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

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Old 1st November 2015   #1
kyza287
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Default Can anyone help me?

Hi all Im new to this but Im hoping someone can help me help my sons axolotl. We got him back in May not 100% about his age. He hasnt eaten for about two weeks now. We have had the water tested which is all normal but the gravel came back with high levels of whatever the good bacteria is. We have cleaned the gravel twice. Two days ago before we found out about the gravel he was floating at the top of his tank (belly down not up) We fridged him for two days and put him back in his tank. He wont eat either the axolotl food we have or live earthworms. He is in a 2 ft tank and the temp is on average 23 degrees celsius. Hoping that will provide enough info and hopefully someone out there can help me fix this little guy



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Old 1st November 2015   #2
Skudo09
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

The temperature is too high. Ideally, they should be kept in temperatures between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. Could you place some fans over the tank to help cool the water? You could also wrap some damp towels around the outside of the tank to help cool it down a little.

It is recommended not to have gravel in an axolotl tank as there is a risk of them swallowing the gravel and a potential for their gut to become impacted by the gravel which can be fatal. It is best to have either a silica based fine sand or no substrate at all or you could have large stones but these must be bigger than the axolotls head and can trap debris under the stones making it more difficult to keep clean. Although, In a cycled tank, it would be expected that there will be a colony of good bacteria on the surfaces in the tank including the filter media and substrate and you want this. I would however remove the gravel for safety. I would recommend purchasing your own liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and PH. You should be testing the water regularly (at least weekly in a cycled tank, more often if the tank is cycling) and having your own kit gives you more control and saves having to cart water to the store for testing. Often, they will tell you the water is fine when there is actually an issue. Did they give the exact readings? I recommend purchasing the API freshwater master kit. You want a liquid test kit that at minimum tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and PH.

Has he been pooing normally? If not, the floating could suggest he may be constipated.



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Old 1st November 2015   #3
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

He definitely poohed when I had him in the fridge. He has only floated the once so far aswell. I have him placed under an air conditioner duct to try keep the water cool but i will try the damp towels until I can get to the shop tomorrow for a fan. The reading for the water was at 0 but when the gravel was put in the water the ammonia went upto 2.5-5 and I cant remember if it was nitrate or nitrite but one was at 0 and one was at 100. If i remove the gravel do I need to remove him from the tank for a while?



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Old 1st November 2015   #4
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

And ive just done a PH test and its at 7.4



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Old 1st November 2015   #5
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

How long before you tested the water was the ammonia up? The presence of ammonia suggests that your tank is not cycled and something may have crashed the cycle. Do you have a filter in your tank? How often are you doing water changes? Are you using a dechlorinator?

The ammonia level is way too high and unsafe for your axolotl. I would keep him in a tub of cool, fresh, dechlorinated water and change 100% of the water in the tub daily for now until you can get the parameters under control. Whilst your axolotl is in the tub, work on getting your tank re-cycled using a fishless cycling method.



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Old 1st November 2015   #6
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

My partner took the samples down.. the reading for the water by itself never went up but the reading of the water done with gravel in it took about 10 minutes to reach the levels they got to.



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Old 1st November 2015   #7
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

Yes we have a filter we do water changes when the PH levels drop below 7.0 as advised by the fish store. Yes we use a declorinator also



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Old 1st November 2015   #8
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

sorry i wrote the measurements wrong for ammonia it was 0.25 -0.5



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Old 1st November 2015   #9
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Default Re: Can anyone help me?

Ok, I suggest getting your own liquid test kit so you can measure for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate so you can monitor this yourself. They are pricey but last a long time. You should also be doing regular water changes to keep nitrate down at a safe level.

Remove the gravel as it is not safe for axolotls with the risk of impaction. Are you familiar with aquarium cycling and the nitrogen process? If not, it is important to read up on this process as it is vital to understand how the process works and affects aquatic life and how to maintain good water quality.

If you can get the water temperature down under 20 degrees Celsius it would be much better for your axolotl.



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