How To Set Up An Axolotl Tank

How To Set Up An Axolotl Tank – The Ultimate Guide

Acquiring and caring for an Axolotl pet is one of the most rewarding and fascinating experiences an aquarist can have. It’s a lot of fun to play with these creatures. They’re a lot of fun to have around, and they’re also quite adorable!

How To Set Up An Axolotl Tank – is what we’ll be discussing in this article.

The Xochimilco and Chalco lakes in Mexico City, Mexico, still include axolotls, which are giant salamanders. They are aquatic creatures that emerge on land. It is possible to find them in shades of gray, black, gold, and white.

Axolotls are different from other salamanders as most salamanders undergo metamorphosis from larval to adult form, in which the breathing immediately shifts from the gills to the lung. But axolotls do not. As a result, they remain aquatic throughout their entire lives.

As a result, you’re not just petting them. Axolotls are a great deal of fun to see. They are hardy and easy-to-care-for pets ideal for first-time pet owners. Furthermore, their dietary requirements are not easy to meet.

Because they spend their whole lives in water, their owners should be able to provide them with a suitable axolotl tank kept at the proper temperature for this species to thrive.

Axolotls – Some Basic Considerations

Axolotls are confident creatures delighted with walking around in their axolotl tank while humans observe them happily. However, few come up to the edge of their tank when someone is watching them intently.

They are not sociable animals, though, and do not require tank companions. In addition, they should not be housed with other animals or species because axolotls are known to consume pet fish, and fish may even nip at them. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting them in the same cage as other axolotls.

Axolotls – Some Basic Considerations

Because child axolotls are cannibalistic toward their adult counterparts, they should be kept in a separate enclosure. Adult axolotls can be housed together in some situations; nevertheless, keep an eye out for cannibalism. If an axolotl’s body part is bitten off by a tank mate, the axolotl can regenerate it over time. It is, nonetheless, preferable to avoid such circumstances.

Axolotls have a soft, delicate body with transparent skin. Cartilage, rather than bones, make up the majority of their body. Therefore, you should not handle them until absolutely necessary. Those who need to remove the axolotls from their aquarium tank should do it with a fine-mesh net to avoid entangling any of their body parts.

Know More About Axolotls:

How Big Of A Tank Does An Axolotl Need?

Keeping any aquatic species, including axolotls, begins with selecting the appropriate tank type. Some old information on this species exists, including tank size recommendations.

Getting a sufficiently large tank for your salamander is a good idea because it will have more room to move and grow. 

You can start with a 10-gallon tank, but a 10-gallon aquarium is not large enough for an Axolotl to thrive in the long term. However, because the average adult size is around 10 inches, you’re better off going with a more extensive setup if you’re only going to upgrade one juvenile specimen.

Keeping an Axolotl alive necessitates a specific quantity of living space. For a single axolotl, a 20-gallon tank is a good starting point. On the other hand, you’ll need a 30-gallon tank if you want to house two axolotls. So you only need to increase the volume by 10 gallons for each extra axolotl.

What Type Of Aquarium Do Axolotls Need?

Aquariums for axolotls are a personal choice, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, they are nocturnal by nature. As a result, the axolotl would be stressed out in intense lighting with little or no hiding spots. 

They prefer to be where they can easily conceal themselves in the daytime. For this reason, axolotls prefer aquariums that include a hiding place like PVC pipes, stacked rock, hollow ceramic decorations, or even hollow ceramic stones. Other embellishments are purely optional.

However, the tank must be completely smooth, with no sharp corners or edges. There must be a lot of places to hide in the tank for this species. It can help prevent aggressive behavior that can lead to missing limbs, stress, and even death.

What Type Of Aquarium Do Axolotls Need

What Is Ideal Temperature For Axolotl?

Although they may thrive in various habitats, axolotls prefer cold weather.

Axolotls prefer water temperatures between 60°F and 64°F (16-18°C), but they can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C) and as high as 72°F (22°C). Check to ensure it doesn’t become hotter than that – no more than 75°F or 24°C, please!

Keeping an axolotl tank cool is essential for the well-being of these creatures, as you can see from the photo.

Do Axolotls Need A Heater?

If you want to keep Axolotls, you don’t need a powerful heater because they are a cold water species that can’t handle high temperatures.

Keep the tank in a fully cool room, primarily out of direct sunlight, with a water temperature between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. 

To avoid temperature changes between day and night, we always recommend adding a heater, mainly if the aquarium is located in a room with open windows or doors.

Axolotl Tank Lighting

A dark hiding place or an aquarium castle will be ideal if you want to keep them safe. They don’t need particular lighting. Many aquarists are accustomed to utilizing bright illumination to promote plant growth, but with this species, this is not the case.

Axolotls are sensitive to intense light and can be stressed by powerful bulbs. Instead, find a way to see your axolotls without scaring them into hiding for the entire day.

Intense illumination, particularly incandescent light fixtures, emits a lot of heat. Because axolotls love chilly water, use fluorescent and LED lights that don’t release a lot of infrared radiation.

Substrate For Axolotl Tank

A small minority of aquarium owners prefer to keep the bottom of their tanks bare, but most fear that axolotls may become anxious if they can’t get a good grip on the smooth surface.

Substrate For Axolotl Tank

Keeping axolotls as pets, sand is the best and safest substrate since the sand particles are so little that they won’t cause your axolotl any harm if they swallow them. Axolotls also enjoy digging and playing in the sand, which benefits their health and keeps them safe from human interference.

It’s best to use a gravel bottom larger than the axolotl’s head if it’s used. Because they feed by sucking water into their mouths, you don’t want them to wind up feeding on the gravel substrate in your tank. This could result in serious intestinal problems, such as impaction, which would be fatal for the animal because its digestive tract isn’t formed or suited to handle gravel.

What About Axolotl Tank Filters?

Because axolotls produce a lot of waste, you’ll need a powerful filter. Keeping your water quality and clarity at their best is one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining an axolotl aquarium. You’ll need a good pump with a spray bar to accomplish this.

Remember that Axolotls don’t like powerful water flow when selecting one for your aquarium. So you should look for one that can be baffled by simply tying a piece of sponge in front of the outflow.

In the case of axolotl keepers, sponge filters are a popular choice because they filter adequately while not causing excessive flow. To run this type of filter, you’ll need a powerful air pump; ensure you obtain a high-quality one. 

[You should examine the noise level of your air pump if you plan on keeping your tank in a place where people can hear it, as some air pumps are known to be extremely noisy.]

Ideal Water Condition For Axolotls

The ideal water for axolotls is tap water treated with aquarium water conditioners to remove chloramines and chlorine. Avoid using distilled water and keep the pH of the water between 6.5 and 7.5 at all times. Filtered aquariums are easier to keep clean for most aquarium owners, but unfiltered aquariums necessitate frequent water changes to remove waste.

Slow filtering is required for people who use axolotl tank filters. Axolotls can be harmed by a powerful filter that generates strong currents.

Every week, the filtered tank is cleaned by doing a 20% water change and siphoning waste from the bottom of the axolotl tank.

If you don’t have filters, you should perform a daily water change of 20%. However, avoid a total water change because it might dramatically affect the water’s composition and cause stress to your pet.

Water Test Kit For An Axolotl Tank

If you intend to maintain healthy axolotls, a water test kit is a necessity that we cannot emphasize enough. Your axolotl’s water quality can be monitored and ensured using a liquid test kit that includes tests for ammonia/ammonium, nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), and pH.

How To Set Up An Axolotl Tank – Step By Step

This is a step-by-step guide on setting up an axolotl tank in ten easy steps.

How To Set Up An Axolotl Tank – Step By Step

Step-1: Buy The Tank And Accessories

Purchase a suitable tank and accessories for your axolotl. The tank needs to be sufficiently large.

Sand for the tank’s bottom and decorations like rocks or caves are required for your axolotl’s habitat. Axolotls may live in the sand of any color, as long as it is not toxic to them.

You can decorate your axolotl tank with rocks, fake vegetation, or plastic caverns, among other things. Because of their sensitivity to light, stones work best when arranged in a pattern with caverns to give shade. Stacking or staggered rock formations are common.

Step-2: Clean The Tank And Accessories

It’s a good idea to thoroughly clean your axolotl’s tank to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated during shipping or in the store where you purchased it. 

If you’re buying a used tank, this step is much more critical. As a result of tank failures, most used tanks are being resold. This could imply that the tank still contains a variety of hazardous microorganisms. So, make sure that you thoroughly clean all of your supplies.

Step-3: Add Water

Fill the tank with water. A water conditioner is essential since tap water contains traces of chlorine, poisonous to freshwater aquatic species like axolotls, and must be filtered out. 

Through chemical reactions, the water conditioner removes chlorine from the supply. The amount of conditioner to use may vary according to the type of product you’re using.

Step-4: Add Accessories

It’s time to plug in your low-flow axolotl tank filter! You can put a light in your axolotl’s tank, but it can cause them to get agitated and unwell. They also prefer tanks with less flow and more space. Add a heater or chiller as needed to keep the temperature optimum for the axolotl.

Step-5: Cycle The Tank

Before putting your axolotls in the water, cycle the tank properly. Cycling the water is necessary to convert ammonia to nitrite and develop helpful bacteria that aid in healthy conditions.

A tank can be cycled by adding ammonia, such as household ammonia, then letting it run for a while to allow beneficial bacteria to build up in the filter and substrate.

Axolotl tanks should have a pH of 6.5 to 8, with 7.4 to 7.6 being the most optimal.

Step-6: Test The Water Quality

Take a water sample. Even if the water appears clear, it may not be suitable for your axolotls to reside there due to poor water quality. Using a water testing kit, check the water quality regularly. Then, compare the water to appropriate charts to discover if your axolotls can live in the water without risking their health.

Step-7: Place Your Axolotls Hideouts In The Tank

Choose a location for your hideouts and place them there! Make sure your axolotl can reach them and that they can fit inside. Because axolotls dislike bright lights, they continuously look for dark locations to hide. Ascertain that they can do it at ease.

Step 8: Acclimate Your Axolotl

It might already be in a bag if you just acquired your axolotl from the store. If not, a plain ice bag with no holes will suffice. First, fill it halfway with water, then submerge your axolotl in it. Next, wrap a rubber band around the top of the pack. Then, for 15 minutes, place the sack inside the new tank.

Step 9: Put Axolotls In The New Tank

The new tank for your axolotl is ready for you to use. It’s a good idea to double-check everything now. Temperatures should remain between 60 and 65°F at all times. Shut off the lights and feed your new acquaintance. 

Among the many axolotls available, five main varieties are regularly sold. The Wild Legalistic, White Albino, Golden, and Melanoma are included in this category. In addition, it’s possible to crossbreed Axolotls to create new varieties.

Step 10: Closely Monitor Your New Pets

To ensure their axolotl is adjusting well to its new surroundings, new axolotl owners should always keep a close eye on their tank.

Be on the lookout for any behavior changes that might signal something is amiss. 

6 Fun Accessories For An Axolotl Tank

Your axolotls have arrived, and now you’re wondering what they’re up to. Even though axolotls spend most of their time roaming around the aquarium’s bottom and hiding beneath plants, they can also be rather lively. So an axolotl’s life can be made a little more fascinating by adding these six items.

1. Hides

axolotl hides

Axolotl tanks would be incomplete without hides. However, axolotls are apprehensive about being exposed to a lot of light, making them a little jittery. Lake Xochimilco in the Valley of Mexico and the canals and rivers of Mexico City are their natural habitats. There are many places to hide in these dark and wet environments.

You can utilize a wide variety of materials such as hides. For example, PVC pipes, terra cotta pots, bespoke rock hides, or store-bought aquarium hides can all be used to build a hide for your fish. 

When choosing an axolotl hide, remember that there should be no sharp edges, harmful chemicals, or chipping paint, and they shouldn’t be able to get stuck. You can safely utilize all kinds of creative things as long as you follow these guidelines.

2. Airstone

axolotl air stone

Although axolotls like slow-moving water, having an air stone can provide several advantages. The first advantage is that axolotls will actually play in the bubbles. Many axolotl keepers have seen their axolotls swim to the air stone and then ride the bubbles all the way to the top. Then, they will go to the air stone specifically to hang out in the bubbles and appear to love it.

The increased oxygen in the water aids their gills, another advantage of utilizing an airstone. Your axolotl’s gills will become longer, fluffier, and more vivid when you give them an air stone.

3. Driftwoods And Rocks

axolotl driftwood

Aquariums can benefit from driftwood and large rocks. Axolotls will have a great time clambering over rocks and hiding under the driftwood. As much as axolotls like exploring their surroundings, their keepers may also find driftwood and pebbles to be visually appealing.

Keep an eye out for sharp edges or nooks where they can get tangled. Natural objects are rarely as smooth as items we can buy in a store. Rocks that are smaller than their heads are equally dangerous. On the other hand, large chunks of slate are usually flawless and extremely attractive.

4. Silk & Live Plants

axolotl with silk plants

Plants are vital to axolotls in their aquarium. They enjoy hiding in, moving and even sitting on top of them. Because silk or live plants are soft, they are preferable to plastic aquarium plants, which can have sharp edges that can rip your axolotl’s fins. In addition, silk plants come in various varieties, shapes, and colors that you can truly personalize their surroundings while still providing them with something they would like.

Because axolotls dwell in cold, gloomy conditions, growing live plants can be thorny, but it is still possible. Duckweed, java ferns, and java moss are all known to work. Duckweed is a fast-growing floating plant that can also provide some light protection. Because axolotls can tear up aquarium plants, it’s best to start with a small number of plants and see how they do.

5. Moss Balls

axolotl with moss balls

These are also aquarium plants, but they’re not the typical ones. Instead, they are algae known as Marimo moss balls. They have a slow growth rate and can live for hundreds of years. They are simple to look after and withstand cold water nicely. They can also help filter nitrates from the water, which is an added benefit. Axolotls like to push and hide behind them, and they appear to love it.

The moss ball must be larger than the axolotl’s head! They could try to consume a smaller moss ball, posing a severe threat to your axolotl.

6. Reptile Hammock

axolotl with Reptile Hammock

If your tank is large enough, a mesh reptile hammock can provide additional lounge space for your axolotls. The hammock can be placed anywhere, but we’ve found that most axolotls prefer it halfway between the bottom and the top. It’s almost as if you’ve added a second floor to your tank.

They’re simple to put together and usually cost less than ten dollars, so this is another way to provide inexpensive enrichment for your axolotl’s habitat.


Axolotls are not difficult to care for, and despite their upkeep requirements, they make excellent pets.

If you don’t keep juveniles of varied sizes in the tank, everything will go as planned. It is possible to keep them in separate tanks until they are both the same size, at which point you can bring them together.

It’s usually best if you only have one axolotl, but that’s entirely up to you. A pair of axolotls playing together would be ideal, and the presence of an axolotl would enhance the mood even further.

Taking care of many Axolotls is also more exciting and challenging, and it will prove to be a good experience for everyone involved.

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