March 2002 and Frog Spawn Watch.
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Well spring is finally here. There are signs of life in the pond again. The marsh marigold is starting to sprout and the water Hawthorne has several leaves floating already and by mid month had a flower on it. On the 16th there were honey bees buzzing around the skimmia. The photo below was taken at about 6.30am in the morning on March 12th when I had to get up early to catch a train to London (urgh!).
We also have frog spawn! There were lots of frog pairs on the weekend of the 9th/10th March and at the time of writing (12th) there are at least 4 lots and probably a lot more. I decided that I was probably safe to take half of one lot out to raise in a tank. I had to a bit of I think about this as wildlife should generally be left completely alone. You certainly should never take frog spawn from a wild pond. I decided in the end that as the survival rate of the small amount of spawn would be much higher than that in the pond and I was intending to release them exactly where they were found, it would be ok.
Here is my setup with the frog spawn on day 1. As you can see I put gravel and oxygenating weed in a tank with water that I got from the water butt (as the chlorine in tap water could be harmful). To stop the water going green and to feed the tadpoles later on I put in a bag of daphnia from the local fish shop.
The frog spawn was already starting to change when I got in on the evening of day 2 (after the previously mentioned yuck trip to London). By the time there was enough light to photograph it again, on the morning of the 3rd day, you can already see that it is turning into little tadpoles.
There was about 10 lots of frog spawn in the pond at this point.
The frog spawn is growing at an amazing speed. By the evening of the 3rd day it had started to move and by the Morning of day 4 - tadpoles! Many of them had broken out of their eggs and were hanging onto the side of the spawn. I believe that they spend the first day or two there eating the remaining spawn before moving away in search of more food. You can also see that the odd one or two eggs not developed which is quite interesting. Perhaps this is due to genetic faults in the DNA of these eggs. I've also noticed that the number of oxygen bubbles has gone down a lot. Maybe the tadpoles are using the oxygen so that there isn't enough to form into bubbles. By this morning (14th March) there were at least 12 visible lots of frog spawn in the pond. Good job it's a good big pond...
By day 5 the tadpoles were mostly out of the spawn and a few of them were hanging on the side of the tank. The gills are very well developed as you can see from this photo. In the evening I put a couple of pieces of fish food in the tank for additional food although there is still a lot of spawn left. Interestingly the duckweed and azolla that I put into the tank has really started to multiply in the warmth of inside. This morning I could see 17 lots of frog spawn - no kidding. . .
Here are some of the tadpoles at a week old. There is still quite a lot of spawn left but the tadpoles are all hatched and swimming around the tank. I bought some flaked fish food which seems to be what is commonly fed to them but they aren't really interested in it at present. Their gills developed really well and they proper tadpole tails now.
(You wouldn't believe how many photos it takes to get one like this!)
By a week and a day the gills pretty much disappeared and we traditional round body with tail tadpoles. They started to eat flaked fish food and algae off the stones and weed. They now also all leg it at great speed if there are any vibrations so they must developed some kind of hearing or vibration sensing abilities since yesterday. This makes it a lot more difficult to photograph them. I've given up counting the frog spawn clumps but there were a few more over the weekend. None of the pond frog spawn is shown any signs of developing.
Come back for more pictures as the days progress. . .
After a couple more days the tadpoles are feeding well and eating a lot of the left over spawn. I get a feeding frenzy when I put flaked fish food in now as can be seen in the photo below. The tank is really getting a bit overcrowded. If you bring your own spawn in you want to bring in a lot less than I . I'm going to split the tadpoles into two tanks and put the second tank in the porch to start to aclimatise the tadpoles so that they can go out when the ones in the pond hatch. In the pond the frog spawn is starting to develop and looks very much like the indoor spawn on day 3.
Nearly two weeks after I got the spawn in, it was time for a clean out. Luckily tadpoles all swim to the bottom of the tank if you disturb them and so I managed to get a large amount of the water out of the tank and leave the tadpoles in there. I then created a second tank and moved half of the tadpoles over into that. Because the water in the tank was much warmer than the rain-water from the water butt that I was putting in I had to mix a small amount of boiling water in to raise the temperature before putting it into the tank. If you do this make sure that it is evenly mixes as otherwise hotspots could boil your tadpoles! Now that they weather has warmed up a little they been moved out to my north facing porch to start acclimatising them to the outside temperature. In the pond I saw the first signs of movement in the outside frog spawn exactly two weeks after it was laid.
No more photos of the tadpoles today as they don't look very different from the photos above, they just grown slightly. They also eaten nearly all of the spawn. The next thing to look out for is back legs developing
There are more photos now on the April page. Also, this year I am doing a project on the spawn in the pond on the March 2004 page.
Do you like this page? Is it useful? Please email me and let me know. I would like to hear from other people who are mad enough to raise frog spawn in their spare bedroom!! I get a lot of spam so put something about tadpoles in the title so I can spot people's emails!!
I reduced the quality of these photos so that they are quick to download but if you would like good quality copies please feel free to ask.