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Axolotl Eggs, Larvae & Breeding Eggs everywhere, how did that happen? Will it be albino or wildtype?

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Old 12th March 2011   #1
pawprint08
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Exclamation All 14 of my Axie larvae just died! :(

On 2-17 my 17 axolotl eggs arrived in the mail. I was so excited when they hatched a few weeks later. On 2-27 my 9 older eggs had all hatched and 3 of the eggs never made it. On 3-6 my youngest 5 hatched. So on 3-6 I had a total of 14 larvae and they were all doing great. I cleaned their water every 2-3 days 100%. They lived in a plastic shoe box with 1 gallon of 68 F (20 C) water with two fake plants and one real one and an air stone. They lived on a diet of microworms. I spent a few hours each day just watching them and taking pictures of them.

On 3-11 I received daphnia in the mail. I was so excited to give my babies a new kind of food. First I wanted to feed the daphnia though. So I melted some yeast in some warm water and let them sit for something like 15 minutes. Then I decided that I wanted to go ahead and give the 75ish daphnia to the axolotl, so I took out as much of the daphnia water as I could, leaving the daphnia with about a teaspoon of water left. Then I put the daphnia in with the axolotl. So I am guessing my greatest mistake here is either putting yeast in the axolotl water or not quarantining the daphnia (which I never even thought about doing because I didn't know it was needed for something as small as daphnia).

Straight away the axies were acting weird, but I chalked it up to excitement. I thought that they were darting around like mad because they had new food and new life in the tank with them. I watched them for almost 20 minutes and then went to do some dishes. While I was cleaning, I started worrying so came back to do some water tests.

pH= 7.2 or 7.6
High Range pH= 7.4
Ammonia= 0
Nitrite= 0
Nitrate= 0

I put some microworm in the tank just in case the axies were looking for food and couldn't fit the daphnia in their mouths or something. Everything looked good chemical wise, so I went back to cleaning. About 5 minutes later I came back and all of my axie's tails were curled and gills were forward. I noticed that the microworms seemed to be feasting on one of my axies! A lot of the axies looked dead, were upside down, floating, the works. I started freaking out. I got all of my axies out of the tank immediately and put them in another tupperware with water. Then I changed their water again because some of the microworms were still clinging to the dead axies. Once I got all of the microworms out, I had the axies in containers with low water and I flipped them all right side up and put them in the fridge with a towel laying on top of the containers. The axies were separated into groups of 4, 4, 4, and 2. After about 20 minutes, I decided to take them out because they were dead anyway. I saw one wriggle! So I took him out and put him in a separate container back in the fridge in a towel. Now they were in groups of 4,4,3,2, and 1, with the single one in the fridge. I tried different things for each group. I put some in the normal spot with the tank and the airstone, I put some with the live plant in the coldest part of my room, I put some in the coldest part of my room without a plant, and I put some over where they normally live but with no airstone.

It was hopeless. They were all dead. I wished for the best though and left for work. I came back 4 hours later and they were all dead with their tails broken off and black stuff (poop) coming out of a lot of them. It was a terrible, heartbreaking experience. Where did I go wrong. It was the daphnia, wasn't it. I just want to kick myself for being so anxious. I just wanted them to be happy. What a sad, sad start to my spring break. Please help. I am getting some more eggs and I don't want this to happen again.



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Old 12th March 2011   #2
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: All 14 of my Axie larvae just died! :(

I think the biggest problem was water quality. If feeding your daphnia something like yeast be certain the water is pretty clear before removing the daphnia for food. A way to clean the daphnia is to rinse them in a brine shrimp net. If you feed your daphnia green water you won't have as many water quality issues as with yeast.

Microworms are o.k. for a food for newly hatched larvae. When using microworms it is a good idea to do the water changes like you were doing. The larvae quickly grow to where the microworms won't take care of their nutritional needs. Microworms are a step that could be skipped if you have other appropriately sized food. At this size people go with daphnia, chopped blackworms, or baby brine shrimp. If using baby brine it is a good idea to keep up with the water changes and fastidious cleaning. With daphnia, chopped blackworms, and pond water it is a good idea to take a more balanced habitat approach. Some of the daphnia will be to large for your larvae to eat but will have appropriately sized babies. Most of the segments of the chopped blackworms will do o.k. in the water. Microorganisms in pond water will thrive in a tank with a sponge filter on low or better yet just an air stone on low. For the balanced approach you want your food to survive in the tank with the axolotl larvae. You don't want to do a lot of water changes and throw out the food with the water.

I think you were on the right track but just were overanxious and fouled the water. Raising salamanders is easy once you analyze your problem and try again. Raising axolotl larvae is not real difficult. Appropriate live food, water quality, and temperature are the real problem areas to look out for.



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Old 12th March 2011   #3
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Default Re: All 14 of my Axie larvae just died! :(

Thank you Michael, that is what I thought. I'm glad to know it was water for sure though. I am so annoyed with myself right now! I was just so excited... urg.

Something my boyfriend (loving father of the axies) wants to know is how much importance the airstone is. I was taking them away from the airstone for about an hour each day so I could watch them without any water disturbances. I also had one that behaved oddly for a while, so I separated him and he lived without the airstone for about a week on my desk until he looked better and I put him back with the others. If I change out the water frequently like I was, does that provide enough oxygen to be able to take them away from the airstone?

I was also thinking that with the next batch maybe I should keep them all separated to prevent mass death and do everything to just a few axies at a time instead of all of them at once. If I did this, I wouldn't be able to have little airstones in each container. What are your thoughts on that. My boyfriend thinks it's a bad idea and that it's important for the axies to socialize and be in as natural a setting as possible while they are still non-cannibalistic larvae.



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Old 12th March 2011   #4
Eric
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Default Re: All 14 of my Axie larvae just died! :(

Airstones aren't necessary, the Axolotls get enough oxygen from the water, especially with frequent water changes.



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Old 12th March 2011   #5
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Default Re: All 14 of my Axie larvae just died! :(

Cool, thanks Eric. [:



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Old 12th March 2011   #6
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: All 14 of my Axie larvae just died! :(

Juveniles do well either way. If kept communally it is important to be sure they are fed enough so they don't nibble on tank mates. In small cups it is important to watch water quality and not foul the water by overfeeding. I raise a bunch and prefer to do them in groups.



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