What Type of Water do Axolotls Need?
Getting the right water type for Axolotls is a lot more important than you might first think. Being exotic pets, taking care of axolotls needs that extra bit of attention to make sure they stay healthy. Us humans might not notice the difference, but there can be a huge variation between different water types like bottled, tap, and distilled. As Axolotls absorb water directly via their skin, setting up their aquarium correctly is vital.
Today we’re going to break down the differences between different types of water and explain the ins and outs of water and Axolotls.
Does it matter what type of water I give my Axolotl?
Definitely. There are a number of Axolotl water parameters you need to get correct, the first being the pH level. This will tell you how acidic the water is, and our axolotl friends need the pH level to be between 6.5 and 8.0, with the ideal level coming in at about 7.5. An aquarium water pH testing kit is a must-have for every owner, and you can pick them up at most pet stores.
Your second consideration should be the salt and mineral content of the water, both vital elements in keeping your axolotl fit and well. You want to make sure there are no chemicals like chlorine or fluoride in the water, though.
Ammonia and nitrates are dangerous to have in any tank and these occur when bacteria start to consume any decomposing organic matter. This usually happens when your pet hasn’t eaten all of the food you’ve given them, or the aquarium hasn’t been cleaned. Make sure you purchase a good water filter for Axolotls and regularly clean the tank to prevent toxic ammonia and nitrates forming.
Using bottled water
Bottled water is the safest type of water to fill your aquarium with. Most good quality bottled water comes from springs, meaning it has a lot of the minerals and salts your amphibian friend would find in the wild. You can always check the label to make sure it has the right stuff, including potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and calcium chloride. If the water doesn’t contain these minerals, then it means it’s likely been distilled and it’ll be no good for your pet.
Using distilled water
The reason you should never use distilled water in an axolotl aquarium is that it’s had all of its vital minerals and salts removed in the distilling process. Plus, it usually has a pH level of less than seven, making the water too acidic for your pet and it’ll damage their health over time. If the water is causing issues, it’s always worth having good health insurance for exotic pets in case of a worst-case scenario.
Using city tap water
Tap water can be a bit of a mixed bag depending on where you live. Different countries, regions, states, and cities all have different standards when it comes to tap water and there can be considerable variation.
You’ll need to consider whether your tap water is ‘soft’ or ‘hard’. Generally, the ‘harder’ water is, the higher the dissolved salt content. Freshwater for axolotls is a must, but they do prefer slightly harder freshwater, meaning a denser salt content. Your water company should be able to tell you what type of water is supplied to your area.
If you have soft water piped to your home, you might want to add a little more salt to the tank. Bear in mind, though, to never use table salt. You should only add sea salt!
A lot of tap water these days has chlorine added to prevent microbial contamination. While this is useful for human recipients, it can be very toxic for axolotls. When using tap water, let it sit for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate, or get some dechlorination drops from the pet store.