What Size Tank Does an Axolotl Need?
Keeping an Axolotl as a pet is an enjoyable and rewarding experience for any aquarist. They are extremely active, love interacting with their owners and feature a cute, friendly appearance, so you’ll never get bored of caring for them and watching them grow.
As they are one of the less common types of pet, new owners often need more clarification about how to look after them properly. If you plan to own an Axolotl, you must learn the correct care procedures to ensure your new pet remains healthy and flourishes in its new environment.
Our guide will help you learn about this adorable creature’s lifespan, tank setup, diet, behaviour and more to help you understand your new pet and give it the best care. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Axolotls.
Table of contents
- What is an Axolotl?
- How big should an Axolotl tank be?
- Axolotl tank setup
- How to care for an Axolotl
- Shop Axolotl supplies at Discount Leisure Products
What is an Axolotl?
The Axolotl (Ambystoma Mexicanum) is a unique type of salamander renowned for its quirky appearance. It is considered to be an amphibian. However, unlike other salamander species, it doesn’t fully complete the metamorphosis process to become land dwellers – even though they have fully formed legs. Because of this, they can only live in water.
Axolotls originate from Mexico and are often called ‘Mexican Walking Fish’. As they are classed as critically endangered in the wild, they are widely available in the aquarist industry as they require proper care to allow their species to survive. They have an average lifespan of around 10 years but can live up to 20 years if correctly cared for.
These highly sought-after animals can be found in various natural colours, such as brown, green and grey, with mottled skin to help them blend in with their surroundings. They have slender bodies with four legs, a large tail used for swimming, a flat, wide head with no eyelids and a smiling face. Unlike fish, they have tiny gill filaments which cover protruding appendages on either side of their head. These unique gills are called Rami, and there are usually six.
The average length of an Axolotl is around 10 inches when fully grown. However, they can become much larger when they live in the wild. While they can still thrive in captivity, they need a suitable habitat and a high-quality diet.
How big should an Axolotl tank be?
Axolotls are active pets, requiring as much space as possible to swim freely and explore their tank. An Axolotl tank should be at least 10 gallons so they can survive, but we recommend opting for a 20 or 30-gallon tank if you have the room.
Axolotls produce a lot of waste, so it is easy for ammonia and nitrate levels to get out of control if you keep them in a smaller tank. Having a larger tank allows you to maintain their health by providing a higher water-to-waste ratio and giving them more space to swim and play. You also won’t need to clean it as frequently, so your Axolotl is likely to become more settled in their surroundings.
Once you have the correct size tank for your Axolotl to live in, you’ll need to ensure that specific water parameters are well maintained to avoid putting them at risk of health issues. Axolotls have permeable skin, so they are far more sensitive to changes in their water than other animals. We recommend replicating the water conditions of their natural habitat as closely as possible with the following parameters and using regular water testing to monitor them:
- Temperature: Between 15.5°C and 17.7°C
- pH: Between 6.5 and 7.5
- Hardness: Between 7 and 8 dKH
Axolotl tank setup
In the wild, Axolotls spend a lot of time at the bottom of the water column, so you’ll need to get the substrate as accurate as possible to mirror their natural habitat. The best substrate material to use in an Axolotl tank is sand. However, gravel can also be used in large pieces they cannot swallow. These curious creatures love exploring, so filling the tank with hiding spaces such as rocks, caves and live plants to suit their species will improve their living conditions instantly.
As the water in your Axolotl tank will likely get dirty quickly, you’ll need a strong filtration system to clean the entire supply effectively. It’s best to opt for an external hang-on-back filter with a low-flow head to keep the water as still as possible, as Axolotls prefer a quiet, calm environment. Doing 20-30% water changes each week will also help you to maintain optimal water conditions.
Poor water conditions can result in your Axolotl developing health issues such as bacterial and fungal infections. Symptoms can include a change in appetite and activity levels, and they can also manifest physically through irritation and sores on the skin. You can help avoid these diseases by maintaining your Axolotl’s tank and water supply to prevent waste buildup.
How to care for an Axolotl
Feeding your Axolotl can initially seem daunting, but the key is to stay in the correct routine to ensure they remain happy and well-fed. Axolotls found in the wild typically eat fish, snails and smaller amphibians. Although these foods aren’t readily available for those in captivity, you can still feed your pet a protein-rich diet to ensure it gets the nutrition it needs. These can include earthworms, bloodworms and brine shrimp.
You must avoid feeding your Axolotl live food, as this can cause them to get parasites. To feed them in their tank, use a pair of tweezers or forceps to pick up each piece of food and offer it to them. The Axolotl can easily see when they are being fed so that they will take the food from you. Feed them two to three times weekly to keep them healthy and sustained.
Axolotls are known for being calm, relaxed creatures that love to entertain, especially when they can see someone watching them. They are best kept alone in their tank, as they can become aggressive and attack any tank mates – even other Axolotls! Remember, you should never take your pet Axolotl out of the water and avoid handling them as much as possible, as they are prone to injuries. If you need to move them to clean the tank, handle them with a fine mesh net and put them into a separate water tank to avoid hurting them.
Shop Axolotl supplies at Discount Leisure Products
Now that you know how to care for an Axolotl, you can start looking to get one as a pet. These interesting creatures are a joy to look after and will keep you entertained throughout their lives. You can give your Axolotl a rich and happy life with the right equipment and supplies.
At Discount Leisure Products, we offer an extensive range of aquarium supplies with everything you need to build an impressive, functional aquarium fish tank. Explore the collection today and see what we have to offer.