Axolotls are big salamanders which come from the remnants of lakes Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico. Axolotls live their whole lives in water, never emerging onto land. Axolotl care requirements are minimal, and provided temperature and water flow are well controlled, they are hardy, easy-to-care-for captives that breed readily in captivity. It is not easy to think about a more uncommon display animal compared to axolotl, along with its bold and tame nature can make it an interactive pet.
Axolotls are often offered by private breeders, often via the Internet. Axolotls usually are not commonly available in reptile stores or at reptile shows, owing to their incompatibility with a lot of reptile-friendly temperatures. Some suppliers may have the capacity to special order them for you personally, but usually the best sources for healthy axolotls are other hobbyists.
Leucistic axolotls are white with dark eyes, and quite often these people have a few black markings along the top of the body.
Most axolotls reach about 10 inches total length (from the tip of the nose towards the end in the tail). A couple of will pass 12 inches, but this can be rare. I have personally seen and photographed a 17-inch axolotl that must be seen to be believed, but such monsters are highly unusual. Axolotls reach sexual maturity once they reach about 8 inches. This can maintain as few as six months, but generally it takes about annually of excellent care to arrive at this size.
Axolotls have been known to live past 20 years, but it is unusual to discover an individual older than 10 years.
A common 10-gallon reptile aquarium can accommodate just one adult axolotl, but as a result of substantial amount of waste made by these messy creatures, a 20-gallon aquarium is a safer choice. Axolotls tend not to emerge through the water, so a land area would go unused. Fill the aquarium towards the depth of your choosing, but it will be easier to keep good water parameters if the aquarium is filled, as you would for aquarium fish. A lid or aquarium hood ought to be kept in place constantly because axolotls happen to be recognized to jump out of their aquariums.
A filter can help maintain safe water parameters. The best option is surely an external canister filter, like the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Canister Filter, but make sure the water outlet to the aquarium is fitted using a spray bar or other flow-spreading outlet. This is necessary because axolotls tend not to tolerate distinct water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in a noticeable water flow for a few months will go off food and develop stress-related diseases. Insufficient appetite and forward-curled gills are usually a sign of stress from too much water flow.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature
Like the vast majority of amphibians, axolotls do not require lighting, and indeed, new axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they will likely become used to it if furnished with some hiding places (the usual aquarium “furniture” such as caves, wood, plants, etc.). Lights are generally for the viewing pleasure as well as the benefit from aquarium plants and salamander habitat supplies. Choose a plant-friendly bulb, including those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in mind that lights often generate a lot of excess heat which can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures as much as the reduced 70s Fahrenheit are tolerated well by axolotls. A perfect temperature range will be the low to mid 60s. Temperatures above 74 degrees will invariably lead to heat stress, loss of appetite and death. If you fail to provide year-round temperatures below this limit, axolotls are not the best pet for your circumstances. If you need to have an axolotl however you have temperature problems, consider buying an aquarium chiller for the warmer parts of year.
The best substrate for axolotls is aquarium-safe sand like Aqua Terra’s Aquarium & Terrarium Sand. Axolotls have a bad habit of ingesting gravel and mouth-sized objects when they are available. This can lead to gut impactions and also the death in the axolotl. In order to use gravel, consider large pebbles instead, such as Exo Terra’s Large Natural Turtle Pebbles. Anything the dimensions of an axolotl’s head or smaller can and will also be consumed!
Salamander substrate is not essential – for Axolotls. Many keepers use no substrate at all – yet it is certainly more pleasing for the eye in a display aquarium in case a substrate is utilized, and it will help to keep water parameters stable through providing area for beneficial bacteria.
Good staple foods for axolotls include live reptile food like nightcrawlers (large earthworms) and commercially made frozen bloodworm cubes. Good treat foods for axolotls include frozen shrimp through the supermarket (cooked), and lean pieces of beef and chicken. Avoid live food like feeder fish because of the probability of parasite and disease transmission – axolotls are susceptible to many fish diseases and parasites. Pinkie mice along with other unhealthy fats would be best used only being a rare treat for axolotls and preferably not at all.
As it is the case with most salamanders, axolotls have no necessity of vitamin/mineral supplementation, and indeed it might be hard to deliver this for an aquatic animal. Within my experience, axolotls fed solely on nightcrawlers will never develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Axolotl Water and Quality
Tap water is fine for axolotls, provided it really is pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to get rid of chlorine and chloramines. Axolotls are far more forgiving than aquarium fish in terms of water quality, but an excellent filter and regular water changes needs to be employed nonetheless. If you’ve ever kept aquarium fish, follow a similar routine.
Ideally, a whole new aquarium and filter ought to be able to cycle for a number of weeks before the introduction of axolotls to let this type of water conditions settle and filter bacteria develop. Make sure you monitor water parameters utilizing the water test kits sold at aquarium stores.
Axolotl Handling and Temperament
Axolotls have hardly any true bone within their bodies, specially when young. Most of their skeleton consists of cartilage. Axolotls are delicate and soft-bodied amphibians with permeable skin. As a result, axolotls must not be handled unless absolutely necessary (they are tricky to trap in a net). If you use a net to maneuver an axolotl, avoid nets with mesh that would let an axolotl’s fingers get damaged. Use a soft, very fine-mesh net.
Young axolotls tend to nip at or bite off of the legs and gills with their tankmates, so youngsters should just be kept together if fed well and given a lot of space. Axolotls greater than 5 inches tend to be safer tankmates, and adults will rarely possess altercations. As opposed to the recommendation of some sources, axolotls are not social animals and never benefit from using a oqvjpi axolotl. Keeping multiple axolotls is purely for the keeper’s benefit and for breeding.
Due to the tendency of nipping, fish really should not be kept with axolotls. Actually, an axolotl aquarium should contain only axolotls!