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How to look after an Axolotl | Kellyville Pets

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This comprehensive care guide will show you how to look after an Axolotl in 3 easy steps

Fast Facts:

How long will my Axolotl live? 10-12 years

How big will it grow? 15-25cm

What size tank is recommended for my Axolotl? A standard 2ft tank

What does an Axolotl eat? A meat based diet

Axolotl Housing

To house one or two Axolotls comfortably, a standard 2ft (61cm) tank or larger is appropriate, allowing them room to swim around and exercise. 

Fine sand should be used to avoid them swallowing pieces of gravel, which leads to digestive 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 are nocturnal and have no eyelids to protect them from bright light, so ideally they should be kept in normal daylight for 10-12 hours a day with adequate shelter provided. Young Axolotls require more oxygen (due to their fast growth rate) so an air pump should be provided. As they mature their metabolism slows down and their oxygen requirement decreases.

Axolotl Care

Water quality is very important 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 two weeks 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 6.5-7.5 is the desired level, although closer to 6.5 is preferred. 

As Axolotls are a cold-water species their preferred temperature range is between 14˚C and 18˚C. Axolotls should be handled carefully due to their soft skin, and care should be taken when netting them so they do not become entangled. One interesting feature of the Axolotl is that any portion bitten off or seriously damaged are likely to regenerate including limbs, parts of the tail and even parts of the head.

Axolotl Food

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 this reduces 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.

Did You Know?

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.

We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after an Axolotl:

  • 2ft tank or larger
  • Fine sand
  • Filter
  • Driftwood
  • Plants
  • Water conditioner
  • Bio culture
  • Net
  • pH test kit
  • Amonia test kit
  • Nitrite test kit
  • Nitrate test kit
  • Axolotl pellets
  • Frozen food
  • Crickets
  • Worms

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.

Red flags

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)

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CARE GUIDE © Copyright 2016 Kellyville Pets - All information found in this care guide is based upon our own experience. The information provided is not the only information available. In any medical situations,  you should always consult your vet, including questions regarding your pet's diet.