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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
LunaJayy
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Exclamation Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

Iím fairly new to owning and caring for Axolotls, but Iíve been having a lot of trouble with my little juvenile. I got her from the pet store a couple weeks ago, and sheís been on her back off and on since. She doesnít always float on her back, sometimes she just lays on the bottom of the tank in her back. When she has these episodes, she darts around the tank occasionally. Water changes sometimes seem to help but currently it hasnít. She also seems to have trouble eating and is a bit skinny. I feel like she doesnít open her mouth enough when she tried to bite her food.. if that makes sense.

Iím not sure how old she is, but sheís got all 4 legs and sheís about 2 inches long. Water chem levels are fine. Diet is black worms/ frozen blood worms. Temp is mid- high 60s F. No substrate in tank, two hides. I currently have her in a smaller dish so i can keep the water shallow to help her stay on her belly.

Any advice on how to get my sweet baby back to being happy and healthy would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

Presuming it is growing normally (have you noticed any growth since having her?) at 2 inches she is probably around 2 months. Have you noticed if she has been pooping? How often does she eat?
I think air in the belly can lead to upside down floating. It can happen quite regularly in juveniles, though it's mostly right side up. How much does she eat in one feeding? Does she gulp at the surface at all? Do you have an airstone that she could be taking air from?
Keep her in a container like you have, with just enough water to cover her so she can't flip upside down. Change this tub water daily with dechlorinated water. If you can keep her in a cooler place (low 60's) it can help her pass gas if that is the issue. Try and keep the tank under 65 degrees (and constant) where possible.
Are the blackworms the freeze dried ones? Or live? If you can get your hands on live I highly recommend (I've heard it can be hard to source in the US). If you're using the freeze dried ones make sure to soak and squish them (until they can sink), this will get rid of the air in them.
The belly doesn't look bloated or deformed so I'm hoping it's just a gas issue. Keep me updated!



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
LunaJayy
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

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Originally Posted by Hayleyy View Post
Presuming it is growing normally (have you noticed any growth since having her?) at 2 inches she is probably around 2 months. Have you noticed if she has been pooping? How often does she eat?
I think air in the belly can lead to upside down floating. It can happen quite regularly in juveniles, though it's mostly right side up. How much does she eat in one feeding? Does she gulp at the surface at all? Do you have an airstone that she could be taking air from?
Keep her in a container like you have, with just enough water to cover her so she can't flip upside down. Change this tub water daily with dechlorinated water. If you can keep her in a cooler place (low 60's) it can help her pass gas if that is the issue. Try and keep the tank under 65 degrees (and constant) where possible.
Are the blackworms the freeze dried ones? Or live? If you can get your hands on live I highly recommend (I've heard it can be hard to source in the US). If you're using the freeze dried ones make sure to soak and squish them (until they can sink), this will get rid of the air in them.
The belly doesn't look bloated or deformed so I'm hoping it's just a gas issue. Keep me updated!

I just measured her again and she is still right at 2 inches, which is how long she was on April 24th. Does this mean sheís not eating enough? I was originally feeding her every day, but i switched to every other recently because she seemed to eat better. But she has still only been eating about one whole black worm. She like pecks at them instead of open her mouth and sucking it in. She goes after the food like she really wants it but she doesnít seem to be successful. She doesnít have an air stone in the tank, just a sponge filter. Iíve seen her go up to the top of the tank maybe a handful of times since Iíve had her, so nothing crazy.



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

Hm she isn't growing at the same rate as my one did, it's usually an inch a month give or take. I got her at 2 inches and in the 2 months I've had her she's grown to almost 6 inches (she eats a lot though!). She was eating twice a day, and probably a pea sized clump of blackworms with each feeding, at 2 inches. She now eats one or two earthworms a day.
If you're not doing live feeding and haven't tried this yet make sure to wiggle the worm in front of the axolotl's face. When they're juveniles they respond better to live/moving food so it's good to try and imitate it when feeding non live food.
Try digging up some worms from your yard and cut them up into little bits. See if she'll eat that. Any earthworms should fatten an axolotl up pretty quickly. Sometimes you need to try a few different foods to see what the axolotls like :)



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #5
LunaJayy
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

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Originally Posted by Hayleyy View Post
Hm she isn't growing at the same rate as my one did, it's usually an inch a month give or take. I got her at 2 inches and in the 2 months I've had her she's grown to almost 6 inches (she eats a lot though!). She was eating twice a day, and probably a pea sized clump of blackworms with each feeding, at 2 inches. She now eats one or two earthworms a day.
If you're not doing live feeding and haven't tried this yet make sure to wiggle the worm in front of the axolotl's face. When they're juveniles they respond better to live/moving food so it's good to try and imitate it when feeding non live food.
Try digging up some worms from your yard and cut them up into little bits. See if she'll eat that. Any earthworms should fatten an axolotl up pretty quickly. Sometimes you need to try a few different foods to see what the axolotls like :)

Sorry for not clarifying, i was using live black worms before. I just put some small chunks of live earthworms in with her. She acted really interested, but again she just pecked at it and didnít open her mouth enough to get the chunk in. The chunks are definitely small enough... i



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #6
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

at only 2 inches i would think even slices of earthworm might be hard to swallow if the poor thing is already weak.

bloodworms are pretty tasty for them, the tiny bits might be easier for him to eat over whole blackworms (he just might not like blackworms, some axolotls are picky ive heard)
i feed my little guys twice a day and they are growing so fast, the more you offer food the more he can get some in. people who say they feed every other day usually have adults, juveniles really should be fed daily (tiny tummies, not a lot of space!)



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

I second everything KumquatSquats said!
It might need some time to adjust to you so keep offering food a couple of times a day :)
Keep us updated!



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #8
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

She used to at least peck at her food.. and now, even though she does seem to be moving around more, she isnít showing any interest. Iíve tried black worms, blood worms (frozen), earthworms, and pellets. Is there anything else that a picky baby could eat?



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick/ Stressed Juvenile ?

It's frustrating when you can't get them to eat. I'm surprised live blackworms didn't get her interested.
I know she's tubbed but can you check for ammonia/nitrite?
Is she pooping at all? If she is what colour is it?



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