How to Keep Pond Tadpoles Alive

Written by sarah goodwin-nguyen
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How to Keep Pond Tadpoles Alive
Tadpoles will naturally inhabit frog-friendly backyard ponds. (les tétards image by Claudio Calcagno from

If you find tadpoles in your backyard pond, you may wonder if they need human help to thrive. Generally, the answer is no. Though some may get eaten by fish and birds, many more will hide in the pond's plants during the day, eating algae, and hunting for mosquito larvae and other small edibles by night. However, there are a few things frog fans can do to make their backyard ponds more tadpole-friendly.

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Things you need

  • Pond plants
  • Muck and algae
  • Night lighting
  • Lily pads, logs, half-submerged rocks
  • Commercial fish flakes
  • Romaine lettuce

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  1. 1

    Provide plants in your pond. A variety of emergent aquatic plants to provide shelter, overhanging plants to provide shade, and submerged plants to provide hiding places increases tadpoles' chances of survival. Plants will also help keep your pond water clean by providing natural filtration.

  2. 2

    Let some leaves and muck accumulate on the pond's bottom, and allow some algae growth on top. A sparkling, algae-and-debris-free pond may look attractive, but in nature, ponds provide plenty of muck for hiding and burrowing, and algae for hiding and eating.

  3. 3

    Attract insects to your pond. Low-level night lighting will bring insects to the pond at night, when frogs and tadpoles feed. A compost pile near the pond can attract insects, as can plenty of native plants around the pond's perimeter.

  4. 4

    Provide exit routes. Once the tadpoles become little frogs, they need to be able to leave the pond to survive. Lilypads, floating logs, or half-submerged rocks allow the newly-formed frogs to climb in and out with ease.

  5. 5

    Supplement the tadpoles' natural diet with commercial fish flakes and/or small pieces of boiled and cooled romaine lettuce. Feed your tadpoles no more than every two to three days, and only as much as they will eat in an hour. Remove any uneaten food.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid use of chemicals, fertilisers, and pesticides in your lawn or pool. A frog's skin absorbs chemicals, which may cause growth abnormalities and reduce immunity to diseases. Frogs and tadpoles can be killed by eating poisoned insects
  • Stocking a pond full of koi and other large, non-native fish will generally result in tadpoles being eaten.

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