Axolotl Breeding : How do Axolotls Reproduce?
Axolotls can reproduce (lay eggs) several times a year in their natural environment, up to 6 times, or more.
They reproduce during the winter when temperatures drop and the days get shorter, to trigger reproduction in captivity (in the aquarium), you can lower the temperature below 15 ° C during the winter weeks, and you can also isolate the couples if you have several individuals in the same tank.
When does an Axolotl reach sexual maturity ?
In their natural environment, axolotls become adults from the age of 7 months, but when they are in captivity and for reproduction to be successful, it is advisable to breed only axolotls that reach at least 18 cm in size.
When the light-dark axolotls become sexually mature, their fingertips become darker (black) while they become lighter in the axolotls of a slightly darker color. This remains controversial information, some owners continue to confirm it while others insist that they did not notice the color change when their axolotls reached sexual maturity, but basically, if your axolotl is over a year old, it has surely become sexually mature.)
How to distinguish between male and female axolotls?
You will recognize the females by their roundness and a proportionally shorter tail, but you should try to distinguish the males by their cloaca, which is generally longer and swollen than that of the females.
How do axolotls reproduce?
Reproduction is triggered when the female (once her eggs are ready to be fertilized) secretes pheromones (smell) in the water, the male will quickly understand what is happening and will start to produce spermatophores, after a short courtship and his gills become bright red with excitement.
During this time and each time the male axolotl produces and releases a spermatophore (gelatinous cones with the white Top )
He will redirect the female towards him, she will position herself above this spermatophore and suck it into her abdomen full of eggs ready to be fertilized. These eggs will be deposited on the decorations of the Tank (plants) after a day or two.
How will the axolotl eggs be laid?
The female will then lay her eggs by sticking them on the leaves of the axolotls-friendly freshwater live plants that you will have previously installed in the Tank, it is necessary to expect generally a good hundred eggs laid.
You must immediately separate the eggs from the adults who could attack them and devour them (remove the plants with the eggs and put them in another container equipped with a bubbler preferably, same water quality and temperature).
The eggs of a female Albino White, Gold and Copper are white, and those of other females are black or bicolor (black and white), but do not soak, because the color of Axolotl eggs does not determine the color of the future babies.
You will distinguish the eggs when they will take the color of the female, but as they develop, the axolotl babies will gently show their colors and the eggs will hatch just after a few days (7 to 15 days depending on the water temperature).
pictures of the development of axolotl eggs
Here are some pictures taken during the transformation and development of axolotl eggs cracked and laid into axolotl larvae.
What to do after the axolotl eggs hatch?
To avoid cannibalism in the tank, the axolotl babies must be fed from their second day, you will have to give them morning and evening, small fresh water insects that will suit the size of their mouth, like Artemia nauplias ,live daphnia or live baby bloodworm (midge larvae) ; until they reach about 4 centimeters (their front legs will develop) and then you will feed them with small worms of living mud preferably.
They must remain isolated in their own Tank until they reach at least 12 to 15 centimeters before putting them back in their parents’ Tank, otherwise they might attack them if you delay a little bit in feeding the larger individuals.
How to take care of axolotl babies?
During the first two weeks, the eggs must be oxygenated by stirring the water (stir the water morning, noon and evening) or by changing it every 24 hours, try to keep it under a temperature of about 18 ° C.
The water of the tray that contains the eggs and will then contain the baby axolotls must be large enough to contain all the axolotls and must always remain clean, you will have to aspirate their excrement with a pipette.
After two weeks or a little less or a little more; most of the eggs will hatch and you will start the sorting by getting rid of the eggs that have not yet hatched, because the babies are too weak to pierce the egg membrane, and they will not be able to compete with the others later, it is better to get rid of them from the beginning.
In fact, you will continue to select and leave only the axolotl babies that seem the strongest, this process is done alone in their natural environment, the axolotl babies that do not grow fast enough will be devoured by predators or sometimes by their own congeners.