Can Betta Live with African Dwarf Frogs?

Whether you already own an African dwarf frog or feel your betta needs a partner, it’s essential to do due diligence to make sure the two will get along.

Yes, Betta fish can usually live with African dwarf frogs. But there are some things you need to keep in mind when keeping these together (especially knowing that Betta can be aggressive)

Introducing Your Betta and African Dwarf Frog

If your betta already lives with other aquatic wildlife, you should already have a feel for how it may react to you adding an African dwarf frog to its tank.

African Dwarf Frog in a Tank
African Dwarf Frog in a Fishtank

However, if this will be the first time you introduce your betta lives with another creature, then it’s extra critical that you monitor your fish and frog’s behaviors.

More often than not, if one of the two shows signs of aggression, it’ll be your betta fish.

Nevertheless, African dwarf frogs aren’t immune to wanting to be dominant.

That said, behavior isn’t the only aspect that goes into determining if a betta and African dwarf frog can live together.

Let’s look at external factors you should consider.

Tank Arrangements

Below are the most important measures you’ll need to check before introducing an African dwarf frog to your betta tank.

Tank Temperature and pH

Luckily, bettas and African dwarf frogs thrive in a similar tank environment. They both do best with pH levels at or around seven.

Regarding temperature, betta fish prefer their water at 78°F. In contrast, African dwarf frogs have a greater temperature tolerance, ranging from 75 to 80°F.

Long story short, if you already have your tank pH and temperature set up to cater to your betta fish, you should have no issues adding an African dwarf frog.

Tank Height

African dwarf frogs are amphibians, meaning that they’re air-breathing creatures.

So, you need to ensure there’s a large enough gap at the top of the tank for them to breathe.

However, a gap at the top alone isn’t enough to give your frog a healthy life; you also need to make sure the water level isn’t too high.

African dwarf frogs love to swim, but in the wild, they usually stick to shallower territories. Therefore, if the water in your tank is too deep, they could drown.

When adding an African dwarf frog to your betta tank, you should make sure the water level isn’t higher than 12 inches. However, nine to ten inches is ideal.

Before you go out and buy a new tank, though, you have options—either remove some water or add extra substrate to the ground.

Substrate Quality

When it comes to substrate type, betta fish are tougher than African dwarf frogs

If your tank currently has marbles or big pebbles, you run the risk of your frog’s leg getting caught when it’s perusing around the bottom.

For this reason, you should replace any such substrate with gravel.

The advantage of gravel for African dwarf frogs is that it’s too small to entangle their legs, but it’s big enough, so they won’t think that it’s food.

Gallons of Water

Just because your African dwarf frog can’t have more than 12 inches of water from the top to the bottom of the tank doesn’t mean that you should have a small tank.

The larger the tank that your wallet and home space can afford, the happier your betta and African dwarf frog will be.

However, you should have a ten-gallon tank for one dwarf frog and one betta fish at a minimum.

If you add more than one frog, you should increase this amount by one gallon per frog.

Tank Design

You should offer your betta and African dwarf frog plenty of hiding places. That will help make them feel safer, thus reducing their stress.

In the wild, bettas tend to congregate around rice paddies. On the other hand, African dwarf frogs gravitate towards plants in shallow creeks and ponds.

So, including lots of ground and surface-level vegetation in your tank is an excellent way to make sure your betta fish and African dwarf frog feel at home.

Hiding places at the bottom of your tank are also essential for your African dwarf frog.

Just make sure the items you use are smooth, for a betta’s long fins can snag on rough surfaces.

Tank Jumping

If this is your first time keeping a frog in your betta tank, you’re naturally concerned about your African dwarf frog escaping.

We don’t want to scare you, but ensuring your African dwarf frog stays in the tank is critical— these frogs can begin to dehydrate within 20 minutes of being outside of water.

For this reason, we encourage all African dwarf frog owners to have a cover for their tanks.

If your cover isn’t heavy or doesn’t latch well, consider placing a heavy object on top of it for good measure.

Also read: Can Betta Fish Jump Out of a Tank?

The Social Factor

As a betta owner, you probably already know that bettas tend to be solitary fish. However, this isn’t the same case for African dwarf frogs.

These frogs are social creatures, and, unfortunately, your betta fish doesn’t count as a social companion.

Therefore, you should aim to have at least two African dwarf frogs in your betta tank to prevent loneliness—and thus, stress—from setting in.

Aggressive Behavior

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you work at preparing your tank for a smooth introduction between your betta fish and the African dwarf frog, aggression can still occur.

In this section, we’ll cover signs to look out for and methods you can apply for handling aggression.

Determining if Your Betta Is Aggressive

You may love your betta fish, but it doesn’t mean that it’ll love whatever you put in its tank.

And, more often than not, when introducing betta fish to an African dwarf frog, it’ll be the betta that instigates aggression.

Have you had experiences introducing your betta to fish in the past? If so, how did it react?

As a general rule, you can expect your betta to show similar behavior towards an African dwarf frog as it did other fish.

So, if you already know that your betta has a history of attacking other fish, we don’t recommend adding an African dwarf frog to its tank.

Territory Trick

Whether you know that your betta has aggressive tendencies, or you want to do everything in your power to make sure it gets along with your African dwarf frog, try switching up its territory.

To do so, remove it from its tank and change out the plants and layout. Alternatively, move it to a new tank altogether.

If you haven’t purchased your betta fish or African dwarf frogs yet, an even better option is to purchase your frogs first, let them acclimate, and then add the betta fish.

The idea behind this method is that your betta fish won’t have time to become territorial.

Therefore, it’s more likely to accept a tank companion.

Switch Tanks

If you have a spare tank on hand, moving the aggressive betta or African dwarf frog to a different tank is often the best solution.

By doing so, you’ll remove your fish or frog from its stressful situation, which will help them to live a happier, longer life. 

Divide the Tank

Fish tanks can be expensive, so buying a tank divider is a great solution for breaking up your betta and African dwarf frog if one shows aggressive behavior.

However, before you run off to your nearest pet store, consider how much space your betta and frog will have once you insert the divider.

We recommend using a divider only if your tank is ten gallons or larger.

Otherwise, your fish and frogs will undergo a different kind of stress from living in too small of an environment.

African Dwarf Frogs and Food

Although bettas have a higher chance of being aggressive, the table turns when it comes to feeding time for African dwarf frogs.

These frogs eat food in the form of pellets that sink to the bottom of the tank. Naturally, your betta may get curious about them and try poking around.

If this happens, don’t be surprised if your African dwarf frog begins chasing your betta fish.

However, you should remain equally unsurprised if your frog chooses not to eat at all.

The reason being is that African dwarf frogs sometimes have the reaction to avoid conflict if other fish try to eat their food.

In the wild, they sometimes go hungry for days, even if food is near.

Another food-related issue to monitor is that betta fish have overeating habits.

Therefore, if your African dwarf frog isn’t eating its food and you don’t remove its pellets, there’s a good chance that your betta fish will start growing a belly.

Final Thoughts

Betta fish are solitary creatures by nature. So, provided they have plenty of space, they should acclimate just fine with an African dwarf frog.

However, of the two species, betta fish are more likely to show aggression than African dwarf frogs.

Therefore, as the owner, it’s critical that you apply the strategies we discussed here so that your betta and African dwarf frogs live a happy, harmonious life together.

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