A little about axolotls
Axolotls are amphibians that are native to Lake Xochimilco and the waterways of Mexico City. Unlike most amphibians axolotl's gills don’t develop into lungs as they get older, they actually continue to live in the water throughout their adulthood. Although they keep their gills, axolotls do develop lungs which they use to occasionally breathe in air from the water’s surface.Learn more
Axolotls are neotonic, meaning they remain as larvae for life, yet they still breed and produce offspring. Axolotls are the larval form of the Salamander, making them a true amphibian - not a fish.
The perfect pet
Axolotls are great pets; these cute little amphibians will grow to be up to 30cm long and will generally live 10 to 12 years in captivity. Axolotls have a varied diet, eating a range of food including fish, worms, molluscs and about anything else they can catch. Pet axolotls can be fed a diet of bloodworms and axolotl pellets. These aquatic reptiles are mild-mannered and calm, love to swim around for fun, hide and play around their tank’s plants and decorations, as well as come and observe you through the glass as you’re watching them.
|Lifespan||10 - 12 years in captivity|
|Size||Up to 30cm long|
|Enclosure||Minimum 60cm tank|
|Diet||A predominantly meat-based diet|
Setting up your axolotl tank
To house a single axolotl, they will require a minimum tank size of 60cm in length (standard 2ft tank), and a further 30cm for every axolotl you add to your tank i.e. 90cm for 2 axolotls. Axolotls are best kept solitary but if you are looking to have multiple axolotls in the same aquarium, they will need to be of the same sex (males will overbreed with females and stress them).
Inside the tank
The aquarium should be either bare base i.e no substrate, or a layer of fine sand can be used. Normal aquarium gravel or pebbles are not suitable for axolotls as they will ingest them and cause internal compaction issues. Rocks and driftwood can be used inside the tank for hiding places and caves. Live plants can be used, however they should be strong and well planted.
Axolotls should be kept in normal daylight for 10-12 hours a day with adequate shelter provided. Young axolotls require more oxygen so an air pump should be provided. As they mature their metabolism slows down and their oxygen requirement decreases.
Water chemistry is the most important aspect of keeping your pet axolotl happy and thriving and is best maintained through regular testing and an aquarium filter. Unfortunately, most filters will not pick up large solids, such as uneaten or regurgitated food, so food waste should be removed from the tank after each feed as it can cause infection.
The tank should be cleaned with a gravel siphon every week to ensure any pieces that the filter hasn’t been able to pick up are removed. Uneaten or regurgitated food, as well as waste, can also contribute to high ammonia and nitrite levels and aquarium water should be tested weekly using water-quality test kits. A pH range of 6.8 - 7.4 is the desired level, although closer to 7.0 is preferred.
As axolotls are a cold-water species their required temperature range is between 14 ̊C and 18 ̊C. To achieve these temperatures, it's recommended that you purchase a chiller and keep it running 24/7, set at around 18 ̊C at all times. One interesting feature of the axolotl is that any portion bitten off or seriously damaged is likely to regenerate including limbs, parts of the tail and even parts of the head.
Axolotls are carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet. They should be fed an ideal diet of axolotl pellets, live black worms, frozen bloodworms, frozen axolotl dinner and live earthworms. They should be fed a varied diet, however they can sometimes be fussy. Live feeder fish can also be fed on occasion and are a great source of nutrition and exercise.
It is recommended that axolotls are hand-fed using tongs or large tweezers as this reduces the amount of waste and uneaten food in the tank. They should be fed daily, and preferably fed at night due to their nocturnal habits. Axolotls generally swallow their food whole so it is important that care is taken to ensure they are being fed ‘bite size’ pieces.
Axolotls are carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet. They should be fed a diet of live crickets, bloodworms (frozen or live) and Axolotl pellets. Ideally, they should be fed a varied diet, however they can sometimes be fussy. Live feeder fish can also be fed on occasion and are a great source of nutrition and exercise.
It is recommended that Axolotls are hand fed using tongs or large tweezers as thisreduces the amount of waste and uneaten food in the tank. They should be fed two-three times a week, and preferrably fed at night due to their nocturnal habits. Axolotls generally swallow their food whole so it is important that care is taken to ensure they are being fed ‘bite size’ pieces.
Common health issues in axolotls
Fungal Infections: As axolotls are not protected by scales, they can easily cut themselves on abrasive surfaces within the tank. If uneaten or regurgitated food (especially meat products) are left in the tank and your axolotl comes into contact with it, this can lead to a fungal infection.
Heat stress: any water temperature above 20 ̊C can cause heat stress.
"Ammonia burn": Ammonia is toxic to all fish, however axolotls are more sensitive to ammonia as they have no scales.
Is your axolotl showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please contact your vet.
•White film forming on tail or body (treat with ‘Pimafix’ or anti-fungal remedy)
•Gills appearing less ‘fluffy’ (check water quality)
The importance of a chiller
A chiller is a great option to ensure that the water in your aquatic tank does not get too hot. A chiller is an external refrigeration system that maintains the desired temperature of a tank. Chillers are one of the safest and most consistent ways to regulate water temperature as they are thermostatically controlled, which is extremely important for aquatic animals such as an axolotl, who thrive in cooler temperatures. For hotter climates, such as Australia, maintaining a temperature of 14 ̊C to18 ̊C is crucial to ensure that your axolotl doesn’t get sick.Shop now