How To: Fridging

Fridging, as the process is known among axolotl enthusiasts, it is commonly used if an axolotl is being treated for any kind of illness or disease, or if the temperature in it’s tank cannot be kept under control during warmer months. As we know, axolotls love cooler water and water temperatures as low as 5-6 degrees Celsius have seen axolotls thrive. This guide will step you through the process to safely fridge your axolotl to avoid temperature shock and other concerns.


1. Prepare the fridge

Set the fridge to a temperature between the range of 5 degrees celcius to 8 degrees celcius, but no lower than 5 degrees.

To ensure the fridge space allocated for the axolotl is set within the desired temperature range (ie. Not too cold!), it is advisable to test what the water temperature will be before putting the axolotl in there. This can be done by placing a thermometer in a glass of water and situating this glass where the axolotl will be positioned in the fridge.

Keep stores of fresh dechlorinated water in the fridge. If you are certain that your water supplier does not use chlorine or chloromine, you do not need to use a dechlorinator. This fridged water will be used for the daily water changes (this keeps the temperature consistent for the axolotl).

Axolotl fridging guide

2. Getting your axolotl ready for the move

Select a container that has sufficient space for the axolotl to stretch out to their full length.

Fill the container with fresh water. If your water board utilizes chlorine or chloromine, ensure the water is treated with dechlorinator before adding the axolotl.

When the container is ready, gently transfer the axolotl from the tank to the container

Ensure that the container also has a secure lid: so the axolotl cannot jump out; fragrences can not permeat the water; and that foodstuffs are not contaminated by the axolotls water.

Axolotl fridging guide

Fill the container as much as practicable, the more volume the better, as this will help dillute wastes with more efficiency while the axolotl is living in this confined space. If the axolotl is being fridged to treat floating issues however, then put enough water to cover the axolotls back, but ensure the axolotl can touch the ground.

Axolotl fridging guide

When the axolotl is ready to be moved into the fridge, afix the lid, and cover the container with a teatowel so the axolotl is not disturbed by the fridge light coming on and off.

Axolotl fridging guide

Gently transfer the axolotl to the fridge.

Axolotl fridging guide


3. Fridging

The water must be changed 100% each day using the fridged dechlorinated water, as this ensures the axolotl is not subjected to temperature shock. It is imperative that the water be changed each day while the axolotl is residing in the colder water, as the cold will cause the axolotl to poop more often, which fouls the water.

While the axolotls body is releasing wastes with more efficiancy (this is why fridging is ideal for helping clear impaction), on the other hand the metabolism is slowed right down. The slowed metabolism will decrease the axolotls appetite and will also slow weight loss.

The axolotl can stay in the fridge for however long it takes for their health to improve, and the axolotl could stay in the fridge indefinately if necessary.


This guide was written by Jacquie on the forums.


BarbaraOctober 19, 2013 at 09:37Reply

Hi, I have had my axiloti for about 6 month and they have both been fine. Today one has got white fluf on the top of 2 of his gills. Can you advise what to do I have read the friding thing but not sure if correct for thus problem. Plus only have family fridge and not to keen on the idea.
Hope you can help
Thanks Barbara

DanOctober 19, 2013 at 11:15Reply

Hi Barbara,
White fluff is generally indicative of a fungal infection. The most common cause of a fungal infection in axolotls is high temperatures which allow for the rapid growth of the fungus. The course of treatment for gill fungus is salt baths 2-3 times a day and fridging. I understand your hesitation to place your axolotl in a fridge with other food items but note that there is a higher concentration of oxygen in cooler water so you can lightly seal the container you place your axolotl in and then wrap it in a tea towel, this will stop any contamination of food in your fridge and your axolotl will love the relaxing darkness!
If you are still reluctant to place your axolotl in the fridge, at least perform the salt baths daily. Make sure to use dechlorinated water at the same temperature as the water in your tank so your axolotl doesn’t suffer temp shock and be sure to use a non-iodised salt (rock/sea salt is fine). Salt baths will kill off the bacteria causing the fungus – be sure to not leave your axolotl in the salt solution for too long or it will burn its skin.
In order to reduce the likelihood of the fungus returning, make sure you can control the temperature in your axolotl tank and keep it below 22-23 degrees Celsius. An aquarium fan (or any fan) gently blowing across the top of the water will bring the temperature down a few degrees.

Let me know if you have any other concerns.