Need Help Setting Up Axolotl Tank

Discussion in 'Amphibians' started by KikiMiGi, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. KikiMiGiNew MemberMember

    Hello all,

    My boyfriend and I recently decided to get Axolotls. I have found a wonderful breeder nearby and am hoping to get some of the retired adults. We have never had them before, but I have kept fish for years and I’ve done a lot of research on Axolotls.

    I want to make sure their home is fully set up before we even start looking at which ones to adopt. I have a 50 gallon tank. I think it might be too deep so I planned to put some reptile hammocks in there to help. I have two HOB filters, but I might go down to just the 75 gallon filter as I can adjust the flow rate. I also will need to look into redirecting the flow so it’s not too powerful.

    For plants I was looking into anubias and Marimo miss balls.

    Substrate I plan to get some pool filter sand.

    I currently have two pieces of driftwood. One is the fake piece with fake plants on it, while the other is real driftwood. Is this something that can be kept in the tank? I can try to sand off any rough edges. I have attached pictures of both.

    I’m having a hard time with the hiding spots. I love the more natural looking tanks but I can seem to find anything that looks like it would be big enough for them to fit in while also looking natural. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    I’m also curious as to introductions. We plan to get two adults (or sub adults) from the same breeder. If they weren’t kept together, will we need to divide the tank when we first bring them home? Or will they be okay to put in together right away-just watch for any fighting?

    Attached Files:

  2. KiksWell Known MemberMember

    I would not use real driftwood in an axolotl tank because of flagellates.

    Natural looking hiding spots for axolotls don't really seem to be a thing you can buy. You can buy plastic caves that intent to look like something natural, but they don't really. The most natural looking is probably something you'll have to build yourself, using large flat rocks that you glue together with aquarium safe glue/silicone.

    Axolotls don't fight. They're not social, they don't communicate, they basically have nothing to do with each other besides living in the same space. When you see pictures or videos of axolotls trying to "eat" each other, it's simply cause they try to eat anything that moves. Whether or not the two you plan on buying have been kept together, there's a chance this will happen there's also a chance it wont. What you can do to make the risk as small as possible is to buy two axolotls that are the same size. They should be somewhat the same length, but the most important is that their heads have the same width.
    Biting can still occur, but with healthy axolotls that don't come from a pet store the risk is small.
  3. PredatorAquaticKeeperValued MemberMember

    I've kept and bred a number of axies before and I have to agree with @Kiks that there really isnt anything you can buy that would look "natural" for hidie holes for them. You'll have to build it. Avoid any of the plastic caves from store though because the insides of them tend to have sharp edges and depending on how high they are, your axies might try to slide through them and the sharp I side edges along the roof or sides are liable to cut and scrape the tops of their heads, or tails.

    Also, I would recommend taking stock in live feeder fish. They are, albeit pretty lazy, predators. They will eat frozen bloodworms, but because they wont be actively moving, once they hit the bottom, they'll loose interest and then you'll have waste. If you plan to go that route, you'll need a bigger grained substrate. They gulp their food, so if you plan to use anything that sinks, they might have a tendency to grab mouth full of gravel along with their food. They'll eventually spit it out, but depending on how hungry they are, little pieces could possibly get swallowed along with the food... So live rosey minnows or small tuffies is totally ideal.

    Water changes will be more frequent as well since they tend to stink up their water quicker than fish. Their poo wont dissolve as fast as fish, and they also will pee in their water. The height of your tank might be an issue as well. It might take some getting used to and maybe even a little training to get them to be able to climb on anything. But they definitely need to be able to get to the surface to breath. Maybe consider lowering your water level in your tank.

    As far as filters, definitely get something that will create as less current as possible. They hate fast flowing, strong moving water. You'll be able to tell if it's too strong because they will get stressed and their external gills (aka their head frillies) will begin to curl forward like a letter C and inevitably will stay that way and be permanent. Also, if stressed their tails will curl like a hook.

    You'll need to keep your water at or below 68 degrees farenheit. They are truly cold water amphibians. Depending on your house temp or where you live, you may need a water chiller, or... for me, I would use sterilized ice boxes, like the kind you would pack in your cooler, that floated on the surface. Just refreezing them during the night which is a ton of work. Lol.

    But the absolute best of luck to you and your new babies! Post pictures of them, and keep me updated on how they do! They're a lot of fun and you'll enjoy them. Besides, who can resist that adorable grin they always seem to have! :)
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  4. KikiMiGiNew MemberMember

    I did consider lowering the water level but we have terrible hard water here and it would leave white water marks all over the tank.

    I might just have to talk the better half into getting a shorter tank. ;)

    We have been looking into water chillers, but might try the fan trick first. The tank is going on the lower level of the house so hopefully it won’t get too warm. I’ve never seen my tank water get above 75 without a heater before.
  5. TheMadScientistValued MemberMember

    I have a custom built fan setup on my 55 pc fans . Mine so far stays around 65 but i live in a cooler climate. I'm currently working on a coil setup with fans and a lot of coiled piping but not quite done yet