Optimal temperature for tiger salamander eggs?

Mathias Holm

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Hello

My tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) have bred! Finally after waiting for this day for 4 years :happy: . I had not checked the outdoor vivarium in over a week when i discovered the eggs today. It is quite cold these days (and i didn't believe they would breed under these conditions) - air temperature drops below 0°C at night. The water temperature is now at 6,5°C after an hour of sunshine (but as i am writing this, it is snowing!). I am concerned that the eggs will die after several nighths with frost. Should i move the eggs inside or can they survive the cold (i guess the water temperature drops to about 2-3°C at night)? As far as i am informed the salamanders come from a northern locality in the US.

Pictures:
First picture shows the breeding tub i made a month ago - it is placed inside the outdoor vivarium. The other years i moved the salamanders to a breeding tub outside the vivarium and that was never a succes.
The other pictures shows the eggs.

Best regards
Mathias Holm

I was too nervous, so i took some of them inside - aprox. 50 eggs, still a lot more in the breeding tub and the females are still in the water :D . What is the max temperature i should incubate the eggs at? It is 20°C where i placed them now - is that alright? The outdoor vivarum is now covered in transparent tarpaulin - i plan to keep it that way until the weekend were it will be warmer again.

Picture: Some of the eggs i took inside

Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

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Mathias Holm

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Update 27/4: I am relieved! Now clear cell division is visible. :grin: . And on some of the older eggs i think i spotted the dorsal fold.
I'm gonna be busy this summer and i'm looking forward to it! :happy:

Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

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Chinadog

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I raised some Tigers from eggs last year. I just treated them like baby Axolotls and they did very well, just make sure you regularly grade them according to size as the larger ones can become cannibalistic very quickly.
 

Mathias Holm

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Thanks, Chinadog! I've considered that. I plan to buy a lot of tubs of 90 l, so overcrowding should'nt be a problem (but still i will ofcourse seperate smaller larvae from the larger).
And i plan to use plants to clean the water. I doesn't have the time to change the water every day.

Today i tried to make an underwater recording of the salamanders and the eggs. First time i try underwater recording, but i am pleased with the result (only i should move the camera more slowly and steady ;) )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVF26FsuVNw


Also quite interesting to follow the eggs development (see attached picture - text in danish though)

Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

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Mathias Holm

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Some of the eggs i left in the breeding tub died. The ones i took inside hatched some days ago. I'm feeding them cyclops and they grow fine. :happy:

I've ordered 10 tubs of 45 L - that should do it :D . Until the tubs are delivered they are kept in one tub. There isn't a big difference in size yet, so i guess they don't get cannibalistic anytime soon.
 

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AmbystoMan

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From your very first photos, I see very dark salamanders, maybe A.tigrinum, and others that are blotched, maybe A. mavortium melanostictum,

can you post pictures ao you adult salamanders, maybe you have hybridism ?
 

Mathias Holm

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Hello Paul

Thank you very much for your reply! The dark salamanders are from Illinois and they are undoubtedly A. tigrinum - i have 2 of them. The other ones i'm not completely sure about since they was bought as A. tigrinum at Hamm in 2012 - it was a friend that bought them for me. Here is a picture of the specimens - if it is indeed A. mavortium i would be glad to get that confirmed. Wouldn't want to sell them under wrong species name. The ones from Illinois are the one in the top and the one in the bottom (it seems the picture gets rotated when uploading. If that is still the case when this is posted, the ones from Illinois are the one to the far left and the one to the far right).

I only saw the possible A. mavortium in the tub during the breeding period, but that of course does not completely rule out hybdridism (although i hope that is not the case). I will keep you updated with photos during the whole period.

Looking forward to your opinion.

Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

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MarioR

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Hi Mathias,

the one bottom right doesn't look typical for this strain. I bred this strain several times and never had animals like this one.
Maybe a picture of this individual without any dirt might help to tell what it is.

In 2012 there were only very few "Illinois" animals around. Are yours wild caught or bred by an (east) european breeder?

Greetings
Mario
 

AmbystoMan

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the 2 salamanders from the middle are, according to me, Ambystoma mavortium melanostictum...

as I said previously, your eggs look like A mavortium...

don't you see which female lay eggs ?

^^

Hello Paul

Thank you very much for your reply! The dark salamanders are from Illinois and they are undoubtedly A. tigrinum - i have 2 of them. The other ones i'm not completely sure about since they was bought as A. tigrinum at Hamm in 2012 - it was a friend that bought them for me. Here is a picture of the specimens - if it is indeed A. mavortium i would be glad to get that confirmed. Wouldn't want to sell them under wrong species name. The ones from Illinois are the one in the top and the one in the bottom (it seems the picture gets rotated when uploading. If that is still the case when this is posted, the ones from Illinois are the one to the far left and the one to the far right).

I only saw the possible A. mavortium in the tub during the breeding period, but that of course does not completely rule out hybdridism (although i hope that is not the case). I will keep you updated with photos during the whole period.

Looking forward to your opinion.

Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

Mathias Holm

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Hi Mathias,

the one bottom right doesn't look typical for this strain. I bred this strain several times and never had animals like this one.
Maybe a picture of this individual without any dirt might help to tell what it is.

In 2012 there were only very few "Illinois" animals around. Are yours wild caught or bred by an (east) european breeder?

Greetings
Mario
Hello Mario.

Thank you for your reply.:happy: I'm sorry if i didn't express myself properly. What i meant was, that i have 2 specimens from Illinois, and those are not from 2012, but 2013 as far as i remember. They were bred by Soe from this forum. I have attached a picture where the 2 specimens is shown in red to avoid confusion. :happy: . Both are males.


the 2 salamanders from the middle are, according to me, Ambystoma mavortium melanostictum...

as I said previously, your eggs look like A mavortium...

don't you see which female lay eggs ?

^^
Hello again.

Interesting, then it seems they were sold to me under wrong species name :( I'm quite sure that the female that laid eggs is the one shown in the video in one of my previous replies (you get a good look at 0:44 in the video). But since they were captive bred and sold together, all of them should be the same species.

I have attached some better pictures of the salamanders. The first pictures shows 3 different specimens photographed today during feeding. The one eating the worm is one of the specimens you said looked like A. mavortium melanostictum. The last 2 pictures shows the specimens as juveniles in 2012 after i bought them. :happy: Actually quite interesting to see how much they have changed appearance since then


Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

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Mathias Holm

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My largest one is now close to 4 cm :happy: . It is starting to get quite difficult to catch enough food (cyclops) to them. I have to find another food source :D . I will try feeding them Tubifex soon.

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Mathias Holm
 

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Mathias Holm

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My biggest one now looks like this. About 6 cm. Still feeding them Cyclops (and Cladocera), but it is very time consuming to catch all that food! I have tried with Tubifex and Chironomidae-larve, but it is difficult to catch them without getting dirt and organic residues between.
 

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Mathias Holm

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New pictures taken today. I guess the largest one is now about 9 cm. I spend minimum 2 hours daily to catch food to them! Most of my larvae is about 5 cm, but a few is only about 3 cm.

Best regards
Mathias Holm
 

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Chinadog

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Looking good with nice fat tummys!
I guess mine were around 9-10cn when they morphed, so maybe it won't be long 'till you have some Tiger cubs roaming around! :)
 

bellabelloo

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This years batch has been slow growing. My size differences are huge, 4cm to barely 1cm !
This year I raised them in a separate tub from where they where laid, the sides developed something like short hair algae, which I suspect a lot of live food took to hiding in. The larger larvae do seem to lurk in it :) The tub is beside the adults enclosure, under trees and well shaded.
This had been a nicely established tub with lots of live food, I've added daphnia, mosquito larvae, tubifex, white worm and now I am adding chopped worm and some crushed Hikari carnivore pellets ( they haven't really taken to these yet).
 

Mathias Holm

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Thanks for your comments, and sorry for the late reply :) . I now use 4-6 hours every day to catch food to them, so i have been extremely busy! :happy: I primarily feed with (chopped) earthworms, but the smaller larvae i still feed daphnia.

The biggest one is still in the water but it is finally starting to morph! I measured it a couple of weeks ago, and it was 13 cm then. Now probably around 15 cm. During the metamorphosis it has some trouble eating. It has begun to eat like the adults, and shake its head when eating earthworms - one problem though: When i hold the worm in front of it, the larvae begins to shake its head without having the worm in its mouth yet :lol: . Therefore it has been difficult to get it to eat, and it is quite slim now, but i hope it will eat normally as soon as it is fully morphed :) .

I also had the problem with hair algae on the sides of the tubs, but it disappeared again, probably becuase the water got more dirty as the larvae grew.
In the tubs with larger larvae (over 10 cm) i change the water completely every 3-5 days, and the water quality quickly becomes very poor, but the larvae doesn't seem to mind, even though the water sometimes has gotten completey unclear and is starting to stink. Apart from their never ending hunger (which is a big enough problem in itself), they are actually quite easy to house, much easier than i expected.

Picture 1: The tub with the largest larvae, all around 13-15 cm.
Picture 2: The larva that are morphing
Picture 3: One of my smallest larvae. This one had broken its right fore leg and later died. It is my first dead larvae (that i have seen) in af couple of months. Unfortunately it is impossible for me to catch enough food to all larvae, so i have some that are as slim as this. Now i have decided to buy worms, probably Eisensia hortensis or Lumbricius terrestris. But just today i found out that they also eat Eisensia fetida.
 

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Mathias Holm

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And new picture of the morphing larva from today. I'm excited to see the coloration it gets when fully morphed!
It still has trouble eating, but i got it to eat one worm after the picture was taken. Maybe i should already now move it to a seperate tub with a land area?
 

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bellabelloo

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Yay...morphing :D

This does happen quickly once it starts. With mine, I either lower the water and add hauling out areas, or slope the tub so that there is a slope to land. Mine are no where near morphing and the size ranges are huge. I have let them predate on the smaller ones. The water is still cool, just over 10 degrees, but they eat well, and grow slowly.

I am no aiming to move them out, if they chose to over winter aquatic, they can :)

I'd keep offering food, but don'y worry of its rejected for a while.
Keep posting updates :D
 

Mathias Holm

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Alright, thanks :) . I will put it in a seperate tub with a land area tomorrow. No sign of metamorphosis on the other specimens - they just keep growing :happy: .
And i just ordered 1 kg Eisensia hortensis - wonder how long they will last, probably only a few days ;)

And thanks to Paul for pointing out that the species more likely is mavortium (melanostictum). This made me write to a danish expert that also identified them as Ambystoma mavortium, primarily based on the eggs that were laid singly and not in clusters. He wouldn't say anything certain about the subspecies other than he agreed it could be melanostictum.
 
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