CARING FOR YOUR AXOLOTL

 

Health Care

The majority of all common health problems are related directly or indirectly to tank or pond conditions. These include poor maintenance of water quality, unsuitable water temperature, ingestion of small objects such as gravel, inadequate frequency and volume of water changes, inadequate quarantine of axolotls and plants, and misuse of chemical medications.

 

Water Quality

·        An axolotl’s skin and gills are delicate and can be easily damaged by poor water quality. High levels of chlorine in particular can be fatal. Regular partial water changes are important to ensure that your axolotl and plants remain healthy. Removing no more than 20-30% of the tank volume every 2 weeks is usually sufficient. When replacing the water it is important to ensure it is at the same temperature and quality as the water in the tank. For example, to remove potentially harmful chlorine, tap water needs to be treated with a water ager or allowed to sit in an open topped container for 24hours before adding to the tank. As well, copper, iron and lead may be found in the water supply, having leached out of the metal pipework. These can be lethal to axolotl but running the tap for a few minutes before using the water will help to reduce the metal content.

·        Overcleaning filters, tank accessories and the sides of the tank can remove beneficial bacteria so a light scraping with an algae scraper and a gentle rinse in old aquarium water is adequate.

·        Axolotls are also very sensitive to a variety of household substances that may pollute the water, including aerosal sprays and tobacco smoke.

 

Chemical Medications

When health problems are encountered many owners first use chemical medications without recognising that there is an underlying water quality problem. Other owners will regularly use various products in an attempt to 'protect' their axolotl. Neither of these activities is beneficial in the long term and may actually create further stress for your axolotl.

 

Feeding 

Never overfeed your axoltl. Any uneaten food will decompose and pollute the aquarium. Only give as much food as can be consumed within a few minutes, two to four times daily depending on the age of the axolotl. The axolotl should rise eagerly to the surface at each feeding time. If not, it is probably being overfed or there are other problems within the aquarium.

 

Quarantine

A minimum quarantine period of 4 weeks is recommended for new axolotls. Invertebrates (eg corals) and plants may also carry disease in the form of parasites and should be quarantined separately for a similar period of time.

 

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