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How to Raise Tadpoles

Four Parts:Housing the tadpolesWater qualityFeeding the tadpolesDevelopment of the tadpoles

By raising and releasing tadpoles, you not only get to witness a remarkable transformation, but you also bring more frogs into the world--frogs that will eat pesky bugs like gnats, flies, mosquitoes and more. To keep them healthy and ensure that their metamorphosis goes smoothly, you'll need to have the right set-up and know-how.

Part 1
Housing the tadpoles

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    Find a suitable container to house the tadpoles. Tadpoles can be raised in most containers, though it's best for them to be housed outside so that you attract more mosquito's to lay their larva for the tadpoles to eat, the nature provides a cleaner and more oxygenated atmosphere and because it's more natural. Be sure to keep them in the shade at all times, though. Suitable containers include:
    • A large tank.
    • A large oven roast bowl
    • A small pool if outside.
    • A tub.
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    Lay a suitable base on the bottom of the housing. Use gravel to cover well. Add a big rock or two for shelter and land when the tadpoles transform.
    • Put small weeds and grass with the roots attached in the water so the tadpoles can hang onto them, and they eat the roots.
    • Make sure there has not been a recent application of pesticides on any plant life added, as this will kill the tadpoles within a day.
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    Provide shade for about three quarters of the area if the tadpoles are outdoors. The tadpoles must be able to get out of direct sunlight when they want to.
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    Keep about 5-10 tadpoles per litre of water. You can keep more, but they may die out faster or become carnivorous.

Part 2
Water quality

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    Keep the water clean. Tadpoles need clean, dechlorinated water. Bottled water is ideal, but if the water is from the tap let it sit in a container for 24 hours. Rain water is one of the best waters to keep your tadpoles in since it contains mosquito larva and doesn't contain any chemicals.[[Image:raise tadpoles Step 2.jpg}}
    • Some advise using water from where you found the tadpoles.{{fact|center]]
    • Do not use tap water; it's too full of chemicals that can harm tadpoles. If you want to use tap water, let it sit uncovered for 24 hours, to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
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    Change the water regularly. Try to only change half the water at a time to keep the pH of the water balanced. A turkey baster is good for this and disturbs the tadpoles as little as possible whilst making it easy to remove debris that gathers at the bottom of the container. But this is optional––not many tadpole/frog owners have these.

Part 3
Feeding the tadpoles

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    Boil romaine lettuce for 10 to 15 minutes. It's ready when the leaves are soft and squishy. Drain and cut it in to little pieces. Feed a pinch every day.
    • Other types of lettuce should work too. However, only use softer leaves. Also, all pieces should be small enough for their tiny mouths.
    • Tadpoles can also be fed normal flake fish food-but only in small pinches, as it's not the absolute best for them. A couple of pinches a week should keep the tadpoles hunger satisfied depending on the amount of tadpoles you keep. Too much food can cause death to the tadpoles from over-eating.

Part 4
Development of the tadpoles

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    Be patient. They usually develop from egg to tadpole in 6 to 12 weeks. Keep that in mind and don't panic when it gets cold; in winter the tadpoles will grow more slowly. The ideal temperature is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, or around 20-25 degrees Celsius.
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    Prepare for their metamorphosis. When your tadpoles develop legs you will need a container with dirt for them to crawl up onto, or they will drown.
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    Do not feed the tadpoles when they have sprouted arms. At this time the tadpole will be using it's tail as food and it will become an adult frog.
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    Provide more food after metamorphosis. If you aren't releasing the froglets, they will likely need larger housing.
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    Be aware that many froglets dislike being handled. The tank or housing for them must be kept clean daily, otherwise bacteria will spread rapidly and can kill them.


  • Mince and freeze the lettuce and feed by the pinch.
  • Dead tadpoles appear gray (if your tadpoles are black), almost like zombies. They float at the top of the water and can be easily removed.
  • You can sometimes find tadpoles in deep puddles.
  • If you have tadpoles of African clawed or dwarf frogs, then a land area won't be necessary since all stages of aquatic frogs are fully aquatic.
  • When tadpoles develop their teeth they can eat water herbs such as basil. (Basil can grow in water).
  • Tadpoles can eat water bugs pond weed lily pads bleeding hearts (a type of flower) flies mosquitoes worms and grubs.
  • If you have tadpoles and frogs in captivity DO NOT put them in the same bucket. Because if the frogs get too hungry they will eat the tadpole eggs or red poles.
  • Beware, mosquito larvae look similar to a tadpole. You can see that they are mosquitoes if they have a spike on their tail. Similar to tadpoles, they also don't swim very much.


  • Don't overfeed tadpoles. Doing so can lead to clouded water which can in turn suffocate the little babies. It will also dirty the water-leading to highly possible water infection.
  • Avoid putting the tadpoles in direct sun, but indirect sun is alright as it won't overheat the tadpoles; always provide three quarters shade.
  • Be careful not to get sunscreen, soap, lotion, or other things of that nature in the water as it will kill the tadpoles. At all costs, never allow pesticides to get into the water.
  • If you are raising your frogs outside, you might end up with a permanent frog breeding society. In this case, make sure they are native to the area.
  • Check the law in your area before you catch wild tadpoles or release the frogs, especially if you use commercially prepared fish flakes. By tank raising tadpoles they become adapted to another environment that has different diseases that could wreak havoc with local wildlife.
  • If you are in an area where mosquito-borne diseases are a problem, make sure that your outdoor enclosure does not become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.[1]

Things You'll Need

  • Suitable container (fish bowl, aquarium, large canning jars with no lids, etc)
  • Water
  • Tadpoles
  • Food for the tadpoles (Romaine lettuce, spinach, flake fish food)
  • (You can also get tadpole food at your pet store)
  • Things for them to hang off of ( grass and leaves, etc.)

Article Info

Categories: Frogs | Toads