Beef heart?

Antgarner

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I know that earthworms are the most nutritionally balanced and only true staple food, but I was going to buy beef heart as a treat. If I were to give it to my axolotls, should I boil it first?
 

Coastal Groovin

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Yes boil it and chop it up into pellet sized pieces.
 

Azhael

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You shouldn´t give them beef heart, boiled or not...it´s not a suitable food.
Stick to invertebrates.
 

Sdaji

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You shouldn´t give them beef heart, boiled or not...it´s not a suitable food.
Stick to invertebrates.
What defines 'suitable'? Are countless millions of axolotls around the world in labs being fed 'unsuitable' feed? If axolotls are able to live at least reasonably healthy lives on a staple diet of beef heart, can we really say definitively that it is not a suitable feed even as an occasional 'treat' or a convenient standby which can be used when other feeds are unavailable/too expensive/etc.?

Obviously we're kidding ourselves if we think we're doing anything remotely natural with our captive axolotls, and diverging from natural is not a bad thing. What makes beef unsuitable? Presumably it could only be unsuitable if it harms axolotls in some way. How does it do so? Is it nutritionally bad? If so, in what respect? Too high in protein? Too low in fat? Too high or low in trace elements? If so, which ones?

If it's not nutritional, what harm does it do?

If it does not harm them, and it can sustain them, and it is cheap and readily available, I would call it suitable.
 

Thomomom

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I have heard rumours that beef heart can stunt your axolotals growth if given to much at an early age so i wouldn't advise it. Maybe for a treat you could give mealworms?
 

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I haven't used beef hearts~ not to diverge off the subject just a tad, but what all can you feed them that is "suitable" ? I have been feeding mine that i just aquired- frozen blood worms, night crawlers/worms, red worms. Not really sure what else there is, and dont feel like the blood worms is fillin them up, they are eating every day and still seem hungry, the worms i cut up but they arent as intrested in those as the bloodworms.. any thoughts. has anyone used turtle foods/pellets etc. apparently there are no bait shops around me so im jumpin through hoops to find trout pellets.
Thanks!
 

Azhael

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Sdaji, beef heart is unsuitable for a number of reasons. Vertebrate meat is way too caloric for axolotls, and it can cause obesity, they can´t digest it fully, it is nutritionally poor as it largely lacks vitamins, and there have been reported cases of intestinal obstructions.
Sure, there are other unnatural foods that can work, but this one is not suitable not because it´s not natural but because it does not fit the nutritional requirements of axolotls.
Countless millions of axolotls around the world, in labs, are not being fed staples of beef heart, they are being fed staples of pellets or earthworms.
It is very easy to provide a varied diet composed exclusively of invertebrates, there´s no need for subadequate foods like vertebrate muscle. People use it becaus eit´s convenient to them, period, but it´s not good for the animals themselves.
 

Sdaji

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Sdaji, beef heart is unsuitable for a number of reasons. Vertebrate meat is way too caloric for axolotls, and it can cause obesity, they can´t digest it fully, it is nutritionally poor as it largely lacks vitamins, and there have been reported cases of intestinal obstructions.
Sure, there are other unnatural foods that can work, but this one is not suitable not because it´s not natural but because it does not fit the nutritional requirements of axolotls.
Countless millions of axolotls around the world, in labs, are not being fed staples of beef heart, they are being fed staples of pellets or earthworms.
It is very easy to provide a varied diet composed exclusively of invertebrates, there´s no need for subadequate foods like vertebrate muscle. People use it becaus eit´s convenient to them, period, but it´s not good for the animals themselves.
Too caloric? We both know you're just making stuff up there.

Can't digest it fully? They can't fully digest insects either.

Which vitamins does it lack? You may have a point here and it may be a poor *staple* because of vitamin deficiency, but that doesn't have any relevance in terms of it being part of a varied diet.

Right this moment as I make this post there are seven axolotls about 40cm from my hand eating strips of kangaroo meat. Behind me in another tank there are many eggs from two large axolotl spawns. All seems well.

I certainly can't see it being fair to put the blunt statement out that it is simply an 'unsuitable' feed, except perhaps as a sole or staple diet, but even so, I'd simply have to be taking your word for it, and as I'm sure you know, many axolotls have been raised with beef heart as their staple diet.
 

Azhael

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The use of vertebrate meat, specially mammalian has been shown to produce obesity in a number of amphibians. It can also result in other issues like corneal lipidosis. So no, not making it up.

By can´t digest it fully i mean that the digestion is very incomplete. In the cases where i´ve used or seen mammal meat being used as food, the feces were poorly processed.

I know of no healthy axolotl that has been raised solely on beef heart. I find that quite extraordinary.
It´s certainly a very poor staple, and if boiled, even more so. As far as i know (if i´m wrong, please correct me), beef heart is not a suitable staple even for carnivores (too poor in calcium among other things).

The reason why i used the term unsuitable is because it´s a substandard choice, which comes with some risks, specially since it´s frequently abused and the use of a variety of invertebrates is preferable. Again, the only reason why things like beef heart are used is convenience for the keeper, not a concern for the animal´s best interests. You can feed tigers solely on chicken...but that can be problematic....
 
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axolotlfreak56

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The use of vertebrate meat, specially mammalian has been shown to produce obesity in a number of amphibians. It can also result in other issues like corneal lipidosis. So no, not making it up.

By can´t digest it fully i mean that the digestion is very incomplete. In the cases where i´ve used or seen mammal meat being used as food, the feces were poorly processed.

I know of no healthy axolotl that has been raised solely on beef heart. I find that quite extraordinary.
It´s certainly a very poor staple, and if boiled, even more so. As far as i know (if i´m wrong, please correct me), beef heart is not a suitable staple even for carnivores (too poor in calcium among other things).

The reason why i used the term unsuitable is because it´s a substandard choice, which comes with some risks, specially since it´s frequently abused and the use of a variety of invertebrates is preferable. Again, the only reason why things like beef heart are used is convenience for the keeper, not a concern for the animal´s best interests. You can feed tigers solely on chicken...but that can be problematic....
Looks like you got to post this reason before I could, oh well. Anyway,this is absolutely true, and if its hard to believe look no further than reptiles. Commonly, turtles are fed foods such as beef and chicken and it leads to obesity quite fast. If its not healthy for a turtle, why would anyone think its even remotely healthy for an amphibian? So, to Sdaji, none of this is being made up. Its fact. Not opinion. Its not good for turtles and its not good for salamanders.
 

Sdaji

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No one here claimed it was a good staple.

Just because something is unsuitable as a staple doesn't mean it is an unsuitable feed. I eat apples from time to time, but I'd be very unhealthy if I tried to live on them as a staple.

I eat liver sometimes, but I'd be very unhealthy if I tried to live on it as a staple.

I eat... you get the point.

On the other hand, I can get axolotls or most other species (including myself) obese by giving them a perfect, balanced diet and simply using too much of it. I've seen plenty of extremely obese frogs which have been fed nothing but wild caught insects native to the frogs' natural distribution.

Aside from the 'staple vs. part of a varied diet' argument, there's also the 'it's bad because it's not natural' fallacy. I can (and often do) eat very unnatural things which are very healthy. Most of what modern humans in western countries eat is particularly natural, including a lot of the healthy things we eat. Even most of the fresh fruit and vegetables we eat are barely recogniseable from their natural forms. There are countless examples of animals and humans either being unable to eat something which would be wonderful for them if they could get it, or wonderful for them if they do unnaturally get it.

Just because a particular feed (or food) is too rich or poor in one nutrient or another doesn't mean it's a bad feed or food. Virtually every part of a good, balanced, varied diet is imbalanced if used as a staple. That's the whole point of giving things a varied diet.

...to say something is too calorie dense... goodness, it's a worry if you're that naive and you're being taken seriously by others. We're talking about a carnivorous amphibian here, right? Backing each other up doesn't make you correct, and that's one of the most insane things you could say about a carnivorous amphibian's feed. I can easily get fat or make an animal fat by using nothing but food/feed of low calorie density. Conversely, I can give something nothing but very rich feed/food and make it lose weight, even starve it.

It's especially puzzling that you say it's bad because it's *both* too calorie dense *and* not fully digested. Oh no! They're not getting all the calories out of something that there are too many calories in! (not that there are actually too many calories in it anyway).

Not that it matters in any way, but what is the calorific density of beef heart vs. insect vs. worms? I don't claim to know, but I'd be surprised if it was particularly different, and without any doubt there are perfectly natural and healthy feeds which are both more and less calorie dense than beef heart.

I'm surprised you would insult yourself by using as weak an argument as "Turtles get fat if fed chicken or beef so it's never suitable to give beef to an amphibian' C'mon, even if beef heart is bad for axolotls, that extrapolation makes as much sense as saying that since one brand of floor cleaner is a really great product it will also make a good dietary supplement. What applies to turtles doesn't even apply to other reptiles, let alone a neotenic salamander! Heck, what applies to one turtle doesn't even apply to other turtles - some are carnivores, some are herbivores, some are omnivores and many have very different metabolic rates etc. As said above, you can easily get animals obese by giving them nothing buy their natural and/or ideal diet, just too much of it.

Let's say I have run out of insects or worms and can't get any for a few weeks. Would beef heart be 'suitable' as a stand in? If it puts weight on them quickly might it be suitable to give to a skinny axolotl you're in a hurry to put weight on?

It's sad to see you counter an argument by saying "No, not making it up, because... well, here's some information which is irrelevant to what we had been talking about until I brought this red herring into it"

When signing up I'm pretty sure I read something about this forum revolving around good, solid, information which can be backed up, not just making stuff up and using empty arguments to prove what you want to say. I'm a tad disillusioned.
 

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Well, after this shower of condescendence i´m not really in the mood for answering, but i´ll try to say something briefly..

I´m not saying that beef is kryptonite that will kill your caudates. What i say is it´s a substandard choice. It´s terribly poor in calcium, in my experience it´s barely broken down in the digestive system which further reduces the availability of nutrients and it can cause impactation and if abused, obesity and lipid related issues.
If you want to use it, fine, as if i can do anything about it. If i tell people that beef heart is not a good choice is because there are plenty of invertebrates that are far better, like fresh-water and terrestrial crustaceans and earthworms. Rather than going for the convenient choice (and because it´s convenient it often gets abused) and feed beef heart i prefer to recommend people to culture or acquire invertebrates. Hell, even axolotl pellets are better balanced.

The caloric content of some invertebrates is rather similar to that of beef heart, but that doesn´t mean that the absortion or the nutritious value are the same. It´s not the same to feed whole invertebrates than to feed portions of mammal muscle...


See? I managed to write a paragraph without making fun of you or suggesting that you are a lying moron... You could give that a try and maybe we could have had a nicer, more civilized discussion.
If you are so outraged about the accuracy of the information or the choice of words, etc, how come you said that many healthy axolotls have been raised with beef as their staple? How can any healthy vertebrate be raised on an extremely calcium deficient staple? You claimed several times that it works reasonably as an staple.
 
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Coastal Groovin

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Just wondering where the hell did the idea of feeding them beef hearts come from anyway? Did someone see a Axolotl jump out of the water and pull in a cow and eat it?
 

Antgarner

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I had heard of people giving their axolotls beef heart to fatten them up. I was just wondering whether I should boil it or not. However, it would be hilarious to see an axolotl pull a cow into the water. I still haven't given my lotls beef heart because I have an earthworm and night crawler farm. Plus I have 3 adult guppies that keep breeding, so my male has as many fry as he cares to hunt. Thanks for all the input, everyone.
 

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Do NOT boil it! When heart or liver is used to feed amphibians, it is normally fed raw. I have used heart and liver occasionally in the past. Never cooked it!

If you have a worm farm, that's awesome. I wouldn't bother with the beef heart.
 

Jennewt

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I haven't used beef hearts~ not to diverge off the subject just a tad, but what all can you feed them that is "suitable" ? I have been feeding mine that i just aquired- frozen blood worms, night crawlers/worms, red worms. Not really sure what else there is, and dont feel like the blood worms is fillin them up, they are eating every day and still seem hungry, the worms i cut up but they arent as intrested in those as the bloodworms.. any thoughts. has anyone used turtle foods/pellets etc. apparently there are no bait shops around me so im jumpin through hoops to find trout pellets.
Thanks!
If they are juveniles, then it's normal for them to need to eat daily. Here are 2 reliable US sources for Rangen salmon pellets. With the shipping, they may seem costly, but one batch will last a long time in the freezer.
http://www.ambystoma.org/ambystoma-genetic-stock-center-agsc/obtaining-materials/food
1 lb. Soft Pellet Axolotl Food - Fruit Flies
 

Antgarner

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Do NOT boil it! When heart or liver is used to feed amphibians, it is normally fed raw. I have used heart and liver occasionally in the past. Never cooked it!

If you have a worm farm, that's awesome. I wouldn't bother with the beef heart.
Thanks for letting me know. I don't think I'm going to be getting any beef heart.
 
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oceanblue

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Just wondering where the hell did the idea of feeding them beef hearts come from anyway? Did someone see a Axolotl jump out of the water and pull in a cow and eat it?
I don't know where the idea came from but I suppose they were kept alongside other animals and recognised as carnivores.

Beef heart appears to have been the standard fare of pet and lab axolotls from very soon after their introduction until the late 1980's when pellets seem to have displaced it. I've seen it recommended in an article dated approximately 1880, and a section on axolotl care written in the mid 1980's in a book on laboratory animal care says:-

"Axolotls are carnivorous and may be fed on beef heart, from which fat, tough fibres etc. have been carefully removed , three times a week. The meat is cut into strips of 30 x 4 x4 mm while still lightly frozen. Before feeding, the meat strips are completely thawed, rinsed in tap water to get rid of surplus blood, and mixed with a powdered multi-vitamin and mineral preparation. Animals kept in groups seek the food spontaneously. The containers are siphoned out before feeding. About 1.5 hours after feeding , food remains and droppings are siphoned out again. To be sure that the animals get enough to eat, a slight surplus should be provided; if the animals do not get enough to eat they will eventually start snapping at each other's limbs and this, may cause severe wounds. Earthworms are excellent food. If axolotls have to be kept separately they should be fed by hand (about 3 meat strips at each feeding) using blunt forceps. overfeeding will lead to regurgitation and should be avoided."

Source reference Page 762 chapter 52 Urodeles (newts and salamanders) R Vernoeff-de Fremery, J Griffin and H C Macgregor.

I'm sorry I don't have the name of the book but it was something like -guide to the care of laboratory animals - published in the mid 1980's. I cannot find it on the intenet despite typing chunks of text into search engines!

The statment about earthworms has stood the test of time. I don't use beef heart but I don't think it is that big a nutritional disaster. 100 years of regular accepted use cannot be easily ignored.
 

Azhael

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The statment about earthworms has stood the test of time. I don't use beef heart but I don't think it is that big a nutritional disaster. 100 years of regular accepted use cannot be easily ignored.
Sure, but we shoudn´t ignore the bit about the multivitamin/mineral complex either, because it makes a very significant difference.
 

oceanblue

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Sure, but we shoudn´t ignore the bit about the multivitamin/mineral complex either, because it makes a very significant difference.
Totally agree. Also the preparation is pretty clear, no fat or gristle, it is not a matter of just shove beef heart down them. The lead Author worked at Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht. and the quote reflects how they fed axolotls there in about 1980.
 
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