Picture of an axolotl fish

Axolotls 101: How to Care for an Axolotl

The inquisitive, curious, always smiling axolotl is a fully aquatic amphibian that loves to hang out and constantly eat! If you have been thinking of bringing an axolotl into your home (or if you are inspired now after seeing this!), here are some care tips, suggestions and overall interesting info about them...

SIZE

10”-12” average

DIET

Frozen foods (bloodworms, krill), pre-packaged worms, insects, small fish (although not recommended), high protein sinking (preferably soft) pellets.

AQUARIUM SIZE

A 10 gallon will be sufficient for a young axolotl, but a minimum tank size of a 20 gallon long would be ideal for an adult.

HOUSING REQUIREMENTS

Low light, low flow, but good filtration. Sponge filters make a great choice, as they can be gentle yet efficient. Sand for substrate is recommended, or a bare-bottom tank. No chunky substrate or gravel, as they may ingest it and become impacted.

TEMPERATURE

50°F-70°F

COMPATIBILITY

Axolotls don't do well with tankmates; the temperatures are too low to be compatible with tropical fish, and fish tend to nip on the axolotl gills. Axies are also predators and can eat tank mates!

LIFE SPAN 

Approximately 15 years

ORIGIN

Axolotls originate from Mexico. They’re native to the high-altitude Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco (which is now dried up) around Mexico City. Water pollutants, habitat loss, and invasive species now threaten the few individuals remaining. They are critically endangered in the wild with an estimated population of 700-1200. Axolotls have become so popular in the pet trade that captive populations outnumber the wild ones, meaning all the axies available for purchase are captive bred! 

FUN FACTS

In the thirteenth century the Aztecs named these curious amphibians after the Aztec god “Xolotl”, who is said to have transformed into an axolotl to avoid being sacrificed (spoiler alert: they were killed and eaten anyway!). 

Their gills are located outside of their body, and will show as feathery and fluffy when they are happy and kept in optimal conditions.

The axolotl is capable of regeneration! The axolotl is able to regenerate lost limbs, eyes, gills, and even vital structures such as parts of the central nervous system and heart.

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