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Goldfish and tadpoles

I have a large splodge of frogspawn in my pond and my four goldfish are ignoring it thankfully, however I am wondering whether the tadpoles will be safe when they emerge from their protective jelly. Does anyone on the forum know ?



  • DaisydayDaisyday Posts: 373

    Oh dear!  Two must have survived last year so perhaps one or two will make it this year.image

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,473

    Some will survive, the ones that can hide. If you put some stones in the shallow end, the tadpoles hide between them, and the fish cant eat them.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,320

    fidgetbones beat me to it. Give them somewhere to hide , twigs in the water, stones, terracotta plant pots, etc. where the fish won't venture . I find once they get to a decent size the fish don't seem to bother with them.

  • DaisydayDaisyday Posts: 373

    Thank you for your replies. I can now see what I can do to help those little taddies.image

  • Tadpoles aren't all supposed to grow up - only a small proportion need to survive to ensure that the frog population continues. The rest won't be wasted, they will make a really nutritious treat for your goldfish.

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    Hi daydaisy, the official line is goldfish are a no no in a wildlife pond, they don't just eat tadpoles, they pretty much eat everything that moves.The reality is that some people find they can have both, it is the same with newts and tadpoles, newts eat them too but some ponds have both living side-by-side.

    Hiding places is a good idea. Having shallow areas in a sunny spot is another good idea.

    If you have a very shallow areas, too shallow for the fish to enter, the tadpoles will love it as they will warm up quickly and be safe from fish and newts. You can create such areas with pebbles or by putting turfs at the edge of a pond, half in and half out of the water.

  • Yes, tadpoles like basking in very shallow areas, especially as they're approaching froghood, and most fish won't go where it's too shallow. One the froglets can clamber on to a rock or reach dry land, it's the birds they have to watch out for.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,320

    Gemma, I remember reading something like,  the newts eat the tadpoles, but when they start "laying" or whatever they do, the frogs have then developed and eat the baby newts, so kinda karma.

    I hope you'll correct me if that was just a weird freaky dream I had.image

  • We have seen newts go round biting the heads off tadpoles, without bothering to eat them. Perhaps they're trying to reduce the frog population, in order to protect their young. Or maybe they're just vicious little thugs.

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    That's absolutely true Hostafan. Frog tadpoles start off vegetarian and just munch on the algae in the pond. As they develop though they become carnivorous. The newts lay their eggs individually on aquatic plant leaves, carefully wrapping each egg in the leaf. So the eggs usually are safe. Once they hatch though, the larva are tiny and vulnerable to hungry frog tadpoles. 

    The thing that really swings the balance is invertebrate predators, things like dragonfly larva and diving beetle larva. In time they build in numbers in a pond and few of the frog tadpoles survive. In the meantime the newt larva do better, smaller and less likely to be found swimming in the open water. The frogs start to decline, the adult newts polish off the few clumps of spawn laid each year and the balance is lost in favour of newts only. That's the theory, in practice many things can alter the balance in favour of the frogs, when this happens we get the happy result of both living side-by-side.

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