The first thing to do when you suspect your Axolotl may be ill is to isolate it. This will reduce stress and prevent the spread of any disease. Keep your sick Axolotl in a tub, bucket or hospital tank. If you don't have a filter in the quarantine tank you need to change the water daily. Below are some brief descriptions of the types of illnesses and a graph with treatments at the bottom of the page.
Although Axolotls are a hardy animal poor living conditions for a period of time will lead to diseases and other illnesses. Poor water conditions and stress are the most common causes of illness. Some problems can be resolved with a simple water change, salt bath, tea bath, Melafix .e.t.c. Some may need medical attention by a specialized vet which can be expensive.
Test your water - ideal conditions are:
- Ammonia and nitrate = 0
- Nitrate < 40ppm
- Ph = 7-8
Signs of stress
Most common sign of stress is a tail that curves like a hook and gills that curve forward like the letter c.
Like all live creatures, including ourselves, nutrition is key. You should try to feed your Axolotl nothing but the best food available. It's always a good idea to vary the diet of your Axolotl so they get a good variety of different vitamins and mineral. The ideal food source for Axolotls because it's said to meet their needs perfectly are live earthworms. 62.2% protein, 17.7% fat, 1.72% calcium, and 0.90% phosphorous. Nutritional problems can lead to problems that are generally not noticeable until it's too late. Some problems that may occur are liver failure, weakened immune system, kidney failure, and fluid disorder.
Parasites, in general, can be very tricky to get rid of, especially if internal. Most parasites will require meds from a vet. Parasites can come from a number of sources but most common when introducing non-native plants or animals. Some symptoms could be puking, discoloration and loss of appetite.
Fungal Infections can happen almost anywhere from the gills to the legs and even the eyes. Fungal infections usually look like a c cotton fluff or ball. Best at home remedy for fungal infections are salt baths. Fungal infections are one of the most common illnesses in an Axolotl. Fungal infections are most commonly caused by injuries, poor water quality, and prolonged periods of high temperature.
Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. Sometimes a bacterial infection can be carried by the blood cells and spread very quickly throughout the body. Bacterial infections are very contagious. Bacterial infections can be caused by poor water quality, infected food, and introducing unsterile plants.
....Table created by Jude Davies
|Symptoms||Probably cause||Potential treatments|
|White “fluff” on feet or gills||Fungus
Poor water quality/conditions
|First, try a tea bath using Indian almond leaves, Cattappa extract, 20% Hotfreter's solution or untreated water baths.
For more severe or continuing cases try a salt bath, 40% Hotreter's solution, methylene blue, Furazonlidine/Nitrofura-G or Mercurochome. Generally half the states dose is recommended for Axolotls.
|Gills are shrinking, scratching at gills||Poor water quality
Recent water change
|Test the water quality using your water testing kit. Follow the recommended procedures to fix whatever reading are off.
If the problem has occurred after a water change its probably because you did not treat the water before you placed it in your Axolotl tank. Place the necessary chemicals directly into the tank if possible.
|General pink/red flush all over,
|Poor water quality||Preform a 50% water change, Test your water using your water testing kit, treat water accordingly.|
|Floating tail||Constipation||Feed normally, do a water change (cleaning tanks seem to induce a bowel movement) If no bowel movement occurs in the next few days consider fridging overnight.|
|Arched back||Digestive discomfort
|Feed soft foods, no pellets or insect. If persistent fridge the Axolotl overnight. If the problem is not fixed withing a few days seek assistance from a vet.|
|Mouth hanging open||Obstruction in the mouth||Inspect its mouth for obvious obstructions.|
|Mouth hanging open, swollen neck, swelling of the limbs, bloated or swollen belly||“Bloat”
|Main cause is usually an infection or failure of the kidney or liver. Seek vet assistance immediately.|
|Flaking skin||Poor water quality
|Test your water quality using your water testing kit. Change the water and treat accordingly.
If the problem does not start to improve within a couple of days seek vet assistance/advice.
|Red patched on the skin, swollen red cloaca, red belly, red pinpointed marks on skin||Bacterial infection, spectacaemia||Preform a water change.
Try using Axolotl safe medication and treatment to treat the bacteria.
If no improvement within a couple of days seek a vet
|Lump on the head||Abscess
|Seek vet assistance as soon as possible, surgery needed.|
|Large lump or 'balloon' at cloaca||Prolapse||Seek a vet, surgery needed.|