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wikiHow to House a Pet Axolotl

Three Parts:Gathering SuppliesSetting Up the TankIntroducing the Axolotl to Its New Environment

Axolotls, a fully aquatic amphibian, can be difficult to care for. But, if one takes the time in preparation beforehand, they can be a unique and intriguing pet.

Part 1
Gathering Supplies

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    Purchase an aquarium.
    • Ideal aquarium size is a minimum 20 gallons for one and an additional 10 gallons for each additional Axolotl. Floor space is more important that height.
    • Lids are a must-have, as axolotl are known to jump out of their tanks.
    • A light is not needed, as axolotls are nocturnal. Bright lights or heat lamps can stress them out.
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    Locate a filtration system for your tank.
    • Technically, a filter is not required in an axolotl tank. However, as axolotls produce large amounts of waste and ammonia, the water needs to be changed quite frequently (which can be stressful to sensitive axolotls).
    • As for filter options, owners can choose between under-the-gravel, internal power, external power, and canister types. Canister types are the best, but most expensive. The best option for a new owner is probably the exterior power, or "fish-tank filter.
    • Axolotls are sensitive to water flow, and are stressed by excess water-flow. If you can't get a spray bar, block the water flow with plants or other decorations.
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    Decide on a type of bottom substrate for your axolotl.
    • Though some owners leave the bottom of their axolotl tanks bare to make cleaning easier, axolotls find it difficult to grip the glass bottom. This can stress out the axolotls.
    • Axolotls have a nasty habit of swallowing gravel. This causes them to choke and die. If you must go with gravel, select rocks larger than their heads.
    • Another popular option is fine sand. The sand can pass through their digestive tracks safely, and still allows them to grip.
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    Pick out some decorations.
    • Be sure to provide axolotls with hiding spots, such as flower pots or caves. Axolotls can be extremely shy, and stress easily., especially in new environments.
    • Provide a few soft and smooth plants for the axolotls to rest on.

Part 2
Setting Up the Tank

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    Cycle your new aquarium before obtaining your axolotl(s).[1]
    • Cycling is the act of preparing the water and the different bacteria levels for the upcoming residents. Be prepared to spend the time to prepare the ecosystem for your axolotls). It can take one to six weeks (depending on your method), but properly cycling the aquarium is vital in order to ensure your axolotls' health.
    • For small, one to two axolotl aquariums, simply fill the tank with de-chlorinated water and let it sit for one to two weeks. It's best to acquire ammonia, pH, nitrite, and nitrate test kits to test the levels as you go. This ensure the healthiest environment possible for your axolotl.
    • For large aquarium with many axolotls and/or other animals, be sure to slowly add in the animals, (a few every 2 or 3 weeks) to allow the tank build up the proper levels for the increasing number of residents.
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    Place the decorations that you have gathered. As for the arrangement of the decorations, most of it is up to you.
    • Placing plants under the filter can help to diminish the water-current. However, they will gather algae quicker.
    • Keep in mind that axolotls spend most of their time resting on the bottom of their tank.
    • Be sure the set-up provides plenty of easily accessible places for your axolotl to hide from you and any unwanted light.

Part 3
Introducing the Axolotl to Its New Environment

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    Transport the axolotl to your house in a small container filled with water from its former tank.
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    Float the container in your tank.
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    Add water from your tank slowly, until it is roughly 25% old, 75% new. Take your time with this step, as it gives your axolotl time to adjust to the new temperature and bacteria levels.
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    Slowly tip the container into your tank.
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    Give your new axolotl some space at first.
    • Leave the lights off.
    • Don't try to interact with your axolotl for a bit, however tempting.
    • Keep an eye on your new pet to make sure they stay healthy.
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    Enjoy the experience of being an axolotl owner!


  • Try out different arrangements to see what your axolotls prefer.
  • Consider getting a bubbler, which many axolotls enjoy.
  • Be sure to treat your water with a dechlorinator. Tap water often has dangerous chlorine levels.
  • Keep an eye on temperature. Axolotls prefer temperatures 55-70°F (13-21℃); never above 72℉ (22℃)


  • Axolotls are a critically endangered species. Do your part to make sure they do not disappear forever.
  • Steer away from tank-mates, aside from other axolotls.
  • Never use any chemicals when cleaning your tanks. Axolotls have very sensitive skin.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-20 gallon (40-70 liter) aquarium
  • Lid for the aquarium
  • Filter
  • Substrate
  • Plants and decorations
  • Test kits for ammonia, pH, nitrite, and nitrate

Article Info

Categories: Amphibian