How Do You Transport an Axolotl? Easy…

Axolotls are very attractive pets to have because of their appearance and they are unique since they are a salamander that lives completely underwater. Most salamanders spend a lot of time on land as well but not axolotls.

If you are going to own an axolotl sometimes you may have to transport them a long ways to get them to your home…

To transport an axolotl, you need a plastic bag that is close to 15 inches long by 8 inches wide. Place the axolotl in the bag and fill the bag 1/3 full of water so the axolotl is covered with water. Pump or blow air into the other 2/3’s of the bag. Place the bag in a cooler surrounded by packing peanuts.

Simple, right? Okay, there is more to it than this so let me explain in more in detail and also give you some different ways to transport your axolotl, but you need to check your axolotl first…

Make Sure Your Axolotl Is Healthy First

You need to do a basic examination of your axolotl before transporting it, especially if you are buying it off craigslist ad not from a reputable dealer.

If there were other axolotl in the tank, make sure your axolotl doesn’t have damage from being attacked. It can regenerate, so some nicks are okay as long as they weren’t infected.

Make sure the gills on your axolotl are moving and the axolotl is moving around as well. Try to look for parasites or unusual markings on your axolotl. Make sure your axolotl is not pale in color or floating near the top of the water.

Best way To Transport Your Axolotl

We have found that the easiest way to transport your axolotl is to buy one of those Styrofoam coolers from the store that you usually buy for soda or beer in the summer. You will need one big enough for your axolotl to fit in a plastic bag and then packed with packing peanuts as described above.

It is best to get some fish bags from the pet store, or you can use some of the heavy-duty gallon storage bags from your kitchen. Make sure the bag is 15 inches long by 8 inches wide. It needs to be big enough to cover your axolotl with water and still be 2/3’s full of air.

It is best to remove the axolotl from the aquarium it is leaving with a large fish net.

You need to put the axolotl in the bag empty first.

Pour some water from the aquarium over the axolotl, enough so the axolotl will be covered by water when it is lying flat in the bag. Fill the bag 1/3 full of water.

Fill the rest of the bag 2/3 full of air with a bike pump unless you want to look like a putz trying to blow air into the bag with your mouth while the axolotl is panicking and trying to escape.

Seal the bag by folding over the top and wrapping it tight with a rubber band.

Place your sealed axolotl in side another bag, fold over and tighten with a rubber band like the first.

Put a layer of packing peanuts in the bottom of the cooler.

Place your axolotl on the layer and surround it with more packing peanuts so that your axolotl doesn’t move around at all.

If you are transporting your axolotl when it is cold outside, you can place a frozen water ball down the side of the cooler when you are putting in the packing peanuts. Make sure it doesn’t directly touch the bag that your axolotl is in so that it doesn’t become too cold. You dot want your axolotl to get above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is best to tape the outside of the cooler when you are done to ensure that it doesn’t come open during the trip. The water bottle will keep your axolotl cool calm, and less stressed.

Using Tupperware to Transport an Axolotl

A lot of people like to use a large Tupperware container of about two to three gallons. You simply fill it 1/3 with water from the aquarium that your axolotl was in just like with the bags as described above. You can put the Tupperware in a cooler and put something soft like a towel on top and then an ice pack to keep the temperature down.

Some people like to cut a slit in the top or poke holes for a tiny bit of air circulation.

You can then place the cooler somewhere shady in your vehicle to also keep the temperature down. A good trick is to set the cooler in the seat and buckle it in.

Also keep a turkey baster on hand. One advantage of transporting your axolotl in Tupperware is that it is easier to open the lid and remove the poop when you check on it, depending on how long your journey is.

It is also a good idea to bring some extra aquarium water in something insulated like a thermos in case you lose some water when you are checking in your axolotl or taking too much water out with your turkey baster.

Plan Your Trip

If you want to go the extra mile when preparing to transport your axolotl, you can even try to avoid roads that you know are bumpy. I’ve even heard of people transporting them on trains if they have to take their axolotl a long distance because of the smooth ride on rails.

You can go as far as to plan to make the trip during the best times that you won get stuck I city traffic or make sure you take a route that avoids getting stuck in traffic.

If you live in an extremely hot are, you can make the trip in the morning or evening to keep the temperature down. You would still need to follow the advice above in regard to the water bottle or ice pack.

Take Extra Supplies

You never know what can happen on a trip, so it is advisable to take extra packing peanuts, plastic bags, aquarium water and icepacks or frozen water bottles. If your vehicle breaks down, roads close in adverse weather etc. your trip may turn into days instead of hours. The extra supplies will help.

Moving an Axolotl Tank

If you have to move your entire axolotl tank, you should drain the tank water into some jugs or sealable buckets that haven’t been used for anything other than your aquarium. You can leave some of the water in your aquarium but just the bare minimum.

You want to drain the tank water, so you don’t have all that weight bouncing around, but you want to keep your tank water for the beneficial bacteria.

Make sure you keep your biological filter fully submerged in your tank water so that you don’t lose any of the beneficial bacteria. Moving your axolotl tank is the perfect time to do a water change, but you should take all of the tank water in case you spill some.

I would advise you to still transport your axolotl in a separate container as described above. This will keep them cool and give you a chance to make sure your aquarium water is at the proper temp at the new location before you put your axolotl back in the tank.


Your axolotl is going to get stressed during the move so don’t worry too much about it. The best things you can do as described above are to keep the water from sloshing as much as possible, make sure the water temperature doesn’t get too high and keep from checking your axolotl if the trip is under four hours. Constant checking on your axolotl will just stress it out more.

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