Axolotl Tanks: Best Guide for Tank Setup, Sizes, Accessories and More

We are already familiar with the usual creatures inside a fish tank. The types of fish like goldfish, swordtails, carps, and guppies can be enjoyable to behold. But there’s this one exotic creature that would capture your attention just by their features and fascinating appearance, and that is the axolotl. In this article, we will discuss about axolotl tanks and how to set them up.

An axolotl loves to own the whole place by themselves to display their amazing uniqueness. But, how do you prepare an axolotl tank properly? In this article, we will give you a complete guide to set up their homes with accessories, maintenance tips, and more.

Axolotls In A Fish Tank

An axolotl will require an aquarium or a fish tank when kept as a pet. The axolotl tanks should at least measure 15-20 gallons in size. Making sure that the tank has a secured lid is required because these aquatic creatures can jump off the tank. You don’t need a spacious room for this water creature. A minimum requirement is that the water level should be 2 inches more than the length of axolotls. Adding an extra depth will be beneficial for your axolotl as they love to roam around the tank.

The fish tank should be cool enough and kept away from too much sunlight exposure so that your axolotl can comfortably live. An appropriate water temperature is between 59 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 to 20 Celsius). Water temperatures above 75 in Fahrenheit or 24 degrees in Celsius is not safe for axolotls. Axolotls like to hide in dark areas where they can play, move, and eat. Providing them a small house made with flower pots will make them happy.

Basic Axolotl Tank Sizes

Bringing an axolotl home means you need careful planning for their new home. The minimum fish tank size for a young and small axolotl should be at least a 10-gallon. But for adults, it is better to get at least a 20-gallon fish tank. It should be spacious enough for them to perform their habits in the wild. 

Smaller than 10-gallon tanks will require you to change the water more often to secure the axolotl’s health, so it’s better to avoid them. In a 20 or 30-gallon tank, the rising of ammonia and nitrate levels cannot happen so quickly. It offers more room for the Axolotls to explore and play.

Three Highly Recommended Tank Sizes

Here are the 3 of the most recommended fish tank sizes for your axolotl, especially, if you are still a beginner. Caring for your aquatic pet will always pay off as you see them living healthy and happy inside their properly sized home.

15-gallon Tank 24″ x 12″ x 12″ (LxWxH)

A 15-gallon tank (24″ x 12″ x 12″) is highly recommended for young axolotls. This size of fish tank fits well for them as they are still physically small. However, they might need more when they grow and become adults.

A tank size smaller than 15 gallons will not help you see the full growth of your axolotl, as they love to live in a spacious environment. You will restrain their growth and it might lead to some problems regarding their development.

20-gallon Tank 30″ x 12″ x 12″ (LxWxH)

If you don’t like seeing your cute little creature settling for less, then you must consider buying them a more spacious tank like 20 gallons (30″ x 12″ x 12″). This measurement is a minimum requirement for the adult axolotl’s tank size. It can accommodate up to two axolotls. However, this one is recommended only for one axolotl to make sure they have adequate space to move and grow. An axolotl can experience stress inside the tank when they are not comfortable with the environment anymore.

29-gallon Tank 24″ x 12″ x 12″ (LxWxH)

A 29-gallon (24″ x 12″ x 12″) tank will never restrict your desire to put up ideas to make your axolotl happy inside a tank. This tank can accommodate two to three axolotls. It is an ideal hub for three axolotls as they will have comfortable spaces for each one of them.

A large aquarium brings an advantage for your axolotl’s full development. But take your full responsibility in making sure that you can maintain this tank clean, although it is not that difficult to clean. It has a sufficient volume of water that will prevent the harmful effects of chemical changes in the tank. These things are essential for the beginners to know in taking care of these aquatic creatures.

Keeping More Than 1 Axolotls Together

Before you even try to give a tank mate for your axolotl, you must first keep in mind that it is a fifty-fifty situation. Axolotls are not harmful to humans. However, they are a threat to other aquatic creatures. They normally would start fighting as axolotls are known to be territorial creatures. If they feel like the other axolotl is approaching their territory, they will start a fight, and worst, they can lose some limbs. Though they may injure some of their body parts, the good thing is they also regenerate. If you don’t want to see this happen, it is better to keep them apart from each other.

Axolotls are independent and solitary aquatic creatures. They can be fine alone because they are not social animals and don’t require any company in their tank. So if you bring them a mate, they might see them as an enemy, because they used to be alone enjoying their home. This is especially true when these creatures are still young.

On the bright side, adult axolotls can still do well with a tank mate of the same size. Why only when they’re adults? It’s because they can only eat anything that can fit in their mouth. Just always remember to provide them the proper food. Make sure that you are following the appropriate guidelines in feeding an axolotl. At the end of the day, a satisfied axolotl’s tummy prevents them from nipping.

Necessary Accessories For Axolotl Fish Tanks

More importantly, don’t overlook the accessories that maintain the cleanliness and temperature of the water in the tank. Accessories like the filters, water test kits, heater are also necessary. Here is the list of items that you would need when keeping axolotls inside an aquarium.


When setting up axolotl tanks, you should have the knowledge about filtration. Without a filter, you will have a hard time maintaining the tank. It is necessary to have this device for your axolotl’s aquarium. Upon choosing a filter, pick the right one for your axolotl. An effective filter should have an adjustable flow rate. It lets you control the output of the filter. Installing these filters will help clean out the dirt that sits on the tank.

Water Test Kits

Water testing kits are vital when keeping an axolotl as a pet. Providing them the right water is equivalent to taking good care of them. Since axolotls have permeable skin, they are more sensitive compared to other aquatic creatures. They can cope up well as long as you keep their waters free from harmful chemicals with levels outside their tolerance. If you fail to meet their capacity and needs, then health problems might occur. No one wants to see them get weak nor sick because they are fragile.

Good water testing kits for axolotls are now easy to find. You might find it in any pet shop near you or online. You will need a liquid (not strip) test kit that at least contains tests for ammonia/ammonium (NH3/NH4), nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), and pH to monitor the water quality inside the aquarium. Always make time for a regular water test. This will keep you updated about the current status of the tank. It allows you to make any actions or adjustments if needed.

Heater for Axolotl Aquarium

An axolotl likes to be in cold water as they enjoy cold temperatures. However, having a heater will prevent changing temperature between day and night. It is most common for aquariums that are in a place near open windows or doors.

So, if you are going to ask if an axolotl needs a heater? It probably depends on your area. Some tanks need the opposite. They need chillers to maintain a cold ambiance within the appropriate spans. While axolotls may do well in different temperatures, you should always ensure that your pets are comfortable with the water.

Long Tweezers For Aquarium

Decorating an aquarium for your axolotl is fun because you get to decide what you will put and the outcome. But before that, you need a tool that can help your imagination possible.

These long tweezers are high-quality stainless steel for picking up small objects. In the aquarium, you can use long tweezers in grabbing a plant through its roots. Buy a long tweezer and try it the next time you attempt to put up a new plant inside the tank. Long tweezers can help you feed your axolotls easily. Grab their food using the tweezers, whether it be live earthworms or pellets, and easily place it near the axolotl.

Axolotl Tank Decorations

axolotl plants

Nowadays, you will never see a simple-dull aquarium. Pet owners of these aquatic creatures are more likely to add decorations inside the aquarium. Everyone keeps asking why? What is the use of these decorations? A well-decorated aquarium makes an aesthetical vibe not only to the tank but to your home. Decorations can be a safe place for your axolotls.

Since they live in nature, the decorations can make the axolotl inhabitant feel like they are still in the lake or swamp. With that, they can improve their immune system and have the ability to avoid disease and heal. If the axolotls are comfortable with all the decorations, they are more likely to show their natural behavior. They can be active in playing and moving around in each corner of the tank.

To make a fish tank more appealing to the eyes of your axolotls and your visitors, putting some accessories inside the tank could be helpful. Axolotls appreciate a dark place where they can hide. The tank accessories can create a natural look and feel for their home. Decorations like plants are also popular for aquariums. They add color to the tank and give natural vibes to the aquarium, as they are always in freshwater environments. Live plants help enhance the water quality of your tank. Fake plants are easy to maintain as they cannot die but this depends on your axolotl’s behavior towards the accessories. So, make sure to observe them. For the axolotl’s comfort zone, you can place a small cave in it made with an empty flower pot, coconut shell (cut in the middle), or cave made of stone. They are perfect for your axolotl as they find peace whenever they are inside the cave.


Plants are usual decorations for an axolotl aquarium. People like to put live and plastic plants because they add color inside the tank. Live plants give a more natural feeling because these plants are from freshwater areas. But nowadays, pet owners of axolotl prefer to buy plastic plants. For them, these plastics are more colorful than the live one, which is all-natural green. It is easier to handle because they cannot die as they are just plastics. And also, plastic plants don’t drop dead leaves. It is harmful to your axolotl as nitrogen levels in the tank will increase. It will make your axolotl stress and worst; they can die due to the rise of nitrogen. Both live and plastics give axolotls a place for a hide-out.

It is still highly recommended to use live plants. The plants will enhance the water quality of the tank through carbon dioxide and let out oxygen as waste. It helps your axolotl to breathe comfortably and maintain stable oxygen levels and pH levels.


hides for axolotls

Axolotls love to keep themselves isolated in a place where they can seek peace and comfort. It is essential to add a decoration where they can hide. A popular hiding place for axolotls can be clay or cement pots, ceramic coffee mugs, coconut shells, and even made of rocks. Axolotls are not social aquatic creatures. You can mostly see them hiding in dark areas. They like to be alone, and they can do their thing alone. They are known for being independent. If you plan to bring an axolotl at home, then a hiding place should be your priority when it comes to decorating your tank.

Driftwoods for an Axolotl Tank

Natural driftwood is one of the must-have decorations in a fish tank. You can find natural driftwood in a lake or rivers. There is also driftwood in local pet stores. They are exotically imported and artificial. It’s more than just a decoration. It stimulates and maintains the ecosystem in the aquarium. Driftwood offers the growth of good bacteria. These bacteria are essential as they collect toxins in other axolotls’ products keeping your cute aquatic creature healthy. The surface area of driftwood ensures that there is room for a healthy colony of these said bacteria.

 Adding driftwood to your tank can provide a natural behavior of your axolotl. Since driftwoods exist in rivers or lakes, the axolotl can be attracted to it, and they will use it as a place for hiding, breeding, and even a place for a feast.


Another popular and overused decorations inside axolotl tanks are rocks. Many pet owners like to keep their axolotl feels like they are home, so they put decorations present in their natural habitat, and one of them is rocks. Rocks reduce stress in axolotls as they can give an authentic appearance. It also provides a surface area for nitrifying bacteria to colonize. These helps eliminates ammonia and nitrites that are both toxic to axolotls. Rocks enhance the pH level of your aquarium. Most importantly, it can give an aesthetic aspect and make it more attractive to your home and the eyes of visitors.

Why do We need To Avoid Gravel, Stones, and Marbles?

Gravels, marbles, and stones are popularly known accessories for tank decorations. They give a lively atmosphere to the tank as well as to the aquatic creatures. However, experience dictates that you need to avoid these decorations when keeping an axolotl for these reasons:

  • They are time-consuming to clean.
  • These decorations enable food fragments of unconsumed foods, fish waste, and general litter to fall between cracks, where they can collect and decompose.
  • Axolotls can sneak down among the gravel fragments. It may result in sudden death.
  • Rocks may be a danger to your axolotl. These rocks can injure your axolotl through their rough and sharp fragments.
  • If it fits their mouths, axolotls might eat small stones thinking they are food. This can cause major issues with your pet’s health.

Do Axolotl Tanks Need A Lid?

For safe and secured axolotls, you need to provide a lid above the tank. Glass lids are highly recommended for tanks as they are a durable and versatile type of lid. Since axolotls are capable of jumping out of the tank, you should keep a lid in place at all times. It also prevents items from falling into the tank and keeps out other household insects to enter the tank.

The cover minimize evaporation by sealing the top of the tank. Without a cover, you should fill more water more often, and evaporation contributes to moisture in the room air. Lastly, a cover generally includes a barrier between the light and the water, which can be important for safety and cleanliness.

Maintenance Of Axolotl Tanks

For maintaining the cleanliness of your axolotl’s tank, you must be hands-on in executing this responsibility. Of course, the only main reason why a tank has its maintenance is that we want to provide a better living for our axolotl. A clean and healthy shelter makes an axolotl happy. It reduces the risk of possible health problems. So, how do we maintain an aquarium?

  1. First, you need to remove the fecal materials each day. Use a tank vacuum cleaner that is usually available in local pet stores.
  2. Remove and replace at least one-third of the water each week. Allow the replacement water to rest in a pail for 24 hours to dissipate the chlorine before adding it to the tank. Changing water depends on the number of axolotls and the type of filtration that you are using. 
  3. When using filters underneath the decorations, scrape the accessories and remove debris before changing the water.
  4. In the case of an external filter system, the filter should be clean, and the filter medium may require replacement, usually every two to four weeks.
  5. Plastic plants are expected to produce algae development. Use warm water when washing the plastic plants and let them soak for ten to fifteen minutes in a bleach solution of about 10-20 milliliters and water. Rinse them thoroughly before putting this decoration in the tank.
  6. Following the water filtration method, thoroughly clean the axolotl tanks at least every three months.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of axolotls requires time and effort. Learning the guidelines for an axolotl’s care can ease your worries away. You are reading these guidelines because you want to provide the best possible care for your axolotl. You have to maintain the cleanliness and security in their tank. Having an axolotl as your aquatic pet can be difficult at first when you are still learning to know their needs, but you will get used to it, and you would learn to dedicate some of your time to take care of them. And it’s worth it.

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