Axolotls are creatures that can demand quite a lot of space. Once they are fully grown, they can reach sizes of between 15-25cm (6-10 inches). But what does that mean for their aquarium? When you’re considering getting an axolotl, one of the first things you have to consider is the tank size.
The tank has to be big enough for the axolotl to have enough space to move around. If you don’t give them enough space, you will stunt your growth, and the axolotl might feel stressed. And that is even more so when you want to have more axolotls at the same time, or if you want to have other animals with it.
Overcrowding can be a serious problem that many axolotl owners have to go through. But that’s mainly because of bad preparation, and a lack of knowledge about axolotls and their spatial requirements. They will need much more space than some people imagine.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what the ideal tank size for a single axolotl is, and what the ideal sizes for the tank are if you have an axolotl together with other animals.
Minimum Tank Size for Axolotls
Axolotls are deceptively large. While they might not look like it, they will grow to a size of almost 10 inches, sometimes maybe even more. When they’re babies or still young, having a smaller tank is ok, but what about when they grow up?
We have to plan this in advance. The axolotl will usually complete its growth when it’s about 2 years old, and that’s when we will need a larger tank. As they demand quite a lot of space, you’ll need an appropriate tank. The minimum tank size for a single adult axolotl is 15-20 gallons (55-60L). Keep in mind that it’s the minimum that an axolotl needs, although you might need more.
If the tank is any smaller than that, you won’t see the full growth of your axolotl, as the animal will adapt to the smaller tank. You will stunt their growth, and the stress levels will be quite high. The number gets significantly higher if you own two axolotls together, or if you have other animals with it. It will be at least 55 gallons, but we’ll talk more about that later on.
So even if you’re looking to get a baby axolotl, you still want to buy the minimum required tank to allow them to grow fully once they grow up.
Best Tank Size for Axolotls
To ensure that your axolotl will have more than enough space, and to house everything that’s included in the aquarium, you will have to purchase a 40-gallon tank at least. This will give the axolotl more than enough space to freely move around and live fully.
Of course, this type of tank will be able to accommodate plants as well as other decorative elements in the tank, so a 40-gallon tank would bring the best experience with axolotls. Not only that, but you would have much more room to improvise and add various decoration elements, such as rocks. This way, the tank would look much better.
In my experience, 15-20 gallons is the bare minimum for an adult axolotl. But if you want to truly have the best conditions for an adult axie, you would need at least 40 gallons of water. Of course, the water should not be filled to the very edge of the aquarium; instead, leave some space at the top of the tank.
This also means that you’ll need slightly more powerful filtration, and an aquarium chiller for the tank size, if your tank gets too hot very often. And the filter should be capable of filtering more than just 40 gallons, especially if you have plants and other axolotls or animals in the tank. I’ll talk more about how to set up your aquarium in detail later on.
Best Tank Size for Two or More Axolotls
Many owners opt to have two or more axolotls in the same tank. You can do that, but you’ll have to have significantly more space in your tank. Firstly, because the axolotls will endure a lot of stress if they don’t have enough space for themselves, and if there’s another axolotl in there, it could lead to aggression and other problems.
So, you should ensure that each axolotl has more than enough space. The absolute minimum requirement if you want to have two axolotls at the same time is 55 gallons. This number goes up significantly if you want to add more to the tank. But I wouldn’t recommend having more than two axolotls in the tank at the same time.
Firstly, it could lead to an overcrowded tank. And that isn’t good, because the animals in there will go through a lot of stress, but they could also become aggressive towards each other. In my experience, having two axolotls in the tank at the same time is the highest number.
Similarly, if you’re considering keeping other fish with axolotls, I wouldn’t recommend it that much. Axolotls will actively prey on the smaller fish, and they could even eat them. In fact, they will eat them if the fish are not quick enough to get away. So, if you’re really considering having other fish in the tank, consider getting quicker ones or ones that can defend themselves.
Setting Up an Axolotl Tank
Buying the Right Tank Size
We have covered this in the article already; 15-20 gallons for a single axolotl is the bare minimum, although I would recommend having at least 40 gallons of water for a single axolotl. If you plan to have two axolotls in the same tank, then a 55-gallon tank is the minimum to go with. Anything more is a bonus, especially if you want to have plants in the tank.
The filtration is one of the first things you should consider. Buying a filter with an adjustable flow rate knob is the first thing you should consider. Then, you should buy a filter that’s strong enough for the tank; ideally, it should be able to handle more than just the tank size.
Gravel should be avoided, as it can cause impaction. A bare bottom tank only works if you don’t want to have plants, and sand can also be considered. Larger rocks that won’t fit in the axolotl’s mouth is a great choice.
Plants and Decoration
Consider buying plants that will float or that don’t need to be planted into the substrate. That’s because axolotls will dig them out of the substrate.
A chiller is a must if you live in an area where the air is constantly hot; the chiller will keep the temperatures in the ideal numbers (16-18 degrees Celsius, or 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit).
Lights can be considered for the plants, as axolotls need dimmer light. Buy a lighting system with a dimming option
Axolotls will require quite a lot of space. The minimum requirement for an axolotl is 15-20 gallons, but I recommend at least 40 gallons. For two axolotls, the minimum is 55 gallons.