The ‘tadpole’ pond


Never ones to miss out, this weekend our local garden centre was selling ‘tadpole’ ponds.

All you need is:

– a preformed pond

– bunches of ‘oxygenating’ ‘weed’

– some marginal plants

– a pond treatment

– and some tadpole food.

I’m afraid this is a bit misleading!.


Going through the shopping list:

As I found in the garden pond last year (we had an excellent emergence of baby frogs) you don’t need marginal plants, like Typha etc There were none in my pond at the time, and tadpoles don’t really need them.

What you do need is nice grasses for tadpoles to shelter and feed in, and not a stony edge. Creeping Bent, which came in from our lawn, is the commonest pond side plant in the wild in Britain. Unfortunately garden centres don’t sell it, or any other water grasses.

As we also saw last year you don’t need ‘oxygenating’ weed for tadpoles. Underwater plants do make oxygen, but they also use it, and algae will do exactly the same thing. A pond in full sun will be producing masses of oxygen without any plants (see the garden pond blog here to see how it goes up and down during the day).

You don’t absolutely need a ‘deep plant’ for the centre of the pond – tadpoles are perfectly happy in the sheltered edges. As for water hawthorn, which isn’t native – I would prefer to have a naturally arriving native plant, but water hawthorn would still provide habitat for smaller animals

You shouldn’t need to treat the water – rain water will be pretty much fine for tadpoles.

And you don’t need tadpole ‘food’ – they eat algae which will grow naturally (and the snails, worms and other small animals that fall in the pond will provide a supply of nutrients and dead things to help the algae and the tadpoles grow).

I think it’s great that garden centres sell products that help freshwater wildlife – but the products need to be better than they are at present.


2 Responses to “The ‘tadpole’ pond”

  1. Bev Rushforth Says:

    We have taken filter and waterfall off on our wildlife pond many years ago. We can now watch the Frogs Toads and Newts watching us as they no longer hide from us.
    So many tadpoles this year that the Newts are fat – I wrongly thought that they were full of eggs but I could find no skinny males when I was watching them do their mating dances in the water. We do not add any food to the pond the only problem is the duckweed which likes the still water – it makes good compost.
    Looking forward to watching all the various beasties crawling up the iris leaves and transforming into flying jewels.
    Have a leak from 2 chocolate labs which I am going to have to fix this winter – all tips welcome.
    We have a tall pond where we have fish as we thought it would discourage the toads and frogs – we were wrong. – they climb up the waterfall so the first food our fish get each spring is the spawn none of it survives the fish. We have found keeping wildlife separate from fish has benefitted wild life.
    Have a V small pond where we breed insects for the fish. I could spend all day watching. Only problem in garden is digging and weeding keep finding Toads, Frogs, Newts.

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Hi Bev

    Maybe you’d like to do the Big Pond Dip?


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