Axolotl Care: The Basics

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How to Care for an Axolotl

Three Parts:

An axolotl is an aquatic salamander related to tiger salamanders. They are easy to care for and make enjoyable pets. They have a lifespan of 10-15 years in aquariums if provided the right environment and care.


Creating the Right Environment

  1. Set up the tank.A 10-gallon (38 liter) tank can work for a single axolotl. However, bigger is generally better when it comes to an axolotl. Opt for the biggest tank you can fit into your home. A 20-gallon (76 liter) tank is a good size for an axolotl.
    • Fill the aquarium with water completely, the way you would fill it for fish. Tap water is safe to use if you condition it as you would for a freshwater fish tank. If you do not condition the water, chlorine and other chemicals in the water can harm or kill your axolotls.
    • Keep a lid on the aquarium at all times. Axolotls will sometimes jump out of their tanks.
  2. Install an external canister filter.An external canister filter is necessary to keep your axolotl’s water clean and healthy. You can purchase this type of filter at a local pet store.
    • Any filter you install should have a spray bar or other outlet to control water flow. While axolotls need subtle water flow, they are stressed by actively flowing water. Exposure to strong water flow may cause them to stop eating or develop stress-related health problems.
  3. Provide substrate.Substrate is material that lines the bottom of an aquarium. The bottom of an axolotl tank should be lined with large fish tank pebbles (larger than the axolotl's head) or fine sand (fine grain sand being the ideal substrate). Do not use small pellets or rough sand (such as blasting sand). An axolotl may accidentally ingest such substances.
  4. Keep lighting minimal.You do not need to provide lighting for an axolotl the same way you would for a fish tank. Bright lighting may actually cause an axolotl to feel distressed, so opt for a plant light if you add a light at all. Axolotls do not need a lot of light to thrive, so lighting is usually so you can see the animal rather than for the axolotl’s benefit.
    • Minimize how often you keep the light on. Lights can generate excess heat, which can be bad for an axolotl. Turn it off when you are not feeding or viewing the axolotl.

Keeping Your Axolotl Healthy

  1. Maintain the right heat.Usually, you do not need a tank heater to keep an axolotl tank sufficiently warm. The proper temperature for an axolotl hovers between 60° and 70° Fahrenheit (approximately 16°-21° Celsius). This is generally room temperature, so heating the tank should not be necessary.
    • However, make sure to adjust the temperature of the room that contains the tank if you live in an area prone to extreme heat or cold. You may need to keep an air conditioner or heater in the room during some months.
    • Axolotls exposed to temperatures above 74° F (23° C) will develop heat stress. If your tank is prone to overheating, purchase a tank cooler.
  2. Feed your axolotl a proper diet.You can buy night-crawlers and frozen bloodworms at a local pet store. These should be the staples of your axolotl's diet. You can also provide frozen shrimp and bits of chicken for a treat. In general, avoid live food.
    • Feed your axolotl every other day for half an hour. Provide the axolotl with as much food as it can eat in a half hour time frame.
  3. Change the water regularly.Once a week, remove 50 to 60% of the water from the tank. Then, replace it with fresh water. Tap water is safe to use if you condition the water and have a filtration system in place.

Maintaining Your Axolotl's Safety

  1. Separate young and old axolotls.If your axolotls breed, remove the babies from the tank using a net and place them in a separate aquarium. Older axolotls may prey on younger ones, so it's not safe to keep axolotls of different ages in a tank together.
  2. Do not place other animals in an axolotl tank.Axolotls are best kept in their own tank, but occasionally can do well with another axolotl of a similar size and age. However, they will prey on other types of fish or marine life. In general, an axolotl tank should only contain axolotls.
  3. Refrain from handling axolotls.Axolotls are not people-friendly pets. They do not need human contact to be happy and, in fact, this may stress them out. Only handle an axolotl when necessary, such as when removing babies from a tank. Axolotls may also nip if handled.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How can I tell if my axolotl is sick?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Often when sick/stressed the axolotl will curl its tail towards its nose in a kind of fetal position. Also, if its body looks swollen it may be constipated. Gills that point severely forward instead of sitting back in a relaxed position can also be indicative of illness or discomfort.
  • Question
    What happens when an Axolotl is dying?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The fluffy, colored things on it's head will go pale and brown, and they will stop moving.
  • Question
    Can I feed the axolotl fishing bait?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes but you should check the fish for parasites before feeding them to your pet. Otherwise, meal worms, blood worms, earth worms, and trout or salmon pellets are all acceptable food for an axolotl.
  • Question
    Is it better to keep more than one, or are they happy on their own?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Well, either way they'd be happy. Axolotl are social animals, yet they can handle themselves when they're alone.
  • Question
    How old can axolotls get?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Axolotls can live up to 15 years with appropriate care, but average at about 10 years generally.
  • Question
    Are they easy to take care of?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, as long as you don't mind cleaning their tanks every two weeks.
  • Question
    Do axolotls need salt water or fresh water?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Axolotls need fresh water. Make sure you put fish tank conditioner in there, or the chlorine in normal tap water will burn their gills.
  • Question
    Can axolotls play out of water?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, they cannot. They are not fully amphibious, and will spend their entire lives in water.
  • Question
    How much food should the axolotl eat?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Baby axolotls can have one earthworm every two days and adults can have 1/2 a cm square of frozen bloodworms every three days.
  • Question
    What should the pH of my water be?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    A pH of 6-7 is ideal. Keep in mind the lower the pH, the less chance that you will have ammonia in your tank.
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Quick Summary

To care for an axolotl, start by filling a 10 gallon tank with water andinstalling a canister filter to keep the water clean. Line the bottom of the tank with a substrate of sand or large pebbles, then make sure the temperature of the tank is between 60 or 70 degrees by adjusting the temperature in the room where the tank is. To feed your axolotl a good diet, purchase night-crawlers or frozen bloodworms from a pet store. Finally, feed your axolotl every other day with as much food as it can eat in 30 minutes.

Success Stories

Max Norman

Jul 13

"I caught one and want to keep it and this helped me!"


Mar 11, 2019

"I was looking on Facebook and saw one and was like, I need one of those. And I asked Mama and she said yes. We aregetting three Tuesday. I have an aquarium with some fish in it already, but after reading this, I don't think it's the best choice. I have rocks on the bottom, and we have filters that blow air all the time. The air it blows comes out rough. We also got lighting, except it's really bright, and around a certain time, it turns dark blue, but it's super bright. Any options?"

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Jul 23, 2019

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Aug 5, 2019

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Mar 16, 2019

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M. Nair

Aug 8, 2019

"Thanks for letting us know how much to feed our axolotl, as it has been very difficult to find a straightforwardanswer on various sites."

Elizabeth Onion

Jun 17, 2019

"I'm getting an axolotl so this helped with a lot of things I needed to know. Without this, my axolotl would mostlikely have died."

Ava J.

Jun 4, 2019

"I was wanting to get an axolotl soon. I searched this and it really helped! I wish it would talk more aboutfeeding, though."
Rated this article:

Melissa Tremaine

Jun 28, 2019

"This helped me in preparation for my axolotl tank and the specific requirements of these beautiful creatures. "
Rated this article:

Michelle Masser Bentsen

Jan 17, 2019

"I'm interested in getting an axolotl, and found this article to be thorough and easy to follow. Thank you!"

Sizwe Honablue

May 26, 2019

"I want an axolotl, but I didn't know anything about them. I looked this up, and it really helped me a lot!"
Rated this article:

Alfie Chambers

Sep 25, 2019

"The fact that it is better with tap water than distilled water is helpful and not to have small pebbles."

Patrick Sutherland

Mar 28, 2019

"Went over all the basics of keeping an axolotl and was consistent with every other rescource I've seen."

James Rain

May 24, 2019

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Rated this article:

Candice Hassall

Jun 7, 2019

"Generally the overall article was helpful for me. Must read. Thank you."


Jun 23, 2019

"Very helpful, now I'm just hoping my parents will let me get one!"

Kim Ferlazzo

Jun 30, 2019

"Thinking of getting an axoloti. The article was very informative."
Rated this article:

George Lau

Aug 1, 2019

"I had no idea that the bright light could distress my axolotl."
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Jon Franks

May 29, 2019

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Hays King

Aug 6, 2019

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Kelly Smith

Mar 27, 2019

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Gaby Zam

Jul 16, 2019

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Joni Corniola

Apr 26, 2019

"Very informative. It was everything I needed to know."
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Apr 28, 2019

"This helped, because I was thinking of getting one."
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Geoffrey P.

Jun 21, 2019

"Very well.

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Date: 30.11.2018, 06:43 / Views: 31574