Black Axolotl: A Guide to the Rare and Unique Amphibian

If you’re looking for an interesting and unique aquatic pet, look no further than the black axolotl. With their adorable grin-like features, eel-like bodies, and mesmerizing color variations, these creatures are not only eye-catching but also a delightful addition to your aquarium.

In this article, we’ll explore the species profile of this captivating amphibian, as well as highlight everything you need to know to care for your black axolotl. From their appearance to their lifespan and average size, we have you covered in providing all the essential information to keep your new pet happy and healthy.

Species Overview

Black Axolotls, also known as melanoid axolotls, are a popular color morph of the Ambystoma mexicanum, resulting from selective breeding. They have a lovely dark appearance with varying shades of gray and black, along with their adorable grins, spiky manes, and webbed feet. These fascinating creatures originate from Lake Xochimilco in Mexico and are quite an interesting addition to the aquarium hobby.

Their intriguing features and relatively easy care requirements make them a favorite among both beginners and experienced aquarium enthusiasts. You can provide a proper environment and diet to ensure your Black Axolotl thrives and lives a healthy life.

Property Details
Scientific name Ambystoma mexicanum
Common names Black Axolotl, Melanoid Axolotl
Distribution Lake Xochimilco, Mexico
Size 9-12 inches (23-30 cm)
Lifespan 10-15 years
Diet Carnivorous (worms, small fish)
Temperament Peaceful, Solitary
Minimum tank size 15-20 gallons per axolotl
Temperature 59-64°F (15-18°C)
pH 7.4-7.6
Water hardness 3-8 dGH
Care level Beginner
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg layers
Breeding difficulty Moderate
Compatibility Single species tank preferred

Remember to follow these guidelines and monitor your axolotl’s well-being regularly to create a comfortable and safe environment for your fascinating pet.

Black Axolotl Basics

Origins and Natural Habitat

Black axolotls, also known as Mexican walking fish, are a newer color morph that originated from selective breeding. However, their genetic ancestors trace back to the wilds of Lake Xochimilco in Mexico. These captivating salamanders boast distinctive personalities, making them great pets for enthusiasts.

Size and Shape

Axolotls are amphibious salamanders that stay in their larval form their entire lives, thanks to a unique quality called neoteny. When it comes to size, juvenile black axolotls are just a few inches long, but they can quickly grow to reach lengths of 11 to 12 inches. Their long tails make up a significant portion of their measurements. They possess a lizard-like body with fleshy fin-like appendages along the tail and back, short legs, and slightly webbed toes—four on the front feet and five on the rear.

Color and Markings

The most eye-catching feature of black axolotls is their melanistic coloration. Their headdress, composed of six frilly external gills, helps them breathe underwater and sports black or slightly purple gill filaments. Additionally, their eyes appear black, making them stand out among other axolotl varieties.


With proper care, black axolotls can live up to 15 years. However, their lifespan depends on several factors, including genetics and the quality of care provided. It’s essential to consult a veterinarian specializing in exotic aquatic pets for appropriate care and treatment when necessary.

Remember, black axolotls have specific needs that must be considered, such as adequate tank size, a protein-rich diet, and regular water quality maintenance. Moreover, it’s best not to pair them with tank mates due to their aggressive nature and delicate gills. Providing a rich environment, complete with hiding spots and suitable tank decorations, will ensure your black axolotl lives a happy, healthy life.

Diet and Feeding

As a black axolotl owner, it’s important to provide your pet with a high-protein, carnivorous diet to maintain their health. Since they have poor eyesight and can be picky eaters, feeding can be a bit challenging. Make sure to rely on movement and strong odors to stimulate their interest in food.

Training younger black axolotls to eat commercial pellets can be hit or miss, so it’s recommended to offer them live foods like crickets, bloodworms, mealworms, earthworms, ghost shrimp, and chunks of seafood. You can also try using thawed frozen foods with strong odors.

Sticking to a consistent feeding schedule is crucial to avoid overfeeding. Adults need to eat once or twice a week, while juveniles require three meals a week. If your black axolotl has trouble recognizing their food, try using tongs and waving the food in front of them to stimulate their appetite. This friendly approach will help ensure that your axolotl receives proper nutrition and stays healthy.

Behavior and Temperament

Black axolotls may show aggressive behavior but are generally gentle with their owners. As natural predators, they consume fish, snails, or shrimp in their environment. Due to their poor eyesight, they might bite anything that comes close, including other axolotls.

These unique pets can develop their personalities and recognize you over time. You may notice your black axolotl interacting with you through the tank glass. They often respond to your approach, showcasing their curious nature and ability to form personal connections.

In summary, while black axolotls can cause problems for other tank inhabitants, they establish strong bonds with their owners. Their combination of aggressive instincts and gentle interactions with their owners make them fascinating and rewarding pets to raise.

Care and Tank Requirements

Caring for a black axolotl may be moderately challenging, but it is definitely manageable if you have some fish-keeping experience. To ensure your axolotl thrives, pay close attention to the tank size, water parameters, tank setup and decorations, as well as filtration and aeration.

Tank Size

To keep your black axolotl happy and healthy, start with a tank that holds at least 20 gallons of water. However, consider opting for a larger tank to provide more space for your pet to explore.

Water Parameters

Maintain a stable water temperature between 50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid stressing your axolotl. Keep the pH levels between 6.5 to 8.0 and the water hardness between 7 to 14 GH. Although black axolotls can adapt to a range of pH and hardness values, avoid extremes to ensure their well-being.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Use smooth gravel or sand as the substrate in your axolotl’s tank. This prevents accidental consumption of gravel, which can lead to digestive complications. Create hiding spots with driftwood and rocks for your axolotl to feel secure and reduce stress. Silk plants are recommended because they don’t require light and are less likely to be uprooted by axolotls.

To provide your pet with adequate lighting, opt for low-lighting or rely on the room lighting instead of using powerful lighting rigs. Floating plants can provide light while sheltering axolotls from excessive brightness.

Filtration and Aeration

While some people claim a filter may not be necessary, consider investing in a good one to help maintain low ammonia levels and stable tank conditions. If needed, use a water chiller to keep the temperature within your axolotl’s preferred range. A well-maintained tank with appropriate filtration and aeration will go a long way in keeping your black axolotl happy and healthy.

Suitable Tank Mates

When considering tank mates for your black axolotl, it’s essential to understand that these creatures are generally better off living alone. This is due to their aggressive nature that can lead to injury to their delicate gills or cause problems for other tank inhabitants.

Although some hobbyists have had limited success in pairing black axolotls with similarly sized creatures in large tanks, there remains a significant risk of complications. The aggressive behavior of black axolotls often makes it challenging to maintain peaceful cohabitation, potentially putting every creature in the tank in danger.

Instead of striving for tank mates, focus on providing your black axolotl with a rich and stimulating environment filled with ample hiding places, plants, and structures. This type of environment will keep your axolotl content and engaged without the need for companions.

Remember, your black axolotl doesn’t require tank mates for companionship, and its health and safety should always be your top priority.


Breeding black axolotls can be successful if they have grown up together and are well-acquainted. It is not recommended to introduce random mature axolotls into the same tank, as it can lead to aggression. A bonded pair of black axolotls can coexist peacefully and may breed once a year.

To initiate breeding, set up a separate tank with silk plants, which are needed to keep the eggs safe. Condition your axolotls with high-protein foods and gradually lower the temperature in the tank to encourage spawning.

Females can lay over 200 eggs, scattering them onto plants and other surfaces in the tank. After the female lays her eggs, slowly raise the temperature. The eggs will hatch in approximately 15 days.

Remove the adult axolotls from the tank and allow the baby axolotls to develop on their own. Feed the young black axolotls high-protein foods about three times per week to ensure their health.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Black axolotls, like other axolotls, can be prone to various diseases despite being hardy creatures. Poor water conditions, high temperatures, and elevated ammonia levels can stress your axolotls, making them susceptible to bacterial infections and parasites.

Parasites, such as anchor worms, can be introduced through feeder fish and may cause issues when your axolotls are stressed. To treat anchor worms, consult a veterinarian for appropriate medications.

Bacterial infections can affect multiple parts of your axolotl’s body, including their gills, mouth, and eyes. Treating these infections requires veterinary assistance and the use of antibiotic medications.

Fungal infections, like mycosis, can also occur due to poor tank conditions and may require careful treatment. Again, consulting a veterinarian is crucial for the well-being of your axolotl.

Finally, remember that salt baths should not be administered without veterinary guidance, as excess salt can harm axolotls through their permeable skin. Always seek professional advice before attempting any treatment on your black axolotl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a black axolotl called?

A black axolotl is simply known as a “black axolotl.” They are a unique variation of the popular and iconic aquatic pet, the axolotl. Their color can range from very dark to light gray.

Are black axolotls rare?

Black axolotls are not necessarily rare, but they are a less common color variation compared to other axolotl colors like white, grey, and green. This unique appearance makes them a sought-after exotic pet for many enthusiasts.

How much do black axolotls cost?

The cost of a black axolotl can vary depending on factors such as availability and where you’re purchasing from. Prices may range from around $20 to $60 or more. It’s essential to buy from a reputable breeder or store to ensure the health and well-being of your new pet.

How long do black axolotls live?

The lifespan for black axolotls, like other axolotls, is around 10 to 15 years with proper care. Providing a suitable environment, clean water, and balanced nutrition can help ensure a long, healthy life for your adorable aquatic companion.

What is the difference between black and pink axolotls?

The main difference between black and pink axolotls is their color. Black axolotls have a dark to light gray color, while pink axolotls have a pinkish-white hue. Both variations share the same distinct features, such as the feathery gills, flattened head, and eel-like body. Their care requirements are generally the same, including tank size, water temperature, and dietary needs.