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Can I Put Tadpoles In My Fish Tank? What You Need To Know

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

tad pole in pond

Tadpoles or frogs may not be the first thing you think of keeping at home in a fish tank, but it is definitely a possibility. Today we want to answer some popular common questions and provide some helpful information on what you need to know.

So first to answer the main question here, can I put tadpoles in my fish tank? The answer is a resounding yes, you can absolutely put tadpoles in your fish tank, but just not with other fish, because they will get eaten. Let’s go over some other common tadpole tank questions and how you can care for them at home.

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Can Tadpoles Live In A Fish Tank?

Yes, absolutely can tadpoles live in a fish tank or aquarium. They are actually pretty easy to care for as well. It is better to keep a tadpole container outdoors so that mosquitos can lay eggs, so that the tadpoles have mosquito larvae to eat, which is their main source of nourishment.

However, outdoors, predators can eat them and they may succumb to the elements. If you have tadpoles inside an aquarium, you will need to provide them with mosquito and insect larvae to eat.

treefrog tadpoles swimming in the aquarium
Photo Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

What Do Tadpoles Need In A Tank?

You will need to add some fine gravel for substrate, some rooted plants, and weeds, as well as some larger rocks. These will be hiding places and it helps the tadpoles feel at home too. The tadpoles should not be in direct sunlight or only very dim light.

How Many Tadpoles Can I Have In My Tank?

For every liter of water, you want to keep no more than 10 tadpoles, as many of them will die in large numbers, or they may even become carnivorous or cannibalistic.

Water Conditions

Keep in mind that tadpoles need water that is free of chlorine, so you will need to use bottled water or you will have to dechlorinate tap water. Many people actually use rainwater for this, as it tends to be clean and chemical-free, plus it might also contain mosquito larvae for food.

Note on pH Level

You will need to keep the pH level balanced and perform 50% water changes on a regular basis too. The water temperature should be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bullfrog tadpoles swimming in the aquarium
Photo Credit: Umaporn Tepumong, Shutterstock

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What to Feed Your Tadpoles?

To feed your tadpoles, boiling romaine lettuce for 15 minutes will do just fine.

Can You Put Tadpoles In A Fish Tank With Goldfish?

Sure, you could try it, but the only thing you would accomplish by adding tadpoles to a goldfish tank is to provide the goldfish with a tasty snack. Yes, goldfish will eat tadpoles.

There is absolutely no doubt about this whatsoever, so whatever you do, do not keep goldfish and tadpoles in the same aquarium.

With that being said, this applies to pretty much any and all fish out there, not just goldfish. Tadpoles seem to be a fan favorite when it comes to fish snack time.

How Long Does It Take For Tadpoles To Turn Into Frogs?

Once a tadpole hatches, it goes through a 12-week growth stage that will end up with it being a fully grown frog. To put it in other words, a tadpole is like a frog larva, and it needs time to grow, develop, and transform.

Generally speaking, it will take about 6 weeks after hatching for the tadpoles to develop their legs. Keep in mind that at this point, you need to provide them with some dirt and dry land to walk around on so they do not drown. Remember folks, these are amphibians who breathe air, not fish with gills.

After about 8 weeks after the tadpoles hatch out of their eggs, they will look like frogs with really long tails. At this point, the tadpole will actually start absorbing its own tail and use it for food, so you do not have to feed them during this time.

By 12 weeks, you should have a frog with a very short and stubby tail, and by 13 or 14 weeks, the tail will be totally gone and you will be left with a fully grown and mature frog.

two african dwarf frogs
Photo Credit: Dan Olsen, Shutterstock

Do Tadpoles Eat Guppies?

Generally speaking, a tadpole is too small to eat a guppy, but it has occurred that a large tadpole, one that is closer to being a frog than a newborn tadpole, has eaten a very small guppy.

However, this usually does not happen as frogs generally prefer to eat insects rather than fish.

When To Release Tadpoles

Well, this depends on what you had planned to do. If you want to release the tadpoles, it is advised to wait until they have matured into fully grown frogs, or else chances are pretty big that they will get eaten when released.

However, you may want to keep some frogs, in which case you are welcome to do so, as they are not very hard to care for.

Can Tadpoles Eat Fish Food?

No, tadpoles should not be fed fish food at all. Fish and tadpoles, and fish and frogs, do not have the same dietary requirements.

Many fish eat algae, plants, and veggies, and all fish foods out there, especially fish flakes and pellet food, contain some amount of vegetables and plant matter. Frogs are carnivores and they do not eat plants, but they do eat insects and large amounts of them.

Frogs eat small fish, insects, snails, and worms, but not plants, so fish food should be avoided at all costs. You should be feeding your fish those exact things that we just talked about above.

You may decide to buy some worms or insect larvae, which are technically sold as fish food. This will work as well. However, tadpoles for the most part are fine with boiled lettuce and insect larvae.

tadpole at the bottom of the aquarium
Photo Credit: sirabhop, Shutterstock

Do Tadpoles Need A Bubbler?

No, you do not need to get a bubbler or airstone for tadpoles. If you have a half-decent filter running, it should be more than enough to oxygenate the water to supply the tadpoles with adequate amounts of oxygen.

That said, they do not require a filter either, at least not for just a couple of them. If you only have a few tadpoles, adding oxygen to the water is not necessary.

However, if you have a whole lot of tadpoles in a confined space, then yes, you may want to add a bubbler into the mix just to ensure that they all have enough air to breathe comfortably.

Do Tadpoles Need A Filter?

To give tadpoles their best shot at life and maturing into frogs, you should provide them with good filtration, especially if you have many of them in the same tank.

You should get a filter with a sponge cover or some other sort of cover to ensure that the tadpoles do not get sucked in. Just like with fish, tadpoles do not do so well in really dirty water, especially if there is ammonia building up.

Close up of a hand disassembling a fish tank waterfall filter to clean it
Image Credit: Ladanifer, Shutterstock

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As you can see, keeping tadpoles at your home is actually quite simple and straightforward, much easier than caring for fish. You can choose to release them or keep some fully grown frogs too!

Featured Image Credit: greggnormal, Shutterstock

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