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Keeping feeder worms...

Autistic Catholic

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So in trying to convince my parents to let my keep an axolotl (which is a huge obstacle as I live in their house), one thing they have difficulty with is the live feeding. I know that earthworms and nightcrawlers should be staple diets for the animal so I am wondering how these things are usually kept and how to make my parents more comfortable with the subject of live-feeding.

My dad was asking about if they could be dropped in the tank for the axolotl to hunt🤦‍♀️. He has a Ph.D. in engineering and sustainability believe it or not so I'm not sure how he could overlook the fact that all live animals produce waste which leads to ammonium build-up. Obviously, not possible.

Until I overcome this hurdle of the live-feeding, raising one of these little guys myself may not be a possibility.
 

SamAxolotl

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I'm not a worm expert by any means, but here's how I've started keeping my worms: I dug up a lot of earthworms outside (we have large gardens that are filled with worms) and put them in a plastic tote along with soil from the garden, leaves, sticks etc. Also poked several holes in the tote lid to provide ample oxygen for the worms. I keep the tote in cool areas, but make sure wherever you keep them isn't too cold though otherwise the worms will slow down breeding.
If your parents don't want large amounts of worms living in their home, you can buy live worms in small amounts from pet stores or bait shops (where I live, they usually come in small containers with enough soil for the worms to live in for a few weeks). However, if you can keep your own worm bin, I would encourage you to do so as it allows you to monitor the worms' health much better.
If your parents want no live worms at all, it is possible to buy canned worms online or from pet stores although live worms would be the best option (and less expensive!)
 

JM29

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Hi,
Be aware there are several species of worms.

The worms you can get digging in the soil (canadian nightcrawlers I suppose) are always palatable for axolotls. Unfortunately, they are difficult to keep alive when you have a stock.
I sometimes keep some in my fridge with a bit of earth (my family is rather tolerant) but the method described by SamAxolotl is good.

Compost worms (Dendrobaena or Eisenia) are not always well accepted by caudates due to repulsive secretions they produce. I don't know what the bait shops actually sell.

Another good live food source is Daphnias (largely available in ponds in spring). I regularly use them for my axolotls these days. They stay alive until they are eaten and they contribute to clean the water. Of corse, they are difficult to use with a filter.
 

SamAxolotl

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Hi,
Be aware there are several species of worms.

The worms you can get digging in the soil (canadian nightcrawlers I suppose) are always palatable for axolotls. Unfortunately, they are difficult to keep alive when you have a stock.
I sometimes keep some in my fridge with a bit of earth (my family is rather tolerant) but the method described by SamAxolotl is good.

Compost worms (Dendrobaena or Eisenia) are not always well accepted by caudates due to repulsive secretions they produce. I don't know what the bait shops actually sell.

Another good live food source is Daphnias (largely available in ponds in spring). I regularly use them for my axolotls these days. They stay alive until they are eaten and they contribute to clean the water. Of corse, they are difficult to use with a filter.
This is great info that I didn't know about!
From what I've found, in my area there are 21 different species of earthworms, all of which look fairly similar and my axolotl has eaten any worm I've given him (he'll try to eat anything that moves though) so it probably depends on each axolotl and their preferences to determine which types of worms they'll eat.
 

Autistic Catholic

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So my biggest concern would be nutrition and health. Regretfully, collecting worms from outside would put the animal's health at risk as they spray around my area (and it irritates the tree frogs every Summer).

But if a diet consisting of pellets and a can of worms and a cube of bloodworms and maybe shrimp and an occasional guppy would allow an axolotl to have the nutritional needs to thrive, that might be a solid compromise. I'd have to ask the parents.
 

SamAxolotl

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So my biggest concern would be nutrition and health. Regretfully, collecting worms from outside would put the animal's health at risk as they spray around my area (and it irritates the tree frogs every Summer).

But if a diet consisting of pellets and a can of worms and a cube of bloodworms and maybe shrimp and an occasional guppy would allow an axolotl to have the nutritional needs to thrive, that might be a solid compromise. I'd have to ask the parents.
This diet sounds like a good idea! I personally would advise to avoid pre-made pellets, as I had a very bad experience with them which caused my axolotl to become extremely sick (which is why I only use fresh/ live food now) however many people have had good luck with pellets.
If you could convince your parents to keep live worms, you can buy live worms online, I've heard Josh's Frogs Josh's Frogs - Largest online herps feeders and reptile supplies store has high quality insects and feeders for a decent price, and start your worm bin from those. Live worms are probably the simplest and most cost effective way to feed your axolotl, so if you're able to do that I would!
 

JM29

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I personally would advise to avoid pre-made pellets, as I had a very bad experience with them which caused my axolotl to become extremely sick (which is why I only use fresh/ live food now)
I agree, for another reason :
Pre-made pellets aften contains fish scales and bones, known for their richness in phosphore.
The axolotl cannot use all this phosphore and the excess ends up in the water and substrate, triggering algae and cyanobacteria.
 
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