The Ultimate Guide to GFP Axolotl

Rare axolotls are no longer news among pet lovers. Actually, the existence of different axolotls types is common knowledge, and there’s a lot of excitement around discovering the types there are. 

GFP axolotl is one of the intriguing types of axolotls, and it’s not just their name or looks but generally the kind of pet they are. 

Many people are interested in them due to their ability to glow under UV lights which is fascinating, but if you intend to keep them as pets, you’ve got to be more interested in not just their looks.

But no worries, we’ve got the ultimate guide to help you navigate keeping healthy GFP axolotls as pets. So, get ready to find out more about these unique axolotls.

Let’s get started!  

How GFP Axolotl is Different From Others

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As you already know, there are over fifteen axolotl types. And while they all share the common name “axolotls,” they are different one way or the other, especially with their looks and body makeup. Each is unique in its own way.

Well, how’s GFP axolotl different from others? Let’s find out!

  • Overview

First, you should know that GFP means green fluorescent protein. Any axolotl can be GFP as long as they have the trait in them. In fact, some species of jellyfish have this trait in them.

The GFP axolotl is a result of animal research and not a natural species. It displays a shiny neon green effect when you put it under UV lighting. And scientists inject albino axolotls with a type of protein to enable them to glow.

That is, the presence of the green fluorescent protein in their body makes them grow. So, basically, any type of axolotl can be a GFP axolotl, provided that they have the protein in them. 

Axolotls have always been a subject of interest and experiment since people discovered that they have regeneration abilities. Hence, the reason for the existence of species like GFP, firefly, mosaic, and other rare types. 

  • Color and appearance

The GFP was discovered when scientists were studying the regeneration of cells in cancer. The discovered gene was deemed awesome, so they were passed from generation to generation.

You get to see the green protein in GFP axolotls, especially when they glow under light. This trait is more common in albino axolotls because the less visible color on their skin, the better it is for the GFP in them to glow brighter under a light.

This doesn’t mean that other axolotls can’t glow, but the brightness depends on the pigmentation of the axolotl. Once an axolotl has the green fluorescent protein, it’s a GFP axolotl.

  • Size

It is not overstating that GFP axolotls tend to be longer than other types, growing between 10 to 18 inches. Even though the difference isn’t exactly significant when compared to others, they can grow up to 18 inches or less depending on how well you feed and care for them.

  • Temperament

Generally, axolotls are calm animals, and anyone would feel good having them as pets. This isn’t any different for GFP axolotls, even though they’ve been experimented on.

They may not look like it, but they are domestic, and you’ll hardly experience a tough time keeping them unless you have multiple juvenile ones in your tank. Here’s a bit you should know about their temperament:

  1. During the breeding period, the males often tend to chase after the females causing them to over-breed, stress, and sometimes die.
  2. They can sometimes be cannibalistic towards other aquatic life in the tank, so they’re better on their own.
  3. GFP axolotls can be cool, calm, and gentle towards their keeper and maybe interact or bond with them after several encounters.
  4. They tend to eat tiny fish or things that can fit in their mouth easily.

Overall, GFP axolotls are friendly animals to keep, and you’ll enjoy keeping them for as long as they live. But how long can they survive?

  • Lifespan

A GFP axolotl has a similar lifespan as other axolotls. If you care for and feed them with the right food, you can expect them to live for as long as fifteen years or more.

But on average, the minimum life expectancy for them is 10 years, and the maximum fifteen years. But some grow up to 20 years before they cease to live; majorly, it depends on you.

With that said, you need to pay attention to your pet’s behavior at all times, even as you monitor water changes and abnormal water conditions in the tank. Therefore, proper care is equal to a longer life. 

How To Care For GFP Axolotls

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A lot goes into caring for your GFP axolotl. It’s not enough that you read and learn about them; you need to enforce what you know. While general axolotl care knowledge might work, what’s better is knowing specific ways to ensure your GFP axolotl is comfortable in your home aquarium. 

This is why the following factors are very important when keeping GFP axolotls:

  • Tankmate

When you think about it, animals are similar to humans when you consider how important our environment is to us. The perfect tank mate is critical for your GFP axolotl growth.

First, one mistake you should never make is to keep them together with small aquatic animals that can fit into their mouths. As opposed to their cool, friendly temperament and smiley face, they are not nice to small animals because they can eat them.

Also, you shouldn’t keep juvenile GFP axolotls together because they can attack one another and nibble on their gills and feet. Unless, of course, you’re very experienced in keeping axolotls enough to feed them right and care for them properly; otherwise, it’s not a good idea. 

However, adult GFP axolotl do pretty well together and can live in harmony. If you want to keep them with other aquatic life, you should only pair them with fishes with cool personalities like them that are not aggressive or highly reproductive. 

But of course, keeping them with tankmates is only advisable if you have experience. Otherwise, they’re better off solo in the tank since they are solitary animals anyway.

  • Tank size

GFP axolotls need a lot of space in the aquarium. They are bottom-dwellers and would hardly show on the surface of the tank, and they need a lot of hiding spots to be “solitary.”

This is one of the reasons they don’t really need tank mates. If you want to keep a single GFP axolotl, you need a 20-gallon tank. This is enough for them to swim and hide without stress.

If you intend to add more axolotls or aquatic life, you should add about 2 gallons capacity extra for each life you want to keep with the GFP axolotl. This will help them to live in harmony without clashing.

That aside, whichever gallon you get or how many axolotls and aquatic life are in the tank; you need a lid on the aquarium at all times. This will prevent your GFP axolotl from jumping out and injuring itself or dying in the process. 

  • Breeding for GFP axolotl

GFP axolotls, generally, are a result of an experiment, and unless you have the green fluorescent protein and are licensed to experiment, you can’t really reproduce them. But the good thing is that you can breed them naturally the way they birth the juveniles.

What do you do? Even though they reach sexual maturity at five months, you have to wait till they are 18 months before breeding. The female axolotl can breed up to an impressive 1,000 eggs when breeding, but it could be a lot for you as a beginner.

If your GFP axolotl isn’t mature enough to breed that many, it can become a problem, so you have to wait till 18 months. Breeding can occur at any time of the year, but experts recommend between December and June.

Also, you would need a separate breeding box for GFP axolotls, and you need to put a lot of silk or aquatic plants in there for the female to lay their eggs. If your GFP axolotl is albino, the egg will be white after some hours of laying, but it’ll remain dark brown for other morphs.

In addition, you need to keep the breeding box at 20° celsius while the eggs hatch between 14 to 17 days.

General Caring Tips Before Buying

purple-axolotl-standing-and looking

The ultimate guide isn’t complete without some tips. It is very important that you know all you need to and prepare for that before buying your GFP axolotl.

So, what do you need to know? But the first thing you should check is if they are legal in your state. Once you confirm, then you should know the following:

  1. GFP axolotls don’t like it when you touch them. If you want to transfer them to another tank, you should use a mesh net instead of holding them with your bare hands. One of the reasons is due to their delicate skin and their susceptibility to injury and disease.
  1. For you to know if your GFP axolotls are healthy, check for the round belly, fluffy gills, lack of skin damage, and activeness. 
  1. When they’re sick, you need to treat them as soon as possible. Their possible symptoms are:
  • Stress: This could be caused by strong water flow, foul or untreated water, aggressive tank mates, and irregular temperature. How do you know your GFP axolotl is stressed?
  • Loss of appetite
  • Curled tails and gills
  • Injury as a result of aggressiveness, jumping out of the tank, and too much handling.
  • Impaction caused by the dysfunctional digestive system. What are the signs?
  1. Bloating
  2. Low waste production
  3. Loss of appetite
  • Floating as a result of air bubbles in the gut. How do you know? Majorly any indication of uncontrollable floating in the tank.
  • Bacterial or fungal infection irregular water temperature. The signs are:
  1. Sluggishness
  2. White patches on the skin and gills
  3. Red patches on limbs
  1. The major ways to treat them are through tea bath, salt bath, fridging, and a visit to the vet’s office.
  1. GFP axolotls are carnivores, so you can feed them live on dead animals in small chunks fit for their mouth size. Majorly, they’ll eat:
  • Daphnia
  • Bloodworms
  • Shrimps
  • Nightcrawlers
  • Axolotl pellets
  • Frozen brine shrimp
  • Repashy grub pies
  1. Ensure your clean live foods and rid them of parasites before feeding them to your GFP axolotls to prevent disease and protect them from sickness.
  1. GFP axolotls are hardy and can tolerate different water parameters, but you must choose the ideal ones. Therefore, keep them within 7.4 to 7.6 pH, the temperature between 60 to 64° Fahrenheit, 0 ppm ammonia levels, 2 to 40 ppm nitrate level, and 20% weekly water changes.
  1. For proper water maintenance in the tank, you need water testing kits, an algae scraper, a water conditioner, and a gravel vacuum.
  1. You shouldn’t leave the tank bare. You need to set up with substrate, filtration, aquatic plants, decorations, etc. Ensure the substrate is soft fine sand, too tiny to become food for your GFP axolotls, and gentle not to hurt them. Also, the most suitable filter is the sponge type.
  1. Ensure you maintain a clean tank at all times.

Conclusion

Keeping unique creatures like GFP axolotl is interesting. Apart from their color, they glow under UV lights and will beautify your aquarium for a long period if you care for them enough.

You need to get their diet, tank and water parameters, and general care right. Also, their food needs to be ideal, if you want them to survive a long time.

Additionally, GFP axolotls can breed fast, so if you don’t intend to raise juvenile axolotls, you had better not get both genders. Besides, we advise against that, especially if you are inexperienced with them. 

Remember, the best way to preserve these salamanders is to treat them well. Good luck!

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