What are tadpoles and what do they eat?

What do tadpoles eat?

Raising tadpoles is a great idea if you have some time on your hands and would love a pet, but cannot really afford or house a dog, cat, or goat. All you need is a nice, spacious aquarium, some rocks, and a good amount of leafy underwater plants. And some time, because raising tadpoles can take considerable time each day. Now, once you have collected the frog eggs and they have hatched- provided, of course, that it is legal in your area to collect and hatch them in captivity- the question arises of feeding them. Tadpoles are sensitive creatures, like all newborns, and there is the added pressure of them not really being very communicative creatures. Here’s a list of the food you can safely give to you tadpoles.

what do tadpoles eat

Algae tablets are a great source of the necessary nutrients that a tadpole will need. It contains 51 to 71% protein, manganese, water, iron, B vitamins, and essential amino acids. You need to crush the tablets and then feed them to the tadpoles. 3 to four tablets per 8 tadpoles should be enough in the beginning, and you can adjust the dose as they grow.

Like humans, leafy greens are great for tadpoles as well. Most species of tadpoles are herbivorous, o you can safely give them ample amounts of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and lettuce. Any lettuce will work, barring cos and iceberg, and randomly growing water plants work just fine as well. If you do not wish to simply shred the pieces and drop it into the aquarium- which is as good a technique as any- you can boil and then feed them to the tadpoles. Keep in mind, however, that boiling the leaves may deprive them of certain essential nutrients, and it would be a better idea to keep them frozen and thaw them out at feeding time. This will make the leaves soft enough.

This is a great source of nutrient for the tadpoles, and something that is easily found in any pet store or aquarium store. If a nearby shop is not an option, you can always order in bulk online. Good fish flakes will contain a staggering amount of nutrients, including, but not limited to, Fish meal, D-calcium pantothenate, dried yeast, riboflavin-5-phosphate, ground brown rice, wheat gluten, ascorbic acid (source of Vitamin C), feeding oat meal, source of Vitamin B12, fish oil, shrimp meal, potato protein, dehulled soybean meal, soybean oil, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, algae meal, sorbitol, lecithin, yeast extract, niacin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, A-tocopherol-acetate (source of Vitamin E), monobasic calcium phosphate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin A palmitate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate, cyanocobalamin, inositol, to name a few. Before you buy, look up the ingredients carefully to check the quality of the proteins, which is very important for tadpoles. If the ingredient list indicates that low quality protein, such as shrimp meal, is used in high amounts in the food, it is best to avoid the brand.

Along with protein, tadpoles need a fair amount of calcium as well, throughout their life cycle. A good idea would be to buy a liquid calcium supplement, and add a few drops to the tank or aquarium every time you change the water. In order to ensure that a steady supply of calcium is present for the little creatures all the time, add a cuttlebone to the tank.

Your best bet, of course, is to buy special tadpole food for the little guys. Food specially made for tadpoles will have just the right amount of calcium and protein, and you will know exactly how much to feed them. This will omit any trial and error mistakes that might otherwise occur. Add a bloodworm or two once or twice a month, if possible.

Tadpoles are essentially vegetarian, so it is best to avoid meat products of any sort, such as turtle and chicken feed. Do not throw in scraps of food into the water; while the tadpoles will usually stay clear of them, occasional ingestion may occur, with dire consequences. At any rate, untouched food will hamper the environment.
This is only a generic list. There is a wide variety of tadpoles to choose from, and if you collected eggs randomly, get them checked by a pisciculturist or a vet to know their species. Feeding structure and type varies greatly among the differ types of tadpoles; some would require feeding once, some several times a day, and the same feed will probably not work for all. Do not feed them too much, as uneaten food will rot in the water, making it unhealthy. Use a net to scoop up the excess food in between mealtimes.

Also read:

Watch video: How and what to feed tadpoles

What are tadpoles?

Frogs are probably found everywhere. Kids are particularly fond of them as they jump and hop through the water and rain. They have a great time catching the tiny animal. Have you ever thought how they are born? Well, the secret is almost out in the following paragraphs. Let’s find out their genesis and process of evolution.

what are tadpoles

A group of tadpoles

Déjà vu butterflies:

Like the butterflies, frogs do not give birth to the young ones as they are not mammals. In fact, they lay eggs which after some days metamorphose into tiny organisms called tadpole. Eggs find suitable environment inside the water and get hatched quickly. Small tadpoles or pollywogs as they are fondly called eventually grow up into big frogs. The name is derived from toad and head.

Also read: How to raise tadpoles at home?

Frogs often lay eggs in groups in places where the current in the water is no existent.

Under hibernation:

After proliferating from the egg, the tadpoles hibernate for while so that their muscles and gills are developed. It is an important step because the organs help in the movement of the body and also breathing under water. Initially, the tadpoles are very fragile and extremely vulnerable to attacks by the predators. The hibernation period consist of spending time by sticking with the weed floating in the water. It uses the stick organ lying between the mount and the belly region.

Appearance of the tadpole:

Generally, the tadpole is identified by a long tail which is also its back leg. As it reaches adulthood, the front long grows gradually. One of the primary differences between the adult frog and tadpole is that the latter has warty skins while the former has smoother version. Tadpole has earthy color and it resembles more like a fish. Speckles and spots could be seen all over the body. Moreover, you can also spot 4 rows of teeth in the organism. While transforming into a frog, the tadpole stops consuming food and absorbs the nutrition from its body for growth.

Mechanism of breathing:

A tadpole cannot breathe on land as its skin is unsuitable to facilitate breathing. It can only perform the task with the help of gills which gradually die away during the adulthood period. A fully grown up frog can seamlessly live on land and in water.

Pace of development:

The transformation of tadpole to frog might require 6 weeks to 3 years. According to the experts, the total time duration varies from one species to another. In addition, the growth should occur in wild rather than captivity. Tadpoles are super sensitive towards the chemicals in water. Presence of chlorine can kill them quickly.

Also read: How tadpoles turn into frogs?

Majority of tadpoles grow up in 12 weeks. As it reach adulthood, the tail becomes short and it is transformed into a miniaturized form of an adult frog.

Primary behavior:

Tadpoles are akin to fish; therefore they swim together in ponds and lakes. Once the muscles develop during adulthood, they tend to jump from one place to another. After becoming adult, it would leave the water till the next return for laying eggs.

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4 thoughts on “What are tadpoles and what do they eat?

  1. lilly b.

    Thanks a lot! I caught some tadpoles today at a creek near bye and I didn’t know what to feed them and I decided to check out your website/video. AMAZING!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

    1. tapo Post author

      I’m glad I was able to help. Keep the little ones safe.

  2. Tina

    I just caught 10 tadpoles all this information was helpful


    When our weather started turning nice in April, we began hearing a frog chorus each evening in our backyard. Well, “chorus” is inaccurate: At first it was a solo, and later a duet. They would warble back and forth to each other across our pond, their song building in intensity until the loud finale. Silence for a short bit, then would come a replay. We figured it was either a male and a female declaring their love, or else two males arguing over a female. This went on for a week or so, and suddenly stopped. Today, I peered into our scummy pond, thinking we should drain it and clean it out – and counted 13 tadpoles swimming happily! I hope they make it to adulthood; we used to have goldfish in the pond, and some large birds took to hanging out on our neighbor’s roof, hoping for a meal. Thanks for tge info; we’ll let the pond stay scummy until they all leave.


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