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Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl

This is a discussion on Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I've had my axolotl, Brutus, for about two years now. I've been fridging him for about 3 weeks now due ...

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

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Old 20th June 2014   #1 (permalink)
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Default White tipped gills on axolotl?

I've had my axolotl, Brutus, for about two years now. I've been fridging him for about 3 weeks now due to my apartment being too hot for him to live in his aquarium. I change his water daily and feed him frozen bloodworms every 3-4 days. I went to feed him two days ago and he wouldn't eat, other than that he looked fine. Yesterday I came home and went to feed him and noticed he had some white cottony spots on his gills and he still refused to eat. As I was looking up information, he either pooped or spit up two servings of bloodworms that were given to him a week ago. He now looks very skinny, as he looked to be a normal size before. What can I do to help him? Is a salt bath required in this situation? Any help would be greatly appreciated

I took these photos right after he had relieved himself of the bloodworms. Some of them are still in the water in this picture (the stringy little red bits) I have changed his water and removed them.
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Old 20th June 2014   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: White tipped gills on axolotl?

That looks like frostbite to me - what temp is your fridge? Too cold and your axie will lose circulation in the extremeties, and the ability to digest food due to a super-slow metabolism - hence the upchucking.

And 3 weeks is a long time to be in the fridge - whats the ambient temp in your apartment? It may be worth trying to keep your tank cool with fans and ice bottles instead of fridging.



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Old 20th June 2014   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: White tipped gills on axolotl?

His water temp is at about 9 degrees Celsius. Is that too cold for the fridge?
As for my apartment, the temperature is hovering around 82 but there's not a lot
of circulation so it's humid and stuffy. His aquarium is in the living room, I bought a fan for the top of the aquarium and pointed another floor fan at the aquarium and his tank temp still hovered around 80 degrees. I plan on buying an ac for the living room but haven't saved enough money yet. There's no room for the tank in any other part of the apartment. Hopefully this helps.



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Old 24th June 2014   #4 (permalink)
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Default Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl

I posted on here a few days ago, but didn't get a solution so I'm trying again to help my poor Brutus

He's been in the fridge for a few weeks now due to it being too hot in my apartment. I change his water at least once a day, although its been more like twice a day now because of whatever is ailing him. Water in the fridge is about 8 degrees celsius.

His skin looks like its flaking, his gills were whiter but they look to be slightly better than they did a few days ago although one of his gills still looks white and cottony. His tail is slightly red and veiny looking. He did eat yesterday which was the first time in about a week so he's looking very skinny at the moment. I want to know if anyone has any advice on how I can help my poor guy, or if anyone knows what's wrong. I'm afraid to give him a salt bath if it is not a fungus that's hurting him. Please help!
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Old 24th June 2014   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl

8 Celsius is about 48 Fahrenheit I think. I think that's too cold. If you're keeping him in a smaller container it should be easier to keep it cool with a fan and water bottles. I don't think you want him under 55F. Good luck and hope Brutus gets better soon.



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Old 24th June 2014   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl

I believe about 10 degrees is ideal for an axolotl to heal in the fridge, but normal fridging guidelines are 5 to 8 degrees (the human food spoils if it's higher!), so I would be surprised if excessive cold is the problem, unless your fridge has cold spots, which many do (there are places in mine where things freeze solid). Have you put a thermometer in his tub to check the actual water temp (I presume you have)?
I'm sure you're aware fridging slows the metabolism and the appetite will be much reduced, but the lotl definitely doesn't look like its starving and it is still taking food occasionally, so I wouldn't be too worried about that in the short term.
That white cottony look at the beginning did resemble fungus, but as an earlier post suggested, I think it was almost certainly atrophy and loss of his gill filaments. So I think you are right - a salt bath would hurt rather than help.
Instead, you could try a tea bath (make a cup of tea with dechlorinated water and one tea bag of normal black unflavoured tea for each 10 litres of water, then let it cool and simply add it to the tub). This may soothe his skin, especially if he is shedding his slime coat, and also has a mildly antifungal effect. Normally, I would suggest Indian almond leaves, but do not do this just in case you do have to give him salt baths or other medications, as the IALs can make it harder for that to get through his skin. So the tea bath is more appropriate for your circumstances. You can replace the tea each day for a week or so when you do the daily water change.
With what looks like loss of his gill filaments, and if you think he is shedding his slime layer, I'm just wondering what has caused this. You are no doubt doing daily 100% water changes while he's in the fridge, with dechlorinated water you've kept in the fridge so it's at the same temperature as his tub, so I am presuming there is no possibility that the water has dangerous levels of ammonia in it, especially if he's not eating or pooping much or at all. I'm hoping other more experienced members will have some ideas on this question.
PS When Brutus comes out of the fridge, could I suggest you try switching him to earthworms? Frozen bloodworms do not provide adequate nutrition for an adult axie. Worms do, plus they're cheap (especially if you have a worm farm) and do not soil the tank.




Last edited by Sweetie; 24th June 2014 at 11:28. Reason: Added PS
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Old 25th June 2014   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl

Thanks for your reply Sweetie!
His water has been at a constant 8 degrees celsius. I keep him in the same spot in the fridge and monitor the temperature twice daily.
I change his water twice daily with water thats kept in the fridge and treated with aquasafe.

I will start the tea baths tomorrow. Should I move him back to his tank or keep him in the fridge still? Is there anything I could do to help him heal his gill filaments? Again, thanks so much for your help!



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Old 25th June 2014   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please help! I don't know what's wrong with my axolotl

How hot is your apartment? If you think you can keep the tank below 20 degrees celcius, I see no reason why you shouldn't return Brutus to his tank. Remember to bring him slowly up to tank temperature by sitting his (covered) tub somewhere quiet for a couple of hours. You can add the tea directly to his tank - one cup per 10 litres of tank water (remember to make the tea with dechlorinated water). Add more when you do water changes - use the water colour as a guide.
The best thing you can do to assist the gill regeneration is keep his water clean and cool. Monitor the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates carefully and keep his temperature as stable as possible. Feed him lots of lovely worms - bloodworms really don't provide balanced nutrition for an adult axie and he needs lots of good food to heal - and his natural powers of regeneration should do their magic.



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