A paludarium is a three-fold tank that offers a dry and aquatic habitat for animals—it has land, air, and water. It’s different from an aquarium with just water or a terrarium with only house soil and plants, creating a unique replica of an animal’s natural habitat. If you want to keep frogs in your paludarium, note that some frogs make the best additions to the tank.
The Oriental Fire-bellied Toad, Poison Dart Frog, Glass Frog, Reed Frog, and Milk Frog are the best types of frogs to keep in a paludarium. Generally, tree frogs are excellent frogs to house in a paludarium. Not all frogs will do well in paludariums, but these will do just fine.
Many frogs are not suited for paludarium environments because they need a lot of room to jump and move. Meanwhile,others thrive in a paludarium because it’s a safe and enclosed area. Keep reading as I discuss how certain frogs can thrive in a paludarium.
1. Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads
Despite its name, the Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad is not a toad; it is a frog. These frogs can emit a toxin that isn’t deadly to humans. However, you should always wash your hands after touching them or anything in their tank. Because of this toxin, it’s best to leave Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads alone in a paludarium because it can harm other living creatures in it.
These frogs enjoy living close to land and water, so a paludarium is a perfect habitat. They typically spend a lot of time where the water and land meet.
Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads are active frogs, so make you give them plenty of space in their paludarium to get around. Because they like to move around, these frogs will hop out of the tank when given the opportunity. So fire-bellied toads need a paludarium with a secure lid.
These frogs are native to the warm forests of Asia, and they’re aquatic frogs, so you’ll need to keep a good amount of water in their tank—aim for about two to four inches—up to half their tank can be water. Be sure to keep some foliage with broad leaves and a lot of moss on the tank’s floor.
2. Poison Dart Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs are an excellent choice to keep in a paludarium. Contrary to popular belief, captive-bred Poison Dart Frogs, like those at Berkshire Museum, are not poisonous, although some species in the wild are. These frogs spend most of their time on dry land instead of in the water, but a few species of dart frogs will spend a lot of time in shallow water or use the water as a hiding space from prey.
Poison Dart Frogs are native to the rainforest. That said, you should keep these frogs in a very humid, moist, and well-watered paludarium to imitate their natural habitat. You’ll only need to put a little bit of water in a Poison Dart Frog’s tank because they won’t spend much time in the water, and they aren’t very skilled swimmers. Most of these frogs will spend most of their time on the tank’s floor.
When setting up a Poison Dart Frog habitat, be sure to add some natural greenery and flowers that reflect the frog’s natural habitat. Most tropical flowers will be suitable.
3. Glass Frogs
Glass Frogs are a type of tree frog native to the tropical forest regions of Central and South America. These frogs are a smaller type of tree frog that spend most of their time above water. Naturally, they mostly live in shrubs, trees, or near streams of water.
Like Poison Dart Frogs, Glass Frogs thrive in a humid and moist environment. Set up their habitat as an Amazon-themed paludarium to feel most like their natural habitat. Add several branches to the paludarium, and you can even add a humidifier to keep the environment humid and moist.
Because Glass Frogs spend most of their time at the tops of trees, they don’t need a lot of water in their paludarium. Just a few inches should do the trick. Keep a lot of greenery in the tank. They sometimes eat other glass frogs, so keep that in mind when filling your tank.
4. Reed Frogs
Reed frogs are native to Africa and live in Sub-Saharan regions. They’re very active frogs, and they like to move around more than other frog species, so make sure you have a paludarium big enough for a Reed Frog to have plenty of space.
Because Reed Frogs are native to warm environments, make sure their habitat doesn’t get too cold. Try to keep their paludarium between 70 and 80°F (21 to 26.7°C). These frogs are used to Sub-Saharan temperatures, so they’ll need a dedicated basking spot as well, meaning you’ll need to purchase a heat lamp or pad for the paludarium as well. The basking spot should reach about 90°F (32°C) or so.
Try to put large, broad leaves in a Reed Frog’s paludarium. These plants provide lovely shade
and shelter for the frogs and replicate the types of plants in their natural environment. If you add live plants, make sure they can handle high temperatures.
5. Milk Frogs
Milk Frogs are another tree frog native to the South American tropical rainforests. They thrive in humid environments and spend much of their time above water. These frogs need a lot of foliage and branches to climb in a paludarium, so include several wide-leaved plants for your Milk Frog to enjoy.
Milk frogs don’t need any soil or bark, also known as substrate, that typically lines a paludarium’s floor since they spend much of their time at the tops of trees. However, you’ll just need to rinse out the bottom of the tank to get rid of any waste. Their habitat should be well-ventilated, and many people prefer using screened-in enclosures.
In the wild, Milk Frogs spend most of their time near their tree’s water hole. Be sure to include a large watering hole in your paludarium to make your Milk Frog feel more at home. Even though they spend most of their time high in the tree’s leaves, they’ll often rest in their watering hole overnight.
A paludarium is an excellent choice for amphibians and other animals living by water and land. Most tree frogs are best in a paludarium, and Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads are another type of frog that thrive in a paludarium environment. You can easily alter and adjust your paludarium to suit your frog’s needs, and you can add plastic or live plants to help emulate your frog’s natural habitat.
- Britannica: glass frog
- LLLReptile and Supply Company: Reed Frogs
- Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: Oriental fire-bellied toad
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: Fun Facts About Amazon Milk Frogs
- The Spruce Pets: Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad: Species Profile
- Paludariums.net: Paludarium animals
- National Geographic: Poison Dart Frogs
- Berkshire Museum: Don’t You Know That You’re Toxic?
- Reptiles Magazine: Care And Breeding Africa’s Colorful Reed Frogs