A blog for my axolotls: photos, updates, feelings, everything.
As well as information, advice and useful tips about axolotl care and breeding. Unless otherwise stated, all content belongs to me.
I'm from New Zealand, and at least once a year have a buttload of eggs and babies up for sale!
This is how I personally deal with eggs.
As soon as I see them, or within a few days, I will extract all the eggs from the tank, and put them into a small tank. Sometimes I put them in plastic containers, but this isn’t best, as it leaks toxins into the water which can spoil a lot of eggs, then kill the hatchlings. Generally I only put them in plastic when I’m dividing them up to count and sell.
So in the little tank, I keep them. It is best to have a low heater on, around 20 degrees celsius. It can be hard to keep it at that temperature, as most have a lower temperature of about 22. The heat helps them grow quicker, both in the egg, and as a hatchling. I didn’t heat my pink and brown eggs, and the gold ones born over a month later quickly caught up and surpassed them in size.
I will change some of the water every day. Normally about 50%. If there is any sand in the tank, or filth, I will try to remove that as I change the water.
Sometimes I will put an airstone in, to keep the water aerated. However it can disturb the eggs a lot, so I don’t do it often. A low output one would be good.
As the eggs develop, I separate the dead/undeveloped ones from the rest, and remove them. They often turn into a circle, or the egg gets milky looking. If it is shapely, you often see malformations in the embryo, such as air bubbles in it’s back. I use two knives to cut through the slime, but being careful not to get too close to the egg. You can easily see a definitive circle which is the outer wall of the embryo.
As they near hatching, I keep the temperature warm and expose them to more light, such as sitting them in the sun on a warm-ish day. The extra light and heat helps them to start stirring and try to hatch. This may be caused by stress, but sometimes it can take them up to a week longer to hatch. Just be careful, if the sun is too hot, and you leave them out for too long, it won’t end well.
As they hatch, I remove them from the tank, into somewhere else. More tanks, glass containers, anything really. Just not plastic. Some plastic may be fine but I’ve tried cruddy takeaway containers, bowls, snap-lock containers, none have ended well. They are teeny tiny at this stage, and don’t need a lot of room.
I also siphon out the old egg cases, just be careful not to suck up other eggs, as this can often rip the embryo out. While this isn’t good for them, they can still survive. I had one ripped out while it was still white, and only just resembling an axolotl, couldn’t even sit upright, just lay on it’s side, and it survived. For awhile anyway, but I lost that entire batch because of the plastic.
After that, I just feed them up with daphnia. The daphnia can be too big at the start, but they will lay eggs with smaller daphnia. Feed them heaps and heaps, as much as you can manage without crippling your daphnia population. It’s amazing how much daphnia they will eat.
As they grow in size, it is good to separate smaller ones from the bigger. Feed up the wee ones a little extra to help them catch up. Once they grow legs, I start attempting to feed them bloodworms. At first I would defrost the frozen cube, then cut it up into smaller bits. They’ll all catch on eventually.
As they get even bigger, you can begin training them to eat pellets.
This is how I personally deal with breeding, and raising eggs, for any who are curious or after advice.
Axolotls are known to have two seasons for mating, depends on the country, but generally it lines up with seasonal change. The change in temperature and light spur them on. For me, this is always in July-September, and sometimes they’ll mate again around now, but this is less common. They’ll do it all on their own, and when you least expect it, or give up waiting! I had just finished emailing my university zoology department in hopes of finding a match for mating, then boom, eggs everywhere.
A good indicator of incoming eggs are a) spermatophore through the tank, b) your female looks fatter than ever, and c) she’s also acting clucky, as in, hanging out in odd places of the tank, or unable to sit still, almost like she’s hunting out good spots to lay.
Laying can take days. Don’t think that’s it after one day, even if she looks like she has stopped. You may be surprised. Ziggy is capable of laying almost a thousand eggs, it’s ridiculous!
Okay so now you have eggs, now what?
I remove the eggs from the tank. If you have a spare tank, put them there. I generally put them in plastic containers, but this can leech toxins into the water, which will almost definitely kill your hatchlings, and probably make more eggs spoil than necessary. So glass is best, or spare tanks. I change most of the water daily, being gentle. If they are all in a tank, I keep them heated between 16-22 degrees celsius, for quicker growth and hatching.
Once they begin hatching, I try to remove the babies, and put them in a proper tank with daphnia in. The first few days, they don’t do or eat much. I keep up with 80% water changes daily, and constant replenishing of daphnia. I also keep the heating up if I can, but it’s not easy to regulate the temperature in such small tanks.
This is pretty much all I do. Heating helps them develop faster, so is recommended, but it also encourages bacteria growth and infection when too high. If you can get a good 18-20 medium, that’s perfect, but keep the water clean!
As always, feel free to ask me any questions. I’m not the best breeder out there, but this method has worked for me. I’m open to suggestions or criticisms too, so long as they are helpful. Hope it helps :)
The gold babies have big enough heads that I can see their eyes now. They are so funny looking haha I’ll upload some photos when my camera is capable of catching the tiny details.
That’s if they survive that long, they were all freaking out. I don’t know whether its the warmer temperatures, or perhaps the larger daphnia are trying to murder them, but they are back in the cool and dark, so hopefully they will settle down.
Saw the yellow tinge definitely! They are going to be fun to raise, but I might not be able to get very good photos.
It was adorable.
Almost straight away, one got some, but heaps was left hanging out it’s mouth. As it wriggled, another baby clamped onto the other end and they had a tug of war all across the tank.
A little later two more did it! Wish I could have got a photo or video, so cute!
Seems to be going down well anyway, despite only having their front legs. Some of them get so spooked by the big dead worms touching them, they just zoom away ^^