CJT's picture

Garden Pond Tadpoles

Frogspawn appeared in my garden pond between 6th and 12th February. 5 good sized clumps were laid and they seemed to survive the cold weather well.The pond was heaving with tadpoles early in the spring however they do not seem to be maturing and are still at the legless stage.

The pond is approx 6ft x 5ft by 3ft deep, with a butyl liner. There is a healthy population of water snails, pond skaters and waterboatmen. There are quite a few plants in the pond, Yellow flag iris, water forget me not,marsh marigold and monkey flowers etc but duckweed is a problem and is covering the surface. I try to remove it using a childs fishing net but it is difficult with so many tadpoles about.

Can anyone give me any ideas if it is usual for them to take this long to mature ( they didnt seem to take this long in previous years)and if not is there something I can do to help them along?



terrycrynant's picture

You might have so many

You might have so many tadpoles in the pond that there is a lack of food.At some stage they become carnivores and in the past I have fed them small pieces of beef tied to a string so any that is uneaten can be removed .I have also fed fish pond pellets and bread.Be careful about feeding too much as it will pollute the water. If they are hungry they will feed quite aggressively.Don't normally think of tadpoles as aggressive.

CJT's picture


Hi terry crynant
thank you for the tip, I might try some fish food from my daughters cold water aquarium and see if they will eat that.

the naturalist man's picture


They are late. but not too late they could still mature. Some tadpoles will delay maturing till next year if the conditions are not right.

As cazza says it could be a lack of food or it could be low oxygen levels due to the pondweed.

You are doing the right thing trying to remove the pondweed with a net. I suggest you get one of the pond water testing kits from your local aquarium shop (make sure you get the ones for outdoor ponds not indoor tanks). It could be low oxygen, high nitrates or ammonia from too many tadpoles doing what tadpoles do. If the water tests bad there are ways of getting the balance back.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'

CJT's picture


Thank you Graham

I will try out one of the kits and see if I can get to the root of the problem as I really do not want to loose the tadpoles.