How To Raise Tadpoles – Tips and Advice

leopard frog tadpole

Raising tadpoles at home is a fun hobby. Shown here is a leopard frog tadpole.

Raising tadpoles in a fish tank at home can be an exciting and educational experience. You’ll be able to watch them as they transform, through a process known as metamorphosis. Kids often find them to be a fascinating specimen and parents appreciate the fact that they’ll be able to release them into the wild when they’re done growing up. Because of this, they often make a perfect “first pet” for younger children who aren’t yet familiar with the responsibilities that come with taking care of a living creature.

Before you go out and scoop up a handful of tadpoles, though, read these tips to make sure that everything’s as easy as possible – for you and the tadpoles!

Pick the Right Size Tank for Your Tadpoles

A five gallon tank might be suitable, depending on the types of tadpoles you’ll be raising. Larger specimens of frogs, such as the American Bull Frog, are better kept in larger tanks of ten gallons or more. A larger tank will provide more room for filters, heaters, and other equipment without limiting the amount of space for your tadpoles to swim.

Make Sure the Water Temperature is Just Right

Many tadpoles are spawned in the early spring when the water is still cool. It’s important that you take the temperature of the water where you’re obtaining your tadpoles. This will allow you to mimic the same temperature in your tank at home. Be sure to have a heater that will allow you to slowly heat the water up, as this is often the environmental change that triggers the growth of legs in your tadpoles.

Lighting is Important, Too!

It’s very important that you mimic the natural environment of your tadpoles for them to have the best possible experience possible in captivity. You’ll want to make sure that they’re provided with plenty of light during the day, but none during the night. Don’t make the mistake of putting the tank in direct sunlight, though. This might make it easier for you to provide a natural light cycle for the tadpoles, but it can often result in the water getting extremely hot and kill them.Raising tadpoles in captivity

You don’t need to resort to expensive timers, though. Simply provide them with a standard light used for fish tanks. Turn it on in the morning, when you wake up, and then turn it off when you’re going to bed. This will keep your tadpoles happy and healthy.

Feed Your Tadpoles a Healthy Diet

Depending on the type of tadpole you’ve collected you can feed them a number of things. Most tadpoles can eat algae wafers, which you can buy at your local pet store. Others will require live feed, like beetle larva, often referred to as “meal worms.” Large specimens, like Bullfrog Tadpoles, may even eat crickets. It’s important you don’t overfeed them, too. If you find that they’re not eating all of the food you’re providing then you’re feeding too much. Clean out any uneaten food, if possible, and reduce the amount you provide them next time.

Give Them Something to Climb On!

A woodfrog tadpole almost transformed into an adult frog

Photo by: Brian Gratwicke via Wikimedia commons

The most important thing you can do to ensure the successful metamorphosis of your tadpoles is providing them something to climb on. Many people fail to do this, even though it may seem obvious. Without something to climb on, such as a small, floating island, the tadpoles won’t be able to survive when they turn into frogs.

Provide them with something to climb on, though, and you’ll watch as your tadpoles grow into mature frogs. Then you’ll get to decide if you want to keep a pet frog or release all of them into the wild.