Is a 70 gallon aquarium large enough to keep dart frogs and anoles together?

“Dear Devin,

I have read your material and know that you don’t recommend community vivaria, but I was wondering what your opinion would be for a tank this size? I have a 70 gallon aquarium available and I was thinking anoles and dart frogs (possibly D. leucomelas) or day geckos and mantellas or some other Madagascan frog. I am going to try and get fully native plants as well.

Can you offer any advice, or do you think that this is really not a great idea?

Thanks for any help you can offer.”

It is always safer for reptiles and amphibians to be kept in their own individual species-specific enclosure, but given enough space there are some combinations that can work.

I know of at least one person who kept green anoles with Dendrobates azureus for years without problems. They were in a 55 gallon aquarium, only two anoles and a five or six frogs, I believe.

If you go this route, I would recommend to keep the two species on their own for several months first in simple enclosures. For the anoles, find captive-bred ones because this would be safest given the poor condition the average wild-caught anole is usually sold in. Also, ensure the dart frogs are adult size. A juvenile frog with a hungry adult anole could be trouble. But all in all, as a mix I think it could work.

There are also a number of skilled hobbyists who maintain various geckos with larger species of dart frogs. The mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) is a common cohabitant with dart frogs in large enclosures. Gonatodes species are another option.

Being able to accommodate both species care in the same enclosure and identify problems before they arise takes experience. This is not something to try if you are new to keeping either species. Get to know them first, keep them for some years, breed them, and get a feel for what is normal and what isn’t.

The Madagascar mix proposed—day geckos with mantellas—is probably a bad idea, mainly because finding healthy captive-bred stock will be challenging.

But, if you breed both mantellas and day geckos at home, have some healthy surplus stock, construct a large terrarium and wanted to try it out, it might work.

Best of luck.

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