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

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
PrincessGlimmer
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Default Axolotls gills aren't frilly

Hello, my axolotls Onyx and Pascal gills are not as frilly as they used to be. Do you know why? Is it a problem?
I am worried about them. I do not have anything to test their water with as of now however I will be looking into getting a test kit soon. They are both good eaters and look healthy enough. They are very friendly and don't bolt very much. I have been feeding them 3/4 a blood work pack every other day. Should I increase/decrease their food intake. I am wondering if this could all be genetic. Please reply if you have any valuable information. Thank you very much.



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
Tye
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

About a month ago you said you'd get a testing kit for your water.
We really can't suggest anything until we know what kind of water conditions you're dealing with. It could be genetic, it could be poor water quality.

How old are the axolotls? That doesn't seem like a lot of food. How's their body condition weight wise?
Your last thread about their gills had a different axolotl named, it was Ziggy, what happened to Ziggy? Did you rename or did they die?
Is your tank cycled? You didn't answer last time you had gill issues. I'm going to assume not because you don't have anything to test the waters.

Water quality is very important for these animals. They absorb things through their skin so water issues can impact them greatly. They are cold water animals and need water below 70F.
Younger axolotls are more sensitive to poor water conditions, though an older one isn't an excuse to neglect or anything. Pictures would help too, so we can see what kind of condition the animal is in.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
PrincessGlimmer
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

Thanks for replying, Ziggy is still alive, but he has a weird lump on his side right above his leg. I was reading up about that and the forum suggested that they had no idea what it was and in a few days after that their axis died. So I am pretty upset because I love that little guy 😞. Getting ready to do a full water change on them. I will try to get to the store today to pick up a water test kit. Yes the tank is filtered. I try to keep the cycle at a lower speed because I heard that it is not good to have a lot of movement in the water.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
PrincessGlimmer
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

They are about 9 to 10 months old. I didn't want to overfeed them because I know that they can gorge themselves.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
PrincessGlimmer
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

How do I post pictures?



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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

Onyx water is the only one of my tanks that is above 70 it is usually around 72, but today it is 75. I know her water will cool down in the winter.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

This is Princess Glimmer's parent. I will be handling the replies for the threads that are posted and the postings to clarify confusion on BOTH sides. The tank is cycled. The axolotyl, Onyx, is healthy other than the gills being not quite as frilly. Good belly size and length. Good coloring. No spots. Eats and eliminates waste well. The tanks are cleaned every day as far as making sure there is no waste in it. They are fed more than just blood worms. They also eat pellets and earthworms purchased from the pet store. Referring to previous posts to point out a lack in action on our part is not necessary, since I am well aware that we need to get a ph kit. However, I have had to have surgery and dealing with medical issues for several months, one of which is not being able to drive and Princess Glimmer isn't driving. When we first invested in the tanks and supplies, the kit that was available from the store was over $35. I felt that a better filter was more pressing to purchase. So not in my budget. If you are aware of something online that I can order for less cost that would be helpful. What are we looking for in terms of ph quality. I know no nitrates over 40 and ammonia is bad... Anything else we should look for? Our water is hard... Should we be switching to bottled water for the tanks? The water is changed out in a partial change once a week. If you do not have any other suggestions that is fine. Thank you for your time.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Default Re: Axolotls gills aren't frilly

Cycling isn't just having a filter. It is the process of natural bacteria set up colonies in the tank to deal with waste the aquatic animals create.
There are bacteria that eat ammonia and produce nitrite, then bacteria that nitrite that produce nitrate, and finally nitrates are picked up by live plants and excess removed with weekly water changes.
We always ask for water parameters when people notice issues with axolotls. Ammonia burns are common in un cycled tanks and tanks with a cycle crash. The numbers for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates can also tell you and us what part of the cycle you are at. After the tank is cycled and established it's reccomended to test the water every week before the partial water change.
Gills should look long and fluffy, but some genetics and situations can cause shorter or balder gills. But their gills are a good sign of health.
An axolotl who was purchased with fluffy gills then loses those gill feathers might be ill. And the water quality would be the first suspect. Ammonia and nitrites are toxic to axolotls, anything .25ppm for ammonia is bad but you want to aim for 0 since that means the tank is cycled. Nitrites are toxic over zero as well. Nitrates should be under 40ppm and can be removed with 20% water changes weekly or twice weekly depending on the waste load. Waste load doesn't just mean the amount of poop either, they secrete waste constantly in other sources too.
They prefer pH between 7.4 to 7.6 however they'll tolerate 6.2 to 8.0. There is a high and low pH test included in the freshwater test kit I own. I also have a medium range pH test that I use occasionally. Higher pH makes ammonia and nitrites more toxic.
They prefer harder water too and not soft water.
Tap water is fine if you have a good dechlorinator. I use one that removes heavy metals too because my local water has dissolved metals in it. Look for something that removes chlorine and chloramines to cover all your bases.
Another major thing to worry about with their water is temperature. 75F and above can be dangerous for a few days. They are a cold water species. They need temperatures under 70F. Higher water temps increase sickness and make them very susceptible to fungus. Younger axolotls are more sensitive to water temperature and quality.
Getting mesh lids instead of glass, using a hang over the back style filter instead of in tank filter, installing a spray bar or something to move water at the surface, and fans are all ways to cool a tank without purchasing an expensive chiller. You can also rotate frozen jugs of water but this can cause a severe swing in temperature and do more harm than good. I had a rotation schedule for my frozen bottles during a summer heat wave. Moving the tanks away from the sun and to a lower level will help too. Fans alone dropped my tank five degrees F.
Avoid 100% water changes in the tank because the disruption of the natural bacteria is high.
Adding bottled bacteria can help with the start of a cycle. Cycling with the animal in the tank will need daily water changes of about 50%, 70% during spikes, and the process will take over a month. It's a pretty intense amount of work.
Unfortunately I don't shop online much so I can't link a cheap test kit. I use an API Master Freshwater Liquid Test Kit. It works very well and is more accurate than test strips.
http://www.axolotl.org/requirements.htm
This is an affiliated site to Caudata.org and has lots of good information on the cycles and water quality preferences. It's a great resource to see if you're on track. They have other information too from food to breeding to tank suggestions and filter recommendations.



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