Do Goldfish (Sarasa Comets) or Butterfly Koi eat Frog tadpoles?

jpinard(z5 MI)June 15, 2007

We have a pebble beach area that was made for growing bits of algae, a place for fish fry to grow, and a place for frogs/toads to breed. We recently got ~400 full grown tree frog tadpoles from my parents pool liner. They're just starting to sprout legs. I put them all in our pebble beach area and added some water.

Normally the younger fish go up there and pick out all the fresyh algae when the water level is raised, but this time it seemed like there was added fervor (or maybe it was my imagination) and am afriad the fish ate all the tadpoles.

Now I konw the fish absolutely refuse to eat American Toad tadpoles. They have a toxin in their skin, and when eggs are laid, they're never touched, and we have THOUSANDS of toadlets that leave en masse. but I've never seen that situation with frogs.

So, what have you all seen/experiences or learned about this? Thanks!

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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, they will. I've never had tadpoles in my fish pond but every water bowl and fishless pond is full of them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 6:57PM
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I have sarassa and shubunkin goldfish and have tons of tadpoles. I am pretty sure they are tree frog tadpoles. The fish leave them alone.
I wish they would eat some, as I have way too many tadpoles!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 2:29AM
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I'm not sure whether they were frog or toad tadpoles, but on several occasions I have seen our 4-5" feeder goldfish eat a smaller tadpole or two. There are still hundreds that they do not bother so the tadpoles are not on their "favorites" list.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 6:08AM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

I have twenty goldfish. A combination of Sarasa Comets, Shubunkin, Fantails and Comets. Last month I released about two hundred small green frog tadpoles into my pond. They were almost all gone in a few days. I seen most of the goldfish near the waters edge the morning after adding the tadpoles. Exactly were the tadpoles were located during the previous evening. I have a few adult green frogs, but I'm sure it was the goldfish that had a feast.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 8:06AM
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shiollie(z5 MI)

I had frog eggs in my pond but the comets ate them all!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Hi all,
I have a new pond (6' x 9') with 8 small goldfish and now hundreds of tadpoles. The very first day the pond was filled with water, the frogs (tree frogs?) moved in. Now the nighttime chorus is near deafening. But I still love it. My concern is information found on a website that says there are occasions where the tadpoles attack the fish. Here is the link.
Has anyone heard of this before?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 11:19AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

No, never heard of that in eight years of ponding online and ten years with ponds. Goldfish breed like rabbits. I'd be happy if some tadpoles would attack and kill some of my fry however, no eggs have ever hatched in my fish pond. The barrel ten feet away is full of them though.

Frogs and toads are declining world wide. Providing habitat for them is a good thing. Having them breed in your pond is a good thing. They eat bugs in the garden and should be welcomed. No such thing as too many, most will not make it to adulthood.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:26PM
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I am hoping that a lot of the tads make it to frogdom !! I haven't noticed less tadpoles since I saw them last week. But the fish have been slightly less voracious at feeding times. Still my goldfish are small - biggest is about 5 inches and the smallest 3 inches or less. Will fish this small be able to eat tadpoles that look to be 3/8 inch in size?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 1:05PM
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jpinard(z5 MI)

As they get bigger they'll eat like there's no tomorrow. I could feed my fish every hour forever, and I still think they'd continue to pig out.

Also, the more fish you have the more voracious they are as the competition factor makes them crake more food. How deep is your pond? If it's 3' deep you can support quite a bit more. Our pond is 5' x 11' and 3 feet deep. We have 40 goldfish and 6 Butterfly Koi.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:53PM
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The pond is about 2 1/2 feet deep. And I have seen ponds this size with many more (large) goldfish. But it took me many weeks to name the 8 I have ! Also, I'm compulsive about counting them - to see if they're all there. I know, I'll get over it ... but still being new to this - I keep needing to see if everybody is ok. Garden center pond "expert" - told me to avoid koi - because of size and upkeep. Does anyone have an opinion about that?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:49AM
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Hi Robin,

I'm also a pond newbie here in Raleigh and I'd say that, with your pond size, you may want to stick with goldfish, maybe 1 or two koi. Koi are much harder on aquatic plants if you are into the water gardening and require more gallons per fish. I have read you should allow for at least 50 gallons per goldfish (allows for growth) and 200 gallons per koi (or was it 250?). I am guesstimating that you have around 1300-1700 gallons in your pond from your description. Koi also really need an optimal minimum depth of 4" and a more sophisticated filtration system than is required for goldfish.

We had a local pond guy build our pond this spring in conjunction with construction of our new home. Because I was so involved with the house itself, I was not involved enough in the planning/parameters of our pond and thus ended up with a too small, too shallow pond for what we wanted (koi). We are now in the process of planning a second, larger, deeper adjacent pond for koi. The two ponds will be connected with a much more sophisticated filtration system. My existing pond will serve as the water garden/goldfish/biological filtration pond.

I think you could easily add more goldfish to your setup. However, keep in mind that they will grow FAST and probably reproduce prolifically in the next few years, adding to your fish load. You may even have to cull and find new homes for or destroy offspring in the next few years in order to avoid overpopulation. This seems to be the general experience of many on this forum with both goldfish and koi. You are probably receiving good advice to take it slow. BTW, if you are interested in aquatic plants, there is a pond plant expert out south of Raleigh who has incredible lilies, lotus, etc. and lots of pond expertise although he is NOT a koi person. Where are you shopping for pond plants/fish in Chapel Hill?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 12:08PM
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I forgot to respond to the original poster! Our new pond has attracted a HUGE number of LOUD, spawning toads, tree frogs, and aquatic frogs. They are spawning quite frequently in our pond, almost every night. Unfortunately, my young koi and goldfish (comets and shubunkins) seem to eat each and every egg the frogs lay within 24-48 hours. I feed my fish daily (sometimes twice) but I don't think it is possible for any tadpoles to survive in my pond although I have do have loads of anachris for them to hide in. I feel somewhat guilty for the frogs and toads because our pond attracts them but can't provide a suitable breeding ground for them because of our voracious little fish.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 12:17PM
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My goldfish to not eat the toad tadpoles. I don't know about frog tabpoles as I don't see those as often as there are less of them and they are always near the bottom.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 12:30PM
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Hi zoenipp,
Dickinson Garden Center on Franklin Street is where I shop for pond stuff. Mike Dickinson seems to be the one with the most expertise and he is a good explainer - but several others there know a good bit too. Mike is there M-F only. What is the name of the place in Raleigh ?
ps less tads today ... but fish voracious... so I'm wondering about other frogs...?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 1:55PM
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I have Shubunkins and Mollies in my pond, and plenty of tadpoles. If the fish are eating eggs or tadpoles it sure doesn't look like it. I think a Blue Heron and a Hawk that come around keep the frogs under control. The Blue Heron doesn't get the Shubunkins, they stay deep, because I never feed them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 3:20PM
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All I know is that I'll come out early in the morning and see a bunch of frog eggs from the night before around the bases of my pond plants. By evening,sadly, they've all disappeared. I hate to blame my little darlings but . . . :0)

Robin, the name of the man in Garner is Frank Schwartz. He is listed in the Raleigh business pages as "Water Garden Creations". He worked for years at NC State Agriculture Dept. and is very knowledgeable about water gardening. I live just north of downtown and it takes me about 20-25 minutes to drive out to his place so you do need to go when you have an afternoon to kill. His retail days are Fridays and Saturdays although I would always call ahead. He does do some house calls but I would think that would get expensive. We did pay him to come out and look at our pond and give us his opinions on plant placement and pond expansion. He's very chatty but full of good information. He will pot up the plants for you (complete with fertilizer for a year), give you placement/growing instructions and label them; when you get home, all you have to do is sink them in the pond. He also has a good supply of Sarasa and Shubunkin goldfish.

There is another place, Atlantic Gardens, on Atlantic Avenue that carries some koi, goldfish, pond supplies, and water plants. I am going to drive over one day to Chapel Hill and check out Dickinson's. I know exactly where it is! I love to go to Southern Season too so I'll just make a day of it.

I would love to find some Wakin goldfish locally as I hate to deal with having them shipped and like to see before I buy.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 4:04PM
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zoenipp you said that you were considering connecting two ponds with koi in one and goldfish in the other. We have three ponds and also some 30 year old koi that are huge, as well as younger ones of varying sizes. Koi ponds have their disasters from time to time. If you get some sort of fish disease in one pond, it might end up with your koi. Minimize their exposure to disease/parasites/etc. Its horrible to find that a broken hose has almost drained your pond or you have accidentally overfilled it. Goldfish on the other hand seem to survive almost anything. Koi love to chomp on water plants of all kinds.
I am hoping to get tadpoles in one of the smaller ponds--how do I attract them. I am in SoCal near the beach.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:02PM
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When you see the frog eggs, dip some out with a net and hatch them in a 20 gallon tub full of pond water. After the tadpoles hatch if there are more than you want just simply net them out and feed them back to the goldies. It is fun to watch the tadpoles grow and morph. If I remember right frog eggs are in a cluster like and toad eggs are in a long string. You can do a search and check it out for sure.

It takes frog tadpoles longer to morph than it does toads.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 12:58AM
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I have baby toads hopping all over my yard, front and back. They are adorable, such tiny little things.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:39AM
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I had thousands of eggs laid in my pond, bog filter and bog garden. The only place I don't find any toadpoles or baby toads are in the pond. So Obviously the goldies, shubunkins, orandas, comets, wakin, bream and whatever else I have in my pond have been eating them. Glenda

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 4:04PM
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Tadpoles have been a fishes staple in nature forever.I have seen plenty of correct information being given out in responce to your question.American toad-poles are loaded with the same toxins as the adults but sometimes the fish will tend to sample each and every one looking for something to eat. They wiggle all so temptingly and what you get are thousands of mangled newborn toadpoles in the mud and never even know it. You know what they say about the memory of a goldfish.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 10:58AM
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My butterfly koi are dying after toads laid eggs in my pond. They are now little tadpoles, are they toxic to my koi? Anybody know what I can do to keep the frogs out?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 7:23PM
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jpinard(z5 MI)

If the Koi eat the toad eggs and don't urp them up... yes it can be toxic to them. Frog Eggs/Tadpoles are not however.

Last time toads leaid eggs in my pond, the fish left them alone. They're supposed to taste horrible to fish. If a toadloet is accidentlaly eaten the fish will normally spit them back out.

Where do you live? Maybe you have a different kind of toad asuing you issues. We just have common American Toads.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:55PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Bumping up. I am still very interested in the subject of tadpoles in the pond whether frog or toad.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 3:37PM
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I experience a fish die off after toads laid eggs as well. I did catch several mating pairs in my pond a few weeks ago and promptly scooped them out. I have been scooping tadpoles and performing water changes each day religiously since. My fish are still not acting happy but they are not floating on the top dead. If anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:41AM
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I put in a acouple of hundred tads into our pond last year and the koi had a feast.. so this year we are raising them in an aquarium. mine our tree rogs.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 12:35PM
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jpinard(z5 MI)

On the subject of toad eggs and toadlet toxicity, 4 years ago we had toads lay eggs in our pond. The eggs were not touched by our goldfish (Sarasa Comets), and we had about tiny black 10,000 tadpoles, then 10,000 toadlets had a mass migration out of the pond. I wish I'd had a video camera as it was unreal. The fish did spit them out when sampled.

Last summer we had quite a few Butterfly Koi die during the heat of the summer in late July. They stopped eating even though they were perfectly healthy. We'd had toads mating eariler, and I never though about the fact that maybe the Koi are different than Goldfish and don't have the correct tastebuds to know toads are toxic.

However frog eggs and frog tadpoles are not toxic whatsoever, and fish can eat them just fine.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 8:44AM
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My question is the opposite. Will frogs eat koi fry? We put a plant loaded with koi eggs in a separate 250 gallon pond empty except for plants. A couple of hundred koi hatched. They are now about 2 weeks old. Recently 2 frogs have moved into this pond. They may be green frogs. Will they eat the baby koi?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:11AM
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My tadpoles are 1 1/2 inches long, many of them. The other day, I saw one that was about 2 1/2 -3 inches. How do I tell the difference? I have no fish. I have many waterlilies. I have hundreds++ of tadpoles. I have ONE loud frog at night seems just waiting for frogs to hatch. She is 1 1/2 inches I think, and about sound piece about 1 inch in diameter when croaking. I thought the mother was a tree frog. Any ideas as to ethnicity?? I'm in Eugene, Oregon. Had pond 5 year, first time for Frog. Last year a few tadpoles, but for some reason they didn't last.

Wondering if my neighbors will be croaking at me!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 5:31PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Bullfrogs can and do eat fish. Other frogs do not.

Tootseug, here in Oregon we have Pacific Chorus Frogs which are treefrogs and the adults are very loud though about the size of a quarter. My neighbors have not complained and I live right in the city.

Bullfrogs have infested the Willamette Valley and they are not native here and are actively trying to be controlled by Oregon Fish & Wildlife. A 2-3" tadpole could be a bullfrog. Our native Red Legged Frog morphs in twelve weeks or so and bullfrogs often take two years so if he doesn't morph by the end of the summer it is safe to assume bullfrog.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:07PM
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I'm in Hawaii and we just had four fish die - two koi and two catfish. We've got the Bufo toads out here that are poisonous. We cut open the first dead koi yesterday and there was nothing in his stomach to indicate he'd eaten either a tadpole or toad eggs. We moved all the fish out overnight to drain the pond, and this morning, one more koi and one catfish were dead.

Does anyone have any ideas? Could these be the dumber ones that didn't spit out the eggs fast enough? Is there some way the toads put the poison actually into the water?

For what it's worth, when we went out yesterday morning, most of the koi were at the top gasping for air.

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 3:16PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Gasping for air like that indicates they are suffering from lack of oxygen. Especially in the morning.

Get more aeration into that pond right away. This is an emergency, you'll lose more fish usually the biggest go first.

Dang Marine/cane toads were imported to Hawaii and bullfrogs were too. Stupid people. Just stupid. They are both very bad where they aren't native. Florida has the toads too and Australia has both.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:28PM
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I have a different question. Do Tadples eat goldfish fry???

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 8:55PM
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jpinard(z5 MI)

I highly doubt it. Tadpoles diet is pretty much just algae, and chasing after swimming fry wouldn't be their thing. In fact, during the last stage of development when going from being a tadpole to an adult, they don't eat at all, instead absorbing their tail for nutrition.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:16PM
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I now am a believer that toad-poles can kill if eaten! My 3 lb. spectacular Butterfly Koi, raised from babyhood....was found dead on the pond bottom, which, by the way, was loaded with TOAD-POLES. All other goldfish and koi were under 8 inches and way out of this gorgeous giant's class. One Koi breeder said tad-poles poison koi, everyone else said tadpoles are natures food! The breeder should have said TOAD-POLES!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 6:54AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Tadpoles and toadpoles are vegetarians.

Just because a koi died when there were toadpoles in the pond does not mean he ate them or they caused his death.

It is very common for koi to die in summer due to low oxygenation at night. The biggest ones go first.

Many people turn off their fountains/waterfalls at night or have koi in ponds that are too small for them or use algaecides all of which contribute to lack of oxygen in the water.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:36PM
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My goldfish eat toadpoles and the tadpoles of the Cuban tree frog, both of which many people say are too toxic for their fish to touch. When they were about an inch long, the first fish in the pond gobbled up newly hatched Cuban tree frog tadpoles. They must have gotten a tummyache out of that, because they stopped eating them completely for about two months. Then I went on a trip, and they were fed sporadically for a couple of weeks. When I got back, there wasn't a tadpole to be found. Since that time, tadpoles haven't had a chance.

Fish tend to eat what their pondmates eat, and many people can identify an "alpha fish" that the others follow. Fish in one pond may devour a food that the same kind of fish in another pond won't touch.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Large bullfrogs are a tadpole for 2 years. If things ate them ther would be no frogs on earth. The way they have protection is their Tails. If I put 3 five gal buckets of bulfrog tadpoles in a take on my fish truck an a fish gets in there the fish will be dead in a few mins. This is because of the poison in the tadpoles tails getting into the water. So no fish will eat tadpoles. Now I have seen here Hybrid bluegills eat toad tadpoles. This is because a toad is a tadpole just a few weeks and does not have the 2 years tail protection like the big frogs need. I ahv raised fish 40 years now and hate having 50,000 frog tadpoles in apond with fish then drain it and have to SORT by hand 1-2-3-4-50,000 tadpoles from the fish. Bar graders do not work if the fish are the same size, you have be careful not to mix then in a small tank and kill fish. My fish farm is for sale now and hope i do not have sort tadpoles soon :( rest my life :( Type LIVE FISH OF INDIANA for photos --i dont think i still haev tadpole pictures there ?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 11:34PM
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I have no idea if fishfarmer333 is correct or not. All I can say is what I see all the time. I sell thousands of frog tadpoles a year. During the height of the season I will have any where from 2000 to 3000 tadpoles of all kinds of varieties in a 100 gallon vat and there is always a few small fish in with them. Usually by the end of the season there is about a dozen small fish left in there. Rarely does any of these small fish die. I also sell hundreds of Sarasa Comets and for the last month there has been a bullfrog tadpole in with them. All are doing just fine.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:52AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

The notion that a bullfrog tadpole has poison in it's tail that can leach into a body of water and kill fish in minutes is utterly ridiculous.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:17PM
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I second that notion!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:43PM
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I need to restate my comment. I agree with buyorsell888.

I have thousands of bullfrog tads in my ponds with Sarassa, Golden Orfe of various ages and one big catfish. The majority of my Bullfrogs morf after one year some take two. I have never seen any fish go after the tads no matter what size they are.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 10:01PM
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I have over 30 fish in my pond (some large,some small) so last year this in what i did. I removed most of the frog spawn from the pond and placed it in a large plastic clear container. When they hatched I fed them fish flakes daily and watched them grow. When they started to develop legs I placed them back in the pond, This was a process of going through the container every few days with a net and picking the larger ones out. Today I sat by the pond and counted over 20 baby frogs although there were many more hiding in the reeds.I did not repeat the process this year as every other year I think is plenty. I do however have hundreds of tadpoles in the pond but not sure how long they will last!On rainy evenings the garden lawn is covered in frogs. We did have 3 toads which I rescued from a drain near a pond but not sure where they are now, probably hiding under a rock somewhere!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:48PM
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So happy to hear everyone's replies. Our pond is dark due to tannins of our oak leaves. The fish dive deep and we can't see them except for feeding time. About a week ago they stopped coming up for feeding, and that's about the same time we started noticing THOUSANDS of tadpoles. Happy to have frogs but don't need THAT many. We'll start changing out water to minimize the tannins when we need to water bushes etc.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 2:44PM
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