Axolotls are the best types of salamanders to take care of in your home tank, and so are axolotl babies. Whether it is their unique shades or friendly behavior, everything makes them unique in their way.
But what does the life of baby axolotls look like, and how do you care for them? Well, check out this article to know more.
Axolotl babies are quite tricky to care for as you will require prior experience in fish breeding. It takes 15-20 days for eggs to hatch and give birth to little ones. Make sure you are keeping them in a separate tank to save them from becoming the snack of their parents.
Do baby axolotls have a special name?
Axolotl babies are usually known as larvae.
Unlike fish fry, they are hardy and require a great level of care to transform from a larva into an adult.
Baby axolotls are the by-product of a unique process of axolotl breeding. Usually, adults that are ready-to-breed require an increasing temperature and light to get the spring signal to start their breeding.
Males first starts to expel their spermatophores in the water and then tend to lure a female over them. After that, the female picks up the sperm packet with her cloaca, leading to internal fertilization.
Finally, after successful breeding, female axolotls release at least 400-1000 eggs during their spawning session. They lay each egg individually that gets attached to the rocks or plants present in the tank.
A female might breed several times during the season.
Axolotl larvae refer to the stage when they are yet to develop all their 4 legs. Their external gills look more like their fin, which renders them a fish-like appearance even though they are biologically amphibians.
Do you know what sets them apart from other amphibians? They possess most of their larval qualities even after they grow into an adult. It takes about 6-12 months for an axolotl to mature from its larval stage.
The tail and gill are usually visible when they are within the eggs. It takes about 2-3 weeks for the baby axolotls to come out of their larvae from the egg.
Initial Care for Axolotl Eggs
The spawning of a female and finding an egg usually occurs on the day when you expect the least. Hence, it is a good idea to look for old spermatophores in the tank so that you get the warning about when you will welcome the little ones.
So now, as you find the eggs, it is time to remove the parents from the tank. Or, you can simply remove the eggs from the tank and put them in some other setup.
Usually, it is not hard to remove the eggs if you do it carefully. Especially if the eggs are attached to a plant, you can easily remove them without any hassle.
It is better not to touch the eggs with your bare hand as it can cause harm to the jelly layers surrounding the eggs, causing injury to the little lives hidden in them.
As you have removed the eggs from the tank, now it is time to form a new tank setup suitable for the eggs to hatch. So, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Just to let the eggs hatch, you can opt for a small tank with the size around 18x8x10 inches.
- The water you add to the tank must be dechlorinated.
- If you set the temperature at around 25° Celsius, it will facilitate faster hatching. On the other hand, you can opt for slower hatching by maintaining the temperature at around 18° Celsius.
As soon as most of the babies hatch, it’ll be a good idea to tear apart the jelly coat of those, which have not yet hatched. You can use sharp forceps to do so. Very young ones can be kept together as they do not grow the sense of cannibalism yet.
Upon hatching, most baby axolotls have a body length of 11mm. Slowly they start to develop their front legs.
If you keep them in 20-degree Celsius of water temperature, they tend to reach up to a length of 1.5cm within a week.
How to minimize cannibalism?
One thing you should keep in mind is that babies don’t grow at the same rate. Thus, it is better to divide them according to size as they start to reach 2 cm in length.
At this size, most of the time, they tend to become cannibalistic towards each other as they try to snap at anything that moves in front of them. Hence, they won’t mind harming their siblings.
Cannibalism is a much natural tendency in them. Such nature is also prominent in other salamander species.
So, to minimize cannibalism among them, it is better to place them in a highly planted tank. In such an aquascaped aquarium, axolotl babies will fail to comprehend any movement near them.
Also, keeping the lighting level low in the tank helps in doing away with cannibalism to a great extent.
One of the most reliable methods to keep them safe is to reduce the number of members as much as you can in each of the larvae containers.
Food & Diet
Food is a crucial aspect of care if you want to ensure the healthy growth of your baby axolotl. One tip that we will suggest to you is to be prepared with their food source in a hurry.
At their very initial stage, right upon hatching, they will already possess some egg yolk in their stomach. Until they use it completely, they will stay motionless. So, at this stage, they will not require any additional food.
But after 3 days of hatching, their pre-consumed egg yolks will be used up, and they will require food.
At this point, they will reach up to a length of 20mm. So, for their further growth and better development, they will need a diet that can give them proper nourishment.
Hence, their diet must include live food that comes in very small sizes. They will ignore any dead food when they are too young. So, the live food choices you can make for baby axolotls are brine shrimps, small daphnia, microforms, Moina, etc.
Filtration is very crucial since they need good water conditions to grow properly. However, one thing you should keep in mind is to not use a too strong filter in the tank that can pose a threat to the life.
We suggest you use a foam filter, which effectively reduces the need for frequent water changes. Though bio foams are not at all recommended for adults, they do a good job for the larvae.
You can also use a canister or an external filter in the tank if you have a large one. But make sure the filter doesn’t suck up the larvae. The output flow of the filer must spread out evenly to keep the water stable enough.
Care at the Juvenile Stage
The axolotl babies tend to grow up to 50 mm within a few more weeks. Though their hind legs will not grow fully, they will be potentially visible.
At this stage, you can feed them 3 mm axolotl pellets to meet the growing nutritional needs in their body.
As soon as they develop their hind legs fully, they can be called juvenile or sub-adults. In this phase, you can feed them small earthworms or bloodworms.
It is simply amazing to watch the entire process of hatching from the eggs to running into a full-grown adults. Indeed, babies are even cuter than grown-up ones.
However, do you want to care for baby axolotls in your home tank and raise them for commercial purposes?
Well, then, make sure you are giving them the right amount of care, food, and space from the very beginning so that they can have healthy growth.
It is better to opt for axolotl breeding when you already have some experience in fish or amphibian breeding.