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Amphibian Ponds

Frog ponds, toad ponds, salamander ponds, and newt ponds.

Last Updated: 11/12/13

Introduction
Size and Depth
Plants
Other Animals
Links

See also - setting up a toad nursery.


Introduction

So, you want a frog pond? You must be highly intelligent!

Most of the information regarding frog ponds is scattered around my web site. I wanted to bring some of it together here and to clarify how one might set up a pond dedicated to amphibians. Amphibians will visit or live at some "regular ponds" but this page is about ponds just for them to make them the most happy.

These pages on my site may be of some use:
Pond Index
Amphibian Index
Tub Ponds
Organic Ponds


Size and Depth

The size and depth of the pond that is needed depends on the species for which the pond is being developed. All amphibian ponds should have a shallow area of just a few inches to allow them to get in and out easily. Ponds for frogs that breed in vernal ponds may only need to be a few inches deep all over. Vernal ponds are ones that dry up in the summer. Tree frogs and wood frogs use vernal ponds. They will also use deeper ponds up to a few feet deep as long as there are shallow areas. Vegetation helps to attract and keep all amphibians.

For amphibians who either remain at ponds as adults and overwinter under the water (bullfrogs, green frogs, pickerel frogs, Eastern newt, etc.) or who have tadpoles that take a year or more to develop (same species), the pond should be deep enough to allow for hibernation in the winter. That depth depends on where you live. For example, in Zone 7 in the US, a depth of two feet is about right while Zone 5 would need three feet of depth. I suggest at least two feet deep even in warmer climates for such frogs as the added depth will reduce predation and allow for a more consistent pond temperature and water chemistry.

Toads will spawn in vernal ponds but, since they tend to larger and output a lot of eggs, it helps to have some areas of the pond a foot or two deep. The same can be said for salamanders and newts although most are not that big and do not output too many eggs per female.


Plants

Amphibians like to hide so they are happy to have plants in and around their pond. For information about pond plants, see this section.


Other Animals

Many amphibians will not spawn in a pond with fish or at least with big fish. I have had wood frogs, green frogs, and American toads spawn in a 153 gallon pond with rosy red minnows in it. The same frogs almost never spawn in my 1800 gallon pond with goldfish, orfe, and koi. If fish are highly desired, try to stick with small fish or, better yet, small, native fish. Most fish will eat amphibian eggs and/or larvae to some degree.

Snails can be added to the amphibian pond for some algae control and excitement (or maybe not?!). They can sometimes eat amphibian eggs but should not otherwise cause a problem for the amphibians.

One of the largest worries for an amphibian pond is dealing with mosquito larvae. If not adding small fish, then the next best way to prevent mosquitoes from taking over is to add Bt which is a natural bacteria. It is sold from most pond stores as mosquito dunks or in other forms (pellets or liquid). It is completely safe for all amphibians, their eggs, and larvae. For more on mosquito control, go to this page.


Links

How to Create a Frog Pond - a Word document meant for educational purposes.

Frog Ponds - an Australian site

Frog Decline Reversal Project - another Australian site; this is their page on frog ponds. Note, because they are in Australia, they are talking about tropical ponds, cane toads, etc. that are not relevant to say the Eastern USA.


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Return to the main amphibian page.
See the master index for the amphibian pages.


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