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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.


Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Brian Gratwicke

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 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 water high quality in aquariums housing giant aquatic salamanders.

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

The Aquarium

An 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 lid with foam or enclose in a pillow case so they don’t injury their snouts by rubbing on screening.

Type habitat

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by US Fish and Wildlife Service

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

Water High quality

In frequent with different amphibians, Amphiumas have porous pores and skin that enables for the absorption of dangerous chemical compounds. Cautious consideration to water 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 7.zero.

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

mediaChlorine and chloramine have to be faraway 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 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.

Make certain that the entry/exit openings for filter tubes are well-secured, lest they supply an escape route. I discover it simpler to make use of 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 animal is feeding and in any other case adjusted to captivity. Night-viewing bulbs will provide help to 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 water temperatures of 70-75 F, however tolerate a wider vary.

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


Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Gusmonkeyboy

Weight loss plan

Minnows, shiners (and different entire freshwater fishes) and earthworms ought to kind the bulk of 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 favourite (I take away the claws for security’s sake). Crickets and different 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.