*Basic Treatments For A Stressed Or Sick Axolotl*
Obviously, if your axolotl appears to be very sick, lethargic, swollen or has it’s slimecoat sloughing off….. VETERINARY ATTENTION SHOULD BE SOUGHT IMMEDIATELY. However, there are some simple signs of stress, discontent, constipation or fungus that you can always be on the watch for….. which are also very easily remedied at home with tubbing.
Basic signs of distress in axolotls include gills that are very curled forward, frantic and incessant swimming at the top of the water, refusal to eat for prolonged periods of time, floating at the top of the tank (sometimes sideways) for prolonged periods of time, redness of the skin. Firstly, some of these signs may be an alert to inappropriate water parameters, and the axolotl should be tubbed immediately. Once the axolotl is safely tubbed, water parameters should be tested and water conditions adjusted or cycled as necessary. Keep your little friend tubbed until water is back to the desired parameters. IF you find that the water parameters were normal upon testing and the axolotl is still acting strange or gills are very curled, you may need to seek vet attention.
If you notice little white cottony tufts on your axolotls floofy gills, eyes, feet, tail or body….. your friend probably has fungus. No worries, as most fungus is very easy to treat!! Often times you can rid your axolotl of fungus by simply tubbing him in clean, clear, cool water treated with SeaChem Prime….. you may see the fungus disappear after the first day or two of water changes. Leave the axolotl tubbed for another couple days after fungus disappears, to ensure that it is gone for good. If fungus persists, try adding an Indian Almond Leaf (commonly referred to as IAL) to the tub. You will notice a yellowish-brown tinge to the water, this is normal and is caused by the helpful tannins contained within the leaf. This treatment is usually all that is required to treat/rid fungus however there can be more persistent and aggressive forms of fungus. If your axolotl is suffering from a more aggressive fungus or is really covered in light fungus, you may want to lean towards a bit more aggressive treatment such a Methylene Blue or Furan 2. Salt baths may also be conducted, but this should only be an extreme last-resort for very aggressive cases. For really persistent cases of fungus where the axolotl is clearly miserable, veterinary attention should be sought to rule out bacterial infection. “Fridging” your axolotl is something I unfortunately see recommended far too often and usually be amateurs…… PLEASE NEVER ATTMEPT TO FRIDGE your axolotl without the advice and guidance of a veterinarian!!
Most minor cuts & abrasions caused by rowdy tankmates or tank decor with sharp edges, can be healed with minimal intervention. Again, tubbing your axolotl goes a long way in helping with recovery! Again, adding an Indian Almond Leaf can be very beneficial in aiding injuries to heal as well as reducing stress that is secondary to the injury. Once your axolotl is all healed up and eating well, return to the tank. If a tank mate is causing consistent injuries to others…. reevaluating your “housing” situation may be necessary. If sharp tank decor is causing injuries, then it would obviously be a good idea to remove such objects to prevent future injuries.
If you notice that your axolotl has been floating at the top of his tank for hours and cannot seem to swim down, or seems to be repeatedly floating to the top while trying to remain grounded…. you may be seeing signs of constipation or mild impaction. An enlarged cloaca may also present with constipation. NOTE—If the cloaca looks prolapsed (this is a rare situation) then veterinary attention should be sought immediately! As with most axolotl ailments, again a trip to the tub may be just what your axie needs to find relief in this situation too! 💩 Follow the instructions for normal “tubbing”, but prepare the water just a little extra cold and only allow the water level to come up just to the top of your axie’s back. This helps him relax and remain grounded. Allow him to stay in his tub for 24-72 hours until a bowel movement has been passed (believe me, you’ll know!). IF DURING THIS TIME his symptoms seem to worsen or his health appears to drastically decline…. again, veterinary attention should be sought. ALSO, if you had gravel, pebbles or rocks in your tank that are smaller than your axie’s head….. there’s a good chance he may have attempted eating them and is suffering from severe impaction. If there is any chance this might be the case, once again….. please seek veterinary attention!!
As you can see there are many simple home treatments for simple ailments that your axolotl may encounter…. however, there are issues that whilst rare in occurrence, do call for immediate vet attention. DO NOT WAIT FOR ONLINE ADVICE if you notice any of the more severe symptoms I have mentioned above OR if you see other alerting signs such as prolonged “lifelessness” accompanied by a gaping mouth (keeping in mind axolotls often remain motionless for extended periods of time), eyes bulging, sudden & severe redness of the skin, lack of appetite for weeks.