Acquired: Pet store
Posted Jun 26, 2015
My axolotl (or Mexican Salamander), named Fred courtesy of my father, was exceptionally cute, but unfortunately despite its somewhat misleading classification as an amphibian did not like to leave the water. Which is understandable given that it has no lungs, but still made for a somewhat disappointing pet for someone used to affectionate dogs.
Additionally, having owned fish prior, my expectation was that the salamander would be something similar; i.e. if you are going away for a day or so just overfeed it and it'll be fine without food. Not true. My salamander - and I assume others will be the same - was exceptionally finnicky about food. I was feeding it frozen bloodworms (you buy them from the fish store and then freeze them in icecubes so you can store them longer) and Fred would eat exactly how many worms he wanted and not a single one more, regardless of how many were left floating around the tank. Which meant that if you overestimated a few days in a row you'd have a thin layer of bloodworm decay across the bottom of the tank and my usual go-to solution for tank cleaning (sucker fish) was not an option as Fred ate them. Thus, regular cleaning of the tank was necessary, and careful watching of him was also necessary.
Moreover, Fred liked the water very cold (I was told by the man at the fish store that the water could be between 10.C and 20.C but not a degree over that in either direction), which meant that the tropical fish that were sharing the tank with him (that were too big to be eaten) didn't like it and so we ended up having to get two tanks to run at different temperatures. However, that kind of water temperature meant that algae was less likely to bloom, so the tank needed less frequent cleaning in that respect.
Additionally, one of my aunties who considers herself a bona-fide aquatics expert told me that if I kept the gravel in Fred's tank he would ingest it and it would punch a hole in his intestines. I'd read that in a few other places too, but Fred lived on gravel for more than a year (until we gave him to his new owners and I'm not sure what they did) and seemed absolutely fine, even though I'd seem him eat and then pass gravel.
All in all, he was very cute, but as I said, no lungs = no cuddles and thus was not a whole lot more exciting than the fish.