Axolotls are big salamanders which come from the remnants of lakes Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico. Axolotls live their entire lives in water, never emerging onto land. Axolotl care necessities are nominal, and provided temperature and water flow are well controlled, they are hardy, easy-to-care-for captives that breed readily in captivity. It is difficult 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 are often available from private breeders, often online. Axolotls are not commonly offered in reptile stores or at reptile shows, owing to their incompatibility with many reptile-friendly temperatures. Some suppliers may be able to special order them for you, but usually the best sources for healthy axolotls can also be hobbyists.
Leucistic axolotls are white with dark eyes, and quite often they have a few black markings along the top in the body.
Most axolotls reach about 10 inches total length (through the tip from the nose to the end in the tail). A couple of will pass 12 inches, but this really is rare. We have personally seen and photographed a 17-inch axolotl that had to be seen to get believed, but such monsters are highly unusual. Axolotls reach sexual maturity once they reach about 8 inches. This can remain in as few as 6 months, but generally it takes about per year of excellent care to achieve this size.
Axolotl Life Span
Axolotls have already been known to live past 20 years, however it is unusual to find someone over the age of ten years.
A common 10-gallon reptile aquarium can accommodate a single adult axolotl, but due to the great deal of waste created by these messy creatures, a 20-gallon aquarium is a safer choice. Axolotls usually do not emerge through the water, so a land area would go unused. Fill the aquarium to the depth of your liking, but it will be easier to keep up good water parameters if the aquarium is filled, while you would for aquarium fish. A lid or aquarium hood ought to be stored in place at all times because axolotls have been recognized to jump out of their aquariums.
A filter can help maintain safe water parameters. The best choice is an external canister filter, such as the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Canister Filter, but ensure the water outlet towards the aquarium is fitted having a spray bar or any other flow-spreading outlet. This is necessary because axolotls do not tolerate distinct water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in a noticeable water flow for a few months should go off food and develop stress-related diseases. Insufficient appetite and forward-curled gills are generally a sign of stress from too much water flow.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature
Like nearly all amphibians, axolotls usually do not require lighting, as well as, new axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they will likely become used to it if provided with some hiding places (the usual aquarium “furniture” like caves, wood, plants, etc.). Lighting is generally for your viewing pleasure and for the advantage of aquarium plants and salamander habitat supplies. Pick a plant-friendly bulb, such as those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in mind that lighting fixtures often generate lots of excess heat which can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures up to the reduced 70s Fahrenheit are tolerated well by axolotls. An excellent temperature range is definitely 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 perfect pet for the circumstances. If you have to have an axolotl however you have temperature problems, consider buying an aquarium chiller for your warmer parts of the season.
The ideal substrate for axolotls is aquarium-safe sand like Aqua Terra’s Aquarium & Terrarium Sand. Axolotls possess 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, like Exo Terra’s Large Natural Turtle Pebbles. Anything how big 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 whatsoever – however it is certainly more pleasing towards the eye in a display aquarium in case a substrate is utilized, and it will also help to keep water parameters stable through 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 through the supermarket (cooked), and lean pieces of beef and chicken. Avoid live food such as 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 are best used only as a rare treat for axolotls and preferably certainly not.
As it is the case with a lot of salamanders, axolotls have zero necessity of vitamin/mineral supplementation, as well as it would be hard to provide this to an aquatic animal. Inside 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 actually pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to eliminate chlorine and chloramines. Axolotls are far more forgiving than aquarium fish when it comes to water quality, but a good filter and regular water changes ought to be employed nonetheless. If you’ve ever kept aquarium fish, stick to a similar routine.
Ideally, a new aquarium and filter should be allowed to cycle for a number of weeks prior to the introduction of axolotls to let water conditions settle and filter bacteria develop. Make sure to keep an eye on water parameters using the water test kits sold at aquarium stores.
Axolotl Handling and Temperament
Axolotls have virtually no true bone inside their bodies, specially when young. A lot of their skeleton is made up 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 catch in a net). If you utilize a net to go an axolotl, avoid nets with mesh that will let an axolotl’s fingers get damaged. Use a soft, very fine-mesh net.
Young axolotls have a tendency to nip at or bite off the legs and gills of their tankmates, so youngsters should simply be kept together if fed well and given lots of space. Axolotls bigger than 5 inches tend to be safer tankmates, and adults will rarely possess altercations. As opposed to the advice of some sources, axolotls are not social animals and you should not take advantage of having a oqvjpi axolotl. Keeping multiple axolotls is purely for your keeper’s benefit and for breeding.
Due to the tendency of nipping, fish must not be kept with axolotls. Actually, an axolotl aquarium should contain only axolotls!