How to care for an unusual axolotl?
Unusual pets, especially aquarium animals, are becoming increasingly popular. And one of them is an amazing axolotl. And what he is, how to properly care for him?
Axolotl is not exactly an animal. It is a neotenic larva of the ambystoma (it is one of the species of amphibians). The thyroid gland is well developed, but thyroxine hormone, which triggers metamorphosis, does not produce enough.
But this does not mean that such an amphibian should die or has defects. It feels fine in such an intermediate form, although from it the axolotl can turn into an adult, the ambysotum. This can happen after a change in living conditions or hormonal therapy, but it can only be done by a specialist, experiments at home will surely lead to death.
The appearance of the axolotls is unusual and exotic. They are similar to tadpoles, as they also have an elongated, but rounded body,terminated by a powerful and fin-tailed tail. The paws are set rather widely, the head is disproportionate to the rest of the parts and is large. On the sides are paired gills sticking out in different directions. The mouth is wide, the eyes are very small, which gives an already unusual appearance a certain zest. If you look at the photo, it may seem that the grub looks like a smile, and it looks very funny.
Where to contain?
The maintenance of the axolotl is quite possible at home, but for this you need to select and equip an aquarium. Its volume should be about 20 liters for one individual. As for the shape, the most suitable will be rectangular. Walls should not be excessively high. Put the aquarium should be in a cool, shaded and hidden from the drafts place.
Special requirements are imposed on water. You can use dechlorinated and settled for two days, or key. It should not be hard, the optimum level of acidity is about 7.5 pH. It is important to change the water weekly, but only a fifth, because with sudden changes in environmental conditions, the animal may feel uncomfortable.
Soil should be present in the aquarium, and small smooth stones, gravel or sand can play its role. Vegetation is an optional condition, but you can still plant ordinary aquarium plants, in which the axolotl will hide. If there is no algae, then put some shelter on the bottom in which the pet will feel comfortable.
It is best to keep the axolotls apart, because in the wild they are predators with well-developed hunting instincts. So if you settle them with harmless fish, then soon the latter will be eaten. Predatory inhabitants can perceive as prey for the axolotl itself.
How to care?
Care for the axolotl at home implies the observance of certain conditions:
- Temperature. Since the axolotl is a cold-blooded animal, it will feel comfortable in the cool, namely at a temperature of 18 to 22 degrees, and the increase is tolerated worse than a decrease. In the summer, you can maintain normal conditions with the help of bottles filled with ice or cold water or specialized cooling plants.
- Oxygen.Although the axolotls are chosen to the surface, they still breathe mainly in the gills, so the water must be saturated with oxygen. For optimum conditions, an aerator can be used.
- Socialization. Such animals quickly get used to a person, but still they are wary of him and do not let him in close. In addition, the axolotl may try to bite if it feels threatened. But the bite will be not strong, as the teeth are small and will not allow to bite through the skin.
- Lighting should not be bright. You can use an aquarium lamp, as the length of daylight hours should be about 12 hours.
What to feed axolotl? It is worth remembering that he is a predator, so it will eat animal food. You can offer your pet moths, tubers, earthworms, grasshoppers, cockroaches, crickets or other insects. It is also allowed to include in the diet raw meat or fish, offal, but all this should be pre-grind so that the animal does not choke.
Natural food can be replaced with artificial, intended for fish or amphibians. Newly hatched and young axolotls eat invertebrates, such as daphnia,Artemia. Food can be simply thrown into the aquarium or given using tweezers.
It is important to observe the frequency of feeding. Young individuals are fed every day, but adults and adults (over two years old) are fed two or three times a week.
Axolotls reach sexual maturity by about a year. The male releases a spermatophore, and the female grabs it with a cloaca and after a few days starts to spawn. Then you need to resettle the adults, as they can eat the not yet hatched offspring. In total, the female can make up to three clutches per year (the volume of one can reach 1000 eggs).
The larvae are born approximately two to three weeks after throwing eggs. And they begin to eat after a few days, when the yolk sac will completely resolve. Moreover, young axolotls can eat each other, so that they should be seated in time.
If you provide a comfortable environment, an amazing axolotl will live for about ten years and will feel great.