12 Ways To Make Your Axolotl Happy

Axolotls may look like exotic creatures, but their needs are fairly straightforward. As an amphibian, providing the right tank environment, nutrition, and care is key to your axolotl’s health and happiness. Whether you’re a new axolotl owner or looking to step up your pet care game, this article will walk you through 12 fundamental tips to raise a flourishing, content axolotl. From tank setup, to ideal water parameters, balanced diet, enrichment ideas, and more – we’ve got you covered. Implement these simple, actionable recommendations and watch your beloved axolotl thrive. Say goodbye to guesswork and follow our guidance for a happy, healthy pet.

1. Provide a Large, Spacious Tank

Axolotls need plenty of floor space to move around and explore. For one axolotl, aim for a minimum 20 gallon tank, though bigger is always better. If housing multiple axolotls, allow at least 10 gallons of water per axolotl. Crowding causes stress and aggression. Give your axolotl room to thrive by providing an appropriately large tank size. Go big, and you’ll have a happier, healthier pet.

2. Use the Right Substrate

Choose fine gravel or large rocks as substrate, avoiding sand or small particles. Sand can unfortunately be ingested by axolotls, leading to impaction as it cannot pass through their digestive system. Larger gravel is safer and reduces accident ingestion risk. Bare bottom tanks are also an option if you prefer easy cleaning. Check substrate regularly for trapped debris. Keeping their environment clean promotes axolotl health.

3. Add Enriching Decor

Axolotls love exploring new objects and hiding spots. Outfit their tank with ample caves, logs, tunnels, and live or silk plants to weave through and under. Position decor along tank edges and corners to maximize useable space. Replace and rearrange periodically to keep their environment novel and engaging. An enriched habitat reduces stress and keeps your axolotl active.

4. Maintain Cool Water Temperatures

Axolotls thrive in cool water between 60-68°F. Temperatures above 74°F cause stress. Use reliable chillers and fans to maintain their ideal temperature range. Monitor conditions daily to catch any fluctuations quickly. Proper water temperatures are vital to digestive function, metabolism, and disease resistance in axolotls.


5. Provide Good Filtration and Circulation

Effective filtration is crucial to remove waste, maintain clean water, and keep parameters in check. Use robust external canister filters sized for larger tanks. Supplement with air stones, powerheads or pumps for proper water circulation. Test ammonia, nitrites weekly and partial water changes of 25-50% are recommended. Good water quality reduces disease risk and toxicity.

6. Offer a Varied, Nutritious Diet

Feed a diverse diet including earthworms, larvae, frozen bloodworms, and quality axolotl pellets to meet nutritional needs. Stick to chopped bite sized pieces for safety. Axolotls should be fed daily as juveniles, and every 2-3 days once mature. Remove uneaten food to avoid spoiling the water. Proper nutrition supports development, immunity, and activity levels.

7. Provide Subdued Lighting

Bright tank lighting stresses axolotls. Use low wattage bulbs, position lights off center, and give them shaded areas. Limit light exposure to 8-10 hours daily. Natural daylight near a window works too. Reducing harsh light creates a calming environment.

8. Test Water Quality Frequently

Test and log water parameters for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH weekly or biweekly. Address rising nitrates with partial water changes. Use chemical media if needed to control spikes in toxic compounds. Maintain ammonia and nitrites at zero, with nitrates ideally under 20 ppm for axolotl health and water quality.


9. Perform Preventative Salt Baths

Use occasional aquarium salt or tea baths for 30 mins up to an hour to prevent fungal or bacterial issues. Consult your exotics vet on proper treatment guidelines. Look for early signs of illness like lesions or red gills to treat issues promptly. Responsible prevention improves axolotl welfare.

10. Allow Safe Outdoor Exploration

Let your well-supervised axolotl gently explore outside their tank occasionally for enrichment. Use a tub or plastic container with just enough water to swim and lift their head above water. Never leave unattended during outdoor time. Varied environments provide stimulation.

11. Handle Your Axolotl Correctly

Always handle gently by allowing them to swim between cupped hands, never grabbing limbs. Avoid lifting vertically to prevent injury. Limit handling to necessary tank maintenance. Wash hands before and after touching to prevent contaminating their sensitive skin. Proper handling promotes safety and minimizes stress.

12. Recognize and Address Signs of Stress

Look for odd behaviors like floating high or spazzing movements that can indicate stress or discomfort. Review tank conditions and environment if noted. Ensure proper water quality, nutrition and enrichment are provided. A healthy, thriving axolotl will happily zoom around their habitat interacting with their surroundings and owner.

About The Author

Ellie McDaniel is an experienced aquarium pet owner, whose expertise infuses her informative articles. She shares her deep understanding of aquatic pets, their care, and maintenance through engaging and insightful writings.

Ellie’s knowledge and passion for aquarium pets shine through her articles, providing an invaluable guide for fellow enthusiasts. Her practical experience resonates with readers, making her a trusted resource in the diverse world of aquarium pet care.