What will make my axolotl happy?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Creating a happy and healthy environment for your axolotl is essential to ensure their well-being. Here are some key factors that will contribute to your axolotl’s happiness:

1. Aquarium Setup:
– Tank Size: Each axolotl should have a minimum of 10 gallons of water. Providing enough space is crucial for their comfort and overall health. A larger tank is always better if you have the space.
– Water Temperature: Axolotls prefer cool or room-temperature water, ideally between 60-68°F (15-20°C). Avoid exposing them to higher temperatures as it can stress them and affect their health.
– Lighting: Axolotls are sensitive to bright lights, so it’s best to provide low lighting in their tank. Subdued or ambient lighting will help create a more natural and calming environment for them.
– Substrate: Choose a substrate that is soft and non-abrasive, such as sand or fine gravel. Avoid rough materials that could damage their delicate skin.

2. Water Quality:
– Filtration: Invest in a good aquarium pump or filter to maintain clean and healthy water conditions. Axolotls produce waste, and efficient filtration will help remove toxins and maintain water quality.
– Water Changes: Regular water changes are crucial to keep the tank clean and remove any accumulated waste or harmful substances. Aim for a 25-50% water change every 1-2 weeks.
– Chlorine Removal: Tap water often contains chlorine and chloramine, which can be harmful to axolotls. Use a water conditioner that removes these chemicals before adding water to the tank.

3. Diet and Feeding:
– Variety of Foods: Offer a diverse diet to ensure your axolotl receives all the necessary nutrients. They primarily feed on live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. Occasionally, you can also provide pellets specifically formulated for axolotls.
– Feeding Schedule: Feed your axolotl once a day, providing an amount that they can consume within 5-10 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and water pollution, so it’s important to avoid excess food.

4. Tank Mates:
– Compatibility: Axolotls are generally peaceful but avoid keeping them with fish or other aquatic creatures that may nip at their gills or fins. Axolotls can be housed together in small groups, given that there is enough space and no aggression is observed. However, it’s best to monitor them closely initially to ensure they are getting along.

5. Enrichment:
– Hiding Places: Provide hiding spots in the form of caves, PVC pipes, or live plants. Axolotls enjoy having places to retreat and feel secure.
– Gentle Current: Axolotls are not strong swimmers, so avoid strong water currents in the tank. Gentle water movement created by the filter or air stone is sufficient.
– Minimal Handling: While axolotls can be fascinating to observe, they are delicate creatures and should be handled sparingly. Excessive handling can stress them out and potentially harm their sensitive skin.

Personal Experience: I have kept axolotls for several years, and I have found that following these guidelines has helped maintain their happiness and overall well-being. Providing them with a suitable tank setup, clean water conditions, a varied diet, and some enriching elements in their environment has resulted in healthy and content axolotls. Remember, each axolotl is unique, so observing their behavior and making adjustments accordingly is essential for their happiness.