Axolotls are intriguing animals. They are popular as the Walking Fish, but they’re not actually fish. They also qualify as salamanders, although they’re not really salamanders either. In reality, these animals experience a condition called neoteny.
Long story short, neoteny refers to retaining juvenile features in adulthood. So, Axolotls still have many of their larval features, with this genetic condition preventing them from growing into full adult salamanders.
But today, we won’t discuss about this peculiarity. Instead, we will look into the Axolotl’s poop and see what it can tell us about the animal. Interestingly enough, you can tell a lot about an Axolotl by analyzing its poop. So, let’s get dirty!
What Does Axolotl Poop Look Like?
Healthy Axolotl poop should appear brown or black, either as larger chunks or in smaller pieces. It depends on your Axolotl’s age, diet, and environmental conditions, as not all Axolotls produce similar-looking poop.
An interesting aspect about it is that the poop looks solid, but it’s not. It’s softer than you might expect, which is why it will dissolve fairly fast in the water. Your main problem is probably identifying the poop around the Axolotl’s environment. Because the animal’s droppings look like dirt, you will have difficulties finding it on the substrate, especially since it will dissolve in the water soon.
This will add some challenges to the cleaning routine and keeping the habitat fresh and healthy. We’ll discuss this aspect later on.
How Often do Axolotls Poop?
How often Axolotls poop also depends on several factors. Healthy adult Axolotls will typically only poop once per week. This is primarily due to their slower digestive system, equally sluggish metabolisms, and the animal’s feeding frequency. While baby Axolotls require food daily to support their accelerated growth, adults don’t need nearly as much food.
They will do just fine with one meal every other day, depending on the animal’s appetite, age, environmental conditions, etc. Add to this the fact that Axolotls take quite the time to digest their meals, and you’ll understand why they poop so rarely. The environmental temperature also influences their digestive system’s efficiency.
Axolotls thrive in temperatures around 60 to 64 F since they are cold-water amphibians. That being said, they won’t mind slightly higher temperatures as well since their natural habitat is not perfect by any means. And the higher the environmental temperature is, the faster the Axolotl will digest its food and the more frequently it will poop.
That being said, you should keep the animal’s temperature within the ideal parameters to prevent health problems. Axolotls require colder environments to remain comfortable and healthy over the years.
Do Axolotls Eat Their Poop?
Axolotls won’t eat their poop as part of their natural behavior. Instead, they will consume it in cases of emergency. Axolotls only eat poop if they either lack sufficient meals or experience nutritional deficiencies due to improper dieting. Axolotls are carnivorous amphibians that require foods rich in protein and fat. Daphnia, brine shrimp, blackworms, earthworms, and even raw meat are all good options for a healthy and balanced diet.
The feeding frequency is also paramount in this sense. Axolotls require a rich meal every 2-3 days, depending on the animal’s specifics (size, appetite, nutritional requirements). If your Axolotl displays poop-eating behavior, consider increasing the feeding frequency or even tweaking the meals’ profiles as well.
Diversify the animal’s diet to ensure it gets sufficient nutrients. Axolotls won’t eat the same foods every day in the wild, so their bodies require diversity to remain healthy.
No matter the underlying triggers, the poop-eating behavior is damaging because it subjects your Axolotl to the risk of parasitic infections. So, always take action if you notice your Axolotl eating poop all of a sudden.
Does Axolotl Poop Stinks?
Yes, Axolotl’s poop has a distinct unpleasant smell, but not over-the-top. The problem comes with the lack of proper tank maintenance. Your Axolotl’s water shouldn’t have any unpleasant odor normally, even despite the animal pooping in it. So long as you keep the Axolotl’s water clean, that is.
Skipping the maintenance day one too many times is bound to bring a foul odor to your Axolotl’s habitat. This is a sign that the water’s chemistry has changed due to the chemicals present in the animal’s poop. Your Axolotl will also display signs of stress and may even experience symptoms of ammonia poisoning. In this case, the unpleasant odor will be the last of your concerns.
Why Is My Axolotl Not Pooping?
If your Axolotl is not pooping, the cause is most likely constipation. Axolotls will experience constipation for a variety of reasons, overfeeding and impaction being the most frequent.
Believe it or not, Axolotls are more difficult to overfeed than other animals. These amphibians are smart enough to understand when enough is enough. That being said, they are still slaves to their instinctive biological system, so you can overfeed them in some cases.
While Axolotls won’t overeat in one sitting, in most cases, they will overeat in terms of frequency if given the opportunity. Juvenile Axolotls eat pretty much daily due to their higher metabolic rates. Adults, though, only eat 2-3 meals per week. Axolotls are cold-water amphibians, so their digestive systems get slower as the animal matures.
Feeding them daily is bound to affect their ability to digest food properly, at which point constipation may occur.
Impaction is a pretentious term for severe constipation. Impaction has several causes, including untreated constipation and even digestive blockage due to ingesting hard and large chunks of matter. This is often the result of feeding the Axolotl large chunks of food that will get stuck into the animal’s digestive system.
Gravel substrates will come with additional risks since Axolotls are known to ingest gravel particles when eating. That’s why you should always stick to sand or even a barebones tank bottom, although that’s suboptimal for different reasons.
But how exactly do you detect constipation in Axolotls? Axolotls typically display several symptoms when experiencing constipation, such as lack of appetite, bloating, floating uncontrollably, signs of stress, etc.
A key point here – don’t worry if your Axolotl hasn’t pooped in 2-3 days. This isn’t necessarily a sign of constipation or impaction. Axolotls typically poop 1-2 days after eating, and they eat once every 2-3 days. So they won’t produce poop daily.
Why is My Axolotl Pooping Green?
If your Axolotl is pooping green, consider tweaking its meal plan. The green poop is the result of the Axolotl passing bile through its digestive system, which happens when the animal is being underfed. This, of course, isn’t the only reason.
If the poop is green, it may also be due to the animal eating something green or due to an internal infection. A digestive infection will cause anal discharges that vary in coloring between yellow, white, and even green.
If that’s the case, your Axolotl will also display a lack of appetite and showcase signs of stress and discomfort. If that’s the case, your Axolotl is most likely dealing with some internal parasites or bacterial infections, in which case treatment is necessary to eliminate the problem.
Here’s what to do in that case:
- Verify water parameters – Ammonia and nitrites should remain at 0 since anything above that value will affect the Axolotl. These animals are sensitive to chemicals in their habitat; a sick Axolotl will be that much more vulnerable.
- Clean water and good food – Clean the tank (preferably without removing the Axolotl to prevent stress), perform a partial water change, and eliminate any food and poop residues. You should also provide the Axolotl with some fresh food, preferably chopped up. If your Axolotl is experiencing bacterial issues, it may have a more tender mouth, making eating difficult. Chopping the worms into smaller pieces may aid in the process.
- Vet assistance – If the situation is rather severe and your Axolotl displays signs of discomfort, I suggest speaking to your vet. You may need to use antibiotics to rectify the problem, and you shouldn’t use these over-the-counter.
Keep in mind that it’s normal for the Axolotl to refuse food during this period. This shouldn’t be a massive problem, so long as the behavior doesn’t persist for more than 3-4 days. Professional assistance is necessary if your Axolotl shows no improvement and its appetite doesn’t get back to normal, despite all your efforts.
Why is My Axolotl Pooping Too Much?
First, we should define what pooping too much means. Axolotls will produce various amounts of waste and different frequencies. The animal’s pooping behavior depends on the Axolotl’s age, the diet, feeding frequency, health state, and environmental factors. A healthy adult Axolotl will poop once or twice per week since its digestive system needs around 2-3 days to digest the food.
This can naturally change, depending on the factors we’ve already mentioned. If your Axolotl is pooping too much, consider the following:
- The Axolotl is young – Juvenile Axolotls will poop daily due to their faster metabolic rates. If your Axolotl is young, don’t worry about their pooping frequency since it’s normal. Especially if they’re having one meal every day, as they should.
- Higher temperatures – Axolotls are cold-water amphibians, so they need temperatures around 60 to 64 F to remain healthy long-term. Increasing the temperature will accelerate the Axolotl’s metabolism, causing it to produce more waste as a result. Keeping Axolotls in unnaturally-high temperatures is bound to stress them and cause various health issues along the way as well.
- Diarrhea – Yes, Axolotls can also deal with diarrhea. This can happen due to parasites, bacterial infections, or improper food. In this case, your Axolotl requires a treatment consisting of pristine water parameters, fresh and clean food, and antibiotics, based on your vet’s recommendations.
- Overfeeding – This is an obvious one and is often the result of people causing problems due to their overly-good intentions. In other words, a lot of novice pet keepers think that overfeeding their pets improves their wellbeing, which is false. Axolotls need to stay in shape and require one nutritious meal every 2-3 days. Feeding them more often than that is bound to overfeed them and increase their pooping frequency considerably.
Look into these potential explanations, figure out which one applies to your case, and act accordingly. Your Axolotl’s pooping pattern should return to normal shortly.
Why is My Axolotl Pooping White?
If your Axolotl’s poop is white, consider the likelihood of a digestive infection. Your Axolotl is either dealing with parasites or a bacterial infection. If that’s the case, the Axolotl should also display an array of other symptoms. These include bloating due to constipation or diarrhea, white and stringy poop, inflated anal region, lack of appetite, fungal growth around the mouth, etc.
The treatment will differ in profile and intensity, depending on the nature of the disease and its severity. I recommend consulting with your vet in this sense.
Do You Have to Clean Up Axolotl Poop?
Yes, it’s necessary to clean up your Axolotl poop. This is to protect the environment by preventing chemical imbalances in the water. A properly cycled tank will preserve the water’s chemical balance to some degree, but your assistance is also required in this sense.
Removing the poop regularly is necessary to prevent ammonia buildup, which is lethal for your Axolotl. The poop removal process is slightly different than you might expect, simply because the Axolotl’s poop isn’t solid. It looks solid, but it’s actually soft and will break easily upon touch. Not removing it in time will cause it to disintegrate in the water soon.
How to Clean Axolotl Poop?
With regards to the poop removing process itself, I recommend either using a net, a gravel vacuum cleaner, or a turkey baster. These are easy-to-use tools specifically designed for this purpose. Activated carbon is also a nice addition since it neutralizes unpleasant odors, keeping the water cleaner and clearer long-term.
Remember, it’s ideal to remove the poop as soon as possible. Otherwise, the accumulated dissolving poop will alter the water chemistry and foul the environment fast.
Poop can say a lot about your Axolotl’s current health state. Always keep track of your Axolotl’s poop color, pooping frequency, and overall behavior to detect potential health issues early on.