The axolotl, otherwise known as a Mexican walking fish, is a neotenic salamander related to the tiger salamander. Although axolotls are capable of living and breeding on land, they remain aquatic for their entire lives. This is because their gills are highly efficient at extracting oxygen from water, and they lack the ability to properly ventilate their lungs.
Axolotls are native to the lakes of central Mexico, but have been introduced to other water bodies around the world. They are a popular subject of research due to their ability to regenerate lost body parts and have been used in studies of limb regeneration and tissue regeneration.
|Average life span in the wild:
|10 to 15 years
|Up to 12 inches
|2.11 to 8 ounces
|Critically endangered in the wild
Where do They Come From?
The axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, is a permanently aquatic salamander native to Mexico. Although the axolotl is colloquially known as a “water monster”, it is not a sea creature, but a permanently aquatic amphibian that is capable of regenerating its limbs, spinal cord, heart, and other organs. The axolotl is also capable of regenerating its brain.
The axolotl is found in lakes, canals, and other water bodies in Mexico, where it is usually seen in or near aquatic vegetation. It is also found in captivity.
The axolotl is a member of the family Ambystomatidae, which contains the mole salamanders. Its closest relatives are the tiger salamanders (A. tigrinum and A. mavortium), which are found in North America.
The axolotl was first described by French naturalist Georges Cuvier in 1829. The name “axolotl” is derived from the Nahuatl word for “water monster”.
How Long do Axolotl Live for?
Axolotls are a species of aquatic salamander that can live for a very long time – up to 15 years in captivity. In the wild, however, their lifespan is much shorter, typically only lasting for about 5 years.
How Big do Axolotl Grow: Size and Weight
Axolotls can reach a size of up to 12 inches (30 cm) and weigh up to 2.2 pounds (1 kg).
Appearance and Main Axolotl Morphs
The axolotl is a permanently aquatic salamander with a body shape and coloration that is highly variable. It has external gills, and its limbs are truncated so that it resembles a fish.
The axolotl is a sexually dimorphic species. The male axolotl is smaller than the female and has a more elongated body and a broader head.
The axolotl has four main morphs or body types. These are the long-finned, the short-finned, the albino, and the melanoid morphs.
The long-finned morph is the most common morph and is characterized by its long, slender body and fins. The short-finned morph is characterized by its shorter body and fins. The albino morph is characterized by its lack of pigmentation, and the melanoid morph is characterized by its dark coloration.
How Much Does An Axolotl Cost?
|White Albino Axolotl:
|Golden Albino Axolotl:
|Speckled Leucistic Axolotl:
|Green Fluorescent Protein Axolotl:
|Black Melanoid Axolotl:
|Heavily-Marked Melanoid Axolotl:
Common Health Problems
Axolotls are a species of salamander that can regenerate lost body parts, making them popular pets. However, they are also prone to a range of health problems, which can be costly to treat.
One common health problem for axolotls is a fungal infection called “white patch disease.” This infection can cause lesions to form on the skin, and can be treated with antibiotics.
Axolotls can also suffer from a range of parasitic infections, including flukes, nematodes, and cestodes. These parasites can cause a variety of symptoms, including skin lesions, weight loss, and lethargy. They can be treated with antiparasitic drugs, but these drugs can be expensive and may require multiple doses.
Axolotls can also suffer from a number of genetic disorders. One common genetic disorder is “gill deformity,” which causes the gills to fuse together and can interfere with breathing. Other genetic disorders include “spinal deformity” and “missing limb.” There is no cure for these disorders, but affected animals can be treated with antibiotics, antiparasitic drugs, and other therapies as needed.
Because of their susceptibility to health problems, axolotls should only be kept as pets by experienced owners who are prepared to provide appropriate care.
Axolotl Care & Tank Set Up
Are you wondering how to properly set up an aquarium for proper axolotl care? Then read on below!
The Best Aquarium Size for Axolotl
When it comes to choosing an aquarium size for your axolotl, there are a few things to consider.
The first thing to consider is the size of your axolotl. When fully grown, they can reach up to 12 inches in length. If you have a smaller axolotl, you can get away with a smaller aquarium. However, if you have a larger axolotl, you will need a larger aquarium.
The second thing to consider is the type of aquarium. Some people choose to keep their axolotls in a tank with water, while others choose to keep them in a tank with soil. If you choose to keep your axolotl in a tank with soil, you will need to make sure the aquarium is large enough to accommodate both the size of the axolotl and the size of the soil.
If you are keeping an adult axolotl, however, you will need an aquarium that is at least 20 gallons in size.
Water Parameters and Temperature
Axolotls are euryhaline amphibians, which means they can tolerate a wide range of water salinities. However, they do best in water with a salinity of between 10 and 15 parts per thousand (ppt), which is similar to that of brackish water. They can survive in freshwater, but they will not thrive and may become sick if the water is too clean.
Cycling Your Aquarium
Cycling an aquarium is important for the health of the axolotls, and it is a process that should be done before adding any fish or other aquatic creatures to the tank.
The first step in cycling an aquarium is to add some beneficial bacteria to the tank. These bacteria will help to break down the waste produced by the axolotls and other aquatic creatures. There are several ways to add bacteria to an aquarium. One way is to add a bacterial supplement to the water. Another way is to add a piece of driftwood or other decaying material to the tank. The bacteria will colonize the wood and then release it into the water.
The next step in cycling an aquarium is to add some fish. The fish will produce waste, which will provide food for the bacteria. The bacteria will colonize the fish waste and then release it into the water. It is important to add only a few fish at first and to add more fish gradually over time. If too many fish are added at once, the bacteria may not be able to keep up with the demand, and the tank may become polluted.
Cycling to an aquarium can take several weeks or even months. It is important to be patient and to let the bacteria do their job. Once the aquarium is cycled, it is important to keep it cycled by adding more bacteria on a regular basis.
Weekly Water Changes
Axolotls are aquatic creatures that need a lot of water to live a healthy life. In the wild, axolotls live in permanent bodies of water where the water is not changed often. In captivity, however, axolotls need to have their water changed on a weekly basis.
To change the water in an axolotl tank, it is necessary to first remove the axolotls from the tank. The water can then be drained and the tank can be cleaned. New water should be added to the tank and the axolotls can be put back in.
It is important to use water that is the same temperature as the water in the tank. If the water is too cold or too hot, the axolotls may become ill.
It is also important to use water that is of good quality. The water should be free of chlorine and other chemicals. If the water is not of good quality, the axolotls may become ill.
One of the most important things to consider when setting up an axolotl tank is the water conditioner. This is because axolotls are very sensitive to changes in water quality, and even small fluctuations can cause them stress. A good water conditioner will help to create a stable environment for your axolotl and make sure that the water is safe for them to live in.
There are a few different types of water conditioners on the market, and it’s important to choose one that is specifically designed for axolotls. This is because other water conditioners may not be able to properly filter out the impurities in the water, which can be harmful to axolotls.
When choosing a water conditioner, it’s important to read the labels carefully. This is because some conditioners are designed for use in saltwater, and others are meant for freshwater. Make sure that you choose a conditioner that is specifically designed for use with axolotls, and that it is safe for them to use.
Once you’ve chosen a water conditioner, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the package. This will usually involve adding the conditioner to the water before you add your axolotl.
Due to their sensitive nature, it is important to maintain high water quality for axolotls. This means regular water changes and filtration. It is also important to use dechlorinated or distilled water, as chlorinated tap water can be harmful to axolotls.
Axolotls are not the only ones that benefit from high water quality. All animals, including humans, need clean water to live. Water pollution is a major problem in many parts of the world, and it is important to do our part to keep our waterways clean.
In the wild, axolotls lives in water that is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In captivity, the ideal water temperature for axolotls is between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the water is too cold, axolotls will become sluggish and may not eat. If the water is too warm, axolotls may become stressed and may not be able to reproduce.
Axolotls are nocturnal animals, so they require low-level lighting that will not disturb their sleep cycle. A simple lamp with a low-wattage bulb is usually sufficient. The light should be placed on one side of the tank so that the axolotl can choose to bask in the light or stay in the shadows, depending on its mood.
It is also important to provide some hiding places in the tank for the axolotl to retreat to when it feels overwhelmed by the light. This can be achieved by adding some plants or rocks to the tank.
Overall, as long as you provide a low-level light source and some hiding places, your axolotl should be happy and healthy.
Plants and Decorations for your Axolotl
Your axolotl will love a plant-filled aquarium! Plants not only look great and add to the natural feel of the tank, but they also help to keep the water clean and provide hiding places and enrichment for your axolotl.
Some great plant choices for an axolotl tank include java fern, anubias, and water wisteria. All of these plants are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them ideal for a beginner axolotl keeper. Just be sure to avoid any plants with sharp edges or toxic chemicals that could harm your axolotl.
To really make your axolotl’s tank stand out, consider adding some decorations like rocks, driftwood, or even live plants that grow out of the water. These added features will not only provide your axolotl with more places to explore and hide, but they will also help to create a more natural-looking habitat.
What’s the Best Substrate for Axolotl?
There are a variety of substrates that can be used for axolotls, but not all of them are ideal. The best substrate for an axolotl is one that is soft and smooth, yet firm enough to provide support.
Gravel and sand are not ideal, as they can be abrasive and cause irritation. Rocks and other hard objects should also be avoided, as they can damage the axolotl’s delicate skin.
A good option for a substrate is smooth, round beads made from non-toxic material. These beads provide a soft surface for the axolotl to rest on, and can also be easily cleaned.
Food & Diet
Very important for proper care is the right food for axolotl.
What Can You Feed Your Axolotl?
While axolotls will eat a variety of live foods, there are some that are better than others.
One of the best live foods for axolotls is earthworms. Earthworms are high in protein and other nutrients, and they are easy for axolotls to digest. Another good live food for axolotls is bloodworms. Bloodworms are high in protein and other nutrients, and they are a favorite food of axolotls.
Some people also feed their axolotl’s frozen food. Frozen food is a great option for axolotls because it is high in nutrients and it is easy for them to digest. Some good frozen food options for axolotls include brine shrimp, daphnia, and krill.
Axolotls are messy eaters, so be prepared for a bit of a mess when you are feeding them. It is best to feed them in a separate tank or container so that you can easily clean up afterward.
No matter what type of food you choose to feed your axolotl, it is important to make sure that it is fresh and high in nutrients. Feeding your axolotl healthy food is essential for their growth and development.
Do Not Feed
A common misconception about axolotls is that they will eat anything. This is not the case! In fact, there are several things that you should not feed your axolotl.
First and foremost, do not feed your axolotl live prey. While this may seem like a good way to provide them with exercise, it can actually be very dangerous. Live prey can fight back and injure your axolotl, or even transmit diseases.
Secondly, avoid feeding your axolotl fish that are high in mercury. This can be found in some saltwater fish, so be sure to check the labels before feeding them to your axolotl.
Finally, stay away from feeding your axolotl processed foods or anything that contains a lot of salt or sugar. These can be harmful to their health and may cause problems down the road.
How Often Do Axolotls Need to Be Fed?
Assuming you are referring to captive axolotls, they should be fed 2-3 times a week. Juveniles should be offered smaller portions more frequently (2-3 times a day), while adults can be fed larger meals less often. It is important not to overfeed axolotls, as they are prone to becoming obese, which can lead to health problems.
How Long Can an Axolotl Go Without Food?
Axolotls are able to go without food for long periods of time due to their ability to enter a state of hibernation. In the wild, axolotls typically only eat during the spring and summer months when food is more plentiful. However, if an axolotl is kept in captivity, it is important to provide it with a consistent food source. If an axolotl does not have access to food, it can enter a state of hibernation in order to survive.
Watch the Following Video on What To Know Before Buying An Axolotl?
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Behavior & Temperament
Axolotls are generally gentle and shy creatures. They are not known to be aggressive, and in fact, they are often preyed upon by other animals. When threatened, axolotls will often try to hide or escape rather than fight.
Axolotls are curious animals, and they are known to be very curious about their surroundings. They will often explore their environment, and they are also known to be very curious about other animals.
Good Tank Mates
Axolotls are solitary creatures in the wild, but in captivity, they can be kept with other axolotls or with other peaceful aquatic animals, such as newts, frogs, and fish. It is important to provide hiding places for all of the animals in the aquarium, as axolotls are known to be cannibalistic and will eat smaller tank mates.
- White Cloud Mountain Minnows
The White Cloud Mountain minnow is a species of freshwater fish in the carp family. The fish is native to China and has been introduced to other countries. The White Cloud Mountain minnow is a popular aquarium fish and is used in the pet trade.
The White Cloud Mountain minnow is a small fish that grows to a maximum length of 3.5 centimeters (1.4 inches). The fish has a silver body with a black stripe running along the lateral line. The White Cloud Mountain minnow is a peaceful fish that is suitable for community aquariums.
The White Cloud Mountain minnow is an omnivorous fish that feeds on algae, small insects, and other small invertebrates. The fish is a schooling fish and prefers to live in groups.
- Guppy Fish
Guppies are one of the most popular freshwater fish in the aquarium trade. They are relatively easy to care for and breed, which has made them a popular choice for fishkeepers of all experience levels. Guppies come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, which has also contributed to their popularity.
Guppies are native to parts of South America and the Caribbean. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving streams and ponds. Guppies are not particularly large fish, with most adults only reaching about 2.5 inches in length.
Guppies are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods. In the wild, their diet consists mostly of small insects and other invertebrates.
- Zebra Danios
A Zebra Danio is a small, freshwater fish that is native to South Asia. The Zebra Danio is a popular aquarium fish and is known for its hardiness. The fish is named for its zebra-like stripes, which are black and white.
The Zebra Danio is a peaceful fish and does well in a community aquarium. The fish is an active swimmer and does best in an aquarium with plenty of hiding places. The Zebra Danio is an omnivore and will eat most aquarium foods.
- Apple Snails (As adults)
Apple snails are a type of freshwater snail that is native to South America. They are also known as Mystery Snails, Golden Mystery Snails, and Inca Mystery Snails. Apple snails are popular in the aquarium trade and are often sold as pets.
Apple snails are large snails that can grow up to 6 inches in length. They have a round shell that is usually brown or gold in color. Apple snails are scavengers and will eat just about anything. They are also known to eat live plants.
FAQs on How to Care for Axolotls
Are Axolotls right for you?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on the individual’s preferences and opinions. Some people may find axolotls to be the perfect pet, while others may find them to be too high-maintenance. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not axolotls are right for you is a personal one.
How can you tell if an Axolotl is male or female?
The easiest way to determine the sex of an axolotl is by looking at the cloaca, which is the vent located at the base of the tail. Male axolotls typically have a wider cloaca than females.
Can You take an axolotl out of the water?
Yes, you can temporarily take an axolotl out of the water, but it is not recommended to do so for extended periods of time. If you do take an axolotl out of the water, be sure to keep it moist by spraying it with water or placing it on a damp towel.
Can Axolotl be kept with fish?
Axolotls can be kept with fish, but it is important to make sure that the fish are not too big or they may try to eat the axolotl.
If you’re looking for a pet that’s a little out of the ordinary, you might be considering an axolotl. These strange-looking creatures have become increasingly popular in recent years.
One of the biggest challenges of caring for an axolotl is feeding them. They are carnivores and need to eat live food, such as worms, insects, and small fish. This can be difficult to source and can be off-putting for some people.
Another consideration is that axolotls are escape artists. They can climb out of their tanks and are notorious for getting lost in plumbing systems. If you’re not careful, you could easily end up with a missing pet.
Overall, axolotls can be rewarding pets but they’re not necessarily easy to care for. If you’re up for the challenge, make sure you do your research and are prepared to provide them with everything they need.
- Amphibian (Britannica): https://www.britannica.com/animal/amphibian
- What are Nematodes? (UC Riverside): https://nematology.ucr.edu/about/what-are-nematodes
- How to Do a Partial Freshwater Change for Stable Water Chemistry (WikiHow): https://www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Water-Change-in-a-Freshwater-Aquarium