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

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Old 5th May 2015   #1
kla38
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Unhappy Itchy Axolotls!!!

Hi there!

Back in February of this year, I bought two axolotls (one leucistic and one GFP golden albino). When I got them they were roughly about 3 inches long and are still juveniles. At first, Mac (golden albino) was smaller than Kip (leucistic), but has since far outgrown Kip. One night, Mac got nippy and bit the tip of Kip's tail along with his gills and one of his legs. Luckily, they were just minor injuries. I then separated the two of them so Kip could recuperate and placed him in a netted breeder box (for about a week) clipped to the side of the tank. When Kip was released into the tank again, I noticed that he would periodically twitch erratically. He was trying to scratch his gills with his back leg (much like a dog would do). At the time I figured it was probably just his gills healing that was irritating him. A few days later I saw Mac doing the same thing as well as shaking his head frantically. I have no idea what is causing them to do this.

The only recent changes I have made, is that I added an extra filter to my tank as my previous one was not efficient enough for a 40 gallon tank and that I changed their diet from pellets to earthworms. I have, however, recently noticed some tiny white creatures on my aquarium glass. I have dealt with (worm-like) planaria before, but these look completely different. These 'bugs' appear to be like little balls with two antennae and a tail. Through research, I believe them to be cyclops zooplankton, but I am not 100% sure on it. They jitter across the glass rather quickly, unlike the planaria I had before.

Also, where I live it is beginning to warm up and so has my aquarium's temperature. The tank's temp. is usually around 68F, but has been around 73F in the past few days. I haven't noticed any mucus on my axis and they both still have a very healthy appetite, but I thought this might be another possible cause. On a side note, I'd like to see if anybody has any suggestions to help keep my tank cool. I currently have a fan blowing across the tank at all times, but the temperature is still getting a bit too high. I'm a little iffy about using the frozen bottle technique because I don't want to shock the poor axolotls.

Aside from the little critters and the water temperature, I have no other ideas what is bothering them. If you could offer any advice, we and our axolotls would greatly appreciate it!


Aquarium parameters:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrites: 0ppm
Nitrates: 10ppm
Water Hardness: 300ppm
Alkalinity: 180ppm
pH: 7.6
Tank Size: 40 Gal. - 20"x20"x20" cube
Planted Vegetation
Water Changes: 20% - 60% one to two times a week


Below I have attached a few photos of our axies - sorry for the poor quality. I tried to get a picture of the little critters, but they are far too small for my camera. Thanks again!
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Old 6th May 2015   #2
Sweetie
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Default Re: Itchy Axolotls!!!

It sounds suspiciously like the injured axie has developed a fungal infection, possibly as a result of the wounds having damaged its slime layer, and this has possibly spread to the other axie. It is hard to tell from the pictures, but are there white patches on the leucistic's side? I can't see any fungus on the gills of either one though. And the white patches don't look furry like a fungal infection either. Others may know more about the small horned creatures (the creepy crawly ones on the glass, not the lotls). I am certainly not a fungus expert. Your water parameters sound fine but that temperature really is too high. You need to get some fans if you can't afford a chiller. If possible, it should not exceed 68 degrees (20 celcius). And I would sieve or remove that gravel immediately. It's got chunks of edible size and those axies will certainly eat them, possibly with dire consequences for their health.



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Old 6th May 2015   #3
rachel1
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Default Re: Itchy Axolotls!!!

I think they are probably annoyed at being too warm. I see no signs of fungus on either one- they look healthy. Flow from the second filter could also be irritating. Ice bottles shouldn't cause too drastic of a temp swing in a 40 gallon. Just keep one in the tank and one in the freezer, and switch them out maybe twice a day. The tiny bugs do sound like cyclops. They are white, about the size of a grain of salt, and move quickly with a jerky movement. You might notice some have a "Mickey mouse" shape- those are females carrying eggs, one egg pouch on each side of the tail. They are harmless.



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Old 8th May 2015   #4
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Default Re: Itchy Axolotls!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
It sounds suspiciously like the injured axie has developed a fungal infection, possibly as a result of the wounds having damaged its slime layer, and this has possibly spread to the other axie. It is hard to tell from the pictures, but are there white patches on the leucistic's side? I can't see any fungus on the gills of either one though. And the white patches don't look furry like a fungal infection either. Others may know more about the small horned creatures (the creepy crawly ones on the glass, not the lotls). I am certainly not a fungus expert. Your water parameters sound fine but that temperature really is too high. You need to get some fans if you can't afford a chiller. If possible, it should not exceed 68 degrees (20 celcius). And I would sieve or remove that gravel immediately. It's got chunks of edible size and those axies will certainly eat them, possibly with dire consequences for their health.
-Kip's injuries were only minor and didn't even bleed so I don't think it could be an infection, but I'll keep an eye out. As far as I can tell there are no white patches (fungus) on either axie, just their coloration. I currently have 2 fans on the tank and am using small ice bottles, but the temp is still high. I have purchased bigger bottles and will be using them from now on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rachel1 View Post
I think they are probably annoyed at being too warm. I see no signs of fungus on either one- they look healthy. Flow from the second filter could also be irritating. Ice bottles shouldn't cause too drastic of a temp swing in a 40 gallon. Just keep one in the tank and one in the freezer, and switch them out maybe twice a day. The tiny bugs do sound like cyclops. They are white, about the size of a grain of salt, and move quickly with a jerky movement. You might notice some have a "Mickey mouse" shape- those are females carrying eggs, one egg pouch on each side of the tail. They are harmless.
-I've discovered a new creature in my tank. These guys are like white worms like the planaria I had, except longer. I saw them floating around when they were kicked up by an axie. They're roughly 1cm in length. Do planaria get that long? They seem to live on my substrate and are not to be seen on the glass. I'm thinking they could be nematodes from the earthworms. I know it's vey rare for them to be parasitic and I haven't seen any posts about them, but is there a way I can tell if they're parasitic? Also, I don't know if it's relevant or not, or if it's even unusual, but I also noticed these tiny reddish-brown dots on the underside of Mac's chin. They trail all the way down his belly, but are primarily on his chin. Kip appears to have a few as well, but not near as many and they trail across his nose? I thought maybe they could be marks from scratching or that they could be small bites from something. Kip hasn't been itching as much as he was, but Mac is still itchy so that may explain why Mac has more dots if they are related to it. I might just be paranoid though and trying to make something out of nothing... Aside from that, today they are being very active, but don't seem very stressed despite the water temperature being the same. *fail, ice bottles* I might add though that I've left their tank light off for the past few days in an attempt to keep the tank cooler and lessen the stress on them.


Thank you both for your feedback!



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Old 8th May 2015   #5
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Default Re: Itchy Axolotls!!!

Could they have come into contact with anchor worms?.....just a thought



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Old 9th May 2015   #6
kla38
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Default Re: Itchy Axolotls!!!

No, I don't think so. I haven't added any fish or plants to my tank in recent days, just the filter and earthworms.



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