How Much Does an Axolotl Cost? Breakdown of Expenses

Axolotl price how much does an Axolotl cost breakdown of expenses

Looking for a unique exotic pet? You’ll never go wrong with axolotls! Aside from their cute appearances, they also have an amazing ability to regenerate a part of their body!

While you might think that all axolotls are expensive since they are exotics, their prices vary greatly depending on the rarity of their color and age.

Some of these adorable water salamanders are affordable, while certain morphs are extremely expensive.

Want to learn more about axolotl prices? Read on and decide for yourself if this “water doll” is worth purchasing.

The Average Cost of an Axolotl: How Much Do Axolotls Cost? 

In general, most types of axolotls are considered to be inexpensive. The prices of healthy axolotls with common and uncommon colorations range from $40 to $100. Meanwhile, axolotls with unique pigmentations can cost around $200 to $1,500, depending on how rare the morph is.

An axolotl or Mexican walking fish can be categorized into three based on their colors or morphs: common (basic), uncommon (special), and rare. Note, though, that they aren’t a fish species.

Axolotls with common coloration are usually cheaper than other axolotl morphs due to their availability in the market. They either come in wild, white albino, leucistic, or speckled leucistic colors.

On the other hand, uncommon axolotl morphs are not tagged as “special” for no reason. Axolotls with these morphs have striking and unusual pigmentation in their body.

Some of them can even glow in the dark. Examples of these axolotls morphs include the golden albino, green fluorescent protein, black melanoid, heavily-marked melanoid, and copper melanoid.

Lastly, the most expensive among the three types are the rare morphs. Due to their highly scarce availability, rare axolotls can cost up to a thousand bucks.

Some are even unobtainable because they are not sold in the market due to their rarity. Some of these extremely rare axolotl morphs are the enigma, mosaic, and chimera axolotls. 

You can refer to this table for the prices and availability of the different types and colors of axolotls:

Color/TypeAverage PriceAvailability
Wild Axolotl$40Common
White Albino Axolotl$40Common
Leucistic Axolotl$45Common
Speckled Leucistic Axolotl$50Common
Golden Albino Axolotl$50Uncommon
Green Fluorescent Protein Axolotl$55Uncommon
Black Melanoid Axolotl$65Uncommon
Heavily-Marked Melanoid Axolotl$75Uncommon
Copper Axolotl$100Uncommon
Lavender Axolotl$115Rare
Firefly Axolotl$250Rare
Piebald Axolotl$300Rare
Enigma Axolotl$1,500Rare
Mosaic AxolotlNot soldRare
Chimera AxolotlNot soldRare

Based on the pricing, you can own a couple of common axolotls with less than a hundred bucks. However, if you are after the unique ones, expect to spend a thousand or more. 

Are Axolotls Expensive? Factors Affecting the Price of an Axolotl

Axolotl single captive animal in tank

The axolotl price is inexpensive in general. Most of the morphs of this Mexican walking salamander cost less than $100.

Nevertheless, various factors may directly affect how much they are advertised:

  • Rarity of Color/Morph: The prices of axolotls vary depending on their color. Since some colors or morphs are considered special and rare, they are valued at a higher price. The common colors are way cheaper due to their abundance so if you are on a budget but interested in purchasing an axolotl, make them your priority. 
  • Age: In terms of age, adult axolotls are more expensive compared to juveniles. This is because young axolotls require more effort to take care of.
  • Health Condition: Healthy axolotls are, of course, more expensive than the ones in poor condition. You should make sure to check the health status of the axolotl you are buying before completing the transaction.

Pricing may also vary from breeder to breeder. Some may charge higher compared to others depending on their reputation and market competition.

If you search diligently, you might find a reputable breeder that sells quality axolotl at a cheaper price. 

Are Axolotls More Affordable Than Other Pets?

If you are looking for a budget-friendly pet, you should definitely consider buying an axolotl.

They are far more affordable compared to other common house pets. You can have your own axolotl with less than a hundred bucks!

You can refer to this table to see the differences between the average price range of axolotls and other reptiles, amphibians, and mammals:

Type of PetAverage Price Range 
(Excluding Rare/Exotic Types)
Axolotl $40 – $100
Frogs$10 – $90
Tortoise$50 – $500
Turtle$20 – $200
Salamander$10 – $120
Snake$30 – $500
Hedgehog$100 – $500
Hamster$5 – $20
Cat$500 – $1,000
Dog$500 – $2,000
Horse$3,000 – $10,000

The prices indicated above are only averages. The individual prices and ownership costs for each type of pet can still increase depending on several factors, including rarity and breed type. 

Is It Legal to Own an Axolotl?

Before buying an axolotl, you must first find out if your state or local community allows having these adorable animals as pets. 

Certain places in the United States do not allow the acquisition of axolotls, such as California, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia. Meanwhile, residents of New Mexico can own axolotls, but they cannot import from other states. 

There are two major reasons why axolotls are prohibited in some states, and they are discussed below:

  • To avoid the disruption of our natural ecosystem. Some states outlawed owning axolotls because of their possible disruption to our natural ecosystems. Axolotls that are released in the wild, regardless of whether intentional or accidental, might disturb the natural flow of wildlife. They might turn into invasive species and predate smaller animals. Interbreeding with native salamanders may also pose a threat to natural ecology. 
  • Axolotls are an endangered species. Some states prohibit owning axolotls because they are believed to be critically endangered; hence, owning and hunting wild axolotls might be punishable by law. 

Regardless of the reason, each respective state definitely considered animal welfare and the community’s protection before ratifying the laws.

You should contact your local authority and ask if owning an axolotl is allowed in your area to avoid facing any legal charges.

Initial Cost of Axolotl Ownership

Pet Axolotl initial costs

The cost of an axolotl is inexpensive but would the same be said with the initial expenses of owning it?

This includes your axolotl’s food, containment, filtration system, and other essential items to keep them comfortable and safe. 

Here are the primary items you need to purchase for your axolotl:

  • Aquarium or Tank: Although axolotls are considered amphibians, they live their entire lives in the water. Hence, they are kept in an aquarium or a tank in captivity. For a single axolotl, a 20-gallon tank is enough. However, if you have two axolotls, you should double the size of your tank to provide them with enough space. If one of your axolotls is smaller than the other, it is also advisable that you create two separate enclosures because bigger axolotls tend to eat the smaller ones. You can buy a quality 20-gallon tank for $100 to $120.
  • Filters: Keeping the water clean in the axolotl tank is very important as dirty water poses a threat to your pet’s health. You should invest in quality and appropriate filtration systems and a filter medium that can effectively eliminate dirt and other impurities. These filters will immensely prevent health problems from targeting your pet. You can easily find quality filters on Amazon that only cost around $30 to $50.
  • Aquarium Cooler or Water Cooling Machine: Axolotls thrive best on the tank water, with temperatures ranging from 16 to 18 degrees celsius. A temperature above 22 degrees celsius is considered dangerous for these amphibians. Aside from filters, aquarium or tank coolers (chillers) should be bought to minimize the required work in maintaining the optimal water temperature in a tank. You can utilize various cooling methods, but getting these cooling machines for around $40 to $120 is a priority.
  • Substrate: Substrates make the axolotl tank look natural, and it serves as a holder for other aquarium accessories such as plants. The recommended substrate material for an axolotl aquarium is either tank sand or large rocks. Sand is not harmful to axolotls even if they swallow it because they can easily dispose of it through vomiting or fecal discharge. Meanwhile, large stones which are placed at the bottom of the tank cannot be ingested by axolotls because of their size. Aquarium sand and large rocks are priced at $10 to $15 on average.
  • Food: Axolotl food expenses will somehow bring relief to your wallet as the diet of these amphibians is quite simple. They are carnivorous animals, so they eat meat, insects, small crustaceans like brine shrimp, and worms. Juvenile axolotls eat more frequently than adult ones so expect their food expense to diminish as they mature. The food expense will likely set you back between $10 and $20 initially.
  • Water Dechlorinator: A dechlorinator or water conditioner is used to neutralize the harmful chemicals in the water. You will need to use this every time you change the water in your tank to make it safe for your axolotl. A bottle of water conditioner will cost you around $10 to $15.
  • Water Tester: A water tester is useful in checking the acidity, basicity, and amount of nitrate and ammonia present in your axolotl tank. The ideal pH level for axolotls is between 7.4 and 7.6, although they can thrive at around 6.5 to 8.0. A high level of ammonia and nitrate is also fatal for axolotls. Water testers cost about $15 to $20, which can last for a year. 
  • Accessories: Since axolotls are not social animals, they need a place to hide and have some privacy. A stone or wood-like hide that is made of safe synthetic material can be purchased for $10 to $15. You can also place artificial plants inside the aquarium to level up the natural ambiance, which costs $10 to $20.

This table summarizes the initial expenses of axolotl ownership: 

Type of ExpenseAverage Cost
Aquarium/Tank$100 – $120
Filter$30 – $50
Cooler/Chiller$40 – $120
Substrate$10 – $15
Food$10 – $20
Dechlorinator$10 – $15
Water tester$15 – $20
Accessories$20 – $35
Total Initial Cost$235 – $395

The initial cost might be heavy for the pocket, but this will decrease in the succeeding months. If you haven’t noticed, most of the items listed do not need to be replaced or changed regularly.

Other supplies even last for a year. Hence, you will only need to worry about the monthly food cost of your axolotl as the days progress.

Ongoing Cost of Owning an Axolotl

Axolotl ongoing cost Axolotl eats meat in an aquarium

After purchasing the initial supplies for your axolotl, let us now estimate the monthly and yearly expenses you need to anticipate. 

Usually, the monthly expenses include replenishing food supplies, replacing broken items, and vet visits. Meanwhile, the yearly costs include food, vet checkup, dechlorinator, and a lot more.

Monthly Cost of Owning an Axolotl

The good news is that the monthly upkeep costs of owning an axolotl are only spent on food supplies!

What’s more, their food expenses are significantly cheaper compared to other pets. Their needs are very much similar to any fish so they won’t really place you in financial woe.

Usually, worms are enough to fill in the diet of an axolotl. Even if you treat your axolotl with bits of chicken, pork, and even live brine shrimp, it won’t break your bank as they only eat minimally.

Usually, adult axolotls only need to be fed two to three times a week. Hence, you can expect to spend $10 to $20 a month for the food of your axolotl.

Watch these cute axolotls enjoying their worm meals: 

What Do Axolotls Eat ?

Yearly Cost of Owning an Axolotl

For the yearly cost of owning an axolotl, you would want to consider including vet checkups and medication.

Although axolotls are generally healthy pets, they are still prone to common health issues that require a veterinarian’s attention.

Depending on the lab tests and treatment needed, a vet visit can set you back for $40 to $100. 

Occasional replacement or maintenance of items in the aquarium should also be considered. Although it rarely happens, the filter system and cooler machine might need repair service occasionally, costing around $40 to $50. 

The supply for the dechlorinator and water testing kit should also be refilled every year.

Here is a breakdown of the yearly expenses of owning an axolotl:

Type of ExpenseAverage Cost
Food$120 – $240
Vet Checkup$40 – $100
Dechlorinator$10 – $15
Water Tester$15 – $20
Miscellaneous Fees$40 – $50
Total Annual Cost$225 – $425

The annual cost of taking care of an axolotl only ranges from $225 to $425. This can be considered way inexpensive when compared to other pets whose annual expenses exceed a thousand bucks. 

Lifetime Expenses of Owning an Axolotl

When given the utmost care and attention, axolotls can live for up to 15 years. Now you might wonder how much it would cost you to take care of these creatures for their whole lifetime.

Given that the yearly cost of owning an axolotl ranges from $225 to $425, you should expect to spend $3,375 to $6,375 for its lifetime expenses, assuming that it will live for 15 years.

All in all, you will have to spend $6,500 at most, including the cost of the axolotl itself. 

Note that these numbers can change significantly depending on how good you are at managing your expenses. There are also other potential expenses that you should foresee, and they are discussed in the subsequent section.

Other Potential Expenses

Two pet Axolotls in an aquarium

Aside from the regular expenses mentioned earlier, you should also consider saving money for the following: 

  • Pet Shipping: If you bought your axolotl from outside the country, expect to pay for pet shipping which costs around $30 to $50 depending on the type of transportation as well as the urgency of delivery. 
  • Emergency Treatment: Axolotls are sensitive animals especially when they become adults. Hence, they can easily get hurt and injured. Since they swallow anything that fits their mouth, they are also prone to digestive blockage. For emergency medical treatments or surgery, you should expect to spend $100 to $200.
  • Tank Replacement: You might need to replace your axolotl’s tank for various reasons. It might have a crack, or you decided to buy another axolotl because your current aquarium is not spacious enough. A new aquarium will more likely set you back for another $100 to $120. 
  • Aquarium Revamp: Changing the substrate and old accessories in your aquarium can help in providing a cleaner and safer environment. Old designs which are already torn or worn out should be replaced to protect your axolotl from injuries. You should also consider changing the substrate occasionally to get rid of the waste materials stuck in it. Expect to spend at least $30 to $50 for the revamp. 

Common Health Issues of Axolotl and Their Cost of Treatment

With the axolotls’ regenerative ability, you might be thinking that they are immune to various diseases, but this is not the case.

These creatures also suffer from common health issues, just like other animals. Fortunately, most of these health problems can be prevented and treated.

Here are the common health issues of axolotls, including their cost of treatment:

Injuries and Amputations 

Axolotls have a sensitive and delicate body. They can easily get injured and suffer amputation. Sometimes, bigger axolotls might bully the smaller ones and eat their limbs. Pretty scary, huh?

Worry not, though! With their outstanding regenerative ability, they can regrow almost any part of their body, including internal organs. 

If your axolotl loses one of its limbs, just wait for no less than 40 days and it will grow back. But if you are still worried, you can visit a veterinarian for examinations and possible medications, which will cost you around $100.

Impaction

This condition is characterized by the blockage in the digestive tract of an axolotl, especially in adults. It usually occurs when an axolotl has ingested a pebble or a food that is too large for its intestine.

If the axolotl has ingested a large chunk of food, just wait until it digests it or vomits it. If, after two days, the blockage persists, you should then consult a veterinarian. 

On the other hand, if your axolotl has ingested a rock or a pebble, you should immediately take it to a veterinarian. It might need to have surgery that will cost around a few hundred bucks.

Fungal Infection

Mycosis is a fungal infection that appears to be a cloudy or cottony material attached to the gills and skin of an axolotl. It is caused by the decomposition of food waste which promotes the growth of fungus. 

A salt bath can do the job of removing the fungus in your axolotl’s body. You can use household salt with the solution of two to three tablespoons of salt in a quarter of water.

You should give your infected axolotl a salt bath twice a day for 10 minutes. A pack of table salt will only cost you around $2. 

Axolotls are not demanding pets. They only need sufficient food, a clean and safe environment, and love and attention to grow.

You should regularly observe and monitor these creatures to ensure that they are free from infections and illnesses.

Best Axolotl Breeders: Places to Find Pet Axolotls for Sale

Axolotl breeders pet Axolotls for sale or adoption

So, are you ready to start your journey as an axolotl owner?

Well, here are some of the best breeders where you can purchase your very own axolotl:

  • Ivy’s Axolotl – Based in Seattle, Washington, this breeder offers a wide selection of axolotl you can choose from. They also assist their customers in working out pet permits. A live arrival guarantee is included in their package deal. Their axolotls are priced from $65 to $300.
  • Northern Axolotls – This breeder has been taking care of and breeding axolotls for over 30 years. They have a wide variety of phenotypes and a pool of unrelated axolotl bloodlines. They utilize a safe method of shipping the axolotls to ensure that they arrive sound and healthy at their destination. The price range for the axolotl is around $30 to $200.
  • Buy an Axolotl – You will find different varieties of axolotl morph listed on their sites. This Georgia-based breeder delivers axolotl anywhere in the United States where owning them is legal.
  • Fantaxies – This breeder has been rearing and breeding axolotls for 20 years. They offer a wide variety of morphs, including melanoids, leucistic, and even special morphs such as lavenders and copper. The price of axolotls in Fantaxies ranges between $60 and $200.

In purchasing your axolotl, make sure to read about the guarantees that the breeder provides.

A live guarantee will assure you that if the axolotl you bought is dead upon delivery, you can ask for a replacement if not for a refund.

Money-Saving Tips for Axolotl Owners

Axolotls are not high-maintenance pets, so you don’t need to worry about breaking your bank. What’s more, you can further cut the costs through the tips I am about to share!

Here are some of the tips you can follow if you want to save money: 

  • Buy in bulk. Whenever you buy food supplies for your axolotl, it is better to purchase in bulk as it is cheaper than packaged goods. Some stores even give discounts for bulk purchases. 
  • Regularly clean the aquarium. The substrate and some other items in your aquarium can last for years if you keep them clean and maintained. Big rocks outside your house can be used as long as they are cleaned. You can also try creating a DIY hide for your axolotl.
  • Regularly monitor your axolotl. As always, prevention is better than cure. You should observe the behavior and condition of your axolotl to see if it has an illness. Knowing their health issues early on will help in preventing more severe complications. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Beautiful Axolotl in an aquarium for sale

Are Axolotls Good Pets?

Axolotls are not only good but also unique and adorable pets. These exotic amphibians are affordable and low-maintenance, but they are still astonishing.

Although you cannot touch or pet them just like other animals, just watching them eat and swim in their aquarium is already entertaining. 

Can Axolotls Kill You?

Axolotls are totally harmless to human beings. They are neither venomous nor poisonous.

However, they can pose a threat to other aquatic pets through the transmission of bacteria and parasites. They also tend to eat smaller fish and axolotls. 

Do Axolotls Like Humans?

Axolotls are not social animals, but that doesn’t mean they hate humans. They just like being alone — enjoying their own company. In fact, they don’t even interact with their fellow axolotl unless they are mating. 

What Other Pets Are Similar to the Axolotl?

Salamanders and newts are closely related to axolotls since they all belong to the family Ambystomatidae.

Some species of salamanders that are held as pets are the tiger salamanders and fire salamanders. Meanwhile, the fire belly newts and eastern newts are also famous amphibian pets similar to axolotl. 

Unlike axolotls, salamanders and newts thrive on land when they mature. They are also hands-off pets because they secrete toxic chemicals as a self-defense mechanism.

Final Thoughts: Are Axolotls Worth Their Price?

Owning an axolotl is like winning the lottery — you get more than what you paid for. Considering their uniqueness, I can say that axolotls are really worth their price. 

Their maintenance expense is also relatively lower compared to other pets. They don’t need much medical attention, thanks to their regenerative ability.

Furthermore, they live long enough to entertain you and give you love and company. 

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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