Most axolotls reach about 8-10 inches total length (from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail). A few will pass 12 inches, but this is rare. They will reach sexual maturity anywhere between 6-18 months, so you should keep an eye on your axolotls during this time.
Axolotl Life Span
Axolotls can live 10-20 years if taken care of properly.
Some have even been known to live past 20 years!
A 20-gallon long aquarium is the minimum size for a single axolotl. If you want more than 1 in a tank you will want to add 10 gallons for each addition (so if you want 3, you’ll need at least a 40 gallon tank). Axolotls do not emerge from the water, so a land area would go unused. Fill the aquarium to the depth of your choice, but it will be easier to maintain good water parameters when the aquarium is filled as you would for aquarium fish. A lid or aquarium hood must be kept in place at all times, as axolotls have been known to jump out of their aquariums. Male and Females should never be housed together, due to the fact they can breed themselves to exhaustion and in some cases, death.
A filter will help maintain safe water parameters. The most common choice is an external canister filter, but ensure the water outlet to the aquarium is fitted with a spray bar or other flow-spreading outlet. A filter with an adjustable flow will also work. You can also use in-tank canister filters, as well as sponge filters, as they tend to have less flow. This is necessary because axolotls do not tolerate distinct water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in noticeable water flow for a few months can stop eating and develop stress-related diseases.
Lack of appetite and forward-curled gills are usually a sign of stress.
Axolotl Lighting and Temperature
Like the vast majority of amphibians, axolotls do not require lighting. Lighting is generally for our viewing pleasure, and for the benefit of aquarium plants. New axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they will become accustomed to it if provided with some hiding places (aquarium “furniture” such as caves, wood, plants, etc.). Choose a plant-friendly bulb such as those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in mind that lighting fixtures often generate a lot of excess heat and this can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures up to 68 Fahrenheit are well-tolerated by axolotls. An ideal temperature range is the low- to mid-60s. Temperatures above 74 degrees will invariably lead to heat stress, loss of appetite and in some cases death. If you cannot provide year-round temperatures below this limit, axolotls are not the ideal pet for your circumstances. If you must have an axolotl but you have temperature problems, consider buying an aquarium chiller for the warmer parts of the year.
Axolotls have a bad habit of ingesting gravel and mouth-sized objects. This can lead their gut to become impacted, and cause the death of the axolotl. Anything the size of an axolotl’s head (or smaller) can and will be consumed! This means that sand, slate rock, tile, and large stones are best suited for your tank.
A substrate is not required– many keepers use no substrate at all – but it is certainly more pleasing to the eye in a display aquarium if a substrate is used. It will also help to keep water parameters stable by providing surface area for beneficial bacteria.
DIET Staple: Canadian nightcrawlers, European nightcrawlers, Axolotl pellets, Repashy grub pie, Blackworms.
(After 30 days of quartine to make sure they are parasite free)
Guppies, Mollies, Platies, Swordtails, White Cloud minnow, Cherry shrimp, Ghost shrimp
(Don't put too many in at one time. They may nip at your axolotls gills)
In a bind:
Frozen bloodworms or Frozen brine shrimp cubes
(never feed more than once a week)
Wax worms, Butter worms, Black fly larvae, Maggots, Fruit fly larvae, Horned worms (REMOVE HORN), Blackworms (as treats for adults)
As is the case with most salamanders, axolotls have no need of vitamin/mineral supplementation, and it would be hard to deliver this to an aquatic animal. In my experience, axolotls fed solely on nightcrawlers will never develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Axolotl Water and Quality
Tap water is fine for axolotls, provided it is first treated with a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines. Avoid conditioners with aloe, as this can harm them. Axolotls can be far more forgiving than aquarium fish when it comes to water quality, but a good filter and regular water changes should be employed nonetheless. If you’ve ever kept aquarium fish, follow a similar routine. The video below explains how to cycle your tank.
Ideally, a new aquarium and filter should be allowed to cycle for several weeks prior to the introduction of axolotls, to let the water conditions settle and filter bacteria develop. Be sure to keep an eye on water parameters using the freshwater test kits sold at aquarium stores. (Parameters should have a PH between 7-8, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - Below 40ppm.) For more details on water cycling, message us at email@example.com.
Axolotl Handling and Temperament
Axolotls are delicate and soft-bodied amphibians with permeable skin. As such, axolotls should not be handled unless absolutely necessary (they are tricky to catch in a net). If you use a net to move an axolotl, avoid nets with mesh that would let an axolotl’s fingers get damaged. Use a soft, very fine-mesh net.
A popular questions is if you can hold your axolotl. They are aquatic animals, so holding them out of the water is not good, unless it is to switch tanks. Touching too much can harm their slime coat and make them vulnerable to bacteria and fungus.
Young axolotls tend to nip at or bite off the legs and gills of their tankmates, so youngsters should only be kept together if fed well and given plenty of space. Axolotls larger than 5 inches tend to be safer tankmates, and adults will rarely have any altercations.
Due to the tendency of nipping, fish should not be kept with axolotls. In fact, an axolotl aquarium should contain only axolotls.