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Black Axolotl Care Guide & Breeding Tips for Beginners

Black axolotls are one of the most popular variants in this group of species. They are highly appreciated for their all-black appearance and tank-friendly nature.

Besides, these cool-looking creatures are quite easy to care for if you are aware of their personality. 

Black axolotls are happy, playful creatures, popular for their all-black appearence with purplish external gills. These carnivorous axolotl color morphs are too easy to care for in a 20-gallon freshwater tank. All they need is the tank water to have a 6.5-8 pH range for their better survival.

Species Overview

Black melanoid axolotls are one of the most popular types of color morphs of axolotls, which are easy to find in the aquarium trade. They are also known as melanoid axolotl due to their heavy melanoid body pigments.

This recessive mutation first came to light in 1961 in a laboratory. Since then, they have been common amongst hobbyists and fish-keepers.

Black axolotls are just the opposites of their counterpart morph, albinos. The reason behind their specific black appearance is the presence of melanophores in their pigments rather than iridophores.

However, the black axolotl color can range from darkest green to completely black. But all the varieties of these species possess dark purple-colored gills, which make them look quite distinctive.
Most black melanoid axolotls come with a pale grey or purplish belly. On the contrary, some look similar to the dark wild-type ones. However, they lack that shiny golden tone, unlike the wild axolotls.



As the name suggests, black axolotls are very easy to spot with their all-black colors. You can easily spot them because of their characteristics that make them stand apart from any other variant of the group.

Their unique color details with some freckles give them a spectacular appeal, perfect for aquariums. What else is unique about them? Well, spiky manes with a purplish-black shade and cute little webbed feet add to the beauty of this creature.

As said before, these aquatic freshwater amphibians may vary in color from dark black to a light greyish hue. They also possess some distinct spots all over the top of their back and head, which makes them look quite different from the wild-type axolotls.


Black axolotl grows up to moderate sizes, which is not tough to care for in a moderately sized tank. An adult can range up to a length of 11-12 inches if it is offered proper care and food.

Temperament & Behavior

Black axolotls are usually solitary creatures. Hence, these animals would do well alone in a tank. They prefer to spend their day hiding, as they are shy by nature. So, you can incorporate appropriate tank décors and plants to offer them enough room to hide.

If they encounter frequent interactions with you, they can even recognize you. They might try to interact with you through the tank glasses. Doesn’t it make you think that they are the best kind of salamanders to have around?


You can call it a good investment if you are spending some money to buy black axolotl. They are not very short-lived; rather, they are quite hardy.

A healthy melanoid can live as long as 15 years if you take proper care of its diet. Also, the water conditions and temperatures you are maintaining in an axolotl tank matters a lot in deciding how long-lived your pet will be.

Black Axolotl Aquarium Care

Do you want to have the best axolotl care in your home tank? Well, then you need to cater to their unique needs. They can be trickier to care for if you do not prepare their tank properly.

Black axolotls are freshwater amphibians that prefer to spend their adult lives in the aquatic ecosystem. So, they need a specific kind of water condition and you must set up the freshwater tank accordingly to offer them the best care.

Tank Setup

Tank requirements need to be very specific for the care of this amphibian. From choosing the right tank capacity to maintaining optimum water parameters, everything matters when you keep melanoids in captivity.

Tank Size

To care for the black axolotl, you need to pick a minimum of 20-gallon tank. There must be a lot of space to swim and hide in the tank as axolotls prefer it. Besides, they are notorious jumpers and tend to jump out of the tank quite often. So, it is better to add a tank lid.

As these axolotl color morphs prefer an aquatic setup, they do not require out-of-water spaces inside the tank. Hence, you can feel free to fill the tank with water.


Filtration is necessary when it comes to keeping axolotls in your home tank. So, would you spare your axolotl with poor quality water? Definitely, no! Thus, you need to install the right filter needed for an axolotl tank.

Melanoid axolotl prefer a clean tank setup. Any kind of unsanitary living condition can cause health complications and threaten its life.

To maintain clean water, you can add sponge filters, which hobbyists commonly use. Sponge filters are good for collecting all debris from the tank without causing too many waves in the water, rendering the axolotls a calm aquatic environment.


Axolotl fish tank must have proper lights. 

To facilitate the best care of this salamander, you need to mimic an ambiance similar to their natural habitat. You must maintain the natural day/night cycle for the tank.

Water Parameters

The water parameters in the tanks need to be accurate for melanoids. 

The water temperature must be kept within the range of 60- 64° Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the tank water pH level must be maintained around 6.5- 8.0.


The selection of substrate for the tank of your cute little melanoids must be highly suitable to their requirements. You can usually go bare bottom for this color variant of axolotls. But if you want to add a substrate, you should pick the one that gives them a better grip on the floor, and these can be easily bought from any store.

Stay away from using a lot of variety, such as small stones or any gravel-like particles, as substrate. Axolotls are very sensitive and careless eaters. They might ingest any small piece of stone or gravel, leading to intestinal blockage. Hence, be very careful about the substrate you are adding to the tank.


The diet of black axolotl must include rich sources of protein as they are carnivores. The dietary requirements of melanoids are quite straightforward. You need not research a lot about what to feed them and what not.

They will do good with a proteinaceous platter of worms and small fish. They usually prefer to have foods like bloodworms, earthworms, prawns, tuna, mealworms, brine shrimp, etc.

However, you must keep one thing in mind, that axolotls have very slow digestive system. So, you should feed them every two or three days.

Breeding & Reproduction

Black axolotls reach their breeding maturity at the age of 1 year. During their breeding session, they exhibit a unique motion where the male and female specimens indulge in a union. And after that, the female axolotls tend to lay up to 200 eggs on the surface of the tank.

These eggs usually hatch at a temperature of 75° Fahrenheit. It takes about 15 days for the eggs to hatch to baby axolotls. However, to offer the best care to these babies, you need to keep them separate from adult axolotls.

Health Issues

While taking care of black axolotl in your tank, you must be aware of their common health issues. Also, they are very sensitive to physical injuries if you are keeping them with aggressive tank mates or in an aquarium with a sharp substrate.

The common health problems noticed in these axolotls are parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections. If you can manage to facilitate clean water and give your pets a proper diet regularly, they’ll be less likely to contract any illness.

Are black axolotls good pets?

Well, this is the first question you should ask yourself if you are thinking of caring for black axolotls in your tank. When it comes to petting this animal, let us tell you it could be your great friend. So, here are some suitable reasons that make them great as a pet.

  • You can keep them safely in a tank if you provide them with a suitable setup. The black axolotl can be a great tank addition alongside your other fish if you offer them proper water conditions.
  • They can even save your expense of buying their counterparts. There is no necessity to keep them in groups. They can happily live alone. They enjoy their own company; hence, they serve to be a budget-friendly purchase.
  • They are quite easy to care for if you have prior experience.


Caring for black axolotl in your home tank comes with fewer headaches than any other variant. They are happy, smiling pets that love to interact with familiar faces. Even though they might indulge in aggression with some fellow tank mates, if you find a suitable friend for them, they will thrive happily.

If you are thinking of caring for them in your home tank, make sure you are doing proper research on them. If you have past experience of fish-keeping, then just go to an aquarist shop and get your favorite one.