Axolotls must be housed in aquariums containing at least 20cms of water that is clean and free from any treatments or chemicals. Water must be at the correct temperature.
Water height must be at least 20-25 centimetres in aquariums. Axolotls should never be housed in extremely soft or distilled water. Any chlorine or ammonia that has been added, as a treatment must be removed. Commercial preparations are available to prepare water for axolotls. Water pH must be kept between 6.5 and 8.0.
Axolotls prefer cool water temperature with the optimum range being 15-18oC. Water temperature must never exceed 22oC. To avoid overheating, never place aquariums in direct sunlight.
Water must be aerated as axolotls extract oxygen from the water through their gills. Water circulation should be kept to a minimum when water filtration devices are used as rapid water circulation can cause stress to axolotls.
Partial water changes should be carried out at least once a week, removing one quarter of the water and replacing it with conditioned water of the same temperature. Removal of solid waste from water is also necessary. Bacterial scum that grows on the aquarium must also be removed regularly, as it can affect the axolotl’s skin and cause toe loss. Once the water has been removed, the tank can be cleaned safely with a scouring pad dipped in a mixture of baking soda and salt at a 2:1 ratio. Rinse the tank gently and fill with conditioned water. Before disposing of the wastewater, add a solution of one part bleach to five parts water. Pour the water down a toilet bowl. Untreated water should not be discarded into storm water drains or septic tank systems.
Axolotls must have access to appropriate food at all times.
In their natural environment, axolotls are at the top of their food chain, meaning that they eat a large variety of foods. To meet their dietary needs it is important to provide them with a vast range of different food types.
Axolotls can be fed earthworms, insects, small crustaceans, narrow strips of raw lean beef, fish or chicken. These can be fed by hand by wiggling it in the water. Most axolotls will eventually learn to take pelleted food for carnivorous fish, for example salmon pellets. They usually prefer softer type of pellets. Hatchlings will eat brine shrimp, tubifex worms, water fleas and small insects.
Feed adults three times a week, with as much as they will consume within about one hour. Feed juveniles more often. Remove uneaten food and excreta promptly.
Essential dietary needs (variations)
Axolotls require a variety of food items, as monotonous diets may cause nutritional deficiencies.