I had a question recently as to whether or not tadpoles can be safely raised with tropical freshwater fish.
This article will try to answer that question in a general way. What I am writing, however, does not apply to specialized species of frogs or toads such as the dancing frog of India whose blind tadpoles live under the sand or certain types of Amazon tree frogs that carry the tadpoles on their backs or place them in the water-filled centers of bromeliads.
Nor will this information pertain to the carnivorous, catfish-like tadpoles of the African Clawed Frog which will get its entry sometime later this year.
However, it will apply to the majority of frog and toad tadpoles that turn up on websites, indie fish stores, or that might be seen in local waterways around the world.
I had had the experience of raising leopard frog and American toad tadpoles with my tropical fish when I was a pre-teen, and fire-belly toad tadpoles more recently.
My earliest experience with the leopard frog tadpoles was successful but risky. I did not know any better at the time and put two, wild-caught tadpoles into my community tank containing fish common in the trade like Bronze Corydoras, green swordtails, guppies, cardinal tetras, etc. after an adjusting them to the water temperature.
This was not risky for the tadpoles, but too the fish. I should have done a period of quarantine where the tadpoles could have received treatment for parasites using medicine suitable for scaleless fish.
However, I was lucky, and no parasites were introduced. I remember the corydoras at first attempting to swim together with one or the other of the tadpoles but soon would give up as tadpoles are not schooling creatures.
After several months, the tadpoles began to metamorph into frogs. First, the hind legs appear one at a time and then the front legs. When the front legs start to look, you need to keep an eye on the developing frog because at this time the mouth begins to grow too.
They will need meatier foods like frozen bloodworms instead of flakes and larger tadpoles like those of the bullfrog may also attempt to sample fish.
At this point, the lungs develop, and it is necessary to provide the froglets places where they can get out of the water such as a think grove of floating plants they can rest on. Hopefully, before starting to grow tadpoles you had a plan as to what you will do with the frog.
If the froglet is from a species you caught in the wild, it could be returned at this time or kept in a terrarium with a water feature ( the size of the water feature depends on the species).
A tadpole species purchased online or in a pet store should never be released outside nor should you rerelease any non-native animal even if you caught it in the wild (both Cane Toads and Bullfrogs are invasive species in many parts of the world).
Worldwide except in arctic conditions
variable by species.
You can keep tadpoles at room temperature or temperature suitable for tropical fish but keep in mind that the latter speeds up their life cycle.
Tadpoles are opportunistic feeders. Most will readily take flakes and algae wafers. They will also eat frozen bloodworms and carrion.
They are not too picky but keep in mind that a tadpole’s skin is very fragile so avoid sharp objects like some artificial plants in their aquarium. Tadpoles tend to be clumsy swimmers and greedy eaters so avoid keeping them with shy species. Toad tadpoles tend to be smaller than baby frogs so prevent tankmates like angelfish who will not hesitate to eat them (this is from experience).
Tadpoles are juvenile frogs and are unable to breed in this immature form. Their adult forms lay vast numbers of jelly-like eggs in still waters.
Note: When I raised tadpoles most recently, I kept them in a tadpole only tank with no heater. Although they can be grown with tropical fish. It seems better to keep them in a species tank. Tadpoles are very interesting, and some varieties can be surprisingly pretty, but with the worldwide decline of amphibians, please don’t take them from the wild. Typing ‘tadpoles for sale’ into Google revealed many places that carry them.
List Of Pictures if various tadpoles species
I started with tadpoles when I was very young, then collecting water insects and then small fish and amphibians. It’s been a while, but I have only just started with tropical fish for the first time this year
I once had a beautiful leopard frog in my pond. With a fish in his mouth, he used to climb up the waterfall. He helped keep the fish population under control. When the sun hit his back, he was especially lovely.
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