Frog eggs in fish ponds

23 October, 2011

Eastern Banjo Frog <i>Limnodynastes dumerilii </i>
Eastern Banjo Frog Limnodynastes dumerilii
Image: Ian R. McCann
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: We have Banjo frogs in our garden. Every spring they lay eggs in our fish pond, but we've never seen any tadpoles. Would the eggs hatch if we took them out of the pond and put them in a tank? Can you tell us how to look after the eggs and tadpoles?

Answer: The most likely reason for the eggs not surviving is the presence of fish in the pond. Pobblebonk tadpoles are hardy and will survive in just about any water conditions, so they are probably being eaten.

It illegal to collect and keep tadpoles and frogs as pets, or to translocate frogs. Frogs carry chytrid fungus and this can spread between water sources if wild frogs are moved around (or in and out of captivity). Translocating frogs can also affect the genetic integrity of frog populations.

If you would like to encourage the breeding and survival of frogs in your garden, you could either remove the fish, or create a fish-free area within the pond. You could also replace the existing fish with frog-friendly species such as Murray River Rainbows or White Cloud Fish.

If it is impossible to separate the eggs from the predatory fish in the pond, you could create an alternative habitat somewhere else in the garden and hope the adult frogs choose to lay their eggs there.

Tadpoles are happiest in ponds with a variety of depths (ideally 45-60cm with some shallower areas). Shallow areas provide tadpoles with access to good sunlight and higher temperatures; deeper areas provide them with a safe retreat from predators and cooler water on warm days.

For more information about how to create a frog-friendly garden or build a frog pond, see the links below.

Comments (2)

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Greg 3 February, 2013 16:46
Hi I have brown frogs in my 4m x 2m x 1m outdoor pond what I believe to be Eastern Banjo Frogs, I introduced the tadpoles some years ago, they have continually bred very well, my problem is I have managed only once to breed with my fish they are comets, shabuncans & fantails are the frogs eating their eggs? Can anyone help with an answer? My pond is very healthy as are the fish, there is an adequate supply of pond plants
Discovery Centre 7 February, 2013 10:23

Hi Greg - we ran this query past our Live Exhibits crew, who have responded as follows:

Eastern Banjo Frogs feed on invertebrates and generally require their prey to be moving, so it’s very unlikely that they will be eating your fish eggs. If you’re having trouble getting the fish to breed, it appears the reason is something other than frogs or tadpoles.

Hope this helps

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