Axolotl Salt Bath Guide – Benefits, Safety + Procedure

A salt bath is an effective option for treating fungal or bacterial infections in an axolotl. The condition appears on the skin of your amphibian pet as white cotton blotches, often seen on an injury. Salt bathing involves placing your aquatic pet into a salt-water solution for a couple of minutes daily for a few days.

Are salt baths safe for axolotls?

axolotl salt bath

Salt baths are safe for captive axolotls to relieve fungal pain. Although the pets are freshwater dwellers, they have learned to endure the correct salinity level, with salt often present in their natural habitat.

Since salt bathing is beneficial and safe to axolotls, you can do so if you wish to add salt into the aquarium. However, avoid using table salt and the quantity should be moderate. Table salt contains iodine, which is extremely toxic and can tragically harm your aquatic pet. Only use non-iodized salt, available for purchase from lots of stores.

As well, before using salt as a non-antibiotic treatment option for fungus infection, determine whether or not your axolotl species are susceptible to salt poisoning. The issue results from high exposure to salt.

Benefits of a salt bath for axolotls

The benefits of a salt bath for axolotls may include:

  • Inhibition of fungus and bacterial growth.
  • Hindering the dangerous result of excess nitrite production and accumulation in the tank. Axolotls are sensitive to any spike in the levels of nitrite, a toxic gas.
  • Replenishment of trace minerals such as iron and selenium. Deficiency in trace minerals in axolotls tends to affect their normal growth and reproductive processes.
  • Buffering the Total dissolved solids (TDS) of the watery environment. That is to ensure the maintenance and stability of water pH even with the addition of other bases or acids.
  • Removal of excess surplus debris and mucus, helpful in enabling enhanced penetration and performance of antifungals or antibiotics. The altering of the osmotic gradient yields mucus dehydration and removal.
  • The salt functions as a hyperosmotic on fungus, forcing it to be devoid of fluid, which causes their crenations.

Although salt bathing offers an effective remedy in treating fungal infections, it can lead to an internal issue. Salt poisoning in your amphibian pet often attacks the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. Potential signs and symptoms may include constipation, blindness, and death.

Treatment and prevention of axolotl salt poisoning may involve avoiding a salt bath or exposure to any other source of salt.

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How to give your axolotl a salt bath

Salt bathing a sick axolotl can be more effective when done together with refrigeration. Refrigeration reduces the rate of metabolism and also curtails the spreading of bacterial or fungal infections.

How to give your axolotl a salt bath involves:

1. Separation of your sick axolotl from healthy axolotls

The sick pet is separated from the others to eliminate or reduce the possibility of infection. A spreading infection may worsen the situation, with more axolotls needing salt baths treatment.

Apart from having a salt-bath tub, also have a tub for rinsing a treated axolotl and another tub for placing healthy axolotls.

2. Preparation of the salt bath solution

In preparing a salt bath, fill a 1 or 2-litre tank with chlorine-free, clean water. Add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of non-iodized, safe salt for every litre of water, like aquarium or sea salt. The salt and water must be thoroughly mixed to have a perfectly dissolved mixture. Excess salt not dissolved will burn the skin of an axolotl, making it panic-stricken and thus dart around.

If you realize that the salt is excess in the salt bathing solution, transfer the Mexican salamander into another container. Then, add extra uncontaminated water into the salt bathtub and stir to dissolve the excess salt fully.

Ensure the water temperature is about 17 degrees celsius, which is conducive for axolotls. Refrigerating the water can help prevent unnecessarily, dangerous temperature upset when you start to bathe your axolotl.

3. Put your axolotl into the salt bathing solution

Transfer the aquatic pet from its refrigeration container into its ready solution for salt bathing. Gentle and cautious handling is encouraged since axolotls are slippery animals, which makes dropping them easy. Also, your hands should be clean and the handling minimized as possible and does not involve covering eyes and gills.

The salt bath should have a lid to discourage the axolotl from trying to escape from the new bathing habitat, which may freak it out.

Keep your amphibian pet in the salt bath for about 13 minutes using a timer. Leaving your axolotl in the salt bathing solution for an extended period can cause shedding, bleeding, and damaged gills.

Perform salt bathing once after every 12 hours for a couple of days. Since you are monitoring the infection, as it reduces, you should reduce the frequency of baths.

If there is no condition improvement within a few days (3 or 4), give the pet a rest for a day and then restart the bathing procedure again. Better yet, refer the matter to a professional vet instead of progressing with the salt bathing for one or two weeks. Longer baths exert a physical toll on axolotls.

4. Take out the axolotl from the salt bath solution

Once the 13 minutes of bathing is over, remove the aquatic pet from the treatment solution and place it in a clean container. Before refrigeration, rinse the Mexican walking fish with clean water at a suitable temperature for about 10 minutes to eliminate any remaining traces of salt.

Adherence to the correct fridging procedures is necessary, such as constant water replacement, to avoid a life-threatening issue for the pet. 

5. Prepare for your axolotl’s next baths

Always adequately prepare for the next axolotl salt bath. That can ensure that the regime of treatment does not suffer from any interruption that may further worsen your pet’s health condition.

6. Take your axolotl back to its captive habitat 

As fungus gets eliminated from your axolotl, the affected areas tend to be delicate and or red. Once the salt bathing treatment is done, keep the aquatic pet refrigerated for at least one week to heal completely from its wounds.

Black tea, rich in tannins, bathing can also be performed after salt baths to improve the process of healing. Use two or three tea bags for a bath and brew them for 13 minutes before mixing them with water. When the water has cooled to room temperature, insert your axolotl into it for around 12 minutes. 

Salt bathing and tea bathing must not happen concurrently since the latter is notorious for closing the pores of an axolotl and preventing the effect of salt from being felt internally. Additionally, a black tea bath can be too upsetting for a baby axolotl and thus not safe.

With the salt bath treatment complete and the tank and its environment conducive to living, you may then return your pet where it belongs. 

In conclusion, remember that although axolotls are freshwater inhabitants, they can also tolerate the presence of salt in their watery environment. However, to perform salt bathing for treating an infection, always make sure the salt is of the right amount and not iodized. And, the water to be used must be clean and free from chlorine.

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