Do Goldfish Eat Tadpoles?

Keeping Goldfish with other species of fish or other water spies raises the very common question, of whether Goldfish will eat them or not. The question is very much valid as Goldfish are known to be omnivores and enjoy eating a lot of food.

Goldfish are omnivorous.  So, it can eat everything that fits in its mouth. Yes, goldfish can eat tadpoles if they come close to goldfish instead of hiding goldfish will surely eat them.

If you have been keeping your Goldfish in an outdoor pond, you may have wanted to diversify your pet collection at some point. Adding frogs and toads, or even tadpoles for that matter may have crossed your mind. So, how will your Goldfish react to this? Will they be feeding on the tadpoles? Or will the tadpoles become harmful to your Goldfish? I will explain and answer all of the above questions and much more, in the following article.

What are Tadpoles?

To discuss if Goldfish enjoy eating them or not, we must first discuss what tadpoles really are. Tadpoles are the babies of amphibians such as frogs, toads, and salamanders. Amphibians are known to survive on land and in water, but initially, they survive in water only. Amphibians such as frogs and tadpoles lay up to 4000 eggs in one season, but only a few survive due to numerous reasons. These eggs will mature into tadpoles and later into frogs or tadpoles, whatever their specie is, in around 10 weeks.


Tadpoles have fish-like breathing structures, such as gills, that help them to live and breathe well in water. This makes tadpoles very similar to fish and this may lead one to assume that they can be kept with other fish, such as Goldfish. But is that feasible?

Will Goldfish Eat Tadpoles?

To answer the question in one word, yes. Goldfish will most certainly eat tadpoles if they are small enough to fit in their mouths. Goldfish are omnivores and will eat anything that they easily can, even tadpoles.

If the tadpoles are smaller than the Goldfish in size, there is no reason why your Goldfish will not feed on them. Tadpoles exist in bulk in water, and larger Goldfish can easily munch on this group of tadpoles. However, smaller Goldfish or Goldfish fry may not be able to feed on tadpoles that are in groups.

Are Tadpoles Good for your Goldfish?

Goldfish will feed on anything, but you must ensure that whatever they are eating is not harming them in any way. Tadpoles can be both, good and bad for your Goldfish, and here is why:

Are Tadpoles Good for your Goldfish
  • Nutrition: Tadpoles are living organisms and are rich in protein. Goldfish must be given live food that will increase their protein intake and help them grow in their early stages. Goldfish feeding on tadpoles will encourage the growth of your Goldfish and provide them with the protein that Goldfish need.
  • Energy: Frogs, toads, and other amphibians lay eggs in the spring and summer seasons. This is the most active time for water-living species, even your Goldfish. If your Goldfish Pond has tadpoles, it is likely that Goldfish will feed on the tadpoles, and this will provide them with the energy that your Goldfish need, to stay active.
  • Toxic: As much as frog tadpoles are good for your Goldfish, toad tadpoles can be extremely harmful. The tadpoles of toads are very toxic and release toxins that are extremely harmful to your Goldfish. Luckily, your Goldfish will not enjoy the taste of these tadpoles either. Goldfish do not like eating toad tadpoles and even if they swallow them by mistake, they will surely spit them out the very next moment.

Can Tadpoles be Good Mates with your Goldfish?

If not eaten up by your Goldfish, tadpoles can actually be very good mates to your Goldfish. This is due to a number of reasons:

  • Decompose Waste: Goldfish produce a lot of waste as they eat a lot of food. Tadpoles are very good at clearing up this mess, as they are known to be good at decomposing organic waste. Tadpoles eat away dead plants, Goldfish waste, and decaying matter in the water. This helps maintain the water conditions of your Goldfish Pond. Tadpoles are a simple and easy fix to the waste problems in your Goldfish habitat.
  • Algae Eaters: Algae growing in your Goldfish Pond, or tank is a very common concern among Goldfish keepers. To solve this problem, people use different techniques, but an effective one is to add algae eaters to the environment that will eat away the algae. Tadpoles are among the algae-eating species. Goldfish excrete substances such as nitrites that are responsible for the growth of algae, but tadpoles are quick at eating away these algae.
  • Bio-Indicators: Frogs and tadpoles are known to lay eggs in waters that are healthy for their newborns. If you see tadpoles in a water body, the oxygen levels must be perfect for the tadpoles to survive. it can be said that tadpoles can be good at indicating if the water they are in, is good in quality or not. Goldfish need a very optimal set of water conditions and having tadpoles in your Goldfish Pond may be a strong indicator that you are keeping your Goldfish in the right environment, which is the most suitable for them.

Can Tadpoles be Harmful to your Goldfish?

While tadpoles can be good to keep with your Goldfish, they can also be sometimes harmful to your Goldfish to live with, and here is why:

  • Eating Tadpoles Only: Goldfish enjoy eating tadpoles a lot but eating too many tadpoles can cause them to solely start depending on tadpoles for food. Tadpoles have good nutritional value for your Goldfish, but your Goldfish need to still eat flakes and pellets, and other artificial feed to stay healthy.
  • Water Quality: Tadpoles take up a lot of oxygen and are very large in number. Keeping tadpoles with your Goldfish may deprive your Goldfish of the oxygen that they require. Tadpoles will also produce a lot of waste, them being huge in number, which will affect the water quality of the pond. This will affect the health and growth of your Goldfish and may even cause them to die.
  • Tadpoles Eating Goldfish: Some species of tadpoles can grow as large as a small Goldfish. These tadpoles will most certainly eat away your smaller Goldfish. if the tadpoles and smaller Goldfish are of similar sizes, they will become aggressive toward each other. This will naturally disturb the rest of your Goldfish too. Tadpoles will also eat Goldfish fry if the fry is not separated timely.
  • Marine Toads: This specie of toads have tadpoles very similar to those of the frogs and other toad species. However, when fully matured, marine toads can become very large and will be dangerous to keep with your Goldfish, as they will eat your Goldfish in no time.

How to Remove Tadpoles?

If some amphibian has laid eggs in your outdoor Goldfish Pond, and you are worried as to how you will be removing these eggs or tadpoles, let me provide some easy fixes for that:

  • Fishing Nets: The most basic and simple way is to use a fishing net to remove the tadpoles from your Goldfish Pond. The fishing net is easily available and easy to use. If you wish to keep the tadpoles as pets, you may transfer them into a separate pond or water body, this can also be easily done using a fishing net.
  • Let Your Goldfish Eat Them: You can add less food to the pond with Your Goldfish, which will make them feed on anything that they can find, such as tadpoles. However, you must ensure that the tadpoles are extremely safe for your Goldfish to consume.
  • Lesser Hiding Spaces: Tadpoles tend to hide under plantations in ponds, which will stop them from being eaten away. By removing hiding spaces from the pond, such as leaves, and plants, tadpoles will become easily visible to your Goldfish. this will make your Goldfish feed on them and will fix your problem.
  • Water Current: Amphibians like to lay their eggs in still water bodies. If you wish to prevent frogs and tadpoles from laying eggs in your Goldfish Pond, you can add a pump to the pond. This will increase the water current in the pond and will stop frogs and toads from laying eggs.
  • Fence: Another option is to surround your Goldfish Pond with a fence. This is a good way to keep frogs and toads off your pond but make sure that the fence is high enough to stop them from jumping over it.

How to Protect Tadpoles from Goldfish?

If you wish to keep tadpoles along with your Goldfish in the outdoor pond, you may be asking this question. Here are a few tips that will keep your Tadpoles from being eaten by your Goldfish:

  • Hiding Spaces: Tadpoles live safer in shallow waters, and Goldfish do not like living in shallow waters. You can alter your pond in such a way that tadpoles have their own shallow space to live in, beyond the reach of your Goldfish. you can also add more plantations to your pond that will provide good hiding spots for your tadpoles to hide from your Goldfish.
  • Partition: What is better than building a wall between two opposing parties? You can add a small boundary or wall in your pond that will keep your Goldfish and tadpoles separate and safe from each other.
  • Keep Goldfish Fed: If you are providing your Goldfish with all the essential feed that they need, they might not be willing to eat away the tadpoles in their pond. Goldfish may still eat away the tadpoles but in a much lesser amount.

The Bottom Line on Do Goldfish Eat Tadpoles?

Keeping Goldfish in an outdoor tank is fun until new species start to live in it out of nowhere, such as tadpoles. This can be a good chance for you to keep new pets, or you may be wishing to remove the tadpoles. I have watched my Goldfish live in harmony with other aquatic species in my outdoor pond. I would personally suggest that tadpoles are a good addition to your Goldfish Pond, as this brings your Goldfish closer to their natural habitat, which keeps them happy.

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