5 Reasons Why Axolotls Make Amazing Pets
The Aquatic Salamander You Didn't Know Was a Pet
Axolotls are a type of fully aquatic salamanders native to Mexico. Also known as the Mexican "walking fish," they are not actual fish but are amphibians. This makes them very unique pets. In the wild, they are endangered due to habitat loss. All the axolotls in the pet trade today are born in captivity and are bred for their colors.
1. Tank Size
For a single axolotl, the recommended minimum tank size is ten-gallon (long). This should give an axolotl plenty of space. If you are keeping a pair, a minimum of twenty gallons (long) is required. It is pretty much ten gallons per axolotl, but never be afraid to go bigger. The bigger the tank with a smaller number of axolotl in it, the fewer water changes you will have to do and the happier pets you will have.
2. No Need for Heaters
The recommended temperature range for axolotls is 16°C (61°F) to 18°C (64°F). Keeping them in something like a cool basement is the easiest way to get these temperatures. If that is not possible, or it is to hot for them, getting a tank cooler is an option. Their versatility with their temperature is one of the reasons they are so easy to care for.
3. Easy to Feed
Adult axolotls eat earthworms or some other kind of high protein food like brine shrimp or bloodworms. Feeding one worm a day is known to be the diet they do best on, but sinking carnivorous pellets or axolotl pellets will work for them as well. Feeding is normally done with a pair of tongs. The worm is held out in front on the axolotl, and they grab it. Leaving uneaten worms in the tank can damage your water quality.
4. Cleaning is no problem.
Axolotls are unique in the fish-keeping hobby world because they need far fewer water changes than regular fish. When axolotls poop, it comes out in one big piece. You can then use something like a turkey baster to take just that one piece out of the water. Doing this on a daily basis, along with not letting any uneaten food sit in the tank, makes the water last much longer. I would also personally recommend not having sand in the bottom of the tank. It can make ammonia a lot faster if you aren't diligent about cleaning it and can cause ammonia to bubble up. If you do want sand, just be careful to clean it every time you do a water change. This should be about every one to two weeks, depending on your filter and how fast you can get poop out.
5. Look Cute
These wonderful animals come with a great smile that they are always wearing. They also come in a very large range of colours. These colours all have names, with the mottled brown one being the wild-type and the white with red gills but black eyes being leucistic. There is also the albino ones, which are only white and red. Those are the most common, but other types are highly available at a greater cost. These include a melanoid and golden albino. Due to their genetics, an axolotl can also come in a very large variety, including chimera and mosaic. Also available are ones that have had a very specific gene added into their DNA that makes them glow under blacklight, known as GFP.