Amphiuma Care Sheet
Amphiuma Care Sheet.
Amphiumas are not suggested for aquarium pets. There have been a few unverified claims of captive breeding, so most if not all are wild caught. This is more intended for those with a rescue or those doing research. I suggest getting a captive bred siren instead if seeking to purchase a large salamander as a pet.* Amphiumas are escape artists, have a special diet, and they're capable of quite a nasty bite.
Amphiumas are aquatic salamanders native to South east united states. There are 3 different sub species, the 1, 2, and 3 toed amphiuma, discernible by the number of toes, size, color, and native region. They are blind, but use their sense of smell to locate food and navigate their environment. They have lines that run the length of their body that can sense movement In the wild amphiumas burrow and wait for prey. They are fully aquatic, but breathe air. They can survive droughts by burrowing in the mud and coating themselves in mucous. They have an aggressive bite with razor sharp teeth. Caution should be used when handling.*Moving should be done with a large soft net. If using bare hands, make sure they are clean and avoid dropping the animal as they are slippery.
A 5 gallon bucket with shallow water can be used for temporary transport or holding. (A few hours)
A minimum of 40 gallons for a juvenile and 120 at least long for an adult, maybe more depending on species. You want to aim for a tank 2-4 times longer the length of your salamander and a width half to twice the size of your pet. The bigger the better. They spend most their time burrowing and hiding. A long shallow tank is preferred to narrow and tall. Substrate needs to be either sand or large rocks. They eat using a vacuum method. No gravel as they could eat it, and choke to death. So either sand or stones that are too large to eat. Mud/potting soil is best, but messy. A layer of leaves can be added for burrowing. Make sure to have plenty of caves and hiding spots. Live plants help with reducing bio load, but may be uprooted by amphiuma. They have very very large poops. Over filtration and frequent water changes are a must. They are escape artists so make sure to have a tight fitting lid with weights holding it down and all the holes covered. There should be no gaps or holes big enough for your amphiuma to fit through. Amphiumas are blind, and move about by feeling, so avoid sharp decorations. Make sure a cave or hiding spot is dark 24/7. Temperature should be kept around 80 degrees Farenhite. They can with stand lower temperatures and have been found In the wild at 40 degrees but they prefer warmer water.
Feeding should be done 1-2 times every week or two, depending on the amount/size of food and amphiuma size.* Their diet should mainly be worms (earth, red, black, blood) and pieces of tilapia and shrimp. Occasional snacks should be frogs, crayfish, snails, loaches, fish, smaller salamanders, etc. I feed my adult 3 toed amphiuma 4-6 large earth worms once a week, pieces of shrimp or tilapia once a week,* and a live prey snack once every 2 weeks. Be careful leaving feeder fish and snails in the tank, as they can eat the amphiumas slime coat, killing it.
It is suggested to never house more than one large animals in a tank. There have been reports of tank mates with amphiumas. But they are odd hunters, and could eat anything that fits into their mouth. My amphiuma doesn't eat live fish, but to protect its slime coat and reduce bioload I no longer house him with fish. My amphiuma is housed with 2 rope fish and a bichir, and all is peaceful. There have been reports of keeping sirens/amphiumas/and American eels housed together. Your results will vary and extreme caution should be considered.
Research should be done before taking on any pet. I again do not suggest amphiumas as pets until captive breeding is established and only for those up for a task.