Can African Dwarf Frogs Live With Koi Fish?

Adult Male African Dwarf Frog

Many people worldwide are starting to keep other species of animals other than fish in aquariums to boost their diversity and beauty. African Dwarf Frogs are becoming a popular aquatic amphibian to keep as a pet. Their ability to capture your attention and keep it is amazing. Koi fish are also beautiful and widespread with aquatic enthusiasts who may wonder if it is possible to let African dwarf frogs live with koi fish.

African dwarf frogs cannot live with koi fish in a pond, or an aquarium as the maintenance requirements of each are too great. Koi may mistake the African dwarf frog for food, and the water requirements of these two species differ. Koi requires a much bigger space with colder and more alkaline water.

While African dwarf frogs and koi can capture your attention, each has certain water and food requirements to be happy and healthy. In the post below, we discuss the environmental requirements of each, which will help you understand why these two species cannot live together.

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Environmental Requirements For African Dwarf Frogs And Koi

Our beautiful pet froog, apparently dancing a little jig
African dwarf frog

African dwarf frogs are small, freshwater amphibians found in Africa and have been bred as aquarium pets in other parts of the world.

They make good aquarium pets because they are peaceful, social creatures that can happily live with other small, peaceful fish. They are tropical species that do best in warm, calm water.

Koi fish are large freshwater fish in the carp family. They originate from Japan but can be found in ponds and aquariums in many parts of the world. They are sought-after for their bright colors, unique shapes, and beautiful fins.

They are social, herbivorous creatures but have been known to eat almost anything they can fit in their mouth. They may dominate or occasionally eat small creatures in the same pond as them.

Koi fish

There are many reasons why African dwarf frogs cannot live with koi, but the most important three are these:

  • The size difference between African dwarf frogs and koi
  • The origins and water temperature requirements of each species
  • Different water quality needs of the pond or aquarium

Because each species has a different physiology from the other and their native habitat is different in many ways, keeping them together without putting one or both at risk of stress, disease, or death is almost impossible.

Below we discuss the three main reasons African dwarf frogs cannot live with koi.

The Size Difference Between African Dwarf Frogs And Koi

This an African Dwarf Frog living in my tropical fish tank
African dwarf frog

African dwarf frogs grow to a length of about 2.5 inches. Compare this to a koi fish that typically grows 12 – 15 inches long, with some species growing as large as 35 inches. The size difference between these two aquatic species is significant. 

Koi live in groups and may dominate other smaller fish or animals in the pond. Worse still, while koi are mostly herbivores, they occasionally eat insects and other small invertebrates. The larger koi breeds may mistake juvenile African dwarf frogs or their tadpoles for food and eat them.

Koi fish

The Water Temperature Needs Of African Dwarf Frogs And Koi

While both African dwarf frogs and koi are freshwater animals, that’s about where the similarities between them end.

African dwarf frogs need warm water, a peaceful environment, and an appropriate diet for their nutritional needs and size. Koi fish need cooler water, a large space, and well-filtered water.

The water temperature suitable for an African dwarf frog is too high for koi fish. It may adversely affect water quality and the koi’s health. Similarly, the water temperature suitable for a koi fish is too cold for an African dwarf frog. It will not survive in colder water.

The Water Quality Needs Of African Dwarf Frogs And Koi

F African dwarf frog
African dwarf frog

The water quality needed by any aquarium pet will make the difference between a healthy and thriving pet and one that is stressed, prone to illness, and possibly even death. 

For both African dwarf frogs and koi, this is especially true. Both species are sensitive to water quality and must be kept in a well-balanced and maintained aquarium or pond. Checks on water quality and interventions to maintain correct levels for each species should be done regularly.

Koi fish

The table below helps to see the water requirements of both species, highlighting the difference between them:

Water Requirements:African Dwarf FrogKoi Fish
Water temperatureBest between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius)Koi require water temperature to be between 59 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 25 degrees Celsius)
Water pHWater should be slightly acidic to neutral with a pH between 6.5 – 7.5Water alkalinity should be slightly higher, with a pH between 7.0 – 8.2
Water hardnessBest to have a moderate hardness between 5 – 12 dGH (degrees of general hardness)Best to have moderate to hard water between 8 – 12 dGH (degrees of general hardness)
Water qualityAfrican Dwarf Frogs require clean, well-aerated water with good filtrationKoi are sensitive to poor water quality and require a well-aerated, highly filtered, and well-circulated water environment
Water depthRequire a water depth of 6 inches (15 cm) or more, and it is recommended to provide some resting areas and hiding placesRequire a depth of 3 feet (0.9 meters) or more, but larger fish will thrive in a deeper pond or tank, and it is recommended to provide some resting areas and hiding places
This is a table of the water requirements of both African Dwarf Frogs and koi fish.

From the table above, you can see the needs of both animals cannot be met in the same aquarium or pond.

To maintain healthy pH and hardness levels of the water, replace 10%-20% of the water in the aquarium or pond every two weeks or so. Test the levels of the water regularly.

The one common characteristic between these two is that they both like to have areas they can hide in if they feel threatened and some covered areas to rest. Each seeks out floating plants, rocks with crevices below, or clumps of plants to hide behind.

Can African Dwarf Frogs Live In A Pond?

Adult Male African Dwarf Frog
African dwarf frog

In most cases, African dwarf frogs cannot live in a pond. These frogs originate in the tropical regions of Nigeria, Cameroon, and the Congo River basin. While they are found in ponds and streams in Africa, the temperature and water difference in other parts of the world make ponds unsuitable for them.

Using temperature control methods in indoor aquariums is the best and safest way to recreate the environmental conditions these creatures need. So this is the way most African dwarf frogs are kept around the world.

Koi fish


African dwarf frogs and koi fish are both beautiful and active creatures to keep in an aquarium or pond. Unfortunately, you would be disappointed if you hoped to pair them together. African dwarf frogs and koi cannot live together as the difference in water and environmental needs are too great. Koi live in cooler, more alkaline water, whereas African dwarf frogs live in warmer, more acidic water. There is no way to keep both together without causing illness or stress in one or the other.


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