Paludarium for Poison Dart Frogs

The sound of the rushing water, frogs & fish together, an awesome display tank; there are lots of reasons people build paludariums.   I have been wanting to build a paludarium since I began frogging almost 4 years ago.  Recently I have seen a lot of people talking about how dangerous paludarium’s are for poison dart frogs.  It seems to me that a lot of people believe that dart frogs can’t swim, which is not true.

Poison dart frogs in general are pretty decent swimmers.  Most times if a dart frog drowns it is because it had a underlying medical issue and was already sick.

Here are some ways to make a vivarium with water (paludarium) suitable for a poison dart frog:

– start with a tank that is atleast 40 gallons to allow for adequate water & land area

-make gentle sloping sides for easy out of the water like JDown’s Office Paludarium

sloping sides-don’t make caves or areas where the frogs may swim in and get stuck

caves-add lilly pads, rocks or exposed logs as something to grab onto and sit on.  Wet frogs can’t easily climb the glass so they need somewhere to catch their breath if the water section is big and/ or deep.

lilly pads-When in doubt keep the water shallow like John’s 40 gallon Paludarium

johns  40 gallon

Here are a couple examples of some paludariums that have served as inspiration for me to want to start my own paludarium:

Tim’s 72 gallon paludarium below houses a couple frogs & some fish!  This tank works due to the amount of land provided & the easy sloping sides for the frogs if they hop in.   Tim's 72 gallon paludarium

Revolutions 68 gallons and I can see many frogs frolicking in here, even in the water section!

68 gallon frogs would love to frolick

Frank Payne’s 125 gallon tank which was built into the wall.  It is hard to see but there is lots of land space for the frogs.

in wall tank

Stablefly’s tank has a large but shallow water area on one side, and lots of area for frogs to roam on the other side.  There is also a log & sloping grade which allows for easy access back to land.paludarium

Here are two examples of tanks that would not work well, due to the amount of water compared to land area.

Chris’ Green Tree Python’s tanktoo much water

DillJone’s Anoles with firebellied toads tankno land

As long as the tank is well set-up with the frogs in mind, you should be able to create a wonderful oasis that allows for both frogs & fish like the tank below:

Kristins 80 gallonKristin’s 80 gallon tank which have some galacts in there and according to the owner all are doing well.  Sounds like the frogs mostly ignore the water section.


I would not recommend a paludarium to a beginner due to the extra pumps & headaches that it causes, however to an experienced frogger it could make a pretty cool display tank.


Take a look at these other inspiring tanks collections:

Large Builds 75+ gallons

Under 75 gallon tanks




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18 thoughts on “Paludarium for Poison Dart Frogs

  1. Hello,

    I’ve had fire belly toads for years; I’d like to build/buy a paludarium for fire belly toad. what fish can co habitat with these toads?


    1. I have heard of guppies and tetras co-habitating with fire bellied toads. However make sure you have adequate water changes so they don’t kill them. I have heard fire bellied toads are poisonous, but do not have experience with them. You will also need to keep the fire bellied toads well fed, otherwise you have a bunch of tasty snacks in the water for them.

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