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How To Feed Axolotl When On Holiday

Keeping an axolotl as a pet is not like keeping a dog or cat. For an axolotl owner, planning for a vacation can be tricky.

Before you leave your little friend behind at home, you have to take measures to ensure its well-being in your absence. 

Many axolotl owners wonder how they can feed their axolotls when leaving home for a few days, and their concerns are legitimate.

Unless you have a plan for your axie when you are not around, things can get complicated. 

In this post, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about how to feed axolotl when on holiday. We hope you will find this post helpful. Let’s dive in!

How to Feed Axolotl When on Holiday

Axolotl tank

When you are on holiday, there are two ways to feed your axolotl: ask someone else to feed the animal, or don’t feed at all.

We do not recommend automatic feeders, dry food or holiday pellets because they tend to contaminate the water pretty quickly, leading to changes in water parameters.

And if there are significant changes in water parameters, your axolotl’s life will be at stake. 

Ask Someone Else To Feed

Before you leave, ask someone to feed your axolotl in your absence. You may consider asking your neighbors, friends, relatives—anyone how has time.

Also, make sure you ask someone who has experience in feeding axolotls or other tank-dwelling aquatic animals. Do not rely on a person who is not guaranteed to come. 

Don’t Feed

If you are away for a few days, not feeding your axolotl is not a bad idea. If you find food that is alive and can survive in freshwater, put that food in the tank.

Avoid anything that is not alive. If your axolotl does not eat the food, it will rot and pollute the tank water. 

Here’s another reason not feeding your axolotl may be a good idea: if your axolotl eats, it will poop, and that will change water parameters.

Feel free to put an adult axolotl in a fridge for a week or so. Your axie will be just fine without food. 

If you are planning to be away for more than a couple of weeks, and if your axie is very young, feeding the salamander is important while you are away.

Ask a friend or neighbor to come and feed the axolotl at least every other day. 

3 Things to Avoid When Feeding Axolotl on Holiday

If you think your vacation will take more than a couple of days, make sure you have a plan for feeding your axolotl.

Many axolotl owners use automatic feeders, but using them may not be a good idea. Here are three things to avoid when feeding your axolotl on vacation. 

Axolotl tank

Vacation feeders

The idea behind vacation feeders is great: you can feed your pet even when you are not present. However, we don’t recommend them, in part because they are mostly inefficient, and tend to pollute tank water. 

There is no vacation feeder to feed frozen food. Another problem is that there is no special type of vacation feeder that is designed for axolotls. 

Automatic Feeders

Automatic feeders often malfunction. They sometimes dispense too much food or not any food at all.

If the feeder malfunctions while you are away for a long period of time, either of these two things will happen: your axolotl will go hungry or the tank water will get polluted. There are no commercially available automatic feeders for axolotls.

Overfeeding Before You Leave

You may feel tempted to overfeed your little friend before you leave, but it is important to resist the temptation.

Overfeeding will have adverse effects on your axolotl’s health. The animal’s digestive system will be severely affected, and the poor creature will pass stools a lot. 

In severe cases, the condition can be fatal. Lots of poop will change the water parameters, and high levels of ammonia (NH3) can be fatal for your axie. 

Also read: Axolotl Constipation: 8 Symptoms and 3 Ways Treatment

3 Things to Consider When You Go on Vacation

Axolotl tank

Taking care of your axolotl gets relatively easy if you have a proper plan for your vacation.

Take these three factors into consideration when you go on vacation, and you will figure out how to feed your little dragon when you are not there. 

Duration of Holiday

The length of your trip largely determines how you cater for your axolotl. If it is a short distance, you can simply rush back home to feed your axie.

But if it’s a long trip that’s expected to take several months, consider rehoming your axolotl. Before your scheduled departure, find a responsible person who can take care of your axolotl. 

Talk to the person and make sure he or she takes the responsibility seriously.

However, even if the person has the best intention, he or she may not be able to care for your axolotl all around the clock over several months. 

Age and Status of axolotls

The age of an axolotl determines how long it can go without food. Younger axolotls require more care. They need to be fed more frequently. 

Axolotl larvae require daily care. You should never leave them unattended. A healthy juvenile axolotl can go up to a week without food.

And if it is a healthy adult axolotl living in a well-established tank with appropriate aeration, the animal can easily go up to a week and a half without food. 

To some extent, some other factors also determine how long your axie can go without food. These factors include your axolotl’s overall health, breeding and nutritional status, and initial body condition. 

Current Tank Setup

Optimal tank conditions can reduce the stress of your axolotl, and improve its immunity. Assess the current setup of your axolotl tank.

Water chemistry and temperature, water currents, size of the tank, tank mates, and the presence of hiding spots are some other factors that play some roles here. 

Make sure you have plans for potential disasters such as load shedding and malfunctioning of the aquarium equipment.

Tell your pet-sitter where you have kept your spare equipment, filter, fan, and other apparatus. To avert a potential disaster, consider getting a power generator ready. 

Cleaning a tank with sand substrate can be time-consuming. Cleaning a bare bottomed tank is a lot easier. If you are getting the help of a pet-sitter, consider removing the substrate before you leave. 

Also read: 3 Best Axolotl Aquarium Setup Ideas

How Do You Take Care of an Axolotl on Holiday

Taking care of your axolotl can become challenging during the holiday. Given the fact that a healthy adult axolotl can go without food for a couple of weeks, not feeding your axolotl can be an option.

However, that may not be a good idea if you are planning to be away for a longer period of time. Here are a few ways to take care of your little friend while you are away. 

Having a Friend or Pet Sitter

This is by far the best arrangement. Talk to a friend or pet sitter who has experience in taking care of axolotls.

You can either keep your axolotl in a separate tank in the pet sitter’s home, or request the person to come and feed your axolotl. 

A pet sitter will come regularly and feed your little friend, and check the tank to make sure things are working well. Just choose a person who knows at least the basics of husbandry. 

It’s safe, and you will have some peace of mind knowing that the person is sure to come, and your axie will not remain unfed.

You can prolong your vacation without worrying about the well-being of your pet. 

However, things can go wrong if the person is inexperienced. Out of too much kindness, he or she may end up overfeeding your axie.

Forgetting to dechlorinate the water or change the water can be devastating for your pet. On top of that, finding an axolotl pet sitting service can be hard. 

So, what should you do? First of all, it’s important to find someone you can trust. If you suspect that something may not go well, call that person and walk him or her through the process.

Provide detailed instructions and all the supplies that will be needed. 

It is a good idea to leave some written instructions. Make sure the instructions are simple and clear.

For different procedures, write down instructions in separate sheets. Run training sessions if needed. 

Prepare As Best You Can Before You Leave

Before you leave, make sure the tank water is clean. Scrape the glass, clean the filters, and change the water. Do everything it takes to ensure a safe and healthy tank for your axie. 

If you have a baby axolotl, it is important to pre-cycle the tank. Put some blackworms into the tank.

They stay alive for a pretty long period of time, so the tank water will not get contaminated. Besides, axolotls love blackworms

You will find things a lot easier if you have an adult axolotl. Put the axolotl in a large container of clean water.

The temperature of the water should be 15-16 degrees celsius. Then put it in the fridge for several days. Set the fridge to a temperature of 5-8 degrees Celsius. 

This method works pretty well if you don’t find someone for help. However, it is an option only when you have a short trip. Don’t try this if you think your vacation is going to take long. 

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Veterinary Facility

There are some veterinary clinics that provide boarding facilities for pets including exotic animals such as axolotls.

A trained staff can ensure the well-being of your axie, but inexperienced caregivers may end up doing more harm than good. 

It is important to assess their services and make sure they are actually capable of taking care of your axolotl.

Loot at their premises and see how other animals are cared for. You will have some peace of mind if you know that your pet is in safe hands. 

Aquarium Facility

Find an aquarium shop that offers pet sitting services. In your area you may find a provider that specializes in exotics.

Assessing their competence is of utmost importance. Visit their premises and see if other axolotls are being cared for. If the shop offers sitting services for aquarium fish, ask them if they keep axolotls. 

Schools and Colleges

Visit schools and colleges in your locality and see if they have axolotls. Talk to the authorities about making arrangements for your axolotl.

Observe the health and well-being of the other aquatic animals there. If the people there appear friendly, reliable and competent, consider keeping your axolotl there. 

Checklist For Axolotl When on Holiday

Using a checklist is a great way to ensure the well-being of your axolotl when you go on a holiday.

And when you return, use another checklist to make sure everything is okay. We have prepared two checklists for you. 

Checklist When You Leave:

  • Change the water and clean the tank a couple of days before you leave
  • Check the heater and monitor the temperature of the water
  • Automate the lights. Set them for about 8 hours a day
  • Don’t feel compelled to feed your axie if you are going for 1-2 weeks
  • If you think the trip is going to take longer than a couple of weeks, ask a friend to watch the tank. To make sure the person does not overfeed, keep each day’s food into ziploc bags. 
  • Teach your friend exactly how to perform a water change
  • Talk to your fish sitter over phone, explaining how to check the overall condition of the tank
  • Set your heater and air conditioner at appropriate temperatures so that the temperature of the tank water does not change rapidly. 

Checklist when you return: 

  • Check the physical appearance of your axolotl and observe its behavior
  • Check if there are leaks and the water level has dropped
  • Check if every piece of equipment is working properly. If needed, replace the filters
  • Test the water parameters to ensure the levels are normal. Make adjustments as needed
  • Remove the accumulated toxins by changing about 25% of the tank water
  • Resume feeding your axolotl as usual

Can You Go on Holiday with your axolotl?

Maybe, but we don’t recommend it. If you want to travel with your axolotl, you need to keep the animal in a large aquarium or bag, and that will be uncomfortable both for you and your axolotl.

Staying in a confined space for too long can be severely stressful for your axie. 

Being out of water for a long period of time, the axolotl may have breathing problems. In case the bag is broken or something else goes wrong, you may not have access to water in an emergency

Keeping your axolotl in a shipping container for longer than a day is a bad idea, given the fact that depletion of oxygen and build up of wastes are inevitable.

Your little friend will also be susceptible to thermal shock. And it can be dangerous to keep the animal out of water for longer than 20 minutes. 

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What do I do with my axolotl when I go on vacation?

Put your axolotl in a large container and keep the container in the fridge. Alternatively, you can keep your little friend in the tank as usual.

Put some blackworms and bloodworms into the tank. If possible, ask someone to check the overall condition of the axolotl in your absence. 

How long can axolotls go without food?

Axolotls are opportunistic eaters. In the wild, they can go up to two weeks without food.

The period of time an axolotl can go without food depends on the animal’s metabolism. Low temperatures (15-16 degrees celsius) will lower the metabolism of your axolotl, enabling it to survive longer without food. 

Also read: How Long Can Axolotls Go Without Food?

How long can axolotls go without water?

Axolotls are amphibians. For breathing, they have both lungs and gills. Therefore, when out of water, they can live a very short period of time. Don’t expect your axolotl to live longer than 20 minutes out  of water. 

Also read: Can You Hold an Axolotl Out of Water?

How long can an axolotl survive in a bag?

An axolotl cannot live longer than a day in a bag. The depletion of oxygen and the build up wastes make it hard for the axolotl to live longer in a bag. 

Can you travel with an axolotl?

Yes you can, but it can be too stressful for your axolotl. The animal will have a hard time in the bag or container, and may not survive longer than a day in such a confined space.

Oxygen depletion and waste buildup will make the bag inhabitable for your axie. 

Can axolotls travel in the car?

If the temperature does not get too high, your axolotl will be just fine during the trip.

Consider putting your axie in a cooler so that you don’t have to worry about the health hazard of the animal. 

How do I transport my axolotl?

Visit a pet store and purchase a thick bag designed for transporting aquatic animals. Half fill the bag with tank water and then put your axolotl in the bag.

Now you can transport your little friend in a car. This method is applicable if it is a short drive. Your axolotl’s life will be at stake if the trip takes more than a day. 

Final Thoughts

Keeping a pet is a serious and long-term commitment. There is no way to take the responsibility lightly. If you are keeping an axolotl, make sure the animal eats enough and has good living conditions. 

Do whatever it takes to ensure the health and overall well-being of your axolotl. If it’s a short vacation, most probably your axolotl will be fine without food.

If you think your trip is going to take long, make sure you have a detailed plan for taking care of your little friend. 

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