Do Axolotls Need an Air Pump? 

Axolotls have uncanny yet cute looks. They come in a wide range of colors, but they’re also very silent. When you look at an axolotl, you feel like petting them, but it is best to leave the little one alone. 

As an axie parent, you might want to know whether an air pump is needed for the tank. The tank environment should be perfect. If the water is not clean and the environment is not axolotl-friendly, your axie will be stressed out. 

As for air pumps, the axolotl tank need not have an air pump. It’s important for fish breeds who consume too much oxygen. 

Axolotls are amphibians and not exactly a fish. So, it may not be necessary. Axolotl pumps or bubblers are not needed as the filter does the job really well. 

Do Axolotls Need an Air Pump

The filter is a good source of oxygen, so your axie won’t have a shortage of it. Would you like to know more about axolotls needing air and whether an air pump is not needed at all? 

Don’t wait any longer then. Dive in and explore the answers!  

Do axolotls need air?

Axolotls are salamanders – they are neotenic, unlike the others. What does this mean? Well, these little creatures keep their young and juvenile characteristics till they turn into an adult. 

The axolotl likes to be in the water, and they would be happy to stay inside for long. They do have functional lungs but the feathery gills are meant for them to breathe inside the water. 

An axie will come up to the surface to breathe, but it will be once in a while. They shouldn’t come up too often as they have rudimentary lungs. 

If your axie is coming to the surface, it’s possible there’s not enough oxygen inside the water. That’s what you should concentrate on: oxygen inside the tank!

Axolotls have four different ways of breathing – skin, gills, buccal respiration, and lungs. They’re amphibians, so they have gills as well as lungs. 

It would be wise to not get them out of the water for too long. They will come up once in a while and hold their breath. Once they take oxygen with their gills, these creatures go down. That’s how they live in the wild, and that’s how you should keep them as well.

Did you know these little ones can hold their breath for almost a year? That’s amazing, right? 

Axolotls can come out of the water, but it should be brief and not too long. It is crucial for an axie to be inside the water to breathe properly. Axolotls may die or get really sick if they are out of the water for too long. Even a few minutes can be lethal for axolotls. 

The Process of Oxygen Getting Into Water 

You might be wondering how oxygen goes inside the water naturally. Well, it’s called surface agitation. Oxygen molecules from the outside air get dissolved into the tank water. That is how the oxygen goes into the water. 

It’s a natural process. How do you know how much oxygen is going into the water? It will depend on whether or not you are keeping the tank clean. 

Inside an axolotl tank, the process happens with filter oxygenation. The amount of oxygen that goes inside the water is enough for your little axie. However, you should notice the behavior of the little one. 

In case you see signs like gasping for air, then you would need to consider an air bubbler or an air pump. 

Air pumps/bubblers will produce tons of oxygen inside the water. And that’s why you cannot rule out oxygen pumps completely. Your axie might need them in case of an emergency.

Do axolotls need an air pump?

Axolotls do not need you to buy a bubbler or an air pump. The filter is more than enough to cover up for it. It’s a good source of oxygen inside the axie tank. This should give plenty of oxygen to your axie. 

Now, you would need to get a good filter for the tank. Moreover, the tank and the water in it should be clean. The axies shouldn’t come in touch with ammonia and nitrites as these could be lethal for them. 

If the filter is not doing a good job, then you would need an air pump or a bubbler. This is only when your axie keeps coming to the surface to take some oxygen. In case they are coming up too often, there is not enough oxygen inside the water. 

Gasping for air is a bad sign. If this happens, you need to get a good air pump or a bubbler immediately. So, why not keep one handy as a backup?

Bear in mind, axolotls are delicate creatures. Too much stress will affect their health really adversely.

Does an axolotl come to the surface for air? 

Axolotls come to the surface at times to gasp some of the air outside. Once they’re done, they will swim back into their hiding space. 

It is normal behavior, so you shouldn’t be alarmed. There are times when your axie will come up even if the oxygen level is fine. 

Does an axolotl come to the surface for air

Look out for unusual signs when they come up gasping for air. If they are doing this too many times a day, then it is alarming. 

Buy a good bubbler or air pump if it happens frequently. 

How long can axolotls breathe air? 

Axolotls can breathe air, but they are mostly aquatic their entire life. Although these creatures have functional lungs, they use their gills to breathe inside the water. 

Do not put them out of the water for more than 1 or 2 minutes. In fact, that’s really long too! When an axolotl comes out of the water, they get stressed. So, you should not keep them out of the water too often. 

Can air bubbles cause stress to your axolotl? 

One of the biggest concerns is whether air bubbles cause stress to a little axie. Getting an air bubbler is great if your axie needs more oxygen.

But, air pumps also have a very strong flow which has to be avoided at all costs. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good. 

You must check out some of the pumps that allow you to adjust the flow of the water. It might be a little expensive, but consider it a one-time investment. 

Don’t you want your axie to be healthy and happy? It’s a small price to pay for your little one. 

Excessive water flow can stress out an axolotl. Whether it’s the filter or the bubbler, make sure the flow is right as axies get scared easily. 

The Perks of Using Air Bubbler in an Axolotl Tank 

There are many perks of getting an air bubbler. Of course, some air bubblers have a very fast water flow which is a major drawback, but with an adjustable flow rate, it can be managed. 

An air bubbler is needed to increase the oxygen level in the tank. In case your axolotl needs more oxygen or is sick and the filter isn’t doing a good job, then an air bubbler will be needed. 

Look for signs – if your axie is uncomfortable and is gasping for air time and again, the oxygen level may be substantially low inside the water. 

The air bubbler helps a great deal in such cases. 

Secondly, air bubblers also help with the evaporation of water. It keeps the water cool for your axie. Summer days can be really uncomfortable and that’s why you need the air bubbler to keep the temperature down. 

The Need for a Filter in an Axolotl Tank 

A filter is absolutely needed for an axie tank. You don’t need a decent one – but a really good one. In case you are thinking of keeping lots of axies in the tank (we’d recommend not doing it with juvenile axolotl though), a filter is needed more than ever. 

A good filter will do its job by removing the residual waste in the axie tank. There’s plenty of waste inside an axie’s tank, especially the ones that cause ammonia and nitrite buildup. 

Good filters will provide oxygen as well for the little axies. An air bubbler may or may not be needed, but a filter does its job brilliantly. 

It is needed for the tank. In fact, that’s how your axie will survive comfortably. Make sure you get a filter with a decent flow rate. 

Ideally, it should be adjustable because axies get scared of too much flow. 

Too much flow of water can cause a lot of stress for the little one; thus, go for a high-quality filter or an air bubbler with an adjustable flow setting. 


1. Do axolotls need air in their tank?

An axolotl needs oxygen in the tank to live comfortably. Filter oxygenation should be enough, but you must check out your axie’s behavior. 

If you see any signs of distress like gasping for air, you might want to get a bubbler or an air pump. These mechanisms produce more oxygen for your axie. 

2. Do axolotls squeak? 

Axolotls do not squeak. They are very silent creatures, but there will be an occasional squeaking. 

It could mean that they are uncomfortable in the tank, there’s very little oxygen, or had a fight with one of the tankmates (like we said, one axie in a tank is better). Ideally, you should not keep any tankmates inside. 

3. What is an axolotl? 

Axolotls are salamanders – they hail from Mexico, but can be found in the majority of the states. 

They have become a popular pet in many states (wherever it is legal to keep an axie). 

Axolotls are silent creatures, and they’re carnivorous. The most special thing about them is that although they have lungs, they mostly use gills. And that’s why, if your filter is working fine, air pumps won’t be necessary.

4. What kind of substrate is needed for an axolotl tank?

The best kind of substrate for an axolotl tank has to be sand. Gravel and rocks can be dangerous as axolotls tend to ingest rocks and gravel. 

Bare bottoms are not recommended as your axie could slip time and again. They need a firm grip at the bottom to walk and crawl. Sand will be the best bet. 

5. How often should you clean the axolotl tank?

Experts recommend cleaning the water tank every two weeks. It really depends on the tank size, how much you feed the axies, and the size and age of the little ones. 

The number of axolotls present in the tank is also a consideration. A water change should be done if there is any uneaten food because it raises the ammonia and nitrate level. 

You should pick up the poop with a scoop every time your axie relieves itself. 

6. Are air bubblers absolutely necessary?

Not really. The air bubbler is needed when the filter does not do its job of giving as much oxygen to your axolotl. 

If your axie is gasping for air and is coming to the surface time and again, it is a sign you need an air bubbler. 

Concluding Thoughts 

You are going to need an air pump or bubbler only when your axie is uncomfortable or is not getting enough oxygen.

They live in the water for the most part of their lives, so you should consider keeping the environment safe and pleasant for the little ones. 

Maintaining the oxygen level, keeping the tank clean, and adjusting the flow of the bubbler or filter is crucial. 

If you can take care of all this, your axolotl will be healthy and very happy. You need to take care of their needs at all times. They’re not very demanding! 

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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