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 needs 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 think of a more unusual 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 online. Axolotls are not commonly obtainable in reptile stores or at reptile shows, because of their incompatibility with many reptile-friendly temperatures. Some suppliers may have the ability to special order them for you personally, but generally the best sources for healthy axolotls are also hobbyists.
Leucistic axolotls are white with dark eyes, and sometimes they have a few black markings over the top in the body.
Most axolotls reach about 10 inches total length (from the tip in the nose to the end of the tail). Several will pass 12 inches, but this can be 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 be in as few as half a year, but generally it takes about a year of good care to reach this size.
Axolotls happen to be recognized to live past two decades, however it is unusual to find an individual more than a decade.
A common 10-gallon reptile aquarium can accommodate a single adult axolotl, but as a result of great deal of waste made by these messy creatures, a 20-gallon aquarium is actually a safer choice. Axolotls usually do not emerge from your water, so a land area would go unused. Fill the aquarium for the depth of your choosing, but it will be simpler to keep good water parameters once the aquarium is filled, when you would for aquarium fish. A lid or aquarium hood should be held in place constantly because axolotls happen to be known to jump out of their aquariums.
A filter will help maintain safe water parameters. The best choice is definitely an external canister filter, including the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Canister Filter, but make sure the water outlet to the aquarium is fitted with 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 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 a lot of water flow.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature
Like nearly all amphibians, axolotls usually do not require lighting, and even, new axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they are going to become accustomed to it if provided with some hiding places (the usual aquarium “furniture” including caves, wood, plants, etc.). Lighting is generally for your viewing pleasure as well as the benefit of aquarium plants and salamander habitat supplies. Pick a plant-friendly bulb, including those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in mind that lighting often generate a lot of excess heat and also this can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures up to the reduced 70s Fahrenheit are tolerated well by axolotls. A perfect temperature range is definitely the low to mid 60s. Temperatures above 74 degrees will invariably lead to heat stress, appetite loss and death. If you fail to provide year-round temperatures below this limit, axolotls are not the perfect pet for your circumstances. If you must have an axolotl but you have temperature problems, consider buying an aquarium chiller for that warmer parts of year.
The perfect 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 as well as the death of the axolotl. In order to use gravel, consider large pebbles instead, such as Exo Terra’s Large Natural Turtle Pebbles. Anything how big an axolotl’s head or smaller can and will also be consumed!
Salamander substrate is not essential – for Axolotls. Many keepers use no substrate in any way – however it is certainly more pleasing to the eye in a display aquarium in case a substrate is used, and it will also help to keep water parameters stable by offering surface area for beneficial bacteria.
Good staple foods for axolotls include live reptile food including nightcrawlers (large earthworms) and commercially made 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 due to the probability of parasite and disease transmission – axolotls are susceptible to many fish diseases and parasites. Pinkie mice as well as other fats would be best used only being a rare treat for axolotls and preferably not at all.
As it is the case with a lot of salamanders, axolotls have zero need for vitamin/mineral supplementation, and even it would be hard to offer this to 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 actually pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to get rid of chlorine and chloramines. Axolotls are far more forgiving than aquarium fish when it comes to water quality, but an excellent filter and regular water changes ought to be employed nonetheless. If you’ve ever kept aquarium fish, follow a similar routine.
Ideally, a new aquarium and filter ought to be allowed to cycle for several weeks ahead of the introduction of axolotls to let water conditions settle and filter bacteria develop. Make sure you 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, particularly when young. Most of their skeleton is made up of cartilage. Axolotls are delicate and soft-bodied amphibians with permeable skin. As such, axolotls must not be handled unless absolutely necessary (they are tricky to catch in a net). If you are using 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 have a tendency to nip at or bite off of the legs and gills with their tankmates, so youngsters should only be kept together if fed well and given a lot of space. Axolotls greater than 5 inches are generally safer tankmates, and adults will rarely have any altercations. Contrary to the advice of some sources, axolotls are certainly not social animals and do not benefit from using a oqvjpi axolotl. Keeping multiple axolotls is purely for that keeper’s benefit and then for breeding.
As a result of tendency of nipping, fish really should not be kept with axolotls. In fact, an axolotl aquarium should contain only axolotls!