Proper Axolotl Care:
SURVIVING IS NOT THRIVING!
An adult axolotl can be between 8-10 inches but can get upward of 12+ inches, this is rare.
Between 6-18 months, male axolotls will form a large bump at the base of the tail
and a female will have a small one or may not have one at all. Females also tend to be chubbier
and more rounded than males who are slimmer.
Axolotl Life Span
Axolotls can live 10-15 years if taken care of properly.
A 20-gallon long aquarium is a minimum size for a single axolotl, add 10 gallons for
each addition (so if you want 3, you’ll need at least a 40-gallon tank). Axolotls need floor space
not height when it comes to their ideal tanks.
A lid or aquarium hood is recommended since axolotls have been known to jump out of their tanks.
We also suggest lids for homes that have children or cats to avoid accidents.
Male and Females should NEVER be housed together, due to the fact they can
breed themselves to exhaustion and in some cases, death.
A filter will help maintain safe water parameters. The most common choice is an external canister filter
but make sure the water outlet to the aquarium is fitted with a spray bar or other flow-spreading outlet. Something as simple as an organic sponge can be used to disrupt water flow. A filter with an adjustable flow will also work. You can also use in-tank canister filters, as well as sponge filters since they tend to have less flow. This is necessary because axolotls do not tolerate heavy water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in noticeable water flow for a few months can stop eating and develop stress-related diseases. Lack of appetite and forward-curled gills are usually a sign of stress.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature
Like the vast majority of amphibians, axolotls do not require lighting. Lighting is generally for our
viewing pleasure, and for the for aquarium plants. New axolotls may be shy if kept under
bright lighting, though they will get used to it if provided with enough hiding places
(aquarium “furniture” such as caves, wood, plants, etc.).
Choose a plant-friendly bulb such as those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in
mind that lighting fixtures can generate excess heat and this can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures up to 68 Fahrenheit are well-tolerated by axolotls. An ideal temperature range is
the low- to mid-60s. Temperatures above 74 degrees will lead to heat stress, loss of appetite, and in some cases
even death. You can also invest in an aquarium chiller, but they can be pricey.
If you cannot provide year-round temperatures below their limit, axolotls are not the right pet
for you. If you must have an axolotl but you have temperature problems, consider
buying an aquarium chiller for the warmer parts of the year.
Axolotls have a bad habit of ingesting gravel and mouth-sized objects. This can lead to impaction of the gut and cause the death of the axolotl. Anything the size of an axolotl’s head (or smaller) can and will be consumed!
This means that sand, slate rock, tile, and large stones are best suited for your tank.
A substrate is not required– many keepers use no substrate at all – but it is certainly more pleasing
to the eye if a substrate is used. It will also help to keep water parameters stable by providing surface area for beneficial bacteria.
Canadian nightcrawlers, European nightcrawlers, Axolotl pellets, Blackworms, Repashy grub pie.
In a bind:
Frozen bloodworms or Frozen brine shrimp cubes
Treats:(never feed more than once a week)
Waxworms, Butter worms, Black fly larvae, Maggots, Fruit fly larvae,
Horned worms (REMOVE HORN), Blackworms (as treats for adults)
As is the case with most salamanders, axolotls have no need for vitamin/mineral supplementation,
and it would be hard to deliver this to an aquatic animal. In my experience, axolotls fed solely
on nightcrawlers will never develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Axolotl Water and Quality
Tap water is fine for axolotls, provided it is first treated with a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines. Avoid conditioners with aloe or iodine, since those are toxic to axolotls.
Ideally, a new aquarium and filter should be allowed to cycle for 6-8 weeks prior to the introduction of
axolotls, to let the water conditions settle and beneficial bacteria to develop. Be sure to keep an eye
on water parameters using the freshwater test kits sold at aquarium stores. More details on tank cycling can be found in the video below.
Parameters should have a PH between 7-8, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - Below 40ppm.
Even with heartier axolotls a good filter and regular water changes should be employed, nonetheless. If you’ve
ever kept aquarium fish, follow a similar routine. Our recommendation is weekly 20% water changes, focusing on any waste and debris on the bottom of the tank, combines with spot cleaning throughout the week. A larger water change of 50%-80% may be done once every 4-8 weeks. DO NOT scrub your tan or decor during your cleaning, as this can harm your beneficial bacteria and cause your nitrogen cycle to crash.
Axolotl Handling and Temperament
Axolotls are delicate and soft-bodied amphibians with permeable skin. Asxolotls should
not be handled unless necessary (they are tricky to catch in a net). If you use a net to move an
axolotl, avoid nets with mesh that would let an axolotl’s fingers get damaged.
Use a soft, very fine mesh net.
A popular question is if you can hold your axolotl. They are aquatic animals, so holding them out
of the water is not good, unless it is to switch tanks. Touching too much can harm their
slime coat and make it vulnerable to bacteria and fungus.
Young axolotls tend to nip at or bite off the legs and gills of their tankmates, so youngsters
should only be kept together if fed well and given plenty of space.
Due to the tendency of nipping, fish should not be kept with axolotls. In fact, an axolotl
aquarium should contain only axolotls.