Axolotl Veins Showing? What Does It Mean and When To Worry?

Axolotl Veins Showing

Axolotls have unique features and sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s normal and what is a sign of an illness. One of these situations is axolotl veins showing which can be either a normal response to increased blood flow or a sign of stress. If it’s stress related, the stress can be caused by various reasons, all of which we explore in detail later on.

In this article, we help you establish if your axolotl veins showing is a cause of concern and what is the best course of action.

Establishing The Cause For Axolotl Veins Showing

axolotl veins showing

The first thing you need to do is check for other accompanying symptoms and answer the following questions that will help you establish if it’s a health-related issue:

  • Are they eating?
  • Pooping?
  • Swimming normally and not floating on top?
  • Any other changes in appearance? It’s important to not confuse axolotl veins showing with redness. Redness can be a sign of ammonia burns. To find out more about this, head over here Why Is My Axolotl Turning Red? Is Red Axolotl Skin A Concern?

If your axolotl is not showing any other symptoms and their behavior is as normal, the veins showing can be just a normal response to increased blood flow. This is something we’ll look into a bit more detail in the next part of this article.

Causes For Axolotl Veins Showing

There are two possible causes for your axolotl veins showing – normal response to increased blood flow or a sign of stress.

Axolotl Veins Showing – Normal Response

Axolotl veins are also known as capillary beds in the gill fimbriae. They lack ‘valves’ in the gill vessels. Therefore, these aren’t ‘varicose veins’ like in humans. However, the concept of increased pressure or congestion in a vessel causing distention is similar.

Axolotl veins showing can be a perfectly normal response of increased blood flow during certain activities such as:

  • Eating worms such as bloodworms or earthworms
  • Using their gills to breathe, also known as cutaneous respiration. During this activity, the axolotl veins/capillary beds could be becoming more apparent because your axolotl is increasing its gas exchange with the environment

It’s good to keep in mind that even a brightly colored axolotl can present with prominent veins showing during the activities mentioned above.

Axolotl Veins Showing Due To Stress          

axolotl veins showing


As already mentioned, the other possible cause for your axolotl veins showing can be stress related. As axolotls can become stressed due to various reasons, it can be hard to identify what exactly is stressing your axolotl.

Possible stressors for your axolotl include:

  • Poor water conditions such as incorrect water temperature, water hardness, ammonia and nitrate levels, oxygen levels
  • Tank hygiene
  • Impaction
  • Injury from tank or tankmates
  • Illness such as fungus

On the other hand, some environmental factors can also cause stress to your axolotl. Some of these include:

  • High traffic zone. Have you positioned the tank somewhere noisy?
  • Sudden change in temperature
  • Outside light

Let’s take a closer look at each stressor.

Poor Water Conditions

Providing your axolotl with the correct water parameters is essential for their health. The perfect conditions for your axolotl include:

  • Ammonia levels – 0
  • pH levels – 7.4 to 7.6
  • Nitrite levels – 0
  • Chlorine is harmful for axolotls. Therefore, you need to either dechlorinated the water or leave it 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 any of the above are not applied to your pet’s living conditions, they will subsequently become stressed, and you’ll notice the axolotl veins showing as a sign of that stress.

Tank Hygiene

Cleaning your axolotl tank, also known as cycling, is essential for your pet’s health. If the tank water is dirty, it will result in stress, and you’ll start seeing your axolotl veins showing as a symptom.

To successfully keep a clean tank, do the following:

  • For a filtered tank, you should do a 20% water change each week. However, if you’re not using a filter in the tank, you will need to do a 20% water change either daily or every other day. It’s also better to change more water than less
  • Siphon waste from the bottom of the tank
  • Clean the filters once a month
  • Clean up any leftover food straight away after feeding

Check out this video on how to deep clean your axolotl’s tank:


Axolotl veins showing can be a symptom of stress caused by impaction.

If your axolotl becomes impacted, that will inevitably cause them stress and discomfort. If you suspect that your axolotl is impacted, check for any of the following symptoms:

  • Rounded belly
  • Lack of waste
  • Not eating
  • Floating on top

Possible causes of axolotl impaction include:

  • Swallowing too much air
  • Having a blockage from a pebble
  • Undigestible food issue
  • Sinking pellets

Normally, if your axolotl is impacted, one of the most obvious symptoms is bloated belly. To read the full guide on impaction and how to treat it, head over here Axolotl Bloated Belly? Causes And Treatment For Bloated Axolotl


Axolotls are fragile creatures and can easily get injured in the tank. If your axolotl gets injured that will inevitably cause them stress and can result in their veins showing as a sign of that stress.

Your axolotl can get injured on sharp edges in the tank or decorations or if they get into a fight with tank mates.

It’s essential to make the tank safe for your axolotl and if they get into a fight with a tank mate, you should separate them immediately.

How To Treat A Stressed Axolotl?

If you’ve noticed your axolotl veins showing and you think they are stressed, you’ll start searching the internet how to treat a stressed axolotl.

However, treating a stressed axolotl is not as straight forward. This is because you need to establish what’s causing them stress and address the stressor.

So, let’s go over the checks that will help you establish what’s causing your axolotl stress and how to address each one:

  • Do a water test to check the perimeters. If the ammonia is too high or any of the other parameters are off, you will need to tub your axolotl with 100% prime-treated water changes daily until your tank is fully cycled. Don’t treat ammonia burns with salt baths
  • Check their body for any injuries. If they are injured, you can speed up their healing process by lowering the water temperature gradually
  • Are they eating and pooping as normal? If not – they might be impacted
  • Are they getting enough nutrients from their diet?
  • Check the water temperature. If it’s too high, your axolotl will be stressed. The solution to that problem is gradually decreasing the temperature until it reaches the recommended levels. This can be done by placing frozen water bottles in the tank and replacing each bottle until the temperature is reached. It’s important to maintain that temperature. Maybe think about moving the tank to a cooler spot in the house
  • Check the body for any fluffy white growth which is an indicator of fungus. This is normally treated with salt baths. To read the full guide on axolotl fungus, head over here White Cotton Like Fuzz On Axolotl? Axolotl Fungus – Causes And Treatment

You can test the water perimeters by using one of the test kits listed below

How To Avoid Stressing Your Axolotl?

If you’ve noticed your axolotl veins showing, it often means that they are stressed.

Even if we have the best intentions, we can still end up causing stress to our axolotl without meaning to. That’s why, it’s good to keep in mind all the things that should and shouldn’t be done when caring for an axolotl.

To raise a happy and stress-free axolotl, follow these steps:

  • Safe tank and contents. Make sure the tank and the contents don’t have any sharp edges that can injure your axolotl. If you’re adding pebbles or stones make sure they are larger than the distance between your axolotl’s eyes as they will swallow them and become impacted. Provide a safe, hiding place for you axolotl such as a the one listed below
  • Tank position. Ensure that the tank is positioned away from direct sunlight and away from any noise such as TV, kids, other pets, etc.
  • Water temperature. It’s essential to keep your axolotl’s tank at the right temperature and to avoid any sudden temperature changes
  • Ensure the water is the correct permitters such as pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels, etc. Any deviations of what’s recommended can result in serious health problems
  • Hygiene. The water should be cycled at least 20% weekly and the filters cleaned at once a month
  • Correct diet and frequency of feeding. Make sure you’re feeding your axolotl a balanced and nutritious diet such as combination of nightcrawlers, blackworms, daphnia, raw meat, brine shrimp, and pellets

Final Thoughts

If you’re noticing your axolotl veins showing, it can mean either increased blood flow during activities such as eating, or it can be a sign of stress.

To rule out stress, do the following checks:

  • Test the water to ensure the water perimeters are correct
  • Check water temperature
  • Check axolotl for any injuries or fungus growth

If you’ve done all the necessary checks to rule out stress and you’re still observing the veins showing even when they are inactive, you should consult a specialised vet.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Why Is My Axolotl Thrashing And Swimming Frantically?

Normally, if your axolotl is thrashing around or swimming frantically, it means they are extremely stressed and in discomfort.

This can be due to any of the following reasons:

  • Water temperature is too high
  • Water perimeters are off such as spike in ammonia
  • Injury

Read the full guide on axolotl thrashing over here Axolotl Thrashing And Frantic Swimming? When To Worry

What Does Axolotl Open Mouth Mean?

If you’ve noticed your axolotl open mouth, you might wonder if that is normal behavior or something to worry about.

In some cases, axolotl opening their mouth can be absolutely normal. These situations include:

  • Going to the surface to get a gulp of air
  • Yawning
  • Right after or before eating

On the other hand, open mouth can also mean a health problem such as:

  • Impaction
  • Lack of oxygen in the water
  • Incorrect diet

Read the full guide on what causes axolotl open mouth behaviour over here Axolotl Open Mouth or Yawning? What Is Gaping and When To Worry?



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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