The digestive system of Tadpoles consists of long coiled intestines designed for eating plant matter. In order to stay healthy Tadpoles require both protein and calcium. So what is the best food to feed your little Tadpoles? You can feed your little Tadpoles, greens (lettuce, spinach), leaves from a creek or specially formulated Tadpole food. Let’s take a closer look at each of these food choices.
Any variety of lettuce (except iceberg or Cos) baby spinach, zucchini, green grapes, peas (crushed slightly with the outer skin removed) broccoli or green pepper. It is important that you rinse the greens well, you can boil or freeze them but you need to ensure it’s cut it up into small pieces to make it easier for the little critters to bite and digest. If you do use frozen, ensure it is sufficiently thawed before feeding. Avoid celery or adult spinach (chard, silverbeet). Home grown or organic vegetables are best as these are less likely to have been sprayed with pesticides. Here’s a tip for busy pet owners, put several pieces of lettuce together, boil them for five to ten minutes, chop them into tiny pieces, and put them into bags before you freeze them and serve the your little Tadpoles a small helping of home-made food from the bag every time you need to do so.
Protein is required twice during the tadpole’s life cycle, it is required initially whilst it’s hatching, the Tadpole feeds on its own yolk sack; and then again when a Tadpole forms his back legs, it needs protein to develop, at this particular stage. The protein should be provided to the Tadpole several times a week, but prior to the development of his legs a baby frog should have protein only once or twice a week. If you have a creek or stream near you, you could collect some leaves from the creek bed (make sure they have algae on them) and throw those into the bottom of the tank. Not only will the Tadpoles eat the algae but they can use the leaves to hide under. You can also purchase algae discsto add to your tank and, in the later stages of the Tadpole’s development you can add bloodworm or mealwormsonce a week.
In addition to proteins, our little Tadpoles need calcium too. There are a couple of ways to ensure they receive this, either add a cuttlebone or you can buy a calcium liquid supplement . The cuttlebone can be left in the tank through the whole of the Tadpoles development. The liquid calcium will need to be added every time you do a water change (ie 2 drops/litre of water).
You also purchase specially made Tadpole food either online or at your local pet store. A popular brand is Ecopond Tadpole Food and is available in both early and late stage formulas. Both formulas will provide the nutrition your little guys need to grow up into strong and healthy frogs. Ecopond is a vegetable based flake that provides a vital source of food during their early, vegetarian days (up to the point where they form back legs). Once Tadpoles have developed back legs they require protein and this is provided by Ecopond Late Stage Tadpole Food.
Whether you are raising the Tadpoles yourself or are helping some out in their natural environment, feeding them specifically designed Tadpole food will give them a greater chance of growing into healthy frogs.
What Not to Feed Tadpoles
Do not feed your little critters fish flakes, ANY meat products, turtle food, chicken pellets or food made for other animals. Remember Tadpoles are vegetarians and while they can have bloodworms occasionally as a source of protein it’s best to avoid feeding it to them more than once a week. If you’re not sure if a food is safe to feed your Tadpoles, best not to chance it.
How much do I feed my Tadpoles?
Feed your Tadpoles small amounts frequently, usually every 8 hours. Don’t feed them anymore than they can consume within that time period, it’s not a good idea to throw in a couple of days worth of food at once, they will not be able to eat it and it will just make the water dirty faster and make more work for yourself. A Tadpole’s life is all about eating and growing so keep an eye out for the food in the tank, as soon as the last meal is done, you’ll need to add more food.