Axolotl Bloated Belly? Causes And Treatment For Bloated Axolotl

Axolotl Bloated Belly

We all feel a bit uncomfortable when we’re bloated, but in humans bloating isn’t a big problem. However, in an axolotl bloated belly symptoms can be a sign of something serious, so it’s important that you find out what’s causing your axolotl to be bloated, and how you can treat it.

In this article we’ll look at what can cause an axolotl to have a bloated belly, and what kind of treatment is best. We’ll also investigate how you can prevent bloating from occurring in your axolotl.

Axolotl Bloated Belly – Is it Cancer?

When we spot lumps or swelling in animals, we immediately worry that it might be cancer. When dealing with axolotl bloated belly, cancer should not be your main concern at all. In fact, bloating in an axolotl is quite common.

Despite it being a common ailment, though, you should still know what causes it, and how to treat it effectively, because it can lead to more severe problems for your axolotl. So, what could be the real cause of your axolotl bloated belly?

Causes For Axolotl Bloat

Any number of things can be giving your axolotl a bloated belly. These include:

  • Swallowing too much air
  • Having a blockage from a pebble or gravel
  • Undigestible food issue
  • Tank temperature
  • Too much ammonia
  • Stress

Cause No. 1 – Swallowing Air from Surface Feeding

Bloating, or a distended stomach, is usually caused by a buildup of air. We’ll look at other reasons for an axolotl bloated belly further on in the article, but a simple reason may be that your axolotl has come up to the surface of his tank to feed, and has gulped down too much air.

A swollen stomach and constant floating, where the axolotl can’t stay on the floor of the tank, are all signs that there’s too much gas in the stomach.

How To Fix It?

You should immediately cease all feeding, and give your axolotl 24 hours without food to see if the gas passes.

Axolotls do surface feed a lot and a bloated stomach usually rights itself, so you should see that in 24 hours, the bloating has decreased, so they’ve passed the gas. If they haven’t passed it in 24 hours, then remove your axolotl and place it in a quarantine tub.

This can be a regular tub with an air stone or sponge filter, but the water should be changed daily so that it’s always fresh. Give your axolotl another couple of days in the quarantine tank to pass the gas but if the bloating isn’t subsiding, then you will have to consider other causes.

Cause No. 2 – Swallowing a Rock, Pebble or Gravel

As adorable as they are, axolotls are like toddlers in that they love to put things in their mouths. They are known for trying to eat anything that’s smaller than their heads, and this gets them into trouble.

The items that axolotls often end up ingesting include pebbles, small rocks and gravel.

How To Fix It?

If they’ve swallowed something that doesn’t agree with them, they may just need a little more time than normal to pass it through their digestive system. Once they’ve passed it, the bloat will disappear.

By removing them from their tank and following the same guidance as you would if they were bloated from surface feeding (stopping feeding, moving them to a quarantine tank), they should soon return to normal.

If the cause of your axolotl’s bloated belly is from eating rocks, pebbles or items in their tank, then there’s a good chance that they will struggle to pass the items through their digestive tract.

If you suspect they have a blockage in their stomachs as a result of swallowing something they can’t digest, then take your axolotl to see a vet, particularly one who deals in the care of amphibians, as they will be more experienced.

Because axolotls like to eat things they shouldn’t, it’s vital that you keep the tank free of things they might ingest. For example, replace any small pebble substrate with a substrate made from fine sand. That way, if they do eat any, it won’t cause a blockage.

If you want to add rocks to your axolotl’s tank, you need to make sure they are larger than their head. You can purchase some from the link below

Another important point to make is that gravel is not a good choice for axolotl substrate as they will end up eating the gravel and become impacted. This is especially dangerous for young axolotls who’s digestive system is not fully developed yet. A much better option for substate is sand.

To learn all about sand substrate for axolotls, head over here Axolotl Eating Sand? Is It Dangerous? Best vs Worst Sand Substrates

Cause No. 3 – Food Not Digesting Properly

Even if your axolotl hasn’t eaten anything it shouldn’t, even their regular food can cause a build-up of gas, which then results in axolotl bloated belly. This is also known as constipation. To learn more about constipation in axolotls head over to this article Constipated Axolotl? What Causes It and How To Treat

One common culprit for causing stomach bloat is sinking pellets. These small pellets are so-called because they sink to the bottom of the tank, where your axolotl gobbles them up. However, if they’re not of good quality, then they can be difficult to digest, so they can cause an axolotl to become constipated and unable to properly pass their food.

How To Fix It?

If you’re in any doubt, then get some advice from your vet on what to feed your axolotl. These animals are carnivores and they love to dine on worms, insects, and small fish like ghost fish. Not everyone likes to handle live feed when they’re feeding their axolotl so if you do use pellets, be sure to get good quality ones.

Cause No. 4 – Tank Temperature

Your axolotl hates to be warm and needs a cool temperature to be happy. The best temperature for an axolotl’s water is between 60- and 64-degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 16-18 degrees Celsius).

If they’re too warm, the axolotl’s system slows down, which means they don’t digest their food properly, and then the buildup of gas causes axolotl bloated belly.

How To Fix It?

Be sure to check the temperature of your axolotl tank regularly.

As well as checking the temperature of the water, be sure to check that the water flow level is high enough to keep the water oxygenated and moving.

Cause No. 5 – High Ammonia Levels

axolotl bloated belly

Axolotls are very sensitive creatures and if their environment is high in ammonia, then their bodies will respond, occasionally with such symptoms as axolotl bloated belly.

How To Fix It?

Check ammonia levels of your tank, as spikes in ammonia levels are known for causing axolotl bloated belly. The ammonia is caused by the axolotl’s own waste products, so it’s vital that you keep the tank clean and fresh so as not to poison the creature’s water supply.

Simply changing the water can make a huge difference so be sure to try this and monitor the bloating to see if it improves.

Cause No. 6 – Stress

Axolotls are curious, sensitive creatures who hate to be in a stressful environment. If their tank is dirty, if their feeding times are erratic, and if there’s too much light over their tank, they can become stressed, which in turn affects their digestion and can result in axolotl bloated belly.

How To Fix It?

Keep a regular cleaning and feeding schedule, and monitor the levels of bacteria and ammonia in the tank. Don’t tap on the class or disturb your axolotl if you can help it.

In their tank, be sure to place plenty of large rocks, bridges, caves, and other items they can hide under and shelter from the light outside. They have poor eyesight but their eyes are still sensitive to light.

If In Doubt, See Your Vet!

If you’ve tried quarantining your axolotl, keeping the temperature nice and low, cleaning and filtering the water, and feeding only fresh live food, then you should notice that your axolotl’s health returns to normal, and the bloated belly disappears.

However, if it doesn’t, then contact your vet. They can run the necessary tests to see whether there’s any other reason for your axolotl’s bloat, including issues like bacterial or fungal infections, or even some very rare cancers.

Very soon your axolotl will be back to its slim, non-bloated self!

Final Thoughts

Axolotl bloated belly is a common health problem. The most common causes for axolotl bloat include gas build up from swallowing air, impaction from ingesting rocks or gravel, constipation, stress or incorrect water parameters.

If you notice something that isn’t right with your axolotl’s health, it’s essential to find out the cause and then make any necessary changes to get them back to full health.

If none of the suggestions in this article work and your axolotl is still suffering, you should take your pet to the vet immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Axolotl Floating?

If your axolotl is floating, it means they have swallowed air bubbles. Normally, when this happens, the axolotl will be floating with their back on the surface of the water and not in an inverted position. Another cause for a floating axolotl is when they have eaten too many food pellets.

To learn in more detail about floating axolotl, head over here Why Is My Axolotl Floating? 4 Causes For Floating Axolotl

Do Axolotls Play Dead?

Yes. Axolotls tend to play dead and that is part of their natural behavior. But how to tell the difference between your axolotl just playing and when an axolotl is actually dead? Let’s look at the differences.

The following are signs of axolotl playing dead:

  • Curled up body
  • Floating in the water
  • Remain still for 10 to 40 seconds
  • Paler in color

When an Axolotl is actually dead, they will:

  • Lay down on its side or back usually with limbs in the air
  • Float for a long time and be still for more than 40 seconds
  • Remain pale



My name is Iliyana and I'm a passionate animal lover and pet owner. As there is significantly less information online about unusual and exotic pets, I decided to found this website and recruit expert writers to help pet owners.

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