The container can be anything. We like to use deli containers or plastic storage bins referred to as "shoeboxes". You can pick up Sterilite brand containers at Wal-Mart or any store for around $1.00. Or you can buy the deli cups we use from us on our availability page.
As far as water preparation is concerned, we use and fully recommend ZOO MED REPTISAFE . We now use this product exclusively and recommend nothing else as it is the best in our experience. Feel free to use other products but in our opinion nothing is superior and it is available everywhere. Make sure you set up your water 24 hours before your axolotl arrives just to be safe. We can use it immediately out of the tap but we always wait 24 hours to be certain. It is best to mix your water in either a 5 gallon bucket or a 1 gallon container like a thoroughly cleaned milk jug or empty gallon water bottle. It is absolutely not necessary to cycle your aquarium or water. It is something we never do here and we know of no breeders or labs who do it either.
After you get your axolotl open its bag and pour some of the new water in so it can properly adjust. After 15 minutes put the axolotl into the container of new water. Let your axolotl settle in for a few hours before feeding it. Feed it just a few pellets. They won't eat a lot at one setting you will learn quickly how much to feed per day. Take care not to overfeed.
Every day or two remove any food and waste. A turkey baster works great for this. Replace the amount of water removed with clean water that was previously treated. Once or twice a week do a 100% water change with pretreated water that has been sitting for 24 hours or so.
Once your axolotl gets big enough you can upgrade it to a tank or other larger container. We always encourage people to raise juvenile axolotls separately until they are big enough to put together in an aquarium.
Before your Axolotl arrives
Now that your axolotl is big enough to upgrade to a larger size enclosure, you need to decide the best type of set up to suit your needs and the requirements of your axolotl or axolotls.
If set up and maintained properly you can keep an adult axolotl in a standard 10 gallon aquarium. We think a 15 gallon or standard 20 gallon is better and more than enough room. If you want to keep more than one adult together a 20 gallon long is good for two maybe three. If you want to keep a larger group remember that height is not important it's the footprint (length and width) of the aquarium that matters.
We personally feel that a sponge filter driven by an air pump is the best way to filter your axolotls aquarium. If you prefer a different method a hang on the back filter is acceptable. You have to make sure the flow from any filter you choose is adjusted to prevent a very strong current. Powerful canisters are unnecessary and too strong for most applications unless the tank is large.
Be sure to NEVER USE A HEATER! It is not necessary unless you think your axolotl is literally going to freeze into a block of ice. We routinely allow the water temperature in our breeding area to fall into the 40's. Do not allow your axolotl to reach water temperatures above 75 and really try to keep them below 72. This is very easy to accomplish and most homes don't reach interior temperatures high enough to harm axolotls. If you can't keep your home thermostat set to a comfortable 75 degrees in the heat of the summer than an axolotl may not be for you. If you want to keep them in a home warmer than 75 contact us and i will give you practical options for keeping water temps at the appropriate level that won't break the bank.
Substrate can consist of aquarium safe sand, large pieces of slate, very large cobblestones, foam mat or you can opt to leave the floor bare. Avoid using gravel, only very experienced keepers who follow a strict protocol can safely keep axolotls on gravel. We almost always keep our axolotls with no substrate.
Decoration can be anything you want to use, as long as it is non-toxic. Plants (real or fake), large rocks, statuary, clay pots or really anything will do. Be aware that anything you use can potentially be a hazard so use common sense and arrange rocks or other potentially dangerous decor to be secure so it can't topple and crush your axolotl.
Feed your axolotls 2-4 times a week depending on age and the individual. We feed our animals a staple diet of pellets and supplement night crawlers once every week or two. We really never deviate from this diet or routine and have had great success with it over many years and generations.
Maintenance is simple. Once every week or two siphon 20-30% of the water out of the aquarium and replace with new treated water. Make sure you keep up to date on the maintenance of your filter as well. You can also spot clean between water changes with a turkey baster. Wipe down the inside of the tank with a sponge every so often and that is all that is required.
If you happen to have any issues with your axolotl please contact us. We have dealt with every known issue at one point or another. We are here to assist you, no matter where you got your axolotl. Please do not rush to put it in the refrigerator or throw it in a salt bath. Often times these treatments are not necessary and inexperienced keepers abuse these methods causing more harm than good.