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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 16th November 2019   #1
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Unhappy Axolotls are extremely sick, red fungus, dying

I had 3 males in a 40gal breeder for over a year now. They have two sponge filters, and they mostly eat bloodworms.

To cut to the chase, I know I don't take care of them as well as I should. I have really bad anxiety and depression, and it is really hard for me to get up the energy to change their water as frequently as I should (right now i do about a 75% change once a month) or to take care of earthworms to feed them a better diet.

In the past week or two the axolotls started getting small puffs of fungus. then a little bit of discoloration of their slime coats. after a week i mustered up the energy to soak them in black tea for a day, but put them back in their tank as i work really long hours and didn't have the time or the strength to clean their tank yet.

Today I went in and two of them were dead, like, REALLY dead. one was floating at the top of the tank and was in the decomp stage. The skin on his back was completely red, and his cloaca was very enlarged and extremely red. there were bits of red fungus popping up over his body. The second one was probably more recently dead, and did not have much fungus but had a bit of a swollen cloaca. The third is alive and has puffs of bright red fungus at a few points on his body, what looks like an open wound on his back, and a very very red and swollen cloaca.

I feel like absolute garbage. I have never seen anything like this before, and can't find anything like it online. I took photos but will only post if requested as they are very sad.

The one that is alive, i just did a 15min salt bath and now have him tubbed in a tea bath.

I'm posting mostly to see if anyone knows what the f**** the red fungus is or what causes open wounds like that. I'm about to test the water though the first axolotl had probably been dead for a day or so so i'm expecting high ammonia.

The last thing I want to talk about is how fragile axolotls are and how difficult it is to properly take care of them. I care about them so, so so much. But I have had many die. Some were sick, some died out of nowhere. I think that feeding bloodworms as a staple diet contributes to poor health as they are not very nutritious and can cause dirty tanks. But in three years i've probably had about 35 axolotls (twice they accidentally bred and i raised the eggs, and some died as babies, some grew to juvies then died) and I only currently have 3 living axolotls left. I thought I was going to have these pals for a decade. I have not actively gotten any more axolotls because I know I am obviously not in the place to give them as much care as I should to keep them healthy longterm. but i don't know how to deal with the fact that so many I have had have gotten so sick and died. I even had one I nursed for a year and brought to an animal hospital and spent $900 on testing because they thought it had cancer. It's not that i don't care. I just. Idk. It seems like everyone else is so good at taking care of them and they never get sick. I feel like a huge, awful, horrible failure and a terrible person.

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Old 18th November 2019   #2
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Rep: Kitan has given good advice and informationKitan has given good advice and information
Default Re: Axolotls are extremely sick, red fungus, dying

*hugs* I'm sorry for what you are going through.

The red really does sound like ammonia burns which, if you had a decomposing axolotl in there, is not at all surprising. On top of that, if you haven't been able to clean the tank, your efforts will have had no impact as all that bacteria and fungus are still happily living in the tank. I think your axolotl immediately needs salt baths and fridging (with 100% daily water changes) if there is any hope and then the tank needs to be throughly cleaned before they he can go back in. Which may require re-cycling your tank. Hopefully the more experienced people can chime in.

Either way, with love, I would suggest if you can get him back to good health, you should consider rehoming BECAUSE you care about him. You aren't in a place right now where you can provide him what he needs to thrive. I totally get that you care and that depression is stopping you from being able to do what he needs for care. It isn't that it is easy for everyone else, it takes a fair bit of effort. Additionally, it is clearly causing you stress and will NOT help with your current mental well being. Right now I would avoid caged/tanked animals and just work on you and your happiness.

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axolotl, fungus, sick

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