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Axolotl content in an aquarium

maintenance, care, compatibility

The design and equipment of an akolotl aquarium is a matter of taste, but there are several important points. Young and small axolotls may be contained in a 50-liter aquarium. Adults need more volume, 100 liters is a minimum for one – two axolotl.

If you are going to contain more than two, then count on 50-80 liters of additional volume for each individual.

Attention! A small number of shelters, bright light will adversely affect health, as axolotli night residents.

Anything can be used as shelter: snags, large stones, hollow ceramic stones for keeping cichlids, pots, coconuts and other things. The main thing is that any decor in the aquarium should have no sharp edges and a burr, as this can lead to wounds of delicate skin in Mexican salamanders. It is also important that the number of shelters is greater than the individuals in the aquarium, they should have a choice.

This will allow them to avoid each other, and you headaches, as conflicts lead to torn paws, wounds or even death.

Filtration of water is slightly different from that needed by aquarium fish. Axolotli prefer a slow current and a powerful filter that creates a stream of water will cause stress.

Naturally, the purity of water is important, so you need to choose the middle, between power and efficiency. The best choice would be an internal filter with a washcloth, as it is powerful enough, but it does not create such a strong current, and it costs relatively little.

Substitution of water on the same principle as for fish, partial weekly changes. Only in the case of axolotls, it is necessary to monitor the parameters of the water more closely, as they are larger, eat protein foods and are sensitive to cleanliness in the aquarium.

It is important not to overfeed and remove leftover food.

Axolotlis have almost no bones, especially young ones. Most of their skeleton consists of cartilage, and the skin is thin and delicate. So without absolute need to touch them is not recommended.

If you need to catch this salamander, use a net made of thick and soft fabric, with small cells or a glass or plastic container.

– the miracle of the aquarium world!

In this article we will talk about the amazing aquarium creature – Axolotl! Who is this fish, lizard, newt?

In fact, everything is much more interesting!

This material, primarily aimed at beginning aquarists, we hope that the article will help weigh the pros and cons before buying an axolotl, will allow you to make an informed choice.

Axolotl (Axolotl) – Neotenic larva some species of Ambist, amphibians of the family ambistomas (Ambystomidae) order caudate (Caudata).

Ambistome, abroad they are also called mole salamanders – endemics of North America where they are distributed from southern Canada and southeastern Alaska to Mexico. Ambystomas are known for their larval stage, the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), which was widely used as a laboratory animal in various studies, after which it fell to aquarists.

Other ambystomes – tiger (A. tigrinum, A. mavortium) – are the most common amphibians in many US states, and they are also sometimes kept as pets.

The peculiarity of the axolotl is that it reaches sexual maturity and becomes capable of reproduction without being transformed into an adult form, without undergoing metamorphosis. These larvae have a well-developed thyroid, but it usually does not produce a sufficient amount of metamorphosis hormone thyroxin. However, if the axolotl is relocated to a drier and cooler environment or the water level is lowered at home breeding, it turns into an adult ambystom.

The transformation of the axolotl into ambystoma can also be caused by the addition to food or by injection of the hormone thyroxin. The transformation can occur within a few weeks, while the external gills of the axolotl will disappear, the color, the shape of the body will change.

But to introduce an axolotl into metamorphosis without the support of a herpetologist is dangerous for the life of the animal. As a rule, attempts at home to turn an axolotl into an ambist in 99% of cases end in the death of a larva.

Most often the name “axolotl” is used in relation to the larva mexican ambystomy (most of the axolotls contained in the laboratory or at home belong to this species) or the tiger ambistomy, but the larva of any ambistoma capable of neoteny can be called so.

In translation, axolotl is “water dog (monster)” (in Nahuatl, atl is water, xolotl is a dog, which together gives axolotl, that is, ashalotl in the correct transliteration), which fully corresponds to its appearance (axolotl is similar on a large-headed newt with three pairs of external gills sticking to the side. The head of the axolotl is very large and wide, disproportionate to the body, the mouth is also wide, and the eyes are small – it seems that the larva is smiling all the time. Among other things, these animals have the ability to regenerate a lost part of the body.

The total length is up to 30 cm. Like all larvae of the tailed amphibians, axolotls lead a predatory way of life.

Description and contents of the axolotl

A mature axolotl in length can be up to 45 centimeters, but usually in an aquarium the size is about 23 centimeters, individuals more than 30 centimeters are rare. A characteristic feature of the appearance – large external gills, in the form of three processes on the sides of the head. It is interesting that the axolotl breathes both the gills and the lungs – if the water is poorly saturated with oxygen, the axolotl passes to the pulmonary respiration, and with time the gills in it partially atrophy.

In addition, they have and skin breathing. They have small teeth, but they serve to keep the prey, and not to tear it.

Color variation of the axolotl body: from white to black, including various variants of gray, brown and brown. However, axolotls of light shades are rarely found in nature, since they are more visible and vulnerable.

The life of an axolotl is up to 20 years, but on average it is about 10 years in captivity.

Keeping an axolotl in an aquarium is simple, but there are important nuances that significantly affect life expectancy. The most important is the temperature.

Axolotls are cold-water amphibians and high temperatures are stressful for them. The water temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, peculiar to the maintenance of aquariums with tropical fish, is uncomfortable for the axolotl and, if kept for a long time, will lead to illness and death.. The ideal temperature for the content – 19-21 degrees Celsius.

The higher the temperature of the water, the less oxygen it contains. So the warmer the water in the aquarium, the more important the aeration for the maintenance of the axolotl. It is especially important at temperatures close to the boundary.

The aquarium is necessarily equipped with a filtration and aeration system. Water changes weekly 1 / 4-1 / 2 parts of the volume of the aquarium.

The aquarium is also equipped with a fine fraction of soil (sand), the aquarium must contain shelters. Axolotl are night residents, so the lighting in the aquarium should not be powerful.

Young and small axolotls may be contained in a 40-liter aquarium. Adults need a large volume of 100 liters; this is at least for one or two axolotls. An interesting solution for the maintenance of the axolotl would be an aquarium terrarium, for example, such Tetra ReptoAquaSet.

In such aquariums, it will be convenient to observe the pet not only from the front through the glass, but also from the top.

Content axolotl in the general aquarium. Yes, of course, many novice aquarists contain axolotl with aquarium fish and even with shrimp.

However, such a decision is fundamentally wrong. First, most aquarium fish and axolotl have different temperature conditions – one will be cold, the other is hot!

Secondly, you need to take into account the parameters of water. Standard parameters of water are comfortable for the axolotl: acidity (pH) – 7-8, hardness (dH) – 6-16º, therefore, it is better not to contain soft-water fish with them (the neons, angelfish) or hard water fish (most livebirth fish – guppy, swordtails, petilia).

Thirdly, the axolotls are predators and the night will be hunting fish, while at the same time during the day the fish can easily pluck the gills of the axolotl. In our opinion, the axolotl is not compatible with fish and even more so with shrimps.

More information about the compatibility of fish, see the article – here.

What to feed axolotl?

Axolotl predators and prefer protein feed. They eat well sinking food for predatory fish, produced in the form of pellets or tablets.

In addition, they eat well: fish fillets, sliced ​​worms, shrimp meat, mussels, frozen food, live fish. Feeding rules are the same as for fish. – you can not overfeed and leave waste in the aquarium, as such food immediately rot and turn into poisons – ammonia decomposition products.

Mammalian meat should not be used as food, since the protein of the axolotl stomach cannot be digested.

Reproduction and cultivation of axolotl

Axolotl reproduction is simple. Axolotls reach sexual maturity by the year of life. Mature females tend to have a more round body than males.

Females are not as bloated around the cloaca as males. Stimulation for breeding is the change in water temperature throughout the year, and if the axolotl is kept in a room where the temperature is not constant, then everything happens by itself. You can also stimulate dilution by reducing the length of daylight and slightly raising the temperature of the water.

Then again increasing the day and lowering the temperature. Some aquarists keep the male and female separate, and then place them in one aquarium with cool water.

Breeding process: the male releases spermatophores, which the female collects with the help of her cloaca. After the female lays the fertilized eggs on live or artificial plants.

Next, manufacturers can be transplanted or move the eggs to a separate aquarium. The period of incubation of eggs depends on the water temperature and is two or three weeks, after which the larvae appear. Newborn larvae up to 1 cm long, the first 5-6 days feed on the yolk sac.

With a water temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, the larvae grow to 1.5 cm in a week, and at the end of the third week the hind limbs begin to develop in the young axolotl. At the age of 18 days, the average length reaches 3.5 centimeters.

At the age of 24 days, the average length is 4 cm (the largest up to 4.7 cm). Hind limbs practically formed.

At 43 days, the largest individuals grow to 7.2 cm, at 59 days – 10.5 cm. The length of adolescent axolotls that have reached 85 days ranges from 12.5 to 14 cm.

Larvae and fry are fed with ground feed for fish, Artemia yushka, daphnia and other live food.

Axolotl, a selection of beautiful photos

Interesting video Axolotl

How long will the water dragon live if you keep it at home? An aquarian lifestyle can be detrimental to such an animal if it is not properly cared for. You need to feed him properly, he also fits a low temperature and more than 40 liters of water in the aquarium.

If we take into account all the wishes of the Mexican dragon in keeping him in captivity, he will live a long and happy life.

Axolotls can live in an aquarium with a volume of 50-100 liters (from 50 liters per individual). Equip the aquarium with snags, large pebbles, pots or coconuts.

The skin of the Mexican salamander is very delicate, so as not to damage it, you should remove pointed objects.

The first and important point is the temperature. How many degrees are optimal for water?

Increased temperature – their worst enemy, as for any amphibian. In the wild, they live at a height, so the usual water temperature is below 21 ° C.

Temperatures above 24 ° C can lead to illness and death of a pet. Relatively warm water contains little oxygen, should be allowed to aerate the aquarium. The boundary temperature is 23 ° C.

If you are not sure that you can keep cold water in an aquarium, then it is better to leave the idea of ​​acquiring an axolotl for later.

The content of these creatures is possible in very pure water, free from chlorine, with a neutral pH level and medium hardness. The water should be with a slow flow, the internal filter of the aquarium is required – powerful, preferably with a washcloth.

Change the water every week.

Without aquarium soil, he will be uncomfortable – because there is nothing to cling to, which will lead to ulcers on the tips of his paws. Axolotl gravel is swallowed, which can cause death.

Ideal option – aquarium sand.

Axolotl contain at home is quite difficult. And this is connected not so much with a harmful (possibly) character, as with the characteristics of the organism.

This small amphibian can get sick even from a slight deviation in the conditions of its maintenance. Therefore, having decided to start a cute “monster” in your home pond, provide him with decent care.

  • Salamanders are cold-water inhabitants. This means that the temperature of the water in the aquarium should always be below the optimum, i.e. less than + 200C. It can only be changed to stimulate reproduction.
  • The content of these “whelps” is allowed only in clean water. Do not forget to regularly clean the reservoir and often change the water in it.
  • Axolotl is active at night. Therefore, there should be enough dark nooks in the aquarium where the larvae could hide from bright light during the day. A large pebble hill, a pinned coconut shell, an inverted clay pot with a hole to enter inside, etc. will help to create comfort to your salamander.
  • The bottom of the reservoir should be covered with clean sand at least 3 centimeters thick. It will be more convenient for the axolotl to move with its paws. But the seashells, small pebbles and other trifles in the aquarium should not be, because Amphibian can swallow them and then suffers with pain in the stomach (perhaps even die). The pebbles that you will use to create shelters in the aquarium should be such that the axolotl will not be able to swallow them.
  • Be sure to have vegetation in the aquarium – its leaves will become the place of fertilization of eggs. Instead of live algae, you can decorate the aquarium with artificial flowers. How many of them all will be there, it does not matter, the main thing is that the axolotls should be comfortable to move.
  • Everything that will be in the home pond should not have sharp corners and edges, about which salamanders can cut themselves (they have a very delicate body).

How to feed the axolotl should be discussed in more detail, because there is a difference in the diet of the sexually mature salamander and its fry. The common thing is that water salamanders belong to the category of predators with teeth in their mouths.

And predators need animal protein for development.

  • It is preferable to feed the fry with microworms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and naupilya. Predatory fish food pellets can be soaked in water.
  • In addition to this assortment, the adult “monsters” are introduced into the diet meat of shrimps, mussels, fish fillets. But living fish should be given with caution, because they may be carriers of disease.
  • Neskori home aquarium owners are trying to feed the axolotl also with pieces of low-fat veal or beef heart. Of course, this is a good protein food, but the amphibian will cope with it with difficulty.

Fry should be fed daily, adults – 3 times a week. In this case, the remnants of food should be immediately removed from the aquarium, as The axolotl prefers a pure reservoir.

Axolotl content care dilution compatibility description feeding photo video.

So, the axolotl is a salamandrin larva, which, bypassing all the intermediate stages, becomes an adult without a change in shape, but purely by the age of development. In mature larvae, the average body length is about 300 mm.

On the two sides of the head at the axolotl grow long processes (3 pcs.), Performing the function of the external gills.

They create the image of the salamander’s larva — thanks to these gills, the amphibian really looks like a dragonet (but pretty sweet looking). In nature, axolotls are found in various colors: black and gray, brown and brown. There are pure albinos and golden, but with such a color it is difficult to survive in the harsh world of water elements.

But in an aquarium, amphibians of light shades will feel more comfortable.

How long axolotls live in a natural reservoir is difficult to say for sure, but at home this representative of salamander lives no more than 12 years.

Axolotl content at home
Axolotl was increasingly started in home aquariums, since these creatures are easy to maintain, and it is very interesting to watch them. In addition, there is an image moment in the content of the axolotl: far from all people know about the existence of such animals, the word axolotl itself sounds mysterious, and the story about the unusual life form of your pet will definitely create an aura of an extraordinary and highly educated person.

All that an axolotl needs for happiness is clear water, muffled light and high-quality feeding. Since amphibians live in water at the larval stage, the land axolotl is not needed at all.

Six of his shaggy “ears”, resembling thin branches of aquatic plants on the sides of the head, are not ears at all, but external gills, with which he breathes. Although he also has lungs, so that when living conditions change, the larva can quickly adapt and “rearrange” into pulmonary respiration.

The flat, wide and long tail makes the axolotl a great swimmer. However, more often he prefers to be at the bottom of the aquarium, waiting for the food itself to float in the mouth.

They feed the axolotl, proceeding from its predatory essence. He especially respects bloodworms and cleared of the earth and cut into small pieces of earthworms.

Raw meat – beef, veal, poultry – will fit as well, but it is desirable to “deliver” it with tweezers directly to the nose of the axolotl. The larvae have a tendency to gluttony, so it is worth dosing their “rations”: a couple of worms twice a week for an adult axolotl, a young one, up to a year – every other day, and only young seedlings are fed daily.

But here it is necessary to be vigilant: a hungry axolotl will open the hunt for small aquarium fish, and even grab his paw for himself.

How to feed the axolotl should be discussed in more detail, because there is a difference in the diet of the sexually mature salamander and its fry. The common thing is that water salamanders belong to the category of predators with teeth in their mouths.

And predators need animal protein for development.

  • It is preferable to feed the fry with microworms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and naupilya. Predatory fish food pellets can be soaked in water.
  • In addition to this assortment, the adult “monsters” are introduced into the diet meat of shrimps, mussels, fish fillets. But living fish should be given with caution, because they may be carriers of disease.
  • Neskori home aquarium owners are trying to feed the axolotl also with pieces of low-fat veal or beef heart. Of course, this is a good protein food, but the amphibian will cope with it with difficulty.

Fry should be fed daily, adults – 3 times a week. In this case, the remnants of food should be immediately removed from the aquarium, as The axolotl prefers a pure reservoir.

Little tricks
For the axolotl, the purity of the water and its saturation with oxygen are important, so the aquarium should be equipped with a compressor and cleaned at least once a week. The optimum water temperature is 15-20o.

But for the larvae annoying, so that the compressor should not be too strong. They do not like axolotls and bright light, so it would be good to create shaded places in the aquarium.

As neighbors for them it is better to choose not small and not too jaunty fishes – gold is great, but not veil.

Sharp replacement of old water with fresh, especially cold, is an axolotl stimulus for reproduction. From the eggs laid by the female on aquatic plants, after a couple of weeks of keeping in a separate container with water, the larvae develop, which are fed with food for fish fry.

And the last thing: if your axolotl suddenly changed color and shape of the body and “threw back” the gills, it means that it still became amby. This happens when a significant decrease in the water level or when the special hormone thyroidin is injected into the feed.

There is nothing terrible in this, it’s just that you will have another pet now.

The main parameters of the aquarium

Axolotl sizes are quite impressive, so the recommended minimum volume of the aquarium is about 60-80 liters. In this case, the aquarium does not have to be full: the water level must be higher than the length of your pet.

It is advisable to use a filter – otherwise frequent water changes are necessary. The filter should not create a strong flow.

It is necessary to adjust the power of the device in order not to damage the axolotl gills.

A siphon should be used to remove residual feed from the bottom. Also needed a weekly substitution of 20% water.

In aquariums without a filter, a replacement of the same volume is required daily or every other day. Complete replacement of water is not allowed, as this is fraught with a total imbalance in the aquarium.

Chlorine compounds are usually present in tap water. They can be neutralized with the help of special preparations for aquarium water on the market.

The optimum pH values ​​are 6.5-7.5.

If you decide to use the soil in the aquarium, you should give preference to large pebbles. The small axolotl may be swallowed during feeding.

Some aquarists generally refuse from the ground in an aquarium, while others, on the contrary, claim that the lack of soil causes stress to the axolotl, since the animal cannot “cling” to the bottom.

Temperature and lighting

The aquarium should be installed in a cool room so that it does not fall into direct sunlight. The temperature of the water for axolotl must be maintained in the range of 14–20 ° C (not higher than 24 ° C).

To lighting animals undemanding. Presence of shelters is desirable (halves of flower pots are suitable, as well as special decorations for aquariums – castles, etc.).


Axolotls reach sexual maturity at the age of one year. To start the breeding process, you need to slightly reduce the temperature of the water in the aquarium and put the male and female in one aquarium.

After one or two days after mating, the males leave spermatofors at the bottom of the aquarium, and after one day the females begin to spawn.

The female can produce eggs up to two or three times a year, laying up to 1000 eggs. After the spawning is over, the male with the female from the aquarium should be transplanted so that they do not eat the eggs produced.

Caviar development occurs within 2 weeks, after which the larvae appear. It is necessary to keep the water in the aquarium clean and in time to remove from it the eggs and larvae that have not survived.

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