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How To Treat An Axolotl That Is Floating!

With more and more people adding an axolotl to their family, we have noticed a dramatic spike in the number of people that we see reaching out and asking about keeping axolotls as pets.

Although the majority of the questions that we have noticed from the community are based around general axolotl health, we have noticed a few unique questions.

One of the more unique questions that we have seen people asking about is what to do if their axolotl is floating in its aquarium.

With there being so many people who are new to keeping axolotls as pets out there, we often see people instantly thinking the worst and presuming that their axolotl is about to die but this is rarely the case.

In fact, one of the most common reasons that an axolotl will start to float is due to eating their food too quickly causing a gas build up in them that will take time to pass and normalize their buoyancy.

Surprisingly, this is one of the more common reasons that your axolotl will float and it is usually nothing to worry about and your axolotl will return to normal within an hour or two.

Why Is My Axolotl Floating?

The most common reason that your pet axolotl will float is due to eating too much too quickly causing its stomach to bloat.

This then increases stomach acid production to digest the food as quickly as possible which in turn results in more gas being produced as the food is broken down causing the axolotl to float uncontrollably until the gas is passed.

Strangely enough, overfeeding an axolotl is the most common reason that an axolotl may float but underfeeding them is the second most common reason that floating may occur.

This is due to the food not filling the axolotl’s stomach making it harder for it to pass gas causing a build-up that then results in it floating.

Feeding your axolotl some high-quality axolotl pellets can make portion control much easier helping to prevent this in axolotls of all ages.

There are also a number of health problems that may cause your pet axolotl to float but these do tend to be much rarer than your axolotl simply eating too much food too quickly.

If you do think that your axolotl is floating due to a health problem then we would highly recommend that you book a video call with a professional veterinarian for a quick check-up.

How Do I Stop My Axolotl From Floating?

Due to most of the issues that cause an axolotl to float uncontrollably in their tank being related to a gas build up from various issues with food, the easiest way to stop an axolotl from floating is to work on portion control and giving them the correct types of food.

Both overfeeding and underfeeding your axolotl as well as feeding them unsuitable foods can cause them to float making axolotl meals tricky for most beginners.

The advantage of high-quality axolotl pellets is that they make portion control much easier than anything that is not easy to quantify.

You simply give an axolotl a set number of pellets depending on its size and it should meet the requirements for that meal while only containing foods that are suitable for axolotls.

Some people will also offer their pet axolotl daphnia or brine shrimp as a treat meal option if they choose to live feed them with both daphnia and brine shrimp being excellent options for smaller axolotls.

In our opinion though, using axolotl pellets as the main meal is still the best option and then supplementing with daphnia or brine shrimp as a treat food is the best balance.

Why Is My Baby Axolotl Floating?

It is common for a baby axolotl to be fed live daphnia and brine shrimp on a regular basis but no other pellet or flake based food.

This often causes a gas to build up in the axolotl’s stomach causing them to float for an hour or two after eating but they should return to normal after that.

It can be harder to give baby axolotls pellet based foods due to them being so small so most people will crush the pellets up into smaller parts before adding them to their baby axolotls aquarium.

This simple step can help to prevent the gas build up while still allowing you to give your baby axolotl brine shrimp or daphnia as a treat too.

Baby axolotls tend to be more sensitive to stress, anxiety, and temperature changes in their tank too.

Keeping the temperature within the 60-64°F range is usually easy enough but if your baby axolotl has tank mates that are bullying it or stressing it out then you may have to separate them until the axolotl is bigger.

My Axolotl Is Floating After Eating!

It can be common for some axolotls to float after eating as a gas build up can be surprisingly common in axolotls.

Although a gas build up may be manageable preventing them from floating any overfeeding, underfeeding or feeding them unsuitable foods can cause your axolotl to build up excessive gas and float until they pass the gas after eating.

Your pet axolotl can float anywhere from a couple of minutes for up to two hours if this is the cause of the floating.

Another common cause of floating in axolotls after they have ate is that they take in air when eating their live food if they have to swim to the surface of their tank to capture their food. This additional air then builds up in their stomach and causes them to float until the pass the air.

Thankfully, if you notice that your axolotl only floats after eating, there is usually no need to worry as the floating is usually only due to a gas build up with the indication of it only happening after eating being a good sign.

If your axolotl tends to float at random times then it may be a serious problem causing the axolotl to float but gas builds up are common and usually nothing to worry about.

My Axolotl Is Floating And Not Moving!

Although an axolotl may float and not move due to a gas build up from eating food, it is rare that they will totally stop moving. Most of the time when an axolotl starts to float and stops moving it is due to stress, anxiety or illness.

Stress and anxiety in your axolotl are usually easy to fix with the most common causes being incorrect water temperature or the axolotl’s tank being too small for it. A decent 20 gallon tank really is the smallest tank size that you should be keeping your axolotl in as any smaller can spike their stress and anxiety levels causing them to float.

Ideally, you will be wanting something slightly larger than a 20 gallon tank for an adult axolotl if possible too.

If you think that your axolotl is floating due to a health problem then book a video call with a vet to have them check your pet over.

These video calls are usually cheaper than a trip to your local vets with you also being able to book the call to fit your schedule. All of the vets are fully qualified too and will offer you the best possible advice to get your axolotl back to full health.


That brings our article going over why your axolotl may be floating to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful land that we have been able to put your mind at ease. So many people new to keeping axolotls start to worry when they noticed their pet axolotl is floating uncontrollably but the majority of the time, it is simply something relating to your axolotls diet and within an hour or two, they should return to normal with no additional problems.