Axolotl: content and care, description, feeding
This fantastic animal is everyone's dreaman aquarist. Axolotl, the maintenance and care of which is simple, is the neotenic larva of the salamander. The axolotl dragons (as these lizards are often called) in the course of rapid urbanization are gradually disappearing into the wild. True, they multiply successfully in captivity, which allows them to maintain their numbers.
The axolotl lizard is of scientific value because of its amazing features to regenerate the tail, gills and even limbs. Currently, they are quite a lot in domestic aquariums.
Life in nature
In the natural environment the axolotls live in the systemlakes and water canals in Mexico City. Almost all their life they spend in the water, without going out on land. Amphibian axolotl prefers deep places in lakes and canals, where there is a lot of aquatic vegetation. During the breeding, the lizards fix the eggs on the algae, and then fertilize it. Lake Sochimilko is famous for its floating gardens - strips of land, located between canals, where the local population grows flowers and vegetables.
In this system of lakes and irrigation canals andthe animal axolotl lives. In the translation from the Aztec language, the name of this lizard is translated as a water monster. Before the invasion of the Spaniards, the Aztecs often used them for food. This meat was considered healing, and it tastes like eel. Nowadays, axoloths are listed in the Red Book. This species is threatened with extinction. The range of their habitat is ten square kilometers, while it is scattered, so it is difficult to establish the exact number of these lizards living in nature.
Description of the lizard
Home axolotl is a larva of ambistomy,which lives only in Mexico. Its length can be from 90 to 350 mm from the tail to the tip of the "smiling" muzzle. Usually males are much larger than females. Ambitons exist in two forms - neotenic (a larva that lives in water and has external gills) and a terrestrial one, which is fully developed and has smaller gills.
Adult (mature) axolotl in length cangrow up to 450 mm, but more often its size is about 230 mm. Individuals larger than 300 mm are rare. These lizards grow much faster than other neotenic larvae of salamanders, and reach sexual maturity already in the state of the larva.
The main feature of this lizard is the large outer gills, which are three processes on the sides of the head. There are also small teeth, but they are designed to hold the prey, and not tear it.
The color of the axolotl is very diverse - fromwhite to black, various shades of gray, brown and brown. It should be noted that in nature lizards of light tones are rare, as they are more vulnerable.
Mexican axolotl practically does not havebones, especially for young individuals. The basis of their skeleton is cartilaginous tissue, their skin is tender and very thin. Therefore, without urgent need (for example, when cleaning the pool), they should not be touched. If you need to catch your pet, use a net of soft and dense tissue with small cells or a plastic / glass container for this purpose.
The life span of axolotl reaches twenty years, but in captivity for more than ten years they do not live.
Axolotl: maintenance and care
Contain such an exotic pet in the homeconditions are not difficult, but there are moments that affect the duration of their lives. The first (and most important) is the water temperature. Aksolotli is an amphibian cold-blooded, therefore the raised temperature is the strongest stress for them. At first glance, it may seem strange that these lizards come from Mexico, but do not tolerate high temperatures. This is explained quite simply. The fact is that their habitat is located at a high altitude, where the temperature is much lower than in the rest of the country.
Future owners of axolotls need to know,that the water temperature above +24 degrees is very uncomfortable for these aquarium inhabitants. If this temperature persists for a long time, it can cause illnesses and even the death of your pet. The best temperature is considered to be below +21 degrees. If you know that you can not keep the axolotl at the necessary temperature, do not start it, so as not to doom to torture.
Choose the soil
Another important detail, which sometimesunderestimate - the substrate. Most often aquarists choose the color, shape and size of the soil at their discretion. But for a Mexican lizard this factor is very important. For example, in an aquarium without soil, axolotl feels very uncomfortable. This causes unnecessary stress and can even provoke the appearance of sores on the tips of the paws.
Gravel is also not very suitable for axolotl,He swallows it quite often. This leads to blockage of the gastrointestinal tract and death of the animal. It is believed that the ideal option for the contents of this lizard is sand. He allows her to crawl freely on the bottom.
Making an aquarium
In many respects this is a matter of owner's taste, althoughsome rules should be followed. Small (young) individuals can be kept in small containers (50 liters). Adult lizards require a larger volume (100 liters for one or two individuals). If you want to keep more, then the volume of the aquarium should be at the rate of 50-80 liters per each axolotl.
Decor of the aquarium should not have sharp burrs andedges - they can injure the delicate skin of your pet. In addition, take care of shelter. They should be more than the number of contained individuals.
Requirements for water
Water filtration for these outlandish lizardsslightly different from that required by aquarium fish. Axolotl like a powerful filter, but with a slow flow. The purity of water is also important, so owners have to choose the golden mean between efficiency and power. Most of all in this case, an internal filter with a washcloth is suitable - it is quite powerful, but does not create a strong current.
Does an axolotl require frequent replacement of water? The maintenance and care of these lizards involves a partial weekly water change. Only in the case of these exotic pets it is necessary to monitor the parameters of the water, as they eat protein food and are quite sensitive to the purity of their home. Do not overfeed them and you need to remove the remains of food in a timely manner.
Aquarists with experience know how important thisfactor. However, most owners have axolotls separately, and there are a number of reasons for this. The outer gills of these lizards make them easily vulnerable to attack by fish. Even the quietest and slowest aquarium fish are unlikely to resist the urge to bite them. As a result, luxurious appendages turn into miserable scraps.
In addition, axolotl is active at night, soSleeping fish become their easy prey. It is quite difficult to find a golden mean between the sizes (so that the fish is not eaten) and aggressiveness (so that the axolotl is not offended).
But there is an exception that allows to containlizards with fish. This is goldfish. They are so slow that they do not even try to injure the axolotl with good feeding. In addition, goldfish also require a low water temperature.
Axolotl, whose price is slightly lower than other exotic species of lizards, is not very fastidious in food. The main thing is to remember that before you is a predator who needs protein food.
The type and size of the feed depends on the individual. For example, many of them gladly eat sinking fodders intended for predatory fish, which are released in the form of tablets or granules. In addition, they can be given fish fillets, cut worms, shrimp meat, frozen fodder, meat mussels, live fish. However, experts do not recommend the latter option, since fish can be a source of infection, to which the axolotl are very located.
The rules of feeding are no different from those,which exist for fish - you can not leave the remains of food in the aquarium, as protein feed immediately rot and spoil the water. It should not be used as a feed for mammalian meat, axolotl can not digest the protein that enters it.
The cost of such an unusual inhabitant of the aquarium depends on several factors - age, color (light lizards are more expensive), size. The average price varies from 500 to 750 rubles.
This is an amazing aquarium inhabitant - a Mexican axolotl. The maintenance and care of it will not be very difficult, and the pleasure of watching him compensates for all the trouble.