The popularity of keeping pet axolotls is increasing at an exponential pace with more and more people adding an axolotl to their family with there being no signs of their popularity growth slowing down anytime soon.
A huge number of people who start to keep axolotls usually quickly progress to keeping multiple axolotls and when multiple axolotls are kept in the same aquariums, we often see people quickly asking questions about pregnant axolotls.
With there being so many things involved in caring for a pregnant axolotl or breeding axolotls, we usually see a wide range of questions being asked from the community about it.
Due to this, we have decided to compile all of the more common questions that we see asked each month about caring for a pregnant axolotl into this single article to try and answer as many of the questions that we see as possible.
Our hope is that we will be able to answer as many of the questions that our readers may have about breeding axolotls, caring for fertilized axolotl eggs or caring for a pregnant axolotl female.
As we are covering a number of different questions in this article, we have decided to add our table of contents below to make it as quick and easy to navigate the article as possible.
This should allow you to easily skip to the sections of the article that you want answers to without having to go over the full article. If you are thinking of breeding axolotls though, at least skimming the full article is probably going to be the best option available.
How Can You Tell If Your Axolotl Is Pregnant?
You can usually identify a female axolotl who is “pregnant” or full of eggs due to her rapidly increasing in size due to the eggs inside of her.
A female axolotl producing eggs will usually start to lay her eggs within her tank within 24 hours offering an easy way to confirm if she is full of eggs or if she is bloated due to dropsy or something else.
Axolotl females do not get pregnant in the same way as human does as they are not livebearers but they do swell up with eggs and increase in size.
There is usually no specific behaviors with a female axolotl who is producing eggs to indicate that she is about to start laying either other than noticing her gain size over the course of a week or so and then usually starting to lay her eggs after she reaches maximum capacity.
A very common mistake that we see people make is that they make mistakes when it comes to understanding if they have a male or female axolotl.
Our article going over how to tell your axolotls gender may be worth skimming if you think you have a male axolotl but you suddenly notice that he is increasing in size.
Keep in mind that there are other potential issues that can bloat an axolotl up other than pregnancy though so keep that in mind too.
How Often Do Axolotls Have Babies?
Wild axolotls will only breed once each year, usually in the early summer months when temperatures and water conditions are right for them.
Axolotls can technically breed year-round though and some axolotl breeders will set their tanks up to maintain ideal temperatures and water parameters to breed their axolotls multiple times a year.
Due to the pregnancy process for axolotls being so quick, it usually does not cause any problems with the axolotl if it is bred twice or even three times a year.
Their natural limitation of having babies once per year is mainly down to the water conditions and temperatures in their native Mexico only making it optimal to breed once per year rather than an issue with their reproductive system limiting their breeding frequency.
The majority of axolotl breeders will usually not breed their axolotls more than twice per year though due to raising axolotl larvae into axolotls taking more time, effort, and money than most people initially realize.
Even experienced breeders can find themselves overwhelmed by the number of baby axolotls that they have to care for at times so it is very common for first time breeders to have problems too.
How Long Are Axolotls Pregnant For?
A female axolotl who is “pregnant” and full of eggs will usually develop her egg clutch over the space of a week and then lay the majority of her eggs within a 24 hour period.
The axolotl eggs will not be fertilized unless the female has access to a male axolotl’s spermatophores that he will usually spawn in multiple areas of the tank and can trigger the female axolotl to produce eggs.
The actual breeding process for axolotls is over relatively quickly but a single female can lay as many as 1000 eggs per pairing but 100 to 200 eggs is much more common.
This is why so many people who are new to breeding axolotls tend to become overwhelmed and end up having problems due to the sheer number of axolotl larvae that they have to care for and then pass on to new owners.
On the flip side of that though, this does work to the wild axolotl population’s advantage due to there only being around 1000 adult wild axolotls left in their natural habitat.
A number of breeding programs in Mexico are taking advantage of the sheer volume of eggs a single female axolotl is able to produce to try and help repopulate the wild axolotl population.
Do Female Axolotls Lay Eggs without A Male?
Although very rare, a female axolotl can lay eggs without a male in her tank but this is usually due to a number of problems with water parameters triggering her to produce and lay her eggs.
The majority of the time, a female axolotl will not start to produce her eggs without a male in her tank with the male spermatophores often helping to trigger the female axolotl to produce her eggs.
We have also seen some reports of some chemical cleaners being able to trigger a female axolotl to produce and lay eggs without having male in her tank.
This is usually not intentional and is often an accident though and we would never recommend that you intentionally try to get a female axolotl to produce and lay eggs unless you are intentionally trying to breed your axolotls.
As we mentioned, a normal axolotl egg clutch is usually 100-200 eggs but they can be as large as 1000 eggs and this does take a toll on your female axolotl.
They tend to become tired if they do have a particularly large egg clutch and it takes a huge amount of energy from your axolotl to go through the egg creation and egg laying process.
How Long Does It Take for An Axolotl to Give Birth?
A female axolotl will usually take up to a week to actually produce her eggs and then once they are ready, she will usually lay them within a period of 24 hours or less.
If the axolotl has a particularly large clutch of eggs then it may take as long as three days for her to lay all of her eggs but this is very rare.
Once the female axolotl has laid her fertilized eggs, it can take as long as 15 days for the fertilized axolotl eggs to hatch. This does depend on water parameters, temperature, and the age of the mother due to older female axolotls producing fewer viable eggs.
Just because the general ballpark is 15 days, we have seen some people report that their fertilized axolotl eggs have been able to hatch in as little as 10 days where as some people report it taking as long as 18 days.
It is difficult to give a more accurate timeline due to there being so many different variables involved that all come into play.
How Do You Keep Axolotl Eggs Alive?
Provided there are no predators in the tank that may try to eat the axolotl eggs, it is usually easy to keep axolotl eggs alive and maintaining a water temperature of 18°C/64°F to 25°C/77°F with the middle temperature ranges usually being idea.
Ensure that the other water parameters remain steady for around two weeks and your axolotl eggs should hatch without issue.
Keep in mind that axolotls will eat their own eggs if you give them the chance so removing the parents from a the breeding tank once the fertilized eggs have been laid is very common.
Both axolotl parents are able to easily eat their way through all of their eggs within the two weeks required for the eggs to hatch.
Many other fish, snails, and shrimp will also eat axolotl eggs too so most people will keep their breeding tanks free from everything other than the parent axolotls.
Once the parent axolotls have produced the fertilized eggs, most people will then remove them from the tank too.
How Do I Know if My Axolotl Egg Is Fertile?
It is very difficult to tell if your axolotl eggs are fertile within the first two to three days of the eggs being laid by the mother.
After the four day point, it does tend to become very easy to see if your axolotl eggs are fertile though and you can easily tell by looking at a the shape of the white yolk in the centre of the egg as a fertilized egg that is developing will start to look like a tiny axolotl without arms or legs and then grow from there.
An un-fertilized or non-developing egg will usually just keep the normal white egg yolk in the clear egg sack and not develop any further.
It is common to have a small number of these eggs with each egg clutch that the female axolotl releases but water temperature and water parameters can cause a number of fertilized eggs not to develop too.
If a fertilized egg is damaged in any way during the two week development period then there is a high chance that the egg will stop developing too.
Sometimes parasites in your tank will also take up home in the egg due to it being an easy food source for them and these are usually easy to identify due to being a small black or brown dot in the middle of the egg but this is rare.
What Is the Survival Rate of Axolotl Eggs?
It is estimated that the survival rate of wild axolotl eggs is less than one percent but the survival rate of axolotl eggs in captivity can range wildly.
This is due to there being a large number of variables that are under the aquarium keepers control that are normally random in the wild with some people being able to maintain a fifty percent egg survival rate in their tanks.
This does tend to be the more experienced axolotl breeders though due to the costs required to set up a high survival rate axolotl breeding operation.
On top that that, many people who breed axolotls for the first time will make very easy to avoid mistakes that drastically reduce the survival rate of their first pairing.
For example, we constantly see people leaving the parents of the eggs in the tank as they are not aware that the axolotl egg parents will eat their own fertilized eggs until it is too late.
This is why doing your research if you are intentionally planning to breed your axolotls is very important.
Can You Make Money Breeding Axolotls?
The majority of people who breed axolotls actually lose money and are often left with baby or juvenile axolotls that they are unable to sell.
This is why it is a bad idea to try breeding axolotls for money unless you have contracts with pet stores who will sell the axolotls for your and pay to feed them and maintain their tanks in their stores while awaiting sale.
The initial cost of setting up a real axolotl breeding opportunity is considerably more than most people initially realize too.
Just prepping all of the required cultures for feeding the axolotl larve throughout the various stages until the reach adulthood and will eat regular axolotl food is also more costly and time consuming then most people initially think.
Unless you are able to get very luck and breed a high price axolotl like a mosaic axolotl then the chances of you being able to successfully make a profit from breeding axolotls are minimal.
On top of that, the initial spike in mosaic axolotls is starting to fade as peoples attention switches to firefly axolotls and these can’t be naturally bred and require human intervention in their creation so the prices of the naturally bred mosaic axolotls are starting to fall again.
That brings our article going over the more common questions that we see people asking about taking care of a pregnant axolotl and breeding axolotls to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to answer your question. Breeding axolotls really is not for everyone and it will usually end up costing your more money than you make so we would not recommend that the average axolotl owner tries their hand at it.