RE: NANFA-- How to keep tadpoles alive?

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Fri, 15 Jun 2001 18:07:36 -0500

Patrick -

I too have been raising a few amphibians this year (tadpoles and
salamanders). Ray is absolutely right about the need to keep the water
clean. I make frequent water changes with aged tap water and use foam
filters with just a little bit of air flow. I also use natural leaf litter
from the pools where I collected the animals. Keep your water level well
below the top edge of the container and keep some floating plants or thin
pieces of styrofoam in the water so the transformed froglings or toadlings
can climb out. My experience has been that development is a non-linear
process. It can go pretty slow initially an then speed up quite a bit
towards the end.

I used some of the commercially produced algae-based foods initially but
switched to spinach and collard greens. One bunch of each, boiled and
frozen, makes a lot of inexpensive and convenient food. My ranid tadpoles
liked it and did well on it (developing within a few weeks). You can feeze
as a single block and shave off what you need or you can make little meals
wrapped in tiny squares of wax paper and freeze those.

The recent excellent book "Tadpoles-The Biology of Anuran Larvae" by Roy
McDiarmid and Ronn Altig (1999 University of Chicago Press) has a concise,
helpful section on rearing. Authors recommend natural foods (algae-covered
rocks, aquatic plants, etc.) but also report successfully rearing tadpoles
on the following: rabbit pellets, trout chow, Frog Brittle (NASCO, Fort
Atkinson, Wisconsin), fish foods (including spirulina and commercially
prepared flakes), nettle powder (used by Europeans). They also cite a paper
by Harkey and Semlitsch that provided a recipe: one part baby cereal, one
part fish flakes, two parts guinea pig pellets. They report good and bad
results with spinach, and bad results with lettuce and cabbage.

Note - Some reptile enthusiasts are very careful about the greens they give
tortoises and iguanas because of problems with reduced calcium availability.
Collard greens (along with kudzu) apparently are safe and nutritious in this
respect. Might be a consideration when deciding what to pick up at the
produce stand.

- Jan

>>>make sure to keep their water clean in addition to feeding greens like
algae. I have been raising alot of salamander larvae this spring by keeping
them in shoe boxes in the garage. they are carnivores though, and need
additions of mosquito larvae and daphnia every few days. I just dump off
some of the water and add some fresh aged water from the fish ponds. Aged
water is important as well for amphibians. They are very senstive to
chemicals in city water, and also salts. Rain water with a few oak leaves
to add a nice tea color is beneficial.

>>>My daughter brought home some tadpoles that her teacher gave her.
They are in a fish bowl and the teacher said to feed bread.
I added an airstone and told my daughter to change the water every other
day. The teacher said that they'll be fine and will develop legs shortly.
I don't want the little guys to die so any help is welcome on keeping and
feeding. Thanks.
Atlanta, GA<<

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