Melanoid Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), Locally Bred!
* For the safety of our animals, we ship axolotls exclusively via UPS Next Day Air. If your order contains this item, you will only see UPS Next Day Air as a shipping option during checkout. Also, due to the unique lower temperature requirements for Axolotls, we currently cannot ship them in the same package as other animals, which require a heat pack during this time of year. However, we can ship them with plants and dry goods. Please order Axolotls alone or with plants and dry goods only. If you wish to order other animals, please complete your Axolotl order separately. Axolotl orders with other animals in the same order will be subject to cancellation of the other items. *
* These Axolotls are bred and housed by a dedicated, expert local breeder and delivered to us for shipment on Mondays only. Our weekly order cutoff time is Sunday at 7:00 pm EDT for shipping on Monday, the next day (weather permitting), excluding applicable holidays. Shipping schedule will be announced for weeks with conflicting holidays for carriers. *
* Please Note: We cannot ship this species to Hawaii, California, Maine, New Jersey, and New Mexico. *
The Axolotl is a unique and fascinating cool water amphibian that is fully aquatic, and this is a very deluxe variant!
The Melanoid Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a very unique salamander species that lives its entire life in the “larval” stage. It never becomes land-dwelling and is instead fully aquatic with external gills. This Mexican native is critically endangered in the wild, but is captive-bred by many aquarists and has been developed into many exceptional color morphs. It attains an impressive, but manageable size, and it is relatively easy in care provided that a few very important needs are met. This less common color variant is available as a natural GFP (Green Fluroescent Protein) type. The "glowing" coloration of GFP-type Axolotls can be seen under a blacklight or actinic blue light, but a blacklight should never be used because it will quickly damage the eyes of the Axolotl. Blue lights are safe for viewing the Axolotl.
Two of the most important aspects of Axolotl care are temperature and water flow. It is not a tropical animal, so it is critical that its aquarium is kept below 70° F (21° C), with 60-65° (15.5-18.3° C) being more ideal. While this temperature can often be achieved by keeping the tank at “room temperature” with no heater, it is important to consider any temperature increase that might be caused by aquarium equipment, particularly lighting. If the Axolotl is kept at too high of a temperature for more than a very brief period, it will typically stop eating and deteriorate rapidly, eventually resulting in death. It will not adapt to long-term high temperatures. It requires low water flow that is not concentrated into any direct-flow areas. A spray bar is very useful for this species. The Axolotl is not afraid to jump, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary to prevent it from escaping the aquarium.
The Axolotl is primarily nocturnal, but will often become active during daytime hours once established in an aquarium with plenty of smooth driftwood, plants, and other hiding places. Its skin is easily damaged, so decor with sharp edges should never be used. It does not require lighting at all, and it will be more outgoing with at least subdued lighting. Floating plants can help with diffusing light. Another crucial aspect of Axolotl housing is the substrate. It will often eat or try to eat anything that will fit in its mouth. No gravels should not be used for this reason, as they can cause impaction of the digestive tract of this species. A good rule of thumb is that the Axolotl will try to eat anything up to the size of its head. Very fine, aquarium-safe sand is a viable option for a more naturalistic-looking Axolotl aquascape, though many Axolotl keepers opt to use no substrate at all. While it does not require a particularly large aquarium for its adult size, the Axolotl does require very clean water and effective filtration with a regular water change regimen.
Due to its size and unique requirements, there are very few possible or appropriate tankmates for the Axolotl. Juveniles are notorious for biting off the limbs of other juveniles. While this species has the incredible ability to completely regenerate complete limbs, feet, and digits, there is still the possibility of infection from such attacks and juveniles should not be housed together. Adults of the same size can sometimes cohabitate, but it is not necessarily ideal for purposes other than breeding. If adults are to be kept together for purposes other than breeding, it must be in a gender-specific aquarium of all males or all females. Males will relentlessly pursue females for breeding, which will result in overbreeding and eventually death of the female in an aquarium setting. Females typically should no more than two spawns per year if they are breeding at all. The Axolotl is not a social species and does not benefit from being kept with its own kind. It will at least attempt to eat any animal that might fit in its mouth, so small tankmates will always be at risk. Other more active, boisterous, larger animals (especially fish) are often prone to pick at the Axolotl, especially at its feathery external gills. The naturally cool water Marimo Moss Balls are an ideal plant for the Axolotl aquarium. Other than hardy, low-light plants (such as Anubias, Java Fern, various mosses) that can possibly tolerate the lower temperature, the Axolotl is best kept in its own species tank.
With proper care, the Axolotl will typically live 10 years or more, and some specimens have been known to live more than twice than long in some instances. Like virtually all of its fellow amphibians, the Axolotl should not be handled unless absolutely necessary. If it must be removed from its aquarium in a rare instance, a fine mesh net is required so that the appendages, gills, and fragile skin of the Axolotl are not damaged.
Feeding is easy for the Axolotl. Live nightcrawlers (earthworms) and blackworms are excellent staples. Many specimens will also eat appropriately-sized meaty, frozen foods and cooked shrimp as well as dry foods formulated for salamanders and other amphibians. Mammal-based foods are generally too fatty and should not be offered unless absolutely necessary. The Axolotl eats relatively heavily and should be fed daily and, in the case of juveniles, generously. Spot-feeding near the mouth of the Axolotl with forceps or a feeding stick is often helpful and will reduce uneaten food. Uneaten food should be removed and replaced daily.
We are currently offering unsexed GFP and non-GFP juveniles of this remarkable species!
What We Like About This Animal:
- Very unique appearance and behavior
- Easy and simple care
- Excellent for the single-specimen aquarium
- Impressive, but manageable size
- No heater required
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 58° - 69° F (14.4° - 20.5° C), although temperatures as low as 40° F (4.5° C) can be tolerated
- pH: 6.5 - 7.5
- KH: 5 - 20 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 29 gallons for a single adult
- Diet: Carnivorous. Requires a variety of meaty live, frozen, and dry foods
- Social behavior: Generally solitary, should be kept in a species-only setup
- Origin: Tank-bred, but indigenous to Lake Xochimilco, Mexico
- Average adult size: 10 – 12 inches (25.4 – 30.5 cm), although some grow to 18 inches (45.7 cm)
- Average purchase size: 4 - 5 inches (10 - 12.5 cm)