lollypop lollypop
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 18:06
axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #1
as it says above.

I have been wanting one for ages and was wondering (as i know a few peeps on here have them.)if i can get some tips and stuff.
like can i cycle a filter for them in one of my tanks or will it be better to do an amonia cycle.
etc etc. all advice greatley apreciated
laura

lolly
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 18:42
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #2
Axolotls are less sensitive to nitrate than most fish, but the sensitivity to ammonia and nitrite is about the same. Unlike most salamander larvae, axolotls dont exists in temprorary pools, they actually live in surprisigly deep water in only two mexican lakes, both of which have very stable conditions, and outside of being bred extensively in the hobby and as a laboratory animal, they dont have a wide distribution in nature.

Consequently they are a bit more susceptible to tank crashes than your average salamander larvae, who are used to tougher conditions often in poolms that dry seasonally. Unless especially governed for metamorphosis, they stay in this neonatal stage forever. You wouldnt want them to metamorphose anyway, because when they do the adults are weak and usually dont live long, and only gertain genetic lines can acheive it with any degree of success.

In short, those gills of theirs arent to resilient to toxins, and in every respect you want the filtration to be as tp notch as it would be for a 1 foot goldfish. Ever seen a fully adult axolotl? Its a big 11 inch or so animal, and they need spacious aquaria. You wouldnt want less than a 30 gallon really. Make the oxygenation good, although in a rather twisted way some hobbyists dont like to give them too much oxygen because the axolotl has a limited ability to enlarge its gills in response to low oxygenation making them look a bit more spectacular. Wouldnt do it myself though. id give them proper aeration.

Given less that adequate water quality they are also very susceptible to saprolegnia, and probably most people kill then with that and by gill erosion than any other single cause. Temps would be the average tropical values, they dont especially like bright light, and they love plants to anchor themselves in, and elodea is usually a good choice. You dont actually need substrates for them, but choose nice non abrasive ones, or lots of flat pebbles if you do. Ph is negotiable, though slightly acid would be more normal for them.

Diet is easy, anything living basically. All the usual worms, fry and small feeder fish, gut loaded crickets, moulted mealworms, small uncooked chunks of chicken, tiny amounts of beefheart etc. Some individuals never take pellets or turtle foods, so you might have to persist with them , and keep wormy foods as base diet.

Their care is uncomplicated as long as you keep good basic standards, dont try to make a community animal out of them though, they eat small fish, and bigger fish nip their gills. Other aquatic reptiles will maim them, and one axolotl I had tried to eat a frog, so a species tank is best. Theyre also not above cannibalising smaller specimens,and they can occassionally even be territorial, so its better to raise a few small specimens together than to introduce different sexes etc later on.

Aside from all that , theyre quite easy. Easier than they sound anyway.
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lollypop lollypop
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 18:52
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #3
thanks for that.
with some of the reading that i have been doing it says that one alone is good. is this (like having a single goldfish) or do they prefer to be in at least two's.
i have read that they are waste machines, and ammonia is a big no no.
that why i was thinking if i added a extra filter to one of the goldies tanks that would start it filtering. (wasnt actully planing to get one till probs the new year) would this be a good idea.???

some of the websites i have looked at say to keep them in cold water and if it rises to ice bottle the water or run a fan over the top.
You said tropical temps. so not sure if yours is a typo. althouh i would go with the advise that you give as you at least can answer questions with knowlage. (not so sure on some sites ive seen.)

thanks for your help.
laura

*EDIT*
have aslo read that they like still(ish) water so not to spray the filter into the water to break the surface. would just having one ripple the surface create enuf oxgen??? or would having an air stone as well create more oxygen or would that disterb them stress them.

lolly
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FairgroundFish FairgroundFish
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:01
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #4
I wouldn't think LHG would make a boo boo that important.
And if they come from lakes in Mexico....



//Edit//

on filtration, as it needs to be good but they don't like current, I would say go for good filtration but use a spray bar to diffuse it a bit.
longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:08
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #5
They are at the cool end of tropical- look where they come from- mexico- even in deepish water its not gonna drop much below 65f, and 70-75f is more appropriate. Kept mine at around 75 f for years and they both got to nearly a foot long. If the temps get too hot, they will get oxygenation issues,and fungal issues, but conversely if you go too low, their digestion wont be too good either. They are not a coldwater species, I assure you. Too hot is bad, too cold is equally bad. Check your sources.

They do fine on their own generally, but its like many amphibia, if you have females its sometimes better to have a male too, so that females dont get egg retention issues. One male on its own will be fine though, and yes you can mix the various colour morphs, black, yellows and albinos and piebalds. Most people want only one in a smallish tank, and since they are both highly predatory and slightly territorial a lot of info out there will be focused on keeping them singly to avoid bites, but in a large aquaria say 55 to 100 gal you could happily have a small colony of around 4-6 specimens. They actually breed much better that way if you are of a mind to breed them.

Cycling the filter with the goldies sounds like a reasonable idea, though youd still want to test water quality before the axos go in. Go for a cycle from scratch though if your goldies have had any fungus recently though, as I said before fungal infections eat axos alive. Remember there is normally a species barrier between these two species and asian bacterial sources are notorious for taking apart SA natives.Axolotls hav an amazing and much researched immune system but there are diseases carried by asian fish that even they cant cope with.
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lollypop lollypop
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:13
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #6
cool thanks for that.
i wasnt trying to say you was wrong. you sounded more right than a lot of the places i been on to look at.
(think a lot was for keeping for experimentation type stuff)
hence the asking for more info.
thanks tonns.
do you happen to know of any good books on them that i could have a good read of before hand as well.

ta very much.

(not asking for much am i

lolly
today i am lime flavor.
longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:18
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #7
Good advice from FGF there too, and external with a spray bar is an excellent compromise for them. High filtration , low current is the way to go.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:25
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #8
The standard tfh bbok is a bit basic, but barrons published a decent little book on newts and salamanders that you might find useful to give you a wider overview of the subject and theres a little section on axos in it. Its always worth browsing scientific literature on the net, as I said before they are a widely studied lab animal and very little about axolotls remains to be learned. I remember phillipe de vosjoli writing an excellent piece on them years ago, so if you trawl for old AFH literature you might find the article. It was great with commerical breeder tanks and stuff on breeding with big colonies of axos having a veritable orgy in 500 gal tanks. ;)

damn, in fact I cant find my axo books, I think I lent them to the lab tehnician at hartpury and the bugger never gave them back to me. I hate finding my books are missing. I'll be going through boxes to find them now. argh. lol.
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lollypop lollypop
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:26
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #9
cool thanks

lolly
today i am lime flavor.
longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 12/11/2007 19:39
Re: axolotl - advice wanted on setting up and keeping Pls #10
You can use airstones and oxygenators, thats fine, they just dont like swimming in current, and they are a bit dippy about where they put their feet and tails so unless you want a minced axolotl dont use mechanical aerators with cogs and fans like hydor ario's. Theyre not bad swimmers, but most of the time they stand still and mooch about, so you dont want a current that lifts them off the bottom, though the circulation must still be adequate. You dont have to worry about the current as much as you would for a fancy betta though. Have things much as you would for fancy goldfish.Lots of soft water movement but no direct current as you get from the direct flow of an internal.
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