Even though axolotls are not common, there is a growing demand for them as pets. And as you probably already know by now, they are amphibians, and since they are particular to a specific region, people tend to call them Mexican walking fish.
Could they be from Mexico, and where do axolotls live? Your guess now is probably right. But, of course, axolotls are “special,” so you may get an answer different from what you think, but that’s why we are here with the answers.
Axolotls don’t and can’t live everywhere. So while they are amphibians, they are different in some ways, and their habitat contributes to what they are, and that’s what you’re about to find out.
Are you planning on keeping axolotls and wondering how to do that? Then, you read this article before taking the first step, so you don’t make any mistakes!
Check out some important information and know more about axolotls before housing them.
Let’s dive right in!
Axolotls Natural Habitat
Naturally, axolotls are aquatic animals, so they basically live in the water. However, you can’t find them in every ocean because they’re a kind of Mexican fish found primarily in Mexico.
If you are a resident of Mexico and you have never come across these stunning Mexican salamanders, here are the original places they lived:
- In the canals leading to Lake Xochimilco
- In Lake Xochimilco
- Swampy sites around the Lake
- In Lake Chalco
However, in the 1970s, due to urbanization purposes, the government drained out lakes in Mexico to prevent flooding, leaving only Lake Xochimilco, so, right now, that’s their natural habitat?
This place is a high-altitude one with its water temperature always about 20°C, even during winter. However, these salamanders have adapted so well to the environment that you need to mimic their home if you want to keep them.
Therefore, you have to keep them at the right temperature, give the precise lighting, and other essential factors. Another thing is that axolotls can crawl out of their natural habitat if the water quality is bad; however, they can hardly survive on land.
As you know, axolotls are known to be endangered animals, and you will not see so many of them in Lake Xochimilco. But, even at that, there are thousands of axolotls in other habitats that you probably know of or not.
You might’ve seen some in different places or at your friend’s home. However, when you come across them in home’s you visit, note that they are probably getting the appropriate living conditions.
With the right conditions in place, axolotls can also live in:
- Scientific laboratories
These habitats are utterly different from their natural homes, and it’s due to certain reasons that axolotls have survived even in these conditions. Of course, you could also own your pet axolotl if you want, but it’s not as simple.
Why do axolotls live in places different from their original habitat, and how do they cope?
Axolotls in Captivity
The picture is different from what you think. Basically, they are just not in the Lake and can’t explore as wide as they usually would.
When axolotls are not in the Lake, they are sometimes in zoos or laboratories for various purposes. How is that so?
As time went by, the axolotls’ population decreased in the Lake, and they became endangered, and people had to do something to prevent that.
Starting with keeping them in laboratories, scientists majorly kept them for reproduction purposes. The focus here is to ensure that they not only stay alive but multiply and protect themselves from going into extinction.
For example, the University of Kentucky genetic stock center has over a thousand axolotls. They keep them and send over 15,000 to 20,000 embryos to different labs worldwide to increase their population.
Once the axolotls mature, scientists then reintroduce them back to the wild after fixing their natural habitat, so they keep surviving. Other times, these scientists study their regeneration capabilities, which is a thing if you had no idea.
They can regenerate some body parts, like limbs, lungs, hearts, and brains. While they are in the laboratories, scientists ensure to keep them at an appropriate temperature.
When they are not in laboratories, they are in the zoo for preservation purposes, and you can go check them out if you’d like to. They are usually in controlled aquariums, whether at the zoo or in laboratories.
Apart from laboratories and zoos, aquatic enthusiasts who love axolotls also keep them in aquariums in their homes. But what’s that like?
Can Axolotls Live in Aquariums?
Sure thing, axolotls can live in aquariums, and with appropriate care, they can stay alive for as long as they should or longer if they were in their natural habitat. So, you can keep axolotls in aquariums without experiencing severe issues, with the right conditions.
You should know that axolotls are not complicated to care for. In fact, you would only need to spend some hours weekly to feed and maintain the tank, save for when you choose to monitor them.
In addition, axolotls will thrive in freshwater aquariums since it is their natural environment. They will also survive in temperature-controlled tanks that mimic their original habitat.
Keeping axolotls can be little or a lot of work depending on how you view the situation. While they are simple and don’t require constant monitoring, you may face some challenges, especially if you are new to this.
You would need first to clarify whether it’s legal to keep axolotls as pets in your country. If you can, then you need to prepare for what’s ahead.
Which is what are the benefits and downsides to keeping axolotls in aquariums?
Apart from aquarists getting to keep beautiful pets like axolotls, these salamanders also get to enjoy
- Aquarists take time to care for their tanks, so axolotls enjoy cleaner water in aquariums than in their natural habitat. However, a lot of work is ongoing to ensure there are more habitable homes for axolotls.
- Since aquarists put more effort into setting up the aquarium, axolotls get to be in a more controlled environment suitable for their growth.
- Due to appropriate care and feeding, axolotls also become healthier in aquariums.
- There is less competition in aquariums because most of the time, aquarists keep one axolotl per tank. This also rules out predators or competition options in the tank.
- Axolotls will probably also live longer in aquariums due to proper care, no predators, and no Mexican locals to fish them for food.
Disadvantages of Axolotls living in aquariums
There are downsides to keeping axolotls in aquariums for both the pet and the keeper. However, the disadvantages shouldn’t be much of a big deal if you really want to own one.
But before you decide, the following are some of the downsides of axolotls living in aquariums:
- First, there is the risk of stressing axolotls in aquariums when maintaining the tank. You should know that a stressed axolotl is prone to illness and diseases.
- Maintaining an aquarium for axolotls can be tasking, especially when it concerns changing the water.
- Axolotls survive based on their habitat’s temperature, and getting the appropriate temperature can be challenging, especially when moving them between tanks.
- Sometimes, axolotls can jump out of aquariums and end up hurting themselves. Therefore, you should get the right tank size and keep a lid on it.
- If you like touching your pets or connecting with them, keeping axolotls may not be the best pet for you because you can’t really hold them, and they don’t enjoy people touching them.
- Keeping axolotls can be difficult for new pet owners.
How To House Your Pet ?
Keeping an axolotl’s pet isn’t exactly easy, but you can keep them for a long period with the right guide. Any mistake can cost you your axolotls, so here are some guides to help you:
- You should ensure you get between 15 to 20-gallon tank size for your aquarium. This allows your axolotls enough room to swim around and for you to decorate.
- Your tank should contain freshwater, with a temperature between 60°F to 64°F, 7.4 to 7.6 pH, little water hardness, 0 ppm ammonia, and nitrite.
- Ensure your axolotls get minimal lighting in the aquarium.
- Axolotls are carnivores, so give them meat-based diets that include insects, snails, worms, tiny fishes, crustaceans, pellets, shrimps, and other little food that can fit into their mouth.
- Monitor your axolotls to know when they are sick so you can care for them and extend their lifespan.
- Ensure you do a 90% water change weekly to reduce ammonia, nitrate, and nitrate level in the water.
- Axolotls don’t like people touching them, so don’t hold them for too long. Plus, they can hardly breathe when outside water.
- Don’t keep axolotls with other aquatic animals, so they don’t prey on them and vice versa.
- Do routine tank maintenance to ensure your axolotls’ health and safety.
- Ensure you keep your axolotls at a steady temperature at all times.
So where do axolotls live exactly? You don’t have to wonder further. Basically, axolotls live in water, whether in Lake Xochimilco, the zoo, laboratories, or aquariums.
The most important thing is that the place needs to be habitable and similar to their natural home. Axolotls are easy to grow as a pet, so if you’re interested in having them in your aquarium, then you should note the important things you need to do to keep them alive for a long period.
Finally, they are fragile, so you have to be careful. Good luck with creating the best home for your axolotls!