How Do I Know If My Axolotl Is Happy?

4 min read

Axolotls are happy and calm little creatures as long as you take care of them. They are undemanding companions minding their own business around the tank. They are quiet and enjoy their owner’s presence.

PetAquariums How Do I Know If My Axolotl Is Happy?

Like any other living being they have their own ways of having fun, resting, and playing. Axolotls may not show emotions the same way as humans but that does not mean they are incapable of happiness. So, how do you know if your axolotl is happy?

Some of the most common signs your axolotl is happy are its gills flowing freely and effortlessly with no tension; moving around the tank; looking healthy by the color of the skin; eating properly; coming to observe you when you approach the tank and generally showing energy and activity.

If your axolotl is stressed, the gills are curved forward and the tail tip is also curled. Sometimes the gills can be curved because of a very strong water flow from the filter, especially with young axolotls. That means your pet is very stressed and you should check the water.

How Do I Check to Make Sure My Axolotl Is Happy?

Observe your axolotl’s behavior. You may notice signs of stress and sickness, which need to be caught in time.

Axolotls do not communicate their unhappiness or distress in any other way but through body language and lack of appetite, for example:

CopperAxolotl PetAquariums How Do I Know If My Axolotl Is Happy?

Gills and Tail

Look at the gills. If they are curled forward, towards the head then something must be wrong. If the gills appear tense, not floating freely and pointing in one direction then your axolotl must be stressed.

The same goes for the tail: look closely at the tip – if it is curled up, then your pet is not at ease.

Axolotls are very sensitive, and every change or disturbance in their environment affects them. Sometimes if the flow from the filter is very strong or if the water temperature is not right the gills and tail may be curled up.

If you notice any of these signs, check the water first.


Other signs to watch out for will show up on the skin. Do you notice any white or yellow spots? Or loss of color and paleness? If yes, there may be an infection. Take your axolotl to the vet immediately. Also, check the water for the correct chemical balance and if the filters are doing their job to deal with the waste.


The axolotl’s behavior may be another sign of abnormalities.

Symptoms include:

  • Floating
  • Coming up too often for air
  • Swimming frantically
  • Appearing too energetic or agitated
  • Appearing anxious
  • Refusing to eat


Axolotls rarely float. They walk and that is why they have limbs. Floating is not common for them and if your pet floats too much then something must be wrong, and it is not happy. It could be a sign of digestion problems and bubbles in the gut. Constipation is also possible. Monitor them for 24-48 hours. Also, if it is able to come down on its own there is probably nothing to worry about.

Gasping for Air

Axolotls do come up to the surface now and then to inhale air, but it does not happen often. If your axolotl does this too often, then it is stressed and in some discomfort.

Swimming Frantically

Axolotls do not swim or float, they walk. If you notice frantic swimming then something must be wrong! The same goes if your axolotl appears anxious, overly active, or refuses to eat.

Keep in mind that when seasons change, usually to winter or autumn, the water in the tank tends to cool down and your axolotl may decide to eat less. Decreased temperature lowers the metabolism which leaves the axolotl needing less food.

What Makes an Axolotl Happy?

Axolotls are happy when they live in the right conditions. These sensitive creatures are very susceptible to the environment around them and every change is a stress.

PinkLeucisticAxolotl PetAquariums How Do I Know If My Axolotl Is Happy?

Some things to keep in mind to make sure your Axolotl is happy are

  • The ideal water temperature for an axolotl is between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They enjoy cool waters.
  • The tank must be placed in a shady and cool spot, away from sunlight.
  • The tank must be spacious enough in all directions so the axolotl can move freely and without restrictions.
  • Provide enough plants, especially floating ones to keep away the sunlight.
  • Remove the lid from the tank if there is one.
  • Provide enough pebbles, pipes, stones, and caves to create as natural an environment as possible.
  • Provide a water cooler, if necessary.
  • Buy a thermometer or a thermostat.
  • Regularly check the chemical balance of the tank water.

Remember – It is best not to pair the axolotl with another one or other fish. They are solitary creatures and prefer to be alone.


To sum up, you should watch out for a few signs to make sure your axolotl is happy.

  • The gills are left floating in a relaxed way. They do not appear tense, are not curled up and not pointing forward.
  • The tail at the tip is not curved.
  • The skin does not have spots or paleness.
  • Your axolotl does not float more than usual, does not gasp for air, and does not swim frantically.
  • Their appetite is regular, and the axolotl does not refuse to eat.

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Pet Aquariums

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