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Day by day accounts of raising Xenopus laevis tadpoles

Parent Frogs: Fayola (F) and Chuku (M) both reticulated albinos
May 24, 2004 -- Day 1
I woke up this morning to find eggs all over the tank. I seperated the parent frogs into seperate tanks. There was close too if not over 500 eggs in the tank. I discarded a majority of the eggs to raise a managable few. So far they are small white spheres surrounded by a clear membrane.
They are in a barebottom regular 20 gallon tank with a few sprigs of plastic plants floating at the top.
May 25, 2004 -- Day 2
Today the white spheres have transformed into a "C" shape still inside the clear membrane (to scale they are the size of a lowercase "c"). I discarded another two net-fulls of eggs deciding that I still had too many to start with.
This evening some of the "C" embryos have emerged from the clear membrane and are now hanging verticle on the sides of the tank, floating plants and the bottom. Some are still in the membrane.
Water is treated with stress coat and is room temperature about 72-73 F.
May 26, 2004 -- Day 3
Today the tadpoles actually look like tadpoles! They have noticable eyes, heads and a long tail. They are all hanging on the walls, plants and bottom of the tank. A few are starting to move around or swim in circles.
They are whiteish-yellow in color, which means they are going to be all albino. (too soon to tell retics yet).
May 27, 2004 -- Day 4
Today there is little change in the tadpoles. Although they do appear slightly longer then yesterday. They are still clinging to the sides of the tank. To scale they are about this long __ .
May 28, 2004 -- Day 5
Today about half of the tadpoles are free swimming! They are swimming all over the tank. Still very small, same size as yesterday. Some are still clinging to the walls of the tank. Once they are all free swimming, I will begin feeding.
May 29, 2004 -- Day 6
Today all of the tadpoles are free swimming and have grown about half as large as yesterday. I began to feed them a powdered food mixture of :
*Reptomin Floating Sticks
*Reptotreat Suprema Krill Pellet
*Xenopus Express Floating Frog Food
*HBH frog and tadpole bites
I ground this into a fine powder and added a little water to it. I used a turkey baster to squirt this into the tank.
I also added two live plants (Amazon Swords) to the tank. I think the live plants will be benificial to tads and also might harbor infusoria which they can thrive off of as well.
May 30, 2004 -- Day 7
Today the tadpoles are approx. the same size as yesterday. They are all swimming around the tank in a heads down position.
May 31, 2004 -- Day 8
Tadpoles have almost doubled in size. They are about this long ____ . I can clearly see the food in their stomachs, (which looks like tiny brown ball) this way I know they are eating.
I feed them once a day by sprinkling a pinch or two of the powder mixture I have made. I stir it around in the tank so some falls to the bottom and some stays on top.
June 1, 2004 -- Day 9
Tadpoles appear the same as yesterday. They are swimming well and eating well.
I did notice two that seem to be under developed. They are still much smaller and seem to swim by doing sommersaults in the water. I don't think these two will morph out, but I'll have to wait and see.
June 2, 2004 -- Day 10
Today the tads still appear to be the same size although their heads seem to have gotten bigger.
Almost to scale they look like this O------
June 3, 2004 -- Day 11
Today tads appear the same size as well.
BUT I do believe I have one pigmented tadople out of all the albinos! One tad is a bit of a smoke color and the top of his head is dark black. I will have to keep an eye on him to see what he becomes when he morphs out.
June 4, 2004 -- Day 12
Today the tads seem to be the same size still. I have added a heater to the 20 gallon tank they are in. The water temp is between 78-79 F. I have heard that this will help them to morph out quickly.
The pigmented tad is doing well and appears to  be the same color as yesterday. He is easy to spot among all the other clear tadpoles.
June 5, 2004 -- Day 13
Tadpoles are the same size as yesterday, they don't seem much bigger.
I have noticed another tad that appears to be pigmented as well. He has that same smokey black color but is quite smaller. He also isn't swimming well and spends most of his time at the surface. When he tries to swim he spins in the water instead, I don't know if this one will make it :(
I have heard that getting pigmented tads from two albinos (even retic albinos) can be rare. I am hoping that at least one of these two will morph out! I am so curious to see what color they become.
June 6, 2004 -- Day 14
The tadpoles are TWO WEEKS OLD today! WOW! They are growing and eating well! I can even see them use the bathroom....LOL. Their tails are irridescent when the light hits them too. I see color of green, blue and red, its very neat!
I have been having a small problem with fungus in this tank now. Since I did not remove the unfertlized eggs soon enough they got a fungus and now this fungus covers any leftover food particles on the bottom. I use a turkey baster but within hours, it is back. To combat this problem I am going to add aquarium salt and see if it help prevent new fungus growth.
I added 1 and a half tabelspoons of aquairum salt to the tadpole tank.
June 7, 2004 -- Day 15
I woke up this morning to find no new fungus growth! YAY! The aquarium salt has done its job :) This also goes to show that aquarium salt IS great to use for prevention.
I also added 14 anubias plants to the tadpole tank. Most are species of a. frazeri and a. congensis, but the tank is full of plants now and the tadpoles seem very much at ease swimming around them. I think i will get more anubias plants for them (I got a great deal on them).
June 8, 2004 -- Day 16
Still no new fungus growth :) The aquarium salt has done the trick.
I have force ordered a large apple snail as well, it should arrive on Thursday this week. I am going to include this in with the tadpoles as well, since these snails give off a natural infusoria that the tads thrive off of as well. I am only hoping that the snail wont damage the plants.
Tadpoles are all swimming and eating. I can see the food in their stomach's so i know they are all getting food. I don't think they have grown much, not as fast as they grew the first week, but I know they are growing since all are healthy. The temp. in the tank is at 79 F.
June 9, 2004 -- Day 17
I lost two tadpoles today :( They were very small still and were two of the ones that spin instead of swim naturally. One was one of the pigmented tads though, but I still have one left, I just hope he makes to froglet stage!
I added 4 more anubias to the tank, so it is even more full of plants then  before! A grand total of 18 anubias plants are in the tadpole tank to provide an enriching and natural environment for them.
I also got a new type of food for them to add to the mix they already recieve. It is Hikari First Bites. It is a yellow powder fry food and is full of good ingredients the tadpoles need. I am also a huge fan of the Hikari brand as well, so I am glad to include this food in with their mix.
June 10, 2004 -- Day 18
All tads are doing well. I cleaned some areas on the bottom of their tank and fed them the Hikari food.
I also noticed one tadpole with clear eyes (the rest of the tads have dark eyes). This tadpole will probably be a "true" albino and appear very white. Where the other tads will end up as golden and reticulated albinos.
June 20, 2004 -- Day 19-28
It has been 10 days since the last time I wrote here. There has been little change in the tads. Some are growing faster then others, but they are all still small (half an inch long).
I have added more snails to the tank and an air stone. I also added an internal filter which killed a large amount of them. But the ones I have left are feeding well and going strong. Temp is 79F.
I have increased feedings to twice a day now, hoping they will pick up a growth spurt sometime soon....
June 21, 2004 -- Day 29
I have been feeding the tads twice a day now. My dog ate all their preground tadpole food, including the Hikari First I am feeding them mushed up HBH Frog and Tadpole bites. It is semi-moist so is easy to feed, so far I am impressed with just using this and the naturally occuring infusoria produced by the snails.
June 22, 2004 -- Day 30
Tadpoles are one month old today!!!!
I do see them picking up growth now. My largest ones are about 1 inch long and are developing their barbs now. I did a 5 gallon water change and sucked the stuff off the bottom of the tank. This may have helped and the increase in food may have the sparked the growth too. I tried to count them as well, I think I may have between 25 and 35 tadpoles.
Temp is at 78 F. Airstone and internal filter are running smoothly.
June 23, 2004 -- Day 31
The tads are growing and doing well. A few more have developed their barbs too. They are being fed twice a day now on HBH Frog and Tadpole bites.
June 24, 2004 -- Day 32
Tadpoles have grown even more now! Some are an inch long and their heads are about the size of my pinky finger nail.  So they are growing and doing very well. The filter has improved the water quality as well. Their tank was getting over-run with planaria, YUCK.
June 25-30, 2004 -- Day 33-38
The tadpoles are continuting to grow and develop even more. Almost all of them have clear barbs (some only have one). I can see their hearts beating very easily and some of their veins. The other day I watched a tadpole show signs of distress as he gulped an air bubble from the surface. I could see the bubble in his body as he made jerky movements until he finally "spit it out". I have noticed an increase in growth rate as feedings have increased.
I also do not have either one of the two pigmented tads anymore :( Looks like all this batch will be golden and reticulated albino, they all have dark black eyes.
I also have removed ALL anubias from the tank. It was traping a lot of waste and causing my entire tank room to smell really bad. So the tank is bare except for the tadpoles and snails. (and the smell is gone!)
July 1-5, 2004 -- Day 39-43
Tads are growing and doing well. They are all about an inch long. I am watching closely for arm and leg bugs but I still don't see any. I should see them in another two weeks or so.
July 6, 2004 -- Day 44
They tank has gotten very cloudy and gross. It is full of little planarias, YUCK. So I  broke down and did a 50% water change. The water is clearer but still a little hazy. But all the tads and snails seem to be fine. I also added one tabelspoon of aquarium salt.
Since is the water is clearer now I noticed that two of my tads have LEG BUDS!! Two of my biggest tadpoles are developing back leg buds now, I would estimate they will be frogs in two weeks :) The others aren't too far behind either!
July 7-13, 2004 -- Day 45-51
Even with a 50% water change the tank water was still not clear. It went back to being cloudy and full of planaria and other little icky worm things (some grey, some white, YUCK). I got so fed up with seeing the tank I striped it down and dumped the entire thing. I have moved the tads into a smaller plastic container where they can finish morphing. (the tank has taken position on my front porch, empty). They seem much better and the water is much clearer in a couple gallons of water vs. 20 gallons of water (why this is, i still don't know...)
SO, for the past 3 days I have had the tads in a smaller container and they are doing just fine. The largest one has leg buds that actually look like feet now. They are not droped and hanging yet, but will any day now.
 I was able to take a few pics of them below!

Xenopus laevis tadpoles
51 days old

Xenopus laevis tadpoles
51 days old (largest tadpole front and center)

Xenopus laevis Tadpoles
51 Days Old

July 14-21, 2004 -- Day 52-59
During this past week the largest tadpole has droped his back legs! They are perfect miniature versions of frog legs and he moves them and everything. The majority of the other tadpoles have leg buds and a few others should have legs in the next few days. They are growing fast and doing really well.
July 22, 2004 -- Day 60
Today all the tadpoles died :( The water was full of planaria and smelled so bad... I gave them a large water change, but I was rushing and forgot to add stress coat to the new water....
this tradgedy marks the end of My Tadpole Journal :(
BUT this is the second time i raised tadoles and i did many things diffrent this time, mostly as an experiment. For the duration of this breedng i used a large tank, many plants and snails, a filter and a heater to raise the tadpoles. I have found that this may (probably) have contributed to the demise of the tadpoles and the slow growth rates. The snails, although beneficial, produce a large amount of waste too. And I should have only kept one or two plants for infusoria growth vs. the almost 20 i had! The abundence of snail waste, organic waste from the plants, tadpole waste and food waste created a bloom of planaria and a rotten stench as well. Unfortunatly my tank was way to crowded and i think if i just stuck with one snail and two plants i would have seen diffrent results. the filter ended up killing a lot of the tadpoles when i intended for it to help clean water that was already a mess with waste and crowding. i have learned A LOT from this "experience of experimenting" and i hope that it helps the decisions you make when raising tadpoles.
Two years ago i raised a batch of 50 tadpoles to 50 froglets in two months. I had a survival rate of 100%! Here is what I did to raise those tadpoles...
I put the 50 eggs into a 10 gallon tank. i only replaced water as it evaporated. i used a turkey baster to remove half of the brown yuck stuff that collects on the bottom (bare bottom tank!). i fed them the same powder mixture as used above. an air stone on low was used. THATS IT! and they all survived and morphed out in two months! Maybe when it comes to raising tads...less is more.... :)

More Coming Soon! I just started this so I will be updating daily!

IDICACF (C) 2006