View Full Version : My babies are dying

31st August 2004, 04:06
Hi, I'm a primary school teacher and have been given 25 axolotl eggs, they hatched now and are about 4 weeks old, but they keep dying on us! It's winter in NZ right now, so they may have been getting cold, I have installed a heater to keep them at 20C. I'm feeding them blood worms, but I can't tell if they're eating or not, how much should they be fed? Please help, we only have nine left and my kids are going to be devastated if they all die....

31st August 2004, 10:50
if they're only babies you should be feeding them live food like daphnia or brine shrimp. also make sure you're doing regular water changes. is there an airstone in the tank? or a filter? are all axolotls in the same tank? if they are, they're probably cannibalising, though i'm not sure how old they need to be to pass this stage. separating them might still be a good idea.

31st August 2004, 10:50
My best guess is that their diet is probably not appropriate for 1 month old hatchlings.

Here's a little copy 'n paste off the Indiana University's site :

"Feed newly hatched, live brine shrimp to young larvae daily. We strain the shrimp out of the brine, resuspend them in axolotl water, and deliver them to the axolotls using a large glass pipette. Feed enough shrimp so that all of the young larvae have orange bellies afterward, but few shrimp are left uneaten in the bowl. Change the water again within 24 hours after feeding, because shrimp cause a rapid deterioration of water quality if many are left uneaten.

When the larvae get to be about 1 1/2" (4 cm) long, we begin to supplement the shrimp diet with pellets. We use soft-moist salmon pellets, a vitamin and mineral fortified, fishmeal-based sinking pellet, 1/8" (3 mm) in diameter (Rangen, Inc.). We gradually wean the larvae off shrimp and increase the number of pellets being offered until the young axolotls are 2-3" (5-8 cm) long, when they no longer need any shrimp.

As the larvae grow, we increase the number of pellets, always seeking to fill the larvae up without leaving a lot of extra food to foul the water.

Young larvae are very vulnerable to disease, but difficult to treat. Therefore, we have found the most effective strategy is to feed them generously, pay particular attention to water quality, guard against overcrowding, and grow them up out of the vulnerable stage as quickly as possible."


31st August 2004, 15:45
The cold temperature is NOT a problem. They do not need the heater. I agree with Katy and Andre that the problem is the diet. I hope you are able to get some small live food for them.

1st September 2004, 03:28
They're definately eating the bloodworms, some kids watched one swallow a worm today, we mince them up really small, lots of websites and petshops suggest minced up bloodworms for the babies, so I'm not sure about whether it is that or not,
But how the heck do you tell that their bellies are orange????
I'll try and find some brine shrimp or pellets and see if that does the trick, hopefully they're not beyond saving....

1st September 2004, 13:05
i suggest brine shrimp or sumthin like that

2nd September 2004, 03:30
If they are eating and growing, then the second most likely cause of death is fouling of the water. Since you are feeding non-live food, it will spoil the water very quickly. It's hard to say how to prevent this unless you explain what kind/size of container(s) you are using. How much of the water do you change and how do you clean up?

3rd September 2004, 03:27
Well I actually have 13 (some were hiding), in a three foot tank, there's nothing on the bottom, except for two ugly ornament thingies that they like to hide in.
I've been feeding them in the morning then sweeping out their tank with a net to catch the uneaten food in the afternoon. Every week I change about a third of their water.
I tried to find daphnia, but apparently it's hard to find in NZ at this time of year, so I got some Axolotl tucker and some liquifry to try a few things and see if it helps. None have died for a few days.... but I can't tell if they are getting bigger.

3rd September 2004, 06:25
I wouldn't worry about them dying too much. Mine seem to be dying left, right and centre! I had another 19 die today - but sometimes it's not your fault. They have a low survival rate and if you only started out with a few then don't expect to still have them all at the end.

My batch is the same age as yours - just wondering, how big are yours and do they have front legs yet?

I live in Australia and we don't even have Daphnia here, I tried the brine shrimp - but it's a little hard to use so I feed them freeze dried tubifix worms, they eat them.

All this dying has kind of turned me off breeding more at this point - so I just gave away about 100+ eggs to a friends son to look after. He loves animals and he's old enough to take responsability and also understand that some will die. I think it will be good for him to see them grow in their eggs and after hatching.

Good luck!!!

3rd September 2004, 06:38
I can get daphnia at the local store here Mary, so you could probably find some if you asked around enough places! Falkor loves them, even though I think he's getting a bit big to eat them- he still chases them all around the tank snapping them up!

4th September 2004, 00:13
Mine are about 2cm long now, I haven't been able to see any front legs, They do have whiskery looking things sticking out near their heads, but I'm assuming they are gills not legs,
I have such a big tank it's hard to get close enough to see any thing on them, although I did pick one up yesterday, laying him on my finger cos I thought he was dead, to show the kids what they looked like close up, I then put him into the bowl I was using to clean things and he swam away! I hope he doesn't die now....
I've only tried one pet shop for daphnia, I night ring around a few more.

4th September 2004, 15:19
Mary, I completely disagree. If the adults were well-nourished (and thus laying healthy eggs), then 99% of the eggs/larvae will survive, given the proper care. Have you tested the water? Have you tried moving them to a totally clean container every day or two? If you are doing it right, then the only other possibility is infectious disease, which can be treated with antibiotics. But most likely your mistake is simply trying to raise TOO MANY. If you had started out raising 10, instead of hundreds, I would bet that all 10 would now be doing fine.

Frank, in addition to netting the leftover food, I would also recommend siphoning debris off the bottom of the tank. Be sure you have good airation of the water. And it would be a good idea to test for ammonia.

6th September 2004, 00:42
Oh no! I got to school today and they were all dead, all thirteen of them!!! On friday I started feeding them different food, that I was given at the petshop, axolotl tucker and liquifry, because you can't get daphnia at this time of year in NZ. Would that have killed them?
My student's axolotl is about to lay more eggs, so I'm keen to try again, but only if they are going to live!
I'll try and get daphnia first, maybe from NIWA (the government aquaculture place)}

6th September 2004, 02:28
Frank, I think it's a water quality problem. Liquifry would certainly exacerbate the problem. Uneaten organic material begins turning into toxic waste in 24 hours.

Does the tank have a filter or airation? What kind?

I think there are basically two ways to go, if you get more eggs: (1) keep the tank set up and running, so that it is cycled by the time you get the next batch of eggs. Live plants will help. If you don't know what I mean by "cycled", read the following:
(2) Or.. keep the next batch of larvae in small containers, and move them to clean water and a clean container every day. Avoid overcrowding.

6th September 2004, 19:51
I'm not sure what kind of filter it is, but it has a big sponge thing and sucks the water through that then up a pipe and it gets dribbled out a spout at the top.
The water was looking greenish and getting a little bit smelly, so I think you're right.
Is it possible to take the babies out to feed them? Do you just get them out with a net or does that stress them too much?
I'm looking in to getting some daphnia, hopefully it'll be available soon, otherwise I'l just try brine shrimp.
Thanks for all your suggestions

6th September 2004, 20:10
Frank those sponge filters are not man enough to deal with anything more than 1 goldfish in tank the size of lake michigan.

Jenny is way ahead of you: the water quality must be terrible for them. You need to change the water everyday with one of those things and make sure it is water that has been aged.

If you're feeding young brine shrimp anything that isn't eating quickly turns to ammonia.

As for using a net; they will survive that treatment far better than the water.

If you haven't time or inclination to set up an undergravelfilter then you need to buy a corner unit and set it up so that the pump pressure is dissipated and doesn't cause currents.

Please visit an aquairum shop and have a look at types of filter on sale. But seriously if you don't have the right amount of filtration you will have no chance of any others surviving,

7th September 2004, 05:41
i have bout 200 of those atm, gee whiz, they take over a good amount of time . This week many have died off, i have them all seperate to about 4 in each rectangle chinese take away container thingy, they been good to spereat the wehn they r cheap, botu 10 4 $1 at reject or 2 dollar shops.

8th September 2004, 04:32
I have tucked away a corner box filter that you fill with filter stuff, would that be better than my sponge one?

8th September 2004, 10:47
The water should be completely filtered at a rate of about 1 turnover/hour.

That is, if you have say 40l water, your filtering system should pump about 40 l / Hour.

Still, regular water change is necessary (20-30%/week).

With this, your axies should be fine.

9th September 2004, 17:55
In my estimation, the corner filter would be a little better. Since the tank is fairly large, you could use both the corner filter AND the sponge filter. You just need appropriate tubing and connectors to split the air flow to run both.

The advantages of using live food are two-fold. Better eating for the animals, and less waste material to foul the tank. If you are able to get brine shrimp eggs hatched, or live daphnia, you'll do fine next time. Do NOT use the liqui-fry, that stuff will foul the water faster than anything.

9th September 2004, 20:10
How does this sound for a set up???
I'm thinking about buying a few guppy breeders, they float in the water, and have little slits in them (small enough so the axies can't get out)
That way I could keep the axies separated into sizes, without having to fluff around with other tanks etc, and I can take them out really easily for feeding, without stressing them too much.
I can also clean the tank easier, without worrying about sucking any of them up!!!!
Let me know your thoughts on this.... our second batch of eggs is just about ready to be laid....

10th September 2004, 11:45
I'll bow to your greater experience Jenny, but i think the sponges are a waste of time. A few weeks after installing a new sponge and washing it out a few times I find they are more likely to foul a tank than help clean it.... and i only use them wih my feeder mollie colony. I use the corner filter with the inbuilt motor/pump mounted on top for them now. I prefer undergravel with axies.

Frank, you can always try it and see how you get on. But personally i like seperate containers. water is a great medium for carrying bugs around. You could lose all before you know what's going on. In seperate tanks you should be able to keep some alive.

Or try just keeping a small number instaed of 100's.