Why Is My Axolotl Not Moving? Find Out the Possible Reasons



It can be concerning to see your axolotl not moving, especially if they are typically active creatures. Several factors can contribute to their lack of movement, ranging from environmental conditions to health issues. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons why your axolotl may not be moving and provide insights to help you address the situation effectively.

Inadequate Water Quality

Poor water quality can severely impact the health and activity levels of axolotls. Here are some factors that can contribute to this:

  • Ammonia and nitrite levels: Elevated levels of these substances in the water can be toxic to axolotls and lead to decreased movement. Ensure regular monitoring and proper filtration to maintain appropriate levels.
  • Temperature: Axolotls prefer cooler water temperatures between 60-70°F (16-21°C). Higher temperatures can stress them, resulting in reduced activity.
  • pH and hardness: Axolotls thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water conditions (pH 6.5-8.0). Deviations from this range can affect their overall well-being.

Inadequate Diet

A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for axolotls to stay active and healthy. Consider the following aspects:

  • Feeding frequency: Axolotls usually require feeding once a day or every other day, depending on their age and size. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in lethargy.
  • Proper nutrition: Ensure that your axolotl’s diet includes a variety of prey items, such as earthworms, small fish, and pellets specifically formulated for axolotls. A lack of essential nutrients may negatively impact their activity levels.

Inadequate Habitat Conditions

Axolotls require a suitable habitat to thrive. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Tank size: Axolotls need ample space to swim and explore. A tank that is too small can limit their movement and cause stress.
  • Hiding spots: Providing adequate hiding spots, such as caves or plants, is essential. Axolotls are naturally shy creatures and require places to retreat and feel secure.
  • Water flow: Strong water currents can exhaust axolotls since they are not strong swimmers. Ensure that the water flow in the tank is gentle and does not hinder their movement.
  • Lighting: Axolotls prefer dimly lit environments due to their sensitive eyes. Excessive light can stress them, leading to decreased activity.

Environmental Stress

Axolotls are sensitive to their surroundings, and various environmental factors can cause stress and affect their activity levels:

  • Loud noises: Axolotls are highly sensitive to vibrations and loud sounds. Keep their tank in a quiet area to minimize stress.
  • Handling: Frequent handling can stress axolotls, leading to reduced movement. Minimize handling unless necessary, and always ensure clean, lotion-free hands when you do.
  • Water changes: Abrupt or improper water changes can affect axolotls adversely. Use dechlorinated water and maintain a consistent water change routine to prevent stress.

Health Issues

If all environmental factors seem in order and your axolotl still isn’t moving, it’s essential to consider potential health problems:

Table: Common Health Issues in Axolotls and Associated Symptoms

Health IssueSymptoms
Bacterial or Fungal infectionErratic swimming, bloating, redness, or inflammation on the skin
ParasitesScratching against surfaces, weight loss, abnormal swimming patterns
Metabolic disordersAbnormal growth, lethargy, weight loss, bent limbs

If you suspect health issues, consult a veterinarian experienced with axolotls for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Remember, each axolotl is unique, and it may take time to identify the specific reason for their reduced movement. Through careful observation and addressing the possible factors, you can help ensure the well-being and activity levels of your axolotl. If unsure, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to ensure the best care for your aquatic companion.