How Often Should I Clean My Axolotl Tank?

Axolotl flapping external gills

Axolotls are creatures that cannot survive in a dirty environment as they have permeable skin that reacts to anything unclean, including their poop, as they are susceptible to diseases. However, they can live up to 15 years if their habitat is clean with the right parameters.

Generally, the Axolotls tank should be cleaned daily by removing food and poop waste with a turkey baster, as the filter cannot remove all waste with a  20 % water change once a week, with the glass being cleaned every three weeks.

Your pet’s tank cannot be cleaned without you changing the water, and how often a tank should be cleaned depends on factors such as tank size, filter strength, age of the axolotls, feeding, and the number of axolotls.

What Are The Factors  Responsible For The Cleaning Of My Axolotls Tank?

As mentioned earlier, some factors are responsible for cleaning your axolotls’ tank, and we will discuss that below as all of these factors work for hand in glove.

1. Tank Size and Strength Of The Filter

According to the tank size, vets recommend that a small tank with a good filter should be cleaned once in two weeks by doing a 20 to 25% water change and a 20% water change daily if a filter is not available as a small tank can only accommodate one axolotl making the poop build-up and food remnant of low amount.

A large tank of water with a good filter can be changed once a  month, cleaning the internal filters as there is aeration and less concentration. Still, a large tank with no filter needs to be changed once or twice a week as the food remnant and poop build-up will produce nitrates which will form nitrites and ammonia, respectively, which are harmful to the health of your pets.

2. Age of the Axolotls

Your baby axolotls tank will need to be cleaned daily. The water changed daily or twice a week as they eat daily and will have to pass out waste daily, while an adult axolotls tank might need a change of water once a week as they eat once or twice in a week, passing out little waste compared to that of your baby pets.

3. Feeding

The type of food you give to your pet will determine when you need to clean your tank. If you give your pet foods that get rotten easily, it will cause the build-up of nitrites which can affect the health of the axolotl, so there is a need to change the water as soon as possible, not minding if the water is clear on the surface or not.

4. Number of Axolotls

A large tank of water with few axolotls and a good filter can be changed once a  month, but a large tank with a good number of axolotls needs to be changed once or twice a week.

How To Clean My Axolotls Tank?

Axolotls tanks are not meant to be cleaned anyhow, or with soap, it requires a step-wise process, and I urge you to follow the steps gradually for the love of your pets.

The materials needed for the cleaning process include

  • A freshwater source (preferably dechlorinated tap water).
  • A siphon or an aquarium vacuum hose(preferably attaching it to a tap).
  •  A  large tub or 2 buckets (if there is no tap water).
  • A sponge or a brush.
  •  A net.

Step One: Get Your Water Prepared

As I have said earlier, only 20% to 25% of the water needs to be changed, as changing all the water could harm your pet’s health. From the tap, pour 25% of your tank requirement into the bucket, and make sure the water is dechlorinated or left for a couple of days to eliminate the harsh elements before use.

For example, if your tank is  25 gallons, you must prepare 25% water of  25 gallons into the bucket, which is 6.25 gallons.

Step Two: Move Your Axolotls From The Tank

Fill your tub or second bucket with water from the aquarium tank or the new water in the bucket, then catch your pet with the net or hold it gently with your hands and place it in the tub or bucket filled with water.

You have to make sure that the tub is large and deep enough for your pet’s comfort and closed with a lid to prevent your pet from trying to escape.

Step Three: Clean The Tank.

Remove dirt and poop using a turkey baster, remove axolotls toys and decorations, then siphon out the water with a siphon or aquarium vacuum hose making sure the gravel is still intact.

Use a brush and sponge with dechlorinated water to clean the glass and aquarium toys and decorations, thoroughly removing algae from the surroundings. Take your filter out, squeeze it, and clean it in dechlorinated water.

Step Four: Pour The Prepared Water Back.

Rinse the accessories thoroughly with water, making sure there are no traces of detergent in them, and add  6.25 gallons of water back into the tank, ensuring the water parameters are ideal; you can even make use of a test strip to be sure of your readings.

How Do I Maintain My Axolotls Tank?

Changing the water almost every day could stress your pet, so there are ways to keep your tank clean without having to change the water almost every day, and that is best done by spot-cleaning it.

  • Use a turkey baster to remove the poop and food remnants.
  • The nitrogen cycle must be completed to establish bacteria colonies and maintain ammonia levels at 0 ppm.
  • Avoid using soil as a substrate as it might contain poisonous substances, and make sure you stir anything you will be using as substrate and remove foreign materials from it.
  • Finally, do a 20% to 25% weekly water change and ensure no alteration in the water parameters.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Axolotls Tank? 

Your axolotl will die as dirty water with wrong water parameters causes about 85% of axolotls’ death. You might not agree with that statement as you believe a filter will eliminate the dirt.

Yes, you are correct. However, a filter will only slow down the change in water parameters, and once the filter is blocked with dirt, it will pollute your pets’ water. Besides, a filter does not stop the changing of water and cleaning of the tank as the filter also needs to be cleaned.

Even if you do not change the water, poop, and food, remnants must be removed as they produce ammonia and nitrite that will cause the death of your pets as axolotls are sensitive to ammonia.


This article concluded that tanks should not be cleaned based on your previous knowledge about aquarium tank cleaning. The cleaning of axolotls depends on many factors listed above, and it must be cleaned every day.

Although cleaning might be stressful, food remnants or poop need to b removed immediately with a turkey baster once noticed.

Written by Justin Michaels