There are 3 main costs associated with owning a pet axolotl:
- The cost of buying your axolotl.
- The initial cost of setting up your axolotl tank.
- The recurring cost of ownership.
Each of these costs can be further itemized.
In the post below, I will tell you what to expect and answer the following questions:
- How much does an axolotl cost?
- How much will it cost to set up an axolotl tank?
- What are the recurring costs associated with owning an axolotl?
By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of how much money you will need to have in order to get started. And, what your monthly cost of ownership could look like.
So, let’s start crunching the numbers!
Table of Contents
- How Much Does An Axolotl Cost?
- How Much Will It Cost to Set up An Axolotl Tank?
- What Other Costs Come With Owning An Axolotl?
- Total Cost of Axolotl Ownership
How Much Does An Axolotl Cost?
The cost of purchasing an axolotl will vary on a number of factors:
- The morph you buy.
- Where you buy your axolotl.
- The lifecycle stage the axolotl is in.
Cost by Morph
Axolotl prices will vary greatly depending on its color, or morph. Indeed, axolotls range from common, to ultra-rare. They’re sometimes compared to Pokemon cards for this reason.
Cost of A Common Morph
Common axolotl morphs currently sell for approximately $50 on average. This is a ballpark figure, and depending on the store you will see prices range from $30-$35, all the way up to the high double figures.
Common morphs include:
- Wild Type Axolotl
- Leucistic Axolotl (Lucy)
- Speckled Leucistic Axolotl
- White Albino Axolotl / White Axolotl
- Golden Albino Axolotl / Golden Axolotl
- Black Melanoid Axolotl / Black Axolotl
- Heavily-Marked Black Melanoid
Cost of An Uncommon Morph
Uncommon morphs currently sell for approximately $150 on average. This is a ballpark figure, and depending on the store you will see prices range from $100, all the way up to $300 (or more).
Rare morphs include:
- Copper Axolotl
- Piebald Axolotl
- GFP Axolotl (Green Fluorescent Protein)
Cost of A Rare Morph
Rare morphs are the most expensive types of axolotls. They currently sell for approximately $300 upwards This is a ballpark figure, and depending on the individual, its rarity, and its beauty, prices can go into the thousands.
The cost of rare morphs really depends on what the person who really desires it is willing to pay. If that person is very wealthy, the sky is the limit.
Rare morphs include:
- Mosaic Axolotl
- Lavender Axolotl / Silver Dalmation Axolotl
- Chimera Axolotl
- Firefly Axolotl
Cost by Sales Channel
Depending on where you buy your axolotl, prices will vary.
The following factors can play a role:
- The breeder’s reputation.
- Whether you buy directly from the breeder or from a pet store (reseller).
- Whether you buy in-store or online.
The more prestigious and famous a breeder is, the more you can expect to pay for your axolotl. Breeders with good reputations tend to sell healthier, stronger axolotls with premium genetics.
Direct From Breeder Or Via Reseller
Buying directly from the breeder can be cheaper than buying from a pet store. Indeed, the pet store has to buy the axolotl from the breeder and then resell it.
Whilst the pet store might be buying at wholesale price, they still need to pay for the expenses associated with keeping the axolotl until it’s sold (food, electricity for running the filters, lights, etc.) and make a profit.
In-Store or Online
Buying online often works out cheaper than buying in-store. Indeed, online vendors of axolotls usually don’t have the same costs that are associated with running a brick & mortar store, open to the public.
Because their overheads tend to be lower than traditional stores, online sellers are often able to offer lower prices. The best deals are often found from breeders that sell online.
Cost by Lifecycle Stage
The cost of an axolotl will vary by lifecycle stage (eggs, larvae, juveniles, adults).
How Much Do Axolotl Eggs Cost?
Axolotl eggs are often sold in groups of 25.
25 axolotl eggs fetch anywhere from $30 to $50.
Not all eggs will hatch, and not all hatchlings will survive. Nonetheless, if you exclude any other associated costs to raise the axolotls to juveniles, eggs work out the cheapest per individual.
How Much Do Larvae Axolotls Cost?
Larvae axolotls tend to be more sought-after than eggs or adults because they have survived their first few weeks, so they tend to be healthy. Yet, they are young enough that their owners will get to see them develop.
If you get your larvae before they grow their back legs, you will be able to witness their evolution from larvae into juveniles and then into adults. The prices highlighted in the previous paragraph tend to be the prices for larvae and juveniles.
How Much Do Adult Axolotls Cost?
Adult axolotls often sell at a discount (up to 50% vs juvenile price, based on what I’ve observed).
Indeed, owners prefer to adopt younger axolotls so they can try to bond with them from an early age, raise them and see them grow, and spend as much time as possible with them.
Owners don’t like buying adult axolotls, especially axolotls above the age of 2 or 3 years old. However, certain breeders value these axolotls because at that age they are sexually mature and can be used to breed.
How Much Will It Cost to Set up An Axolotl Tank?
To properly set up your first axolotl tank, you will need a number of items. I have put together a detailed guide to help you identify what you need to buy, how to set up the tank, and how to get the water ready before you introduce your axolotl into its new habitat.
However, in this post, I’ll briefly outline what you can expect to pay to get started.
- Tank: $100 – $130
- Substrate: $30 – $40
- Filter: $20 – $30
- Light: $20 – $30
- Test Kit: $40 – $50
- Water Conditioners & Other Accessories: $50 – $100
- Food: $20 – $30
In total, you should budget approximately $300 to $400 to set up your first axolotl tank.
What Other Costs Come With Owning An Axolotl?
The main recurring costs associated with owning an axolotl are as follows:
- The occasional visit to the veterinarian.
- Utility & maintenance costs.
I’ll break these costs down further in the sections below.
Cost of Food
An axolotl’s primary ongoing expense is food. The younger they are, the more they eat. If you’d like to find out exactly what they eat, how much, and how often, check out What Do Axolotls Eat? [Owner’s Guide].
Cost of Food for Larvae / Juvenile Axolotls
Larvae and juveniles eat quite a lot and need to be fed every day. Among many things, they eat mainly bloodworms and brine shrimp in captivity.
You can feed larvae & juveniles for $10 to $20 a month, or $120 to $240 a year. Of course, this depends on what you feed them (fresh, frozen, or dried food), how much and how often, where you buy their food, and whether or not you buy in bulk or hunt for deals and discounts.
Cost of Food for Adult Axolotls
The adults, fortunately, only feed a few times per week and mainly eat earthworms, bloodworms, and brine shrimp in captivity.
You can feed an adult axolotl for less than $10 a month, or $120 per year. Of course, this depends on what you feed them (fresh, frozen, or dried food), how much and how often, where you buy their food, and whether or not you buy in bulk or hunt for deals and discounts.
Cost of Veterinarian
Axolotls require medical attention from time to time.
A visit to the vet for a standard check-up can cost anywhere from $40 to $100.
If your axolotl needs special care, it can go up into the hundreds. Thankfully for the axolotl itself, and your budget, most axolotls will never require such care.
Utility & Maintenance Costs
During the year, you will have to cover a couple of regular expenses, such as:
- Utility costs.
- Cost of Test Kits, Water Conditioners & Chemicals
- General Maintenance Costs
Utility Costs include things such as electricity to run your filter and lights, and perhaps a cooler or a heater if the ambient air temperature in the room falls outside of the optimal range for your axolotl’s water. You also need to factor in the cost of water.
Cost of Test Kits, Water Conditioners & Chemicals
Throughout the year, you will need to test the water with a test kit and balance out the parameters with conditioners and chemicals if need be.
The products you buy when initially setting up your tank should last you for quite some time (circa 1 year). But when you run out expect to pay another $70 – $100 or so a year for all of the above.
General Maintenance Costs
Occasionally things will stop working, such as a filter or a light. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it means forking out to replace them. So, factor in another $40 – $50 a year as a contingency budget.
From experience, filters and lights (especially LED lights), tend to last a number of years – so you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing them early on. Also, if they break within 12 to 24 months, you might still be covered by the warranty and might be able to get them fixed or replaced free of charge.
Total Cost of Axolotl Ownership
Below, I’ll give you a rough idea of:
- How much your axolotl hobby will cost you in your first year.
- How much it could cost you every year after that.
- How much it could cost you over the lifespan of your axolotl.
The figures below are all rough approximations, but they will give you an idea of the general amounts involved.
First-Year Cost of Axolotl Ownership
The first-year cost of ownership corresponds to the sum of the following:
- Cost of buying your axolotl: $50 to $300 (without going for rare morphs).
- Cost of setting up the tank: $300 to $400.
- Cost of food: $120 to $240
- Cost of the vet (unlikely): $40 to $100
In total, that would range from $400 to $1000 in year 1.
Annual Cost of Axolotl Ownership (Post Year 1)
The annual cost of ownership corresponds to the sum of the following:
- Cost of food: $120
- Cost of the vet (unlikely): $40 to $100
- Cost of utilities & maintenance: $100 to $150
In total, that would range from $200 to $400 per year, after year 1.
Lifetime Cost of Axolotl Ownership
Assuming your axolotl lives until it’s 12 years old, the lifetime cost of ownership corresponds to:
- The first-year cost of axolotl ownership: $400 to $1000
- The annual cost of axolotl ownership: $200 to $400 (so $2200 to $4400 in total over 11 years).
In total, that would range from $2600 to $5400 over the lifetime of an axolotl.