Care Info For Your Axolotl
Please read the following carefully as it contains important information about the care required for your Axolotl. Please also refer to our Legal Page, and for any further information, assistance or advice, please contact one of our stores.
Firstly, your Axolotl tank will need to be at least 40 litres and in many cases, will need to be increased as your pet grows to it's full length of about 23 - 30 cm. Most Axolotl's will occasionally jump at the surface, so keeping the tank level down from the tank rim by about 10 cm is a good tip. The tank should be resting on foam to allow a more even pressure distribution.
Axolotl are cannibals when young and can accidentally bite each other when older. Ensure there is enough space for your pet, and ideally, they should not be put together when less than 6 cm in length. Tank size is important for a harmonious environment.
A filter is essential for the tank and it should ideally have a wide aperture for the filter outlet as Axolotl do not like water currents. If you don't have a filter with a wide aperture, then place the outlet in such a fashion as to minimise turbulence.
The temperature of the tank should be cool at about 15 -18°C. Higher than 24°C can lead to heat stress, and lower than 10°C will cause sluggish behaviour. It is more dangerous to their health to be at elevated temperatures than at lower temperatures.
Once set up, Axolotl in a tank or aquarium are not difficult to maintain. They do have needs, just like all pets and these are listed out below. Remember; If the water condition is kept correct, their maintenance is relatively easy.
Firstly, it is imperative to have the correct water parameters for the Axolotl. To do this, you will need a Water Ager to remove Chlorine, Fluoride, Chloromine and heavy metals, which are all hazardous to them and these can be found in all tap water and even tracews in tank collected rain water. Filtered water and tank collected rain water is too soft (not enough minerals) and does not have enough natural good bacteria. It is best to start with tap water and treat it to remove the nasty (to fish) chemicals rather than filtered tap water.
Secondly, a Water Conditioner is used to add minerals, harden the water and improve the fish's gill function and immune system. Osmosis of the right direction comes into play when a good water conditioner is employed. This should also be used in stronger doses for sick fish. If you are constrained to using Tank collected Rain Water, then you should add extra minerals to increase the water benefits.
Thirdly, you will need a Natural Bacteria booster which is "good bacteria" in a bottle. This bacteria break down the ammonia that the Axolotl secrete and would normally take at least 8-12 weeks to build up to adequate levels naturally. This should be added when there is a filter service/change or when any tank water is replaced. For a new tank set-up, double the initial dose and add a normal dose every 2-3 days for the first 2-3 weeks.
The above three points need to be adhered to whenever water is added to the tank.
You must change one quarter of the tank water every two weeks.
Gravel is also essential but most be either very fine so that it can pass through the digestive tract or large enough to not fit into their mouth. The gravel will act like a live breeding and feeding ground for good bacteria and the gravel will help with filtration.
Other essentials are live plants (to break down ammonia and provide shelter), ornaments as places to hide, and perhaps an aquatic light to encourage plant growth and show the Axolotl's colour. You will regularly need to clean the gravel for excess food and waste to keep ammonia levels low. A gravel cleaner or siphon is ideal for this - don't "scoop" out the water. Plants are a favourite of the Axolotl, so a variety of these are recommended. They like to move amongst them and rest on them.
There are great food products for Axolotl: Axolotl pellets, Feeder fish, dried/frozen Bloodworms, Live Crickets, and Mealworms that should be interchanged to vary the diet. Do not over-feed them (food should never be allowed to sink to the bottom and stay there). Use feeding tweezers to feed the Axolotl, usually twice per day, as this will reduce waste. They may not always eat though, so offer it regularly and adjust colume depending on consumed amounts. Food should be bite sized as they don't have the teeth to masticate their food.
If there is any Toxic Ammonia present, the Axolotl will usually refuse to eat. You need to measure the Ammonia with a test kit and conduct remedy actions to rectify the tank. It is best to discuss these measures with us so we can adjust the type of rememdy based on the circumstances.
The colour of the external gills will vary depending on oxygen concentration levels within the blood. If they are active, breaking down food, or the water parameters are not correct, the gills will be more red. When they are inactive and the water has good parameters, the gills will be body colour. This of course is much harder to note on black and olive coloured Axoltl.
It is recommended that if the Axolotl needs to be handled, that it is done carefully and gently due to their soft skin and netted gently to reduce damage.
Axolotl's can regrow parts of their body making them very unique and fascinating.
There are some signs though that things are not right with them: If you see signs of grey haze on the limbs, reduction in size of the gills behind the head, abnormal floating, or any body deformation, please come in and seek some more specific advice, and bring a sample of your water for us to test for free.
We aim at giving specialist advice backed by quality products and courteous service.
We believe that this will give you the best chance at having the kind of pet you will enjoy.
We would be grateful if you keep us informed of your new family members progress and we will do our best to assist you in any way we can.
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