How to arrange the aquarium of my axolotl?

For the well-being of your axolotl, it is necessary to offer it a healthy environment perfectly adapted to its needs! As far as living conditions in captivity are concerned, this is not a very demanding animal. Discover all our advice on aquariums for a happy animal!

Because of the axolotl’s social behavior, it is recommended to acquire at least two axolotls, not a single individual.

Axolotls live in an aquarium, not in a terrarium. This aquarium must be big enough to accommodate at least two axolotls of 20 to 30 centimeters. Ideally, the aquarium should be 80 cm wide. Since axolotls live on the bottom of the water, it is not necessary to have a great depth of water. Of course, if you wish to acquire new axolotls, you will need a larger aquarium. Moreover, before introducing a new axolotl, it is preferable to respect a quarantine period. Generally speaking, it is better to avoid having them cohabit with other ornamental species, which they may consider as food.

As it is a nocturnal animal, hiding places will be appreciated for the day. It can be PVC tubes or artificial plants for example. Beware, axolotls tend to ingest the gravel used to decorate the bottom of aquariums: it is therefore better to avoid them, and use fine sand or pebbles instead. In any case, choose a substrate and decorations that are not very abrasive, because the axolotl’s skin is fragile.

As with fish, you should leave the aquarium empty for a few weeks before bringing in your axolotl in order to establish the nitrogen cycle. After about 3 weeks, the nitrites should be completely gone and you can finally buy your axolotl. Choose them alive, without wounds or torn limbs. It is best to buy axolotls of sufficient size (10cm), to be sure they are not too young.

Filtration is not absolutely necessary, provided that the water is changed regularly (i.e. about 20% every week). If you do choose to install a filter, it is best to set it to the minimum setting so that the current is not too strong. Also, if your aquarium is not planted, it does not need to be lit because, as a reminder, the axolotl is nocturnal and crepuscular.

Finally, water quality is very important to keep your axolotls healthy. You can check it regularly with the help of kits available in stores. Ideally, the water should have the following characteristics:

  • It should be cold. A temperature of 16 to 18°C is optimal. In any case, it should never exceed 22°C. It is therefore necessary to choose the location of the aquarium with care during the summer period…the ideal is a quiet and cool room. It is essential to control the water temperature with a thermometer.
  • The water must be hard. Do not use distilled water for example, but rather tap water. Indeed, axolotls come from an environment where the water is very hard, and this is necessary to preserve their skin.
  • A pH of 7.5 is ideal.