ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Basics of Axolotl Care

Updated on June 25, 2019
JessicaHolm profile image

Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.

leucistic axolotl
leucistic axolotl

What is an axolotl?

It is important to know exactly what kind of animal an axolotl is to ensure proper care. Although they are commonly known as ¨walking fish,¨ they are amphibians. They are a type of salamander closely related to tiger salamanders, and they are native to Mexico. The reason axolotls do not look more like other types of salamanders is that they never go through a metamorphosis, and they keep their juvenile features throughout their whole lives. This means that they keep their external gills and their tadpole-like tails even when they are technically an adult. Since they never metamorphosize they never need to go on to land, and they spend their lives fully under water. There are occasions where an axolotl will go through metamorphosis, but this is very rare. Usually if an axolotl morphs then it has tiger salamander genes, so as long as you find a reputable breeder this should not be a concern.

Axolotls are critically endangered in the wild. They are only found in the wild from the lake complex of Xochimilco, and they have become endangered because of pollution and large fish being introduced to their environment. There are around 1,000 axolotls left in the wild, but there are much more than that in captivity. Axolotls generally lay about 150-450 eggs at a time, but they can lay up to 1,000 eggs! They also have amazing healing abilities, and they are able to regenerate entire limbs. Scientists are studying their healing powers in hopes to better understand regeneration. To summarize, axolotls are amazing animals. They are adorable, fascinating, and incredibly unique.


Basic axolotl setup

Axolotl tank setups can be as simple or intricate as you want them to be, but there are still specific things that they must have.

  • It is recommended to have a 20-gallon tank for an axolotl. Some sources say that a 10-gallon tank is enough, but it is important to remember that they can grow up to a foot in length. A good rule of thumb is to have 20 gallons for one axolotl, and then add 10 gallons for each additional axolotl in the tank. It never hurts to have a bigger tank though.
  • It is important to have a good filter. Axolotls make quite a bit of waste, and it is important to not let it build up. If waste builds up it could cause an ammonia spike, which could be fatal for your axolotl. Most types of filters will work as long as they don't cause too much movement in the water. Sponge filters are great for this.
  • Axolotls cannot be on gravel when they eat they will ingest it, which can cause their stomachs to become impacted. Most axolotl keepers choose to either go with sand or a bare bottom tank, but there are a few other options. Slate, ceramic tiles, and artificial aquarium grass are all popular options. It is important to make sure that the slate is not sharp, the tiles don't have anything they can leech into the water, and the grass is not too rough or pointy. Axolotls are very sensitive animals.
  • The ideal temperature for an axolotl tank is 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures lower than 60 degrees can cause their metabolism to slow down and they can become sluggish. Temperatures higher than 75 degrees can cause a lot of stress. Just a few days of high temperatures can be deadly to an axolotl. Some good ways to keep their water cool are keeping your house cool, buying an aquarium chiller, or buying a fan to put over the top of their tank.
  • Axolotls love to have a lot of hides, and they don't like very much light. Artificial plants, plant pots, real plants, and other aquarium ornaments work perfectly to give them places to hide and feel secure.

wild type axolotl
wild type axolotl

What do axolotls eat?

A good staple food for adult axolotls is live earthworms. Earthworms offer the most complete nutrition, and they are readily available in many stores. You can even get live worms online. You may have to cut the worm into pieces for smaller axolotls. Another good option is sinking pellets, and there are many options online. Juvenile axolotls need smaller food, they can eat blackworms and bloodworms.

Helpful tips for keeping axolotls

  • Pay attention to water quality. It's good to have a high quality liquid test kit. If you test regularly it will be much easier to keep ammonia and nitrite under control. The ammonia levels should be 0 ppm (parts per million), the nitrites should also be 0 ppm, nitrates can be anywhere from 20-40 ppm, and the pH should be anywhere from 6.8-7.8.
  • It might sound gross, but using a turkey baster to take out excess waste daily can make a huge difference in water quality.
  • If you are housing two axolotls together, make sure that the smaller one can not fit in the larger one's mouth. Axolotls will eat anything they can fit in their mouth, including other axolotls.
  • Make sure any artificial plants are soft. Rough plants can tear up axolotls tails. Silk plants work perfectly.
  • Pay attention to your axolotl's demeanor. If they start acting strange or moving their gills more than usual, check the water quality.

Do you have a pet axolotl?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • JessicaHolm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jess H 

      2 months ago from Oregon

      Hi Chloe, thank you so much! I am happy to hear your axolotls are doing well, they really are awsome pets!

    • JessicaHolm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jess H 

      2 months ago from Oregon

      Hi Linda, thank you for checking out my article! I hope that if you decide to get an axolotl in the future this will be helpful for you!

    • profile image

      Chloe 

      2 months ago

      Great article with important information for axolotl owners! I’m happy to read that I am following everything for mine and they are happy and healthy 1-year-old axolotls!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the pet care information. Axolotls are interesting animals. I enjoy learning more about them. I don't have one as a pet at the moment, but it's possible that I will in the future.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)