Axolotls are big salamanders that come from the remnants of lakes Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico. Axolotls live their entire lives in water, never rising onto land. Axolotl care necessities are minimal, and provided temperature and water flow are well controlled, these are hardy, easy-to-care-for captives that breed readily in captivity. It is sometimes complicated to consider a much more unusual display animal than the axolotl, as well as its bold and tame nature causes it to be an interactive pet.
Axolotls tend to be provided by private breeders, often online. Axolotls usually are not commonly offered in reptile stores or at reptile shows, owing to their incompatibility with most reptile-friendly temperatures. Some suppliers may have the ability 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 sometimes they have a few black markings across the top in the body.
Most axolotls reach about 10 inches total length (through the tip from the nose to the end of 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 get believed, but such monsters are highly unusual. Axolotls reach sexual maturity when they reach about 8 inches. This can maintain as few as 6 months, but generally it takes about annually of excellent care to arrive at this size.
Axolotl Life Span
Axolotls have been known to live past twenty years, but it is unusual to find an individual over the age of a decade.
A standard 10-gallon reptile aquarium can accommodate one particular adult axolotl, but as a result of large amount of waste produced by these messy creatures, a 20-gallon aquarium is really 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 choice, but it will be easier to keep good water parameters once the aquarium is filled, as you would for aquarium fish. A lid or aquarium hood ought to be stored in place constantly because axolotls happen to be proven to jump out of their aquariums.
A filter will help maintain safe water parameters. Your best option is definitely an external canister filter, like the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Canister Filter, but make sure the water outlet towards the aquarium is fitted having a spray bar or other flow-spreading outlet. This really is necessary because axolotls do not tolerate distinct water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in a noticeable water flow for a couple months should go off food and develop stress-related diseases. Lack of appetite and forward-curled gills are often a sign of stress from excessive water flow.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature
Like the vast majority of amphibians, axolotls do not require lighting, and even, new axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they will likely become used to it if supplied with some hiding places (the usual aquarium “furniture” like caves, wood, plants, etc.). Lighting is generally for the viewing pleasure as well as the advantage of aquarium plants and salamander habitat supplies. Select a plant-friendly bulb, including those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Stay in mind that lighting 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, appetite loss and death. If you cannot provide year-round temperatures below this limit, axolotls are not the perfect pet to your circumstances. If you must have an axolotl but you have temperature problems, consider buying an aquarium chiller for your warmer parts of the season.
The perfect substrate for axolotls is aquarium-safe sand like Aqua Terra’s Aquarium & Terrarium Sand. Axolotls use a bad habit of ingesting gravel and mouth-sized objects when they are available. This can lead to gut impactions and the death from the axolotl. In order to use gravel, consider large pebbles instead, including 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 will not be essential – for Axolotls. Many keepers use no substrate at all – yet it is certainly more pleasing to the eye in a display aquarium when a substrate is utilized, and it will also help to help keep water parameters stable by providing surface for beneficial bacteria.
Good staple foods for axolotls include live reptile food including nightcrawlers (large earthworms) and store bought frozen bloodworm cubes. Good treat foods for axolotls include frozen shrimp from the supermarket (cooked), and lean bits 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 as well as other fatty foods are the best used only as a rare treat for axolotls and preferably certainly not.
As it is the case with many salamanders, axolotls have zero necessity of vitamin/mineral supplementation, and indeed it might be hard to deliver this for an aquatic animal. In 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 is pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to get rid of chlorine and chloramines. Axolotls are much more forgiving than aquarium fish when it comes to water quality, but a good filter and regular water changes needs to be employed nonetheless. If you’ve ever kept aquarium fish, stick to a similar routine.
Ideally, a new aquarium and filter needs to be permitted to cycle for a number of weeks ahead of the introduction of axolotls to let this type of water conditions settle and filter bacteria develop. Make sure you keep an eye on 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. A lot of their skeleton is comprised of cartilage. Axolotls are delicate and soft-bodied amphibians with permeable skin. As such, axolotls should not be handled unless absolutely necessary (they are tricky to catch in a net). If you are using a net to move an axolotl, avoid nets with mesh that could let an axolotl’s fingers get damaged. Utilize a soft, very fine-mesh net.
Young axolotls have a tendency to nip at or bite from the legs and gills with their tankmates, so youngsters should just be kept together if fed well and given lots of space. Axolotls larger than 5 inches are usually safer tankmates, and adults will rarely have altercations. As opposed to the recommendations of some sources, axolotls are not social animals and do not reap the benefits of possessing a oqvjpi axolotl. Keeping multiple axolotls is purely for that keeper’s benefit and then for breeding.
Due to the tendency of nipping, fish must not be kept with axolotls. Actually, an axolotl aquarium should contain only axolotls!