The 4 Things To Know About Keeping Axolotls As Pets

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Axolotls, often referred to as “Mexican walking fish,” are unique amphibians that are growing in popularity due to their unique appearances and intriguing life cycle. Contrary to their popular nickname they are, in fact, a species of salamander and not a fish.

According to, they are available in a variety of colors, including the dark, gold-flecked wild types and the leucistic axolotls which have a pale, almost pink hue accompanied by dark eyes. They are, however, not typical pets. This means that taking care of them is very specific. You’ll need to understand more about them to take care of them properly. In this article, we will go over several things you should know before you go out and buy an aquarium for your axolotl.

1 – What An Axolotl Needs

One of the most important things to do is recreate their natural habitat as closely as possible. Axolotls are native to a network of lakes and canals near Mexico City, where they lead an entirely aquatic life. Setting up an appropriate living space for an axolotl involves careful planning and execution.

An axolotl requires the right sized tank to have plenty of space for movement. As a general rule, a 20-gallon tank is adequate for a single adult axolotl. It’s important to avoid gravel or small decorations that an axolotl could accidentally ingest while feeding. Instead, consider using sand or leaving the tank bottom bare.

The quality and condition of the water in the tank is also a big factor. Axolotls prefer cooler temperatures, generally between 60-64°F (15-18°C). Too high or too low temperatures can cause stress or health issues. Regular water testing is required to maintain a neutral pH level, as axolotls are sensitive to sudden changes.

Lighting should be considered as well. Axolotls are not crazy about bright light, so it’s best to keep their tank in a relatively dim area. Providing places to hide can also help make the axolotl feel safe and secure in their environment.


2 – What To Feed Them

Feeding axolotls the right diet is essential for their growth and overall health. Axolotls are carnivorous and their diet primarily consists of protein-rich foods. They are bottom feeders, preferring to get their food from the tank floor rather than from the water’s surface.

In their natural habitat, axolotls eat a variety of foods, including small fish, worms, and crustaceans. When you are keeping an axolotl in an aquarium, their diet can include high-quality food specifically designed for carnivorous aquatic pets, usually in pellet form. You can also feed them live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, earthworms, and brine shrimp.

Only feed them once a day for adult axolotls and up to three times a day for juveniles, due to their rapid growth rate. Give them enough food that it can be eaten within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and poor water quality due to uneaten food, while underfeeding can result in health issues.

As axolotls age, their dietary needs can change. Keep a close eye on their appearance as they get older. If they seem to be bigger than normal, consider slowing down their feeding schedule. If they are not growing according to a typical schedule then give them more to eat.

3 – Keeping Them Healthy

There are some common health issues that you may experience when you have axolotls. You’ll need to be aware of them so you are able to properly take care of them to keep them healthy.

Stress is easily the most common thing to look out for as this will cause some health issues for an axolotl. Axolotls can be sensitive to changes in their environment, resulting in stress. Signs include reduced appetite, lethargy, or unusual aggressiveness. Factors that can lead to stress include sudden changes in water temperature, pH, light intensity, or the introduction of new creatures to the tank.

Eating foreign objects is another common concern. If the tank is decorated with small objects like gravel, axolotls might accidentally swallow theseThis inevitably leads to digestive blockages. Symptoms include refusal to eat or difficulty excreting waste.

Making sure to give them the proper diet is essential. Axolotls fed an improper diet may develop disorders like obesity, vitamin deficiencies, or metabolic bone disease. Make sure you are changing their diet and feeding schedule according to their age and condition.

4 – Understanding Their Behavior

To get the most out of having an axolotl as a pet, it is best to understand their behavior. You’ll be able to take better care of them and also be able to interact when you know what they are doing.

Axolotls are generally quiet, somewhat inactive pets. They often remain still or move slowly in the tank, especially during the day. Axolotls are largely nocturnal and may become more active during the evening hours. If you are looking to play with them or observe their behavior, then wait until they are most active.

Axolotls might occasionally be seen moving objects, burrowing, or hiding in the tank. Providing hiding spots can contribute to their sense of safety and reduce stress. This means that you should give them things to do this with. Give them something they can build into a shelter such as some shells.

You should also know how they typically behave so you can spot odd behavior. This will indicate that there is a problem. Rapid gill movement, loss of appetite, unusual aggression, or frantic swimming can indicate stress or illness. If you see these signs, it’s important to check water quality and temperature. If you see the water quality is fine, their food is being eaten normally, and other external factors seem to be normal then consult with a vet that specializes in exotic animals.


Axolotls are unique, intriguing pets that provide a rewarding, if somewhat challenging, experience for their owners. Owning an axolotl is a long-term commitment that requires dedication and a willingness to learn. But for those who decide to take an axolotl home, the rewards can be great.

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