Axolotls are very hardy animals with the right care. First we’ll start with some background information about the species. Axolotls are native to Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in Mexico. They are a salamander that remains in their neotenic (with external gills) state for life, which means they carry the same traits that they have as larvae to adulthood (gills, regeneration..etc). They also have a miraculous power of regenerating their limbs that may have been bitten off by tank mates or have been attacked by fungus. For example, if they get their leg accidentally bitten off by another tank mate like another axolotl, they grow the limb back.
But anyways, let’s get to the important care of these little critters! First off, they CANNOT I REPEAT CANNOT be kept on gravel or small rocks as they will swallow these pebbles and become impacted which is often fatal if the stones do not pass through the intestines properly. The proper substrate for them is Playsand from Home Depot or something. Just make sure to rinse it as with all sand, or you can just go to your local petstore and get some aquarium sand.
Now, for feeding, they will eat basically anything they can fit in their mouths, but what’s best to feed them as a staple is good ol’ earthworms! Earthworms are the most nutritional thing that you can give them, although, if you don’t like this option then you could also feed frozen bloodworm cubes from your local pet store and feed them that, they like it just as well. They will also readily accept brineshrimp. As larvae (Babies) they need VERY SMALL live food (eg. Microworms , baby brineshrimp, blackworms, grindal worms, daphnia) to thrive. Baby brineshrimp ussually have more carotene which gives them more colour.
The general rule per axolotl is 10 gallons as an adult, but 20 is preferred for them; it’s just more space they can roam around. Remember, the more floor space in the tank the better as they don’t swim that often and just like to sit there a lot. They have external gills so you CANNOT take them out of water and play with them. They do have rudementary lungs so don’t be alarmed if you see them eventually swim up and take a gulp of air and go back down. Axolotls like their habitats relatively cool, so a good 16C-18C is perfect, but it should not exceed 20 in most instances as this is the leading cause for gill fungus and other problems such as not feeding anymore and so on. It’s also very important to have a minimum of 1 hide per axolotl, and preferred to have 2 for each axolotl, so they can feel more at home and hide when need be. That’s all the basic care of axolotls.
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