Tonawanda News —
They prefer to live in cool, fresh water, and will eat anything that can fit in their mouths — including pebbles — which can cause serious medical conditions. Because of this, it is best to limit decorations in the tank to items that are significantly larger than your axolotl’s head, Rehac reminded me.
Most hobbyists keep them in 10- or 20-gallon aquariums with no gravel and no heater. At the Aquarium of Niagara, their axolotls live on large river rocks which look natural and are a great alternative for someone looking to make their axolotl’s home more appealing to the human caregiver.
“Regular water changes, proper filtration, keeping their diet balanced, and allowing for proper space and caging accoutrements are extremely important,” Rehac said. “The work, however, is well worth it to see your axolotl happily swimming around his tank, sucking krill into his shovel-like mouth joyfully.”
In addition to krill, axolotls will eat anything that moves in front of their mouth, making them an easier pet to feed.
“I don’t personally feed live food at this point, because I’m cautious about unknown fish introducing harmful bacteria into Edd’s environment; those who do live feed typically raise their own feeder fish,” Rehac said. “In captivity, they are often fed frozen bloodworms, krill, beefheart and shrimp —depending on their age and size — sinking carnivore pellets and, in some cases, live feeding fish or worms.”
Carly reminds me of what a strong appetite and personality her axolotl has.
“From having the audacity to eat some of his siblings, to chasing my hand around the cage and occasionally offering me a playful nip while I clean or rearrange his home, he always acts with an unmistakable sass.”
Axolotls can be found throughout Western New York at fish or reptile specialty stores. They are usually priced at less than $20 and can grow up to around a foot in length. With their healthy appetite I can easily see readers of Critter Companions training their axolotls to walk through underwater hoops, target and station to various objects in the tank.
Axolotls are a truly amazing animal.
Kenny Coogan has a B.S. in animal behavior and is a certified professional bird trainer through the International Avian Trainers Certification Board. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or search for “Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan” on Facebook.