Amphiuma Care: Keeping one of the World’s Largest Amphibians

Estimated read time 4 min read

Measuring as much as 45.6 inches in size and armed with the enamel and angle of an offended watersnake, the Two-Toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) is the largest of North America’s amphibians. Though fairly a handful, additionally, it is an enchanting creature, and with correct care, could dwell previous the 30 12 months mark.

Some Cautions

The Amphiuma’s rough-and-tumble disposition and innate hardiness (one at the London Zoo topped 30 years of age) shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to disregard water’s high quality. Efficient filtration and frequent water adjustments are essential to their well-being. Please see my article on Mudpuppy Care, linked under, for additional particulars on managing high water quality in aquariums housing giant aquatic salamanders.

Transfer Amphiumas by coaxing into web… they’re slippery, and so they can administer a painful chunk, so don’t free-handle. Their pores and skin damages simply in nylon nets, so transfers need to be made shortly and thoroughly, and solely when mandatory.

The Aquarium

A grownup Amphiuma would require an aquarium of a minimum of 55 gallons capability.

The aquarium’s lid needs to be well-secured, as they’ll try to flee at night time. For newly arrived people, it’s prudent to line the top with foam or enclose it in a pillowcase, so they don’t injury their snouts by rubbing on screening.

Water High quality

Amphiumas favor swamps and different heavily vegetated, mud-bottomed aquatic habitats. Hold loads of cowl reminiscent of plastic crops in the aquarium, and supply a cave or PVC pipe where the Amphiuma can get fully out of sight.

Infrequent with different amphibians, Amphiumas have porous pores and skin that enables the absorption of dangerous chemical compounds. Careful consideration of water’s high quality is important.

An aquarium pH test kit ought to all the time be available. Amphiumas fare properly at a pH of 6.5 to

Ammonia, excreted as a waste product and produced by natural decomposition, is colorless, odorless, and extraordinarily deadly to all amphibians; a test kit needs to be used to watch its ranges.

Chlorine and chloramine have to be far away from water used for any amphibian. Liquid chlorine/chloramine removers are extremely efficient and work immediately.

Copper could also be current in water carried by outdated pipes; a piece of check equipment needs to be used if you happen to suspect its presence. 


Beneath-gravel, nook, hanging, and submersible filters can all be utilized in Amphiuma aquariums. Even with good filtration, common partial water adjustments are important in holding ammonia ranges in verify.

Ensure that the entry/exit openings for filter tubes are well-secured, lest they supply an escape route. I discover it simpler to use Ovation submersible filters (see above) for these and different highly effective amphibian escape artists.

Mild and Warmth

Dim lighting by day adopted by brighter lights at night time could encourage daytime exercise. However, do that provided that the animal is feeding and adjusted to captivity in any other case. Night-viewing bulbs will provide help to watch Amphiumas after darkish. All those who I’ve stored at residence or in zoos have fed readily by day as soon as adjusted to captivity.

Amphiumas fare greatest at 70-75 F; however, they tolerate a wider vary.

I’ve stored Amphiumas on gravel and bare-bottomed aquariums. However, tender sand or clay-based substrate is preferable, particularly for people that attempt to burrow. Keep away from any materials that can elevate pH.

Weight loss plan

Minnows, shiners (and different entire freshwater fishes), and earthworms ought to bulk the weight loss plan. Goldfish needs to be used sparingly, if in any respect, as they’ve been implicated in well-being issues (different species). Small crayfishes are an incredible favorite (I take away the claws for security’s sake). Crickets and other bugs, shrimp, and frozen meals formulated for giant aquarium fish are additionally readily accepted.

After a time in captivity, most people will settle for turtle pellets and freeze-dried shrimp.

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