top of page


(Ambystoma mexicanum)


Common Name: Axolotl or Mexican Walking Fish.


Scientific Name: Ambystoma mexicanum


Description: Axolotls are in the Caudata classification of Amphibians. They are closely related to Tiger Salamanders.

Axolotls are strange creatures that live their entire lives in a larval stage, this is known as Neotony. Research suggests they have evolved to be this way due to low levels of iodine in their native waters. Experiments have been done with Axolotls by exposing them to iodine & it was found that they did develop into salamander that look similar to the closely related Tiger Salamander.


Axolotls also have a remarkable ability to regenerate limbs, tails & even heart & brain cells at an outstanding rate.


There are a few known colours of Axolotls including their Natural Dark Phase, Albino, Gold, Leucistic & Black.


Origin: Axolotls originate from Mexico. The only place that they can be found in the wild is in the canals of the former Xochimilcho Lake, where they are now considered to be a critically endangered species. They were originally also found in Lake Chalco in Mexico, but this lake has since been drained.


Life Span: On average they will live 10-15 years in captivity, however up to 20 years has been recorded.


Size: They can Grow up to 12” in length.


Housing & Water Parameters: Axolotls are entirely aquatic.


A lidded aquarium around 2-3ft would be suitable to house your axolotl in. It is important to have a lidded tank as they are prone to jumping out of aquariums.

Water depth should be around 10-12”.


Water Parameters:
A pH of 6.5 to around 8.0 is acceptable, but 7.4 to 7.6 is ideal. PH levels should be tested after each water change.

Ammonia – 0 parts per million

Nitrates (NO3) – Between 5 and 20 parts per million

Nitrites (NO2) – 0 parts per million

Because our household water has chlorine in it, your water will need to be treated with a water dechlorinate such as Aquatize or left to stand for at least 24hrs so the chlorine has evaporated. Bottled spring water is also suitable.


A gentle internal filter can be used to help break the surface of the water & aid in filtering the water, however axolotls stress easily in too much water movement, so it is advisable to get a filter with an adjustable setting on it… also spray bars can help to disperse the flow.

You can opt to not have a filter, however you will need to do daily water changes to avoid the build up of bacteria. If using a low flow filter, a weekly 20-30% water change will be suitable.


Axolotls hoover up their food when eating & thus can hoover up substrate. They can actually ingest items that are as large as their head so it is advisable to not use gravel. If ingested, this would be very difficult for them to pass & would likely make your Axolotl impacted. Large pebbles can be used but they often hold uneaten food in the gaps between them so this can affect water quality & become harder to clean.

For babies & Juveniles, we would suggest a bare floor… you can keep the floor bare for adults too or alternatively you can use a fine sand (for adults only as adults will be able to pass any ingested sand, babies & juveniles would not).


It is important to have plenty of hiding places for your axolotl to minimise stress… things such as fake/live plants, rocks, bog wood, aquarium ornaments etc can be used. 

You should occasionally change around your décor in the aquarium as this will aid in natural enrichment for your axolotl exploring.


Heat: Most households won’t require any additional heating however it is important to have a water thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.

Keep the aquarium out of direct sunlight.

The ideal temperature is 16-18C. Axolotls can go as low as 10C & as high as 23C for short periods. Temperatures over 24C can lead to heat stress which can be fatal to your Axolotl.


Lighting: Natural daylight should suffice for your axolotl. They have sensitive eyes that do not like bright lights, so aquarium lights & direct sunlight should be avoided.


Feeding: Axolotls are carnivorous & should be fed every 3-4 days.

Foods can include but are not limited to… species specific Axolotl pellets, blood worms, earth worms, brine shrimp, daphnia, crickets to name a few.


Temperament: One thing to consider with Axolotls is their predatory tendencies. They will generally eat smaller tank mates, and will even eat the limbs of other Axolotls even if similar sized. It advised to keep your Axolotl singly to avoid this, even if the limbs will grow back eventually.

Some people may say that it is ok to keep Axolotls with aquarium fish, but this is not advised. Not only is there a chance that the Axolotl may eat the fish, the fish may also try to eat your Axolotls gills causing damage to your Axolotl.

bottom of page