Hailing from a tiny region in Eastern Mexico, the Axolotl is actually a species of Salamander. They are nicknamed “The Mexican Walking Fish”.
They come in several different colours including the wild type which is a brownish olive, the white albino which a lot of people are most familiar, the rarer Pied, and the beautiful Golden Axolotl.
Latin Name: Ambystoma mexicanum
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Life Span: 15 Years
Size: 6″ – 18″ ¦ 5oz – 12oz
Habitat: Well Oxygenated Fresh Water with a Low Current. Axolotls prefer a pH level of between 6.5 – 8
Diet: Bloodworms, Frozen Brineshrimp, Live Earthworms, Mysis Shrimp, Mosquito Larvae, Daphnia, Small pieces of fresh raw meat and fish, Specialist Axolotl Pellets.
Avoid Processed meat, anything with a hard shell or exoskeleton.
Supplements: None necessary as long as the Axolotl has an appropriate diet.
Hours of Activity: Nocturnal – Axolotls are mostly active at night time.
Handling: You should never handle an Axolotl. Their gills need to remain submerged in water in order to breathe, and their skin has a delicate mucus layer which can lead to skin infections if damaged.
Temperature: 12°C – 18°C
Tank Size: 55 Litre Fish Tank (Minimum) – Floor space is much more valuable than height, as this is a bottom dwelling species.
Substrate Type: Sand
Equipment Necessary: Fish tank, an air pump with air stone are necessary to keep the water well oxygenated, Spray bar outlet for the pump to reduce water pressure and slow the current.
Cleaning Instructions: Weekly 30% Water Changes. Remove any uneaten food and waste to avoid fouling the water.
Healthy Behaviour – Vibrant Colour, Digging behaviour in substrate, quick reaction times, strong feathery gills
Sickness Behaviour – Stiff Movement, Pale Gills, Low Reaction Times, Weight Loss
Axolotl tanks should not be kept in direct sunlight.
An air stone is very beneficial to keep the water well oxygenated.
Axolotls can be kept in small groups provided the necessary space requirements are met – Around 40 Litres per Axolotl.
Beware that larger specimens will sometimes try to eat any babies or juveniles.
Adding plants to the tank can lead to some entertaining behaviour, as the Axolotl may try to “decorate” their surroundings.
If feeding non-live food, you may need to wiggle the food with tongs to entice the Axolotl to eat.
Intestinal Impaction – A signs of this is constipation. This is caused by the Axolotl consuming gravel and small stones. Gravel should not be used as a substrate for this reason.
Stress – This can be caused by poor water quality, overcrowding, or incorrect pH levels.
Be sure to check water parameters regularly, provide hiding places, and ensure plenty of space if housing multiple Axolotls.