Frogs are amazing creatures, they are very diverse and widespread all over the world. You may want to add frogs to your pond with goldfish, or you may want to add goldfish to your frog pond.
But, is this possible? Can frogs live with goldfish?
Do frogs and goldfish get along in a pond?
Typically, adult frogs and goldfish get along well, most of the time…
Much like fish, frogs follow the same rule of “if something looks small enough to fit in its mouth, they will eat it!”
This means that in any situation, if the frog is larger than the fish, then it will likely eat the fish, but if the fish is larger than the frog, then the reverse may be true and the frog could become a snack.
If the fish are a good size, and the frog is too large to be eaten by the fish, but too small to eat the fish, then you have a good balance. Essentially, frogs and fish of a similar size will live together peacefully.
For example, a frog anywhere from 3” – 8” will live with mature goldfish just fine in a pond.
Can toads live in a pond with fish?
Toads can also live with fish in the same sense as frogs, in that if they are a similar size, they are fine.
However, all adult toads are poisonous! Some toads are also poisonous in other stages of their lives too, such as the tadpole or even in the egg stage.
If you live in Australia, Central America or South America, and own a pond, chances are, you may encounter cane toads.
They are an invasive species in Australia and the eggs, tadpoles and adult cane toads are all toxic.
A fish that eats the spawn or tadpoles of a cane toad can die from this poison.
However, not all toads are the same level of toxicity and many can live with fish without poisoning them.
There are toads all over the world that only excrete a mild toxin.
Many toads only release poison when they are stressed; they secrete toxins from glands behind their heads. They usually only do this if they are grabbed by a predator like a bird, cat, dog or human.
Toads will only release their toxin if they think they are about to be killed.
This is to deter predators and incapacitate attackers so that the toad can make an escape, or at least prevent the predator from eating any other toads in the future.
Fish usually tend to leave frogs and toads alone, so the chances of a toad becoming stressed by a fish and releasing its toxin are quite slim.
In short, yes, toads can live with fish, but be aware that they are poisonous, so do not handle them, and be careful if you have pets or children to make sure that they don’t do the same.
How to tell the difference between toads and frogs?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell frogs and toads apart because they look similar, some frogs look just like toads and it is understandable to get them confused.
Some species are even given the name of toad, but they are in fact frogs.
An example of this is the Pipa Pipa, this is a species of frog, but in the west it is called the “surinam toad”, which is incorrect.
Frogs and toads are indeed different animals, they are both amphibians, but they are not the same.
While frogs are extremely diverse and take up all different kinds of forms, niches, shapes, colours and sizes, toads largely stay the same, with only slight variations among species.
To help you tell the difference, here are some key characteristics of toads – these are expressed in all toads all around the world.
(Bear in mind that some of these characteristics can be expressed in some frog species too, but this is not common, and hopefully, with this advice, you will be able to tell the difference easily).
- Bumpy/rough/dry looking skin
- Usually are yellow, brown, orange, black or red with a white underbelly
- Usually have yellow, orange or brown eyes
- Have a wider, broader mouth and face
- Shorter, more stubby legs
- Lack webbed feet
- Will stay on the ground or at the bottom of the pond
- Have two distinct bumps just behind their eyes (these are the poison glands)
- Have fatter, rounder bodies
- Less mobile than most frogs
- Spend most of their lives on land
- Usually have an angry look to them
- All toads are poisonous
Here are some common frog characteristics too, this may help you further tell the difference between the two.
- Longer, slimmer legs
- Often have webbed feet
- Larger eyes
- More narrow body and snout
- Usually more active and lively
- Common frogs spend more time in the water
- Some frogs live in trees
- Frogs will often float to the top of the water to swim
- Frogs can leap much further than toads
- Lack the poison glands that toads have behind their head
- Usually have a more surprised look
- Some frogs are poisonous, not all
Do goldfish eat frogs?
Goldfish will only eat very tiny frogs, like froglets. An adult or subadult frog over 3” long is safe from being eaten by a goldfish.
Any frogs under this size will usually be eaten, as mentioned, if a fish thinks something is small enough to swallow, they will try to eat it.
Do goldfish eat tadpoles?
Goldfish will most definitely eat tadpoles – they are small enough to be swallowed easily and are a good source of protein for goldfish.
Many fish will naturally prey on tadpoles and frogspawn, so it is in their nature to hunt and consume them.
However, tadpoles of some toad species, like the mentioned cane toad, are deadly toxic and any fish who are daring enough to eat these tadpoles may end up paying the ultimate price…
Do frogs eat goldfish in a pond?
If large enough, given the chance, a hungry frog will eat a fish. Sometimes you would be surprised at what a frog will attempt to swallow.
If you live in America and have bullfrogs in your pond, you may know that they’re not unfamiliar to eating small rodents, birds, snakes and fish.
Comet goldfish usually have a large slender body, and are fast, powerful simmers, so the chances of them being eaten are quite low.
Much lower than that of slow, small fancy goldfish, who are much more likely to be swallowed by a large frog.
Frogs are ambush predators, and are extremely fast when grabbing their food, much faster than a goldfish’s reaction time, so they are still a reasonable threat to goldfish, accepting that the frogs are large enough to want to swallow them.
However, a large adult fish over 6” has little to worry about.
Do frogs eat mosquito larvae?
Only a few types of frogs are small enough to consider mosquito larvae as food.
Tadpoles will absolutely eat mosquito larvae, but adult frogs will probably show no interest in them.
Smaller aquatic frogs, like the dwarf congo or african clawed frog, will definitely eat mosquito larvae, they are actually part of their natural main diet.
Although these frogs you won’t find in your typical pond as they live deep within the rainforests of africa.
They are commonly kept in aquariums and can live with goldfish in a tank!
How to keep frogs from eating pond fish
There is no definitive way to stop frogs from eating fish.
All you can do is reduce the risk of this happening. As mentioned, frogs of a similar size or slightly smaller than the fish are great, as the goldfish are too large to be swallowed.
You can also feed the frogs so that they aren’t as hungry and won’t look to your fish as a food source.
You can feed frogs:
Some frogs will even eat frozen bloodworm or brine shrimp.
A frog with a full belly is less likely to eat your fish.
You can also provide more space and cover for your fish – this widens the territory and reduces the amount of interaction between the fish and frogs, lowering the chances again.
You can also prevent frogs from living with your fish by removing them or setting up measures to keep them away from your pond.
Just be aware that some frogs are protected species. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to handle and move a specific frog or toad species without the correct authority!
How to keep frogs out of a pond
There are a few ways to prevent frogs from entering your pond, but this can be a consequential decision depending on your location and scenario.
If you have inherited a pond where native frogs have been living for years, then stop them from coming back or outright remove the frogs, this will change the ecology of the area.
The frogs will move somewhere else, causing problems for other habitats (likely ones that already have a frog population) or they will have nowhere to go and will die.
Not only is this cruel, but it has direct negative impacts on the local ecosystems. You may also be bringing endangered species closer to extinction.
You may need to look into your local area’s wildlife laws to see if you are able to handle or relocate them, as around the world, many frogs, toads and newts are protected species and you can be prosecuted for interfering with them.
If you are in a scenario where stopping frogs and toads from entering your goldfish pond is ideal, then there are a few ways to do it:
- You can place a cover or net over your pond
- You can use peppermint spray around the ponds outer rim to deter frogs and toads
- You can set up traps
- Fence off your pond or garden
- Relocate the frogs
These methods have varying levels of success, however, the fence wall around the garden seems to be the most effective.
In the UK, wild frog and toad populations are rapidly declining as a result of having no access to ponds to spawn in.
This is because many households in the UK have fully fenced off gardens which deny amphibians access to bodies of water, even when they are present in the area!
Are there benefits of keeping frogs in a pond?
Frogs can actually be very beneficial to a pond, not only are they entertaining to keep and observe, they also can positively impact the ecosystem within a pond.
Tadpoles will graze on algae, eat mosquito and other pest insect larvae and prevent infestation.
Tadpoles and frog eggs can also provide a good source of food for goldfish sometimes, as they are part of the natural circle of life within a pond or lake.
Adult frogs and toads will also control local insect and spider populations by keeping their numbers down – they are great pest control!
Frogs and toads also bring nutrients into a pond as they eat insects and small animals from around the area, then defecate in the pond, bringing the nutrients into the water and providing food for aquatic plants.
Will frogs lay eggs in a fish pond?
Absolutely; frogs will lay eggs in a fish pond.
Although not every pond is suitable for frogs and they may not want to spawn in it, under certain conditions.
The main condition of this is how turbulent the water is. Frogs and toads do not like water which has high flow or movement – they usually spawn in puddles, still ponds, reed beds, lakes and pools.
Frogs and tadpoles are not good swimmers like fish, and cannot battle a current like a fish can, so they like to stick to slow moving or stagnant waters.
A pond with a powerful flowing filter will deter frogs from spawning in it.
But a large natural pond, with plenty of plants, grass and easy access in and out will be quite an inviting place for any frog or toad to feel comfortable breeding in.
What kinds of frogs can I keep in my pond and when do frogs spawn?
Depending on where you live, the answer is different, and different frogs spawn at different times in the year, but here is a list of some common frogs and toads around the world with what months they spawn:
European common Frog: January – April
European common Toad: January – April
American Bullfrog: March – June
American Toad: March – June
American Green Tree Frog: April – August
Eastern Banjo Frog: August – April
Common Eastern Froglet: February – March
Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog: September – February
Cane Toad: September – November
Japanese common Toad: March – May
Common Chinese Tree Frog: June – September
East Asian Bullfrog: April – May
Indian Bullfrog: June – September
Murree Frog: July – August
What are some ways to entice frogs to my pond?
If you don’t have frogs already, and want to attract them to your pond, then there are ways to do this.
One of the first best ways is to add plantlife to your pond. Lily pads, aponogetons, elodea, marginals like reeds, variegated grasses and iris are all good plants to start off with and will attract frogs.
Duckweed is another plant that can attract frogs and toads, but it is often eaten by goldfish, and if not, will overtake a pond very quickly; but it is easy to remove by hand.
Other ways to entice frogs is to allow your pond to grow and produce insect life, like midge, hoverfly and damselfly, which are common food for frogs and tadpoles.
Dangers of frogs and tadpoles in a goldfish pond
Are pond frogs poisonous?
Fortunately, most frogs do not bite, however, some species of frogs can be poisonous, and all species of toad are toxic.
You can easily avoid being poisoned by a frog simply by not handling them. If you do ever handle a toad or frog, wash your hands and do not lick them or rub your eyes, as this can transmit poison into your body.
If you have any animals that may eat frogs and toads, like cats, dogs and birds, or small children that could pick them up, be sure to fence off your pond or supervise them whenever they are near the pond.
Additionally, frogs may also be dangerous in that their spawn can be pulled into the filter or pump and clog it up – this can be difficult to remove and will inhibit the flow of water in your pond.