Do Goldfish Eat Tadpoles & Frogspawn?

Frogs will only spawn in clean, freshwater with good oxygen levels. Whether it is an outdoor pond or not, there is a great likelihood that not all the tadpoles will survive. Many will be eaten as they will become prey for the fish species in the pond. It is just the way nature works.

But, do goldfish eat tadpoles? And how can you stop tadpoles from being eaten as a food source in the pond? 

This informative piece answers whether goldfish eat tadpoles. It also discusses how to stop tadpoles from being eaten and many other important concerns.

Goldfish and Tadpoles

While goldfish are the typical freshwater fish to keep in your ponds and coldwater aquariums, they are excellent for beginner hobbyists. They do well with many other aquatic animals that thrive in cold water temperatures. They are omnivores like their close relatives; the carp.

Many varieties make good pets for hobbyists, and they include the Oranda goldfish, Ryukin, Lionhead, Comet, Shubunkin, Fantail, and many more. They are very active and are competitive eaters.

goldfish in isolated black background

Tadpoles, on the other hand, are the larval stage of amphibians. But in the ponds with goldfish, the term “tadpoles” is restricted to mean the larval stage of frogs. But tadpoles generally refer to amphibians, including frogs, toads, and salamanders, at their larval stage. 

The larval stage is a point in the life cycle of frogs. Unlike adult frogs, tadpoles have gills, lateral lines, and tails for movement in the pond. However, these features disappear later in life as they undergo metamorphosis into adults. 

You will usually find frog tadpoles in ponds because they are herbivores at their larval stage. They depend on aquatic plants for food and will only become carnivores after growing into adult frogs. A typical frog tadpole grows to about 1.3 inches, and the larval stage takes about 14 weeks.

The tadpoles do not move much for the first two weeks after they hatch. They usually spend the first few weeks eating up the remaining yolk in their eggs for nutrients. They begin to feed on aquatic plants like algae for energy as they grow.

Do Goldfish Eat Tadpoles?

tadpole in lake

Yes, goldfish eat tadpoles. Tadpoles are small enough to fit into the goldfish’s mouth. Since they eat smaller aquatic animals, you can be sure that your tadpoles will be on the menu for as long as they find themselves in that larval stage.

Another possible reason they will eat your tadpoles is the difference in swimming speed. Goldfish have stronger tails and fins to glide and swim in any direction as fast as possible if they want a tadpole.

Although the swimming speed of tadpoles is determined by their sizes, as the larger they are, the faster they will be, they still do not outswim goldfish. Feasting on a couple of tadpoles for the goldfish is as easy as a breeze. In ponds, whether indoors or outdoors, the goldfish is the king as long as it is the biggest fish.

Do Goldfish Eat All Tadpoles (Frog Tadpoles and Toad Tadpoles)?

As mentioned earlier, tadpoles are amphibians at their larval stage and not frogs alone. You can have toad tadpoles, frog tadpoles, and the king salamander tadpoles. So do goldfish eat all kinds of tadpoles? Goldfish do not eat all tadpoles.

While frog and toad tadpoles are very much on the menu, the goldfish is likely to spit out the toad tadpoles. Toad tadpoles, unlike frog tadpoles, secrete harmful toxins just like an adult toad. They use it as a defense mechanism to ward off likely predators.

While they may attempt to consume toad tadpoles, the disappointing taste will make them vomit the tadpoles and even ensure that they steer clear of toad tadpoles.

Frog tadpoles are the usual delicacy for goldfish in a pond. Goldfish will feast on frog tadpoles any day, any time.

Do Goldfish Eat Frog and Toad Eggs?

close up photo of a frog sawn

While goldfish will eat frog tadpoles for sure, they are less likely to eat frog eggs, better known as frogspawn.

But this does not mean that they cannot or will not eat frog eggs. It depends on whether the eggs are visible enough to catch the goldfish’s attention and what your goldfish specifically prefers. Many hobbyists find that their goldfish prefer tadpoles to frogspawn, but this does not mean they will not eat it. Remember that they even eat their own eggs.

Toad eggs are naturally unpalatable to goldfish and many other fish, in fact. Even if they attempt to eat them, they are likely to vomit them. And you can be sure that they will avoid toad eggs after the unpalatable experience.

How To Ensure Your Goldfish Don’t Eat Tadpoles

photo of tadpoles in water

You can prevent your goldfish from eating tadpoles in your pond. These simple hacks listed below are practical ways to preserve the tadpole population in your goldfish pond.

Create Hiding Places

pond landscaping

Hiding is a sure way to ensure that the tadpoles survive. You can add green vegetation to the pond to increase the number of hiding places for the tadpoles. You can also add hiding places with rocks and other safe materials in the pond.

It would be great to also add twigs, rocks, and logs to the pond, especially the shallow parts. The hiding spots should be big enough to hide tadpoles and small enough to prevent them from being eaten.

You can also use these hides and plants to decorate the pond but ensure that these hiding spots are more to the shallow side of the pond. Fish are less likely to come to the shallow side since they find it challenging to swim there.

Another great benefit of creating crevices for them to hide is that when the frogs return to lay in your pond again, you will have already created a haven for the frogspawn.

Create Shallow Ends in the Pond

Creating shallow ends in the pond is especially necessary where the pond is deep everywhere. Fish generally find it challenging to swim in shallow areas as there is not much room for movement.

Another reason they will hardly ever swim to the shallow ends is that it exposes them to predators from outside the water.

However, ensure that the shallow ends have enough hiding places as the tadpoles will also be exposed to outside predators. It would be best to also clear the areas around the shallow ends of trees and small shrubs that could attract likely predators such as birds and lizards.

Keeping Your Goldfish Well-Fed

close up image of a goldfish

Having a stable routine of how much food you put in your goldfish pond and steadily increasing how much food you feed them as they grow will decrease their appetite for tadpoles in the fish pond.

Typical fish food for goldfish in the wild, whether a big wildlife pond or a small pond, will include small animals, especially insects. Omnivorous fish species, including your goldfish, eat both plants and animals. They usually eat frogspawn, algae, insect larvae such as the dragonfly larvae, and others. Keeping tadpoles safe in the wild is a matter best left in the hands of nature.

But you can keep tadpoles safe in your goldfish ponds by giving them food at the proper time and ensuring that they are well-fed.

Final Thoughts

Although goldfish love some tadpoles and prefer them to frogspawn, they are likely to eat frogspawn if you are not generous with fish food in the pond. You can also prevent your tadpoles from being prey to creatures within and outside the pond by creating enough hiding spots and shallow ends in the pond.

But you must understand that nature will always have its way. You cannot save them all from being eaten. Some will surely be eaten, but these tips above will increase their survival chances.

And when you find those jelly matted frogspawn floating in your fish pond, remember that you can never have too much frogspawn. Many do not reach adulthood as other creatures outside your pond will also feast on them.

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Kelly Stanley