Baby Axolotl is another used for the Mexican Walking Fish.

Fish? Walking? Well, now that we have managed to get you all curious, we would like you to know about this astonishing creature as well.

Considered amphibians, these are not your regular aquatic animal, and it carries vivid background stories and is one of the unique choices ever to enter our aquariums.

One critical thing that you must obtain about this species is that they are highly susceptible to water changes. Hence, any parameter up and down or sideways can make your creature pay the price.

Rest, the baby axolotl is an elegant fish, charming enough to turn eyes and intriguing enough to make people ask questions. Here’s a guide that will help you raise one in your aquarium.

An Insight into The Species’ Life 

Quick Species Facts
Scientific Name Ambystoma Mexicanum
Also Known As Mexican Salamander, Mexican Walking Fish
Family/Species Salamander
Origin Mexico
Maximum Lifespan 12 – 15 Years (Average) 20 Years (Rare Cases)
Name Derivation Named after Greek God – Aztec
Classified As Endangered Species
Unique Feature Regeneration of Organs Largest Animal Genome Ever Decoded
Size 25 – 30 centimeters
Suitable For Freshwater Aquarium 

Facts & Origin

Baby Axolotl- A name that carries striking facts, and the first one being its life. Baby axolotls remain a larva throughout their life and tend to transform into a salamander through some influence (which is not recommended).

The next striking feature is their regeneration ability. Capable of regenerating their limbs up to five times along with other body parts, they really blow the minds of people.

Deriving its name from the Aztec God- Xolotl, this fish is now put under the tag of endangered species. However, they continue to grace the aquatic world, and you can get one for your aquarium as well. Here’s more about them.

Originating from the canals, lake Xochimilco and Chalco, this fish is found only in Mexico. Because of illegal trafficking and pollution, their management is now guided through state rules. Hence, finding baby axolotl for sale anywhere else except registered pet stores is unlikely.

Since these are found in lakes, you do have to mimic the same surroundings. For starters, their habitat comprises tones of greenery and an absolutely nullified water current. Further, they enjoy steady conditions, which are discussed below.

Size

The sizes of a baby axolotl range from tiny to just about average. They reach maturity in sexual dimorphism and can vary as much as 9to 12 inches (22 to 30cm). However, as a baby, at the very least, they should be about 3 to 5 inches long in total to be considered a baby.

Further, the growth can be pretty quick. Hence, be prepared to have a balanced diet and environment if you wish to make your pet happy.

What do Baby Axolotls Look Like

Talking of appearance, a baby axolotl is one being that will make you wonder and keep on doing that. The first look of it allows you to see its round dark eyes.

It has a long tail on the back followed by a dorsal fin. They have feathery gills and a mouth that looks quite evident. You can easily conclude that it is a baby axolotl you are looking at. Baby axolotl’s smile is something people have been fond of.

Further, they have lizard-like limbs that they use to move around the bottom. Talking about the colors, they primarily occupy the black and brownish shade in their childhood. An adult captivated baby axolotl would have colors like yellow, gold, white, pink, grey, cream, and greenish-black as well.

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Pro Tip: These are sometimes confused with tiger salamanders due to their appearance as larva. Hence, when you buy one, you must make sure you are picking the correct species.

Life Expectancy

A baby axolotl pet can grow into a sturdy creature capable of living a healthy life of 12 odd years when kept in the right conditions. Some aquarists have petted their axolotls for up to 15 years, and it is rare, but possible, that they live for 20 years.

Again, if you are looking to buy a baby axolotl, you should think about the care. The life of an aquatic animal depends largely on the surroundings it has been kept in.

Any factor that leads to stress, any parameter that is not up to the mark, any food that hampers the growth, and your pet perishes. Hence, make sure you stick to the ground rules (listed below).

Gender Identification- How to know if it is a Male or a Female

There are several features that distinguish one gender from the other. The first identification mark would be a bump or a bulge behind the back legs of a male. It is prominent and can be used to identify, and females usually do not carry this.

Subsequently, looking at their shapes, you can tell that females have more plump and round abdomen, and males are linear and slimmer. Also, the male has a broader or a larger head and a longer tail.

Aquarists have also stated that females are usually smaller than males. To be fair, it does not always happen and is just a wild guess. Follow the other two identification marks to know.

How to Care for Baby Axolotls?

A Glimpse
Care Level Moderate to Advanced
Social Temperament Intermediate- Peaceful Generally
Diet Carnivore
Hardiness Hardy (Up to a Limit set) Food – Adults can go up to 2 weeks without foodBabies will last only for 4-5 days Water – Last only for a few Minutes
Breeding Intermediate

The Right Food

First things first, baby axolotl’s food would be slightly different from that of an adult one. Hence, please re-consider your buying choice. With a baby in your aquarium, there are dozens of varieties, provided that it is ‘Live Food’ only.

A baby axolotl won’t be just eating live food but only small particles that fit in their mouth. You can offer baby axolotl:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Micro-worms
  • Daphnia
  • Small insects
  • Crickets
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Chopped worms

Some aquarists also liked the idea of feeding them egg yolk.

Once they pass their childhood age, you can bring in soft salmon pellets and frozen bloodworms.

When they come to their hunting years, they can only sense food that is moving or wiggling. Hence, when you are spoon-feeding them, you must use live food clicked in tweezers that are making some sort of movement.

Author’s Note: When you talk about feeding baby axolotls, you will notice that these suck their food rather than biting them. This is due to their tiny mouths. Hence, the food you provide must be cut into small segments. Also, ensure it is of top quality since live food can carry diseases.

Temperament & Behavior- Are The Young Lads Aggressive

Keeping business to business, this creature won’t be aggressive in the aquarium, and its hunting is not aggressive either. You will watch it move, catch a few small worms, and that’s it.

Spending most of their tenure in solitary, they like to come out in the dark. Though they do not have an issue with lighting, the active period sticks to nighttime. Further, you must think about its tank mates.

An axolotl with another axolotl is fine until both are the same level and size. Otherwise, signs of bullying are noticed from the giant’s side.

Breeding: How Do you Raise Them

Axolotls breed through ‘Indirect Fertilization,’ which means the sperm deposits will be laid, and the female absorbs them for fertilization. This is how it happens.

It all starts with the male trying to catch the advances by the female if she is ready for mating. Female, being a natural carrier of the eggs, shows her interest. You can observe that the male’s tail is always on the tip of the female’s nose. Once the male releases spermatophore, it is his duty to ensure he leads the female on top of it. She then absorbs the sperms through reproductive tracts.

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You can have a view of baby axolotl eggs after 3 days. This is the point where parents must be separated from the eggs. It takes around a fortnight for the eggs to hatch, provided that the water temperature is warmer.

How Many Babies Do Axolotls Have?

Well, the numbers range from 100 to 1500. A considerable portion of it doesn’t make it due to mutation errors.

How to Feed Them?

Upon arrival, the baby will feed on the embryo sac. We suggest you do not interfere for 48-56 hours. At this stage, the baby won’t be showing any movements. It is only after 72 hours that they start to wiggle and ask for live food.

Now, the food has to be TINY and LIVE, to say the least. They’d be asking you to put the eatable particle right in front. Newly hatched brine shrimp is considered a suitable food. It shows movements and moves around only to get noticed by the axolotls.

Apart from this, fresh blackworms and daphnia suffice their bellies. 

Once they grow their limbs and initiate their adult age (roughly 2-3 months), you can start feeding both live and dead food.

Diseases & Threats

Like any other aquatic animal, baby axolotls are not born with metal shield armor and require proper care. They are prone to threats and diseases, most of which are induced by stress.

Now, stress is not a disease, but it can shorten the life of your pet. Your mate can feel stress due to excessive crowd, suffocated space, change in water parameters, and of course, under/overfeeding of food.

Ammonia poising and hyperthermia are two other names we must warn you about. Other than these, your pet may suck in tiny gravel pieces while feeding and subsequently faces bowel obstruction.

Again, when you are feeding live food, you are increasing the chance of infection seeping into the body. Hence, quality food is a must. Infections can cause bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections.

A Suitable Tank Looks Like This

Quick Tank Facts
Minimum Size 20 Gallons
Water Temperature 18˚C – 22˚C
Water Hardness Slightly Harder
Lighting Dimmer (do not require much lighting)
pH Level 7.0 – 8.0

Minimum Space Needed

A baby axolotl’s tank size is all minimal until it reaches the two-year mark and it reaches a length of 8-9 odd inches. Then, it will be necessary to induce 20-25 gallons of space.

Not to mention this is a size meant for a single creature. Upon adding another axolotl, you have to double the space.

Since we are always talking about keeping same-sized partners together, you have to maintain sufficient space. Conclusively, a couple advances the size to 50 -60 odd gallons.

Author’s Note: One quirky feature of an axolotl is it adapts to space. It won’t extend to its maximum length when you offer a small tank. This should be avoided at all costs as it can create burdening stress and result in fatality. Provide minimum size at least.

What does the Tank Comprise of?

Setting up a baby axolotl’s tank allows you to exercise limited creativity. To begin with, you are always invited to bring in some sorts of live plants in the picture. But make sure you are going with the floating ones, as anything in the substrate is meant to be uprooted by these creatures.

Important: Artificial plastic plants in their aquarium should be avoided at all costs, since they may injure their gills.

You have to be very picky about the filtration system. Since they do not tolerate strong currents but require filtered clean water, you must choose the one that does the job in a small interval. Good filtration with the low flow is the key.

You do not have to think much about the lighting. The only requirement of it is for plants. We recommend you keep it on a dimmer note.

For the substrate, you have to ensure you are not putting any small pebbles or gravel that fit inside their mouth as they are bound to suck it. Therefore, large rocks and sand are what you should go with.

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In fact, sand is also advisable only when your baby axolotl reaches at least 4 1/2-inch length. A naked bottom is your best choice before that.

Driftwoods with round edges are also welcomed. Since they are sensitive to light, you can have some low-light plants and caves/tunnels like toys to avail the hiding spaces. It gives your tank an aesthetic look too.

Pro Tip: Since these cannot survive in high temperatures, you have to bring in a chiller if the air around the aquarium is warm. Maintain the range mentioned above.

Water Parameters

Aquarists and we have been continuously emphasizing one thing- Constancy. Once you know the ideal range of water parameters, you should get rigid over it. Anything goes sideways, and you can see stress imposed over the little pal.

To begin with, the temperature for baby larvae is better when kept close to 21˚C. Interestingly, these like hard water (not too hard), so you must prevent softer/alkaline water quality. Ideal pH would be close to 7.5 and nitrite levels near 0 ppm.

Make sure that once the baby steps in its fast-growing years, you should start adjusting the parameters accordingly. For starters, you can shift the temperature to a lower note (16˚C -17˚C) but very SLOWLY.

Since babies will be producing continuous waste in the form of ammonia (which can be toxic in excess), you have to make sure you change the water frequently. A 25% water change is recommended each day if their no bio-filter around. However, if you see signs of dirty water, practice weekly cleaning.

Ideal Tank Mates

The thing about raising baby axolotls is that they do not want any company. They do perfectly well in ‘solitary.’ Try to evade overcrowding. Your black baby axolotl would do perfectly fine while exploring the surroundings. Any excess of creatures leads to stress.

However, if you have fish that are aggressive and large in size, you might want to separate them. As they are most likely to nip at their gills and limbs. Such fish include goldfish and cory catfish.

The list of suitable tank mates include:

  • Other Axolotls of the same size
  • Minnows
  • Small Shrimps
  • Small Snails

Make sure you are not overcrowding the tank. This leads to stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my axolotl develops infections (fungus)?

The first thing to look at is the ‘stressor’ that caused the infection. There are mainly two reasons- food and parameters. Ideally, the best thing to do is to fix the cause and get the temperature, hardness, or whatever is faulty back to normal.

Should I leave the food inside the tank?

One of the errors that many axolotl keepers make is leaving the food for more than a couple of hours in the tank. All it does is break down the particles into releasing ammonia. Any excess concentration of ammonia leads to problems. The max limit of keeping the food in is 1 hour.

Are axolotls good parents?

No, axolotls won’t be doing any good to the fry. The only thing they’d be exercising is making these eggs their next meal. Upon breeding and laying of eggs, you should remove the parents.

Do Axolotls have different eating habits?

Since we all know live food is the best food for baby axolotl. But eating habits are what one should know. Babies have different needs than adults. Due to fast metabolism, the baby will want more during the day. Hence, you might have to feed 2 or 3 times. An adult, however, requires feeding a couple of times during the week. Avoid overeating.

Can you get your axolotl out of water?

Axolotls have adapted to remain larvae throughout their life. Though they are amphibians and develop a pair of lungs, they do not function with it. Therefore, the only place you should keep your pet is inside the water tank.

How does metamorphosis happen? Can you do it at home?

No, you should not try to do metamorphosis. There have been instances where iodine is used in pushing the transformation, and it is only done by experts. It puts a lot of stress on the creature, which is bound to fatalities after artificial transformation.

At what price can I get a Baby Axolotl?

The average cost of a cute baby axolotl would fall anywhere around $25 – $30. At the same time, an adult ranges from $60 – $ 80.

Final Thoughts– Are They Good for Your Tank?

Axolotls indeed are unique creatures on this planet. Petting them has always been a captivating experience for professional aquarists.

You should pet them at home only if you can keep up with the rigid water parameters and ideal tank mates (which are other axolotls mostly).

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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