The world of axolotls has a bunch of excitements to present in front of you. Whether it is their unique temperament with weird external appearances or their exotic color ranges, everything makes them worth talking about.
One of such varieties is the GFP axolotl which is widely acknowledged for its brilliant color trait and unique origin.
GFP axolotls are pretty popular due to their unique trait of glowing under UV lights. These axolotl species can be easily cared for in a 20-gallon tank with a good supply of carnivorous diet and regular water changes.
What is so special about GFP axolotls?
Due to animal research, some axolotls got a much cooler upgrade in their genomes, which is the main reason behind the emergence of this GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) trait.
Found in one of the species of jellyfish, this GFP trait makes most cells in the body of an axolotl produce a bright-looking yellow-colored protein. In addition, it renders a glowing neon green effect to the body of GFP variants under UV lighting.
This trait is excellent in helping researchers work on organ transplants and limb regenerations in humans. Secondly, this trait can quickly be passed from one generation to another. But this effect is not limited to pigment cells and does not get affected by the leucism of an axolotl.
The common facts known about axolotls are that these salamanders popularly inhabit the Xochimilco lake of Mexico City. Even though their existence is in the face of danger and they are on their way to extinction, many species are available in laboratories and aquariums.
Scientists have selected this unique species for research and study purposes due to a variety of reasons. Axolotls tend to have brilliant limb regenerative power, making them an interesting subject for scientific research works.
Well, the exotic color morphs of axolotls are not only the by-product of natural breeding; some of them are artificially created in labs. And GFP axolotls are one of those variants whose color varieties are man-made.
GFP axolotls are usually the albino ones, injected with a particular type of protein to obtain a unique body glow.
GFP stands for a green fluorescent protein, which is explanatory of the fact that they gain their bodily glow due to the presence of this particular protein in their body.
These particular axolotl types are unique due to the presence of GFP genes in their body. They are introduced to this modified DNA protein in a lab setting.
The advent of GFP axolotls took place for performing scientific studies on the regeneration of cells in cancer. Since then, this gene has become a recessive one, which is now passed on from one generation to another.
So, do you want to know the effect of this protein’s presence in axolotls is? The presence of this protein lets them glow significantly under any blue or UV lights.
This GFP trait is usually common among albino variants. The lesser the pigment in the body of an axolotl, the brighter it will glow.
Well, the funniest part is that any axolotl morphs can become a GFP one. So, the axolotls that possess GFP genetics are considered to be special enough.
GFP axolotls grow up to a moderate length of about 10-18 inches. Thus, these axolotls are usually lengthier and larger than any other variant.
However, there is not much difference in their height range when it comes to the different variants of GFP axolotl species. Therefore, they tend to grow up to a common length based on the care and food given to them.
Behavior & Temperament
There is nothing much different about the behavioral traits of GFP axolotls from their usual variants. Their docile and considerate behavior makes them good enough for living in a domestic tank. So, here have a quick look at their behavioral characteristics.
- They are friendly enough with their owners as they can interact with them after a few frequent meetings.
- They might show their cannibalistic behavior towards their types, making it suitable for them to reside in a species only tank.
- GFP axolotls sometimes may strive to eat small fish that easily fit their mouth.
- During breeding, the male specimens tend to chase the females quite frequently, which can cause over-breeding and death of the female.
A GPF axolotl, like any other color morphs, is long-lived. With proper care and healthy foods, an axolotl can live up to 10-15 years.
However, you need to be very cautious about regular water changes while monitoring the presence of toxic components like ammonia and nitrite in the tank water.
GFP axolotls need a precise amount of care. Therefore, you will need to take all the measures that are highly necessary to facilitate enhanced care of this artificial color morph. Here is a detailed care guide on GFP axolotls for you.
- Do not touch them with your bare hands while transferring your axolotls to another tank during regular water changes. They have soft and delicate skin, which is susceptible to injury. So, always use a fishnet for the same.
- GFP axolotls prefer clean water. So, it’s essential to maintain the water parameters of their tank.
- Do not feed them fish or crustaceans you obtained from fishing. Such food items can have bacteria or other microbes inside them, which can cause acute infections in your pet.
- The excrement of GFP axolotls is one of the significant issues that can cause ammonia production in the tank. So, you must regularly remove all the waste out of the tank to create a healthy living environment for your pets.
- While handling GFP axolotls, make sure you are not touching them with bare hands. Instead, it would be better to use a mesh net to catch them while shifting them to another tank.
Are you wondering how you should set up your GFP axolotl’s tank to render them the best care? Well, then check out here to know about their tank setup.
You will need to follow a proper tank setup to offer the best care to GFP axolotls in your home. It is vital to put better focus on the size of the tank. The aquarium that you are picking for your axolotl must have enough room in it.
There must be enough place for your axolotl to swim around and hide as per their requirement. A 20-gallon tank is good enough for a single GFP axolotl. If you want to incorporate more numbers of axolotls (even though not recommended), you will need to add 2 more gallons of capacity for each added specimen to avoid any clash.
However, the tank lid is a must as these axolotls tend to jump off whenever they are scared. Jumping out of a tank might injure them and make it difficult to breathe outside, leading to their death.
The substrate is a crucial parameter to consider while creating a space for your GFP axolotl. It will be great if you ditch any sharp surface in the tank. Gravels with small stones are very harmful to axolotls.
They have a common tendency to gulp anything that fits their mouth. So, it would not be uncommon for GFP axolotls to eat away any small stones that might injure their digestive tract.
So, it would be better if you consider adding soft sand as a substrate in their tank. Some axolotl owners prefer to leave the tank bare-bottom. But the problem with a bare-bottom tank is that the surface might feel slippery to your axolotl, which can cause stress to your pet.
Filtration is crucial for the tank of your GFP axolotl. It is hard for them to stay healthy if the water is not clean. Thus, a good filter is highly imperative for the tank of your pet.
On the other hand, the filter you add must not create a too strong current in the water, stressing them out. Therefore, a sponge filter is good in such cases as it does not make too many waves yet efficiently cleans the water.
Water parameters are crucial for the tank of GFP axolotls. Usually, they are hardy enough. So, they can easily tolerate a wide range of pH within 6.5-8. However, the ideal pH level is 7.4-7.6.
The water temperature of the tank must lie somewhere within the range of 60-64° Fahrenheit.
Also, the ammonia level in the tank water of your axolotl must be 0 ppm; anything more than this can be a threat to your pet’s life. The nitrate level in the tank of axolotl must be kept around 2-40 ppm. If this level is exceeded, it can be highly toxic for your axolotl’s health.
It is essential to perform 20% of water changes weekly if you are using a good filter. But if you are using tap water, consider using a conditioner and perform more frequent water changes.
Food & Diet
It is not much hectic to feed your axolotl. These carnivorous salamanders readily accept a wide range of foods. But you need to offer them high-quality, balanced foods that can help their overall development and growth. So, here are some common foods you can serve in front of your GFP axolotl.
- Small fish
- Brine Shrimp
- Lean beef
- Salmon fish pellets
It would be better not to feed your axolotls fish and worms that you have caught yourself. Sometimes, the food you are catching might contain parasites. Hence, it would be better to skip this option.
Do these make a great tank mate?
Are you fascinated by the idea of having a glowing axolotl roaming around in your tank? Well, then you must know whether they are suitable for a tank environment or not. So, here is what you need to know about them.
- First, there is no rocket science in caring for GFP axolotls. They can be cared for easily if you have some prior knowledge in fish-keeping. However, as a beginner, things might seem tricky, but you’ll eventually learn.
- These axolotl species are pretty easy to feed. You will not have to search excessively for their preferred food, as they readily accept a wide range of protein-packed commercial foods that are abundantly available.
- Maintaining all water parameters in their tank is not much tricky. Moreover, they are hardy enough as a salamander.
If you have already made up your mind to welcome a GFP axolotl to your home, you need to be aware of the cost of buying it.
Firstly, they are rare enough, so finding them at any random aquarist store is quite tricky. Secondly, they glow seamlessly under blue or UV lights. Hence, the cost will be a minimum of $50 pricier than the regular ones.
It sounds exciting to have a fish-like creature in your tank that can walk with its tinier limbs and even glow under specific lighting conditions. So, do you want to pet these GFP axolotls and enhance the glamor of your tank? Well, then make sure you are well-aware of their unique needs and requirements for their better growth and good health.