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Reptiles/Painted Turtle and African Dwarf Frog Together?


Hello! My name is Alexis and my husband and I are currently the happy owners of a 6 mo. old Painted turtle named Fred. we keep him in a 10 gallon tank for now, with a water heater, 3 stage filter and uv/basking lamp. We feed him every other day a medley of raisins, turtle pellets and dried krill/shrimp/worms (one variety per meal, not all three at once!)

We are thinking about expanding our family, and are very interested in adopting a small frog. From our research, it seems an African Dwarf frog will be the lowest maintenance frog to start with, and it seems like his preferred habitat and diet needs would be much the same as our turtle's. I found tons of info on sharing fish tanks, but so far, nothing on sharing tanks with Eastern Painteds. Can they live together happily? Maybe there is a different frog breed that will serve better? We are looking to avoid making too many changes to accommodate a new pet (ex: getting a whole other tank!)
I look forward to seeing any advice or recommendations you might have. Thank you!

I don't think that raisins are an appropriate food for aquatic turtles.  Some chopped collard greens or mustard greens can be offered.  Fresh foods are recommended - live insects dusted with calcium, live chopped worms, etc.  (Live guppies are okay, but might transmit parasites - rosy reds and goldfish shouldn't be fed).  Pellets and dried foods should only make up maybe 30% of the diet.  Good information can be found here:

A 10 gallon tank is really much too small for a typical 6 month old turtle.  The usual recommendation is 10 gallons per inch of shell length.  I recommend switching to a plastic tub container rather than a glass tank.  It will be much easier to keep clean.  Be sure that the light produces UVB, not just 'UV'.  This is vitally important for the health of the turtle.  The new mercury-vapor UVB reptile lights are perfect solutions, as they produce both UVB light and heat and can last for 3 years.  Other UVB lights are fluorescent, so a separate basking lamp is needed when you use them.  They must be replaced every 6 months as the UV coating wears off.

NEVER take advice from pet store personnel when it comes to reptile care or equipment.  The truth is that aquatic turtles are very high-maintenance pets, and pets stores seriously downplay their requirements in order to sell them.

If you want an aquatic frog, an African Dwarf Clawed Frog would be a good choice.  The trick is maintaining high water quality with a low flow, so a low flow filter of some kind would be needed.  Keep them basically the way you would a more delicate species of fish.

As for housing a frog WITH your turtle:  Absolutely not, I'm sorry.  Turtles are very messy, and the requirement for such frequent water changes would be just one of the issues preventing this.  Frogs, like fish, are sensitive to chloramines, while turtles aren't so much.  With water quality so quickly degrading, it would be a bad choice for a frog, even if changed frequently.  The second barrier to it is the fact that turtles are pretty indiscriminate omnivores, and the turtle would almost certainly bite the frog's feet off and eat him alive.

Regarding not wanting to set up a new enclosure-- you're going to have to do that anyhow, as the present enclosure you have for your turtle is not adequate to meet its needs, even in the short term.  Once you move your turtle to a more appropriate (much larger) enclosure, if you still want some sort of frog, I would recommend fire-bellied toads.  These terrestrial toads stay small, and eat flightless fruit flies and small crickets.  A shallow water dish, and an enclosure decorated with damp coco fiber, moss, and wood, will look attractive, and they'll be fun to watch.  You can house a trio in that 10 gallon tank.  


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Donna Fernstrom


My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.


I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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