With the popularity of keeping pet axolotls still increasing at a rapid rate and setting new records with each year that passes, we constantly see requests for DIY axolotl hide ideas from the axolotl owning community.
Although we have seen some people say that it is difficult to make a DIY axolotl hide, it really isn’t and there are actually a wide range of suitable, safe options that you are able to use as an axolotl hide.
As with most things when it comes to customising your axolotl’s tank, you can be as intricate or as basic as you want as well as being everything in between.
The majority of our ideas for quick and easy axolotl hides featured in our article offer a range of customisation allowing you to put the time and effort in to make the tank into a full aqua scape if you like or keep it as quick, easy, and simple as you need.
The best part of our recommended DIY axolotl hides is that they are all cheap meaning that there is absolutely no need to break the bank when picking up your new hideout for your pet axolotl.
We are fully aware that there are some expensive options available but they tend to be a waste of money in our opinion and you can get very similar results, if not better by using some of our hide ideas below.
Do Axolotls Need Hiding Spots?
Axolotls do require hiding spots in their tanks to give them somewhere to go to hide and relax. The general rule of thumb is that you have at least two suitable axolotl hides per adult axolotl in the tank to help prevent the build-up of stress and anxiety.
The basic idea of having multiple axolotl hides per adult axolotl in the tank is that they will not compete with each other for the better hides.
It also helps to add some variety to the tank and let your pet axolotl moving around while still having easy access to a comfortable hiding spot.
Due to a single axolotl realistically needing at least two decent hides in its tank, you can mix and match the options featured in our list below for your own axolotl’s tank.
Some of the featured hide options can be scaled up to large and easily fit multiple axolotls in the same hide or to make multiple hides from the same method at once too.
Convert A Reptile Hide Box Into An Axolotl Hide!
Using reptile hide boxes as axolotl hides have been a popular option for years now due to how cheap reptile boxes can be.
You can keep it very basic by just adding the reptile box with something to weigh it down or you can put a little time in to cover it in rocks or plants to help it blend into the tank.
You are usually able to pick up a decent-sized reptile hide box for under $10 and you can use a range of things to weigh it down to keep it at the bottom of your axolotl’s tank.
More and more people are starting to use some aquarium safe glue to cover the reptile box in aquarium safe rocks to help it fit in to the rest of the tank. The rocks also help to keep the reptile box at the bottom of your axolotl’s tank making it an ideal hideout spot.
An added benefit of using java fern on the reptile box is that it can also serve as an axolotl hide once the plant is fully grown and your axolotl can lay in the plant.
Make A DIY Food Container Axolotl Hiding Place!
An aquarium safe food storage container can make a quick and easy DIY axolotl hide but you will have to cut some holes into the container to allow your axolotl to quickly and easily get in and out of the hide.
As most food containers are clear, you will usually have to take steps to block the light out so your axolotl will feel more comfortable in the hide.
Similar to using a reptile box, you can be as basic or as intricate when making your food storage axolotl hiding places as you want.
Although some people also paint their food storage containers when looking to make a DIY axolotl hide, we usually recommend against it.
Even paints that are marketed as being “aquarium safe” can still present a risk so try to stick to rocks or moss to cover your food storage.
Driftwood Branch Bundle Hideouts
Driftwood can make some excellent DIY axolotl hides but you do have to remember to try and smooth the driftwood out if possible to protect your axolotl’s external gills from any potential damage.
You can usually set the driftwood up in a way that multiple axolotls will have multiple hide spots too.
We would recommend that you not only glue multiple pieces of driftwood to each other but that you always glue the driftwood to your tank to prevent it from moving around the tank and potentially damaging one of your axolotls.
Although it is not essential, letting java moss or java fern grow over the driftwood can help to add even more cover to the hiding place too. Depending on the layout of your axolotl’s tank, the live plants can also help to make the driftwood blend into your aquascape.
Terracotta Pot Axolotl Hiding Places
One of the more basic axolotl hiding places that you are able to use is a simple terracotta pot. It is very common to use terracotta pots as hides in aquariums for fish and amphibians but an axolotl will require a larger pot for its hide.
You can even purchase pre-made Terracotta Pot Hides with multiple entries and exit options that have been specifically designed for use as hides.
You will have to ensure that the terracotta pots are large enough for your axolotl to comfortably fit inside of it and this can be harder than some people think due to there being so many different sizes of pots being available.
In our opinion though, axolotl hides are not as good as some people suggest on social media.
Although they are a very popular option used by a large number of people who own axolotls, they are not easy to customize to make the pot fit in with the rest of your tank layout but they can be great if you just need a quick and easy hide for your axolotl.
DIY PVC Axolotl Hides
PVC is another very easy option for axolotl hides that a large number of people who keep axolotls as pets take advantage of.
We have a dedicated article on using PVC in an aquarium that you may find helpful if you do want to make your own PVC hideouts for your axolotl. Just keep in mind that you should be making sure that the PVC tube that you use is large enough for your axolotl to easily get in and out of it.
The main disadvantage of using PVC or ABS plastic as an axolotl hide is that it really doesn’t fit in with a high-end aquascape so that’s where some of the other options become better.
Another disadvantage is that the tubes don’t offer enough space for an adult axolotl to turn around while inside of the hide too.
Live Plant Axolotl Hideouts
Although live plants are not technically full-blown axolotl hides, they are still great options to provide some cover and shelter for your pet axolotl.
Due to axolotls needing a colder water temperature than most tropical fish, your live plant selection is rather limited but you are still able to come up with some excellent ideas.
The two most commonly used live plants in an axolotl tank is definitely java moss and java fern with both being excellent options. Java moss can provide a carpet layer to the tank with minimal cover where as java fern can provide some verticle cover and shelter too.
We also have a dedicated article going over keeping an axolotl in a planted tank with some other good live aquatic plant recommendations too. Although you should really try to have at least two dedicated axolotl hides in the tank, live plants can be used as a supplementary hide option.
As we touched on with some of the other featured hide suggestions earlier in the article, you can sometimes use live plants such as java moss and java fern to cover other less attractive options to help them blend in to the tank while also adding some supplementary cover and hiding places too.
DIY Slate Hides For Axolotls
Making axolotl hides from slate tiles that have been glued together is becoming increasingly popular and when done right, it can look very good and serve as a great option for a hiding place for your axolotl.
The issue is, it can be difficult to build out correctly and keep everything safe for your axolotl so it is usually a hide option for people with experience of making DIY hides.
One of the easiest ways to get slate large enough to use to build your own DIY axolotl hide is to pick up a few slate basking platforms designed for reptiles and to cut them down to the sizes you need to build your axolotl hide.
You are able to use these slate tiles to make some very intricate designs that are able to provide multiple hide options for multiple axolotls in the same feature.
Be sure to use aquarium safe glue to keep everything in place and to prevent the slate from falling in on itself when your axolotls are inside of it.
On top of that, be sure to use some sandpaper to try and smooth the edges down as best you can to reduce the chance of the slate damaging your axolotl.
Coconut Shell Axolotl Hiding Places
Some people do use coconut shells as axolotl hides for smaller axolotls but they are usually too small for adult axolotls to use as hides. If you do have a baby or juvenile axolotl then you are able to use coconut shells as a quick, easy, and cheap hide option though.
Thankfully, pre-cut coconut shell hides are readily available these days so you don’t have to go out and find actual coconuts to make your own hides with. If you really want to make your own DIY coconut shell hide then you can but be sure to clean all of the coconut fibres off if possible.
If you are looking to make your own coconut shell hide for your axolotl then you may be able to find a coconut large enough for an adult axolotl to use as a hiding spot.
Commercially available, pre-cut coconut shell hides tend to be too small for an adult axolotl though due to being designed for use with small reptiles and amphibians.
An Axolotl Cave Hide
An axolotl cave is one of the best axolotl hideout options available and they can fit well with a wide range of different tank designs and offer some excellent hiding spots for your axolotl.
You are able to make your own axolotl cave hides with rocks or just purchase a pre-made one depending on your needs.
There are some excellent commercial axolotl cave options available on the market these days that suit a wide range of axolotl cave ideas too.
The low price tag and easy availability of these commercially produces axolotl caves do usually make them a much better option for most people than trying to make their own.
That said though, some of the best axolotl hides that we have ever seen have been DIY axolotl cave systems but it does tend to take a large amount of experience to make them.
Due to this, we would not class them as very beginner-friendly and if you are set on using a cave as your axolotl’s hiding spot a commercial option is better for beginners.
That brings our article going over our best DIY axolotl hide ideas to an end. There are plenty of ideas that you are able to take advantage of to make your own DIY axolotl hide in the article and the designs are usually only limited by your imagination rather than your budget due to the options all being very cheap and budget-friendly.