If you have diagnosed your axolotl with a fungal infection, then you’re probably wondering what you can do to cure it.
The most popular home remedy for treating fungal infections is a salt bath. Salt baths are cheap, easy, and generally effective if given correctly.
Salt baths can be given in conjunction with fridging, for even better results.
In this guide you’ll find out:
- Why salt baths are good for axolotls.
- The items you need to prepare a salt bath.
- How to give your axolotl a salt bath (step-by-step guide).
- How long you should treat your axolotl with salt baths.
Table of Contents
- Are Salt Baths Good for Axolotls?
- How to Do a Salt Bath for An Axolotl?
- What To Do If The Salt Baths Are Not Working?
Are Salt Baths Good for Axolotls?
Salt baths are good for axolotls suffering from certain skin conditions, in particular fungal infections of the skin.
What Does a Fungal Infection Look Like?
A fungal infection will usually appear as itchy white spots or balls of fluff (like cotton wool) on the skin, limbs, or gills of your axolotl. However, the fungus can appear absolutely anywhere on your axolotl’s body.
White fungus is also typically seen growing around open cuts. If broken skin is involved, it’s especially important to treat the fungus as soon as possible to prevent secondary infections from occurring.
Fungus flare-ups can be extremely distressing for axolotls and must be treated.
Can I Give My Axolotl a Salt Bath at Home?
Besides being highly effective at halting and reversing fungal growth, salt baths are a simple and rapid home remedy.
Salt baths can be given from the comfort of your home, without the help of a medical professional. That’s what makes them a great option for axolotl owners on a budget, or who don’t have access to a nearby vet.
Should I Fridge My Axolotl when Giving a Salt Bath?
Alongside giving your axolotl a salt bath, I’d also recommend that you consider fridging it.
Fridging will help to slow its metabolism. This could further help to slow the growth of the fungus and improve the chances and speed of recovery.
So, if you currently have a sick little axolotl on your hands that is in urgent need of assistance, follow the steps below to make sure that you get it back to its usual, happy self.
How to Do a Salt Bath for An Axolotl?
What Do I Need To Prepare A Salt Bath?
To prepare a salt bath for your axolotl, you’ll need the following items:
- Dechlorinated & conditioned water.
- Marine salt – 100% natural, free of anti-caking agents, iodine, nitrates, and phosphates.
- Container with a lid (“bathing” tub) – large and deep enough to fit a fully stretched-out axolotl and fully cover it with water. Holes must be drilled into the lid to allow air to enter/escape.
- Clean bottle – minimum capacity 1L.
- Timer – an egg timer or the timer on your phone will do just fine.
How Do I Give My Axolotl A Salt Bath (Step-by-step Guide)
The step-by-step guide below assumes that you are also fridging your axolotl and that it has already acclimatized to the temperature of your refrigerator.
Step 1: Prepare The Salt Solution
To prepare the salt solution you need to mix marine salt with dechlorinated and conditioned water. The standard dosage seems to be 2-3 teaspoonfuls of salt per liter of water. Close the bottle tightly and shake it vigorously to dissolve the salt in the water.
Step 2: Chill The Salt Solution
Put the bottle containing the salt solution in the refrigerator and let it reach the same temperature as the water your tubbed axolotl is in. This could take a couple of hours.
The idea is that you don’t want to be transferring your axolotl from cold water into warmer water, as it could suffer from a thermal shock.
Step 3: Fill The Container
Once the salt solution is chilled, fill up your “bathing” container with it. There must be enough water inside your container to fully cover your axolotl. You don’t want any part of its body out of the water, especially not its gills.
Replace the leftover salt solution in the fridge. Make more if you’ve used it all up, so you’re ready for the next treatment.
Step 4: Transfer Your Axolotl
Now that the salt bath is ready, you can transfer your axolotl from its “fridging” tub into the “bathing” tub.
To do so safely, gently but firmly grab your axolotl by approaching it from behind. Place three fingers under its belly, between its front and hind legs. Its hind legs should be in between your pinky finger and your ring finger. Your thumb should be placed on the top of its head, being careful not to interfere with its gills.
Lift your axolotl out of its fridging tub and gently put it into the “bathing” tub. Finally, close the lid.
Step 5: Place Bathing Tub In Refrigerator
With your axolotl safely inside, place your “bathing” tub inside your refrigerator. Then, start the timer. You should leave your axolotl in the tub for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Step 6: Transfer Your Axolotl
Once the timer goes off and the salt bath is completed, you can transfer your axolotl back into its fridging tub using the same grip technique explained above.
You may also want to change the water in the “fridging” tub and give it a rinse before you transfer your axolotl back in.
Finally, empty the “used” salt solution out of the bathing tub. Wash the tub and lid with warm water and mild detergent to kill off any fungus or bacteria. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. Your bathing tub is now ready for the next treatment.
Step 7: Repeat Treatment
Repeat treatment every 12 hours, as required.
How Long Should I Treat My Axolotl with Salt Baths?
After you have given your axolotl the salt bath treatment, you will then need to make sure that you are keeping a close eye on your axolotl over the coming days to track any signs of progress.
To do this, I recommend that you either keep a log or diary to be able to track whether or not the fungal infection is improving. If you wanted, you could even opt to take daily pictures to be able to compare images to see if there is any visible improvement in the fungus growth.
If you carry out the treatment every 12 hours, you should notice an improvement within two to three days. It can sometimes take longer to clear up if the fungus is particularly severe.
Alongside doing this, you will also need to make sure that you have prepared the next bath for your axolotl, as the key to killing off the fungus is to make sure that you are staying consistent with the salt bath treatments.
What To Do If The Salt Baths Are Not Working?
As I have already mentioned above, you should begin to notice that the fungal infection begins to die off after around 48 hours.
If the fungal infection is not beginning to go away then you’re going to need to seek assistance from a veterinarian. The veterinarian will provide you with their professional opinion on what might be the issue and work towards finding a solution.
Salt baths – in conjunction with putting your axolotl in the refrigerator – are the most popular home remedy for fighting final infections in axolotls. They’re cheap to prepare, easy to give, and tend to work in most cases.
However, salt baths must be carried out correctly to be effective. And, if despite doing everything properly, your axolotl is not showing any signs of improvement, you should seek immediate veterinary advice.
It’s also very important to keep in mind that you should only be giving your axolotl a salt bath if it is sick and suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection that needs to be treated.
If you have a healthy and happy axolotl, then you shouldn’t give it a salt bath because it may do more harm than good. Salt baths tend to dry out their skin and can also impact their slime coat, so should only be given when absolutely necessary.