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My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

This is a discussion on My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why! within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Lol...sorry I got a little delayed. Yesterday it got really rainy and cloudy so pics turned out miserable. Just took ...

Sick Axolotl? Axolotl looking down in the gills? The doctors are in.

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Old 17th August 2015   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Lol...sorry I got a little delayed. Yesterday it got really rainy and cloudy so pics turned out miserable. Just took these now.

I am hoping it might be more shedding/slime coat on the gills rather than fungus...but I am a novice at this so I could be totally wrong. It looks a lot less than it was 2 days ago. A lot of the hanging stuff has floated off. I don't know why he'd be shedding unless its part of the process of gills regrowing? And is that just excessive transparent slime coat on top of the gill stems too???? You can see what I mean when I say it looks like some of the the gill fimbriae however are looking like they are merging together in spots instead of being individual feathers.

The diagonal pic at the bottom shows how he spends most of his time floating, at the top of the tank...and of course, just to be a little ratbag, as soon as he realized I was photographing him, he sunk and decided to 'look normal' between the plants lol.

Ok cheers for now folks
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My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!-lux-gills-1.jpg   My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!-lux-gills-2.jpg  



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Old 20th August 2015   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Sorry I've been tied up for a few days with commitments. I was hoping an experienced member would have had something to say in the meantime. Looking at the photos there is definitely sign of gill trauma. Are you still conducting regular partial water changes? I'm almost thinking there is something harmful leaching in to the water at this point. What kind of media are those bio-type balls in your in-tank filter? If you haven't tried this already, perform a 100% water change and recheck the parameters and temp. That's all I got for you at the moment unfortunately Have the gills been gradually getting larger, despite having the fused appearance?



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Old 20th August 2015   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Right a quick post. will post more later

I will move him into temp tank with 100% fresh treated water. i use prime for dechlorinator. that is all that will be in the new water...or would he be better in the fridge at this point?

If i put him in his temp tank, I will run a seperate line with new airstone into that and do daily changes whilst I can see if i can get down to the bottom of this tank issue I guess.



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Old 22nd August 2015   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Just a quick update....got some interesting questions for you all but need to wait till tomorrow cause I am sooooooo tired.

Lux is in his temp tank. Been busy setting it up again. He seems happy enough and ate a worm after I moved him in.

Was off to aquarium shop too today.. not sure if I am on to something. Will need to ask those with Axie experience on here about my thoughts/idea as the shop staff are mainly used to looking after fish.

Will post tomorrow with proper post. Thx Finbriae by the way- gave me a start to begin exploring some other options too.



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Old 23rd August 2015   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Hey no problem! Gill health in particular interests me. I'd say skip the fridge for now if Lux is still eating and pooping. You don't really need the air line in the temp tank either in my opinion. If o2 levels are low it may prompt quicker gill regrowth. As far as I know most folks don't run a bubbler. If doing daily water changes in a sterile/filterless temp tank, ammonia levels should really be the only concern. A once per day change should be more than adequate to keep the levels in check even if he's pooping his butt off. Prime is an excellent water conditioner, I think it is the most popular/preferred one. SeaChem is great, they claim to be about putting the hobby first and producing top notch products. Another thought is to hold off on artificial lighting in the temp tank. Dim ambient light may keep activity levels up and stress levels down.
Keep us posted, Cheers!



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Old 23rd August 2015   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Hi.

I had planned on taking sometime out to do a concise write up as to how things have been but it took far longer than i thought to get some other tasks done that i've only just finished now.

I've decided I think it might be easier to sterilize his main tank and start over even though his water again was perfect yesterday. I had the aquarium do a check with their stuff just to be 100% sure my API water test reagents had not expired. We were half expecting to discover the reagents I was using to test his water had run foul.

So yeah it's just all the more funny though, in reading things here, and talking to the aquarium staff... his gill trauma issue just seems really odd from what data we have on his tank's conditions as they more readily would be affecting an axie with common water quality issues.

Speaking of his main tank, I noticed since taking Lux out of his tank and switching off his pump in his main tank that there were things like cyclopods and possibly I noticed a single planteria worm floating about, so you would think if it was a contaminant or bad water they would be affected too in some manner? There are quite a few of the cyclopods and similar, darting around the tank that are obvious now that there is no water movement at all. I think from what I saw, they are all the harmless varieties as I did an image aquarium ID pest checklist online nothing matched up as a 'bad bug' I could see I should be concerned about.

The advice of the aquarium was to sterilize the tank and start over. He suggested Potassium Permangenate for doing that now that we discovered all Australian bleach both he and I had researched (including White King- the Aussie equivalent of Chlorox) has detergent in it and most of the time it is unlabeled on the bottles!

I think I will boil up his sand and filter media after the potassium treatment just to be sure. I did a test boil on some spare filter medium I had left in the box to see if it could handle the heat and it seemed ok after a 20 minute rolling boil.
Even with them being porus that should kill anything hopefully right?
----B.T.W Fimbriae to answer your question, the medium in my moving bed filter is Aquatopia Bio Substrate Beads
HYDRO PURE BIOSUBSTRATE BEADS 500G - AQUARIUM, FILTER - MEDIA, AQUATOPIA - Product Detail - Premier Pet Pty Ltd

On a side note I had to go to the Chemist/pharmacy over the road as that is where he told me to get some Potassium Permangenate for clearing out the tank and in telling the pharmacist that it was for my axie she died laughing as she said she had never prescribed anything for helping a sick fish before I don't think she got quite how it worked lol.

So I will take out the live plants in his main tank during the week (do you guys think I should throw them out or try to sterilize them with a salt water and weaker Potassium Permangenate bath?) and then run the Potassium Permangenate through to kill everything in his main tank and then do the boil.

**********Big note now I would love to have some axie experts to think about ********
Because of the Potassium Permangenate the chap at the store warned me it would dye the silicone on the tank purple. I didn't know that. But in mentioning it to dad on the drive home he said 'oh yes just like the stuff I used years ago that made the tank silicone turn blue.' I was like, 'Hold up- what?!'

Turns out that when we had gold fish in there, before the tank lay empty and dormant for the last 10 years, dad had treated them for White Spot with the blue copper based meds I know are toxic to Axolotls. In doing that, it turned the silicone blue, just like the Potassium Permangenate will turn it purple. I read that silicone can be a little porous itself...could the fact that the silicone is blue mean that it could be in the silicone and leaching traces into the tank making his gills get sick? I don't know but is it overkill to get him to strip the tank down to glass sheets and having him resilicone it up again before putting Lux in again? I don't know anything about silicone and fish tanks though he made Luxies main tank 30 years ago. So any opinions for the above on anyone in the know would be really grateful.

Fimbriae, in regards to the bubbler, I have it in on minimum which is meant to be 50 litres an hour. He is in 20 litres of remineralised R.O water and I've changed it daily thus far (tomorrow I will go back to Brita carbon filter water as the aquarium guys said that should be fine and far quicker too).

I was a bit hesitant to have him sitting there in the still water as he kept surfacing for air a lot even in the main tank with the bubbler. He has been doing that less and less though since going into the temp tank however which must be a good sign. Maybe once ever 45 minutes this afternoon I noticed. At his worst -right before i moved him, it was almost once every minute.

Something that happened the first night he was in his temp tank startled me too and worth mentioning. At 1:33 am, he woke me with 3 very large splashes/thrashes which is not typical for him and not something I had ever seen. I don't know what he was doing but as soon as the light came on he stopped and was sitting peacefully. I worry it was to do with having no bubbler in the water but I don't know.

He hasn't been floating much now and is more like normal axie behavior, sitting/walking on the bottom- though that just might be the fact that there is significantly less height between the top and bottom of the water level and more oxygen getting to him whilst he is sitting.

Lighting is ambient light and very minimal. It does seem his threshold for 'starling' has dropped a bit with the daily water changes (though my stupid idea yesterday of transferring him didn't help...slow moving waterfalls and axies do not mix duh but seemed a better alternative to the netting which he hates or me grabbing him. Next time I do a water change I'll lower the little bucket with him, into the temp tank with the new water and let him swim out on his own).

I didn't do a change today but the last one was yesterday at 9pm and its just gone 10pm now, so I might do it tomorrow at noon. I noticed a lot of shedding after his first day in the new water and maybe if im not imagining it, a lot of the shedding/gunk possible fungus/trauma stuff came off after 24 hours in his temp tank. I think there is still some on one of the gills but I am hoping it is looking better and I'm not just being hopeful. I got pictures on my phone and i'll post those tomorrow as it's charging right now.

He actually hunted a worm this morning (I dropped it) and caught it mid sink which was great to see as he has never done that :)

Ok, time for me to hit the sack too.



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Old 24th August 2015   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Sounds like some real progress there. I was wondering about the bio ball media before, because it's appearance wasn't anything I was familiar with and thought maybe it could have been a media that was re-purposed or intended for something else. Seems all good, I was just crossing all the T's.

We know your API water test kit is viable, this a good thing. It's too bad that you can't get your hands on a non-detergent containing bleach. I also recall hearing that potassium permanganate can dye porous materials purple. Silicone believe it or not is in fact porous, I remember this from my hi-temperature radiator hoses that are prone to "weeping" coolant if proper clamping force isn't used.

It's quite probable in my opinion that if the silicone absorbed the dye from the fish medication, that it also absorbed some harmful active ingredients which furthermore could be leaching back in to your axie's water. Ideally use another aquarium or strip it down and re-silicone like you say. As far as the type of silicone to use, GE Silicone I Door & Window (contains no mildew guard or fungicides), but I'm not sure if that is available in Australia.

As long as the thrashing splashes aren't a regular occurrence, I wouldn't worry too much. Occasionally Sigma whips his tail and causes a ruckus.

I'd say the fish meds that went in to the tank previously, might just be the revelation you're after. Definitely a red flag in my mind, copper wreaks havoc on amphibians. Though it might not be entirely conclusive -you could get an API test kit for the presence of copper.

As far as the plants go, you can try hydrogen peroxide baths. I heard a 3:1 ratio of water to peroxide for 20 minutes would do the trick. This is usually done to sterilize against pests/algae. Double check the ratios and bath times though if you choose this route. Some plants are more sensitive than others. Also -if we are assuming the fish meds are to blame then salt/bleach/potassium/peroxide will probably have no effect.

Glad to hear that Lux is actively hunting!
I think you're getting somewhere.



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Old 24th August 2015   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Hi mate.

Good timing. Was just off the phone from the aquarium shop.

Im going to get a new tank. Think it will be cheaper. For one almost the same as his current tank it is only $65 aud. Not worth the effort of pulling the old tank apart dad said.

I just hope the size is big enough as I had planned on upgrading his tank eventually but to something that would be bigger with a proper case etc and not a new tank of the same type so soon. I would prefer it bigger but i have to deal with size constraints of the current shelving and cost (savings time needed) considering the relative immediacy of getting him resettled as soon as the new tank cycles-

His old tank was 47 cm x 36 cm x 35 cm. The new one is 50 cm x 33 cm x 35 cm.
57.75 metric litres which is 15.25 us gallons. The shelf surface area is 59 cm x 30 cm so his current old main tank was sticking off each edge but it was ok.

Anyhow I got to go do Lux's water change for today.

Cheers guys.



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Old 24th August 2015   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Ok, yeah just confirmed I got to sorta stick to this size unless i make a custom one. Seems the next tank up is 150 litres and a funny size...way too big for my bedroom. The 57.75 metric litres(15.25 us gallons) one will be it. They don't regularly stock Copper test kits so I can't see if that is an issue unless I do a special order which will take a month. Probably easier to just get the new tank (we do have copper pipes though hmm)

Anyhow, given that the tank will be new I guess should I should start thinking about how I want to go with what I put in it. I am wondering if I should skip the Potassium Permanganate and just do vinegar/salt scrub/hot steam disinfectant like I did with Lux's temp tank that way I don't leave any Potassium residue that I know will absorb into the silicone??

Anyhow back to Lux's water change, Man I tell you, the ins and outs of looking after a Axie really is a learning curve...more than I think was obvious to a newbie. Lol and I trawled the net for ages trying to educate myself lol.



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Old 24th August 2015   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Here are the pics i promised oh how he has been since moving him to his hospital tub.
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My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!-lux-temp-tank-move.jpg   My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!-lux-temp-tank-move2.jpg  



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Old 25th August 2015   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Hi everyone.

Got the new tank today...bigger than I had planned or expected. My parents decided that given Lux would do better with a bigger tank that they would loan me the difference I needed to upgrade him so he will be going into a 3 ft -150 litre tank.

Things also didn't go to plan today in one upsetting other way. Lux had a fall today.

Yes you read that right. He had a fall.

I was transferring him to his tiny tupperware tub whilst changing the water in his hospital tub and the net fell apart and the poor little fella dropped about two inches away from my letting him go into the tupperware container. He probably fell a foot though 'small mercy'- Dad happened to be with me for the first time ever whilst I was moving him and he caught him mid air though both his hands holding Lux and Lux basically landed on my bed mattress making a soft landing-if that makes any sense. Lucky for his super reflexes. I hope Dad didn't scratch him with his finger nails, or that anything he had on his hands upset poor Lux.

I had a good look at Lux in his tupperware container on all sides and I couldn't see any signs of skinbrakes/blood (though the tip of his tail is still red. Something that has been there since I pulled him out of the main tank. I believe you can see that in the previous photos).

I gave Lux his meal about 3 hours later and he gobbled his worm so hopefully he is ok and this was just a scare and not something that will impact Lux's health long term.

Still I feel so guilty over this. I feel like no matter how careful I am things keep going wrong. It was an old net and I guess I should have not been using it.

I guess let that be a lesson to anyone out there, be sure to check your nets before you use them even if on first glance they look ok.



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Old 25th August 2015   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Sorry to hear of the fall, they are pretty hardy though. A fall from 1 foot or so probably didn't faze him too much. The gill regrowth looks good! If he continues to readily accept high quality foods like live worms, they should make a speedy recovery. Personally, if I ever have to move my axies, I usually do it by hand as they hate the feeling of the net on their skin. I scrub both hands with dish soap prior and give a liberal clean water rinse and dry, then using both hands scoop them up out of the tank. Gentle but firm, and they will get used to it. As far as tank size goes, the larger the better as the parameters and temperature will be more easily maintained. 10 US Gallons is the minimum recommended size for one adult axie, so I would have thought that 15g would have been ample. I have a pair of adults in a 20g long type, which gives more than enough roaming room and real estate for hides. Dimensions of a 20g long in metric are: 30x30x76cm. I would skip the potassium permanganate treatment and just use steam/hot water on any previous tank deco. Plants can get a peroxide bath, but keep in mind they may retain trace amounts of copper from the water column in their cells -if any, it should be a negligible amount. You can start adding items slowly, that way you know which is responsible if trouble returns. If you have a lot of copper plumbing in your home, it may be worth while to get a copper test kit, or obtain water from other sources for changes.

Home stretch mate!

Good luck



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Old 27th August 2015   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Hi everyone

Just noticed something after putting Lux his freshwater after today's change in the hospital tub.

That spot on Lux's tail that I was worried about. I think i figured out what it might be, but I don't know what to do about it

I think I am the direct cause. See he was being a bit difficult today to move into the net and took longer than normal. Consequently it meant he spent a good deal longer in contact with the net.

The net might be hurting his tail when i catch him to move him, whilst I empty and clean his hospital tub.

I noticed it, as it was very obviously worse as soon as he was moved and that is what allowed me to figure out the connection. Darn.

I got to figure out a way to get him out without doing that again, other than grabbing him with my hands (which i feel 0% confidence with). Though at this point the net clearly isn't working for him. At least it doesn't seem to stress him out much as he ate again not long after without an issue, but I don't want to keep doing this to him for the next month as the main tank cycles.

Here is a pic of his tail.

Is it something that will heal on its own? Or will I need to do something like a tea bath now. Just as his gills were looking improved without a doubt, I inadvertently stuff his tail up. Sigh. I am kicking myself with guilt for hurting him

Thanks everyone. Keep u posted.
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Old 6th September 2015   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Hi everyone.

Just a quick note as its late here. His tail is improving, the blood appearance is almost gone and his gills are looking ok and growing though slowly.

I don't use a net anymore to move him for his daily water changes so I think that helped his tail a lot.

Ok people. Cheers for today.



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Old 8th September 2015   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

OK so just found Lux suddenly going nuts in his tank. I have moved him to fresh treated water to his transient cake tub. He is still going nuts.

Here are pics of him as of 5 min ago.
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Old 8th September 2015   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Ok so to keep you all posted. Lux has been in his transient cake tub for the last hour or so in fresh treated water.

The water in the hospital tub he came out of before going into his transient cake tub came back ph neutral 7.0

Ammonia was - 0.25 ppm. Ordinarily when i change him ever day or two in his hospital tub it is at zero...so perhaps this slight ammo trace in the water was what upset him??
Nitrite-0 as u would expect.
Didn't do nitrates for obvious reasons.

As of writitng this he is still going frantic though not as much as when I found him in the hospital tub over an hour ago. Period between resting and frantic escape behaviour has increased. His blood vessels are still standing out a bit and his gills are still very red, but that has to do with the commotion and sudden spike in his activity rather than any indication of bacterial infection like septicaemia I'm lead to believe and agree with.

I have been looking at the environment he was in to see if it is some sort of stress trigger but everything looked as it was when I last saw him. The house was dead quite and I don't believe my dog did anything to him.

The fact he is wanting to float and the thrashing almost drunkenness I hope might be him just having an upset tummy with gas/wind. I haven't seen him float at all since he left his original tub (and that was to do with the guess of the leaching methylene blue poisoning) but he was never trying to escape and never looked particularly stressed like he has today.

He is in the transient cake tub with just enough water to cover him and help stop the floating to see if he poops and passes the wind. It's odd though as he keeps sticking his head completely out of the water (which I will add is freaking the heck out of me...)



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Old 12th September 2015   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Ok people

Lux has been acting oddly. no food intake since Monday, first he started floating again yesterday which worried me and now he has spent all day at the bottom of his tub and it looks like he is having troubles swimming/submersing towards the top of the tank like his butt is too heavy and if he was a fish, that his swim bladder is mucked up.

At no point that i am aware of has he ever been kept with gravel/stones unless the original breeder did as I know this inability to swim can be from obstructions in his digestive track.

His gills are pointed forward and there should be nothing stressing him. He is still a bit red in his limbs- though a lot of that has gone now across the rest of his body, though his gills are still very red too.

Parameters have been fine and the water change this morning went really well too...didn't stress him out at all. Don't know why the sudden change, tmp has been stable at 17ish Celcius all day. No disturbances or anything cause i'e been watching him like he has been in intensive care.

Yeah thats how things are people. I hope i'm overacting and that whatever it is, is just a case of bad constipation cause he still hasn't pooped which would be 5 days now (he normally did every 2nd or 3rd day). I'm just saddened to see him doing how he is when everything should be fine.



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Old 12th September 2015   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Axie's gills are shrinking and I can't figure out why!

Just to let anyone who was following this know.

It's with great sorrow that I am informing the board that Lux passed away suddenly during the night.

I intend to make a proper post later cause right now I just can't bear to do it.

Thanks to all those who responded.



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