Care Guide for Axolotls
Axolotls are unique and fascinating creatures that can grow up to 30cm in length. These aquatic salamanders are known for their ability to regenerate body parts, including their limbs and even their spinal cord. To ensure that your axolotl remains healthy and happy, here is a care guide to follow:
1. Tank Setup:
- Provide a spacious tank that can hold at least 90 litres of water per axolotl.
- Axolotls need a cool environment with a water temperature between 60-68°F (15-20°C).
- Use a suitable water filter to maintain water quality. Axolotls are sensitive to high levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
- Avoid using gravel or small stones at the bottom of the tank, as axolotls may accidentally ingest them. Use large-sized, smooth river rocks, river sand or bare-bottom tanks.
- Provide hiding spots like PVC pipes, clay flowerpots, or plants to create a sense of security for your axolotl.
2. Water Quality:
- Use dechlorinated water for your axolotl's tank. You can either leave tap water out overnight or use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines.
- Test the water regularly using aquarium test kits to ensure proper pH levels (around 6.5-8), ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
- Perform partial water changes (about 25% of the tank volume) every week to maintain optimal water quality.
- Provide a varied diet for your axolotls, consisting mainly of earthworms, small fish, brine shrimp, or bloodworms. Avoid feeding them bugs from your backyard, as they may contain pesticides or be harmful to your axolotl.
- Feed adult axolotls every 2-3 days and remove any uneaten food after 15-20 minutes to prevent water contamination.
- When feeding juvenile axolotls, offer small food items daily to ensure they receive adequate nutrition.
- Axolotls have delicate skin, so avoid handling them unless necessary. If you must handle them, wet your hands beforehand to prevent unnecessary stress and damage to their skin.
- Axolotls prefer dim lighting due to their sensitive eyes. Provide diffused lighting or use aquarium-safe plant lights if you decide to keep live plants in the tank.
6. Monitoring Health:
- Regularly observe your axolotl's behavior and appearance. Any changes in appetite, swimming pattern, or skin coloration may signal a health issue.
- If you notice any health concerns, contact a veterinarian experienced in reptiles and amphibians.
7. Tank Mates:
- Axolotls are not recommended to be housed with other fish species due to their potential to nip at the axolotl's gills.
- It's generally preferable to keep axolotls alone to avoid any potential issues.
Remember, axolotls require diligent care, so make sure you are fully committed to providing a suitable environment and regular maintenance. With proper care, your axolotl can thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment and curiosity.