Exotic Pets

Fully Aquatic Amphibians

What do you think of when you hear the word “amphibian”? Usually, an animal that can live both on land and in water comes to mind, right?

And for the most part, you’d be right. But did you know that there are actually some amphibians that only live underwater?

That’s exactly what we talk about in this article. Let’s take a look at some of the fully aquatic amphibians that people keep as exotic pets…


Axolotl with pink gills

Of course, we can’t have a discussion about aquatic amphibians without mentioning the axolotl. In fact, the Tye-Dyed Iguana blog has an article all about this popular amphibian pet:

Why Does Everybody Love Axolotls?

Axolotls are a type of Mexican salamander that never leaves the water. They remain in a state of adolescence, despite being able to reproduce.

Axolotls also have amazing regenerative capabilities, and they come in several different colors, as well as having cute frills behind their heads. (The frills are actually external gills.)

African dwarf frogs

African dwarf frog on colored gravel

Most pet frogs need a certain amount of moisture in their tank but live firmly on the land. Not so with the African dwarf frog, which lives fully underwater.

These frogs are omnivores that can eat many of the same foods as other aquatic omnivores, like freeze-dried bloodworms, shrimp, and algae wafers. You may even get them to eat some flaked fish food.

Freeze-dried bloodworms

Sinking shrimp pellets

African dwarf frogs are bottom dwellers that tend to stay near the aquarium gravel, and they can even be kept in community aquariums with the right kinds of fish.

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Fire belly newt

Fire belly newt

Fire belly newts are generally described as semi-aquatic, but in the wild, they tend to spend the vast majority of their time underwater. Although they are not technically fully aquatic, you can actually keep these newts in an aquarium with fish, as long as you provide something for them to climb out of the water onto occasionally.

Fire belly newts cannot stay underwater indefinitely.


Aquatic siren

Photo by Jake Scott

Sirens are fairly rare to keep and are not legal everywhere. They have frilly external gills behind their heads that look similar to an axolotl, but they have no back legs and a much longer tail. Sirens are native to Florida and enjoy having plenty of places to hide in their tank.

Like many of the aquatic amphibians on this list, sirens are bottom feeders that scavenge food from the aquarium floor.

There are lesser sirens and greater sirens, with the latter growing to a larger final size.

If you’re interested in keeping a fully-aquatic or semi-aquatic amphibian, come into The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights to learn more and check out our specimens!

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