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Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

This is a discussion on Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle" within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I have always wanted an axolotl, and my friend surprised me by getting me one for my birthday. However, I ...

Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate Discussions on tanks, temperature, filters, gravel, lights etc.

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Old 14th December 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

I have always wanted an axolotl, and my friend surprised me by getting me one for my birthday. However, I was not prepared enough to know how to take care of one, and tried to use all the websites and things I could when setting up his tank. The tank has black sand that I thoroughly washed, a good filter built for up to 20 gallons even though mine is a 10 gallon, and I have several plastic plants and a plastic coconut for my axie to hide in. i treated the water with water conditioner and keep it around 59-62 degrees F using a fan. My axolotl was fine for a few days, just kind of hiding in a corner as he got used to the tank, then he worked his way over to the coconut which he stayed under for most of the day and then would come out at night and wander around the other side of the tank. Twice he did this thing where he was still under the coconut, then darted out and up, swam vertically to the other side of the tank, swam up to the water, then darted back down onto the sand and stayed still. Does anyone know if that is normal or a sign of stress or anything??
Also, yesterday I came home to him sitting in a new corner of the tank, completely still, with some of his arms and legs even up, with barely any color in his gill branches anymore. He's a leucistic type and he's a baby. Now he's barely moving, and has stayed in one area of the tank completely still overnight. This isn't how he's acted the past week that I had him and I'm afraid I've done something wrong. I tested the water and it's about: GH-120 ppm, KH-180 ppm, pH- 7.5, nitrite-0.5 ppm, nitrate- 20 ppm. I also feed him frozen bloodworms which he has been loving up until this point. The first time he was not moving and I thought he was dead I dropped some bloodworms over by him and he darted out of the way. This time he just let them fall on him. If I take my forceps and nudge him a few times he'll spaz out a little and then return to being completely still. What do I do??? Is he dying? I'll post pictures below of how he looked when he was acting normal and how he looks now, taken about 3 days apart. I am also leaving school today and need to drive him back with me for 4.5 hours in the car. I'm afraid that in his fragile state, transportation will be too much for him. Opinions please? Thank you!
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Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"-img_8851.jpg   Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"-img_8897.jpg  



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Old 14th December 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

What are your other water parameters?

Ammonia
Nitrate

That black sand/gravel is really to big for him to be on. It doesn't look like it is small enough for him to be able to pass comfortably. In the second picture his belly looks really dark, and I think he may have swallowed some of it by mistake. That young he should really be kept on bare bottom tank to make sure he doesn't swallow the sand unexpectedly.



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Old 14th December 2016   #3 (permalink)
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What are your ammonia readings? Those are really the most important. Any ammonia is really bad for your axie and nitrite isn't good either. I'm assuming you didn't have time to cycle your tank since your friend got you the axolotl as a surprise. That's the unfortunate thing about getting people pets as gifts And as Wysper said the substrate looks a bit too big, bare bottom is best for babies. Also, a 10 gallon is fine for now but eventually you should upgrade to a 20 gallon long. Have you been doing regular water changes? If so how frequent and how much? If the tank is still cycling you will need more frequent water changes, maybe even daily if there is ammonia. Best of luck :)


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Old 15th December 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

Hi, the strips I got only read the ones I listed. Do I have to get new strips for that? Also: I was told at the pet store that the sand would be fine enough, but I was worried when he did start swallowing some of it when I would feed him the blood worms. I read that the sand would pass but I didn't realize this sand may be too course. I just scraped out 99% of the sand from the tank so hopefully that will help, but do you know what I can do about the sand he already swallowed?? Will it kill him or will he just digest it/throw it back up? I feel so bad I thought he would be okay I just got him a week ago today, and just took him in a small tank for a 4.5 hour trip in the car and he seems ok but he's still being very very still and not moving much, however a tiny bit of pink seems to be coming back. He only ate one of the little cluster of bloodworms that I have him though, and he hasn't eaten in 12 hours As for water changes, I just replaced all the water since I had to empty the tank, transport it, and refill it, but before that I hadn't done anything to the water, however a decent amount evaporated over the course of the week with the fan I've been using to keep the tank cool. His stomach also looks like it could be a little inflamed? It's very red and I don't remember it being that dark before but maybe that's just me. I'll attach some pictures below, thank you so much for your advice so far!!!!
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Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"-image.jpg   Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"-image.jpeg  



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Old 15th December 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

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Old 15th December 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

It might partially be not cycling your tank, but it is also very likely your nitrate levels too. Did you rinse the sand before putting it in?
Ps: To keep my nitrates down, I have a marimo moss ball and two anubias plants. Java fern works well too, along with java moss.



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Old 15th December 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

I'm glad he is eating some now, that is a good sign. Bear with me while I try to address your post. :-)

You will hear often (and from many people) that the test strips are completely useless. They do not monitor everything that needs to be checked and are many times very inaccurate (wrong) in their readings. If you can, get an API Master Freshwater Test Kit (roughly about $20-$30 are PetSmart/PetCo). They are well worth the money, and can do upwards of 180 complete tests per set. Compared to the 24 strips you get for about $10 this is a much better deal in the long run.

An adult Axolotl can live just fine on sand, the very thing small fine sand like 1mm grains. I wouldn't even put an adult on the substrate you show in your pictures, I feel it is to coarse and to large for them to handle. When they are babies (and your little one looks to be about 2-3 months old) their digestive tracts are probably smaller than the diameter of the blood worms you are feeding him. An unyielding and rough rock will not make it through easily at all and can possibly cause massive damage, internal bleeding, and death. :-(

To encourage him to pass the gravel he has already swallowed you need to keep him in cold dechlorinated fresh water daily. The lower temperature will encourage him to take a poop, and hopefully pass out any sand he swallowed. Please remove ALL of the sand from his tub/tank so you can monitor if he does poop any out, and then remove that immediately.

Are you saying that the tank you put him in a week ago did not receive ANY water changes in that whole time? A cycling tank requires daily water changes... otherwise the ammonia will build up, which will cause death. Imagine yourself sitting in a room for a week, eating and drinking... and not being allowed to go potty anywhere but in that same room with no ventilation, no fresh air, and nothing being removed..... Water changes are important. How large is his normal tank?

Can you post more pictures of his little belly? I'm concerned..



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Old 15th December 2016   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

Yeah, the best thing to do is either switch your little friend to a separate tank to grow, or switch to bare bottom. You can also do a slate bottom tank too.
I'd probably switch your axolotl to a separate tank that has been cycled while you cycle your main tank. An alternative is to board your axie at a vet.



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Old 16th December 2016   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

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Originally Posted by Purpletotodile View Post
It might partially be not cycling your tank, but it is also very likely your nitrate levels too. Did you rinse the sand before putting it in?
Ps: To keep my nitrates down, I have a marimo moss ball and two anubias plants. Java fern works well too, along with java moss.
hi yes i rinsed the sand pretty well before putting it in! I was told not to get live plants because axolotls don't like a lot of light and the plants wouldn't have enough light to grow



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Old 16th December 2016   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wysper View Post
I'm glad he is eating some now, that is a good sign. Bear with me while I try to address your post. :-)

You will hear often (and from many people) that the test strips are completely useless. They do not monitor everything that needs to be checked and are many times very inaccurate (wrong) in their readings. If you can, get an API Master Freshwater Test Kit (roughly about $20-$30 are PetSmart/PetCo). They are well worth the money, and can do upwards of 180 complete tests per set. Compared to the 24 strips you get for about $10 this is a much better deal in the long run.

An adult Axolotl can live just fine on sand, the very thing small fine sand like 1mm grains. I wouldn't even put an adult on the substrate you show in your pictures, I feel it is to coarse and to large for them to handle. When they are babies (and your little one looks to be about 2-3 months old) their digestive tracts are probably smaller than the diameter of the blood worms you are feeding him. An unyielding and rough rock will not make it through easily at all and can possibly cause massive damage, internal bleeding, and death. :-(

To encourage him to pass the gravel he has already swallowed you need to keep him in cold dechlorinated fresh water daily. The lower temperature will encourage him to take a poop, and hopefully pass out any sand he swallowed. Please remove ALL of the sand from his tub/tank so you can monitor if he does poop any out, and then remove that immediately.

Are you saying that the tank you put him in a week ago did not receive ANY water changes in that whole time? A cycling tank requires daily water changes... otherwise the ammonia will build up, which will cause death. Imagine yourself sitting in a room for a week, eating and drinking... and not being allowed to go potty anywhere but in that same room with no ventilation, no fresh air, and nothing being removed..... Water changes are important. How large is his normal tank?

Can you post more pictures of his little belly? I'm concerned..

Do you know what the range for all the reading of water quality is supposed to be? And all the sand is out, just a few little pieces here and there that I couldn't get. The water is 15.6 C and thats the lowest I can stably get it since the fan on it is on full blast. I didn't realize I'd have to do water changes every day, how much do I change daily? The tank with plants is his normal tank, and it's 10 gallons. The tiny one was just a carrying tank so he couldn't splash around in the car.



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Old 16th December 2016   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wysper View Post
I'm glad he is eating some now, that is a good sign. Bear with me while I try to address your post. :-)

You will hear often (and from many people) that the test strips are completely useless. They do not monitor everything that needs to be checked and are many times very inaccurate (wrong) in their readings. If you can, get an API Master Freshwater Test Kit (roughly about $20-$30 are PetSmart/PetCo). They are well worth the money, and can do upwards of 180 complete tests per set. Compared to the 24 strips you get for about $10 this is a much better deal in the long run.

An adult Axolotl can live just fine on sand, the very thing small fine sand like 1mm grains. I wouldn't even put an adult on the substrate you show in your pictures, I feel it is to coarse and to large for them to handle. When they are babies (and your little one looks to be about 2-3 months old) their digestive tracts are probably smaller than the diameter of the blood worms you are feeding him. An unyielding and rough rock will not make it through easily at all and can possibly cause massive damage, internal bleeding, and death. :-(

To encourage him to pass the gravel he has already swallowed you need to keep him in cold dechlorinated fresh water daily. The lower temperature will encourage him to take a poop, and hopefully pass out any sand he swallowed. Please remove ALL of the sand from his tub/tank so you can monitor if he does poop any out, and then remove that immediately.

Are you saying that the tank you put him in a week ago did not receive ANY water changes in that whole time? A cycling tank requires daily water changes... otherwise the ammonia will build up, which will cause death. Imagine yourself sitting in a room for a week, eating and drinking... and not being allowed to go potty anywhere but in that same room with no ventilation, no fresh air, and nothing being removed..... Water changes are important. How large is his normal tank?

Can you post more pictures of his little belly? I'm concerned..

Do you know what the range for all the reading of water quality is supposed to be? And all the sand is out, just a few little pieces here and there that I couldn't get. The water is 15.6 C and thats the lowest I can stably get it since the fan on it is on full blast. I didn't realize I'd have to do water changes every day, how much do I change daily? The tank with plants is his normal tank, and it's 10 gallons. The tiny one was just a carrying tank so he couldn't splash around in the car. I posted 2 more pictures below, the one with the sand is from about 4-5 days ago when he was acting normal, and the one with the plant (fell off) behind him I just took.
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Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"-img_8924.jpg   Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"-img_8845.jpg  



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Old 16th December 2016   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

It does look like the sand that was in his stomach in the older picture is gone from the second one though



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Old 17th December 2016   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

After you test your water with a reliable test kit (not strips) change as much water needed to bring those toxic levels down. When mine was cycling sometimes I did 100% a day, sometimes 50%. It just depends. If you haven't been able to get a better test kit I would go ahead and do a 50% water change with fresh cool dechlorinated/treated water everyday. Just my opinion.



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Old 17th December 2016   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

But what do I do now that he's not moving? He will stay in one spot indefinitely until I poke him with something gently a few times and then he wriggles in response and stops again. He also stopped eating yesterday too. The water seems fine and I've been doing about 10% water changes daily.



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Old 18th December 2016   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl won't move-not sure if it's because I didn't "cycle"

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But what do I do now that he's not moving? He will stay in one spot indefinitely until I poke him with something gently a few times and then he wriggles in response and stops again. He also stopped eating yesterday too. The water seems fine and I've been doing about 10% water changes daily.
When you say "the water seems fine" how do you know?



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