Click: Caring for Reptiles and Amphibians: Useful Products from the Aquarium Trade – Using Frozen and other Foods for Turtles, Aquatic Salamanders and Tadpoles – Part 1 to read the first part of this article.
Frozen Foods for Tadpoles
Tetramin Staple Diet Flakes and spirulina flakes have long been used by hobbyists and zookeepers as foods for poison frog and other tadpoles. However, frozen tropical fish foods have been largely over-looked as regards tadpole husbandry.
I have found a number of frozen foods to be well-accepted by a wide variety of tadpoles, including most poison frogs, tomato frogs, golden bell frogs, various flying frogs and native species such as bull, green and gray tree frogs, and Fowler’s and Colorado River toads. The consistency of frozen foods renders them very palatable to tadpoles…by utilizing a few different types, it is a simple matter to formulate a healthy diet for many species.
Suggested Frozen Foods for Tadpoles
Cichlid Vegetable Food contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, while Emerald Entree has spinach and other vegetables along with animal protein derived from mysids and brine shrimp. Spirulina is always a favorite and is a fine food for nearly all tadpoles.
The tadpoles of most frog and toad species, even those described in references as “grazing upon algae”, usually consume a good deal of animal matter in the form of Daphnia and other tiny invertebrates and carrion. I suggest you provide a mix of several foods containing both plant and animal matter to most species. Please write in information concerning individual species that you might be interested in rearing.
Freeze Dried Foods for Tadpoles
As mentioned earlier, Tetramin Staple Diet and Spirulina flakes are tadpole-rearing standbys, and I continue to rely upon both. For most tadpoles, I also make liberal use of freeze dried fish foods. Many of the fresh water invertebrates favored by small fishes, and available in freeze-dried form, are consumed by tadpoles as part of their natural diets.
Tablets and Wafers for Tadpoles
Sinking tablets and wafers are especially useful when rearing tadpoles. They are dense enough to keep the tadpoles of bullfrogs, smoky jungle frogs, marine toads and other large frogs busy, yet are palatable to even the smallest species (I have used algae tablets for the tiny tadpoles of wood frogs and spring peepers).
I usually raise tadpoles in bare-bottomed tanks, especially where large numbers are concerned. This eases cleaning and allows for close observations. However, in zoo and public aquarium exhibits, I am sometimes faced with the task of rearing tadpoles on gravel or other substrates (please see photo). In these instances I find tablet and wafer type foods to be a great help in maintaining water quality, as most of the food stays above the gravel bed. Also, in well-planted exhibits, it is easier to keep track of how much is being consumed when using tablets as opposed to flake or frozen tadpole foods.
Recommended Tablets and Wafers
Tetramin Tablets provide both animal and vegetable matter, and are a good choice as a dietary staple for many species. Algae Eater Chips are quite unique in containing several types of algae, and should be fed to any frog or toad tadpole that will accept them (most do so readily). As with frozen and flake products, spirulina discs are a good basic food item for most commonly-kept tadpoles.
Well, we’ve only just barely scratched the surface here…I’ll re-visit this topic from time to time in the future. I n the meanwhile, I’d enjoy hearing about your own suggestions and experiences, and will include them in future articles. Thanks, Frank Indiviglio.