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ABarton15 3rd June 2014 14:24

Difficulty walking on the ground
My axolotl, smaug, is having some difficulty walking on the bottom of his tank, I've only had him a month or so, so I'm not sure on his age, but can anyone help, he just seems to be floating to the top and trying to swim back down but his back legs will stay in the air. He has no record of past illnesses or anything so I'd say he's quite healthy? Just a bit worried as they are supposed to spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank

Sweetie 3rd June 2014 14:28

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
Constipation is a possible cause of this. Is there gravel on the floor of the tank? If so, the axie has probably swallowed some and has an impaction. Putting the axie in a tub of fresh water (100% water change daily) in the fridge (10 degrees is ideal, but no lower than 5 degrees) for a week or more is the appropriate treatment for this. The other possibility is water quality, so test the tankwater for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and temperature.

ABarton15 3rd June 2014 14:40

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
He has sand in his tank, I'm gonna try putting him in the fridge I think and ill do some water tests

Sweetie 3rd June 2014 14:42

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
What and where do you feed him? It is possible he is eating sand with his food, causing an impaction. Otherwise, he probably just needs a big poo. Is the tank temperature too high? You may be able to encourage him to defecate by lowering the temperature of his tank a few degrees (gradually, not all in one go), so you can avoid the need to fridge.
If you do have to fridge him, make sure you change the water in his tub 100% daily (use dechlorinated water that you keep in the fridge so it's the same temperature as the water in his tub) and also spot-remove any poo he does produce. Temperature should ideally be 10 degrees but no lower than 5 degrees (check the area of the fridge he'll be in with a thermometer in a cup of water - many fridges have colder and warmer spots within the fridge - mine has spots where it will freeze items solid!). Wrap his container in a tea towel or disable the fridge light so the repeated light when the door opens doesn't stress him out. He should be left in the fridge for at least a few days or a week - don't put him in and then return him to his tank repeatedly, which is stressful. If he is the only lotl kept in the tank, you may have to add ammonia to the tank to feed the bacteria and keep your tank cycled while the lotl is in the fridge.

ABarton15 3rd June 2014 14:55

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
I feed him blood worm at the moment and make him come to the top of the tank to avoid eating sand, but when I first got the sand he did used to eat it thinking it was food, how would I cool the tank water it's self to avoid putting him in the fridge?

Sweetie 3rd June 2014 15:02

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
You can do partial (20%) water changes, each time using water that's a couple of degrees cooler than his tank water - not too much cooler, as you don't want to shock him by changing it too dramatically, but remember when you're putting in only 20%, it's going to dilute the temperature change accordingly, so you can use water that's maybe 6 or even 8 degrees celcius cooler for that 20% you are putting into the tank. Then, use a fan directed across the top of the tank to keep it cool. You can also put the tank down onto the floor, which is cooler, or into a cooler part of the house (basements are always cooler than attics). You could float a plastic bottle with frozen dechlorinated water in it in the tank, but you'll need to keep replacing it with another one when it's about two-thirds melted (otherwise, there will be continual temperature fluctuations, which are stressful), so this is more of an emergency measure than a way to keep the temperature down permanently.
If you can afford one, you could invest in a chiller - depends how hot your summers get and whether you can get your temperatures down in other ways. Aim for 16 to 18 degrees celcius. It should never get above 20.

Sweetie 3rd June 2014 15:06

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
Sorry for the double post. On the bloodworms, are they the frozen cubes or live ones? The frozen ones tend to fall to the tank bottom, where the axies will vacuum up any leftovers, taking in sand at the same time, so this may be your culprit. If so, try the temperature lowering in the tank to see if that produces a poo. If it doesn't within about 48 hours, you will probably have to fridge him. (The lower temperature will cause the axie to empty what's in his digestive tract, in case it goes rotten before he can digest it with the lower metabolic rate living in lower temperatures produces. Smart eh?) The best food is earthworms. Live earthworms. No mess, no fuss. The perfect balanced meal.

Jonjey 3rd June 2014 15:06

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
Does he sway around a lot? Could be too much flow in the tank.

ABarton15 3rd June 2014 15:11

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
Ill do the water change and use a fan and see what happens then, and the earthworms at a local shop are to big for him at the age and size he is and struggles to eat them so I feed him frozen blood worms because that's all I could get at the time, thanks for the advice

ABarton15 3rd June 2014 15:12

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
Nope, the filters currents been blocked by placing a rock in front of it so stop a fast current

Sweetie 3rd June 2014 15:15

Re: Difficulty walking on the ground
It does sound to me like he needs to do a big poo. On the earthworm question, he should be able to eat earthworms if you cut them into pieces as long as his head is wide. Mind you, my Boris as a wee one adored the struggle to eat them whole - he'd manfully battle with worms half as long as he was! He'd suck them in and out like spaghetti until they stopped wriggling. They are the best possible nutrition, and you can have your own worm farm!

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