Home-made Axolotl/Newt Pellet Recipe

firedreams

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Hi all,

I was recently lucky enough to add 3 Ambystoma Mexicanum juveniles (currently approx. 5 months old) to my collection of Caudates. Upon seeing what enthusiastic and opportunistic eaters they are, I have become a tad paranoid about the possibility that they might unexpectedly exhaust my live food supply in the dead of winter, and so have been researching pellets as an occasional dietary supplement / emergency food source. While I do have access to commercially available newt/salamander “bites”, I suspect that a homemade pellet would be healthier (and also, frankly, I am keen on controlling exactly what goes into the food that I feed to my axolotls). After looking over the recipe for Johnny’s Axolotl Pellets, I decided to try my hand at making my own pellets. Instead of following Johnny’s recipe to the letter (I didn’t want to make * that * many pellets, and I did not have access to all of his ingredients), I elected to create my own recipe, inspired by his. Here it is:

Ingredients:

85 large crickets (place in freeze 1 hr before blending)
25 wax worms
10 butter worms
2 dozen night crawlers
2 dozen red wigglers
1 package frozen blood worms (defrosted)
1 package frozen tubifex worms (defrosted)
2 cups frozen “salad shrimp” (defrosted, rinsed and soaked in dechlorinated water for about 2 hours)
1 tbsp calcium powder
2 unflavoured gelatin packets (dissolved in 2 cups of dechlorinated water, and heated to a boil)

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients in electric blender until mixture has the consistency of thick gravy. Using an icing dispenser (or a zip-lock bag with a small hole cut into one corner), dispense mixture in long lines onto cookie sheets covered with wax paper. Let mixture dry in the sun, or in an oven set on warm. Do not dry too much! Ideally, the mixture should be the consistency of chewed bubble gum (minus the elasticity). Cut the lines of mixture into small bars, approximately 1-2cm long and 1-2mm wide. Spread the bars out on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for 3 hours. Remove from freezer, and divide the frozen pellets up into freezer bags and return to freezer. (Pre-freezing on the cookie sheet will prevent the pellets from freezing together in a giant ball when placed together in a freezer bag). The pellets should be good for at least 1 yr in the freezer.

All of my Axies seem very pleased with these pellets. I also offered one to my adult P. Chinensis – a notoriously picky eater – and even he was happy to take one! I do not intend these as a replacement for live food, but hope that they can be a nutritious occasional supplement.

Attached are pictures of the process.
 

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Northern Forest

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Arie
I have two young axolotls and living in Northern Canada, I have also been worried about running out of fresh, live food in the winter. Also, our pet store is very limited in the variety of food it carries (basically no variety - they only have crickets and frozen blood worms) and so I have to rely on mainly earthworms and the occasional treat like butter worms and wax worms that a friend of mine brings up when she visits (she is from a much larger city). I was really happy to see this post as it offers an emergency food source, and a bit more variety, so I thought I would try it out!

Unfortunately, my first attempt did not turn out quite right. I think it was because I didn't add quite enough gelatin to account for the moisture from my worms -- I added in more nightcrawlers and used fewer red wigglers. Also, I would recommend letting the mixture partially set before pouring onto the pans so it would hold its shape more (make sure you can still pour it though). Mine flattened into a sort of thick 'flake', rather than a pellet. That being said, my axolotls still really enjoyed their homemade 'flakes'! It was also really nice to know what was going into my axolotls' food. I would definitely make Firedreams' recipe again. Thanks for posting it!
 

firedreams

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Thanks for the feedback, Arie! I agree, and definitely recommend letting the gelatin set prior to pouring the mixture. I suspect that adding more gelatin would also be an improvement (perhaps 4 gelatin packets instead of 2). I will be testing this assumption in a few weeks when I make pellets again, and will be sure to post my results!
 

AlienFirefox

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and hope ur kid doesnt come home thinking its chocolate biscuits.
waxworms are impossible to find hee maybe chafer worms would be better
 

mshine1217

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I'm curious about how much your recipe makes. From the pictures that you posted it appears that it make enough for one cookie sheet, the three plastic bags worth?
 

firedreams

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Hi all,

Thanks for the responses! Re: the yield of the recipe - the amount of product pictured in the blender is the approximate amount that the recipe yields. Depending on how thick your "pellet lines" are, and how close you place them, the number of cookie sheets will vary. I used approximately 8 cookie sheets.

I should mention that the pictures posted here were from my first attempt at making pellets, and I must admit that I accidentally spoiled at least half of the batch during the drying stage. I tried drying some of the pellets in the oven and some on my porch in the sun. Unfortunately I did not hear the timer go off for the oven and overcooked that half of the batch (about 4 cookie sheets). So... if you are drying them in the oven, learn from my mistakes and keep a very close eye on them! This is also why the yield of chopped and bagged pellets pictured is less than what you should expect from this recipe.
 
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    And even .25 ammonia is bad what you want for nitrite and ammonia is 0 and .25 for short periods
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    @DarthNyQuil, what's your ph? Ammonia is non-toxic at lower ph so might not need to panic, however if you have hard water (think calcium deposits in a tea kettle), you likely have a high pH and thus should be maintaining 0. Either way, use seachem prime to dechlorinate your water and get the added benefit of making ammonia and nitrite non-toxic for 24 hours, the peace of mind is worth it.
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    @lvlyvoa, good to hear, np. They love nightcrawlers and worms if you have access to them, they're the healthiest thing they can eat since they're a complete prey
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