Caring for Tadpoles
Taking care of tadpoles:
1. First you’ll need a suitable container, like an aquarium or fishbowl. Choose a container that will be easy to view them from. We used a 10 gallon glass aquarium with a reptile tank filter (meant for low water tanks.) You will need to set up the tank to be 3/4 water 1/4 land to where they are able to climb onto when they become froglets, otherwise they are at risk for drowning. We used big rocks we found in the same creek area we found them in!
This is the tank we have, if you are avid nature observers, this is a great deal! Once we are finished observing one animal, we tend to bring another one in! (See our crayfish, katydid, and lizard posts!)
If you aren't planning on the filtered set up, you can get a smaller temp tank like this, however you will have to change water and check levels more frequently. Also, you won't be able to keep as many.
2. Tadpoles need fresh, clean water. If you take the water from a local stream, creek or pond, be sure that it’s not polluted. If using tap water, you will need to use a dechlorinator. Even the smallest amount of chlorine is lethal to tadpoles. A group of 3-6 tadpoles is ideal, they like having friends to feel safe.
3. What do tadpoles eat? We fed our tadpoles boiled lettuce/greens, and fish food flakes. They are herbivores (plant eaters) until they lose their tails and grow legs. We have pleco wafers (algae snacks) for our mystery snail in another tank, so we fed these as well, and they loved them!
4. The length of frog development from egg to tadpole to frog usually takes between six to 12 weeks (unless you get super lucky and find bullfrog tadpoles, in this case it can take up to 2 years to fully develop! I would recommend 10gallon filtered set up if this is the case.) Development is temperature dependent, so be sure the temperature is regulated in your home. Room temperature (70s) is perfect.
5. Once your frogs lose their tails, it is time to return them to where you found them. They will now require a different diet (as they become carnivores) and their diet is hard to supply unless you are a seasoned frog keeper. If you are prepared to keep them as frogs, you can feed them insects, bloodworms, and crickets! They will need a small area of water, and mostly land with lots of good hiding spots as adult frogs.
(Click the below worksheets to download!)