Raising baby axolotls with baby brine shrimp (bbs)

xxianxx

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I am just writing a guide to raising axolotls with baby brine shrimp (bbs) for a friend, thought some of you guys may appreciate it as some have been asking questions about it in the forums. This is the technique I use, some people use slightly different ways and it is purely to be used for bbs feeding , raising axolotls on daphnia is done differently with a lower number and lower percentage water changes. First things first, you want to use bbs , you need to hatch it yourself, you cannot rely on shop bought bbs full stop ! Let me reiterate that for you "you cannot rely on shop bought bbs full stop!" , read the threads involving "my baby axys are starving to death the shop ran out". Through no fault of their own shops do run out of live food periodically , they are at the mercy of their suppliers, a break in supply can/will/probably kill your axolotls if you are not prepared. So be prepared , do it yourself. The other reason for growing your own bbs is that when bbs first hatch they carry an egg sac it is full of nutrition which you want to pass on to your baby axys, as time passes their nutritional content diminishes, so if you buy shop bought they are not packed full of the goodness you want as they are not recently hatched plus many of the shrimp will be too big for your babies. The pic below is of my dual hatchery , I harvest every day , bbs hatch in about 48 hours. If you only want to run one hatchery you can store them in the fridge which will slow the consumption of their egg sac. To build a bbs hatchery and raise bbs check the following links, I recomend both http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-be...rine-shrimp-hatching-harvesting-tutorial.html and http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1-gen...ive-fishfoods-freshwater-michael-steffen.html
xxianxx-albums-raising-axys-bbs-picture26133-bbs-hatcheries-bbs-hatch-48-hours-harvest-alternate-days.jpg

Hatch out tanks. When you get your eggs place them in a hatch out tank, if you get them in the post allow the eggs to slowly acclimatize to the temp of the tank / room they are to be kept in before dropping them in. Egg hatching times depend on temp they are kept at, at room temp (20c-22c 68f-72f) hatches them well; lower temps takes them longer. All you need is a tub with de chlorinated water , light aeration and whole load of leave them alone, have a look at them if you want but you can prematurely hatch them when you are messing about so just leave them to hatch , you can add a piece of almond leaf to the water to fight fungal infections and remove fungused or dud eggs with a turkey baster but the main thing is just let them hatch. The pic shows plants which the eggs were laid on, the next pic will not show plant use ,when feeding bbs plants will catch the dead bbs and reduce water quality, it is not till bbs are removed from the diet that the axolotls have them in the tank.
xxianxx-albums-raising-axys-bbs-picture26129-egg-hatching-tubs-airation.jpg

Once your guys have hatched they will consume their eggs sacks for 24 hours or so, the eggs will hatch over a couple of days normally, so what you can do is just remove the first guys who hatch into a separate grow on tub and let the others hatch at their own pace. The pic below is a grow on tub, there are about fifty , two week old axys in there , they are due an upgrade today, they will be split into three batches in the same size tub which is approx. 12" x 6". Yes they look cramped and there is a reason for that and the reason is simple, food supply. The more food these guys get the faster they grow, I wish to get them as big as possible as fast as possible. Bbs is very good for this but there is a downside, they do not live for long in freshwater , they die and turn the water foul fast. If you overfeed and dont maintain water quality the axys die, simple as that. This is a trial and error situation , you are better under feeding than overfeeding. You can use two feeding methods, first method, feed once a day, do a large water change prior to feeding, remove as much water as you can from the tub and replace with clean de chlorinated water which has been left to stand in the same room to acclimatize to the temp, to improve food concentration just fill the tub up with an inch or two of water prior to feeding, then top up to 4"-5" latter after the axys have stopped feeding. The second method is the same as the first just do it twice a day, the dangers of overfeeding are reduced with the second method. If you find you are getting lots of daily deaths you are probably overfeeding so increase water changes and reduce feeding, if you are just getting the odd casualty for the first couple of weeks well..... sorry thats just nature, not all larvae are viable.
xxianxx-albums-raising-axys-bbs-picture26130-about-50-larvae-tub-they-due-upgrade.jpg

The next stage is removing bbs as a food source. Bbs is good for growing baby axys on but the sooner you can get them on to food which doesn't mess the water up fast the better. Perceived wisdom on this site and others is that baby axys cant feed off non moving food sources till they have their back legs, well its not 100% true , it's a rough guide . The tank below shows different story, not a back leg on those guys yet, they are 1.25"-1.5" and they are feeding on live white worm and frozen bloodworm, some of them will not eat the frozen foods straight away hence the live white worm. If you only have bbs or frozen bloodworm do not rush this step, just keep trailing the axys with the frozen food, until you are satisfied they will all feed on it then discontinue the bbs.
xxianxx-albums-raising-axys-bbs-picture26131-what-they-will-get-upgraded-2ft-tank-50-larvae-about-1-5.jpg

The next pic below is of the next stage, these guys are about 4", they have back legs and are feeding on chopped earthworm , 2mm trout pellets, 2mm amphibian pellets, snails and other invertebrates in their tanks with the odd cube of blood worm. As the axys increase in size you need to reduce the stocking density to keep the water quality good, in this tank there are seven axys it could quite easily have fifteen. Bbs has many good qualities, nutritionally sound, cheap and freely available if you grow it your self but their impact on water quality is so bad you are better of using daphnia if you can grow it yourself, the amount of water changes required for its use can only cause stress for your axolotls so the sooner you can stop using it the better, the last two pics in this thread are of tanks which have a 50% water change every other day max. Hope this thread is helpful, as I stated it is my technique, other people use bbs in different ways feel free to ask any questions.
xxianxx-albums-raising-axys-bbs-picture26132-same-size-tank-above-just-reduced-stocking-density-atm-7-4.jpg
 
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Methodzki

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Only problem I got with Bbs is that They just do not hatch. I cannot make them hatch. Seen many tutorials, doing everything as I should and the hatch rate is about 10%, that leaves me with the mess of unhatched eggs.

So I swapped for dafnia. And I got question for Ian.

Ian I seen in some posts you are using dafnia and prefer them to bbs. So if you can please tell me the best way to harvest the baby dadnia? I got tank with loads of dafnia mixed up big and small. Is there any way to separate them? I would like to live the big ones to reproduce it the tank.
 

xxianxx

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Ian I seen in some posts you are using dafnia and prefer them to bbs. So if you can please tell me the best way to harvest the baby dadnia? I got tank with loads of dafnia mixed up big and small. Is there any way to separate them? I would like to live the big ones to reproduce it the tank.

Daphnia are preferable to bbs on a number of levels, firstly they dont die and foul the water like bbs, if you are just raising a small number of eggs 10 or so, I would recommend daphnia, bbs come in to their own for large volumes of eggs unless you have access to a proffessional daphnia production line. The main problem with daphnia is maintaining a viable culture, there are a lot methods and threads showing you how to do it, this book is now my live food bible Culturing Lives Foods Fresh Water - Arch Aquatics I recommend it without reservation. If you want to use daphnia as a food it is best to set up a tank which supports the daphnia life cycle. Fully cycled, low water changes heavily planted low stocking density of axolotls, the daphnia will live and breed in the tank providing a constant food source. When I use daphnia I dont worry about grading by size, I just net a load out and drop them in the tank , they are either immediate food or producers of small daphnia which are food, just go easy on the water changes so you dont flush them out of the tank.
 

Methodzki

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Daphnia are preferable to bbs on a number of levels, firstly they dont die and foul the water like bbs, if you are just raising a small number of eggs 10 or so, I would recommend daphnia, bbs come in to their own for large volumes of eggs unless you have access to a proffessional daphnia production line. The main problem with daphnia is maintaining a viable culture, there are a lot methods and threads showing you how to do it, this book is now my live food bible Culturing Lives Foods Fresh Water - Arch Aquatics I recommend it without reservation. If you want to use daphnia as a food it is best to set up a tank which supports the daphnia life cycle. Fully cycled, low water changes heavily planted low stocking density of axolotls, the daphnia will live and breed in the tank providing a constant food source. When I use daphnia I dont worry about grading by size, I just net a load out and drop them in the tank , they are either immediate food or producers of small daphnia which are food, just go easy on the water changes so you dont flush them out of the tank.

Thank you very much, you are more than kind!
 

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I was led to believe the best way is too use frozen brine shrimp as you can use them more sufficently. Generally a air stone is enough to keep the shrimp moving in the tank so the axies dont know the difference. Just what I was told maybe someone can confirm this for me.
 

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I was led to believe the best way is too use frozen brine shrimp as you can use them more sufficently. Generally a air stone is enough to keep the shrimp moving in the tank so the axies dont know the difference. Just what I was told maybe someone can confirm this for me.

Newly hatched axolotls require live baby brine shrimp. Frozen brine shrimp are adults, and do not move. People may have results with frozen brine shrimp in axolotls that have aged some, but the safest and best route is to produce live baby food such as baby daphnia or newly hatched brine shrimp. I cannot attest to the use of non-live food in general, though I know that there has been some success with other sources that I will not state, as I prefer the idea that newbies should not confound themselves further – breeding your own daphnia or baby brine shrimp are the preferred and most successful way of raising eggs. So no, frozen brine shrimp are not a good substitute for hatchlings. It does not meet size needs, disregarding the factor of movement altogether.


I especially like your varying photos, Ian. They show a few methods of raising hatchlings from tubs to tanks. I dig all your plants.

Also, that book is now my bible as well. Regards to Michael!
 

xxianxx

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I was asked what morphs the axolotls are, the eggs are wild type bred by me, the plastic tub axys are melanoid and albino, first glass tank are leucistic and supposedly golden albino but look more like wild type and the last pic has a couple of hybrids and some green wild types bred as I am trying to fix the green colour, pic of the father below prior to treatment for fungal infections.
xxianxx-albums-me-my-stuff-picture23307-rescue-axys-fungus-030.jpg

All morphs wil be available for sale in the next couple of weeks/months , contact me for details. Dont even ask about the hybrids they are not for sale.
 

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I was asked what morphs the axolotls are, the eggs are wild type bred by me, the plastic tub axys are melanoid and albino, first glass tank are leucistic and supposedly golden albino but look more like wild type and the last pic has a couple of hybrids and some green wild types bred as I am trying to fix the green colour, pic of the father below prior to treatment for fungal infections.
xxianxx-albums-me-my-stuff-picture23307-rescue-axys-fungus-030.jpg

All morphs wil be available for sale in the next couple of weeks/months , contact me for details. Dont even ask about the hybrids they are not for sale.

There is one picture, should there be more?
 

xxianxx

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Just some edits to the original post, eight years on......
Brine shrimp can hatch in 24 to 48 hours dependant on temp, i hatch in cold conditions so its 48 hrs.
You can reduce the danger of fouling the water with the single daily water change and single daily feed by delaying the feed ie clean 8am feed 8pm, it reduces the time that the dead shrimp will be hanging around the tank.
I also didnt mention the importance of wiping the bottom of the tubs daily, dead bbs really promote a bacterial build up, if its not removed it can cause die offs.
 
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