Do Axolotls Need Light? Not Really, Let Me Explain…

Axolotls are very cute fascinating creatures that are gaining popularity among aquarium and reptile enthusiasts. If you are thinking about getting an axolotl or already have one, a frequently asked question is, do axolotls need light?

To know if axolotls need light, you should understand where they originated from. Axolotls originated in high-elevation mountain lakes. You can tell by the snowcaps that mountains don’t get as much sunshine as other places.

Since axolotls originated in mountain lakes, they are used to very little light and prefer dim light. Axolotls have no eyelids, so they are sensitive to bright lights. They are bottom walkers, so they are used to being in deeper waters away from light. If you have an aquarium light for live plants, axolotls need caves or hiding places to get away from the light.

If you are going to keep axolotls it is better to have no light at all. To keep light out of your axolotl tank, your tank needs to be placed in the best location. So, let us explain axolotl tank placement, the best aquarium plants for low levels of light, the best adjustable lights for aquariums, and the best way to create hiding places for your axolotl.

Tank Placement

It is perfectly fine to not have any aquarium lights for your axolotl tank, but you still want to keep the biggest light source in the world out.


You want to try to place your axolotl tank somewhere the sun isn’t going to hit it at all if possible. If it is a small room and your tank is going to catch some sunlight, it is okay as long as your axolotl has plenty of hiding places to get out of the light.

You can place your tank in indirect sunlight and your axolotls will be perfectly happy so don’t stress. As long as they have a hiding place and aren’t directly in the sunlight things will be fine. They will have plenty of time without light at night anyways.

Just don’t take this for granted because if your axolotls are in a tank that is constantly receiving light then they will become stressed out and will develop medical problems and even die!

Direct sunlight is bad for any fish tank anyways because it can promote algae growth. Axolotls are carnivores so they won’t eat the algae and if you try to put a tank mate that likes to eat algae then the axolotl will probably eat them too haha.

Ok, it’s not funny but you get my drift. Direct sunlight is one of the bad guys when raising an axolotl.

If you are one of those people that is just dying for live plants in your axolotl tank, let’s dive into those.

Best Axolotl Aquarium Plants for Low Levels of Light

Since axolotls don’t like very much light, you will have to choose plants that can grow with very low levels of light. The plants also need to be able to survive in temperatures less than 68 degrees because axolotls cannot live with water temps above 70.

Since 70 is the max, you should try to keep the temp even lower so you don’t take as much risk.

Axolotls are also known for their clumsiness and recklessness. They like to sit or rest on stuff and they can completely uproot and destroy aquarium plants. You need to have aquarium plants that are sturdy in addition to thriving in low-level light.

These Plants Will Also Give your axolotl a hiding place from the light.

The top three choices here would be Anubias, Java Fern, Amazon Sword.


Best Adjustable Light for Axolotls

If you do have plants in your axolotl tank that require more light then you should just get an adjustable led light. This is the only reason you would have a light for an axolotl tank but it is really not recommended.

If you want a fancy aquarium with plants that require a lot of lighting then an axolotl is probably not for you.

I believe it is best to mimic your pets’ natural world and provide the best culture for them to thrive. They shouldn’t be made to adapt to the world that you want them to live in. It could just add too much stress and maybe health problems for your axolotl.

Best Hiding Places for Axolotls to Keep Light Out

Axolotls really just need a space that is big enough for them to fit into and feel cozy and keep the light out. This can be the fun part of keeping any aquatic pet!

Just go to your local pet store and shop for the many aquarium decorations or jump online. The pet store is the best place because you know those decorations are specifically for aquariums and won’t have any chemicals that will harm your aquarium water.

With that being said, I have read online that a lot of people use short pieces of PVC pipe in their axolotl aquarium. Some just leave the white pipe while others actually glue gravel large-grain sand, or pieces of rock on the outside of the pipe so it blends in with the aquarium.

You can get PVC sections at your local hardware store.

If you use glue, you will be pleased to know that they actually make aquarium glue for crazy, addicted aquarium self-doers like yourselves:

Instant Ocean HoldFast Epoxy Stick, Fish Safe

I would just use this glue since it is already aquarium safe rather than the silicone glue I hear people talking about online. If you do use silicone glue, it is perfectly fine, just give it plenty of time to dry before you put the finished decoration in your aquarium.

If you are really busy and just want decorations ready-made for your aquarium and you are shopping online, here are some excellent choices:

Zilla Reptile Habitat Décor Shale Rock Den, Medium

Up Aqua Ceramic Bamboo Shelter, Large

Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums, Adds Hiding Spots, Swim Throughs, Basking Ledges for Fish, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Small Animals

BobbyPet Aquarium Decoration Hobbit House Fish Tank Ornament Rockery Landscaping 11inL x 8inW x 6.5inH

Penn-Plax Hideaway Pipes Aquarium Decoration Realistic Look with Green Moss Like Texture | Fun for Fish and adds a to The Tank, Large


I think we have identified that axolotls don’t need light. At least they don’t need you to run out and buy some fancy aquarium LED lighting with a remote control haha. Axolotls prefer low levels of light or dim light which they are going to get naturally without you doing anything.

If you just get the proper plants that require low levels of light then those plants will not require any additional light either.

Your axolotl will get all the light they need from the natural sunlight during the day and from every day turning the room lights on and off. Enjoy your axolotls!

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