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PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

This is a discussion on PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!? within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Can I attempt to feed Ponyo during a tea bath?...

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

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Old 21st November 2015   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

Can I attempt to feed Ponyo during a tea bath?



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Old 21st November 2015   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

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Originally Posted by MomoUkitake View Post
I have tested both tanks for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and PH- they were all normal yesterday and I checked again today and are all still within normal range.
With frozen water bottles and damp towels and a fan + 1 bubbler in each tank I was able to bring my large tank between 20-21 degrees, and my small one that Ponyo is in to 15-17 degrees. Yay Progress! I had an issue with tank temperatures yesterday and didn't feel that Ponyo could be in a tank until it was a lower temp- I've just put her in the 15-17 degree tank and soon to be tea bathed. Does it matter what black tea I use? Are they are all friendly for my baby?

And yes- I meant bubbler ahah xD
Would you mind posting the actual readings? That is good you were able to cool the tank to that level. It is not within ideal temperature range but it is out of the very dangerous level it was before. Ponyo's tank is perfect temperature.

For tea bath, just any unflavoured black tea is fine and yes you can certainly offer food to Ponyo whilst doing the tea bath. :)



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Old 21st November 2015   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

Ponyo Is still not eating D: WHAT DO I DO???!!



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Old 21st November 2015   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

What are the actual readings of the parameters?

Have you got a vet in your area? I think it may be worth calling vet clinics in your area to see if there is a vet you could look at Ponyo and see if there is an infection present or parasites.

Keep trying with different foods. Try hand feeding and waving them in front of Ponyo to encourage her. Try earthworms, bloodworm, blackworm, pellets. Another option may be to try the Fish Fuel Co frozen axolotl cubes. They are not considered top of the line food by some but I fed my previous axolotls this and they did very well on them and loved them. Make sure you thaw them out first before offering it to Ponyo and remove any uneaten food she does not eat as it will spoil your water fairly fast. Some have had success tempting axolotls to eat with scallops so you could also try those. But this is only to encourage Ponyo to eat and at least get something in her belly. Long term you will want to try and get her back onto nutritious foods such as axolotl pellets or earthworms.



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Old 22nd November 2015   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

I'm following this thread since I also have a sick/injured Axolotl right now - and it's beneficial for me to read about other cases while trying to nurse my girl.


I just thought I'd give a good tip about cooling in acute situations for shorter times in warm weather;

My mom picked up and transported the girl from abroad to me when I got her - and the temperatures in the car were calculated to be too warm for her during the very long ride in the car (since I didn't want my poor mom to have to freeze her *** off with the A/C blasting on maximum, on a long journey...) so I came up with a strategy, which worked splendidly.

* Mom put her travel container in a cooler box while it was still at a good temperature and it worked perfectly. (And was freaking all the way home, checking to see if she was still alive, non stop... hahaha)
The boxes (the hard ones are much better than the soft ones) keep the temperature that the container has - for many hours, before they start to warm up. Approximate temperature increase is about 1-1,5 degrees Celsius/hour, when you don't have freeze packs in it. (Which you shouldn't since they will lower the temperature too much.)

* At home, if it's hot and one acutely needs to keep the animal at a cool, but not ice cold, temperature - a good strategy is to have the container placed in an electrical cooler box.
These keep the temperature steady all the time since they plug in. Most don't get under 13 degrees, approximately, so they don't work for fridging very well.
Many can be adjusted to exact temperature as long as it's above the minimum temperature - so they can be ideal for keeping 15-18 degrees.
I mean for a temporary home when temperatures in the home creep up and the Axies desperately need a cooler climate.
Not for long term, since the space is very limited, but for use as a temporary solution.
Most are not compatible for using at home in regular sockets, only in cars, but there are some that have multiple electrical chords.)
(I can't use this strategy at the moment since my electrical cooler is only for use in cars - I opted for raising the temperature in the fridge instead.)

* In summer times, to keep my Axie tank cool in hot weather (however, Sweden of course doesn't get as hot as many other countries, but it can get fairly hot, especially in my sauna of an apartment), I place the tank on the floor - this lowers the temperature about 1-2 degrees. Then I remove one of the lids (only when I'm at home since my cats would munch on the Axies if left alone with the opportunity to hunt... though, the only injury to ever be sustained when I left the room momentarily - was when Engelbert, my oldest Axie - grabbed a hold of the snout of one of the cats that tried to drink from the open aquarium... ) and place a fan rack (mine has 4 fans) that blows on the surface.
Removing the top/lid lowers it about 1 degree since the water can evaporate, which cools down the water a bit.The fan rack cools it an additional degree.
These three things ables me to cool the temperature down at least 3 degrees without using a chiller. (Although I will buy one when I can get a cheaper one somewhere.)
(Of course - having the windows in the room open if possible, as well as allowing no sunlight to get into the room, is crucial and the first action to take.)



* About the "hole" - I can't be sure since I haven't had anything alike on an aquatic animal - but it does look exactly like a sore after an infection abscess would look on any other type of animal. Can be sustained by a nip from a friend, a scrape (even a tiny one), or skin irritation ("burns") of the mucous coat - for example by bad water conditions.
Another thing that can severely irritate and even hurt the mucous coat is excessive touching of it. Fish get "burns" from too much handling. And that abrasion can give bacteria a hold to infect the area. Thinning of the mucous coat can also occur after irritation from different kinds of chemicals - that the owner might transfer by not cleaning the hands properly from possible small residues of soap, creams, perfume, whatever. This goes for all aquatic animals.



* About nutrition; I'm a amateur in amphibians and their needs and reactions when it comes to nutrition but what I am an expert on is nutrition in general when it comes to vitamins and mineral nutrients, since I'm a cat breeder since over a decade and raw feed both my dog and cats.
Shrimp, clams, shrimp as well as most other shellfish and seafood contain high levels of dietary minerals, that are very harmful in excessive intake - for all species including humans - but especially so for some species of animals. As far as I've understood, Axolotls are sensitive against this. Clams and scallops also contain high levels of copper, so don't over do the shellfish feeding. However, I've given it at occasions in very small portions when my girl has been refusing food, since they generally like it.
I know skudo09 suggested it as a treat to encourage her to eat, I just wanted to point it out so that you don't add it as a part of their normal diet, in good intention. :)
Crustaceans also have a hard chitine cover that is very hard to digest even for large mammals and birds - they typically come out in the feces - but for an Axie they can get stuck and even do damage to the innards. Wild Axolotls eat crustaceans, but these are very small and soft in the chitine cover. Chitine is actually a good source of protein, but should be soft.

I saw another thread somewhere, where people encouraged use of shrimp and liver in Axie diet and that's pretty catastrophal since liver is very potent in a big bunch of minerals and vitamines that can be toxic to many species.
Liver contains huge amounts of iron, copper and other minerals, as well as extremely high levels of vitamine A - which is lethally toxic in high doses and has a slow half-life - even if it's a crucial component in the needs of many species. For example - raw fed cats should never have a higher percentage of 5 % liver in their diet, to avoid possible vitamine A poisoning.
I also saw another thread where a commenter claimed that raw meat was very low in minerals and vitamines - which is SO incorrect. On the contrary.
I've also seen other claims, that minerals and vitamines are not important for the needs of salamanders - which is also idiotic since all living creatures have needs concerning these nutritional agents - they are crucial for organ functions and growth.

Also - a balance between phosporous and calcium is crucial for building and maintenance of bone and can cause severe disfigurement of the skeleton if the balance is severely distorted for a longer period of time. (Been there, done that, once with a Blue tongued skink that got too much food that was rich in phosphorous but low in calcium...)

Fish as a source of nutrition is not as bad as some may think, since it's high in protein but low in fat, which is - from what I can google - a good balance for salamanders.
However, regarding minerals and vitamines - I don't know whether they are exactly a super good alternative.
I read an interesting post about the stomach contents of a dissected wild Axolotl and it contained a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Small fish was 7 %.
I don't feed a lot of fish but occasionally, I release a bunch of juvenile guppies in their tank since the guppies never attack the Axies' gills and hunting them provides a stimulating pastime for the Axolotls. I only give sweet water fish, native to at least the same part of the world - I breed guppies that I've had for many generations and know to be healthy and free from parasites, for this.
However, too much fish might cause inbalance since they, as well as shrimp and other seafood, contain high levels of phosphorous.
Raw fish also contains high levels of thiaminase, that blocks the uptake of thiamine. (An important type of vitamine B.)

Bloodworms and their final form - the flies - is what makes up the largest part of wild Axies' diet and is good for them, but can't sustain a proper source of nutrition for an adult Axolotl. Earth worms differ a bit in nutritional components but still seems to be considered the most optimal food for them. My Axies have been healthy and happy on that diet - just that some Axolotls don't seem to like the wiggling, even if they are cut into small pieces.

All oceanic food and terrestrial food is to be moderate in intake for sweet water creatures, since their mineral/vitamine levels are adapted for oceanic creatures. Or rather - any animal should be kept on food as close to their natural feeding patterns - as possible.
This is evident when observing and comparing nutritional values in food that is the natural source of food for a species. For example - the nutritional values of a mouse is absolutely perfectly aligned with the nutrional needs of a cat, down to a tee.

My Axies eat earth worms and Axolotl pellets as their staple food, with occasional treats (as well as "toys") of guppy juveniles and Cherry shrimp juveniles. They have fun hunting them I don't feed them with anything terrestrial since it's the least natural thing for them to eat. Very rarely, they get some clams and shrimp or white ocean fish from non polluted waters. (Which I put in some fresh dechlorinated water for just a short while - the osmotic pressure will drive the salt out of them.)


I'm SO sorry for mile long ramblings (I'm a chronic blabbermouth, even in text...)
about all kinds of stuff but I kind of just went overboard since I'm interested in nutrition for animals :P
You haven't even asked for this info/opinions but since you are to design a feeding plan to fatten up your Axies, I thought there might be something useful for you. :)




I got engaged in the subject now, while yapping about it , so I think I'm gonna start a project on trying to read up on salamander physiology and needs since animal nutrition is a hobby of mine :)


I hope Ponyo will be alright soon! *Crossing my fingers*

(Btw - I'm also a manga/anime freak, so I picked up on "Ponyo" and your nickname

And the "butler" in the aquarium made me lol



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Old 23rd November 2015   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

Thank you so much for your advice.
Thank you to everyone.
However, Ponyo passed away today. While in a cool tea bath for 2 days I attempted to feed her but her wound must have been too great- as she appeared interested in the food (even her gills became colourful) - but could not find the strength to move. The last day and a half her mouth was wide open- I'm not sure what this means. Even in her last few days she found the strength to be her/his outgoing self and continued to move to the side of the tank to wherever a human would appear (very slowly). Ponyo loved interaction and was true to herself till the very end. I tried my best with the knowledge I was given to keep her/him alive, though I continue to scold myself for my ignorance.
To anyone out there with an axolotl or thinking of getting one....make sure their tank temp stays around 16-18 degrees. And if you live in a hot place like Australia- think about getting a chiller or air conditioner. And watch them carefully- know your axies so you are aware of any abnormalities in their appearance or personality.

I still have one axolotl who is sick, his name is Toothless. and fungi has eaten away a bit of skin on his toe. He's been having salt baths, and been in the fridge. I am moving him to the tea bath today like I did Ponyo. Is this a good idea?

Another thing, my last axolotl is still as fat as ever in a 19-21 degree tank (the original, large tank), continues to eat and has no physical or personality abnormalities. How should I monitor this axolotl? Should I do anything with her? Is there a reason as to why the other 3 got sick and she didn't. It is clearly a fungi that has attacked my axies because of the heat and water parameters were normal- so how is it that she can withstand both? I wonder...is it a genetic thing, or simply just luck? The other three I hadn't seen eat for weeks... Anyone have any ideas as to why this healthy axolotl 'Bronchi' is as happy as ever?



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Old 23rd November 2015   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

I am sorry to hear Ponyo did not pull through. Ponyo was quite ill and it may have just been too much for him.

As to why your female seems to appear healthy, it may be due to stronger genetics, a bit of luck and just may be more tolerant than most and maybe a combination. She may be affected but not outwardly showing any symptoms. For now, pay close attention to the parameters and test the tank regularly. It would be good to post some readings here so we can ensure you are on the right track. Keep an eye out for any changes in behaviour or any signs of symptoms developing.

The main thing now is to concentrate on your remaining axolotls. Could you post some photos of the fungus on Toothless?

Also, make sure you have a firm understanding on the tank cycling process and how to ensure your tank water quality is good. Not only temperature but ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and PH as well. This is very important to give your remaining axolotls the best chance of recovery. Fungus is basically present in all aquariums. However it only becomes an issue usually when there is a breach in the protective slime coat which can be caused by poor water quality or some kind of injury or trauma. High temperatures can encourage fungus growth.

How long have you been giving the salt baths to Toothless for? Has there been improvement in condition? Tea baths do have mild antifungal properties but for more severe fungal infections it may not be enough.

I believe there was more than temperature affecting your axolotls although temperature certainly was contributing to the problem. It may be worth maybe still contacting vets in your area and see if a vet may be able to help. Maybe they could test a poo sample and test for parasites as well as ensure there are no other infections going on. Is Toothless the axolotl in the background in the earlier photos of Ponyo? If so, he also looks very skinny and it may be best to remove him from the fridge to encourage him to eat. He will need some nutrition to keep up his strength to fight off the fungal infection.



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Old 23rd November 2015   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

I don't remember the parameters off the top of my head- I will test them again when I am at my boyfriends house next (should be very soon), and give the exact results to you, however I do recall them being normal. I will give you the fungi pictures of toothless when I'm there next too.

Salt baths for toothless are once a day per every time that I'm at the house- which is kind of on and off which may not be effective so I can't tell you if it has improved him. I'm gonna teach the boy how to do it.

I would take him to the vets- but I spent the last of my payment on a chiller- so I can't even if I wanted to
Yes he is the one in the background and yes he is very skinny- not as bad as condition as Ponyo however...

I heard that tea baths can create a slime coat that makes salt baths less effective. If this is true- should I keep him out of the tea bath and continue to salt bath as I believe his fungi condition is quite harsh.

He's out of the fridge tonight and hopefully will eat.



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Old 23rd November 2015   #29 (permalink)
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Yes I have heard that tea baths close the pores so therefore may cause salt baths to have less effect. Though I am not entirely sure I am convinced of this. However, once you have posted some photos it will be easier to see what the right course might be but for a severe fungus infection I would go with the salt baths and once the fungus has cleared up a tea bath to maybe help soothe the skin.



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Old 23rd November 2015   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

I should have added before that fungal infections can also be a secondary condition. A weakened immune system can make them more vulnerable to infections.



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Old 23rd November 2015   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP- fungi? Hole in body?!?

Sorry to hear that Ponyo didn't make it
Neither did mine...

I think that the fact that your healthy Axolotl hasn't fallen ill might be that she has a good weight ans size (I assume, since you said she was "fat") and therefore is in much better condition. "The weak perish first" is a sad truth...

Good condition keeps the immune system stronger and the ability to fight, at peak level, that's a fact for all creatures. (Genetic predisposition, of course, has an effect as well, but the most important part is being in optimal shape.) In a litter - the biggest and strongest offspring will have an advantage to the weaker one and in a battle - the same rule applies.
That's just the laws of nature.
So even if the environmental conditions go bad, the strong ones usually last longer, before they get affected.

I would definitely monitor the strong one as well, to ensure that she's okay. If she would get ill, you will have an advantage by discovering it already when first signs show.

By starting to fix the primary issues, you've ensured a better chance for the other Axies, so hopefully they will pull through just fine :)

It's nice that you post warnings about what you're getting yourself into, if getting Axolotls in a warm climate and what might go wrong. We all learn from the mistakes of our own as well as others... :)

Keeping my fingers (and paws and legs and fins and everything else that resides in my household) crossed for a fast recovery for Toothless and smooth sailing for the healthy one :)



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