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Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) A dedicated topic for those seeking help with Axolotls, showing off your photos, or just to talk about them.

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Old 15th May 2018   #1
morganl
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Question Dead Axies

Over the past year and a half, Iíve had six axolotls, split into two groups of three. Both groups have all died. In the first group they were all in the same tank since they were just young, and I was planning to separate them as they got older. One of the smaller ones wasnít eating so I took him out and put him in his own container so he could have his own food supply. A few days later he was dead. The day after he died, my biggest one (who was still in the normal tank with his brother) died as well. After that I took out the final one from the tank and put him in the fridge as I was scared they were dying due to constipation or something (last ditch effort) and that one died as well. I concluded that I had fed them bad worms (they were all eating the same earthworms at this point). They had all died before any of them had gotten bigger than 4 inches, so still very young. Later on after I had emotionally recovered, I decided to purchase three more and raise them from very little in the same fashion. These ones died after a month, in about the same way. One died first, this time it was in the tank with her brothers. I had just put in a new hide because I had noticed one was becoming aggressive towards another, but it wasnít aggressive towards the one that died. Anyways I found the one dead against the hide. So I removed the body and did a massive water change, removed all old food and treated the water well. I also separated the aggressor and the victim so the victim would get better. This morning I woke up and they were both floating upside down in their respective homes. Last night neither was very interested in the food I gave them ( which wasnít eatthworms yet. Just bloodworms). The water is cool and there is a filter in the tank. Iím very upset and discouraged as I feel like everything will die under my care.



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Old 15th May 2018   #2
Travisjt1013
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Default Re: Dead Axies

A couple questions...

Were you monitoring water quality with your tanks? Amonia nitrite nitrate? Amonia is a big problem with new tank setups that aren't properly cycled and can kill healthy fish and axies fairly quickly.

What were your water temperatures at? Too high a temp will cause a lot of stress Wich could cause death in young axies...

Are you using a water conditioner? High levels of chlorine in tap water can also cause issues as well ...

What are you using for a subsrate in the tanks? Anything bigger than a fine sand or smaller than the axies head can get swallowed during feeding and cause some real issues....

Is there any source of copper or heavy metals in the tank? Amphibians are not fish and they absorb toxins through their skin and any amount of copper can be very toxic as well as any other heavy metals...

What are you using as a filter, and follow-up what size tanks are you attempting to house them in? Axies very quickly will require a larger tank than you would expect. Often found at pet stores in small 5gallon tanks with multiple young axies this is NOT an okay setup for them once they get home...the general rule of thumb is at least 10gallons per axolotl as they can be VERY messy lil poop machines...also it should be noted that as much as they do not like too much water flow they DO need sufficient filtration to keep your water in check and finding the happy medium between proper filtration and flow can admittedly be a hastle... One option is to use multiple sponge filters (you can buy a 4pack of minis from Amazon for under 10$) and personally I think they are amazing...I use them in conjunction with a modified under gravel filter setup and my water tends to stay crystal clean... My 4 axies went from about 3in to just under 7 inches in under 4months and until i got them set up in their 55gallon tank I had to do massive water changes daily Wich is a huge pain in the but and can keep the tank in a state of perpetual re-cycle...

Are you running a planted tank? If you run a planted tank and use co2 injection this can cause some problems as well. Co2 can strip the tank of it's oxygen and also cause wide swings in pH if not used correctly...

I wouldn't get discouraged yet, however I would certainly try to get to the bottom of the issue and try to correct the problem and set up a tank that you can fully cycle before you get an more...

As a follow up to the heavy metals and copper point... Some fish medications and treatments are unsafe for use with amphibians and you should always double check before using them.




Last edited by Travisjt1013; 15th May 2018 at 13:45.
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Old 15th May 2018   #3
DSaxolotl
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Default Re: Dead Axies

Sorry to hear that.

I second all of the above, esp your PH/Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate levels as well as temperature and which water conditioner you use?



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Old 15th May 2018   #4
morganl
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Default Re: Dead Axies

I use the water treatment recommended by my teacher who first got me started with the axolotls (I was an a biology course where we do an axolotl unit raising them from eggs). There was nothing in the bottom of the tank. There is a filter and the tank is 20 gall, which is why I was getting ready to seperate one into a tank of their own. Iím thinking it could have been water temp as it gets quite hot in my room where theyíre kept, even though I try to maintain temp with cool water changes and such, itís difficult to maintain overnight. They were still rather small which is why I wasnít too worried about the spacing issue and the filter was doing a great job keeping the water clean (hardly any poop) and I remove the uneaten food



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Old 16th May 2018   #5
DSaxolotl
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Default

You basically skipped all our questions and answered nothing we asked.



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Old 16th May 2018   #6
morganl
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Default Re: Dead Axies

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSaxolotl View Post
You basically skipped all our questions and answered nothing we asked.
I answered literally every one except for the ammonia/nitrate levels and the copper thing. Iím not sure what the levels were and thereís no source of copper in the tank. I think it was caused by temperature so Iím looking into ways to cool the tank.



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Old 16th May 2018   #7
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Default Re: Dead Axies

The reason we ask the specific tank water parameters is that they are the most common causes of sudden death in axolotls.
If the tank was uncycled it can swiftly kill smaller axolotls and even larger ones. Just because the water is clear doesn't mean it didn't have deadly amounts of ammonia or nitrite in it. These substances are highly toxic and in warmer water can be even more deadly. They also kill faster in a high pH environment.
If your tank was properly cycled then we could cross that off the list of possible things that killed your axolotls and try to figure out what it actually was. Things like hides or enrichment items that weren't aquarium safe, too strong of flow from the filter, maybe the pH was off? Water too soft? Poor diet, though you mentioned feeding earth worms they're the best staple food source for axolotls.
Water treated with a basic conditioner isn't enough to keep the water safe if it's uncycled. And if there were any heavy metals in the tank they also could have killed them. It probably wasn't impaction as you keep them on a bare bottom.
You said the water was warm? But how warm? The ideal temperature range is between 16C and 18C or 60F-64F. Anything over 24C or 75F is deadly. So the water temperature would be good to know too, so we can rule that out or in.
The people here are only trying to help and get to the bottom of what could cause so many deaths.



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Old 17th May 2018   #8
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Default Re: Dead Axies

The fact that they died after roughly one month and that you don't mention a filter cycling method and don't monitor your water parameters makes me think your animals died from new tank syndrome in all cases. You can read about new tank syndrome here: https://www.watercritters.ca/2018/04...lotl-diseases/

Before getting another aquatic pet, you should familiarize yourself with the nitrogen cycle and the proper way to cycle your aquarium. I recommend reading these articles:

https://www.watercritters.ca/2018/03...u-were-little/

https://www.fishlore.com/nitrogen-cycle-page2.htm



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