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Are my axolotls stressed?

This is a discussion on Are my axolotls stressed? within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hi there! I'm new here so I apologise if I'm doing this wrong or anything but hopefully I've gotten it ...

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

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Old 3rd March 2017   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Are my axolotls stressed?

Hi there!

I'm new here so I apologise if I'm doing this wrong or anything but hopefully I've gotten it right! I've just gotten two new axolotls two days ago and I can't seem to get them to eat any food and I'm worried they're stressed or sick. I made sure all my tank conditions were optimum before I bought them, and I've been trying to feed them mealworms that the pet shop where I bought them suggested. But they just don't seem to be wanting any food. I'm not sure whether this is just because they're still adapting to their new environment and they're just not hungry, or if they're stressed or sick. And I really want them to be happy because I love them so so much. I researched signs of a stressed axolotl and I read about the forward gills and curved tail. Their gills look normal but I wondered if his tail was a bit kinked, which worries me a lot! :/ but again, I'm not sure whether this is a sign or maybe his tail is just a bit odd naturally. I've attached photos.

The only other thing I've worried about (advice from the pet shop and advice online has seemed to differ greatly here), is the pebbles I have on the bottom of the tank. These are the ones the pet shop said I needed but online people seem to think sand or nothing at all is far better, and I wondered if this is the reason they could be unhappy?

Again, apologies if I've done anything wrong with this post as I'm very new here! Thanks so much! :)
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Old 3rd March 2017   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Are you aware of the cycling process? If worried, the first thing is to test the water and make sure there are no issues that could be contributing. Could you post results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH and temperature?

Mealworms have a hard exoskeleton so they can be harder to digest. Earthworms are far more suitable. Just make sure you obtain ones not in an area with chemicals such as pesticides have been used.

Pebbles need to be bigger than the axolotl's head. If smaller, it is best to remove these as they could pose an impaction risk. Fine silica based sand is another alternative. I have posted some links below which may be helpful.

Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling

Caudata Culture Articles - Water Quality

Axolotls: The Fascinating Mexican Axolotl and the Tiger Salamander

Also, it does take time for axolotl's to settle into their new home. They take a little while to adjust.



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Old 4th March 2017   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Thanks a lot for your help! Just re-tested the water levels and they've come back as this:
pH- 7.2
High Range pH- 7.4
Ammonia- 0ppm
Nitrite- 0.25ppm
Nitrate- 0ppm
Temperature- 18 degrees celcius (perhaps this is a little high?)

The pebbles are big enough I think so I'll leave them for a little while longer and see if they settle more. I really just don't want them to be unhappy! I think I'm mostly just a little worried about the kinked tail as I think it wasn't as kinked when I first moved them in.

Alrighty, I'll have a go with earth worms and see if they're more keen to eat those, thank you so much for replying to me so quickly! I'm starting to wonder if I'm worrying a little unnecessarily and they're just settling into their new home.

Thanks again! :)



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Old 4th March 2017   #4 (permalink)
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Some of those pebbles even in the photo are plenty small enough to be eaten. Don't underestimate your axolotls before it's too late x


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Old 4th March 2017   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Great thanks I'll remove them right now! I'm really worried because his tail looks more noticeably kinked now, but other than the pebbles I can't seem to find anything detrimentally wrong! Thanks everyone for all of your help.
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Old 8th March 2017   #6 (permalink)
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Unhappy Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Not sure if this will be seen here because I am new to this site so hopefully this works! I'm just getting more and more worried because my Axies are still not eating! The tank conditions are still the same as above except the tank is a few degrees cooler. I've also removed the pebbles and tried other types of worms and still nothing! The good news is that the tail kink has definitely gotten less prominent which makes me think that that really was just a matter of adapting to a new environment. I'm not sure where to go from here! Apart from this their behaviour isn't out of the ordinary at all but I'm starting to get really worried because they show absolutely no interest in eating.



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Old 8th March 2017   #7 (permalink)
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Maybe they've swallowed a pebble, it's a real possibility unfortunately.


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Old 9th March 2017   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Pebbles are a bit too large I think, there is a slight risk of impaction.



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Old 9th March 2017   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Removing the pebbles is a great idea.
Some are definitely large enough to be accidentally consumed.
They are also very good at trapping an awful lot of muck and dirt, making cleaning and maintaining water quality very difficult.



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Old 10th March 2017   #10 (permalink)
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Red face Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Thanks heaps! Yep I took the pebbles out and now they're eating and look a lot happier! Janiel's tail has even un-kinked! Thanks a lot for everyone's help



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Old 10th March 2017   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my axolotls stressed?

Good luck!



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