How to care for a pet Axolotl: Tank setup, size requirements, & more

Also known as the Mexican walking fish, Axolotls are a type of salamander native to the Eastern region of Mexico, hence their nickname. These cute pets will be ideal if you love the aquatic fauna. 

They live in aquariums and are peaceful in small groups. Axolotls are not aggressive and will get along well with similar aquatic friends. They feel the best when temperatures are cool and in environments with low lighting


Taking care of Axolotls requires regular maintenance, and even beginners can create a safe and comfortable environment for these pets. Special equipment is not required unless you want your aquarium to look stylish and modern. 

If you want to know how to care for a pet Axolotl, continue reading this article. We’ll teach you all you need to know. We will discuss the tank setup process, size requirements & more. 

What is an Axolotl?

Unique and unlike anything else found in nature, Axolotls are a species of salamander that is original from a specific area in Mexico. They were brought to Europe in 1864, and these little pets grew in popularity over the decades. 

Because they are carnivores, they feed on small species of fishes or insects and even worms. Today, these endangered species are no longer at the top of their food chain. However, getting and taking care of an Axolotl in your aquarium will ensure a long and easy life for them.

A usual mistake among those that don’t show interest in marine life is that they assume Axolotls are fishes. That is not true, as they are unique in the amphibian species because they live in water while other species can surface and live on the ground as well. 

The ”Mexican walking fish” nickname, popular for this pet, doesn’t necessarily mean they can walk above the water on the Earth’s surface.

These cute little pets can range between 15 and 45 centimeters in length, so you should purchase an aquarium large enough to accommodate them. Their lifespan can reach 15 years if you take care of them well and meet their needs, which are not demanding.

While their aspect is similar with few differences, the colors and characteristics can vary greatly. These pets can be colored differently, as some are pink or brown while others can be black or grey. 

Can you have an Axolotl as a pet?

As they are very friendly and interactive, Axolotls will give you years of companionship and enjoyment if you keep them properly. Most of your work will consist in choosing and setting up the perfect environment for them. A large-sized aquarium is required so these pets can feel comfortable in their home.

After setting your new pets in their home, you’ll notice how much they can elevate your mood. A great addition to every household, these pets will surely make your day. Maintenance and care for your Axolotl is very important and quite advanced, as they require specific temperatures in their environment. 

Another popular myth is that these pets can be toxic and poisonous to humans. That’s why they are not as common as typical fishes found in many households. Fortunately, this myth is false. They are completely harmless to humans, so you don’t have to worry about interacting with them. 

Guide on how to take care of an Axolotl

Axolotls are very demanding regarding their environment, and you should offer them the best and most ideal living conditions. The water quality is an important factor, and applying a filter is recommended to pick up large solids or uneaten food from floating around. They can cause infections for your little pets, and their health is in your hands.

You should clean the aquarium every 2 weeks to keep the environment clean and safe. Use water-quality testing techniques to determine the pH range, which should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Your Axolotls will be grateful every day and give you unforgettable happy moments. 

Because they originate from cold waters, the ideal temperature for your pets ranges between 57 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful when you handle them because their soft skin is not made for protection against external hazards. 

Most probably, you will use a net but be careful not to get them entangled. Although this feature is not necessary for your aquarium’s safe environment, They can regenerate limbs and parts after they have been damaged. 

Tank setup ideas

Axolotl decorating

The tank itself doesn’t matter much to your Axolotls. Any tank will do, as long as it has enough floor space and can hold 20 gallons of water. Setting up the tank, buying these pets, and installing equipment will be quite costly so prepare your budget accordingly. 

It is important to do your research as many beginners don’t know how to take care of their axolotls. Instead of getting a real pet, a plush Axolotl would be better suited for them. One common mistake is that they don’t invest in a large enough aquarium. While smaller tanks can accommodate young axolotls, this limited space won’t be enough when they become adults. 

Another reason why it’s better to get a bigger tank is related to your own pet’s health. Because Axolotls leave a lot of waste, the water parameters can change significantly. While there are not many effects in the short term, this will be a problem for their health over time. Parameters and water composition will change slowly because bigger tanks can hold more water, p. 

Some pet owners start with a smaller tank and upgrade its size over time as their Axolotl grows. Going for a bigger tank right from the start is recommended, preferably one that can hold around 40 gallons. This way, you’ll reduce future costs by setting up new tanks. However, you’ll also do your pets a favor since they don’t like to change their environment often.  

Tank decor

Axolotl in a tank

Take a look at these beautiful decorations for your new tank. Your Axolotls will love them. We’re sure you will appreciate them too, as they will make your aquarium good-looking.

NICREW Aquarium Volcano Ornament

This miniature volcano ornament serves both decorative and functional purposes. The main feature of this volcano is the steady stream of oxygen that comes out of the crater. It allows filtration and oxygenation of the water. 

An LED light will shine on these bubbles, making them look like a continuous volcano eruption. You can place this volcano at the back of the tank. The bubbles will set the background of your photos whenever you take a snapshot of your cute little pets. 

Marina Decor Polyresin Cave

Axolotls are not used to an empty environment limited by glass. That’s why you should invest in decorations that recreate the ocean ground as much as possible, adding plants and aquatic elements. A good choice would be this cave replica which will quickly become your pet’s favorite decoration.

Aquamarine experts have designed this small cave with sharp and clear details. Its materials are natural, and it feels like your tank has an underwater cave leading into an abyss. There is no need to worry about their composition since these caves are not toxic and won’t affect the water in any way.


The only place where you can find Axolotls in the wilderness is in Xochimilco’s canals and lakes. This is a neighborhood within Mexico City, and it’s where these cute little pets originated from. Their original environment is easy to recreate in your home and makes your tank feel like the bottom of those Mexican lakes. 

Place artificial rocks and plants in your tank since Axolotls like to hide and swim around them. They will notice no difference between their new home and the place where they originated from, especially if you take good care of them and meet all of their required conditions. 

Tank setup & size requirements: How big of a tank do you need?

Axolotl tank

Buying and setting up an aquarium might be stressful for some people who don’t know all the specifics and details of their tank. For your new pet, a 20-gallon talk is an ideal choice. That’s why we recommend you a wonderful tank made by Tetra, which also includes LED lighting and beautiful decorations.

Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank

This tank is ideal for you and your pet, whether a complete beginner or an aquatic enthusiast. A key feature of this product is that decorations are included, so you won’t have to worry about the comfort of your Axolotls. 

Of course, many more decorations can be added later if you desire to do so. There is plenty of space available. Both utility and beauty are combined to create this wonderful product that would surely get a thumbs up from your Axolotl. 

The glass is scratch-resistant and will last a long time while the LED hood shines a light similar to the natural one. A fishnet is also included, making it easier to move your new pets around whenever you clean their environment. 

Because you want the best comfort and living conditions for your pets, you will start looking for high-quality products made by famous brands. Regarding tanks and aquariums, you have already found the best product manufactured by the well-known company Tetra. 

They managed to get lots of reviews, and their customers are always satisfied with the purchase. While the owners are happy with the new addition to their room, it’s almost certain that the Axolotls are also satisfied with their new environment.

Tank mates

Everyone deserves to have a healthy social life, which also applies to your new pet. Let’s look at who can live with your pet to make life more enjoyable. 

Keeping more Axolotls in the same tank is a wonderful idea. They are friendly creatures and will get along well with other members of their species. If you want to extend your tank’s population in the future, you can have a male and a female Axolotl in the tank. 

However, it is not recommended to keep smaller ones with adult ones. Unfortunately, adults can display aggressive behavior, so it’s better to keep the mature ones in a separate tank. 

Water temperature

These pets love cold water and will have their best life at optimal temperatures. Some limits should not be crossed, such as a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Getting to such temperatures is not common, especially among owners who keep them in their rooms where the ambient temperature is optimal.

If temperatures drop below the limit, we recommend you get a heater to stabilize their environment. On the other side, the maximum limit is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. These pets can resist high temperatures only for a short time. 

If the water is too warm, your Axolotls might experience hyperactivity and heat stress. For Axolotl lovers who live in warmer climates, special chillers for aquariums are available to help cool the water down. 

Life cycle

These cute little pets live 10 to 15 years in captivity. In some rare cases, they can live for over 20 years when the conditions are perfect. Some people are surprised by the long lifespan of these creatures. However, their resilience is a result of millions of years of evolution. 

Axolotls are not capable of moving or living on the ground, as they lead their life underwater. These species lay eggs, and baby Axolotls will start developing limbs only 2 weeks into their life. After one year, it can be considered fully grown.

Because they don’t have natural predators, your adorable pets will live an easy and stress-free life. In most cases, their death occurs due to illnesses developed at an old age.


The Axolotl is a carnivorous species that prefer meat over anything else. Worms are probably the most common food owners give to their pets, but be careful where you get them from. 

Purchase such food only from an authorized pet shop because you don’t want your pet to get food poisoning from other sources. Processed food will also contain all the necessary nutrients and minerals for your Axolotls, and sinking pellets are a good option. 

Unlike fishes, these creatures won’t swim to the surface in order to catch the floating food. That’s why these pellets should sink and reach the floor of your tank, making it easier for your pets to feed


Can you hold an Axolotl?

Your Axolotl has a soft body with delicate skin, and that’s why they should never be handled directly. Using a fishnet is ideal if you want to move them around while you are cleaning the tank, but make sure they’re not getting stuck in it. 

Where can I buy an Axolotl?

We recommend you buy them directly from a specialized pet shop that sells them. They will also guide you and give you useful information about how to care for your new pet. 

How long can an Axolotl be out of water?

Most Axolotls can survive one hour out of the water, but getting them above the surface is not recommended. They are aquatic creatures made to live in the water, so being outside of it is not good for them. 

How much does an Axolotl cost?

They can be easily categorized as exotic pets. But even if their species is endangered, they can be quite inexpensive and good for starters. You will find Axolotls selling between $30 to $100. Depending on their rarity, some unique ones can have a price tag above this budget.

Are Axolotls easy to care for?

Beginner pet owners can start their new hobby with an Axolotl. Caring for and maintaining a healthy life for these pets is easy and simple, but the specific needs should be strictly followed. 

What does an Axolotl need in its tank?

There are no special requirements for an Axolotl’s environment, as they can adapt easily to their new home. Ideal water temperature should always be met, and good hygiene and maintenance of the tank are necessary. Keep the water oxygenated with a pump, like the volcano-shaped one we recommended above. 

Since they are easy to take care of, you won’t need to get some special environments enhanced with too many items. But you can make their place beautiful and more pleasing by adding decorations and plants. It will make the environment a diverse and loaded one. 

Axolotls can see some colors, so they will differentiate specific shades your decorations might have. Miniature caves and rocks will make them feel at home, as their original place features the same elements. A clean environment is more important for these pets, so check the water levels and temperatures often.