If you’ve ever had an baby axolotl, you’re certainly aware that they have precise water as well as tank needs, which may be difficult for many newcomers to meet.
If you’re new to axolotls as well as wish to raise one or more baby axolotls, I recommend reading my axolotl care guide, where I go through the needs of infant axolotls as well as how to provide the best care possible.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or purchasing a newborn axolotl from a pet shop, this book will teach you all you need to know about raising axolotls.
How Do Axolotls Produce Offspring?
Axolotls mate in late winter as well as early spring, as well as their mating activity is like to a dance, with the male axolotl guiding the female axolotl to pick up packets of sperm called spermatophores that the male axolotl has placed into her cloaca. This is referred to as “indirect fertilization.”
The gestation period is short after fertilization, with the female normally laying eggs 12 to 72 hours later. Adult axolotls may lay up to 1000 eggs, however they must be kept apart from the eggs since they will consume them.
Some breeders choose to separate the eggs from the adults as well as keep the adults in the main tank. You can transport axolotl eggs from one tank to another since they are robust enough.
You may even delicately slice the outermost jelly covering of the eggs with your fingertips to release them off the rock. You don’t have to worry about smashing the eggs since there are numerous layers of jelly protecting them.
The simplest eggs to remove are those deposited on plants; just remove them with the plant as well as put them in the new aquarium.
It’s nice to know that the eggs will hatch quicker at higher temps, whether you keep them in the breeding tank or move them to a grow-out tank. Depending on the water temperature, eggs will hatch in 15 to 21 days.
Keep the water temperature about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) during a hatching period of 15 to 21 days.
One of your main worries after the eggs hatch will be finding size-appropriate feeds for your newborn axolotls.
When the Eggs Hatch, What Should You Do?
Axolotls don’t eat right away while they’re in the larval stage. They’ll absorb their egg yolks first, as well as then they’ll be able to take on live food after 48–72 hours.
As I previously said, hundreds of eggs may hatch, as well as although you may keep them in the same tank for a short time, you’ll need to act swiftly as well as divide them into different living spaces.
In a 20-gallon aquarium, around 100 hatchlings will do nicely, but as they develop, you’ll need to rehome them in much smaller communities. To minimize sickness as well as juvenile cannibalism, the smaller the animal, the better.
Following that, I’ll go into axolotl juvenile tank needs as well as what you should feed them from the beginning of their lives through maturity.
Setup for a Baby Axolotl Tank
It’s critical, as I indicated at the start of this baby axolotl care guide, that you get their tank needs correct. Since these amphibians are sensitive to temperature as well as other parameter changes, you must keep a close check on the water conditions.
You can keep a large number of axolotls together while they are larval, but as they start eating as well as developing, you’ll need to separate them into individual tanks.
To discourage cannibalism among them, store them in glass containers rather than plastic ones, keep as few of them together as possible, as well as make sure they’re well-fed.
Axolotls begin to demonstrate significant cannibalistic impulses as they reach around 2 cm in length (about 7 days) as well as their front legs begin to grow.
Since not all axolotls grow at the same rate, I suggest dividing them by size to offer them the best chance of survival.
When they reach around 2 cm in length, you may segregate them by size since this is when they begin to demonstrate cannibalism as well as snap at everything that moves. In tiny axolotls, this may cause injury as well as even death. Damaged or missing limbs as well as gills are obvious indicators of axolotl cannibalism.
Limit the amount of axolotls you retain in the same tank as well as divide axolotl larvae depending on size to lessen the frequency of cannibalistic episodes.
The ideal tank size for mature axolotls is usually 15-20 gallons. Of course, a tank this size may accommodate numerous larval as well as juvenile axolotls, but as they mature, rehome axolotls to bigger tanks, bearing in mind that they’re best kept alone since they’re known to nip at each other even as adults.
Another technique to reduce cannibalism is to keep your tank highly vegetated as well as use minimum illumination.
Some experts believe that feeding your newborn axolotls will help prevent assaults on their siblings in the tank.
Temperature of the Water
Adult axolotls can endure water temperatures ranging from 59 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit (15 as well as 23 degrees C). Their optimal temperature range, on the other hand, is between 60 as well as 64 degrees Fahrenheit (16 as well as 18 degrees C).
Axolotls in their juvenile stage will demand somewhat warmer water, which will boost their metabolism as well as help them develop quicker.
As a result, I propose a temperature range of 18-20 C for infant axolotls (64-68 F). It’s critical to maintain a consistent water temperature, since fluctuations may create stress as well as raise the chance of infection.
When it comes to axolotls, substrate is a sensitive affair. Since axolotls eat by sucking water in, gravel in an adult axolotl tank might cause impaction difficulties, thus sand is advised.
Sand, however, will not suffice for infant axolotls since sand is toxic to them. As a result, I suggest waiting until your axolotls reach a size of around 5 inches or more before adding any substrate to the aquarium.
You can add sand, which is the preferred substrate for axolotls, after they’re big enough that consuming it won’t be a concern.
You may keep them in a bare-bottom tank if you want, but I found that sand enhances axolotl traction, making it easier for them to move about in the aquarium as well as perhaps lessening their stress levels.
Several partial water changes each week are advised during the larval stage. I recommend that you keep an eye on the water parameters as well as make adjustments as needed.
You may minimize the number of water changes by utilizing biofoam filters, which may not be sufficient for adult axolotls but are ideal for larval axolotls since there is no chance of sucking up larvae.
In a big aquarium, experienced aquarists may utilize hang-on-back filters or canister filters as well as adjust the filter’s input to prevent sucking up larvae.
They’ll also employ a spray bar or some other means to disperse the outflow current, which is a recognized cause of stress for axolotls, whether they’re juveniles or adults.
Additional Water Parameters
Aside from water temperature, pay attention to water hardness (axolotls like somewhat hard water) as well aspH. (acceptable range is between 6.5 to 8.0, ideal is between 7.4 as well as 7.6).
Feeding Requirements for Baby Axolotls
Axolotls that have just hatched are inert as well as do not eat straight away. They’re around 10-13 mm (about 0.5 inch) in diameter as well as will absorb the remaining egg yolk, so they won’t need nourishment right away.
What Do You Feed Axolotls When They’re Young?
They’re ready to eat 48 to 72 hours after hatching. Since they’re so little as well as have such small mouth holes, they need to eat live meals that are extremely small.
Until they’re approximately an inch in size, baby axolotls will disregard food that isn’t alive. You may start introducing other meals once they reach that size.
Axolotls depend on movement to discover food sources early in their larval stage as well as need live feeds.
You may expose them to dead foods later when their sense of smell develops. However, if you are unable to give them with live food before then, they will starve to death.
Axolotls do not demonstrate cannibalism in their early larval stages, which would give them with a food source, thus unless you offer them live things that are tiny enough for them to eat, you risk losing your axolotls.
Axolotls consume newly born baby brine shrimp, freshly hatched Daphnia, as well as you can even try microworms at this time, however you could have difficulties with microworms since they aren’t as high on their list of favorites.
If you can’t get newly born baby brine shrimp or daphnia, I recommend creating your own cultures at home. To ensure that you constantly have newly born brine shrimp, start numerous cultures at various intervals so that your axolotls have something to eat.
Live foods provide a danger of illness transmission into the aquarium. This is why many aquarists prefer to construct their own cultures at home rather than purchasing them commercially (you can obtain brine shrimp culture kits on Amazon).
Please keep in mind that not all axolotls prefer the same meals. To maximize your chances of having all of your axolotls properly fed, I suggest increasing diversity.
It’s vital to remember that axolotls are carnivores as well as will need a meat-based diet throughout their lives.
Axolotls consume a range of live as well as dead meaty meals as adults. I said that live meals enhance their hunting behavior while they’re still growing. They will depend on their sense of smell to find food as adults, therefore dead meaty things may be served to them as well.
Earthworms are an excellent food source for axolotls, as well as you can get them from organic gardens that don’t use pesticides, or you can produce them yourself if you have the room.
Bloodworms, freeze-dried or frozen tubifex, as well as blackworms are all fantastic sources of nourishment, but only acquire them from fish-free waters or cultures since they might contain parasites as well as illnesses that can make your axolotls sick.
Axolotls may also be fed soft, high-protein, vitamin-fortified pellets, such as sinking salmon feed pellets. Axolotls do not respond well to floating pellets.
How Often Should Baby Axolotls Be Fed?
I suggest feeding newborn axolotls once or twice a day since they are still growing. Axolotls may be fed once every 2-3 days until they reach maturity, however feeding them at least once a day while they are still developing is suggested.
Baby axolotls may be challenging for new aquarists, but if you study their care as well as feeding needs, you can raise them successfully.
Female axolotls may lay hundreds of eggs as well as do so when you least expect it, so if you’re breeding axolotls, make sure you know all there is to know about caring for as well as raising newborn axolotls.
I highly urge you to set up a filtration system as well as cycle the tank before transferring your baby axolotls to grow-out tanks, keeping in mind that little axolotls might become trapped in the water intake.
Since axolotls have unique water hardness, pH, as well as temperature needs, I also suggest purchasing a quality water testing kit as well as an aquarium thermometer.
Produce sure you’re aware of the illnesses that may be brought into the aquarium by live foods, as well as make your own live food cultures whenever feasible.
I hope that this infant axolotl care guide will assist you in creating a healthy environment for your axolotls, as well as that you will be able to breed as well as raise axolotls more effectively as a result.