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

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Old 28th September 2010   #1
LucyLu
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Unhappy My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

Hi,
I have got two Axolotls living together in the same tank. But the more lively of the two is struggling to swim properly. I have lowered the level of water so it makes it easier for him to get to the surface, as he gets half way and gives up! It's heart breaking for me to see.
I have checked the water temperature and that is at 17 Degrees which I am told is the correct temperature....(please correct me if I am wrong, I am a novice).
They also have plenty of Oxygen in the tank as I do have a pump....and they also have plants in there for them aswell. They do however have gravel in the tank, they are larger stones but I am fearful that he may have swallowed a stone (as he is the slightly larger of the two it seems liable). I am however changing this for sand later on today as this I am told is better for them. This was my first choice but I could not find sand in any pet store to me.
I am told that there is a method called 'fridging' that would speed up the process of him passing a stone...

Please help!



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Old 28th September 2010   #2
Shannon
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

Your temp is fine (16-19 is recommended). I'm sorry to hear that one of your guys is having some problems. Do you have a way of checking your parameters (pH, Ammonia, Nitrate/Nitrite)? Is the tank cycled? How are they eating and what is their diet? How big is their tank? Is it a pump or a filter? Sorry for the questions, but you mentioned that you are new to all this so trying to help...

Axolotls are sensitive to ammonia and nitrites. If you don't know, a newly set up tank will need to cycle, that is go through the nitrogen cycle to turn bad bacteria into good. Many people are ill advised at first on what to feed their axolotls (pet shops especially). They need some space so tank size can contribute to stress if it is not large enough, with hides, and little light as they are sensitive to light. They are also sensitive to water flow, they like it nice and slow. They are messy little buggers so I hope you have a siphon and a turkey baster for housekeeping. If any of this is unclear, don't hesitate to ask questions...

Glad to hear you are switching to sand, make sure to sift it through a screen for wayward gravel, and rinse it out really, really, really well. It's a bit of a pain to get clean but your axies will like it better.An often used method is to put the sand in a clean bucket and force the end of a garden hose down into the middle of it. Turn the hose on and wait for the water to run clear...

If you suspect he's swallowed a stone, you can put him in a smaller container and shine a torch through him...you should be able to see the stone inside.

The proper method for fridging can be found here: FRIDGING but if it's not a stone, you may want to hold off on the fridging until you know what is going on. Answering the questions above can help.

Welcome to the Forum and to the amazing world of axolotls! Hopefully, we can get your guy feeling better soon.



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Old 28th September 2010   #3
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

When he gives up trying to reach the surface does he gently float back down or does he litterally sink? When Juan had stones in his stomach when i first got him he would literally sink like he was weighed down. Now he doesnt have stones any more when he stops swimming he just slowly floats down to the bottom like a leaf from a tree (not trying to sound poetic, i just cant think of another thing to describe the speed lol)
If you are having trouble getting sand try childrens play sand. They sell in in Argos for a couple of quid, One bag is plenty for a 3 foot tank. Just rinse it well and you are good to go!
I have used sand from an aquarium shop and argos and i think the argos sand looks better and at a fraction of the price



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Old 28th September 2010   #4
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

I have managed to find the sand now and have cleaned it all out thoroughly.
And it is an air pump it's called the Interpet Airvolution - I was recommended it by the store manager - so I bought it in good faith for my little guys.
They live in a 3ft tank so they have plenty of space. When I originally bought them they were tiny not even 3 inches I'd say, so I fed them on frozen Bloodworm, I was told that giving them one 'icecube' a day would be substantial enough for them. But they soon looked to get - well for want of a better word - bored of the food, and I was hoping to help them get bigger, so I switched them on to live meal worm (the smallest ones I could find), which at first I broke in half and skitted across the top of their tank to improve their 'hunting' skill. Now that they are much bigger I now longer feel the need to break the meal worms up, but I am still very careful about the size of the ones I am putting in the tank, they are afterall, still quite new to me.
I set up the tank as instructed and circulate the water every now and then. Taking a little old out and adding the same amount of new in. I am not sure if this is the right thing to do but it doesn't appear to be doing them any harm.
And Felix (the one that is unaffected) floats back down, and Orlis (the poorly axie) sinks, he used to float down too.
I have been moinitoring him today and I have noticed that he has raised his back legs...is this a sign that he is actually trying to pass anything?

Thank you both for you help :)



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Old 28th September 2010   #5
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

Raised back legs does sound like constipation. He'll hopefully get rid of that gravel soon! I'm glad you're switching to sand.

Also with the mealworm, are you removing or crushing the heads? I know it sounds pretty gross but Ted told some horror story about leaving the heads on! Also, try get hold of some earthworm when they are big enough to manage them. =]

Hope you're little one gets better soon.

Edit: http://www.caudata.org/axolotl-sanct...s_photos.shtml Very top photo is an example. =]



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Old 28th September 2010   #6
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

I wasn't told anything about taking the heads off no, but because they freak me out a little bit I have been taking them off. And I have been really careful about taking out any uneaten food, because I have heard a few horror stories about that too



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Old 28th September 2010   #7
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

I would switch back to bloodworms until you can find some earthworms. BLackworms are good too if you can find them. Mealworms have a ton of chitin and aren't very digestible for them - and they just aren't balanced for the needs of axies...

It may or may not be related to his swimming issue, but a more balanced healthier diet can't hurt the problem...



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Old 28th September 2010   #8
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

So, even though they both eat the same diet could it effect Orlis differently to my other Axolotl?
I am sorry if I am well and truly being dumb, it's just this is what was suggest I use by the specialist that sold me them....



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Old 29th September 2010   #9
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

All axies are different. axies shouldn't be eating mealworms (it's not a big no-no though) as they can cause impaction and constipation, they will also bite your axies.

but yes it could effect the axies differently, one could be finding it easier to pass them (due to being slightly bigger, try any other aquatic insects or wax worms until you can get some earthworms.

earthworms are the best staple.

You'll find a lot of 'specialists' aren't very special.



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Old 4th October 2010   #10
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

I have finally managed to find them some earth worms! :) They appeared to be having fun with them. So along with that and the new sand they appear to be having alot of fun in their new habitat.
I was not told that the meal worms would bite them! I feel so bad now
Orlis still has a bit of trouble swimming but he seems to be looking up. So I am now just monitoring him.
By the way, a quick question, on earthworm how often should I be feeding them, I don't want to over feed them but then I feel bad that I'm not feeding them enough. This seems to have had alot of mixed answers....do you have any advice for me...?
Thanks to everyone for your help :)



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Old 5th October 2010   #11
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Default Re: My Axolotl is struggling to swim....

about how much to feed, that's the 1 million question!!

the rule is that their bodies should be as wide as their heads when you look at them from above

Mine is about 18 cm and I give her 1-2 earthworms every 2-3 days

she's always hungry, but right now with that much she looks as wide as her head

they do love earthworms



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