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Old 1st June 2011   #1
sillymoogle7
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Default New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

Hi there, I'm Carrie, a new axolotl owner and member of the forum. Thanks for taking the time to check my post!
My moma always taught me that having a pet is a big responsibility and you have to do everything in your power to make sure they're happy so I've tried to do my axolotl research as throughly as possible. However, I'm not very familiar with amphibians and am finding it a little tricky to gauge their behavior, mainly over feeding. I've got fat happy cats but naturally axolotl's do not behave in the same way as a mammal at all! I'd be super grateful for any advice you could give me :)
I have two gorgeous axies, one dark speckled one (Moctomzuma) and a leucistic (Xenophon). At first Moxie was the larger one at around two inches and Xenie was just a touch smaller. Xenie's appetite has proved to be voracious, I swear he would spend all day hoovering up snacks if I let him! Moxie is a much more reluctant feeder and doesn't seem to have grown as quickly though they are both roughly three and a half inches now, a month after I brought them. I feed them bloodworms and little slivers of lambs heart or liver, blanched in boiling water. I've been feeding by hand using a pair of tweezers to try and avoid any excess food spoiling the water quality. Xenie is an expert at taking food from the tweezers but Moxie seems much less sure of himself. He will eagerly snap up one piece but then won't take another. If I then leave it twenty minutes or so he can be persuaded to have another one. At the moment he's eating about eight tiny slivers of meat and a couple of bloodworms a day where as Xenie is having maybe five pieces of meat and at least half a cube of bloodworm daily. They both seem to have days when they eat less than usual which really worried me at first but I understand that's quite normal behaviour? Basically I'm concerned that Moxie isn't eating enough, can anyone advise me how to gauge how much food they need? Moxie is plump and bright eyed and I am offering him food every half hour or so to try and make sure he gets enough. Am I over feeding Xenie? Moxie is certainly slenderer than Xenie but then I am starting to suspect that Xenie is a greedy little 'fella
Thanks again for your time and any advice you can offer!
Carrie



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Old 1st June 2011   #2
Carson
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

Sounds like they are eating enough to me, however I would advise you to stop feeding lambs heart. Mammalian meat has more fat than axoltols need. If you're looking for the best diet, earthworms are the best staple. I fed mine chopped up earthworms when they were about 3-4 inches so I bet your axolotls could handle earthworms. Once they get fully grown they only need to be fed a whole earthworm once or twice a week



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Old 1st June 2011   #3
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

They'll love the earthworms, especially when they get big enough for whole ones but chopped is a great move til then.

It may be that Xenie is better at eating non-moving food than Moxie. Perhaps Moxie needs more of a wriggly dinner to spark his interest. After all, in the wild, their dinner wouldn't be nicely chopped up and handed to them!

Definitely move away from the heart though, as an occasional treat maybe, but i swear worms are the best treat ever for axolotls. Except perhaps ANOTHER worm, that'd be an even better treat

Sounds like they are eating well, some axies do just gobble whatever they can, others are more restrained. You could post us up some pics if you like, see if everyone thinks Moxie is a bit skinny, but I think you'll be fine. Axolotls are well known for giving us regular mini heart-attacks with some of their little quirks :)

Welcome, by the way!



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Old 1st June 2011   #4
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

Congrats on becoming a axie parent.
Earthworms are the best food you can get...they have everything a growing axie needs to grow big and strong. The axies tummy shouldnt be wider that his/her head when you are looking down from above. If it is smaller feed them more, if it is bigger cut down on the feeding....



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Old 2nd June 2011   #5
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

@sillymoogle7

im in the same boat as you!!! although im not too worryed about feeding my guy! but dont ya just love em??? i want a million! hahahhaha



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Old 2nd June 2011   #6
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

As everyone has said earthworms are the best... especially for the more reluctant eaters. I used to feed my girl slivered beef and bloodworms but found that she would only ever take 1 piece of beef and didn't really like the bloodworms (her eyesight is pretty poor so that could be the reason)

BUT... then I got some earthworms and BAM its like something just clicked... she's a right little pig now, easily eating 5 earthworms in a sitting (smallish ones). I feed her every 2nd or 3rd day now that she's getting bigger.

As for telling how well fed they are head to tummy ratio is the best sign, your axi should have a belly only a little slimmer than its head width (unless they've just done a massive poo lol)

Out of interest how big is the tank you've got your little ones in?

p.s. congrats on becoming an axi parent



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Old 2nd June 2011   #7
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

Thank you all so much for your prompt responses and kind advice! I'm just crazy about the little guys so it's a relief to share experiences.
Earthworms seem to be the magic food so I'm definitely going to try and source some good ones. I have a little soil in my back garden that isn't chemically treated so I have tried them out on a couple. Xenie was right in there and a minnie gladiatorial battle ensued which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy! Moxie did grab one and hang on for a little while but he got bored and spit it back out after about twenty minutes. I have a feeling he's just a lazy axolotl! Mind you these were quite large earthworms and I hadn't cut them in half so I think Xenie may have been punching above his weight in bringing one down!
We have a two foot tank with 6mm pea gravel but they are growing so darn quickly that I can see we will be needing a four foot tank in no time! I'm looking into finding a second hand one in the Cardiff, Wales, UK area if anyone knows of one. Sometimes I think the filter pump may be a little too strong for them so I have pushed a plant up against it to try and reduce the flow a little. It certainly doesn't stop them paddling around and going for little swims! I'm still getting used to testing the water quality and making adjustments accordingly. The amonia level was a little high a couple of days ago so we did a ninety percent water change and thoroughly hoovered their gravel in tank water. That seems to have brought it down nicely. The nitrate and nitrite levels are at zero.
I've taken a couple of pics which I'll attach so you can have a peep at them. I should mention that Moxie arrived with his back right leg missing but had almost entirely regrown it within two weeks! He now uses it as much as the left.
Thank you again everyone!
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Old 2nd June 2011   #8
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

I know this is not really related to your question, but it has to be said (and I just happened to check).

Gravel is very bad for your axies,
Even at the size they are it's dangerous for them to be on it.
They'll accidentally suck it up when hoovering around for food, and it can/will make them very sick.

They're just gorgeous by the way!



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Old 2nd June 2011   #9
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jossie View Post
I know this is not really related to your question, but it has to be said (and I just happened to check).

Gravel is very bad for your axies,
Even at the size they are it's dangerous for them to be on it.
They'll accidentally suck it up when hoovering around for food, and it can/will make them very sick.

They're just gorgeous by the way!
Agreed on all points!



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Old 2nd June 2011   #10
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Default Re: New axolotl owner seeking advice from the experts!

Yeah, the gravel question is a bit of a vexed one. My axolotl book said it's best to keep them on 6mm gravel but everyone says gravel is bad. But are they too small for sand? Would that cause compaction problems? I'm learning so much :)
Glad you think they're cute, I'm totally in love with 'em!



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