Pink Axolotl: Species Profile, Care Guide & Pictures

Pink axolotl leaning on a rock

The pink axolotl is a creature that captivates many with its unique appearance and intriguing behavior. Often referred to as the “Mexican walking fish,” this amphibian is not a fish at all but a type of salamander. 

Native to the ancient lakes of Mexico, the pink axolotl has become a popular pet in various parts of the world. Its delicate pink hue, combined with feathery gills, gives it an almost mythical appearance.

In this article, we will dive deep into the world of the pink axolotl, exploring its characteristics, behavior, and care requirements. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a curious reader, this guide will keep you entertained.

What Is a Pink Axolotl?

Pink axolotls side by side

A pink axolotl is an aquatic salamander scientifically known as Ambystoma mexicanum. Unlike many salamanders, it remains aquatic its entire life, never transitioning to a terrestrial stage. This unique creature retains juvenile features like external gills into adulthood due to its neotenic state. 

Pink axolotls are cold-blooded animals, dependent on their surroundings for temperature regulation. While the pink or leucistic variant is highly recognized, axolotls come in various other colors

Their ability to stay in a perpetual juvenile state, combined with their distinct color variations, makes them a fascinating species in the animal kingdom. In fact, axolotls are steadily gaining traction in the pet world.

Pink Axolotl Appearance 

Pink axolotl up close

The pink axolotl, with its soft pink shade, is truly a marvel of nature. This gentle coloration, almost see-through at times, is occasionally adorned with small, freckle-like markings.

One of its most striking features is its vibrant red gills, which stand out prominently on either side of its head.

These feathery gills, richly laced with blood vessels, not only add to its unique appearance but also play a crucial role in helping the axolotl breathe underwater.

Their eyes can range from a profound, inky black to a radiant golden hue, always carrying a hint of wonder and inquisitiveness. 

Structurally, the pink axolotl boasts a robust and cylindrical body that seamlessly transitions into a broad head at one end and a gracefully tapering tail at the other, and it sways gently along with their movement.

In terms of size, while some pink axolotls can stretch up to 12 inches, the majority tend to be more compact, averaging around 9 inches in length. 

Preferring the calmer, dimly lit hours, this nocturnal salamander becomes more active, often gliding around their habitat and occasionally seeking shelter from any intrusive bright lights.

Pink Axolotl Temperament and Behavior

Pink axolotls are gentle souls, exuding a calm and serene demeanor. Their inquisitive nature often shines through, making them delightful observers of their surroundings. 

While they’re mostly easy-going, they can occasionally show a feisty side, especially when they’re guarding their territory during meals.

Often, you’ll see pink axolotls pressed against the tank’s glass, gazing out. It’s as if they’re trying to piece together the mysteries of the world outside of their aquarium.

As with other axolotls, pink axolotls have a preference for the cooler, shadowy parts of the tank, leisurely exploring the nooks and crannies. 

But when something intrigues or startles them, they can move with surprising speed, darting quickly to a new location.

Watch this video to see a pink axolotl in action:

My axolotl swimming around

Another interesting thing about this creature is their way of communicating. They don’t make sounds or vocalize, but their body language is rich with expression.

A flick of the tail, a tilt of the head, or even the way they position their feathery gills can tell you a lot about their mood. 

For instance, a raised tail isn’t just a casual move; it’s a sign of heightened emotion, signaling excitement or potential agitation. 

Through these subtle cues, the pink axolotl shares its feelings and reactions, offering a glimpse into its captivating aquatic world.

Pink Axolotl Care Guide

Pink axolotl with vibrant coloration

To ensure the well-being of a pink axolotl, one must be attuned to its specific needs when considering its setup. This part of the guide will take you through the essential care-related stuff you need to know. 

Tank Setup

For pink axolotls, space is very important. A single adult axolotl thrives in a tank of at least 20 gallons. The tank’s base should be layered with fine sand or large pebbles to prevent accidental ingestion. 

If you’re planning to add decorations to your axolotl’s aquarium, they should be smooth, avoiding any potential harm to their sensitive skin. Plants, real or faux, offer them solace and mimic their natural habitat. 

Clean water is crucial, necessitating a gentle filter and regular water changes. Also, keep in mind that axolotls can be escape artists; hence, a secure lid is a must.

Water Parameters

For the pink axolotl, the quality of its water is paramount. They thrive best in cool, pristine water, with temperatures consistently ranging between 60°F and 70°F

It’s essential to maintain a balanced environment, so aim for a pH level that sits comfortably between 7.0 and 7.5

To keep your axolotl healthy, it’s good practice to check the water regularly for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. 

This ensures the conditions remain optimal for their well-being. If you’re using tap water, it’s crucial to treat it first to eliminate any chlorine before adding it to their habitat.

Diet and Feeding

In my home aquarium, I care for a striking black axolotl, which has given me hands-on experience and insights into their care and behavior.

Pink axolotls, as carnivores, have a keen appetite for tiny aquatic critters. Their diet can be a flavorful mix of bloodworms, earthworms, and specially crafted axolotl pellets. 

To give you more insights, here are some commonly fed foods for axolotls:

  • Bloodworms: These are tiny red worms that are packed with protein. They’re a favorite among axolotls and are excellent for promoting growth and maintaining muscle health.
  • Earthworms: A natural choice for axolotls, earthworms are rich in essential nutrients. They not only provide a good protein source but also contain vital minerals that contribute to the overall well-being of the axolotl.
  • Axolotl-specific pellets: Specially formulated for axolotls, these pellets are a balanced blend of all the necessary nutrients. They ensure that the axolotl receives a well-rounded diet, making them a convenient and essential part of their feeding routine.
  • Daphnia (Water fleas): These tiny crustaceans are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and overall vitality. They also aid in digestion and provide variety in the axolotl’s diet.
  • Brine shrimp: Brine shrimp are tiny aquatic animals rich in protein and essential fatty acids. They’re particularly good for younger axolotls, aiding in their growth and development.

To ensure they’re getting a well-rounded meal, it’s recommended to switch things up and offer different foods in rotation. 

Additionally, just like us, axolotls can overeat, so it’s essential to keep an eye on portion sizes and promptly clear out any leftovers. 

Younger axolotls have a bigger appetite, munching on meals daily, while the grown-ups are usually satisfied with feeding once every two days.

Can You Mix Pink Axolotls With Other Fish?

While the idea of having pink axolotls swim alongside fish is enchanting, it’s not always the best choice for either party. Some fish have a tendency to get a little too curious and might nibble on the axolotl’s delicate gills. 

On the flip side, smaller fish might find themselves becoming an unexpected meal for a hungry axolotl. Additionally, water conditions that axolotls thrive in can be quite different from those preferred by many popular fish species.

If you’re considering adding multiple axolotls to a tank, it’s a good idea to choose ones that are roughly the same size. 

This can help minimize territorial disputes and reduce the risk of larger axolotls intimidating their smaller tankmates.

Here are some fish that can potentially coexist with pink axolotls:

  • White cloud mountain minnows: These fish are celebrated for their tranquil demeanor, making them less likely to disturb axolotls.
  • Ghost shrimp: While small in size, axolotls typically overlook them as a food source, allowing them to coexist peacefully.
  • Zebra danios: Their swift swimming patterns and active nature mean they often remain out of reach and unbothered by axolotls.
  • Snails: Not only do they contribute to tank cleanliness by consuming algae, but they also cohabit safely without becoming a target for axolotls.

It’s worth noting, though, the importance of closely monitoring any new additions to the tank. This ensures all inhabitants are getting along and thriving.

How Much Does a Pink Axolotl Cost?

Pink axolotl resting in its tank

The cost of a pink axolotl varies, influenced by factors like age, size, and breeder reputation. Typically, they range from $20 to $60. However, rarer specimens might command higher prices. 

When buying an axolotl, opt for reputable breeders who prioritize animal welfare. And remember, the initial purchase is just the beginning; proper care is an ongoing commitment.

Here’s a summary of the initial expenses associated with owning an axolotl:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$20 – $40
Tank$25 – $100
Filtration System$100 – $165
Substrate$15 – $25
Lighting$20 – $50
Water Dechlorinator$10 – $20
Aquarium Chiller$10 – $15
Water Tester$15 – $20
Decoration/Hiding Places$50 – $100
Total Initial Cost$265 – $535

On top of the expenses listed above, you’d also need to spend on recurring costs. These include food, treats, and others. For these things, expect to spend between $245 and $480 annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pink axolotl with transluscent body

Are Pink Axolotls Rare?

Pink axolotls are indeed popular among enthusiasts. However, they aren’t exceptionally rare. Their distinctive pink hue is a result of leucism, a genetic condition that affects pigmentation. 

This condition is often confused with albinism, which results in a complete lack of pigmentation. However, leucism only causes a partial loss, leading to the axolotl’s iconic appearance. This condition is not that rare.

Where Are Pink Axolotls From?

All axolotls originate from the ancient lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City. However, the Pink variant is predominantly a product of captive breeding.

What Makes an Axolotl Pink?

Leucism, a genetic condition, is responsible for the distinctive color of the pink axolotl. It causes a reduction in skin pigmentation, resulting in their iconic appearance.

So, are you getting an axolotl for your home tank? Let us know your thoughts about the pink axolotl by leaving a comment below, along with any questions you may have!

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