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Swampie
26th January 2014, 19:38
I have 2 axies, both are about 6 inches. They were both doing well, growing, and flourishing. They were eating thawed bloodworm cubes, and both had a great feeding response.

I admit, I have been laxed on water changes, so I did about a 50% water change. I fed them later, but they didn't eat (this is NOT normal). The next day when I got home from work my wild type was floating at the top, ON HIS SIDE! He cannot seem to right himself, at this point my leucistic was fine, so I took out the Wild type and put him in a plastic tub, with fresh water and reptisafe added. I noticed he had lost some gills, they were on the floor of the tub.

The next day my leucistic started to float, but is not having the problem with keeping himself upright. His color is pallid, and I've noticed his blood vessels. I could never see them before, but they are noticable now. He is not eating, i've tried offering food twice to both of them. The wild type has eaten a bite both times.

I'm doing 50% changes on the tub each day, and have the water level low so that they can both reach the floor, to reduce stress. I also have the tub covered with a towel to keep it dark.

The wild type is showing signs of improvement, he's more active than he was. The leucistic seems to be getting worse.


1.)I have them in a 10g (I know it's small, and have bought a 20g, just haven't moved them up yet)

2.) They have an in tank filter, with baffles on both the intake and output to prevent too much water flow.

3.) I use Reptisafe water conditioner with each water change, or when adding new water.

4.) I use a clean water jug to pour their treated water into the tank, and have always done such.

5.) I have no clue to the water parameters, I had no idea how important they were at the time. :(

6.) The water reads 64.5 F with my infared temp gun.


What can I do to help them recover? Can they recover? Could this be Gas bubble disease?

I have read multiple threads on this site, but none have covered all of the symptoms that they are experiencing so I wanted to start a new thread to ensure I can do all I can to remedy this problem.

Sorry so long, just wanted to include all important information. Thanks in advance. I'm absolutely sick, I love my little guys/girls. Please help.

Swampie
26th January 2014, 20:16
...and the wildtype must have regurgitated his food, because I had removed all uneaten worms, and just checked on them and there were worms in the bottom of the tub.

Elise
26th January 2014, 20:51
Can you help me understand better how they are kept and where they are currently? Are they normally in an aquarium or a tub? Are your axolotls separated or together right now? How much water, in terms of volume, are currently held in? Is the filter you use cycled?

How long have you had your axolotls?

Do you have another means to measure temperature? Infrared thermometers have an average error of a few degrees and don't actually measure the water column.

Also can you include some pictures of both axolotls and where you are keeping them?

HayleyK
26th January 2014, 21:17
At that size they should be on earthworms, not blood worms. Bloodworms are messy and can easily foul up the water leading to bad water quality = illness.

I can't stress how important testing kits are, get the liquid kits as strips often do not give a correct reading. Your tank should read 0 ammonia and nitrITE, and under 40ppm nitrATE. If these readings are higher, it is most likely your water condition making them ill. If it's just the nitrates that are high do a big water change. If the others a high you have not cycled your tank and need to do 10-20% water changes daily.

As for your axolotls in tubs, I'm guessing they're rather small. You need to be doing 100% water changes and scrubbing the tub with hot water (whilst your axolotl is in another tub of course!). Ensure you're using the right amount of dechlorinator (can you elaborate on reptisafe, I've never heard of it - what does it claim to do?) with water, and avoid just dunking it into the tank (if the axolotls are in the tank) as temperature changes can shock axolotls.

Lastly - are they pooping at all?

Kaini
26th January 2014, 22:06
Ensure you're using the right amount of dechlorinator (can you elaborate on reptisafe, I've never heard of it - what does it claim to do?)

Dropping in - Reptisafe is what I use in my lotl tank, I heard from a breeder it was fine. Actually curious if that's true or not - I can easily switch to using API stress coat.

It's meant for terrarium water bowls (amphibians, hermit crabs, snakes) etc.

Reading off the bottle -

-instantly removes chlorine and chloramines
- removes (I assume that actually means detoxifies - No3 to No4) ammonia and helps prevent it's accumulation
- adds essential electrolytes
-aids in rehydrating new arrivals
-stimulates slime coat development providing a natural protective barrier for all types of amphibians
-reduces PH

So there you go.

HayleyK
26th January 2014, 22:16
Dropping in - Reptisafe is what I use in my lotl tank, I heard from a breeder it was fine. Actually curious if that's true or not - I can easily switch to using API stress coat.

It's meant for terrarium water bowls (amphibians, hermit crabs, snakes) etc.

Reading off the bottle -

-instantly removes chlorine and chloramines
- removes (I assume that actually means detoxifies - No3 to No4) ammonia and helps prevent it's accumulation
- adds essential electrolytes
-aids in rehydrating new arrivals
-stimulates slime coat development providing a natural protective barrier for all types of amphibians
-reduces PH

So there you go.

I've never heard of it here. Out if curiosity are there any better options to use to treat aquarium water since that treats drinking water? Like that one specifies making water drinkable. I'm sure they do the same thing and wouldn't affect them but I would prefer an actual aquarium dechlorinator. Also axolotls like higher pH, so it could affect their water preference.

Swampie
26th January 2014, 22:54
Thank you for the replies

Typically they're together in a full 10g, I moved them into a plastic tub to be able to do quick water changes.

I make sure to put enough decholrinator (reptisafe) in the water jug that im using to fill the tank for each jug. Then pour it in. This is something that I already had on hand since I keep other Reptiles, and asked the breeder if it was okay. What would you recommend? Is Stress Coat a better option?

I've had them since about November I would say. I kept them for about 2 months without a filter, and with a lower water level. When they got larger I decided that a smaller filter with baffles would be better to keep the tank clean. I also filled the tank up to about 2" from the top at that point.

The day that we tried to feed them, before the floating started, there were some REALLY big poops in the tank. I mean so big that I remember them, so you know they were pretty good size. They haven't pooped in 2 days.

How do you go about feeding them earthworms? Whole, or cut in half? They are not big enough to be able to eat a whole one.

Do you recommend separating them? They've never shown alot of aggression toward one another, so I never thought about it being an issue. They're pretty inactive right now, so they have plenty of room. They are in the largest plastic tub that you can get in the kitchen/food section of the store. It has more surface area than a plastic shoe box.

HayleyK
26th January 2014, 23:08
Thank you for the replies

Typically they're together in a full 10g, I moved them into a plastic tub to be able to do quick water changes.

I make sure to put enough decholrinator (reptisafe) in the water jug that im using to fill the tank for each jug. Then pour it in. This is something that I already had on hand since I keep other Reptiles, and asked the breeder if it was okay. What would you recommend? Is Stress Coat a better option?

I've had them since about November I would say. I kept them for about 2 months without a filter, and with a lower water level. When they got larger I decided that a smaller filter with baffles would be better to keep the tank clean. I also filled the tank up to about 2" from the top at that point.

The day that we tried to feed them, before the floating started, there were some REALLY big poops in the tank. I mean so big that I remember them, so you know they were pretty good size. They haven't pooped in 2 days.

How do you go about feeding them earthworms? Whole, or cut in half? They are not big enough to be able to eat a whole one.

Do you recommend separating them? They've never shown alot of aggression toward one another, so I never thought about it being an issue. They're pretty inactive right now, so they have plenty of room. They are in the largest plastic tub that you can get in the kitchen/food section of the store. It has more surface area than a plastic shoe box.

I would bump them up to the 20g as soon as possible. 10 is just too small especially getting bigger.

I've never used reptisafe, not sure what it's like. I've never had problems with prime, others have used stress coat that works well.

With the filter it needs to run 4 times the amount of your tank for it to work effeciently (of course the flow needs to be gentle).

Was their poop a normal consistency? My axolotl floated constantly even though she popped but they were rock hard. What is their weight like, also?

You can buy different sized but setting up a worm farm (check out auntiejudes post in general discussions) will be your best option. If they're unable to take it, cut it to a suitable length. I've been feeding my babies (they started at about 2") earthworms cut up into tiny pieces.

If one axolotl is improving, I would separate just to avoid illness/stress. Also it's good to monitor whose eating and pooping.

Swampie
26th January 2014, 23:09
http://i41.tinypic.com/2vu0fhs.jpg

http://i42.tinypic.com/2m3od34.jpg

Swampie
26th January 2014, 23:12
I've purchased a 20g L but was afraid of putting them in it and adding more stress. They're not too bad looking in the pics, but I can really tell the difference in behavior, and especially the Leucistics coloration, he's not a pretty pink but more dull.

The filter I have is a 10i-30i Whisper Internal filter.

Their poops were pretty normal, they were kinda mealy I guess like usual. Just really large.

Is this inability to stay upright going to be a permanent thing? They don't look bloated, but do look thinner.

Separating them makes sense. It was more of a like "oh **** now the pink ones doing it too! I gotta get him outta there" situation.

Also, I had some of those moss balls floating in there with them, made by Fluval, that are supposed to absorb ammonia?

HayleyK
26th January 2014, 23:37
I've purchased a 20g L but was afraid of putting them in it and adding more stress. They're not too bad looking in the pics, but I can really tell the difference in behavior, and especially the Leucistics coloration, he's not a pretty pink but more dull.

The filter I have is a 10i-30i Whisper Internal filter.

Their poops were pretty normal, they were kinda mealy I guess like usual. Just really large.

Is this inability to stay upright going to be a permanent thing? They don't look bloated, but do look thinner.

Separating them makes sense. It was more of a like "oh **** now the pink ones doing it too! I gotta get him outta there" situation.

Also, I had some of those moss balls floating in there with them, made by Fluval, that are supposed to absorb ammonia?

Of course - add them into the 20 when they're better (I just assumed you had it sitting there for a while).

I would keep them in their tubs for now, just monitor their eating and pooping as well as water readings. Also try to get their weight up they look on the slim side. Their body should be as wide as their heads :)


The floating on the side is strange, but usual floating here and there (if they're straight) isn't a problem some axies like to float and if they have no trouble getting to the bottom of the tank I wouldn't worry so much.

Plants do help with the nitrogen cycle but you still need to regularly check water readings especially since there's two in a small tank (more waste/less water) and feeding bloodworms are messy, and causes fouling of the water.

I forgot to ask - are there pebbles, gravel etc in the tank they can swallow? Even feeding off the ground looking for bloodworms on sand can cause impaction.

Swampie
26th January 2014, 23:54
No, I have a bare bottom tank, with larger sized rocks scattered (nothing they could fit in their mouths).

The Wild Type was doing an "alligator death roll" when I was trying to scoop him up. I was very concerned about that.

They have slimmed considerably in the past few days. I will try earth worms. Is this something I can buy at a pet store, or will I need to go to a bait shop? Im sure there are instructions on how to clean them before I get them ready for eating.

HayleyK
26th January 2014, 23:58
Try a pet store, or your local greenhouse. You can also get then from your garden as long as you don't use chemicals or pesticides. Run under the tap to rinse off the dirt and dinner is served :D. If they aren't used to squirming movements they can occassionally spit it out. Try blanching the worm under hot water for few seconds the run under cold water.

If the wildtypes condition doesn't improve I would fridge him, and search for a vet. The fridge will slow down his metabolism and slow down weightloss.

Swampie
27th January 2014, 00:31
Thank you so much for helping out! I will go get another tub tomorrow. Is it still okay to give the bloodworms as a treat? I have a whole card left and would hate for them to go to waste.

I will try to keep yall updated on their condition.

Oh yeah, btw. What temp is okay for fridging? Is there such a thing as too cold?

Boomsloth
27th January 2014, 00:40
Just a theory might be that they both slowed down their metabolic rate due to some reason (change of seasons, temperature, lighting) however the 20g would due them wonders and they might 'wake up' and act lively again :)

HayleyK
27th January 2014, 00:44
Thank you so much for helping out! I will go get another tub tomorrow. Is it still okay to give the bloodworms as a treat? I have a whole card left and would hate for them to go to waste.

I will try to keep yall updated on their condition.

Oh yeah, btw. What temp is okay for fridging? Is there such a thing as too cold?

Yeah they're fine for them to eat, it's just super messy and earthworms are more nutritious for bigger axolotls :)

Temperatures between 5-8 degrees Celsius is good.. No lower but higher is okay. Check out the fridging sticky. I would see if his behavior improves before the fridging option.

Keep us updated :)

Swampie
27th January 2014, 01:02
Just a theory might be that they both slowed down their metabolic rate due to some reason (change of seasons, temperature, lighting) however the 20g would due them wonders and they might 'wake up' and act lively again :)


I was thinking the same thing, before the crazy behavior change. They WERE slowing down on eating. Of course the temperatures here have been anywhere from 8F-70F in the past 3 weeks. I know it throws other animals off of food for the temps to change so drastically, wasn't sure about them because the water would take a longer time to adjust than the air.

I do have the 20 filled about 1/3 of the way up, haven't put the filter or hides in there yet. I thought it would do one of 2 things if I swapped them. One, stress them out further or, two, allow them to perk back up.

Curiously, other than the floating the Wild Type has shown significant improvement, while the Leucistic is the one I'm most worried about.

HayleyK
27th January 2014, 01:08
I was thinking the same thing, before the crazy behavior change. They WERE slowing down on eating. Of course the temperatures here have been anywhere from 8F-70F in the past 3 weeks. I know it throws other animals off of food for the temps to change so drastically, wasn't sure about them because the water would take a longer time to adjust than the air.

I do have the 20 filled about 1/3 of the way up, haven't put the filter or hides in there yet. I thought it would do one of 2 things if I swapped them. One, stress them out further or, two, allow them to perk back up.

Curiously, other than the floating the Wild Type has shown significant improvement, while the Leucistic is the one I'm most worried about.


With fluctuations like that that could be the answer but I thought you said the tanks 64F.

Have you cycled your 20?

What behavior is the leucistic displaying?

Swampie
27th January 2014, 01:20
thats what temp it was reading on Wednesday, it was about 23F that day. The tank is far away from windows, so theres hardly any fluctuation in the house with central heat/air.

The house stays around 70 and the tank stays cooler than that.

The leucistics color has become more dull, and I can see its veins. It has no interest in eating and is not as active as he was before. He's also shedding gills.

The 20 hasn't been cycled, but could easily be done. The filter I have has mechanical and biological filtration, so I could stick it in there and the cage decor from the previous tank and let it get to work while they're in isolation.

HayleyK
27th January 2014, 01:28
thats what temp it was reading on Wednesday, it was about 23F that day. The tank is far away from windows, so theres hardly any fluctuation in the house with central heat/air.

The house stays around 70 and the tank stays cooler than that.

The leucistics color has become more dull, and I can see its veins. It has no interest in eating and is not as active as he was before. He's also shedding gills.

The 20 hasn't been cycled, but could easily be done. The filter I have has mechanical and biological filtration, so I could stick it in there and the cage decor from the previous tank and let it get to work while they're in isolation.

Dullness can be a sign of inactive-ness or sleep due to the slowing down of circulation. However noticing red veins and shedding of gills could be a sign of chemical burn but she doesn't look burnt. I'm at a loss, just keep her in clean cool water, offer worms and see what happens. Goodluck :)

P.s they're both super cute.

Swampie
27th January 2014, 01:32
Thank you, their personalities crack me up, which is why I hate to see them like this.

Is chemical burn something that will clear up with clean water on its own? Should I think about getting some Stress Coat? Will that help? I know it helps replenish fishs' slime coat. I know they're not fish and some stuff doesnt work the same.

HayleyK
27th January 2014, 02:43
Tea baths can help soothe skin, I had problems with my leucistic with her veins before she passed. When I tea bathed her she was good for a day or two so it definitely helps with skin issues.

I have no experience with stress coat but avoid fish remedies as axolotls don't have scales to protect them and easily absorb chemicals through their skin.

Boomsloth
27th January 2014, 04:35
Right now some of mine are getting a little floaty. In florida its been pretty chilly (50-60F) however living in a dormroom means that they decided to crank up the heat so now i've been fighting to keep the temperature below 70. I noticed that my leucistic will also get a little dull and tired if the temp fluctuates but other than that he seems fine. keep us posted on yours :)

Elise
27th January 2014, 06:05
You'll need to figure out a way to provide a more stable temperature within their preferred range of 12C-16C (Caudata Culture Articles - Cooling (http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/cooling.shtml)). In addition, two axolotls in a 10g volume of water are going to produce a lot of waste so water changes would need to be done more often.

Their behavior is likely a result of the constant fluctuation in temperature along with the temperature probably being over 18C for a prolonged time. The alligator barrel roll along with inappentance (http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beginner-newt-salamander-axolotl-help-topics/f48-axolotls-ambystoma-mexicanum/f58-sick-axolotl/48541-axolotl-tilting-one-side-white-stuff-floating-tank-not-eating.html) could be a sign of a systemic infection. If you continue to notice this strange behavior, you'll need to make a vet appointment for treatment, especially if one/both stops eating for a week or more.

Dropping in - Reptisafe is what I use in my lotl tank, I heard from a breeder it was fine. Actually curious if that's true or not...

The only thing you need in a dechlorinator is sodium thiosulfate. Everything else is extra "features" which can alter your water chemistry, though usually harmless. This particular product adds electrolyte salts without disclosing which ones or the amount.. really? It's probably homeopathic. I'm not a fan of the slime coat addition either.

Swampie
1st February 2014, 14:25
Okay guys! I left both Axies in that large tub for about 3 days, while I let my 20L run and get ready for them. The last day they were in there I just couldnt stand how depressed they looked. I could get my WT to eat a bite of bloodworms, and the leucistic would take a bite also.

So, I decided they couldn't get much worse than they were. I was ready to let them swim. I checked the temps in the tank and the tub and they were the about the same, so I put them in the tank. After a few tense moments, they started swimming around and exploring!

The WT wasn't floating anymore!!!!! :D

I let them settle in overnight, and then offered food, 2 bloodworm cubes. WT went right to the bowl, and gobbled them down! The leucistic is still hiding, but coming out more frequently and has taken a few bites of bloodworm off of the bottom. Since the wildtype has taken to laying in the bowl, I believe it's time to add another food bowl for them.

So glad they're doing much better, it was breaking my heart! Thank you all for your help and support!!