Latin Name: Ambystoma Mexicanium
Axolotls are large salamanders that come from the remnants of lakes Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico. Axolotls live their entire lives in water, never emerging onto land.
Axolotl care requirements are minimal, and provided temperature and water flow are well controlled, they are hardy, easy-to-care-for captives that breed readily in captivity.
A 20-gallon aquarium can accommodate a single adult Axolot and lid or aquarium hood should be kept in place at all times because axolotls have been known to jump out of their aquariums.
Tap water is fine for axolotls, provided it is pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines. Axolotls are far more forgiving than aquarium fish when it comes to water quality, but a good filter and regular water changes should be employed nonetheless.
The best choice is an external canister filter such the Exo Terra Repti Clear Terrarium Filter, but ensure the water outlet to the aquarium is fitted with a spray bar or other flow-spreading outlet. This is necessary because axolotls do not tolerate distinct water flow like fish. Axolotls that live in a noticeable water flow for a few months will go off food and develop stress-related diseases. Lack of appetite and forward-curled gills are usually a sign of stress from too much water flow.
Like the vast majority of amphibians, axolotls do not require lighting, and indeed, new axolotls may be shy if kept under bright lighting, though they will become accustomed to it if provided with some hiding places (the usual aquarium “furniture” such as caves, wood, plants, etc.). Lighting is generally for our viewing pleasure and for the benefit of aquarium plants. Choose a plant-friendly bulb, such as those sold for freshwater aquarium fish. Keep in mind that lighting fixtures often generate a lot of excess heat and this can be detrimental to axolotls.
Temperatures up to the low 70s Fahrenheit are tolerated well by axolotls. An ideal temperature range is the low to mid 60s. Temperatures above 74 degrees will invariably lead to heat stress, loss of appetite and death.
Axolotls have a bad habit of ingesting gravel and mouth-sized objects if they are available. This can lead to gut impactions and the death of the axolotl. If you wish to use gravel, consider large pebbles instead.
Good staple foods for axolotls are nightcrawlers (large earthworms) and frozen bloodworm cubes. Good treat foods for axolotls include frozen shrimp from the supermarket (cooked), and lean pieces of beef and chicken. Avoid live food such as feeder fish because of the risk of parasite and disease transmission – axolotls are vulnerable to many fish diseases and parasites.