common causes of aggression in fish. The most docile creatures can resort to violence if they are forced to share limited resources such as in small aquariums. This is why you are encouraged to give your fish ample space.

In this case, African Dwarf Frogs and Tetras have similar size requirements. They both need 10 gallons to thrive, 20 gallons to be on the safe side. Nevertheless, since you are keeping both species together, you should get a relatively large tank.

If you intend to keep tetras and dwarf frogs altogether, I highly suggest checking out the NUVO Fusion Lagoon 25 Pro (link to Marine Depot). That bundle features the precise dimensions required for a frag tank and receives countless positive reviews across the web.

3. Water Requirements

The future of your tank hinges on the water parameters issue. There is no point in trying to figure out whether or not your frogs and tetras can coexist until you have determined that they can live in the same water conditions. 

African Dwarf frogs thrive in temperatures of 72 to 78 degrees F and a pH of 6.5 to 7.8.[1] Tetras, for their part, require temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 degrees F and pH ranging from 6.8 to 7.8.[2] Fortunately, both creatures can live within the same range where the temperature, pH, and even the alkalinity are concerned. 

That resolves the first and most important factor. You can proceed knowing full well that your frogs and tetras can, at the very least, live in the same water. But you should keep in mind that the frogs do not like strong currents. Since they are relatively weak swimmers, you should adjust the filter accordingly.

Also, note that frogs need to surface every once in a while to take a breath. And because they are not great swimmers, their tank shouldn’t be deeper than 20 inches. But none of those considerations affect the tetras. 

For instance, tetra fish do not require particularly deep tanks. They will happily swim at the top or middle sections of the aquarium. As such, your attempt at keeping the depth of your chosen tank below 20 inches is unlikely to elicit adverse reactions. 

4. Temperament

Now that you know that your frogs and tetras can live in the same tank, you can start worrying about whether or not they will get along. Hosting aggressive species in the same container is never a good idea. Either they will fight until they kill one another, or one of them will bully the other.

In this case, you have nothing to worry about. Tetras are peaceful fish.[3] They are calm, non-aggressive, and they thrive in social situations. In other words, they have no qualms about sharing their tank with other creatures, even if one of those creatures is a frog. 

African Dwarf Frogs are no different. The amphibians are nocturnal, which means that their interactions with your tetras will be limited.[4] They are also known to be peaceful. In an ideal situation, they shouldn’t pose a threat to their tank mates, especially if those tank mates are neither too large nor aggressive. 

5. Food Requirements

The feeding habits of African Dwarf Frogs are a significant issue where their relationship with other fish is concerned. Well, these frogs are omnivores. That means they will eat brine shrimp, bloodworms, flakes, pellets, and possibly any other food item that your tetras consume.

Because African Dwarf Frogs don’t have teeth, they have to swallow their food whole. You should keep this in mind when feeding them. However, this isn’t the primary issue. African Dwarf Frogs are problematic because they are not aggressive eaters.[5] 

In fact, it would be quite accurate to call them slow eaters where food is concerned.[6] If you have more active fish in the tank, they might consume all your frog’s food before it can eat. That could harm the African Dwarf’s health and growth rate significantly.

Luckily, tetras are quite calm. They are not known for stealing food from their tank mates, especially if the food portions are sufficient. Even though they share the same meals, things should be okay if you feed them right. 

But fish are distinct. They have unique personalities, and it is more than possible to come across a tetra that is so aggressive in his feeding tendencies that it keeps eating all the food in the tank. In such cases, you have to bring the food directly to the frog using tweezers or a turkey baster. 

Still, this issue shouldn’t prevent you from keeping frogs and tetras in the same tank.

Related articles that may also interest you:

Do African Dwarf Frogs Eat Tetras?

This question is undoubtedly valid. Fish eat each other all the time. Therefore, it makes all the sense in the world to wonder whether or not your frogs have what it takes to eat your tetras. This is what you should know.

Yes, African Dwarf Frogs are capable of eating tetras. Any creature in your tank can eat any other living being that can fit in its mouth. Your African Dwarf Frogs have what it takes to eat your tetras.

That being said, even though African Dwarf Frogs can potentially eat tetras, they are not likely to do so. As was mentioned above, these frogs are relatively peaceful creatures. They have no interest in hunting, killing, and eating their companions.

This isn’t just a question of aggression. You should know that African Dwarf Frogs are nearly blind. As such, even if they wanted to eat your tetras, they will have some trouble finding them. You should also know that the frogs are toothless and clawless. They are hardly the most threatening species in the aquarium.

However, the blindness of your frogs is the primary reason why they sometimes eat their tankmates. Because they cannot see, the frogs have been known to mistake other fish for food.[7] But once they bite down on a creature and conclude that it is not food, they will let it go. Don’t take this as a sign of aggression. 

Nevertheless, because of their poor eyesight, the frogs have been known to injure the fins of some fish, leaving them vulnerable to infections and rot. But again, this isn’t a sign of intentional aggression. Keep this in mind before taking any drastic actions.

How to Make Tetras and African Dwarf Frogs Coexist?

As mentioned above, you don’t have to do much to keep the peace between these two creatures. Many factors are already working in your favor. Your only job is to remove any obstacles that might disrupt the harmony in the tank. That involves the following:

1. Get a Large Tank

As was mentioned above, even the most peaceful of creatures will resort to violence if it is forced to live in a small tank. This is why you should avoid overcrowding at all costs. Purchase tanks that are large enough to contend with the numbers of tetras and frogs you have chosen to stock.

On that matter, a 25-gallon tank should suffice. That volume typically works if you are keeping one or two African Dwarf Frogs with a group of tetras. However, if you have other fish in the aquarium (or perhaps a group of frogs), you might need a larger container. 

That is where I would recommend for you to read my aquarium kits buyer’s guide. I put there a section where I reviewed a kit for experts, which is 55-gallons in volume. Even though I haven’t purchased this one myself, I continuously saw five-star reviews about it online. 

2. Put a Few Plants

African Dwarf Frogs appreciate planted tanks. That is why you should act to give them plenty of foliage. They need all the hiding places they can get. Tetras, on their part, are no different. They appreciate plants and swim much more calmly when foliage is present. 

You can also add a few decorations to the mix. Both creatures will appreciate the privacy. However, you should avoid those objects that feature sharp edges. Since the frogs are blind, they could get injured by them when swimming by.

3. Feed Them Right

African Dwarf frogs are most dangerous when they are not well fed. The fact that they are practically blind means that they will start biting down on whatever objects blur across their vision. You need to ensure that they get their fair share of food. 

This applies to most tanks. Fish are also at their most dangerous when they are forced to grow hungry. You can avoid unwanted conflicts by making sure that the food you add to the tank reaches your frogs.

  • For your convenience, here is a useful Youtube video that describes how to feed bloodworms to African Dwarf Frogs properly. Personally, I’ve found it extremely helpful: 

Conclusions

Since both tetras and African Dwarf Frogs are relatively calm species, they are very likely to share the same tank peacefully. They also share similar water conditions, which increases the chances of symbiotic life. 

However, keep in mind that your frogs should be adequately fed. Otherwise, they may attack your tetras in search of food. The same goes for your tetra fish, which may show hostility when the feedings are not sufficient. 

I hope my article had answered your question. If you have any thoughts regarding that topic, feel free to contact me in person. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can. In the meanwhile, I wish you the best of luck in raising these beautiful, exciting creatures. 

References

  1. https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/african-dwarf-frog/
  2. https://www.aqueon.com/information/care-sheets/tetras
  3. https://www.cuteness.com/article/good-tank-mates-tetras
  4. https://pethelpful.com/reptiles-amphibians/African-Dwarf-Frog-Care
  5. https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/files/2008/04/African-Dwarf-Frogs.pdf
  6. https://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/fish-care/a-set-up-guide-for-new-african-dwarf-frog-parents/A0090.html
  7. https://animals.mom.me/aggression-african-dwarf-frog-2393.html

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