Substrate plays an important role in the tank of an axolotl. From helping with water chemistry, filtration, to the general aesthetic. But for a bottom-dwelling amphibian, it also helps them forage for food and reduce light reflections that can result in stress.
It’s fair to say its important.
Sand is often touted as the best substrate for axolotl tanks.
Its generally much more safe than gravel; it cannot be swollowed nor cause impaction for instance.
Trouble is, there is not one type of sand product.
Sand can be very different; and it has a range of different uses.
It leads to the questions; what kind of sand do you need? What is the best type to use in an axolotl tank?
So I decided to curate a list of the most effective sand products for these salamanders. These will safely meet their needs and help you along the way
Without further ado, onto the recommendations!
Best Sand For Axolotl Tank
- Create a supernatural experience by re-creating the natural world in your home
- grain size reduces built up detritus
- ph neutral ; safe for all aquariums
- no paints or dyes used
- made in the USA
- Will not affect PH
- Safe for use in freshwater aquariums
- Non-Toxic coating
- Filtration – Our perfectly sized pool filter sand grabs insects, leaves, dirt, dust, sunscreen oil, hair and other small particles to keep your pool sparkling clean.
- Pool Filter Sand – This pool filter sand is specifically designed to meet the standards for all brands of pool filters. We have upgraded our production with new robotics and screening technologies to make the highest quality sand for pool filters. Always follow Manufacturers recommendation FO the amount FO sand to add to your filter.
- Sand - Our sand is 100% natural and has No chemicals added. This ensures smooth operation for backwashes of sand pool filters.
- Clumping – Our sand will not solidify and not allow clogging and channeling of the sand in the filter. Our sand gives pool filter a smooth operation.
- Washed Sand – We wash our silica sand to remove all impurities. Our sand exceeds the requirements of the American Water Works Association for pool filter sand and our sand is packaged in strong heat sealed 6. 5 heavy mil bag.
Why These Particular Products?
Carib Sea, Stoney River, and Palmetto sands are ideal for an axolotl tank. They are entirely natural and are all very fine in consistency.
These particular sands do not collect together, which is known in other brands and can cause an issue if an axolotl were to swallow it.
At the same time, these brands do not dye or use any chemicals to clean their sand; ensuring that it remains entirely toxin-free.
At the same time, these sands are complementary in color to any tank; providing a nice aesthetic appeal.
So not only are they entirely practical, they are visually appealing too.
Can Axolotls Eat Sand?
Axolotls can eat and swallow sand, and it will safely pass through them – so long as it is fine enough. This is why it is so essential to choose fine sand for an axolotl tank.
And axolotls will ingest sand from time to time as they roam about the bottom of the tank and eat food that sinks to the bottom.
You must be certain that the sand product you purchase does not contain any gravel however (which is why we recommend the brands documented above – they don’t).
Just consider that the only way to prevent an axolotl from eating sand, is instead opting for a bare bottom tank. However, this is not recommended.
Axolotls like to have something to grip onto as they walk and light reflections can cause stress.
At the same time, its just entirely unnatural for an axolotl to live without some form of substrate beneath them.
Can You Use Play Sand For Axolotl Tank?
Some owners report that they are able to use play sand for their axolotls; whereas others have encountered issues. In reality, it depends on the brand and the product.
Play sand that contains larger pieces, or small gravel stones, will cause issues when passing through.
At the same time, most brands of play sand will be dusty and require washing before it is able to be used in the tank. Some owners use a strainer or sifter here.
Play sand can therefore require quite a bit more work, and does not appear to be the time-friendly and convenient options.
It is for this reason, that is it is generally advised to use fine sand marketed for aquarium or pool filter use.
It’s not worth the risk – and it will save a lot of time and effort!
What Substrate Is Bad For Axolotls?
Gravel and stones are considered bad substrates for axolotl tanks, and should be avoided at all costs.
Both of which can cause impaction if swallowed, which can even result in death unless treated promptly.
And an axolotl is likely to swallow them as they consume their food.
At the very minimum, gravel and stones can injure an axolotl’s feet as they move around and roam.
So, gravel, stones, or even sands with larger pieces must be avoided.
The substrate you choose for your axolotl tank is undoubtedly important.
It provides a lot of practical benefits outside of just lining the bottom and making the tank look nice.
It is often the anchor for your decorations, too.
But above anything; it must be safe!
This is why fine aquarium or pool filter sand is the way to go.
Of course, you will need a sufficiently large and good tank, 20 gallons, along with a highly functional filter too.
But in doing so, and spending the time, effort, and money to get your set up just right – will ensure your axolotl will have the conditions they need to thrive in your care.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.