View Full Version : Illness/Sickness: Help. My axolotl's legs look weird

17th February 2011, 04:25
My boyfriend's Leucistic (pink body w/ black eyes) Axolotl is having a problem with his/her legs on the left side of his/her body. It is holding the front one back at a weird angle, and it seems to be relying only on it's right side to move around, holding its left side still. The tip of its tail also looks as if something has happened to it.

There is another axolotl in the tank with it, a wild colored axolotl, though nothing is wrong with it. There is also a bristlenose pleco in the tank. All three have been in the tank together since the beginning of December. Before that there was a tank divider due to the fact that the pink axolotl was very young. (just trying to give some background information)

The current temperature of the tank is 70-71 degrees. And my boyfriend wants me to note that yesterday when he was feeding the axolotl its legs were not messed up.

Here are some pictures:


If anyone could help with any suggestions that would be really great.

17th February 2011, 04:37
What are the water parameters? Also you should know bristlenose pleco's are not appropriate tank mates of axolotls. they've been known to attack fish's slime coats

17th February 2011, 04:45
We haven't seen the bristlenose do anything before (and my boyfriend says he has had bristlenoses in the past that have acted fine), but we'll keep that in mind. Also we don't know the parameters right now because we don't have the proper kit to test the water with, he will most likely buy one tomorrow.

We were just hoping someone might have a guess as to what the problem is without knowing the parameters. But we will post them as soon as we find out.

17th February 2011, 13:09
The first things I think about is:
- The other tank mate did it or
- A weird infection┐

Sadly I can't say more but I'll keep my eye on this one because I once had an axie with weird 'unknown' reddish feet... Also two like yours.

17th February 2011, 13:35
Looks like bristlenose damage to me. Bristlenose are mostly vegetarian but like the odd but of protein and will eat ANYTHING that looks like it could be food and are known to be a little territorial. I've had a bristlenose have a suck on a very large clown loach before, it wasn't pretty and needless to say the BN didn't remain in the tank for much longer after that little incident.
Let's not forget the lovely little retractable hooks they have as well, you know, the ones they throw out when you net them that make it hard to get them out of the net again. Those could do a goodly bit of damage should an axie annoy it or choose to have a nibble. :eek:

Whether it was the Pleco that did the damage this time or not I'd have that guy out of there before disaster struck.

17th February 2011, 15:06
It sounds very similar to my Roscoes front leg.. He holds it clamped against his body the majority of the time, but yet sometimes he seems to move it, albeit with restricted movement.

I was very worried for a while, took him to the vet, but it appears to simply be a developmental issue - that leg is smaller than the others. According to the vet, it's 'just the way he is' and it isn't growing properly. He has no tail problems and no redness with his leg like your axie though.

So, I really couldn't say for sure if that is the case with your axolotl, I would definitely trust everyones advice on removing the bristlenose, it's just not worth the risk to your axie - even if this problem isn't anything to do with it, you can remove any potential future damage.

I've attached a photo of Roscoe and his leg...

I hope it's something that will heal up when you remove the fish.

(Or if it's like my Roscoe, he'll just have to be a bit of an acrobat ;))

17th February 2011, 16:06
I completely agree about the bristlenose being an unsuitable tank mate for axolotl. I am wondering if the feet have been nipped by the tank mate. I would keep a very close eye that the condition does not change. Keep your damaged axolotl in clean cool water and let us know how its doing.

18th February 2011, 02:46
Hello all,

This is the boyfriend here. Here's the update, along with some other facts:

I will admit, I probably should have done some research on the bristlenose compatibility, however, in my defense, I have owned them with various species of fish off and on for 5 or 6 years without any type of mishap or injury due to plecos. I have removed the pleco from the tank, so hopefully this won't happen again. On a positive note, I just got home from work and checked out the tank, and my axolotl is no longer keeping his injured legs tucked in towards his body (they are still mighty ugly, but I take this sign of using his legs as a positive). I am about to do a partial water change as well. However, I was unable to go to the local aquarium store and pick up a testing kit before it closed for the evening, so I will hopefully be able to make it out tomorrow or Saturday.

I'm still partially confused about the tail injury though. Someone had posted that it may be due to a tankmate nibbling on it, but the only other creature in the tank is another axolotl (excluding the pleco, because plecos do not have the jaw structure to bite and chew). Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thank you all for the advice and comments.

18th February 2011, 02:59
Another axolotl could have nipped his tail, likely sensing the movement as food and just snapping at it, thus taking off a small chunk of tail with it.

18th February 2011, 03:07
I'm glad the pleco is out now :happy: They are absolutely beautiful fish (Yeah I know I'm a little odd) and fascinating to watch just not a great tank mate for an axie ;)

Using the leg is a GREAT sign :happy:

Axies will snap at each other especially when there is food around. They are extremely motion activated hunters. If you little white guys tail was near the others head and it twitched it's entirely possible and highly likely that it would have had a little snap at it. More out of reflex than malice. It's common but if it's turns into a regular occurrence or could be called bullying you may want to consider separating them for a while.
The good news is it should grow back just fine given time and good water conditions :happy:
Sometimes axies can hurt themselves on elements in the tank as well. Scraping their sides on rocks or logs, getting toes/tails stuck between things and swimming into the edges of things for example. My big girl gave herself a nice big bruise on her nose one night when she was startled and took off and slammed right into the other end of the tank :rolleyes:

Don't panic about the test kit. Any problems it could have shown you tonight will likely be taken care of by the water change you are doing anyway.

18th February 2011, 03:15
Okay, those are all reassuring. Although I SLIGHTLY spoke too soon with my earlier post. While the front leg is being used now, the hind leg is actually still being kept close to the body (should I be concerned?). As previously mentioned, he's now using his front leg as if nothing had happened, so hopefully the hind leg can recover in a similar manner.

18th February 2011, 03:42
Axolotls have amazing abilities to recover from injury and it should be just fine in time. All you nee to watch out for is if any of the wounds start to look fuzzy at all, like they have a little cotton wool stuck on there. That is fungus and would need to be taken care of rather swiftly. You can do that with salt baths twice a day until it's gone. There are dozens of threads on the board about how to do it so I won't add this one to the list by posting it here ;) especially since I can't see any there at present.

18th February 2011, 03:49
Thank you all for the advice. If any changes happen, I'll make sure and keep everyone updated.

18th February 2011, 17:43
Alright, well, things have changed today. I just got home from classes, and the injured front leg that my axolotl had started using last night is now gone below the elbow joint. He's still keeping his back leg tucked extremely close to his body. The only other thing in the tank was my other axolotl, and based off of the website they were puchased from, they should have been out of the cannibalistic state back in December. Is there anyway to curb the bullying? I've noticed the other axolotl (who is slightly larger) occassionally nip my injured axolotl, but it never seemed like anything malicious. It was usually when they were in close proximity to each other, and usually came after a quick movement from the axolotls.

I've put my injured axolotl in the fridge, as I'm hoping that the cooler environment would at least reduce some of the stress. I do have a tank divider from when they were still canniballistic. Does anyone have any thoughts after this turn of events?

21st February 2011, 22:00
If they were my axies I would personally keep them seperated permanently as those are nasty injuries and its not only painful for the guy thats getting bullied but stressful aswell. Sadly some axies dont all get along but hopefully if your tank is big enough then you can keep the divider in or maybe think about getting a second tank if not. Other than that only other option is to rehome which I know a few people on here have had to do for the same reasons.

Hope your little guy gets better :happy:

21st February 2011, 23:31
I suspect they will need to be separated for a while. How big is their tank ?

22nd February 2011, 11:57
bristlenose plecos need a temperature of 70 to 80 and axolotls need temps of 57 to 68 so of course they need to be separated permanently. You're housing one of the other in the wrong environment. I'm surprised no-one mentioned temperature before. What's more if you're keeping the temperature to the comfort of the pleco, this could be why your axolotl is displaying odd behavior, and may lead to fungus on the wound or in general.