Axolotl (Ambystoma Mexicanum)
Native Location: Mexico
Size: 15 – 30cm (6 – 12 inches)
Temperature Range: 14 – 20℃ (57 – 68℉)
Preferred pH Range: 6.5 – 7.5
Minimum Aquarium Size: 56 – 75L (15 – 20 gallons)
Potential Tankmates: N/A
Care Level: Moderate
These Mexican Walking Fish are a type of salamander with regenerative properties. They are unique pets to keep and are entertaining to watch.
Axolotls are carnivorous and can even have cannibalistic tendencies. In the wild, they feed on snails, worms, crustaceans, small fish and amphibians. In your tank, try meals of brine shrimp, small strips of beef or liver, bloodworms, or other frozen fish foods. As a precaution, do not feed them any worms of fish you have caught yourself, as they may be housing parasites. How much they need to eat can depend on their age and size. Many adults may take two or three feedings a week. You will need to drop the food in the water as close to your axolotl, using round-nosed forceps. If they do not eat during the day, try changing it up by feeding your axolotl in the evening. Remove any uneaten food.
Axolotls are not social creatures and are not suitable as community fish. They do not fare well with tankmates as they will eat them. As juveniles, you cannot keep axolotls together, as they will try to eat each other. As adults, there is the potential for a pair of Axolotls in one tank, but you will need to keep an eye on them and separate them at the first signs of aggression. Axolotls are hardy to slight water parameters changes but have softer bodies with permeable skin, so they should be handled as little as possible to avoid injuries. Handling them will require a fine mesh net. Once Axolotls settle into their environments, their tank will only take a few hours a week to clean. Unclean tanks can lead to viral or bacterial infections; symptoms can include lethargy and lack of appetite. Ammonia build-up can also be toxic.
There will need to be a lid on your tank to stop Axolotls from attempting to escape. Keep the aquarium in a cool room with no direct sunlight. You can create or put a cave in the Axolotls tank and know they will make good use of it. The substrate must be coarse gravel that is bigger than the Axolotls head. Finer gravels may be accidentally ingested and cause obstructions. Telling the difference between female and male Axolotls can be a difficult task. But females will be rounder and plumper in their bodies due to holding eggs. And males will
have longer bodies and tails. Also, try looking at their cloaca (vent). Males cloaca will swell, while the females will only have a tiny bump if one at all. Only try to breed Axolotls after they are 18 months old to ensure they are mature. Breeding with female axolotls too early can result in 1000s of eggs which is too stressful for their bodies.