Fridging itself is not a cure. It should be used to help aid your Axolotl in healing. Fridging should be kept for the more severe illnesses, when bowels need emptying, or when you cannot keep the axolotl cool.
1. Preparing the Fridge
Set the fridge to a temperature between the ranges of 5.5 - 9 degrees Celsius, but no lower than 5 degrees. It is advisable to test what the water temperature will be before putting the axolotl in there. This can be done by placing a thermometer in a glass of water and situating the glass where the axolotl will be positioned in the fridge.
2. Preparing the Axolotl for fridging
Select a container that has sufficient space for the axolotl to stretch out to their full length. Ideally, this container should have a lid. Fill the container with as much fresh water as practicable, the more volume the better as this will help dilute wastes while the axolotl is living in this confined space. If possible, leave 2-3 centimeters clearance between the water surface and lip of the container in case the axolotl wants to take a gulp of air from the surface. Ensure the water is treated with a dechlorinater (if applicable) before adding the axolotl.
If the axolotl is being fridged to treat floating issues, put in enough water to cover the axolotl's back, but ensure the axolotl can touch the ground.
When ready, gently transfer the axolotl from the tank into the container.
Ensure that the container has a secure lid so the axolotl cannot jump out while in the fridge, fridge odors cannot permeate the water, and that foodstuffs are not in turn affected by the axolotl's mucky water.
The water will need to be completely changed each day using the fridged dechlorinated water. Before going to bed, check the axolotl's water and remove any poop or regurgitated food you find there (a turkey baster is an ideal tool for this). The axolotl's metabolism is slowed right down during fridging so you may find that the axolotl will not eat while being fridged (which is why fridging is not appropriate if you are trying to encourage the axolotl's appetite) but, advantageously, weight loss is slowed as well. The axolotl can stay in the fridge for however long it takes for their health to improve.
When the axolotl is starting to look "on the mend", this is the time to prepare for moving the axolotl back into the tank.
As the water chemistry of a cycled tank will be markedly different to the water used during the fridging procedure, it will be necessary to gently acclimatize the axolotl to this change of water conditions. Bear in mind that this process will add a few days onto your fridging schedule as axolotls need time to adapt to changes in water chemistry and therefore 'can't be rushed'.
Fill two to three bottles with cycled water from the tank, and place these bottles in the fridge. These will be used as well as the fresh water, so you may need to label which is which if you can't tell them apart.
- 1st water change: Fill the tub with 75% fresh fridged water (FW) and 25% fridged tank water (TW).
- 2nd water change: fill the tub with 50% FW and 50% TW.
- 3rd water change: fill the tub with 25% FW and 75% TW.
- 4th water change: fill the tub with 100% TW
On the next day, the axolotl should be ready to move back into the tank. Float the tub on the tank surface and leave for an hour or so. When you are satisfied that the temperature of both waters (tank and tub) are the same, gently lift the axolotl out, and transfer into the tank.