Tadpole Tank Water
The water in your tadpole tank is so important that it needs to be covered as its own topic. Just what is so special about tadpole tank water, and how do you create it?
Tadpoles breathe water. This is their entire world, until their lungs develop. If that water isn't just right, they can get sick and die. It's important that you take great care in setting up the tadpole tank water.
First, DO NOT USE STRAIGHT TAP WATER. Many municipalities add all sorts of chemicals to their water, like chlorine and fluoride. These are iffy enough for human bodies - they are really dangerous for tiny tadpoles. If your only choice is to use tap water, put it outside in the sun for about a week. The sunlight will help clean out the chemicals from the water and make it safe again.
Tadpoles are fairly relaxed when it comes to the pH of the water. Interestingly, there's no agreement on what the two letters "pH" literally mean, but what pH measures is the level of how acidic or basic something is. pH goes from a low of 0 - Acidic - to a high of 14 - Basic. Pure neutral is in the middle at 7. Acids are the tart things like lemons. Vinegar and urine are acids. In comparison, bases are things like lye and Drano. They're often used for cleaning and soaps. We know a strong acid can be dangerous - but in the same way a strong base can be dangerous, too. You generally want to aim for the safe area in the middle. Seawater's pH is between 7.5 and 8.4, so right at the neutral area. Human blood is even more specific, staying around 7.35 to 7.45.
Ponds can have wide ranges of pH, depending on what is living there, the sunlight it gets, and so on. Ponds can range wildly from 3.1 to 6.8 or more. Of course, tadpoles might be less happy in some situations and more happy in others. For home care, it's best to aim for a pH around 6.3 or so. Straight water is generally a neutral 7.0 pH, but not to worry. The tadpoles' pooping action will naturally bring that down a bit. You'd only want to worry if you found the pH rising up high above 7.
Temperature is also incredibly important for tadpole health. Tadpoles, like most of us, don't like it too hot nor too cold. They want it just right to live happily. Tadpoles can't put on a jacket if it's cold, and they can't drink a cool drink if it's hot. They're just stuck. So it's important to make sure their tank has just the right temperature water.
Don't put your tank in the sunlight where it can go through wild temperature swings. Leave it somewhere shady where the temperature remains fairly constant. Your aim is for about 71F. It can go a bit warmer or cooler, of course, but stay within ten degrees of that. If it gets too hot, you might want to move the tank or put in a few ice cubes to cool it down. If it gets too cold, turn up the heat! :).
Tadpoles naturally condition the water to be the right pH - you don't want to dump out all their water and put in a ton of fresh water. That would shock their system. If you're able to be attentive, it's great to change out a quarter of their water each day, using a siphon to draw that water from the bottom of the tank. That way you suck up their poop and debris, so their tank is cleaner. If you can't change the water every week, do about half of the water each week. Again, draw the water from the bottom so you remove the gunk.
Also, while tadpoles have a range of temperature and pH they're comfortable with, they don't like sudden change. If you suddenly changed out all their water and their bodies went instantly from 70F to 80F, it could send them into shock. You want to make changes as slowly and gradually as you can.
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This step by step manual helps ensure that your little tadpoles grow up to be happy, healthy frogs. From choosing the tank to designing the menu, from checking the pH to adjusting the temperature, I'll ensure your cute, tiny balls of energy grow up into a joyful friend.
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