Do Axolotls Smell Bad?

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Are you noticing a bad smell coming out of your axolotl tank? Then it’s probably not your axolotl that you’re smelling. It’s most likely other things you’re noticing, which we will go over in this article.

Axolotls do not stink. They don’t have a distinct smell if you try to smell them (some owners have done this and will confirm to you that they don’t smell). However, the smell might be coming from different sources which you should investigate as soon as possible.

The smell could be coming from the axolotl poop, or the unclean aquarium that you might have. You’ll need to take care of your aquarium and clean it, if you will want to completely eradicate the smell. Most likely, it’s something wrong in your tank and you will have to investigate.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why your axolotl tank is smelling so badly, and what you should do about it. The smell, however, is most certainly not coming from the axolotls themselves, as they don’t have a distinct smell like some people think they do.

Let’s get started.

Why Does Your Axolotl Tank Smell?

So if the axolotl doesn’t smell, where is the smell coming from then?

Here are the main reasons why axolotl tanks smell as badly as they do sometimes, and what you can do to get rid of this problem.


One of the major problems that many axolotl owners have is overfeeding. If you’re feeding your axolotl too often, then the tank will start to get congested and full of nutrients that are not used.

These nutrients or foods will start to rot, which can, after a few days of rotting, cause unbelievable bad smells. And once that starts happening, you’ve got a big problem on your hands. You might have to cycle your water every day in order to remove the rotting completely.

Also, make sure you feed the axolotls moderately and that you don’t overfeed them. Keeping a moderate diet will help the axolotls stay healthy, but it will also eradicate the bad smells that might be coming from overfeeding.

Axolotl Poop

Have you not cleaned your tank in a while? Then it might be time to do so. Yes, even axolotls will poop and it won’t smell pleasantly if there’s too much of it in your tank.

This sometimes happens to tank owners who tend to get lazy about their tank’s maintenance. If you’re one of them, then it’s high time that you fixed this issue.

Remove the poop from the tank, and start cleaning the leftovers. Only this way will you be able to get rid of the bad smells, and make your axolotl happier. At the same time, you will be happier also because there won’t be any more smells coming from the tank.

Rotting Plants

Take a look at your plants in the tank, and inspect them closely. If you have live plants, then it is inevitable that they will start rotting after a while. It might be due to their age, or when they grow too big, they will start to rot.

That’s why I recommend you as an expert that you trim your plants constantly and take good care of them, too.

Constant maintenance and plant trimming is necessary to prevent them from rotting. Because when they do start to rot, they will start to smell really badly, and the whole tank will suffer as a result.

And you will start to notice the smells very quickly, too. That’s because rotting plants tend to leave certain chemicals that will cloud the water and emit some unpleasant smells.

Again, keep a close eye on your plants and trim them regularly, because if they grow too big, you will have to deal with them again when they start rotting.

Dirty Filter

Have you fixed or replaced, or cleaned your filter recently? If the answer is no, then go out and do that now!

Filters should be cleaned constantly, especially if you have such a filter that only needs to be cleaned every once in a while. When the filter gets congested, it will not work as strongly as before, and it will not clean the water sufficiently.

And when that happens, the water will get dirty and it will start to smell. Additionally, the smells might be coming from the filter itself as there might be certain pieces of debris in there that start to rot, causing unpleasant smells in your tank.

Clean the filter regularly – once every two weeks is the general rule, although that will depend on the type of filter you have. Some filters require you to change the filtration media, too. If that is the case, change it constantly and don’t let your poor axolotl suffer in the dirty water.

Dirty Substrate

This is not as common in tanks where there are larger substrate pieces, but in an axolotl tank, it is very likely to happen.

You will most likely have smaller pieces of substrate in the tank, such as fine gravel or sand. And that’s where these pieces of debris can get stuck, causing bad smells and eventually even rotting.

It’s a good idea to clean the substrate constantly. Regular maintenance of the substrate is necessary for preventing rotting and to ensure that the water stays clean.

Because when the substrate is dirty, it is likely that your water will take some of the dirtiness, too. And when that happens, there will be bad smells in your tank, which will stress both you and your axolotl.


To conclude, axolotls themselves do not smell. However, there are several other reasons as to why you might be experiencing bad smells coming from your axie tank.

Overfeeding is an issue here since it can cause the food to rot and cause bad smells, especially if you don’t remove it constantly. Also, there is a problem if the filter or the substrate is too dirty, which will also cause bad smells.

Updated: August 31, 2022

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