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Old 13th July 2018   #1
Dragonflamess
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Unhappy Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

Hello. I have two leucistic axolotls called Ziggy and Snowflake. I had a wild type Axolotl called Toothless but she died about two weeks ago to a spherical fungus like substance spreading over her gills. She often stopped eating as well. I believe she was going through metamorphosis as she was losing her gills, her tail fin was almost nonexistent and she was developing white spots on her skin. Now my Axolotl Ziggy appears to be naturally morphing. Iíd include pictures but I donít know how (help with that would be appreciated). His tail fin is tiny compared to photos I have of him from a few months ago and his eyes bulge outwards. He still hasnít developed eyelids. However, he has turned extremely pink and you can see red veins all the way across his body. He and Snowflake have also both developed the same circular fungus Toothless had on the back of their gills. I can see white slimy stuff flaking off their skin and the local pet shop says thatís their external immune system coming off. I canít bear to lose another Axolotl. Please help. I have placed a platform in the water for him to climb out of the water. I have a few questions: could Toothlessí metamorphosis somehow triggered Ziggyís, is it unusual to have two Axolotl siblings and only one morph, how long will it take, what are the red veins and what should I do.



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Old 14th July 2018   #2
Isabella
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

It sounds to me like your axolotl is shedding. What are your water parameters? Usually when axolotls sheds it's because of bad water condition. If your axies have fungus you should give them a salt bath, and you can also give them tea baths or add almond leaves to their tank to help with healing the skin. If you could post pictures, that's would be great. To post pictures, scroll down just a bit until you see the manage attachements button. Click that and it will take you to a separate page. Then choose your files and click the upload button to the left of the page. After that you can close up the page. Hopefully that helped and wasn't by confusing :) if you need me to post screenshots I can.



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Old 14th July 2018   #3
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

I second wanting to know the water parameters.


It's very rare to have an axolotl naturally morph as they are a paedomorphic/neotenic species. But it does happen. Morphing can happen spontaneously, or drug induced, or to escape bad water conditions.
With the fungus issue described above, if they are morphing, I'd say it's to get out bad water. It seems you're also describing the shedding of the slime coat which isn't the best either.
There are a few threads where people talk about their naturally morphing axolotls and documented the whole process with pictures and descriptions. I'd check those out to see if the pictures look similar to your animals. You can also browse threads on tiger salamanders going through their morph as they are very similar. After an axolotl is fully land dwelling their care becomes extremely similar to a tiger salamander. (Tigers are easy to care for, I had one for 18 years.)

However, from your description of the situation, I'm more willing to bet the reduction in caudal (tail) fin and gills is due to the water being off. A spike in ammonia, or nitrite causing burns and skin irritation. The average tank temperature would be good to know too. Fungus is typically a symptom of the water being off. You can treat the fungus, but if you don't fix the water issue the fungus will keep coming back.
Even if they are morphing, its still good to correct these issues because they'll still be dependent on their watery habitat for a while longer.
Sorry for the loss of Toothless, losing a pet is never easy. My tiger salamander that I mentioned above passed away this January from old age and I was devastated. I hope Ziggy and Snowflake pull out of it and live long and happy lives.



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Old 14th July 2018   #4
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

Thank you so much for the advice. Iím going to a place where they do free water tests today so Iíll take in a sample. Can you please tell me how to do a salt bath safely and what the axies will look like will itís done because Iím worried the red veins and shedding slime coat on Ziggy will make it painful for him. Their tank is outside and generally stays between fifteen and eighteen degrees Celsius but last night it got down to ten. Is this bad and if it is how do I get the temperature back up. In Summer when itís too hot I put in frozen water bottles. In the first picture you can see a bit of the fungus on his top right gill. On the second it shows his body. There are some greenish black dots but theyíre just on the glass. In the bottom picture you can see some of the veins and his abnormally pink colour. As you can see his tail is really quite small. A few months ago the fin went right up his back and touched the back of his head.
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Old 15th July 2018   #5
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

Here is a link on how to give your axie a salt bath- http://exoticpetquarters.com/axolotl...lt-bath-guide/
If you think the salt bath is going to bother him, you could start with some tea baths first to speed up the healing process, but you don't want to wait too long to get rid of the fungus. He actually doesn't look as bad as I thought though! With some water correction, a salt bath and maybe a few tea baths he should be better in no time! It doesn't look as though he is morphing, but then again, I'm looking at a tiny cracked phone screen. Keep an eye on him and let us know if you have any more questions :)



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Old 15th July 2018   #6
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

I got the water tested and found the pH and ammonia fine but very high levels of nitrite and nitrate which are acidic. To bring these down I am changing ten percent of the water every day for a week as advised by the pet shop. The pet shop also gave me an Axolotl friendly medicine that you put in the water and should help remove the fungus. Itís designed for use with turtles but works well with axolotls. Iím doing this instead of salt baths as Iíve heard from many people that salt baths can kill axolotls and I donít want to risk it. Also, Iím wondering for a friend if medicines containing aloe vera are bad for axolotls?



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Old 15th July 2018   #7
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

How high is very high? If it's anything over like .50ppm for nitrite I would do more than a 10% change. Possibly a 30 or 50%. I had to do 75% changes for three days to deal with a nitrite spike last month. I'd also recommend buying some testing kits so you don't have to keep going to the store to test the water. They're pricey, but a good set of liquid water test kits go a long way and you can use them for any other tanks you might have. It's recommended to test an established tank once a week even after it's cycled.
Be careful with medications, axolotls are amphibians and absorb a lot through their skin. They aren't reptiles or fish, so because one medicine is safe for a fish or reptile doesn't always mean its safe for amphibian use. Look the name up to see if anyone else has given it to theirs. Perhaps they have some tips for dosing amount or frequency.
As far as aloe goes, it's debated for axolotls. Some say it does no harm, others say it's not worth it, and some say it could cause harm. I had some API Stress Coat+ when I first got my axolotls, it has aloe in it and my two didn't seem harmed by it. But I can't say it helped anything either. I guess look around for someone with more experience and knowledge than me.



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Old 15th July 2018   #8
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

Don't worry too much about your tank getting to 10 degrees, no need to heat it up. The only issue is if the water fluctuates in temperature regularly. Monitor the temp across a couple of days to see how much it changes. A chiller and/or fan will help you during summer to keep the temps down and stable.
Most pet shops (especially here in Aus) give incorrect advice too so always get opinions on here as well. I would use salt baths rather than a bottle medicine. You only need to put them in salt baths for around 10 mins, a couple of times a day. I've never used aloe vera or read about it so I'm not sure about that.
I agree with the above, do bigger water changes. The nitrate and nitrite are probably causing all your issues so once they are fixed you should see improvement.
One of your photos has gravel in it, if it's still in the tank get it out asap as it can cause impaction. Either leave bare or replace with playsand from bunnings (wash it thoroughly before adding to the tank).
I got the API master test kit from ebay, it's about $20 cheaper than I've seen in stores.



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Old 18th July 2018   #9
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

Hello again. The medicine appears to be working with no negative effects and the fungus is receding. Snowflake still remains healthy and after this Iím going to set up another tank to separate them. This makes me feel terrible as they have never been apart but I donít want Snowflake to get sick as well. The new tank wonít have nearly as much nitrate as it will be new water. Should I put the healthy or sick Axolotl in the tank with less nitrate? Also, Ziggy still wonít eat. When I got the nitrate checked it was at 165ppm and the nitrite was about 30. I feel terrible. How could I have let the water become so bad? Iím now doing 40 to 50 percent changes every day to get it down as fast as possible. One last question, will using a plastic box as a tank affect the water as itís the only thing I have available to separate them. Oh, and does anyone have any advice to get the waterís gH (General hardness) up as my tank has an extremely low amount of it and axolotls are used to large quantities. Thank you.



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Old 18th July 2018   #10
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

I decided not to separate them as it would stress them too much and stress weakens axolotls and makes them more prone to sickness. I found how the fungus has been spreading when I checked the back of Toothlessí (the one who didnít survive) cave. There was some old food and waste in there that was absolutely covered in fungus. I think it spreads through the food they sometimes leave. I cleaned out all the caves to get rid of it. I know that food waste can cause ammonia but there was almost none when we tested it as the nitrate probably ate it. When I lifted up Snowflakeís cave she gave me the funniest ĎI am annoyed with youí look :)



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Old 18th July 2018   #11
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Default Re: Possibly sick or morphing Axolotl

Separation won't stress them out, but I would move both into a temporary tub (plastic is fine) if they fit. You don't want either of them in those water conditions. The healthy one can get sick very easily if left in the tank (and the sick one will get worse).



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