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Old 19th August 2019   #1
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Default Stress?

I see people talking about the stress level of their axolotls. This is a picture of my sons axolotl. We have had him for 6 months or so and he seems good to me but he is our 1st axolotl so how can you tell if he is stressed by looking at him?
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Old 19th August 2019   #2
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Default Re: Stress?

It can be hard to give general "signs" of stress. There are some signs that are mentioned often:
- Gills curved forward.
- Bright red, flaring gills.
- Small, almost disappearing gills.
- Floating, restless behaviour.
- Lethargic, lazy behaviour.
- Being unable to swim straight, sometimes "capsizing".
- Loss of appetite.
- In juveniles: the tip of the tail bending .

If some of these seem contradictory, that's right. As all creatures, individual axolotls differ. For some, bright red gills are a sign of stress - for others, this is just how they look. For some axolotls, floating around is restless, stressed behaviour - others are just curious and easily excited.

The easiest sign to look for is change.
If your axolotl usually has small gills and they suddenly flare up for a longer time (a few days), that's a bad thing. If it usually has bright gills, and they seem to shrink for a longer time, that's a bad thing.
If it's normally chilling out at the bottom but starts to float more and more, that's something to keep an eye on. If however it likes to swim, but suddenly starts lazing on the ground, that's also something to keep an eye on.

The best advice I can give is: get to know your axolotl! Look how it usually behaves, what colour it has, how much it likes to eat, if it's lazy or enterprising, if it's social or shy.

Then, if any of that suddenly changes, you might want to check your water parameters.
(A stressed axolotl can be very serious - but it can also mean he's just grumpy for a day. Always be patient with the little buddies.)

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