Frequently Asked Questions
I placed an order and haven't received a response. What should I do?
You should receive an email from us, confirming your order, almost immediately. If you haven't heard from us, please check the email provided on your order. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us via the contact us page on the website or directly through email at any time. We are always happy to help!
When I order an axolotl, can I specify female or male?
Juveniles are too young to be able to tell male from female most of the time. Occasionally, we will have axolotls that begin to display male characteristics earlier. Females, however, can be more difficult to distinguish and some that appear female at the time may turn out to be male.
What is the biggest mistake you see new axolotl owners make?
Underestimating the importance of water quality. Testing the water for ammonia and nitrites, especially when first adding axolotls to your tank, is essential. Having a good quality test kit (like the Freshwater Master Kit by API) is needed to ensure accurate chemical readings. Ammonia and nitrite need to be as close to zero as possible to maintain the health of your axolotl. Even low levels of these two things can cause damage to their gills over time and can lead to more severe health concerns and illnesses.
At what age do axolotls outgrow the cannibalistic stage?
They don’t. If an axolotl is small enough to fit into the mouth of another axolotl, there's always a risk of the smaller one being swallowed. This is why we generally caution against tankmates with more than a 2 inch size difference. No matter what size or age, there's always the risk they might nip each other if they get hungry enough.
How fast do axolotls grow?
Generally, we see juveniles grow to be about three-inches long by 7 weeks old. It is then normal to see about an inch of growth per month for the next few months. After that, growth rate starts slowing down. They’re usually about nine inches at the one-year mark.
What do you feed your baby axolotls?
When they first hatch, we feed them newly-hatched live brine shrimp (often abbreviated to BBS). At about two weeks old, they are usually large enough to eat live blackworms and daphnia. At three inches they're easy to train onto non-live or frozen food. Frozen bloodworms are what we recommend. As adults, we give the axolotls a variety of foods, including live earthworms and pellets.
How often should I feed my axolotl?
We recommend you feed juveniles once or twice a day. Sub-adults can be fed once a day. Adults can be fed 2-3 times per week.
Do axolotls like live plants?
Yes! They seem to enjoy climbing on them and hanging out in them, however, not all plants do well in the cool water that axolotls prefer, so choose your plants wisely. We have found species of Anubias to do quite well in cold water. Marimo mossballs are another easy to care for option.
Do axolotls re-grow legs that are bitten off?
Yes! If a foot, leg, or toes are bitten off, they will regenerate. However, there's no guarantee that they'll grow back as perfectly-formed as the original. If the leg is bitten off more than once, the odds increase that the new limb will be oddly shaped or may even mutate to include extra feet or toes.
Do axolotls re-grow gills that are bitten off?
Yes... and no. Axolotls, with proper care, will always regenerate their gill filaments. However, it is less common for sub-adults and adults to regenerate their full gill stalk if bitten off. Young juveniles often will regenerate their gill stalks, but not always perfectly. Occasionally, if the damage was minor, the gill stalk may sprout a divided end, or "fork".
Should axolotls be kept alone, in pairs, or in groups?
They do fine in any of these situations. If you keep them in pairs or in groups, make sure you keep them well fed, especially when young. Hungry axolotls can get nippy with each other. It is also inevitable that if you have males and females together, you'll end up with eggs. If you don't want to deal with eggs, consider either keeping a single axolotl per tank or keep them separated by gender.
I just received my axolotl and he has white spots. Should I be concerned?
Nope, shiny white spots and patches are a normal part of axolotl coloring. These white spots are called iridophores. They can occur anywhere on the body, including your axolotl's belly, toes, gills, and tails. The only exception here is with melanoid axolotls. Melanoids do not carry the trait for iridophores.
Can I keep fish with my axolotl?
In short, no. Most fish will see your axolotl's gills and think they are food. Not only can fish do irreparable damage to their gills, but most tropical fish will not do well in the cold water your axolotl prefers.
I just received my axolotl and there does not appear to be any air in the bag! Why??
We use specialty bags called "breather bags" for all live animal shipments. These bags are made from a specialty plastic-like material that allows for gaseous exchange to occur through the bag. This means oxygen can enter and carbon dioxide and exit through the bag. Because of this, we do not have to provide an air pocket in the bag. No air pocket means there is more room for water and less chance of the animals being sloshed around in transit. Cool huh?
What should I do when I first receive my axolotl?
Rinse the unopened bags to remove any residual powder (the "breather bags" we use to ship are coated with a light harmless powder to keep them from sticking together). Float the unopened bag(s) in your tank water for 15 minutes, then open them and put the axolotl(s) immediately into the water. Do not add tank water a little at a time to the bags, a.k.a. drip acclimation. Once the bag has been opened, the pH of the water changes quickly and any ammonia in the water becomes much more toxic. This can cause ammonia burn on their gills and skin. If you can avoid putting the water from the bag into the tank, great, but the most important thing is to get the axolotl into clean water as soon as possible after opening the bag.
Your new axolotl(s) will be hungry upon arrival due to being fasted and then traveling. We recommend keeping them separated until they've had their first meal to minimize the risk of them nipping each other out of hunger. Another option is to put them in a tub, bowl or small container filled with fresh water until they have had that first meal.
Why are my axolotl's gills curled?
Curled gills are one of the first indicators of stress. Did your axolotl just arrive? Gill curl in this situation is normal. Shipping is very stressful and curled gills should go away after a few days in their new home. If your axolotl has been with you for more than a couple weeks, curled gills may indicate stress from a number of places including water quality, water temperature, water current, nutrition, ect. Determining which of these factors is the culprit is your first step, then you can correct the problem. First test your water to ensure all chemical levels are within safe ranges. If water quality is not the issue, next would most likely be water flow. Axolotls do not like a lot of current in their tank and filters can cause quite a bit if the outflow is not dispersed well enough. We recommend using a shower loofah or aquarium sponge at the bottom of most HOB (hang on the back) filters to break up the water flowing into the tank. For canister filters, a flow tamer or spray bar can be a big help.
Do you ship the same day I order?
Usually not. We allow the axolotls several days to fast before shipping to minimize them fouling their water while in transit. We also only ship live animals Monday-Wednesday to prevent any weekend shipping delays.
Can I cancel my order?
If the order has not shipped yet, you can cancel and receive a full refund
Can I keep two male axolotls together?
Absolutely! Axolotls are not territorial by nature, so you can keep males with males, females with males (understanding that eggs are inevitable), or females with females. There are two important things to keep in mind, however. Most importantly, is your tank big enough to support the number of axolotls you are planning to keep? Second, are the axolotls similar enough in size that they will not harm one another?