Axolotl Tank Chiller: What To Look For

This is a post for those of y’all thinking about buying an aquarium chiller for your axolotl tank. One of our readers asked:

I live in Arizona, and during the summer it’s common to get temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve done my research and know my axolotl needs to be kept in cool water, but the inside of my house is hard to keep cool. I saw some methods like using frozen water bottles, but with my work schedule I doubt I could replace them often enough to avoid temperature shocking my axies. Do you think it’s worth it to invest in a tank chiller for my axolotl?
Thanks, Claudia

Deciding whether to buy an aquarium chiller for an axolotl can be a tough choice, mainly because of the price tag that comes along with them. A quality aquarium cooler will set you back a few hundred dollars, a not insignificant amount. However, the benefit of that purchase is the ultimate peace of mind with regards to your axolotl’s tank environment.

Hailing from cold water lakes, axolotls are extremely sensitive to heat and respond poorly to heat spikes within their environment. Their ideal range is 60-64°F/16-18°C, and temperatures that exceed that threshold for any length of time stresses your axolotl and makes them susceptible to disease and death. The are cute pets, but also fragile ones that require a keeper who is ready to provide them an environment that fits their needs.

That being said, we definitely do recommend buying an aquarium chiller, especially if you’re in a situation like Claudia’s. You can check our  Water Temperature Page for suggestions on other ways to cool a tank, but in temperatures like the ones mentioned those methods just won’t cut it. With that in mind, here are a few options you have for tank chillers:

Axolotl Aquarium Chiller Options

Cheaper But Weaker

This aquarium chiller is only really an option if you have temperatures that stray out of your ideal range by only a few degrees. It’s a “probe” style, and necessitates that you actually drill a hole in the side of your aquarium so you can poke the cooling probe through. This is a relatively low-powered chiller and will only lower a 20 gallon tank by a few degrees. If you use this one, we would suggest pairing it with tank insulation or one of the other cooling options listed here.


IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller

Axolotl Tank Chiller

Pros 

  • Good for situations where you only need to lower temperatures by a few degrees, or when pairing with another cooling method such as tank wrapping/insulation
  • Attaches directly to your aquarium and uses less space

Cons

  • Much less effective in larger tanks, tanks over 20 gallons may see only negligible effect
  • Only capable of bringing temperatures down a few degrees, unsuitable for regularly hot areas
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More Expensive But Powerful

These units are heavy hitters, able to bring water temperatures down 10, 20, or even 30 degrees (hopefully your water would never get hot enough to need that much cooling!). They’re fantastic for persistently hot climates where indoor temperatures can be consistently high. With the cooling ability these guys pack, you can leave your air conditioner off when you’re out worry-free. The advantage of these machines is that you can just set a temperature and let it be, no more worrying about checking your tank thermometer. They’re essentially mini refrigerators that bring water down to a certain temperature before  recirculating it into the tank. All of this keeps your little axolotl cool, happy, and healthy!


Active Aqua Chiller, 1/10 HP

Axolotl Aquarium Chiller

Pros

  • Usable on tank sizes from 13-40 gallons (for larger tanks see Active Aqua Chiller 1/4 HP) and can lower water temperatures by 15-30°F
  • Uses Freon-free refrigerant to make the unit more environmentally friendly
  • Cheaper than other comparable aquarium chillers.

Cons

  • Although it is usable for aquariums, this unit is primarily marketed for hydroponics. Therefore, there are no aquarium-related instructions, guides, or customer support.
  • Detached from aquarium, so it will take up some floor space next to your tank setup
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Hamilton Technology Aqua Euro Max Aquarium Chiller 1/10 HP

Aquarium Chiller for Axolotl

Pros

  • About the same specs as the water chiller above, but this one is purpose-build for aquariums rather than hydroponics
  • Efficient compressor helps save more on energy use
  • Automatic power surge shut-off control with last set temperature recall system, returns chiller to last set temperature in case of a power surge or power outage.

Cons

  • More expensive than the above-listed model.
  • Detached from aquarium, so it will take up some floor space next to your tank setup
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