How Much do Axolotls Cost?

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Axolotls are perhaps one of the most peculiar and interesting sea species. They are also known as the Mexican walking fish, the word itself comes from the Aztecs. In essence, it means “water doll”. So, it is quite clear that the fish come from Mexico, and they represent the larval stage of salamanders; they will stay in this larval stage for the rest of their lives.

People worry that because the fish is so unique that it will cost more, but it is often not the case. Depending on the type of axolotl, you can expect to pay $30-$100 for a juvenile axolotl; wild types of axolotl cost less, while albino axolotls can cost significantly more. There are many varieties and types to choose from, as well.

There are several theories as to how the axolotls came to be, which only makes them more interesting and unique. Here, I will be talking about the cost of axolotls – what is the initial cost, and how much can you expect them to cost you on the long-term.

Where Should You Buy Your Axolotl?

Axolotls should only be bought from reputable seller and those who you can trust. A good idea would be to check with your local pet store, as they are quite likely to be selling this peculiar species. Buying them requires you to have a thorough research about their health, history, age, medical conditions, or other things.

It is essential that you check the axolotl’s state before you decide to buy it. That is possible in a pet shop, as you can see the axolotl physically. Check it out for any signs of health problems, visual imperfections, their overall condition, and their behavior (although you will learn about it later on.)

The Cost of Keeping Axolotls

The initial cost of axolotls we have already looked at; as I have identified, axolotls can cost you anywhere from $30 to $100 (juvenile axolotls.) If you are looking for more exotic types of axolotls, you will have to be prepared to spend slightly more. What are the costs of buying and keeping an axolotl?

Note that there are long-term costs of upkeep for electricity, food, overall maintenance and the products connected to it, and more.

Minimum 10-Gallon Tank ($40-$80)

The first requirement of keeping axolotls is to buy a tank, of course. The minimum size of the tank should be at least 10 gallons. These creatures certainly need enough space to live normally, and 10 gallons is about enough.

10-gallon aquariums can cost anywhere from $40 to $80, depending on the quality of the tank, and the additional things you get within the package. Some aquariums come in kits where you have the ability to add filters or other devices.

The cost of aquarium might go even higher if you want to keep other species together with axolotls; while it might not be the best idea to keep smaller fish species there, you can certainly consider a breeding pair, for example.

Filter ($40-$150)

This is one place where there is plenty of space for choices; you can opt for slightly cheaper filters here, but you won’t get the same performance if you spent slightly more on it. You can opt for an internal, smaller filter, or you can go for an external, canister filter which is slightly more powerful, but will also cost more.

Although filters are not as necessary with axolotls as they are with some other fish, you should certainly consider having a good one. Some people op to have axolotls without a filter, but they will often change the water themselves.

For a 10-gallon tank, you will need a relatively powerful filter. Perhaps a canister filter will be the most effective, but these costs. If you want a decent filter, you will have to spend anywhere from $40 to $150, depending on the quality of the filter, the output, and the type of filter.

Lights ($30-$70)

For a display aquarium, good lighting is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle to make it look good. Again, there is a big variety of filter to choose from. The less powerful filtration can cost you anywhere from $30 to $40, but for those looking to have an attractive display tank, you will need more than that.

LED lighting is also considered often, and a quality system will cost you $40 or more; although we would not go more than $70 with lighting systems.

Aquarium Chiller ($100-$200)

Axolotls are well suited to temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius (50-68 degrees Fahrenheit.) This means that they might struggle in the summer and in the warmer parts of the year, as well as in areas where the weather is significantly hotter.

If the water is too hot (24 degrees Celsius or more) for prolonged periods, axolotls will experience a huge amount of stress, which can cause premature deaths. Similarly, at temperatures below 10 degrees, they will struggle. So, keeping a balance somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees works best.

Now that might require a chiller, which can cost anywhere from $100 to $200.

Food ($20-$40)

Food is a monthly cost that you won’t be able to avoid. Again, for higher quality foods, be prepared to spend more. The costs will usually fluctuate between $20 and $40, depending on the type of food. You can learn more about axolotls feeding in the linked guide.

TOTAL: $230 – $540 + Ongoing Costs (Foods + Electricity)

The total costs of keeping an axolotl can be anywhere from $230-$540, depending on the quality of devices and ingredients you get, and much more. There are also long-term costs connected to it, such as food and electricity costs. The latter can be high if you have a chiller, as these tend to consume quite a lot of electricity.


Keeping axolotls can be a significant cost for every owner. The initial costs are there, but there are also long-term costs of food and electricity.

All in all, the costs can go anywhere from $230 and $540.

Updated: March 16, 2020

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