How to Take Care of an Axolotl

An Axolotl is an elegant little amphibian with many fascinating characteristics that makes for fascinating viewing, yet can be difficult to care for due to their exacting water requirements.

Axolotls should only be handled when absolutely necessary and removed from their tank, to prevent stress-induced injuries. They should only receive frozen foods, frozen worms, live snails and high protein sinking fish pellets as food sources.


Axolotls are slow-growing amphibians that can be challenging to keep alive, due to their limited habitat needs: deep water for survival and plants for sustenance. Unfortunately, many of their natural lakes are being destroyed by urbanisation and pollution while fish such as carp or tilapia compete for food sources; Axolotls also tend to react sensitively when changes in water quality occur.

Therefore, approximately half of the world’s population now resides in wild habitats and many experts speculate that by 2020 these creatures may have gone extinct; as a result they have been placed on the IUCN Critically Endangered list.

Researchers are actively trying to save these aquatic creatures, such as breeding them in laboratories. Axolotls make ideal lab animals because they reproduce easily in captivity, have large cells which make investigations of embryonic development simpler, and are resilient enough to withstand laboratory environments without becoming stressed out by stressors such as fluorescent lights. Plus their unique ability to regrow skin and limbs makes for an entertaining creature!

Wild axolotls tend to live alone; however, during breeding season (March to June), male and female axolotls will form pairs and pair off aggressively nipping each other aggressively; to reduce aggression when housing these species together in one tank with ample hiding spaces and similar-sized individuals is important as larger individuals may eat smaller ones.

Axolotls are aquatic carnivores that feed on most aquatic invertebrates and fish species. Hunting happens by opening its mouth quickly to generate suction that draws prey in through the gaps between its teeth, with earthworms, bloodworms and shrimp being popular choices as bait. Pet axolotls will accept treats such as raw fish, beef heart and frozen-thawed Mysis shrimp as treats.

Axolotls are slow-growing amphibians that can be difficult to keep alive in a home aquarium, making ownership challenging. Reaching over one foot long and living up to 15 years, their care requires significant commitment from owners. Poor water quality and temperatures stress out these fish greatly; an attentive owner must watch out for signs that their animal is unwell by looking out for stiff or pale gills, checking regularly for ammonia levels in its environment, or the presence of ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates in its environment.


Axolotls typically eat worms, crustaceans and small fish in the wild; therefore they require a varied diet that may include live foods (live, frozen or formulated pellets), high protein sinking foods such as soft sinking foods such as eggs (preferably soft) as well as sinking foods containing high amounts of proteins preferably soft in form (preferably soft). Feed small quantities often to prevent overfeeding; avoid providing processed meats or anything containing preservatives which run counter to their natural diet

Axolotls require hiding spaces to reduce stress levels; create one by placing decorations or offering safe rock caves into your tank. Their permeable skin makes them vulnerable to intense water movements, therefore it’s crucial that their environment maintains an even and gradual current of water flow.

Axolotls are nocturnal creatures, so the best time and method for feeding them would be in the evening. Feed them a smaller quantity than what they can consume at one sitting to avoid obesity and other health complications; feed twice to three times every week according to age and size for optimal results.

Frozen foods make an excellent option, since they can be stored in the freezer until ready to feed and then quickly defrosted in the refrigerator. Be wary of feeding any food that you caught yourself as this may contain parasites, as there are commercial food formulas specifically tailored for axolotls that can be purchased at most pet stores.

Keep the water clean, fresh, and cool by changing it regularly to prevent bacteria growth and toxic waste from leaching into the tank. Also make sure any uneaten food is removed to avoid spoilage.

Axolotls have an extremely sensitive digestive system and are vulnerable to disease, infections and parasites. Common issues among captive axolotls include bloat, metabolic bone disease, red leg and water-borne parasites. If any symptoms arise in your pet axolotl, contact a veterinarian immediately; the veterinarian will prescribe medications and may administer fluid drip therapy or an abdominal enema as necessary; once treatment has concluded the axolotl should be chilled until all the medications have taken effect before gradually being introduced back into its tank environment.


Amphibians such as axolotls live in water environments that change constantly, making them highly sensitive to changes. Axolotls require fresh, unchlorinated water; chlorine in tap water can be harmful. You can buy dechlorinated water at pet stores or online retailers who specialize in aquatic animals; many also sell filters designed specifically to treat tap water for pets.

Axolotls live in both brackish and freshwater lakes in nature and require similar environments in captivity. While axolotls can tolerate temperatures between 20-24 degrees Celsius, their optimal environment lies between these temperatures. Therefore, it is important to monitor their water daily and make sure that it suits their comfort.

Since axolotls have soft bodies with permeable skin, they can easily sustain injuries. Furthermore, their prey may contain internal parasites that they pick up. Therefore, it is essential that they come from reliable breeders or rescue groups; one such source will likely provide thorough documentation regarding your animal’s health history while reputable exotic veterinarians can likely direct you towards reliable breeders in your area.

Axolotls tend to spend most of their time submerged in water, only moving when eating or moving locations in their tank. You can encourage this behavior by providing substrate such as sand or river rocks in your tank; decorations should also be added sparingly as anything with sharp edges or rough surfaces could harm them further. Axolotls may ingest gravel and pebbles which could potentially harm them further.

As with other aquarium pets, axolotls require regular feeding. Once kept captive, these carnivorous aquatic creatures consume brine shrimp, water fleas, nightcrawlers and blackworms as well as small amounts of raw beef or liver. Commercial pellet food available from most pet stores or online retailers should also be fed to these creatures to prevent stress-induced parasite transference as well as stress and bacterial infections resulting in red spots or patches on skin or reduced appetite as symptoms of infection.


Axolotls are fascinating creatures with permeable skin and cartilage instead of bones, making them highly responsive to any changes in their environment. Although fragile in nature, axolotls make fantastic aquarium pets when kept under low-light conditions or at nighttime activity levels. When handling them out of their tank, use only soft fine-mesh nets so as not to damage their fragile bodies.

As Axolotls tend to ingest substrate that is mouth-sized or larger, which can result in impactions and death, it is wiser for them to have a sand substrate over pebbles for increased security – in addition to helping them grip onto their tanks better than gravel would. Furthermore, having an aquarium without bottom should be avoided to reduce stress levels and the increased risk of disease.

Filtration systems must also be carefully considered, but should have minimal water flow to avoid overstressing axolotls and turning their gills against their bodies – both of which are deadly situations. A sponge filter may provide adequate filtration without producing excessive flow; using one is highly recommended to meet this need.

Hideaways should be made available in your tank to young axolotls to provide shelter from sunlight and their peers who might try to nibble them, potentially resulting in injury or even death. Rocks or sections of pipes provide excellent hiding spaces that offer them respite from light exposure as well as siblings who could nip at them from time to time, providing much-needed refuge from injury or even death.

An ideal Axolotl should have plump and moist skin and is fed regularly; these fish do not tend to be fussy eaters and will accept most foods given.

Lisa Thompson

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