Axolotl Bumpy Skin – Bumps, Lumps, Warts, Lesions? When To Worry?

Axolotl Bumpy Skin

Axolotls are fragile animals that tend to suffer with skin problems. Often, axolotl bumps and lumps on the skin are the result of poor water quality and husbandry that’s not up to a good standard. Many owners are left wondering what’s wrong with their axolotl’s skin and often there isn’t a definitive answer.

In this article, we are looking at all the possible causes for axolotl bumps, lumps, warts and overall skin problems aswell as recommended treatments depending on your axolotl’s symptoms.

Types Of Axolotl Bumpy Skin Problems

As already mentioned, axolotls tend suffer with different skin conditions. Some of the common axolotl skin problems include bumps and lumps, lesions, warts and tags. We are now going to look at these skin problems in more detail including the cause, symptoms and recommended treatment.

Axolotl Bumps and Lumps

Axolotl bumps and lumps can be a symptom of allergies or just part of their normal anatomy.


axolotl spots

Although, one of the more common “issues” owners ask about are axolotl bumps or bubbles, there is nothing to worry about if they look like the ones on the picture above. Tiny bubbles or bumps under the axolotl’s skin are totally normal. These are actually the pores that produce the axolotl’s slime coat.

However, if your axolotl is showing other symptoms such as floating for long periods of time, refusing to eat, even though skin bumps like the picture above are completely normal, there can be some other health problem going on.

These white axolotl bumps are also a trait in albino axolotls.

Now, let’s take a look at axolotl bumps that are a symptom of a health problem.


axolotl bump skin

In some cases, axolotl bumps are a symptom of an allergy. Similar to humans, axolotls can also develop allergies that can lead to skin irritations. One of those allergens can be the dechlorinator you’re using.

How To Fix It?

To fix your axolotl bumps caused by an allergy, you should switch from a dechlorinator with slime coat additives to one without it.

Axolotl Lesions

A possible cause for axolotl lesions is bacterial infection or poor water conditions.

Axolotl Lesions – Bacterial Infection

Axolotls are prone to developing bacterial infections which can be a result of poor water quality, injury or something else.


Symptoms of axolotl lesions as a result of bacterial infection include:

  • Skin redness or red patches. This is especially true if your axolotl is suffering from red leg bacteria
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fin and tail rot if affected by the bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila
  • Ulcers

The very first thing to do is check if your water parameters are up to a good standard. This what a good standard for your axolotl tank looks like:


If the water is not up to a good standard, it’s recommended to fridge your axolotl whilst you perform a 100% water change with the correct readings and thoroughly clean the tank. When returning the axolotl back to their original tank it’s essential to ensure that the water they have been kept in is the same temperature as the new water in the tank.

If you suspect your axolotl lesions to be a symptom of a bacterial infection but the water parameters are fine, there are a few treatment options.

Treatment Option 1

For treatment option 1, keep the axolotl in the original tank and follow these steps:

  • Clean the filter thoroughly
  • Multiple partial water changes (25%-50%)
  • Use Furan 2 to treat the axolotl at ½ to full strengths. This will treat bacterial infection and possible fungus. The only thing it won’t help with is parasites
Treatment Option 2

If the first approach doesn’t work, you can try treatment option 2 which includes:

  • Use Methelyene Blue as an initial treatment as it can be effective for mild fungal and bacterial infections
  • Adding tannins to the water such as Indian almond leaves. This would help discourage the pathogens growth while at the same time soothing the open wounds and stimulating slime coat growth. This should be a 24/7 addition to the water
Treatment Option 3

Treatment option 3 can help tackle the Aeromonas hydrophila bacteria:

  • 2% calcium hypochlorite solution or 1% sodium hypochlorite solution
  • Antibiotics such as sulfonamide, florenicol, and chloramphenicol can also be used to treat the bacteria. However, these antibiotics need to be administered via injection by a vet

Fridging your axolotl is always an option as the cold will help reduce inflammation, slows the growth of pathogens, and will temporarily boost their immune system. The axolotl can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

On the other hand, a treatment to avoid for axolotl bacterial infection is salt baths as that would further irritate the skin.


Bacterial infections can be prevented with good husbandry and antibiotic therapy. However, reducing the temperature in the tank is just as crucial. 

As always, the best cure for bacterial infections in axolotls is prevention by keeping water parameters within the recommended range, performing regular water changes and being careful with the live foods, plants or utensils you introduce into the tank.

Axolotl Lesions – Poor Water Conditions

axolotl lesions
Axolotl Lesions

If the water in tank is not the right parameters, it can make your axolotl sick. For instance, poor water conditions such as ammonia burns, or nitrite issues can result in axolotl lesions.

Ammonia burn can give your axolotl red skin lesions. If the ammonia levels are fine, the culprit can be nitrite as it can be very toxic for your axolotl.


Symptoms of ammonia burn include:

  • Gasping at the surface for air
  • Red skin patches like burns
  • Floating

On the other hand, nitrate poisoning symptoms include:

  • Exophthalmia and corneal opacity
  • Diffuse film of mucus

The first thing to do is test the water perimeters. The water perimeters should be the following:

  • Ammonia levels should be 0
  • pH levels. The ideal pH is 7.4-7.6
  • Nitrite levels should be 0
  • Chlorine is harmful for axolotls. Therefore, the water in their tank must be either dechlorinated or left to stand for 24 hours before adding it
  • Water hardness. Axolotls prefer water that is slightly hard. This means that they need a good concentration of dissolved salts in their water. Hard water ensures healthy gills and healthy slime coat production

If the ammonia or nitrate levels are anything but 0, you will need to treat your axolotl for ammonia burn. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Multiple partial water changes (25–50% each time)
  • Use chemical filtration such as zeolite
  • Add proprietary ammonia-binders
  • Lower the pH closer to 6.5

To treat nitrite poisoning follow these steps:

  • Stop feeding
  • Multiple partial water changes (25–50%)
  • Methylene blue should be added at a rate of 1–2 mg/L to reverse the process of methaemoglobin formation (predilute the chemical, and avoid the biofilter intake)
  • Salinity (NaCl) should be increased by up to 2 mg/L, to competitively inhibit nitrite uptake by the gills
  • The pH of the water can be gradually raised to 8.5, and the water temperature reduced to 41°F to reduce to the toxic nitrate levels
  • Provide supplemental aeration, and additional nitrifying bacteria for the biofilter

If the nitrate or ammonia levels are extremely high and you can’t get it under control within 24 hours, you should fridge your axolotl whilst performing a complete tank cycle.

Axolotl Skin Tags and Warts

axolotl warts

Another common question owners have is what do axolotl warts and tags mean? Should you worry? Axolotl skin warts or tags can be a sign of:

  • Your axolotl aging
  • Infection

Axolotl Aging

Axolotls don’t age well and subsequently develop warts, tags, blemishes over time. The older your axolotl gets, the more textured their skin gets.

This is pretty normal and nothing to be alarmed about. However, if your axolotl is still young, the warts or tags can be a sign of something else. Always look for any accompanying symptoms.

Axolotl Infections

If the husbandry is not up to a good standard, it’s very likely that your axolotl will develop some sort of a health problem. A common health problem are infections such as fungal, bacterial, mycobacterial, parasitic or just irritation from poor living conditions.

In some cases, infections will present with axolotl warts appearing on the skin.


If you suspect that your axolotl has developed an infection due to the warts on their skin, the first thing to do is to test the water perimeters. You can do this by using products such as this one

The ideal water perimeters are the following:

  • Water temperature should be around 64°F. – If your axolotl is sick, it’s recommended to gradually lower the temperature to 41°F. You can do this by adding water bottles with frozen water inside the bottle to the tank. Ensure you have back up bottles as it’s important to maintain the same temperature to not stress the axolotl or make them further ill
  • Ammonia levels should be 0 – If the ammonia levels are off, follow the steps in the section above on how to address the issue
  • pH levels. The ideal pH is 7.4-7.6 – If you want to reduce the pH levels in the water you can add driftwood to the tank
  • Nitrite levels should be 0 – If the nitrate levels are off, follow the steps in the section above on how to address the issue
  • Chlorine is harmful for axolotls. Therefore, the water in their tank must be either dechlorinated or left to stand for 24 hours before adding it
  • Water hardness. Axolotls prefer water that is slightly hard. This means that they need a good concentration of dissolved salts in their water. Hard water ensures healthy gills and healthy slime coat production

Normally, once you fix the problem with the living conditions, your axolotl should get better on their own. However, you can still try the treatment options for axolotl lesions as a result of poor water conditions that we talked about earlier on.

In addition, you should also consider antibiotic therapy to prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Final Thoughts

axolotl bumps

Normally, axolotl skin problems are a sign of poor husbandry and possible secondary bacterial infections.

Therefore, the best way to prevent axolotl skin problems is by providing good husbandry. In terms of treating already existing axolotl skin problems, the approach is the same – good husbandry.

The first step is always to test the water and identify the issue. Once the issue has been addressed, your axolotl should be able to heal on their own in a healthy environment.

However, one way to speed up their healing process, you can gradually lower the temperature in the tank or fridge the axolotl if they are really sick.

If the recommended steps in this article haven’t helped your axolotl and they are still suffering with skin problems, you should take them to the vet as they might need antibiotic treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions Q&A

What Are The Signs Of Sick Axolotl?

In many cases, axolotls will display odd behaviors. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are sick. Then, what are the real signs of a sick axolotl?

If your axolotl is presenting with any of the following, it usually means there is a health concern:

Why Is My Axolotl’s Belly Bloated?

Possible causes for bloated belly in axolotl include:



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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