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

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Old 19th April 2018   #1
ErinF
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Exclamation Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Hi,

I work at a pet store and unfortunately one of the axolotls we got is really sick, the other one seemed to respond to fridging well and was fine when put back in their bay but the other one (suspected boy, black, skinny since we got him suuuuper skinny now) who did well when in the fridge but went down hill fast once back in the bay. I originally fridged then because their feather bits came off their gills and their tails had curled and they weren't well at all. The work bays are too hot and bright for them, I know this but it's not up to me to fix that unfortunately.

My boss wanted to kill him because he wasn't eating, was kinda floating tail end up super stiff (we thought he was dead) but I opted to take him home instead, he's back in my fridge now which after reading on here may not have been the best idea (in and out and in again into the fridge isn't good) but I was worried he'd die and honestly he perks up so much more in the fridge (around 6c or 7c)

I took him out of the fridge today keeping him in his container and tried to feed him some live earth worm (bought from our store) but he still won't eat, I had had some success feeding him when we first got him in store weeks ago but still wasn't a huge eater back then. He kinda rolled onto his back which worried me too but righted himself eventually.

Im so worried this poor little guy won't make it, the tip of his tail has kinda peeled off and the feathers on one side of his head have all gone I'm hoping for any advice on what to do next I don't have much of an idea about axolotls at all I'm a fish keeper and a newbie at that.

Edit: he's been in the fridge maybe 5 days now so I'm really worried, I live in Australia and it's been really hot but I've been cycling a new tank ready for him to go into just a filter and water (conditioner etc I use Prime) no gravel or plants now the weather has cooled down (my house was 30-35c so I figured fridge was preferable)

Thanks for reading all that and for any future help!
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Old 19th April 2018   #2
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Can you tell us what the water parameters at the store were. Make sure you're changing the water daily if he is a container without a cycled filter, to make sure levels are okay, until the tank is cycled.
Does you boss understand that axolotls need low light and cool temps? If they are knowingly keeping and selling them in the wrong conditions I think in Australia we have regulations and if they are not met the company can be reported to the RSPCA?
I'll assume you're feeding the regular red wrigglers, try and get your hands on nightcrawlers as they should be tastier (I've just ordered some from A1 bait supplies). Try some bloodworms too.
To keep the water cool you can freeze a water bottle and put it in the tank you're keeping him in (rotate 2 or 3 in the freezer).
The photos aren't super clear so when you can get some clearer ones attach them here.



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Old 23rd April 2018   #3
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

I'm not sure those bays fluctuate quite a lot and we tend to have spikes in there of nitrite quite a bit I basically had a few days off work and came back to him saying he'd kill it, because it was going to die anyways. It's in the goldfish bay so the temperature is around 22-26 which isn't even good for goldfish but no one cares enough to fix it and I don't have the power to.

Yeah, I've had a customer say she would report to the RSPCA before because of the size of the axolotl bay, its essentially 40x40x40cm roughly whith 2 axolotls at a time sharing a sump system with 12 individual 40x40 bays. He understands and has been fish keeping for 20 years I just don't think he cares.

I have been doing partial water changes daily with a jug of conditioned fridge water while he's been in the fridge. The worms are red yes I will try and get some nightcrawlers.

Im not sure why but my phone won't upload the pictures in HD sorry about that



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Old 23rd April 2018   #4
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Keep doing all you can to help the little guy. You can try some bloodworms, see if he likes them. They pollute the water so do it right before a water change. Let us know how he is going :)

You should be able to anonymously report him, pretending to be a customer. It might be the scare that he needs to keep them properly. It's really sad that he doesn't care. I would love to know the store if you're comfortable giving that info out (either in here or DM).



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Old 27th April 2018   #5
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

So an update on the little guy

Today with the help of my housemate and the force feeding guide I found on here I managed to get him to eat some mushy blood worms from one of those frozen blister packs. He spat some out but I'm positive he swallowed some!

He's out of the fridge now and in the cycled tank with no gravel, no plants just a filter, Seachem Prime and Stability and a bit of StressCoat+

Fingers crossed I'll post another picture of him too because I'm still very worried he won't make it.



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Old 27th April 2018   #6
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Any progress is progress! Keep us updated :)



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Old 1st May 2018   #7
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Today he ate a worm on his own! He spat it back up about 10 times before hunting it down and finally keeping it in �� but I'm hoping this is good news!

He's been at room temperature which has been 17-18c and with frozen water bottles for if it gets any higher, he seems to walk around the tank quite a bit he has a bit of room (he's only around 10-15cm) the tank is 40x60 and 40 tall I'd say roughly 50L
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Old 1st May 2018   #8
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Keep it up!! You can cut up the worms if that makes it easier for him to eat. There's also the frozen axolotl cubes you could try, I give them to Bucky sometimes and he really enjoys them.
How are his gills going? From the pic they look to have reduced. If you have a sponge filter pop that into the tank as that should help. Test the water every day or two to make sure ammonia and nitrite are 0. He will need a hide too, ceramic pots/planters work great (bunnings/kmart).



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Old 1st May 2018   #9
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

I am going to buy the axolotl specific cubes from work tomorrow! And some blood worm treats.

A sponge filter how will this help?

I'm off to bunnings to buy pipes tomorrow thank you for all your help.



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Old 1st May 2018   #10
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Oh and his gills look the same as before unfortunately I'll post a better pic.
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Old 1st May 2018   #11
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Default Re: Sick axolotl with missing tail and gills who won't eat, VERY skinny

Gills are a good indicator to health, so keep an eye on them :)
I've read that sponge filters are really good for gill health, they provide a good amount of oxygen and some (like my axie) love to play with the bubbles lol. It also gives an extra bit of filtration which is always good for an axolotl.
He looks so much like my Bucky, I hope he recovers quickly



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