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Frequently Asked Questions


When I order a juvenile, can I order a female? Can I order a male? 

No, because the juveniles for sale are too young to be able to tell male from female. 

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 in its tank, there's always a risk of the smaller one being swallowed.

If the axolotls are similar sizes, there's always the risk they might nip pieces off each other if they get hungry enough, no matter what size or age.

If similar-sized axolotls are kept together and are well fed, they usually do not bite each other.

What is the biggest mistake you see new axolotl owners make?

They underestimate the importance of keeping excellent water quality. You MUST test the water for ammonia and nitrite, especially when first adding axolotls to your tank. Ammonia and nitrite need to be at zero if you want a healthy axolotl. Even low levels of these two things will cause damage to the axolotl’s gills over time and make your axolotl more prone to getting sick.

How fast do axolotls grow? 

At The Axolotl Factory, we typically see juveniles go from newly-hatched to three-inches long in seven weeks. After that we typically see about an inch of growth a month for the next few months. After that growth starts slowing down. They’re usually about nine inches at the one-year mark.

What is the breeding season for axolotls? 

Our axolotls breed readily year-round. We haven’t noticed a “slow” season at all in our breeding program. We don't vary the temperature or photo-period.  

What do you feed your baby axolotls?

When they first hatch, we feed them newly-hatched brine shrimp. After two weeks, we switch them to live blackworms. At three inches they're easy to train onto non-live food. We recommend frozen bloodworms as these are usually readily accepted. You may need to “wiggle” the bloodworms in front of the axolotl’s face at first to make it look alive. Usually a day or two of this is all that’s needed. At five or six inches and up, 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.

How old do axolotls have to be in order to tell whether they're male or female?

Usually at about 7-8 inches you can tell. Sometimes we see 5-inch juveniles that are clearly developing male characteristics. And sometimes we'll see a 7-inch sub-adult that was looking female suddenly prove to be male.

Do axolotls destroy plants?

Not usually. They seem to enjoy climbing in them and hanging out in them, but they usually don't do any damage to the plants. However, not all plants do well in the cool water that axolotls prefer, so choose your plants accordingly. And we have heard reports of some axolotls digging up plants that were planted directly into the sand in their tank.

Do axolotls really re-grow legs that are bitten off?

Yes, they do! 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 one. And it seems that if the leg is bitten off more than once, the odds increase that the new limb will be oddly shaped. We've dealt with many axolotls rescued from poor living conditions and some of these have re-grown legs with two feet, or feet that pointed in the "wrong" direction.

Do axolotls re-grow gills that are bitten off?

Yes and no. In our experience dealing with many rescued axolotls that had their gills bitten off when we got them, all of them regenerated the red frilly gill filaments. However, none of the adults or subadults re-grew the gill stalks. On the young juveniles we've been given -- if the gill stalk was gone or partly gone, it often did regenerate, but not always perfectly. Occasionally, if the damage was minor, the gill stalk sprouted a divided end. Fortunately, the gill filaments always grew back lushly on whatever stub of gill stalk was there.

Should axolotls be kept alone, in pairs, or in groups?

They do fine in any of these. A couple of cautions: if you keep them in pairs or in groups, make sure you keep them well fed, especially when young. Otherwise they can get kind of nippy with each other. Another thing to consider is 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 only males (or only females).

I just received my axolotl and he has white spots. Should I be concerned? 

Your axolotl is fine! Shiny white spots and patches are a normal part of axolotl coloring. They’re called iridophores and they can occur anywhere on the body, including bellies, toes, gills, and tails. All axolotls except melanoids have them in varying amounts.

You can google "axolotls and iridophores" to see lots of examples and compare them with your new axolotl.

What medications are safe to use with axolotls? 

This is a tough one to answer. We don't like using chemicals and rarely do so. As a rule of thumb, we use excellent water quality (lots of water changes) instead of medication when we take in rescued axolotls that have injuries or infections.

We were assured by an aquatics veterinarian that praziquantel is safe for amphibians, so we tested it on one axolotl for a week (which is the recommended treatment time). We saw no signs of distress or any other problem. We then treated our entire axolotl population with praziquantel (prazi) for one week, again with no signs of distress or problems. So we feel confident that prazi is safe. We don't know about any other medications, but if we learn more about them in the future, we'll post it here.

Can I keep fish with my axolotl? 

Probably not. Please see "Tankmates" page for a more detailed answer.

What should I do when I first receive my axolotl? 

Float the unopened bag(s) in the tank water for 15 minutes, then open them and put the axolotl(s) immediately into the water (even if the bag was warm upon arrival). Do not add tank water a little at a time to the bags. Once the bag is opened, the pH changes almost instantly and any ammonia in the water becomes much more toxic and can damage their gills (called ammonia burn). If you can avoid putting the water from the bag into the tank, that's even better, 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. If you can, it's recommended to keep them separated until they've had their first meal. That way you minimize the risk of them nipping each other out of hunger. Some people put them in bowls or tubs for this first meal. You can even float the bowl/tub in the tank to keep it cool. Some people use a tank divider.

Do you ship the same day I order? 

Usually not. We have to fast the axolotls for a few days before shipping to minimize them fouling their water while traveling. We also have to choose a shipping date using your zip code to estimate travel time. We want to avoid having the axolotls delayed unnecessarily due to a Sunday or holiday. Typically we start them fasting the day we receive payment and ship as soon as they’re ready.

Can I keep two male axolotls together? 

Yes, you can. Axolotls are not territorial, so you can keep males with males, females with males, or females with females. There are two important things to keep in mind. First, is your tank big enough to support the number of axolotls you want (think water quality and enough hides)? Second, are the axolotls similar enough in size that none can be swallowed by another? If these two conditions are met, you're good to go.


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