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Copper Axolotl Tank Setup & Care Guide for Beginners

Featured Image by Mother of Axolotls

Are you fascinated by the fact that there are copper axolotls too that can make up a brilliant pet for your tank? Well, then it is the right time to check out all details about the copper-colored morph of these creatures that are highly appreciated in the aquarium trade.

Copper axolotls are unique and rare color morphs that can be best cared for in a 20-gallon tank. They are docile and friendly. Usually, these creatures thrive on a carnivorous diet and live longer, subject to proper care and regular water changes in their tank.

Species Overview

Axolotls are one of the most popular salamanders that belong to the Xochimilco lakes of Mexico City. Even though they are on their way to extinction due to various environmental and artificial reasons, axolotls are still popular among aquarists.

Copper axolotl or Ambystoma mexicanum is a much deluxe variant in the aquarium trade due to its rare availability. These species are one of the coolest and unique yet a little-bit weird fully aquatic amphibian.

But here comes a twist! Since these axolotls are amphibians like frogs and other salamanders, you might wonder why they stay aquatic for their entire life, right? Well, that’s because, unlike other amphibians, they are not good at evolving from their aquatic larval stage to land-dwelling adulthood.

Instead, axolotls are created in a way that lets them retain most of their larval qualities even after attaining maturity.

Besides, they also have a brilliant regenerative power that enables them to regrow their limbs. Hence, it is said that axolotls are never fully grown, and they keep growing for the rest of their lives.

The population of the axolotls is highly declining in their native habitat. However, there are plenty of species present in labs and aquariums all over the world. This is one of those whom you can find abundantly in captivity.

Sounds interesting, right? Well, it is nothing less than an exciting matter that pretty copper axolotl is roaming around your tank while adding an aesthetic to your aquarium décor.


These are highly appreciated due to their unique appearance. But what exactly makes this color morph a treat to your eyes?


The copper-colored axolotl species usually possess a light grey body, accentuated with grey irises and copper freckles. They come with red gills, along with a mix of slight greyish hues.

Their belly is usually lightly hued than the rest of their body. However, you can even find variety in their body color as per the specimens.

While some copper axolotls have a caramel-like tone, a few are almost pink in the shade. Nevertheless, the beauty remains constant.

Their unique color, combined with a cute and speckled baby face and a sandy tone, looks too pretty.

But do you want to know a mystery behind their unique body shade? They have lower levels of pteridines and melanin. Hence, you can take them as a less extreme instance of albinism.

Apart from that, they can even be bred with other color morphs. So, are you wondering what the result will be? Variants like xanthic or melanoid copper can be born out of such breeding.


One of the perks of caring for these salamanders at your place is that they will grow neither too long, making it easier to care for nor too small, making them tougher to find out. They possess a moderate body length, which is relatively larger than other salamander species.

Usually, adult salamanders grow up to an average length of 10-12 inches. However, depending on an individual and the kind of care it is receiving, an axolotl can reach up to a length of 18 inches.

The juveniles will be available in a size range of 5-7 inches whom you can buy to care in your tank.

Behavior & Temperament

It would be fun for you to be around a copper axolotl. They are very docile as a species and not at all tough to handle.

Usually, they are good for species-only tanks. However, they can sometimes show cannibalistic behavior towards their types.

Also, we do not recommend you keep these axolotl species in a community tank. First of all, their unique demands are different from other fish and amphibians. Secondly, the presence of other species, their faster movement, or aggressive behavior can stress them.

While small fish can become their snack, the larger and notorious ones can nip off their external gills. Hence, they are better kept alone.


Usually, in the wild, an axolotl cannot live more than 5-7 years. Since they do not possess an extraordinary speed for swimming, it gets more challenging for them to escape a predator.

However, in captivity, copper axolotls can be hardy enough and long-lived. If you can offer them suitable water parameters, tank temperature, and proper food, they can live up to 10-15 years.

Tank Setup

It is indeed an excellent idea to embrace copper axolotls in your tank. But before that, make sure you opt for a top-notch tank setup to care for them the best in captivity. So, here is how you set up a tank for them.

Tank Size

The tank you are picking for your copper axolotl must have enough space to let your pet grow and swim freely. Therefore, it is a good idea to go for a 20-gallon tank for one species.

While picking a tank, make sure it has a lid, as you do not want your axolotl to jump out of it and injure itself.

Water Parameters

Copper axolotls usually do not have too many requirements for a specific parameter. They are hardy enough to deal with an extensive range of water conditions.

However, for better care of the axolotls, the water must be ammonia and nitrite-free. In addition, they can tolerate a pH range within 6.5-8. So, the ideal pH range will be 7.0-7.5 to offer them the best care.

They are usually cold-water dwellers. So, you will not need any water heater for their tank. However, the water temperature must be kept below 70-degree Fahrenheit. The suitable water temperature range for them lies within 60-65 ° Fahrenheit.


The lighting should be moderate for the tank of copper axolotls. They do not prefer too much lighting. It would be better if you do not keep the tank beside a window where direct sunlight falls.

Moderate to low lighting would be apt for copper axolotls. Even though this GPF color morph is better seen under black light, it can be harmful to their eyesight. Therefore, it would be good to consider blue light for them.


The water of the tank of copper axolotl must be kept clean. Unsanitary conditions can result in major health issues. Thus, it is recommended to equip your axolotl tank with a good filtration unit.

However, filters that cause too much wave or current in the tank water can create stress in your copper axolotl. Thus, it is better to get a sponge filter for their tank that carefully collects all debris without making many waves.


The substrate choice is very crucial for the tank of your copper axolotl. These axolotl species are usually very delicate. Therefore, any sharp substrate can easily harm or injure their skin, resulting in infection.

Also, they have a behavior of gulping anything that fits their mouth, due to which they can consume any small stones of a gravel substrate. Hence, only fine sand is recommended for the tank of copper axolotls. You can even maintain a bare-bottom tank for their safety.

Food & Diet

To keep your copper axolotl healthy, offering them a nutritious diet is crucial. Nevertheless, the diet requirement of copper axolotls is relatively straightforward. They are carnivorous by nature, so they gobble any animal protein.

So, you can offer them live nightcrawlers, brine shrimp, small fish, blood worms, etc., for their good health.

Breeding & Reproduction

Breeding your copper axolotls can be a little hectic if you do not have any prior experience. The copper morphs reach their breeding maturity at the age of 12 months.

They indulge in a unique, dance-like courtship during their breeding season, which is a treat to watch.

After breeding, the female axolotls tend to lay up to 100-1000 eggs. But unfortunately, they do not exhibit caring parental behavior; instead, they tend to eat their own eggs. Hence, it is better to separate the parents from the eggs right after breeding.

Copper Axolotl Care

The unique and enticing appearance of copper axolotls can instill a strong urge in you to have their presence around you. But before bringing one for your tank, you must be well-acquainted with some care tips for them. Here are they.

  • Make sure while handling these axolotls, you do not touch them with bare hands. It is always good to use a fine mesh net to catch them while shifting to another tank.
  • Try not to keep two species in one tank unless you are planning for breeding. Sometimes, males will relentlessly follow the females for breeding, which can stress the latter specimens much, leading to their death.
  • The water you are offering to the tank of your copper axolotl must be clean enough and free from any harmful chemicals.

Do copper axolotls make up a good pet?

If you are thinking of welcoming this copper-colored Mexican walking fish to your tank, it can be a vital concern for you to take proper care of. However, they are pretty good as pets. Here is what exactly makes them a good pet for any tank.

  • Firstly, you can care for them easily if you have prior knowledge of fish keeping or amphibian caring.
  • They are pretty easy and simple to care for.
  • You can significantly save some costs by petting them. Copper axolotls do not want any companion as they are solitary. Hence, you will only need to spend for one species.
  • Copper axolotls can even try to interact with you through the tank glass once they get familiar with you.
  • The size it attains is quite manageable.

Wrap Up

So, caring for such an enticing axolotl in your tank sounds exciting, right! But before you take a step forward, make sure you are well informed with the caring essentials.

It is better to consult an experienced aquarist before buying one. However, always ensure that you are keeping an eye on your cute copper axolotl from time to time to maintain its good health and happiness.