Are African Frogs and Shrimp Compatible?

Are African Frogs and Shrimp Compatible

Like dwarf shrimp, African frogs (African dwarf frogs and African clawed frogs) have increased in popularity in recent years. As a result, many aquarists have a reasonable question – “Are African frogs and shrimp compatible or how can they keep African frogs in a shrimp tank?”

The short answer is that in most cases, it is close to impossible to safely keep dwarf shrimp and African frogs because of their carnivore origin. Frogs are obligate carnivores, they only feed on meat-based foods. However, if you are keeping large shrimp species, it may be possible with small African frogs.

Recently I have come across a few posts and articles which clearly said that it is possible to keep shrimp. Regrettably, the information is either fluff and completely wrong or not structured and full. Therefore, I feel obliged to add my voice and correct some of the falsehoods.

Are African Dwarf Frogs and Dwarf Shrimp Compatible?

Let’s start with the size.

African dwarf frogs (such as Hymenochirus boettgeri, Hymenochirus curtipes, etc.) can reach up to 2.5 inches (7 cm) in length when fully grown. Whereas most dwarf shrimp species (genus Neocaridina and Caridina) usually grow up to 1 inch (2 .5 cm) long. After hatching, young baby shrimp (shrimplets) are around 0.08 inches (2 mm) long.

African dwarf frogs may look like small, cute, and relatively harmless creatures to us, humans. However, in the animal world, they are active predators and also are extremely opportunistic eaters.

Although they are very blind and clumsy, they have still a pretty good reaction and are able to catch a delicious meal when needed.

Therefore, the African dwarf frog is actually a pretty big threat in a shrimp tank setting. So, if you are seriously planning to breed dwarf shrimp, I strongly believe that keeping African dwarf frogs and dwarf shrimp together is not the best course of action.

African dwarf frogs will definitely eat your baby shrimp. As for the Adult dwarf shrimp, they may be safe for some time until your frogs get bigger. Thus, eventually, even adult shrimp might be eaten.

Important: You need to understand that incompatible tank mates are one of the stress factors for the shrimp. Do not take it lightly! Stress is a great way to lose your shrimp colony. Constant stress makes them weak and vulnerable. According to multiple tests, they are likely to suffer from a shorter lifespan and might experience additional side effects that could have an overall impact on their health.

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Are African Dwarf Frogs and Large Shrimp Species Compatible?

 What about other shrimp species? Are large shrimp species safe to keep with African dwarf frogs?

Shrimp species Size
Caridina cf. babaulti up to 1.5 inches (~4 cm)
Red Nose shrimp  up to 1.7 inches (~4.5 cm)
Ghost shrimp up to 2 inches (~5 cm)
Amano Shrimp up to 2 inches (~5 cm)
Whisker shrimp up to 2.5 inches (~5 cm)
Bamboo Shrimp up to 4 inches (~10 cm)
Vampire shrimp up to 6 inches (~15 cm)

 As we can see some shrimp species can grow pretty big. African dwarf frogs will not touch large adults as long as they are big enough for their mouths. In addition, some shrimp (such as Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp) are not pushovers and can stand up to the pokes from the frogs.

Note: Nonetheless, some recently molted shrimp and juveniles can still be hunted. 

Are African Clawed Frogs and Shrimp Compatible?

African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) can grow up to 5 – 6 inches (12 – 14 cm) in size. They are very aggressive and very persistent predators with a great appetite.

Therefore, these frogs and any shrimp species are not compatible. Period.

Personally, I would not even keep large shrimp species (such as Vampire shrimp) with African clawed frogs. They may not eat them but can definitely severely injure with their strong claws. 

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African Frogs and Their Instinct of Opportunistic Feeders

 If you are thinking about keeping African frogs and shrimp in community tanks, you need to understand their temperament, diet, and habitat needs.

Remember that African frogs, regardless of their size, are opportunistic feeders – eating whatever comes their way. Therefore, they will eat almost anything that is available in the tank.

It should not surprise you that they will try to hunt down any shrimp that is small enough to swallow.

If you think that you can fix this problem by giving your African frogs enough protein-rich food, you are wrong! The point is that this behavior is something that they will do on instinct.

I will repeat it once again, even if you give them plenty of food, African frogs will still continue to hunt your dwarf shrimp (given a chance).

African Frogs in Community Tank. Tips

Nonetheless, if you still have not changed your mind regarding this matter even after knowing much about African frogs or you are simply willing to take risks, there are a few precautions that you might want to take.

  • Areas to Hide

Do not forget that décor is not for you! It has another purpose in shrimp tanks. Decorations provide hiding places (shelter and protection) and minimize their stress. This is especially crucial for the molting shrimp.

Shrimp will appreciate all types of leaves, rocks, driftwood, PVC pipes, plastic mesh, and other decorations to enrich the environment in your tank. By keeping varied cover throughout the tank gives them a lot more opportunity to avoid unnecessary attention.

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The tank size also matters. It is way easier to catch shrimp in smaller tanks. A big aquarium will let your shrimp have more space to roam around and avoid an African frog. So, the bigger the tank the better!

  • Do Your Research!

This is the most important rule. Before getting these cool animals and keeping them together, you have to understand their requirements and the potential consequences.

Impulse purchases often have a very bad effect. People do not understand that their nature limits options if they want to keep them in a community tank. 

In Conclusion

On the Internet, you can also find some articles and stories about how some aquarists could keep African dwarf frogs and dwarf shrimp without many problems. This is also one of the reasons why so many people consider the idea that it might be fine to bring a dwarf frog into their community tank.

If it works for them it does not mean that it will work for you!

Be very careful with that. With a few exceptions, keeping shrimp even with African dwarf frogs can really be a game of chance. That is why it is not recommended unless you are prepared to potentially lose some shrimp. 

As for the African clawed frogs, these frogs are way too big and aggressive to keep them with any shrimp species. You will simply give them very expensive frog food.

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