Axolotl Not Moving? What Causes It and How To Fix It!

Axolotl Not Moving

Although, axolotl not moving can be worrying for owners, axolotls enjoy sitting still on the bottom. You should only worry about axolotl not moving when accompanied by other symptoms.

This article will help you establish the cause for your axolotl not moving and recommend ways to treat it if its illness related.

Axolotl Not Moving – What’s Normal?

So, what’s normal? Is axolotl not moving normal? Yes. Axolotls tend to not move much and spend majority of their time on the bottom of the tank. However, to truly know what’s normal, you need to know the personality of your axolotl.

Normally, there are two types of axolotl personalities. The first type enjoys exploring the tank and interacting with its surroundings. Whereas the other type is quieter, enjoy staying still or hanging around in their hiding spot during the day and maybe being a bit more active during night-time.

Other things to consider when measuring you axolotl’s activity levels include:

  • Their age. For instance, adult axolotls don’t move much, whereas younger ones are more active and like to swim around.
  • Time of day. Axolotls are most active in the evening, at dusk and sleep most of the day.
  • Water temperature. The colder the temperature, the less active your axolotl will be. However, cold temperature is what they like and therefore their inactivity is quite normal. On the other hand, if your axolotl is restless and swimming frantically, it might be because the water is too warm which is harmful for them.

So, when to worry about your axolotl not moving? As long as your axolotl is eating, pooping and their appearance such as gills and skin is healthy, there is nothing to worry about.

How To Get You Axolotl To Move More?

If your axolotl is not moving because of their old age and you want to get them to move more, you can try to break up their routine by:

  • Changing the layout of the tank, adding, and removing decorations.
  • Introduce another tank mate. However, not all tank mates are suitable for an axolotl. To find out what is the best vs worst axolotl tank mate, head over here The Best vs Worst Axolotl Tank Mates – Guide [2022]
  • This can make the axolotl curious and therefore more active.

The two suggested tricks above can make your axolotl curious and therefore more active.

Axolotl Not Moving – When To Worry?

axolotl not moving

If your axolotl not moving is accompanied by other symptoms, it can be a cause of concern.

If your axolotl’s normal behavior is to swim around or at least come out in the evening to explore but they have stopped doing that out of the blue, it’s time to look into it. The first step is to check for other present symptoms and then test the water quality.

Other symptoms accompanying axolotl not moving that you should worry about include:

  • Curved gills
  • Tail curling or folding over
  • Not eating and/or not pooping

It’s essential to get to the bottom of what’s stressing your axolotl, so you can address it.

Axolotl Not Moving and Curved Gills

If your axolotl not moving is accompanied by curved gills, it means that your axolotl is stressed. However, it’s not that simple as axolotls can become stressed for many different reasons such as:

Axolotl Not Moving and Not Eating

If your axolotl not moving is accompanied by refusing food, the possible cause include:

  • Temperature is too low. The ideal axolotl temperature is 59 – 65°F. If the temperature is lower than the recommended, your axolotl’s metabolism will slow down which subsequently will result in less activity, no eating, and no poop.
  • Impaction or constipation. If your axolotl is impacted by an object, food or has eaten gravel or sand, it will result in your axolotl not moving and not eating.
  • Poor water quality.
  • Parasites. Symptoms include not eating and mucus secretion.
  • Bacterial infection. The main symptom is axolotl not eating.
  • Ammonia poisoning. Symptoms include not eating, lethargy, curling or loss of gills filaments and more.
  • Stress from getting used to new environment, bullying from tank mates.

To learn more about all the possible causes for your axolotl not eating, head over here Full Guide On Axolotl Not Eating? 10 Causes and Fixes

Poor Water Quality

If the water quality drops even in the slightest, it can cause your axolotl a lot of stress and result in your axolotl not moving. The axolotl water quality is tested by using API master kits. When testing the water, you want to see optimal results such as:

  • Ammonia levels – 0
  • pH levels – 7.4 to 7.6
  • Nitrite levels – 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

In addition, you will also need to have the tank fully cycled through the nitrogen cycle days before bringing your new axolotl to your home. A healthy nitrogen cycle promotes a specific bacteria in the tank that breaks the ammonia down into nitrite, and then from nitrite into nitrate. This process can take 4-8 weeks.

To read the full guide on the perfect axolotl water parameters, head over here The Perfect Axolotl Water Parameters For A Healthy Axolotl and how to set up the axolotl tank, head over here The Perfect Axolotl Tank Set Up – Step By Step Guide [2022]

New Environment Stress

If the water parameters are up to a good standard but your new axolotl is still not moving, it might be just getting used to the new environment.

Axolotls need some time to settle and get used to their new surroundings. Stress from new surroundings can include the axolotl being transported, new tank mates introduced into the tank or even change in the tank layout.

To help your axolotl feel at ease, make sure that there are sufficient hiding spots in the tank where your axolotl can feel safe. Another thing you can do to make your axolotl feel safer is keep the tank in a dark room. This can encourage your axolotl to come out of hiding and explore their new home.

Why Is My Axolotl Floating And Not Moving?

In most cases axolotl floating and not moving is a sign of constipation or impaction. Possible causes for constipation/impaction include overfeeding, axolotl swallowing gravel, sand or too much air.

To read the full guide on axolotl constipation, head over here Constipated Axolotl? What Causes It and How To Treat

My Axolotl Is Not Moving? Is My Axolotl Dead?

If your axolotl hasn’t moved for more than 12 hours, doesn’t respond when you touch it and refuses food, you can place your axolotl in a small transparent container. This way you can look below and check if the axolotl’s heart is still beating.

Final Thoughts

Although, axolotl not moving might be concerning, it’s important to remember that axolotls enjoy staying still and will spend most of their day asleep. Normally, axolotls are most active in the evening.

However, there are some occasions when axolotl not moving is due to stress or a health-related problem. Common stress causes for your axolotl not moving include new environment, even a slight change in the water temperature, poor water quality, too much oxygen in the water, change in the tank layout, being bullied by other tank mates and more.

On the other hand, health-related issues that can result in your axolotl not moving include impaction/constipation, parasites, bacterial infection or ammonia burns.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What Does A Sick Axolotl Look Like?

Different axolotl health problems have different symptoms. However, if you notice any of the symptoms listed below, it means there is something wrong with your axolotl and you will need to investigate further.

  • Floating on top and unable to stay on the bottom
  • Hunched back
  • Tail or gill rot
  • White cotton like growth on their body or gills
  • Body significantly skinnier than the head
  • Frantically swimming
  • Red patches on body
  • Swollen belly

Do Axolotls Get Stressed Easily?

Axolotls are fragile animals that can easily get stressed. Some of the things that can cause stress to your axolotl include:

  • Incorrect tank set up such as wrong size, lack of hiding spot, wrong substrate
  • Other tank mates
  • Incorrect water temperature
  • Poor water quality such as incorrect ammonia, pH, nitrate levels, etc
  • Incorrect diet
  • Too much oxygen in the water

Why Is My Axolotl Lying Upside Down?

Often, axolotls will be seen lying upside down. This is because axolotls can easily become impacted by swallowing too much air. This happens especially often with juvenile axolotls as they are prone to accumulating air in their abdomens due to their still developing gut adapting to a higher protein diet.



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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