Before You Get an Axolotl
Here is a list of things to consider BEFORE you get an axolotl:
Can you afford it? A tank, all the necessary food, accessories etc can add up to hundreds of pounds/dollars. Vet fees (If you start to slack on your responsibilities) can be a lot too.
Have you got space? You need at least 38L (10 gallons) per Axolotl.
Although they average a lifespan of around 8 - 10 years they could live up to 15 years – as long as a dog. Are you willing to make that commitment?
Do you understand the importance of cycling and water quality? Get reading...
They prefer live food, can you physically handle live worms, maggots, and other creepy crawlies? (Pellets available in our marketplace) Do you feel OK with feeding live worms to an axolotl?
Do you have a local vet who can deal with exotic pets and amphibians?
If you are lucky/unlucky and end up with a breeding pair are you prepared to raise babies, cull eggs, or euthanize little larvae?
Here’s a quick shopping list for one axolotl (most items available in our marketplace):
- Tank and stand – 38L (10 gallons) minimum. You don’t need lights and you don’t need a heater, axolotls are coldwater animals.
- Filter (air stone is optional).
- Accessories: a hide, some large stones or ornaments, some plants (real or plastic)
- Large net
- Dechlorinator or water conditioner
- Water test kit (liquid, not test strips)
- Large buckets and siphon for water changes, water containers or buckets for clean water
- Aquarium vac or turkey baster
- Large plastic tub for quarantining or nursing if needed
- (DO NOT buy gravel for your tank – axolotls eat it and it can kill them)
- Worm farm or container, or at least access to clean (organic) land for harvesting
- Space in the fridge for small food worms/maggots etc (If you are going with the live food option)
- Plastic tongs or forceps if you don’t want to hand-feed your new pets
- If you can buy directly from a breeder you’re likely to get healthier animals, many pet shops don’t know how axolotls differ from fish and try to keep them in bright lights, in gravel tanks, and feed them the wrong thing.
The best tank mate for an axolotl is another axolotl– they don’t mix well with fish or other aquarium dwellers.
NEVER put gravel in an axolotl tank. Large stones, fine smooth sand, flat slate, bare bottom, or textured tiles are fine. Axolotls can and will eat gravel, it blocks their digestive system and can kill them.
Never add chemicals to your tank unless it’s on the advice of a vet, and remember that your local aquarium/pet shop is really only interested in selling you something. Axolotls absorb a lot of chemicals through their skin and anything you add to their tank can end up affecting them.