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View Full Version : Male just mated and isn't eating


Lusak
1st June 2008, 17:50
We have two axies: a male and a female, and up until now we've kept them apart. Unfortunately we recently had to move them together into the same tank, and right away our male, Grendel, started going through mating behavior. His cloaca swelled up by about 30% and within a couple days we had to start cleaning spermatophores out of the tank frequently. He seems to be done, but I'm worried about him now. He hasn't eaten in six days and his tail is curved at the tip, so I think he's stressed. I've heard that axolotls sometimes go a little while without eating, but he's always been so ravenous and now takes no interest in food. This is complicated because there have been so many recent changes:


He was moved into a new tank with a new tankmate
He just finished mating
Up until yesterday he hadn't made any poo for about a week and a half, and seemed constipated. He finally managed to get that out of his system, though.
We just added an airstone for aeration and to give them something interesting to play around with (they seem to enjoy it), but it does create a bit more water flow
Unlike our other axolotl, he barely has any gills. His last owner took terrible care of him and his gills had shrunk down to nubs. Because of this, I'm worried that he may be more susceptible to water quality issues.

Because I know people usually ask, here are the tank stats:

pH: ~7
ammonia, nitrite, nitrate: 0
substrate: sand
water temp: currently about 23 degrees Celsius, normally about 20
filter: yes, on low power

Any suggestions? I considered isolating him in a smaller tank temporarily, but would that just put him under more stress?

Jacquie
2nd June 2008, 04:46
Hi,

23 degrees celcius is too hot, you need to lower that tank temperature as soon as possible. Axies optimum temperature is 14 to 18 degrees celcius. They will tolerate up to 20, anything higher than 20 is dangerous to their health.

How large is your tank?

With the gills down as stubs, this just means the axie will breath more by gulping at the surface for air.

When you say 'they seem to enjoy the airstone' - how are they behaving? Your assumption they are having fun may actually mean they are stressed. Axies when at the adult stage prefer still water and spend much of their time doing as little as possible - I don't think they will grieve if you remove the airstone - if you've had to turn the filter down I would say that is more than sufficient to aerate the water.

Leaving the airstone in may also cause your other axie to lose her gill fluffiness as the gills will recede due to the excessive amount of aeration in the water.

He sounds stressed out of his gills with all the changes and the tank temperature, I would give him a vacation in the fridge. Pop him in a tub of fresh dechorinated water, set fridge to about 5 degrees celcius (no lower), cover tub with a teatowel so he is not disturbed by fridge being opened and closed and leave him in there for as long as needed. Also place bottles of fresh dechlorinated water in the fridge - these will be used for 100% water changes which will need to be done daily.

If you can't get the temp down in the tank, then I would also move the other axie into the fridge.

This article provides many cooling methods:
http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/cooling.shtml

Cheers jacq.

Lusak
2nd June 2008, 14:18
Thanks for your thorough response!

23 degrees celcius is too hot, you need to lower that tank temperature as soon as possible. Axies optimum temperature is 14 to 18 degrees celcius. They will tolerate up to 20, anything higher than 20 is dangerous to their health.
We've been struggling with the water temperature problem for quite a while. My girlfriend works in a lab which is climate controlled, but the temperature still tends to hover around 21 Celsius. We'll definitely try some of the cooling techniques mentioned in that article.

How large is your tank?It's a 20 gallon tank, and we keep the water about 12 inches high. Any lower and our filter doesn't work.

When you say 'they seem to enjoy the airstone' - how are they behaving?They like to sit near it, sometimes letting the bubbles stream up around their gills. Grendel (the one with no gills) seems especially drawn to it.

He sounds stressed out of his gills with all the changes and the tank temperature, I would give him a vacation in the fridge. Pop him in a tub of fresh dechorinated water, set fridge to about 5 degrees celcius (no lower), cover tub with a teatowel so he is not disturbed by fridge being opened and closed and leave him in there for as long as needed. Also place bottles of fresh dechlorinated water in the fridge - these will be used for 100% water changes which will need to be done daily.Thanks for the advice. The only thing I'm worried about with the fridge is that it's not always very reliable when it comes to temperature. I'll see what I can do, though. You said to leave him in there for as long as needed - how would I know when to take him out? Regarding the 100% water changes... how do I change all of the water if he's still in the tub? Should I move him out before performing the change?

If you can't get the temp down in the tank, then I would also move the other axie into the fridge.This is definitely an option for us. Our other axie, Quetzalcoatl, seems to be hardier than Grendel, but she's been acting a little stressed recently too. I'll see what I can do.


Thanks again,

-Ryan

Lusak
2nd June 2008, 16:16
Grendel was looking pale this morning. We put him in a separate smaller tank for now and added some frozen bottles of water. When we first moved him, he seemed like he was trying to throw up - heaving repeatedly for a few minutes. The temperature is down to 19 Celsius and dropping, and he seems to be calming down and is already acting a little more responsive. We'll try refrigerating him tonight.

Jacquie
3rd June 2008, 02:43
It's a 20 gallon tank, and we keep the water about 12 inches high. Any lower and our filter doesn't work.

That's good. Water volume assists in keeping the tank temp down - the more water in the tank the better.

Thanks for the advice. The only thing I'm worried about with the fridge is that it's not always very reliable when it comes to temperature. I'll see what I can do, though. You said to leave him in there for as long as needed - how would I know when to take him out?

It depends what is causing the high tank temperature. Axies can live quite happily in the fridge for a few months if the cause is hot weather for example and they need to reside in the fridge until the heat passes. In Australia our hot spells can last months.

The fridge does slow the axie's metabolism, you will find the axie will not eat much - if anything at all while in the fridge.

When axie is ready to move back into the tank, float his container on the surface of the tank to balance the temperature between them and then lift him out and pop him in tank.

Regarding the 100% water changes... how do I change all of the water if he's still in the tub? Should I move him out before performing the change?

There are a few methods.

The method I use is to make up another tub using the fridged water and pick the axie up with a large shallow net and gently raise out of the water that needs changing, move net over the other tub with the fresh water and gently pop axie in...I then apologise to axie when given a dirty look. :o

Vader will occasionally turn around and asert himself by biting me - I'm sure he is just reassuring me he is all right...ungrateful little sod.

If you don't have multi tubs, Just lift him out with the net, pour out the water and rinse out any accumulated waste, and then replace water with the fridged dechlorinated water and lower him in.

Grendel was looking pale this morning. We put him in a separate smaller tank for now and added some frozen bottles of water. When we first moved him, he seemed like he was trying to throw up - heaving repeatedly for a few minutes. The temperature is down to 19 Celsius and dropping, and he seems to be calming down and is already acting a little more responsive. We'll try refrigerating him tonight.

Be careful when applying ice bottles. Sudden changes in temperature can throw axie into shock and stress. Ice bottles are a temporary fix to tank temperature problems - the advantage of the fridge is that the water is kept at a constant level.

Are your temperature problems being caused by hot weather?

If the other axolotl is showing signs of temperature stress as well, move her into the fridge.

Oops, that's what I was going to ask! What are you feeding them? ;) Serves me right for doing this from work....

Keep us posted, Cheers Jacq.

ianclick
3rd June 2008, 04:52
Hi Ryan,

From your water parameters your tank hasn't cycled yet, You would need to be doing 20-30% water changes every second or third day until it has.

I wouldn't rush to the fridge just yet, it can take a couple of days for an axie to acclimatise to a new habitat. So I would wait for a few days. Although fridging definitely won't hurt it may well be unnecessary.

Lusak
3rd June 2008, 13:27
Thanks for the help, both of you. So far he's doing okay. We got the temp down to 15C with frozen bottles, and he seems more like his usual self. He still spits out any pellets we give him, but he ate a few frozen bloodworms, so I'm feeling much better.

You guys are a great help!