Question: My Axel the Axolotl


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Feb 6, 2011
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Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum, i bumped into it while googling axolotls. But yeah, i'm new to the newt family and my friend sent me a picture of an axolotl and my girlfriend fell it love with its cuteness so i bought one. While doing the research, i found out that axolotls eat various types of food, so i started out with mealworms, only on the first day did my axolotl eat 5 worms, i was surprised, but after that, he (i think it's a boy and my gf thinks it's a girl) stopped eating and if lucky, it ate only one worm a day and even non at times. Then i tried chicken liver, i tried looking for beef heart, but the supermarkets near me doesn't sell it. If anyone knows beef heart sellers near Carlton,Victoria, Australia, let me know. But yeah. only ate one slice of chicken liver a day. Then i got my friend to bring some feeder fish from work, yesterday he ate one fish that my gf hurt while pinching the tail trying to feed Axel. But yeah, it just happened to drop near Axel's mouth, and tadah he ate. I was happy to see him eat, but the second fish, he didn't eat.

And since then i left 2 feeder fish in the tank with the rest isolated in a small measuring cup. And he have yet to eat a single one.

My tank is 50cm X 30cm X 40cm, with a filter. Pictures will come tomorrow. Water temperature is actually abit on the high side, around 20-24. Trying to keep it low by using iced bottles. But yeah, having a problem with it not eating. Water is chlorine treated using Prime.

I know the tank is on the small side. But i don't have space for a bigger tank. but it'll only be Axel and Axel alone, no plants and no other fish (other than feeders)

What would you guys recommend for me to add to the tank? and what is suitable food (cheap at the same time) i can source (no live worms as i can't accommodate them in my apartment).

HI there and welcome,

Ok the staple diet for your axie is earthworms, bloodworms, pellets & black worms. Beef heart is not recommended as it is very high in fat and mealworms also are high in fat and not very nutritious so should only be used sparingly as a very occasional treat.

Feeder fish (guppies, minnows etc) are fine as a food but need to be quarantined for at least 30 days before putting them in your axie tank to make sure they have no diseases that you could pass on to your axie.

20 - 24 is quite a jump in temp, if it is nearer to the 24 I would say your axie is probably feeling uncomfortable and could be why it is not eating. Also how big is your axie as smaller ones need feeding daily whereas adult ones (again depending on size) need feeding every other or 3/4 days so this may be a factor in why he/she is not eating.

As for your tank yes it is on the small side as an axie can grow to 30cm....

What substrate are you using for your axie and do you have the water parameters??

As for the tank set up itself you need at least one hide in your tank to ensure you axie has a place to hide if it wants to, plants are your choice, sand or a bare bottomed tank is the best substrate and a filter which is not too powerful as axies done like a lot of flow in the water.

Also in regards to worms you can buy worms online and still keep those in your flat. I house worms in my house in a small container with mud & food and it has been working just fine for me :)

Hope I have covered everything, any questions please ask and pictures of your set up would be helpful. :happy:
Thanks for the reply.

Here are the photos, forgive the quality.

About the earthworms, what worms should i get? i'll try looking around for a supplier and get get some. How many worms should i get? i see people sell by the thousands, i don't want that many. =P

The scissor i use is 20cm long, so Axel should be abit less than 20cm. and i see that Axel has blackish fingers and toes.

Temperature was 24 last night, and today i used the ice bottle trick to reduce it to 21. Didn't want it to drop too much so i took the bottle off, will put the bottle back in tomorrow and bring the temperature down a little more.

Should i get sand? i read that bare bottom tanks are a little stressful on the axolotl? i know cleaning would be hard but what about the filter pump that i use? would i need to change it if i put sand in?

What plants should i get? live ones or plastic ones? any plants that would be recommended? =)



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Nice Axie :D
Sand is just fine.
I don't think you need to change filter. As for plants, i think i doesn't really matter.
Ok, your axie is the same size as my guys and I feed mine 3 worms every other day or some pellets or bloodworm (i like to keep it varied for them) BUT they can get fed every 3 days as they are a good size so that is maybe why your axie isn't eating much, that and the warm water. Also again depends on your axies size of head, if it starts getting bigger than its body then cut the food down!

Not sure of the worms you would need in your country but know there are lots of members in your area so sure someone can step in on that one (hopefully) or search the forum :)

Sand or bare bottomed tank is entirely up to you, see how your axie goes on bare bottomed if that is what you like :)

Again with plants completely your preference, I have a mix of both, plastic are great as stronger so my guys like to climb or hang off them and I also have a ball of fake grass/moss which they love sitting on!

I would recommend getting some things though as not wanting to be mean but a bare tank is very unexciting for your axie as there is nothing to explore, sit on, climb in, hide under etc. If you need any ideas have a nose through some albums of other members set ups!

Good luck
hey guys, thanks for the reply.

So i got axel some gravel, it's granite gravel i think looks a bit sharp, tried looking for sand, but the shop didn't have any. So i got this instead.

But he's eating a little, hand fed him 3 fishes yesterday. My gf ended up throwing all my quarantined fish into the aquarium. so, guess he'll have to hunt his own fish. =)

Got some plants too, a variety of fake plants and 3 java fern.

Anyways, any victorians with supply of home-bred worms or even guppies. Please let me know. =)
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Hey tK. Sorry, buy gravel is a no go with axolotls :( He will swallow it (they eat like little vacuum cleaners) and get impacted and sick :( Please don't put it in if you haven't yet and take it out if you did put it in, your axolotl is in danger. Especially if the rocks are jagged, they will tear up his little insides!
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hey guys, thanks for the reply.

So i got axel some gravel, it's granite gravel i think looks a bit sharp, tried looking for sand, but the shop didn't have any. So i got this instead.

But he's eating a little, hand fed him 3 fishes yesterday. My gf ended up throwing all my quarantined fish into the aquarium. so, guess he'll have to hunt his own fish. =)

Got some plants too, a variety of fake plants and 3 java fern.

Anyways, any victorians with supply of home-bred worms or even guppies. Please let me know. =)

Do hope you have not put the gravel in yet as not only is it a deifnate no no due to impaction etc but you will have a hard job getting it out, as I said in last post sand or barebottomed are the only ways of going unless you want to get creative with slate tiles.
A bare bottom tank is fine (and it's MUCH better than gravel would be), but you definitely need some things for your axolotl to explore. He'll need places to hide so he feels safe, and lots of 'stuff' to climb on/in/around/through. Have a look at this article for ideas on how to set up your tank.
thanks guys, guess i'll switch the sand then. just wondering if pool filter sand would work alright? or washed sand from the hardware store? I'm actually looking for the black kinda sand, but any idea if i can get it? =)

There are some safe black sands out there. Pool filter sand would work just fine, just make sure to rinse it. I didn't when I first switched to sand, and it was a mess. My tank was cloudy for weeks, and this is with my filter on.
thanks, switched over to washed sand, i washed 5kgs for half an hour, and it didn't turn my tank cloudy. which i'm happy. But anyways i read that sand is prone to air bubbles, what can i do when my axolotl is inside with plants? or what can i do to avoid that problem?
Just don't put a thick layer of sand down. A few cm is plenty. If you do have a thick layer of sand, stir it frequently.
Word of warning - take the feeder fish out asap! They like the look of your axie's gills (think they are worms) and will attack. My last axie who lasted only 8 months had this happen to him - poor thing was attacked terribly & I believe it was one of the factors that led to his death :cry: I've heard that guppies aren't as prone to the nipping but I wouldn't risk it. You haven't mentioned but did you cycle your tank before you added Axel? He definately needs a place to hide away from the light. You can get worms from Bunnings - should be one near Carlton - or bait shops. Put them in water for 20 minutes before feeding him. I was given so much bad advice when I had Medusa so the best advice I can give is read, read, read! I'm getting my new friend in a couple weeks once the tank is cycled so have had plenty of time to research. Don't want my new friend to go the way of Medusa :( This forum is packed with people that know what there talking about so you've come to the right place :happy:
thanks for the advice, but nah, the feeder fish don't bully Axel, they are kinda afraid of him, so they stay away. But white clouds are usually calm and don't disturb other fishes... =) i hope... =P

i'll check out Bunnings, nearest one is at Port Melbourne. I dropped by a bait shop yesterday, all they had were those thick worms, i doubt Axel would like it so i didn't buy them. They were coolies or something like that.
hey guys, i bought a pack of 500 worms, they were thin, so i fed it like 7 or so worms, after 10 minutes, he vomited it all back out, does this point that he doesn't like it or did i over feed him?
i think you overfed him :p
just try 2 or 3 in the beginning^^
they also need to adjust to it.
i'll try... anyways, should i cut the worms into half? if it's like abit more than 1 inch long?
NO your axie can handle a worm that size no problem :D
my axys are like 15 cm big and they can eat worms of 9 cm with no problem^^
its even that the axys can eat worms of their own size if i recall correctly.
and axel was like 20 cm? so it wouldnt be a problem for him to eat them ^^
the thing is that they need to adjust to it.
and not to many at the time XD
mine get 1 worm a day and theyre around 8/9 cm (not stretched)
you just need to try and dont flip and he get spitting them out the first few days.
my white 1 did it for over a week and now shes like a shark on them ^^
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