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How to Keep An Axolotl Tank Clean

Clean water is a requirement for the health and well-being of axolotls, and that’s why it’s so important to keep your axolotl’s tank clean.

However, if not done properly, the procedure can be stressful for your little friend. 

Cleaning an axolotl tank is not as straightforward as it sounds, and many new axolotl owners wonder how to clean their tanks in the safest and smartest possible way and keep them clean for longer periods of time.

If you are one of those novice axolotl owners, this post is for you. 

In this post, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about how to keep an axolotl tank clean.

Hopefully the tips below will make it easier for you to take care of your little friend. Keep reading!

6 Tips to Keep An Axolotl Tank Clean

Axolotl is lying in a dirty tank
Axolotl is lying in a dirty tank | Credit: thomascan / Canva.com

To keep an axolotl tank clean, be careful about a few things. The process of cycling is tedious, but is important for maintaining healthy water parameters. Get a filtration.

Before you add substrates, stir them and remove contaminants. Clean axolotl poop whenever you spot it, and do a 20% water change every week.

A water testing kit can help you test water parameters and figure out when to clean the tank. 

Do Not Skip the Nitrogen Cycle

axolotl is lying on the bottom of the tank
Axolotl is lying on the bottom of the tank | Credit: David A. F. / Canva.com

Cycling a tank can be time-consuming, but it’s important. The process basically refers to regulating nitrogen cycle by establishing bacterial colonies.

If cycling is done properly, bacteria quickly breaks down ammonia, turning it into nitrite. 

Another conversion takes place almost instantaneously: nitrite is converted to nitrate. The final product is nitrate, which keeps ammonia at 0 ppm.

Without the nitrogen cycle, high levels of ammonia in the water can kill your axolotl in just a few days. 

Learn How To Cycle Tank For Axolotl: 7 Steps for Beginners.

Get a Filtration

An aquarium filter can keep the water clean and pristine. A filter can remove decaying organic matter, excess food, dangerous chemicals, free-floating particulates, and your axolotl’s waste products.

When choosing a filter, consider your tank’s water turnover rate. Filters are rated as “gallons per hour” or GPH. 

Learn about the Best Water Filters For Axolotls and make an informed buying decision. 

Stir Substrates Before Adding Them

Cleaning the tank with a Vacuum Gravel Cleaner
Cleaning the tank with a Vacuum Gravel Cleaner | Credit: bee32 / Canva.com

Make sure you stir substrates before you add them, simply because substrates often contain contaminants such as dust.

Do not use soil as a substrate unless you know what the soil is composed of. Even if you choose to use soil, for whatever reason, make sure there are no pesticides, chemicals, or critters in it. 

Learn about the Best Substrates For Axolotls.

Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is of utmost importance because it’s a way to keep the tank clean between water changes. Uneaten food for axolotls should be removed right away.

However, even if you do so, the water will get dirty pretty quickly, due to the dispersion of food particles. 

Remove axolotl poop whenever you spot it. Using a turkey baster is the easiest and smartest way to clean axolotl poop, but there are other ways as well. Here’s How To Clean Axolotl Poop

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Frequent Water Changes

Even if there is a filter in your tank, do at least a 20% water change every week. It is better if you change water more frequently.

To remove dirt and encourage maximum growth, some breeders change water daily. However, if you are keeping axolotls as pets, don’t change water daily.

There are two major advantages of changing tank water: it improves both clarity and quality of the tank water. Frequent water changes are necessary for keeping water parameters within a normal range. 

Frequently Use Your Water Testing Kit

Buy a water testing kit and use it to check water parameters so that you can make quick adjustments.

Rapid changes in water parameters can be fatal for your axolotl. If the water has excessively high levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, do a water change immediately. 

Bacteria will bloom if nitrate is high. And this will make the tank water cloudy. The presence of fungus in the water is another sign of high levels of nitrate. 

Use the test results to address the specific issue. With a reliable water testing kit, you can easily figure out if the parameters of the tank water are appropriate. 

Also read: Full Requirements & Water Conditions for Axolotl in Captivity

How often Do You Clean An Axolotl’s Tank?

Axolotl is living in a clean tank
Axolotl is living in a clean tank | Credit: saiva / Canva.com

The frequency depends on factors such as the tank’s size, the filter strength, and your axolotl’s diet, age and size.

Whenever you notice axolotl poop, remove it with a turkey baster. As a rule of thumb, you should do a 20% water change every week. 

Some vets recommend cleaning axolotl tanks once every two weeks. But cleaning the tank once a week is a really good idea because bits of uneaten food can change water parameters pretty rapidly. 

If you have multiple axolotls in the tank, they will produce more waste, necessitating more frequent cleaning of the tank. A 10-gallon tank should not be used to house more than two adult axolotls. 

The concentrations of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will not reach harmful levels if water is changed frequently.

This risk is even lower if you are keeping only 1 axolotl in a large tank. In such a case, it’s just fine to change the water less frequently, such as once every couple of weeks. 

Also, check if there are pieces of dirt that the filter has not been able to capture. Use a turkey baster or aquarium vacuum cleaner to remove them. 

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FAQs

How do you get rid of axolotl poop?

You can use a turkey baster, gravel vacuum cleaner or net to remove axolotl poop from the tank. Using a turkey baster is the simplest and smartest way to get the job done. The poop should be cleaned as soon as possible. Do not poke the stool because direct impact can destroy the protective sack, causing the poop to burst and contaminate water

Why does my axolotl tank get dirty so fast?

If your axolotl tank is getting dirty too fast, the tank may be too small. Axolotl poop, bits of uneaten food, and rotten tank plants can quickly make the water dirty and change water parameters. Clean these contaminants whenever you spot them. 

To keep the water parameters within the normal range, do a 20% water change every week. But if you are keeping more than two axolotls in a 10-gallon tank, consider changing water more frequently. 

Do you need to clean an axolotl tank?

Yes, it’s important to clean an axolotl tank regularly. Axolotls poop a lot, and that can quickly contaminate the tank water. Rotten plants and bits of uneaten food can drastically change water parameters, endangering your little friend’s life. Clean axolotl poop and uneaten food as soon as you spot them, and do a 20% water change every week. 

Wrapping Up

Significant changes in water parameters can be fatal for your axolotl. For the health and well-being of your axolotl, keeping the tank clean is of utmost importance.

For new axolotl owners, this is not an easy commitment. But as days pass by, cleaning the tank becomes a part of your routine, you will find the procedure effortless. 

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