What is Axolotl Fridging?
Axolotl fridging the practice of putting a sick axolotl in the refrigerator to aid in its recovery. For info and examples of when you would want to use this treatment, see Axolotl Illness, Injury, and Treatment.
Why Fridge An Axolotl?
Axolotls are an animal that are native to colder water, which is why their preferred tank temperature is on the lower side in the first place. It has been observed that at even lower temperatures (i.e. those provided by fridging) the progress of disease or fungus can be slowed. This occurs through a natural slowing of the axolotl’s metabolism that occurs at lower temperatures, and allows the owner more time and options for attempting to treat their axolotls health issues. For example, when you have to give your axolotl a salt bath for fungus or other skin conditions, doing this in conjunction with fridging can help slow the advance of the condition in between salt baths.
Fridging is also beneficial in the case of axolotl impaction, as when some cold blooded animals are cooled down their body naturally tries to eject and food or waste left inside. This is to prevent undigested food from rotting in the digestive tract. When your axolotl has swallowed stones or is otherwise impacted or constipated, fridging can help it clear its system out naturally.
How To Fridge An Axolotl
Step 1: Prepare The Fridge
- Make sure the fridge is not below 42F/5C. The ideal range is 42-47F/5-8C. You can adjust the setting inside your refrigerator, and to check you can put your tank thermometer in a cup of water and see what the temperature is after a few hours.
Step 2: Prepare The Axolotl For Fridging
- Keep a spare container of dechlorinated water in the fridge for water changes, to avoid temperature shock when you do so.
- Prepare a container large enough for your axolotl to stretch out to its full length. It does not need a lot of space to move around, as during the fridging process it will be very lethargic. Make sure the container has a lid (with air holes!) so your axolotl doesn’t jump out. Fill the container with dechlorinated water, leaving a bit of space at the top so your axolotl can come up for a gulp of air if they want to. The axolotl actually doesn’t need much more water during this process than a bit over enough to cover them, the main purpose of having more water is to dilute waste.
- Gently transfer your axolotl to the container. Remember not to chill the water before adding your axolotl. Your axolotl should be added and then the water fridged to avoid temperature shock from the sudden change.
- Cover the container with a towel so that the light of the fridge turning on and off won’t startle the axolotl.
Step 3: Fridging the Axolotl
- Once in the fridge, the water will need to be changed daily using your spared container of chilled dechlorinated water.
- Before going to bed, check the axolotl’s water and remove any poop or regurgitated food you might find there (a turkey baster is ideal for this).
- During fridging, an axolotl’s metabolism will slow down. Your axolotl will likely not be hungry during fridging, even after a week or two. Because of their slow metabolism, they in addition to a lack of appetite they also experience weight loss much more slowly.
- The axolotl can stay in the fridge for however long it takes their health to improve.
Step 4: Returning The Axolotl To Its Tank
- When your axolotl is starting to look recovered, it’s time to prepare to move it back to its tank.
- Remember that the water of your tank is cycled, so it will be very different compared to the water used during the fridging procedure. You will need to take a few day to get your fridged axolotl reacclimatized to the conditions of its tank water, so this will extend your fridging schedule a bit.
- You will need to fill two or three bottles with cycled water from your tank, and place them in the fridge to chill. This will be used along with fresh dechlorinated water, so remember to label which is which.
- Change the water as follows, allowing a one day interval between changes:
- 1st Water Change: Fill the tub with 75% fridged water and 25% tank water.
- 2nd Change: 50% filtered water and 50% tank water
- 3rd Change: 25% filtered water and 75% tank water
- 4th Change: 100% tank water
- On the next day, your axolotl should be ready to move back to its tank. Float the tub on the surface of your tank and leave it for an hour or so. When both the tank and tub water have reached about the same temperature, you can transfer the axolotl back into its tank safely.
Keep Reading: Axolotl Care Sheet
- Tank Size and Requirements
- Filter and Water Temperature Requirements
- Starting a Nitrogen Cycle
- Substrate Requirements
- Hides, Plants, and Decor
- Tank Cleaning and Water Chemistry
- Diet and Nutrition
- Illness, Injury, and Treatment
- Fridging Guide – Current Page
- Salt Bath Guide
- Additional Reading and Resources