Essential Care


  • Tank Size- Minimum 20 gallon long for 1 adult axolotl and an additional 10 gals for extra (The bigger the better) So a 30 gal for 2, 40 gal for 3 and so on.
  • Filtration- Axolotls produce a lot of waste and need double the filtration of the tank size. Axolotls are adapted to survive in still waters, which means it’s insanely important that the filter you choose doesn’t disturb your tank’s water flow. If you find that your filter is too powerful, try putting in a couple of plants or a loofa under your filter.They can help to block excess movement and soften strong currents.You can also add air stones and bubblers to increase to oxygen in the water to help keep the axolotls gills healthy.
  • Hides- Axolotls do not like the light and prefer dark spaces/caves to hide in. You can also add reptile hammocks (minus the metal rings) Plants that do well in cold water work too (Pennywort, Hornwort, Java Fern, Annubis- these also increase oxygen in the water) Tank lights should be dim.
  • Substrate- ABSOLUTELY NO ROCKS OR PEBBLES, this will cause impaction and will lead to the death of your axolotl. You can use fine sand or bare bottom.
  • Temperature-  Axolotls require temperatures between 60-67 degrees fahrenheit. Higher temps will cause fungus, stress, loss of appetite, and even death. Fans or aquarium chillers are recommended.
  • Tank Mates- Only other axolotls(similar head size), ghost shrimp, guppies. Other fish will nip at the axolotls gills or if eaten can poison the axolotl. Plecos are a big no as they will harm the axolotls slime coat or injure your pet


  • Earthworms, blackworms, soft sinking pellets are all great staple diets.
  • Frozen bloodworms can be given as a snack (these do not hold very much nutritional value and should not be a main source of food
  • Some feeder fish such as guppies and ghost shrimp are great! Fish that contain thiamine such as feeder goldfish will poison your axolotl.
  • Raw deveined shrimp (cut into pieces)
  • Feed juvies daily and as much as your baby will eat at one time


Tubbing is the act of keeping your axolotl in, no smaller than, a shoe size container. Tubbing can be beneficial if your tank isn’t cycled or for treating an illness. There is no limit as to how long is too long to stay in a tub. However your axolotl will be much happier having the floor space of a tank. 


It is best two have two tubs available. After each change the dirty one will need wiped out with a sponge or paper towel to remove the slime build up. 

Cycling/Water Parameters 

Having your tank cycled is very important to the health of an axolotl. Just like setting up a fish tank, they require their water to be within certain parameters. Ammonia and nitrite are very toxic to axolotls and WILL cause burns, gill loss, and eventually death. The best way to go about cycling your tank is to grab an API Freshwater Master Test Kit. This will include everything you need to test for. 

  • PH - 7.2- 8.0
  • Ammonia- 0ppm
  • Nitrites- 0ppm
  • Nitrates- 5-20ppm

Don’t know how to cycle? No problem!  DO NOT CYCLE YOUR TANK WITH YOUR AXOLOTL IN IT!!!! 

There are three steps to cycling:

  •  Ammonia-  Ammonia is the waste produced by your axolotl but since we CAN’T cycle with an axolotl in the tank, you need to dose your tank with pure ammonia (no other additives.) This is where your test kit comes in, you will need to dose your tank so you get an ammonia reading of 4ppm.  Next, you can add some type of beneficial bacteria to help jump start your tank. I recommend SeaChem Stability or API Quickstart.  
  • Nitrites- After you add ammonia, you will start to notice your nitrites spiking to a dark purple. THIS IS GOOD! Nitrites are the poop of the bacteria that eat the ammonia, which means you are establishing a cycle. 
  • Nitrates- Nitrates are the waste of the bacteria that eats the nitrites. Nitrates aren’t as harmful as ammonia and nitrites. But are harmful in large amounts such as 40ppm. The only way to decrease nitrates is through a water change. 

Once you have your cycle started you will want to check your parameters every few days to keep up on your ammonia. First you’ll notice your ammonia decreasing as your nitrites rise. Keep dosing your ammonia to 4ppm. This is important to make sure none of your beneficial bacteria dies off and has a constant supply of food to be able to populate more.. When your nitrites reach 0ppm and your ammonia can go from 4ppm to 0ppm in 24 hours and you have atleast 5ppm of nitrates your tank is cycled! Do not do a water change during your cycling process unless your ammonia is above 8ppm or your nitrates are above 80ppm. 

It is recommended to do weekly 50% % water changes with  fresh de-chlorinated water after your tank has cycled. We use SeaChem Prime to dechlorinate our  tap water. AGAIN, Water quality is most important to an axolotl's health.  Be sure to remember to test water parameters monthly!