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Sick Axolotl? Axolotl looking down in the gills? The doctors are in.

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Old 6th August 2008   #1
buggman
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Default Parasitic worms

My daughter has an axolotl that we have had now for 6 months. He seems perfectly healthy but every while we notice the tank produce small white, thread worms, which get into the filter and become larger and black in colour. I salt soak the filter, clean the tank, and change the water, all of which fixes the problem for a while. I have looked under the microscope and they are parasitic. How do I treat the axolotl without killing it? Aquarium shops are useless as I keep getting given fish treatments which are toxic. Some woman in the shop gave me something but informed me the last person to use that lost his creature - GREAT! Can I treat the tank with something that won't kill the wee beastie?



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Old 6th August 2008   #2
Becky
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

I think my first question would be , how did they get into your tank?

There are all sorts of little critters swimming about in healthy aquariums. I get something called 'Planaria' in mine. Tiny little white things that cling to the glass and flit around the tank when they are free in the water.

If you notice a large amount then you need to carry out more cleaning of waste in the tank, this includes any rotting plant material as they will eat this too.
They may not be bothering the axolotl, mine certainly don't seem bothered by their 'tank mates'.
Perhaps try spot cleaning your tank more often if possible and you may notice a difference.



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Old 6th August 2008   #3
Jacquie
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

Hi Buggman,

This article gives a good run down on tank critters and tactics on how to deal with them: http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/Tank_critters.shtml

However, as you have salt soaked your filter, cleaned out the tank and changed the water - your tank in all likliehood will need to be re-cycled to re-establish the beneficial bacterias that may have been wiped out when you scrubbed out the tank. This article explains cycling: http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/cyclingEDK.shtml



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Old 6th August 2008   #4
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

Like the previous posters I would be reluctant to call a worm parasitic unless it was hanging onto the axolotl (like anchor worm) or seemed to be present in a recent dropping (some form of intestinal parasite). If these creatures grow in the filter they are not eating your axolotl there.

There are lots of free living harmless creatures out there, try and decide what it is before calling it a parasite. I've spent years peering down a microscope and do not call a creature a parasite until I know exactly which creature I'm looking at. If your axolotl is well try to get a healthy cycle established in your filter and don't reach for treatments until you are sure you have a problem.



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Old 7th August 2008   #5
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

I also peer down a microscope for a living and know that these worms have come from the insides of the axolotl (parasitic), by examining the faeces and water samples. They end up in my filtration system because it is a trap but ultimately the ideal situation would be to eradicate them from his gut. He gets very stressed, excessive swimming, floating, etc when they start to increase in number hence the need to strip the tank to reduce the number significantly as water change is not enough of a deterrant. I need a treatment that will 1. treat his tank, and 2. treat him internally to once and for all destroy these roundworms.



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Old 7th August 2008   #6
Kaysie
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

What do you feed your axolotl?



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Old 7th August 2008   #7
buggman
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

We feed him bullocks heart



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Old 8th August 2008   #8
Kaysie
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

Any possibility this food can contain nematodes? Or any sort of 'worm'? Earthworms harbor all sorts of nematodes, and many people mistakenly believe these are parasitic on their axolotl.

I would be very hesitant to say they're parasitic worms based on your information. Just because you've found them in feces and in the water does not mean they're parasitic. Many nematodes will happily feed on feces, and the fact that they're growing in your filter means they're not feeding off your axolotl.



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Old 8th August 2008   #9
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Default Re: Parasitic worms

If you are certain these worms are parasitic (I still have doubts) then the health pages of the axolotl site (http://www.axolotl.org/health.htm) recommends consult a vet about levamisole injection or treatment with low dose Panacur.

Panacur works well with dogs and cats but I have no personal experience of it. I'd weigh the axolotl and scale down the dose in proportion.

How you get the dose down the axolotl and treat the tank I do not know.



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