Axolotls are amphibians from Mexico. They are incredible, adorable little creatures that can regrow limbs if they need to.
If you own an axolotl, making sure it gets the best level of care is essential! Maybe you notice your axolotl is lethargic, or maybe a fish you added to its tank seems sick. Whatever the case, if you are wondering if your axolotl might have ich, read on!
Table of Contents
- So, Can an Axolotl Get Ich?
- What Is Ich?
- What Do I Do If My Tank Gets Exposed to Ich?
- How To Avoid Ich in the Future
- The Bottom Line
So, Can an Axolotl Get Ich?
There is anecdotal evidence surrounding whether an axolotl can get ich. Some believe that amphibians cannot get ich, but others believe that exposure to ich can harm or even kill an axolotl.
Despite this topic being widely disputed, if you believe your axolotl has ich, you should consult a veterinarian. One way an axolotl may encounter ich is through live feeding.
What Is Ich?
Ich is a parasitic disease. Due to the way ich presents with small white spots on the fish, it is also called white spot disease. It is common in tropical fish aquariums. Ich is dangerous because it can quickly wipe out a whole tank if not adequately controlled.
Ich starts by finding a host so it can live. It has 48 hours to do so. Next, the parasites burrow into the fish, and, at this point, we start to see ich presenting with small, white dots. Finally, the parasites move on and reproduce once they finish feeding.
What Are Signs of a Sick Axolotl?
If your axolotl is sick, you may notice things like:
- Poor responsiveness
- Pale gills
- Loss of gills
- Loss of appetite
- Curled gills
- Frantic movement
These symptoms can happen for many reasons, though. A lot of things can cause illness in axolotl. For example, they can get sick from poor temperature-regulated tank water or poor water quality from insufficient cleaning. Illness doesn’t immediately mean your axolotl has a worrying disease.
What Other Illnesses Should I Look Out For?
Fungus is a very common problem when caring for axolotls. It occurs when your tank isn’t properly maintained.
The fungus can present similarly to ich. It most commonly presents as fuzzy black or white spots. It may develop around your axolotl’s gills, head, or legs. Additionally, you may find it in open wounds.
There are also bacterial illnesses that your axolotl can contract. You need to keep a watchful eye out for these because they have the potential to seriously harm or kill your axolotl if it doesn’t get quick treatment.
You can always consider that your axolotl is reacting to poor tank conditions. Instead of disease, it may be a matter of the water being too warm or cold.
What Do I Do If My Tank Gets Exposed to Ich?
If your tank gets exposed to ich, you must act fast. If not carefully handled, ich can get out of control very quickly. You must ensure you choose a method of getting rid of the ich that kills the mature parasites and the eggs to prevent the cycle from starting again.
Since whether axolotls can contract ich is widely disputed, you can also enact an observation period after contacting a vet to see if your axolotl starts to get sick. Do this with caution and be prepared to treat for ich.
An unnecessary ich treatment and cleaning process may stress your axolotl out too much, leading to illness. This illness could present similar symptoms to ich, aside from the white dots, and further lead you to believe your axolotl has ich.
You should take your axolotl to a veterinarian, and they can prescribe medication or give you guidance on how to treat your axolotl. If one fish or axolotl in your tank has ich, you need to treat all of them. Ich is a serious disease that can kill your axolotls. You should quarantine your axolotl for ten days while cleaning the tank.
Remove any other fish from the tank, check them for symptoms, and treat them for ich immediately.
Cleaning the Tank
You will likely need to relocate your axolotls while you treat them and their tank for ich. You can use heat to aid in treating the tank, but axolotls don’t withstand heat well, which may make them sicker. Before you clean your tank, you should remove your axolotl from the tank.
You will likely need to use a combination of treatments for your tank because chemical treatments don’t kill all the parasites in the tank due to the life cycle of ich.
Warming the water up speeds up the life cycle of ich. Doing this allows you to kill the parasites faster than if you keep the water at the temperature that axolotls prefer. This factor is why you need to remove your axolotls from an infected tank.
Be cautious, however, because this can stress your axolotl out. If you aren’t sure that it’s ich, consult your veterinarian. When moving your axolotl to a new tank, ensure it has plenty of hides and enrichment to help it feel secure.
How To Avoid Ich in the Future
If you buy feeder fish, there is a chance your axolotl can get exposed to ich through a sick fish. Always inspect feeder fish and don’t use them if there are any signs of illness. Opting to use a fish that may be sick could potentially kill your axolotl.
You can also switch from feeder fish to worms, which are great food sources for axolotls. This option is the preferred food among axolotl owners.
Alternatively, consider growing your own feeder fish instead of buying them. Buying feeders increases the risk of introducing disease to your tank.
The Bottom Line
You should always take caution when it’s your pet’s life at stake. But be careful not to stress your axolotl too much because that can adversely affect your axolotl as much as ich can.
It is crucial to take your axolotl to the vet whenever you have health concerns to help your pet live a long, healthy life.