Do Axolotls Need a Heater?

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Axolotls are highly adaptable creatures that will live in a variety of water temperatures. However, the ideal water temperature for axolotls is between 16-18 degrees Celsius (60-64 degrees Fahrenheit). So the question arises, how do you set up a tank for axolotls? Do axolotls need a heater?

No, axolotls don’t need a heater, especially not for the areas where the air temperature is warm enough. In fact, it is quite the opposite: in some cases, axolotl tanks will need a chiller to keep the temperatures within the ideal spans. Even though axolotls can adapt to various temperatures, you should always try to keep them within the ideal numbers.

When housing axolotls, keep in mind to keep the tank away from direct sunlight. This will prevent sudden temperature swings as well as algae growth. In this article, we will dive deeper about axolotls and heaters; why they don’t need one, what is the perfect set up for the amphibians, and what water parameters they prefer.

Is Room Temperature Good for Axolotls?

This will largely depend on the area you live in, and the room temperatures you have. But in most cases, room temperatures range between 20-24 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit), which means that the air is almost certainly too hot for axolotls, who will ideally require lower temperatures (16-18 degrees Celsius, or 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit.)

This means that instead of having a heater, you might actually require a chiller instead. A good one will help you keep the temperatures down significantly, although it can cost quite a lot. There are also some other measures you can take to keep the temperature down, which we will go over later on.

A heater would only be required in very rare cases; for example, if the tank is somehow positioned in an area where the air temperatures are lower than 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), but who has such a low temperature in their homes?

How to Keep Axolotl Water Temperature Cool?

As we mentioned already, there are several ways you can keep the temperatures down. This is necessary in the cases where the air, or the room temperature is too high for the axolotls to handle. These are the best ways to keep the temperature of the water cool.

– Use an Aquarium Chiller

An obvious solution would be to use an aquarium chiller. Although these can cost you additional resources, you need to consider the health of your axolotls. An aquarium chiller will regulate the temperature in the water and keep it down to optimal levels.

The great thing with chillers is that you can set the temperature, and then you won’t have to do much else. The majority of chillers use an evaporator, or a heat exchanger that will remove the heat from the water and produce cooler water. Of course, the mechanism is slightly more complicated than this.

There is also a condenser coil, a compressor to pump the water, and an expansion valve. All these components will work constantly by taking the heat out of the water and pumping out cooler water.

– Place the Tank Closer to the Floor and Far from Heater

Aquarium placement is also very important when we are considering the water temperatures. If the tank is too close to a heating source, then it is inevitable that the water will get heated. You will want to place the tank far away from a heater or other heating sources. Also, make sure that the tank isn’t placed directly in the sunlight, as that can significantly increase the temperature as well as promote the growth of algae.

Another thing you can do is place the tank on or near the floor. As we know, colder air tends to make its way towards the bottom of the room, while the warm air will take up its place in the higher positions. You can take advantage of this by placing the tank near the floor where the temperature of the air will be slightly lower. Sometimes, though, this will still not be enough to keep the temperature down.

– Don’t Place the Lights Too Close to the Water

Another source of heat could be the lights, or a lighting system if you have one. If it is an external lighting source, then it can produce quite a lot of heat, and if the tank is near it, then the water will inevitably get warmer. You can easily prevent this by placing the tank farther from the lighting source.

Equally, don’t place the tank in the direct sunlight.

– Remove Lid from Aquarium to Help Evaporation

Provided that you have a tank with a lid, you can simply remove the lid from time to time to encourage water evaporation. When it evaporates, it will also lose some of its heat, and the water will get cooled from the process.

It is a very simple step that you can do, but it can massively help to keep you the water cooler. Combine it with other steps for better effects, and consider a chiller.

Can Axolotls Die of Warmer Water Temperature?

Yes, if the temperature is too high for prolonged periods, it can cause all sorts of problems and in severe cases, death. Once the water temperature exceeds 22 degrees Celsius and stays there for longer, then you may see stress levels jump up, they will stop eating, and over long periods, they will develop diseases.

That is why axolotls are not recommended for beginners. As they come from Mexico, many people think that these animals prefer tropical settings. The truth is that these amphibians prefer significantly lower water temperatures, and you can only achieve them with constant maintenance, water temperature measurements, and proper care.


Axolotls can be sensitive to warmer temperatures. As they don’t do well in such conditions, heaters are in most cases not needed. Chillers should be considered instead, and the temperature should be kept at optimal levels at all times.

Updated: March 16, 2020

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