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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I'd make a journal on how I'm going to try to raise some Axolotls.

About 6 months or so ago myself and a friend of mine purchased a pair of Axolotls from a seller on facebook. The arrived healthy at about 4 inches. Mine is a wild type and the other is an albino.

Axoltols, for those of you who don't know, are originally from Mexico. They are also known as "Mexican Walking Fish". It's the name I use when talking to people who know nothing of the animals. If I try to use "Axolotl" they usually ask "What?" and I have to try to explain.

"Axolotl" is pronounced "Ax-oh-lot-l"

They are found in only one lake (naturally) in the world. Due to human interference they are now extinct or nearly extinct in the wild. It is illegal to own a wild axolotl. Their lake has been altered by people into a series of canals that run though a city.

They come in multiple colors with the most common being:
Wild
Lecustic (lucy)
Dirty Lecustic (dirty lucy)
Albino
Melaniod.

The rarer colors are:
Copper
Purple
And some others that I'm sure I've forgotten.

They are able to grow to 12 inches.
They are fully aquatic animals.
They are known to eat gravel.
They will eat smaller axolotls.

Now, before I go any further I'd like to point out:
They are very inbred animals. As such, many mutations appear each breeding. The pair that I have, I believe, are from the same batch of eggs.

The mother: (Nessie)
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The father: (Iru)


Their eggs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My pair laid about 200 eggs. I lost around 50 of them to fungus.

The eggs that aren't any good will fungus. That fungus can spread to the others. So, each night without fail, I would remove the fungused eggs from their container.

Each night without fail I would change their water with conditioned water of the same temperature.

The eggs hatch in 14 to 21 days, or 2-3 weeks. This can be longer or shorter depending on the temperature they are kept at.

Throught this time, you can actually watch the tiny 'lotls develop. This was pretty exciting for me. The eggs are large, probably about 1/2 an inch in size.

My eggs were laid on May 16, 2016.
Here's some pictures:

One day old:
Notice how the eggs are round in shape.
They are also dark.
Albino eggs would be white. None of these guys will turn out like their father.


Three days old:
Notice how they aren't so perfectly round. This is the first visible stage of development.


Six days old:
Notice now that you can see their forms in the eggs.
If you look close enough you can even see their tiny gills.


Eleven Days old:
Aw man... I don't have any pictures of this. But, on Friday the 27th of may the hatching began.

Thirteen Days old:
They've hatched! Most of them are finally out of their egg. Here's some of them. You'll have to excuse the dirty container. I cleaned it after I took the picture.
 

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Amphibians are pretty incredible critters. I was previously an ectotherm keeper, where I worked with amphiumas. Inbreeding in amphibians (herps for that matter) is not nearly as detrimental a in other classes. There are snakes from entirely different families that can breed, which is mind boggling if you think about it. That's like ace ventura having a baby with his capuchin monkey, How??
I have an empty 125 I want to set up as an amphibian tank, and will be subscribing to this thread. Wish you the best of luck! Would love to go into more detail about breeding and rearing these buggers!
Will you be looking to re home if all goes well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had to give these two a post of their own. They are by far the most interesting of all. I've got so much feed back on the two on my facebook groups.

Meet my double-headed eggs!





At this point (Day 13), one has hatched and is alive.
(The face that's looking at you is just one of its heads. The other is upside down.


Day 13: The one that didn't make it to the hatching point:


Bump:
Amphibians are pretty incredible critters. I was previously an ectotherm keeper, where I worked with amphiumas. Inbreeding in amphibians (herps for that matter) is not nearly as detrimental a in other classes. There are snakes from entirely different families that can breed, which is mind boggling if you think about it. That's like ace ventura having a baby with his capuchin monkey, How??
I have an empty 125 I want to set up as an amphibian tank, and will be subscribing to this thread. Wish you the best of luck! Would love to go into more detail about breeding and rearing these buggers!
Will you be looking to re home if all goes well?
Oh, yes, definitely. I plan on rehoming them when they get their front and back legs. I don't know how long that will take as this is my first time.

If my double-headed one lives, though, I'm afraid I couldn't sell him. :laugh2:
 

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Mutations like this are more common than one would think, the challenge is getting them through their altricial stage.
Anyone aware of the effects of iodine on on axolotls? The science isn't pinned down yet (last I heard), but it's directly correlated to full development, as in losing their gills entirely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright. Update now.

It's been 15 days since the eggs were laid.
4 Days since the majority hatched.

And I still don't have a reliable source of food.

Great.

I've had my Brine Shrimp hatchery going for a few months now, changing it every day or so. I'm raising Killifish alongside the axolotls and they needed the food as well.

But now that I have a larger demand for the bbs I can't get them to hatch.

Maybe it's my salt to water ratio, I don't know. I'm pretty sure that I needed 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of salt for my hatchery. I lost my hydrometer so I'm not 100% sure that's where I need to be but that's what has been working. I'll find out tonight if I was successful or not this time around.

My other food source is Daphnia. I have them in a 30 gallon tank filled with about 20 gallons of water in front of a south-east facing window. I put a few in there on Friday and they haven't quite taken off yet. I fed them with some Yeast that I mixed up into some water. I think I saw some babies last night but I couldn't be sure.

My other daphnia culture (just a quart jar) is doing quite well. I think I'm going to have to steal a few from that to feed the lotls tonight.

The last source of food I have is my worm cultures. I'd rather not feed that to them, but I might have to.

I can't wait until they're big enough to eat blood worms... It's going to be so much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright! An update nearly a month later.

I guess life just got in the way.

I have a few new pictures. Let's get those over with.

The current babies:


A few extra shots:


So, what's the news?

The parents:
Have been separated. Finally. Each to their own 29 gallon tank. The wild-type mother is with me and the albino with another person.

The babies:
Are eating, pooping, moving, and some are dying. I'm down to about 70 now. Not too surprising, although I did think that I had less than that. I gave up around the 60 mark. If you want to know for sure how many I have, the first picture is the total amount of babies taken before than 1 month tank cleaning.

The double-headed ones:
Well, one died. Pretty sure I already said that. Didn't quite make it to hatch.

The other made it for about 4 weeks and died. It had a bubble in its belly... That's fairly common but I guess with the whole two headed thing it just didn't work out :crying:.

The new eggs:
Yes, there's more. A few days before we seperated the adults they laid again. Far too soon to lay, but there's not much I can do about it once it starts. In that batch five more eggs developed two heads. I'm not sure how many are alive and if any have hatched as I'm not raising them.

There were 286 eggs this time.

With the new development of the double-headed eggs we've decided to put off any more breeding of the pair. No sense in bringing more axolotls doomed to die onto the earth.

The heat:
Summer is here. That means I'm struggling to keep the tanks cool. They baby axolotl tank is easy. I just put a 20 fl. oz. bottle of frozen water in and change it whenever it fully unthaws. The big tank... Not so much. I've been doing water changes more often with cold water, trying to keep the temperature down. But I can't do anything when I'm not home. Just today when I got home the tank was up to 78 degrees. Anything over 70 is considered deadly to these animals. I'm thinking that two 2 liter bottles of ice will work to cool the tank down, but I don't have any... It would take at least 6 bottles as well (2 for the tank and 4 more freezing to be used later). Probably more than that.

I'm thinking that a DIY chiller (using a mini-fridge and a hose) is a good idea. I'll have to see, though. That and a thermometer that beeps when the tank gets above 70 degrees. That would help.

How is my feeding the young going?
They're eating. My daphnia culture in my 30 gallon tank has taken off and every few days I net some out, rinse them off, and put them with the babies. They're an inch long (the axolotls, that is) at max and are just big enough to eat the smallest of daphnia. I'm still feeding bbs as well and I try to make sure everyone is full before I go to sleep each night.

I've lost quite a few axoltols to the heat recently. Every day there's 2-4 more dead on the bottom. I'm trying...

That's it for the update. Let's hope I can keep the tanks cool now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm down to 16 babies now.

That number has been constant for about 2 weeks now. I'm really glad.

I just moved them to my new house today. Unfortunately, I've gone from well water to city water. And this water has ammonia. I guess I have to get a filter for the tank now. Luckily I have a sponge filter that was used on the mother, Nessie's, tank. It used to work fine in the tank but now it seems that the tank is too deep and the air pump not strong enough to get the air all the way down. But it will work fine in the 10 gallon I'm sure.

So it'll be a while until I can get the tank cycled. But hopefully not too long.

Two of the babies have come down with fungus.

The first got it the day after I named it my favorite. I knew I would regret doing that. Something bad always happens to my favorites.

So I did some research. The best cure, it seems, is tea. But I don't have any tea. So I went with the second best which is salt. I used normal table salt. I know, I know, I didn't check to make sure it didn't have iodine in it. Oh well...

I treated the lotl with 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of salt per gallon of fresh water. I put it in there and waited for 5 to 10 minutes before moving it to clean water. With just two treatments (24 hours apart) the fungus was gone. This one got fungus from an open wound on its leg. This was caused by the largest of the babies eating my favorite's left front leg. Needless to say they were put in separate containers after that. The leg is now slowly regrowing.

The other with fungus is another wild type. This one has it coming out of its mouth. I haven't started salt treatment yet as I just noticed it today.




The babies are on to a mixture of daphnia and frozen adult brine shrimp. I was so happy when I got all of the young to eat the frozen food. It makes feeding them a lot faster.

I'm hoping that this short move isn't going to prove too much for them. Time will tell, I guess.

At last count I was split 50/50 with dirty lucies and wild types.

BATCH #2 UPDATE:
The person I had caring for these youngsters reported that all but two of them had died due to possible overheating...
 
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