What Should I Put in My Axolotl Tank?

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An Axolotl is an outstanding pet for those who are looking for something different. It is an aquarium project where some completely new requirements need to be met.

Nonetheless, you can nicely decorate an Axolotl tank just like when you keep aquarium fish.

These little pets can be bought in many pet stores and keeping them at home doesn’t require any experience. It is important, however, to do some research before you begin. Setting up an Axolotl tank requires careful planning beforehand.

You want to make sure that this little salamander stays happy and healthy by providing the right conditions.

For example, you can’t just put an Axolotl in an uncycled tank. It has to be cycled and all the preparations have to be done correctly.

In this article, we are going to explain how such an aquarium has to be set up.

Substrate for Axolotl

In order to avoid impaction, you should definitely use sand substrate in your tank. Axolotls are basically bottom dwellers, meaning that they spend most of their time on the substrate. This is why it’s important to choose the right substrate for your pet.

Other people might suggest to keep your Axolotl in a tank that has no substrate in it.

Although we can’t say that this is bad, yet many professionals say that this option can cause some stress to your pet due to the lack of foothold. If you like the idea of the bare-bottom tank, then it is best to lay down some tile or slate.

Either of them can provide some extra grip for your Axolotl. The rule of thumb is to avoid coarse substrate because these salamanders are going to eat literally anything of that size when they are hungry.

Live Plants

One of the habits that makes Axolotls fun to watch is that they like to sit on plants. Weaker plants can’t really take this load.

They often break under their weight, which is why you need to look for stronger ones. There are a handful of strong live plants that are going to be ideal for your Axolotl.

These include Java Fern, Eludia, Marimo moss ball and floating plants like Amazon Frogbits and Water Lettuce.

The thing about Eludia is that it grows really fast so you need to take that into account. All these plants are decorative and they are going to make your aquarium look fresh and exciting.

But most importantly, they are not going to get uprooted or breaked. If you take into account that Axolotls require an unusually low water temperature, it is surprising that you can even find some plants for them.

Hides for Axolotls

Instead of rock caves and such, ceramic object are much better hiding places for Axolotls. Just make sure there are no sharp edges where your pet can hurt himself.

Plenty of decorative and natural-looking ones can be bought in a pet shop.

Axolotl owners usually buy cichlid rocks or ceramic pipes for their pet. For these salamanders, it is important to have hiding places where they can retreat. Otherwise, they can get stressed and feel threatened at times.


Driftwood is a great idea as well. You can put plenty of them in an Axolotl cage and the little guy is going to love it.

The same applies to driftwood, however, as to the ceramic object we talked about above. You need to pick the ones that don’t have sharp edges so that your pet won’t hurt himself.

You can get your aquarium even more natural-looking by placing a few pieces of driftwood into it.

There can be random edges on a piece that you might not notice at first sight so it’s always better to double-check it. The most ideal types of driftwood are Mopani and Cholla Wood.

These are going to look amazing when combined with plants and by themselves too.


You can use a few bigger rocks as decoration in your Axolotl tank. Rocks can be so different in their shapes and colors that you can set up the aquarium according to your taste.

They have to be big enough because otherwise your Axolotl is going to swallow them and things are not going to end well.

When it comes to rocks, there are always beautiful dragon stones or river rocks to choose from. It is important to look for the ones that don’t dissolve any metals into the aquarium water. Calcium, for example, can be rather harmful for Axolotls.

If you are not sure about looking for rocks out in nature, you can just go to the pet shop and buy some decorative ones there.

Aquarium Decorations

As you might suspect from the abovementioned examples, the point is to not use sharp objects.

You can always find some safe aquarium decorations to make it look unique. This is where you can get creative, as the possibilities are endless when it comes to decorations.

In the end, pretty much all the décor in the aquarium will become a potential hiding place and your Axolotl is going to love it.

Although not every type of decoration works for them, there are still plenty of things to choose from. If you like to get creative and play with colors, then you are going to be able to set up a beautiful tank.

Aquarium Equipment

Beside the aquarium decorations and hideouts, you will also need some equipment for your axolotl tank. The most important is to have in your axolotl’s tank a good aquarium filter, which will take care of the ammonia and nitrate levels.

An air pump is not necessary for your axolotl tank, because a good filter will do a good job in dissolving enough oxygen in the water.

However, an aquarium chiller might also be essential, to cool down the water in your tank. Axolotls like cooler water, they feel comfortable in temperature between 60-64 °C (16-18 °C), so if the room temperature is above these values, you will want to cool the water.


Axolotls might have unique needs but it’s absolutely worth it to get familiar with them and set up a wonderful aquarium.

It is a lot of fun to keep them and to gain some experience so that you can keep even more. You are going to be amazed by this unique creature day by day.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to aquarium decorations. Even though Axolotls have specific needs, this still leaves you with a wide range of attractive ideas for a decorative aquarium.

This type of salamander looks amazing by itself and with a nice environment, it will be healthy and happy as well.

Updated: August 31, 2022

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