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Amphibian Update: Mexican Axolotls Kick off the Spring Breeding Season

Lengthening days and warmer temperatures are beginning to register on amphibian pets nationwide, stirring long-dormant breeding urges.  Last week I was please to find that a 2 year old female axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) which I paired with an older male had produced eggs for the first time.  A week or so earlier a reader informed me of another spontaneous axolotl breeding.

Mexican axolotls are an ideal choice for the prospective amphibian breeder, and are becoming ever more popular each year.  With spring upon us, I thought I might pass along some photos of my pair and their eggs, along with a few tips.

The Aquarium and Filter

The eggs pictured here are set up in a PLA House Plastic Cage equipped with a Small World Filter.  PLA House Cages are available in 6 sizes, and their light weight allows for easy water changes.  I have found them indispensible in my collection, and always have a number on hand.

The Small World Filter is ideal for use with amphibian larvae, as the water return is directed upwards and so does hamper weak swimmers.  Sponge filters work equally well.  I use an air pump that provides just enough aeration to keep the eggs slightly in motion.

Providing Cover
Axolotl eggs are typically attached to plants or other structures, as seen in the accompanying photo.  Once they begin to hatch, I’ll add additional plants, nearly filling the tank so as to separate the larvae a bit and reduce cannibalism.  Plastic plants set in bases are very useful, as they provide shelter throughout the water column. The Cypress Mat  provides excellent cover on the bottom of the aquarium, where the larvae will be spending most of their time.

Feeding Axolotl Larvae
Finely chopped live blackworms form the basis of my diet for newly hatched larvae…a worm feeder lessens the likelihood of the worms clumping together (larvae often choke while trying to swallow large balls of worms).  A brine shrimp hatchery is also useful, and larvae can sometimes be induced to accept freeze dried daphnia and other invertebrates as well.

Further Reading
Pleased see my article Breeding Mexican Axolotls  for additional breeding recommendations.



  1. avatar

    really good info I want 2 get a pair of axolotls and breed them and i’m going 2 turn 13 so i hope i get them 4 my b day 🙂

    • avatar

      Hello Vanessa, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the kind words; I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Please check this article for more information on axolotl care, and feel free to write back. I hope you get your wish!

      Happy Birthday!

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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