Posted May 14, 2015
We caught a big tadpole in a local pond during our science lesson on pond life so we decided to keep it and observe it. We created an amphibious tank for it with 1/4 'land' and 3/4 water that was filtered so it was similar to the pond. We used a big rubbermaid tub for our habitat. We learned so much from this tiny tadpole.
We learned about metamorphosis, pond plants & the role they play in keep ponds healthy, fishes roles in ponds, what kinds of microscopic things live in ponds and so much more. We learned that tadpoles are vegetarian so, we made sure to get some of the pond water to add to our habitat so algae would grow more quickly. We put bright lights over the water portion as well to encourage green algae growth. Brown algae is not good and it grows in low light but the green algae is what the tadpoles eat. We also fed it store bought tadpole bites just to make sure it had lots of variety.
After a couple of months our tadpole began to grow legs. We were so excited! We added more 'land' so it was 50/50 land/water. For land we used ecoearth soil from the pet shop and put a couple of layers of rocks at the edge to create a divider and hold the soil at one end. It didn't work very well and if we choose to do this again, I'll use a different substrate, maybe small pebbles with a thin layer of sand over top to fill in the gaps. To divide the water and land i'd probably use aquarium sealant to glue in a piece of plexiglas so the 'land' stays on the right side and doesn't clog up the water filter. The ecoearth made water filtration impossible.
Once our taddy grew legs and came up out of the water, we got tiny crickets for it to eat and it would devour them. We watched it for a couple more weeks and let it get a little bigger and better at using it's legs then we took it back to the pond where we found it and let it go so it can contribute to the population and pond health.
It was a fun and educational experience and we'll probably try it again this summer. All of our kids, even our 2 year old, had fun watching the tadpole grow.