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Can You Keep a Male and Female Axolotl in the Same Tank?

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Jess has been obsessed with axolotls since childhood and has been caring for her own for years.

Luckily both of my axolotls are males, but I had a plan in case Mo turned out to be female.

Luckily both of my axolotls are males, but I had a plan in case Mo turned out to be female.

All About Axolotls

Axolotls are unique salamanders that live underwater and keep their juvenile features their entire lives. It is generally ok to keep them in the same tank as long as you have 20 gallons of water, plus 10 gallons for each axolotl, in a tank with plenty of floor space.

As long as one axolotl doesn't get aggressive and they are about the same size, they can do great sharing a tank, but what happens if you find out that your axolotls are different sexes?

Telling whether an axolotl is a male or female can be tricky. It takes about 10-12 months before you can tell by looking at their external organs; for males, it can be up to 18 months. You may have thought that you had two females all along, only to notice one day that one is definitely a male. Axolotls lay up to 1000 eggs at a time, so you definitely don't want to have that many babies you are unprepared for!

You may also wonder about the consequences on your axolotls' health and well-being. This article will go over everything from whether you can safely house them together, to whether you should let them live together.

How Often Will Axolotls Breed?

If a male and female axolotl are housed together, they will generally breed once a year. Sometimes they will breed even more often than this. If they are exposed to seasonal light and temperatures they may breed at certain times, but usually, in a home aquarium, it will be unpredictable.

If a male and female axolotl are housed together, you may have not even noticed they were spawning until you see little clumps of eggs throughout the tank, usually fixed to plants.

There may be 100 to 1000+ eggs, and they will have to be taken care of. Axolotls will eat anything that is smaller than them, which means they will eat any eggs in the tank and babies that manage to hatch. If you are hoping to hatch the eggs, they will need to be put in a separate aquarium right away.

An axolotl egg.

An axolotl egg.

Hatching Axolotl Eggs

If you are only interested in hatching axolotls because the thought of selling 1000 axolotls makes you see dollar signs, this may not be the project for you. Sure, you can sell the axolotls once they are big enough, but it is going to take a lot of work, time, and supplies to get there. Breeding axolotls should be done responsibly and ethically; it is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme, and not for a beginner.

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Axolotl eggs take about two to three weeks to hatch, depending on the temperature. During this time you will want to make sure that you have the right kind of food (usually Daphnia and micro worms) and an appropriate setup for all the hatchlings. Axolotls are cannibals, so many people choose to put the larvae in separate containers and do daily water changes.

If you are going to house a male and female axolotl together, make sure you have a plan for what to do with the eggs. Eventually breeding will happen, and it will be a lot better to be prepared. There are so many resources online to help you, but it will be a lot of work!

What It Takes to Raise Baby Axolotls

Is It Healthy for a Male and Female to Live Together?

For the most part, any two axolotls of similar size with plenty of tank space should be fine together, but there are a few specific concerns when housing a male and female together. The first is that they will have lots and lots of babies and it will be the owner's responsibility to take care of them.

The second concern is the female axolotl's health. Laying that many eggs can tax her body, and the axolotl's body will put more resources towards making eggs than taking care of itself. This is especially true in a female that is younger than 18 months.

If you are set on keeping them both in the same tank, you can get a divider. Both axolotls will be fine with this arrangement as long as they still have plenty of floor space to wander. Axolotls are not social creatures, so there is no need to worry about them being lonely.

Axolotls usually tolerate having a tank mate well (as long as they are the same size,) but they do just as well living alone.

Axolotls usually tolerate having a tank mate well (as long as they are the same size,) but they do just as well living alone.

Works Cited

Axolotl Breeding

Rearing Axolotls

Do Axolotls Eat Their Eggs and Babies?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Jess H

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