Axolotl Ammonia Burn Signs and Treatment

Ammonia burn in axolotls is one common sign that your amphibian pet suffers from strong concentrations of the naturally occurring chemical in the tank. As a pet owner, you want always to know the signs of ammonia burn to ensure the axolotl is safe and happy.

You might see the axolotl’s body turning reddish and possibly have its gills completely deteriorated. That could be a clear sign your amphibian is suffering from excessive concentrations of ammonia in the tank.

Is ammonia bad for Axolotls?

Axolotl ammonia burn

Ammonia is harmful to your axolotls’ health because it can be an invisible killer in just a few days. Axolotls will suffer from burns if the ammonia level in the tank or aquarium rises above 0 ppm.

Chemical gas is a major waste product released by the amphibian pet. However, it can also occur in the tank when there is biofilter damage and decomposition of leftover fish food, algae, and dead aquarium plants.

Signs of ammonia burn in axolotls

Signs and symptoms of ammonia burn in axolotls vary and may include:

Loss of appetite

This is one of the primary signs and symptoms of an axolotl suffering from an ammonia burn. When the axolotl detects an ammonia spike in its tank, it begins to eat less or avoids eating entirely. If your pet tries to eat, it may be even more difficult for you to detect an ammonia concentration problem.

Floating more than usual

Floating is an unusual behavior of axolotls, often utilized to communicate that it faces a health or environmental issue that needs to be resolved quickly. To ensure that the floating is not due to partaking in fun or a small issue that will pass shortly, you can try to scare it a little bit.

If after scaring it goes to the bottom of the tank and then goes to float again or just stays unresponsive, you should check the cause of your axolotl floating and what to do. Mostly, that may be due to uncomfortable chemical concentrations in the watery environment.

Leaving your pet for a couple of days in an ammonia-filled tank will cause its health to worsen and the body to be reddish.

Gills falling off

An axolotl that frequently gasps for air may be a sign that its gills are falling off due to high ammonia levels burning the frills off. High levels of other common chemicals like nitrate and nitrite can also cause the decline of gills.

Failing gills may also be a sign that the watery environment of your axolotl is devoid of a Nitrogen Cycle.  

Curled tail at the tip

Axolotl curls the tip of its tail to hint that it suffers from a substantial condition or stressor. This can be caused by chemicals, such as ammonia burns.

READ ALSO: Stressed Axolotl Signs and Help Tips

Will the ammonia burns go away?

Ammonia burns will not go away unless you treat the underlying cause; a high concentration of the chemical in the tank, and the condition. So that the ammonia burns go away faster, the treatment should be done as soon as possible. This can help ensure that the unusual pet is not exposed to dangerous infections and has a shorter life expectancy.

How do you treat ammonia burns in axolotls?

Treat ammonia burns in axolotls by following these mandatory solutions.

Transfer your pet to a new tank

Without delays, transfer your axolotl to another tank or aquarium, which is not compromised by high levels of toxic gas. As well, only add water that is free from contaminants into the new tank of your pet.

Maintain the appropriate temperature condition if you do not want to deal with another serious problem. If the water added to the new tank is warmer, cool it using a conditioning unit or ice cubes. Cooling can also be done using a frozen material as long as it does not contain dangerous residues that can affect water quality.

Then, refrigerate your axolotl and undertake water replacement, about 70-100%, once or twice daily. The volume of water replenished should depend on the amount of waste produced. Refrigerate the added water so that the temperature matches that in the container or tank. Remember an axolotl will do just fine in a cold environment, provided that the temperature level does not fall under 40°F.

In the cold habitat, keep food giving at a minimum as an axolotl will experience a decreased metabolism rate. Only feed it once weekly. An addition of almond leaves can assist in boosting the immune ability of your axolotl.

Keep the pet refrigerated until it has fully recovered. Refrigeration of axolotl is beneficial in relieving the walking fish of its pains caused by ammonia burns.

Clean a contaminated tank

If you do not possess another suitable tank or aquarium, thoroughly clean the polluted tank to lower the high concentration of ammonia. Before rinsing the tank with running water, start by first removing all the water and anything else the tank houses such as filters. Don’t forget about the cleaning supplies, which could be contaminated and cause the same problem again.

After cleaning the tank, set it up again accordingly. But this time, put in measures that can help safeguard the tank from potential chemical contamination. Arm the tank with a nitrification mechanism, which encourages the presence of good bacteria in the tank to guarantee the safety of your axolotl from ammonia burns.

Beneficial bacteria break down the ammonia in the tank into nitrates, which, unlike nitrite, are harmless in small quantities. Nitrates are the end product released from the nitrogen cycle.

The good news also with nitrates is that when they are in large quantities and pose a threat to your pet, lowering their concentrations is stress-free. A regular change of tank water will make nitrate harmless.

Subject the axolotl to a tea bath

A treatment involving a tea bath safeguards the skin of your axolotl from ammonia burns. Within only a couple of days, the burns can be eliminated. Axolotl salt bath treatment should only be an option if your aquatic pet suffers from fungal issues. Salt has stronger antifungal and antibacterial properties. Using salt baths to treat a chemical burn may further damage the skin of an axolotl.

The solution to avoid having to implement any of the treatment solutions above is to always monitor the ammonia in the tank so that it does not reach toxic levels. Monitor the concentration of ammonia can using a water test kit.

You can reduce the chance of a potential ammonia spike by performing regular maintenance and avoiding overfeeding and overstocking axolotls. If all else fails to treat chemical burns, seek the service of a vet. An expert will recommend an effective treatment option that may involve the application of burn cream or taking a bath. In rare situations, a unique treatment involving an injection is required. That can effectively ensure the treatment eliminates the axolotl ammonia burns faster.

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