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

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Old 12th July 2018   #1
Sidus
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Question Adopted a neglected axolotl

Hello everyone,

I'm new here and this is my first post and also my first axolotl.
So to explain the situation a little I'll start at the beginning, I've always had an interest in axolotls but never really knew where to get one and care for one.
This was until I started my internship (doing research for seaweed cultivation) that I ended up next to an aquarium facility where students kept fish and other water creatures for study credits. To my happy surprise I learned they also had 2 axolotls, unfortunately, upon inspection of the tank, I noticed how skinny they looked compared to the online pictures I've seen. This worried me some so I started to drop by daily to check up on them.

This is the one I adopted in his original tank, looking back it shocks me how bad the water quality must have been looking at those gills.
Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

So the bad news isn't over, after noticing how bad they were doing i started to look at forums such as these to read up on them and provide some extra care, i heated the tank up a bit (this was during winter time, and did it to stimulate the appetite) and I provided some extra food because the students where just underfeeding aswell. But unfortunately, it was too late. after some time of slow increase in health, it seemed the pink one just suddenly died, It was eating less than the other one and would barely move around but what exactly got the better of him I don't know. but I have a strong feeling the water quality was very poorly maintained by the students. So the darker one was moved to a smaller separate tank.
Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.
you can see a small improvement in the gills in this picture already.
during all this, his diet consisted of frozen bloodworms. after reading some on this forum I decided to get some fresh earthworms from the fishing store to feed her. I feel like this made a big impact on her recovery.

After the death of the pink one, I got into a conversation with the management of the aquarium team and suggested me adopting him in fear of the students just neglecting him even more as soon as the holidays started. This was received very well and slowly arrangments where made.

I started building my tank.
Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

After some proper cycling for the bacterial culture (which I kick-started with some water from a healthy filtration system) I moved him over to my place, this has been 2 weeks or so now. (And yes I know gravel isn't a good substrate but it's only a small patch and I made a habit of feeding her on the sand so I hope it won't harm her, I really like it for aesthetic reasons)

Since then there has been a very steady increase in health.
This is my buddy right now.
Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

As you can see she is doing pretty good I believe but I still have some questions.
As you can see in the above pictures the tail is still slightly regrowing after being eating by I assume the pink one during the time of neglect. and she seems to swim pretty clumsily, is this normal or caused by the weakened tail? and will this part darken and grow stronger or stay like this? and will the tail/back fin grow back as well since I noticed many lotls on here have a pretty big one or is this genetic?

She is currently on a pretty insane diet of at least 2 earthworms a day with occasional break days because of how underfed she was, should i maintain this until she is fully recovered and her belly is as wide as her head or just I just go to the recommended 1 worm every other day and just let her recover that way? she's been pooping pretty much, like large drops every 3 days but this seems like a good sign to me.

also, I've noticed how she has a few white spots that look more like skin flakes then fungus, should I be worried or is this just because she is around 5 years old and neglected in the past?

I haven't done any salt baths and fridging but since her steady recovery, I feel like this is unnecessary at this stage, any thoughts?

too close off I just want to thank all the people on this forum in general, I didn't know anything about axolotls when I started and everything I've learned came from here so it's really all of you guys and galls efforts that saved her

Click the image to open in full size.
she is really grateful
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Last edited by Sidus; 12th July 2018 at 11:43. Reason: coulden't get images to work so just attached all of them, i assume you can regonize what picture was supposed to go where
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Old 12th July 2018   #2
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Default Re: Adopted a neglected axolotl

She is lucky she found you!



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Old 12th July 2018   #3
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Default Re: Adopted a neglected axolotl

I would definitely recommend a trip to the vet! She looks pretty happy, but some of the pictures look like she has some cloudy patches on her skin, which could be an indication of a bacterial infection, or it could just be coloring.



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Old 12th July 2018   #4
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Default Re: Adopted a neglected axolotl

thanks to both of you, and yes I've been keeping an eye on these spots but they don't seem to be spreading except for newly formed skin on the tail so I suspect it's partly coloration and partly thin new skin that might be slightly see-through. does the fin also grow back or just the tail itself? it seems she is still getting used to swimming with her tail again because she tries to swim like a dog with her legs, hence why I decided to name her doggo. It looks so clumsy and funny is this just a matter of gaining muscle back in the tail and regrowing the fin so she can swim properly again or is it because limbs never fully recover that she swims so clumsy?
well here are some pictures of today with some better look at her colors and please try to look behind the left back leg, this is the only spot where some weird white can be seen in my opinion, it looks like some flaked dry skin, is this possible? I don't know of any vet that deals with axolotls close-by so it rather avoid a trip if not necessary.

ps. look at the cute stumpy feet
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Old 13th July 2018   #5
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Default Re: Adopted a neglected axolotl

With the white patches on the skin watch it in case it is an early fungal infection. For this tea baths can work pretty well.
Any damage usually will grow back, but not always perfectly. When my axie lost his arm his fingers didn't regrow fully so he has stumpy fingers. She is probably still settling so will be quiet for a bit. Depending on her personality she might always be quiet, or will start being super active :)



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