Axolotl Care Guide| Tank Mates, Housing, Feeding. Can An Axolotl Be A Pet?

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Axolotls are nicknamed the Mexican Walking Fish. What’s interesting is that Axolotls are not fish at all but rather amphibians also categorized as salamanders. They were originally spotted in many lakes by Mexico City which is why they are named Mexican Walking Fish.

Yes. Axolotls are an exotic type of pet. They can be housed in a 20-gallon aquarium tank set up but should be only with another Axolotl or no tank mates at all.

Happy Exotic Animal Sticker by AquariumMe
Here is our axolotl animated sticker on Giphy.

Why Don’t Axolotls Have Tank Mates

Axolotls are carnivorous so it would be very disastrous to include fish. Practically anything placed in front of them they will eat. Even when Axolotls are placed with other Axolotls they can be a bit cannibalistic and eat some of the other Axolotls’ limbs.

Axolotls enjoy a big amount of room to explore in so having just one is a good idea to make them not feel cramped. They can be stressed just like fish and other tank mates so don’t treat them any differently.

Axolotls are known to eat just about anything in their tank so adding cherry shrimp to eat their poop would not be very good at all. They would eat the cherry shrimp in a heartbeat.

What Do Axolotls Eat

As we discussed previously they are carnivorous so definitely meat. Axolotls can eat many different things. Cherry Shrimp, Bloodworms, Small Fish, Earthworms, Brine Shrimp, and Food Pellets would be perfect for them since their diet consists of many proteins.

What Is The Axolotls Natural Environment

Axolotls are only able to be found in the wild at Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco. Lake Chalco no longer exists as it was drained to avoid flooding so the Axolotls can only be found at Lake Xochimilco. This is pretty sad because they are reduced greatly and the fact that they are found in canals is sad.

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The Axolotls population is between 600 and 1200. This is mainly due to African Talapia and Asian Carp being introduced. These two fish have been eating the Axolotl’s main food source and have been eating their young as well. These tragedies are why it brings me joy to see breeders keeping their numbers alive.

Types Of Axolotls

The normal color of an Axolotls is an olive undertone, gold specks, and brown/tan color. When the Axolotls have been mutated they are generally 4 different types and colors.

Leucistic AlbinoAxanthicMelanoid
Pale Pink w/ Black EyesGolden w/ Gold EyesGrey w/ Black EyesAll Black w/ No Gold Speckles Or Olive Tone
4 Types Of Mutated Axolotls And Color Of Each

Where Can I Buy An Axolotl

Axolotls can be purchased from many different places. Axolotls can be found at local pet stores or even Craigslist. They are often purchased on Facebook as well in groups or pages. Axolotls can be purchased at many different price points. They are usually sold anywhere between $20 and $30 which is crazy high! More than most fish I have seen but then again they are an exotic salamander that is almost extinct.

Tank Setup

  • Sponge Filter
  • No Substrate
  • Reflective Foil Insulation Tape
  • Low Light
  • Fake Plants
  • Plenty Of Hiding Places
  • Thermometer
  • Good Sturdy Aquarium Stand
  • Siphon
  • Dechlorinator
  • Test Strips


Axolotls breathe through gills and also like to breathe gulping at the surface for air intake as well. Axolotls do not enjoy a whole lot of filtration in their tank and do not enjoy the loud bubbles either but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any type of aeration occurring.

Using a sponge filter will eliminate too much filtration and putting a plant in front of it will make the water not stir as much. They will really enjoy that. Just be sure to use a fake plant with axolotls since they may uproot the real ones by accident trying to rest on them.


Why cant you have substrate in an axolotl tank?

Unfortunately, with Axolotls you cannot have any substrate in their tanks otherwise they will swallow it unless the substrate is bigger than their head. There is much speculation as to why they do this but the main concern is that it can cause impaction.


Impaction occurs when the Axolotls swallow substrate such as pebbles. Unfortunately, Impaction is the most common problem in Axolotls. They will experience bloating and affect their eating patterns. If they are really young this can be a problem because they need to eat daily.

Low Light

Axolotls do not like bright light. They are normally found in more mountain-like water so there isn’t much light to penetrate the surface. The light is generally for us and not for them.

Lots Of Hiding Places

Axolotls love hiding places. If they didn’t have anything to hide in they would become stressed out. I would be as well if I didn’t have a place to hide from predators. They also enjoy the plants to rest on as well.

Water Conditions

Ideal Axolotl PH

The Ideal Axolotl PH is 6.5 to 8.0. Since Axolotls are native to a more mountain-style environment the alkaline would be higher there meaning they can survive higher PH levels.


Axolotls enjoy Cold Temperatures. Their ideal temperature is 60 degrees to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 20 degrees coleus. Our pets deserve the best so of course, we wanna make our tanks home. Removing the cover will help keep the tank cooler and with these guys, you do not have to worry about them coming out of your aquarium.

Reflective Foil Insulation Tape is very good for locking in colder temperatures as well. Consider adding a Fan to blow the water on your aquarium so the cool fan air can cool down the water.


4 easy to follow steps

  • Conditioned For Breeding
  • Quality Water Conditions
  • Lower Water Temperature
  • Catch The Eggs

Conditioned For Breeding

Make sure your Axolotls are very well fed. It takes alot out of them to engage in reproduction so having them ready will make the process much easier.

Perfect High Quality Water Conditions

This should be followed whether you are breeding or not. Its common sense really but important nonetheless which is why it made the list.

Lower The Water Temperature

They generally are already in cold water however when you add more cold water slightly you will entice their internal breeding which will make them want to mate. Of course this is ideal since thats what we are going for.

Catch The Eggs

As soon as they are done with mating their eggs will disperse. Move them away from their parents and this will ensure that the parents will not eat their young.

Axolotl Facts

Named for an Aztec God

The Axolotl is named after the Aztec God Xolotl. Xolotl was the god of fire, lighting, sickness and deformalities. He was a God to be feared. Many people still worship the Aztec God which is why they keep breeding the Axolotls to try to keep them from being extinct.


The Axolotl can regrow their tail, limbs, spinal cord, and even their brains. Its no wonder these guys inspired Frank Herbert to write the fictional book Dune Universe.


Scientists have sequenced the Genome of the Axolotl which is crazy to think about. In a mere weak the Axolotl can regrow their limbs, tail, brain, and spinal colum, and that is nutz! While humans can regrow hair, nails, and minor tissue damage. To think what we could accomplish in the future just gotta make sure we arent the first test subjects.

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