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Large Aquatic Salamanders (Hellbenders/Cryptobranchids, Necturus, Siren, etc.) This topic covers Cryptobranchids like the hellbender and Asian giant salamanders, as well as sirens, mud puppies, and amphiumas.

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Old 18th December 2006   #1
lane
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Hello, We are new to the forum. Click the image to open in full size.

Has anyone ever tried amphiuma captive breeding with any success? We currently have 12 amphiumas and that is our goal. Who else has amphiumas here?

Lane & Jennifer



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Old 20th December 2006   #2
jennifer
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Hi Lane & Jennifer, welcome. You came to the right place to ask this, and I'm hoping someone with amphiuma experience can answer better than I can. I believe that even in the wild, the breeding habits are not well known, and I have never heard of any captive breeding. At the time this caresheet was written, this is all the knowledge that could be assembled (not much):
http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Am...Amphiuma.shtml

How are you managing to keep 12 of them? Many containers, or a really huge tank? Any aggression problems?



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Old 20th December 2006   #3
nate
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I'm not aware of anyone who has had the resources or animals to really make a serious attempt at breeding Amphiumas - most people here have only had a single animal.

I'd love to hear about your setup as well.



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Old 21st December 2006   #4
lane
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We have them in several different set ups. I will take some pictures soon to show you. Our two largest amphiuma's (which we feed F/T adult mice & night crawlers) are in our largest and most impressive tank. It's 180 gallons. We have hiding places in rocks and drift wood for them and they have fake water plants, live fish and 2 canister filters. We also have 2 pond set ups each with 2 or 3 inside. Then we have a smaller one in a 10 gallon, a smaller one in a 20 gallon, one that we personally harvested in a 55 gallon, 1 that lives with our lesser siren in a bow front 20 gallon and our smallest baby in a 10 gallon and it lives with two orange bellied newts and 2 wild caught unidentified salamanders.

We feed them mice, pinkies, hoppers, and worms. They will come right out of the water to eat.

We've already witnessed lots of interesting behaviors about them. We only have 2 that seem somewhat aggressive and we haven't been bitten as of yet. An amphiuma yawn is quite impressive. They also shed their skin, but we've never witnessed them eat it. Lots of materials tag their legs as "useless" however in the water they seem to use those tiny legs often.

Sex is hard to determine. The coloration of the cloaca doesn't seem to ring true to us, unless we have all of the same sex, which to have all of the same sex out of 12 seems kinda hard to believe.

We don't have the proper set ups yet to breed, however that is our main goal for the future.

After having these animals for quite some time now, we feel that they will have a good chance of moving up in the pet trade with the right advertising. They are super easy to maintain... they are very different from your standard pet and they are super cool and interesting to watch.

We test our water routinely and Lane can always be found messing with cleaning filters or vacuuming up waste with his python (Which proves quite handy with any aquatic set up).

We would love to hear some personal experiences with others who have them.

Jennifer & Lane



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Old 22nd December 2006   #5
nate
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I'd been keeping a large female tridactylum for the past few months. I agree, they're very cool animals. But the amount of waste she put out was far too much for my current resources to handle so I gave her to a friend. At some point in the future, I'll be interested in getting a sexed pair again and seriously trying breeding. I was feeding her chunks of tilapia, shrimp, crawfish tails, etc. But once she got a taste of nightcrawlers, she really wasn't interested in anything else.

I'd say that while they're moving those legs in the water, they're not really accomplishing much if anything with them.



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Old 22nd December 2006   #6
jennifer
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I would advise against keeping amphiumas (even small ones) together with newts and salamanders. This sounds to me like a disaster waiting to happen. I'm also concerned whether the aquatic habitat is suitable for the unidentified salamanders.

How cold are you able to get the tanks/ponds in winter? For many caudates, getting cold enough is essential to breeding.

Good luck, and keep us posted on any breeding behaviors you see!



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Old 22nd December 2006   #7
lane
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Ours are all tridactylum as well. You are right, they do put off quite a bit of waste. Especially the large ones. I think our 2 biggest are around 35 inches long. I will have Lane help me tonight to measure if we have time. I didn't mean with the legs that they do crazy tricks or anything, lol... but they are really agile with them. We have rocks on the bottom of the tank and they walk stepping ever so carefully across the bottom. It's really neat. One of them is constantly bending his little tiny knees and pushing with them. Yes... worms are a definate favorite.

Since not much is known about them, it's hard to know how much to feed them.

Jennifer - yes, we are aware of the risk... I wouldn't recommend it either, but the way the tank is set up, it is working. This baby tridactylum is only about 5 inches long. He is much too tiny to hurt the newts. The sali's are ones that we wild caught from the little red river here in arkansas. One still has external gills so we're not sure what he will "turn out to be". But don't worry, we do have plans to put them seperate. This however is the better alternative to a jar...

Since we live in Arkansas, it gets pretty cold in the winter... and without heaters in the amphiuma's tanks, it stays pretty cool. We're not yet ready to breed thou... we are thinking about ways to make a large land area above their tanks and ponds to come out to lay eggs... Once we figure that out, we'll be getting closer to our goal. We think it's going to take years thou.

Hey Nate, do you know how to accurately sex them?

Jennifer & Lane...

ps. I'm going to get on top of these pictures soon.



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Old 14th January 2007   #8
lane
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I finally got a pic of one of our tanks. This one is 8 feet long and holds 180 gallons, although we don't keep it filled to the top to try and prevent escapes. This one holds our 2 largest amphiuma's. We have 2 Fluval 405 Canister Filters hooked up to it and Lane is thinking of adding a third.

We feed these 2 guys large adult F/T or freshly killed mice. They put off quite a bit of waste, Lane calls it "dog poop" because its that big. He changes, rearranges and cleans the tank about 2 times a month.

Normally we have more plants in there.

So how are everyone else's amphiuma's and sirens doing? Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 16th January 2007   #9
jennifer
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That's quite an impressive tank! Would you mind me re-posting the photo on Caudata Culture?



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Old 16th January 2007   #10
lane
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Hey Jennifer,

Sure you can use it. If possible, maybe you could add a water mark for me on the photo. I should have done that to begin with but I completely forgot. You can just put Jennifer Empfield 2006. I can also take some more photo's of it when the amphiuma's are out in the front. I'll also get around to taking pictures of the other tanks. We have some real nice set ups. Also, Lane told me that I should mention that they are NOT Fluval 405 filters. We have those on our pond set ups. The 180 gallon has XP4's... maybe Rena? I'm not to sure. All I know is it's XP4.

Thanks for the compliment thou, Lane is really excited. He is totally anal about making sure the water quality is awesome and the animals are as happy as we can possibly make them.



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Old 17th January 2007   #11
annmarie
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"After having these animals for quite some time now, we feel that they will have a good chance of moving up in the pet trade with the right advertising."

I appreciate all the work you are doing with them and the great input you gave, but unless you guys (meaning other keepers also) can sucessfully breed them, I find this is quite a disapointing statement, for if they become too popular it might strain the wild populations. I already see plenty of "congo eels" on science/bio supply pages alone...
It really just bothers me when people (not meaning you neceasarily) keep pets just because they are "cool" or "easy to take care of" or for just pure amusement when they are just being haphazardly taken from the wild with the suppliers not attempting to breed them or finding a way to farm them, thus not putting a strain on the wild populations.

So, thusly, I wish you and others attempting to breed them the best of luck and hopefully will share information on your sucesses so we all can learn about them before they are "marketed to become popular pets"



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Old 29th January 2007   #12
lane
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AnnMarie,

We definately know exactly where you are coming from with your post and agree with you whole heartedly. Successful breeding is our main goal, whether or not we will be able to achieve that goal is unknown at this time. If we are able to breed them, we will of course share our information.

I really don't know what the latest information regarding the wild populations of amphiuma's are, but sadly we are constantly hearing about the ones who are killed regularly by fisherman around here in Arkansas.

We are always saddened by the misimformation that people have regarding the species. We still hear that they are poisonous and we've even heard they will cause "bad luck". We hope that the wild populations aren't in danger... we think these animals are amazing.

But have no fear, other than the occasional post here, we have no plans to advertise them or encourage others to go hunt for them in the wild.

Jennifer



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Old 29th January 2007   #13
Ryan
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here we go againClick the image to open in full size.



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Old 16th May 2007   #14
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I've had a 3-toed amphiuma for a couple years now and love it. I use it to teach evolution in my science class in middle school here in the states. Mine started on worms and now seems to prefer fish and ghost shrimp in the tank. She doesn't eat much, but seems happy enough. I'd be very interested to hear about breeding attempts. It sounds like a neat thing to do and it could help the potential wild-harvest problems. Please let me know if you get anything going. Good luck!



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Old 26th June 2007   #15
Joseph S
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Has anyone kept one of them outdoors in plastic pond or similar? That would probably be best.



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Old 11th July 2007   #16
Ryan
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I know this is an old post but just to answer what you said about keeping amphiumas in ponds: you could and that would be great, seeing that they enjoy stagnet ponds, ditches, swamps. But amphiumas are known to travel over land during heavy rain, so that could risk introducing them to your naturual habitat

All in all I wouldn't unless you could but up some type of border, but that would discourage the look to an (usually beautiful) outdoor pond.

Just wanted to put that out there.



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Old 20th December 2007   #17
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I was thinking a secure lid would be needed. I doubt they could be contained adequately with a border.



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