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Old 8th March 2016   #1
Campbellclanman
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Default Very sick axolotl

Hi everyone
First of all - my first post is a thread, I hope this is ok.

I am extremely worried, I have had Axolotl's now for around 10 to 12 years, at one stage I havd a virus of sorts-OR maybe a temperature thing wipe out a few of my little beauties....
As the years go on I have built a more purpose built tank - about a metre long and 600 high, and have the tank only 1/4 full - I use fresh rain water as top ups....

Anyway, Lately my absolute favorite White Axolotl has been of it'd food - it shares a tank with 3 others - who are doing fine - but in the past two weeks its been very hard to feed the poor wee thing - it floats a lot too.
I have checked the water - Nitrates are a fraction high - Ammonia too is again just a fraction high, the ph is the higher one- but this has always been the same and never seemed to bother the Axo's.

I came in here and read up a few things and so I filled a spare smaller tank with only say 2 inches of the Tank water - and took the poor ly one one and left it in there for a couple of days- I think it was quite hard on it-it didnt move an inch.

So I have transferred it back into the main Tank.... but it is of course now very lethargic - It cant go on for much longer - and I need to try everything for this wee animal - I feel guilty enough that they are completely helpless and depend on what I do - Please help me.
Oh by the way - Bloodworms are mainly the diet, I hand fed them - boy they are fussy eaters - they HATE Axolotl Food -LOVE Blood worms

Thank you in adavance for your help.



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Old 8th March 2016   #2
Chris
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

I'm not sure how high 600 is as you didn't give a metric. But having a tank only a quarter full makes it seem like you may not have a lot of water in the tank considering you have 4 Axolotls in there.

Moving your sick Axolotl to a smaller tank with only tank water and leaving it for days is not a good idea since the smaller tank has not got an established biological filter (cycle) which means the ammonia can rise to a toxic level which is stressful and damaging to the Axolotl. When moving an Axolotl to a quarantine tank you should perform daily water changes to make sure the water quality is safe.

Axolotl prefer hard water, rain water is soft, it does not contain minerals or dissolved salts. It could also contain other contaminants which would require boiling/sterilizing. You would be better off using tap water and a dechlorinator.

Post clear images of your tank, and Axolotl.
Post the exact test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrAte, and PH.
Post the exact temperature of your tanks water.

Have you added anything new to the tank lately?
Is it only Axolotls you keep in the tank?



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Old 9th March 2016   #3
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Hi Chris
Thank you for taking the time to answer, and my apologies with the time delays, and my having to answer once I get home late from work.

Ok, I always thought rain Water was good- but when you measure the PH level of the Rain Water - its around 6.6.

Now before I give you the Chemical results of the water- these have been the exact same for some years, its only just recently that this poor wee Axolotl has been behaving like this.

PH = Between 6.8 and 7.0
Ammonia is just off 0
Nitrate look to be a tad over 80ppm

Thank you for the suggestions with the water, I considered this - especially during Summer when it got harder to collect fresh Rain Water -but I was always very wary of Chemicals - perhaps I need to reconsider.

Chris can you help with advice in "cleaning" or purifying Tap Water at all please?

Here is a photo of the Tank, I havent vacuumed it for a wee while - but will do this in partitions as I do weekly water changes of 20 to 30%

Click the image to open in full size.

I built this out of 8 mm Glass - of course used fish friendly Silicone- but this Tank was built two years ago.
Im wondering with this Summer being so hot- maybe its getting too warm?

The Tank is NOT anywhere near direct Sunlight.

I was told never to put too much water into the tank for Axolotls - but my ears are open here folks.

i would also like to add that I change my carbon in the Filter every two weeks, I only clean the filter in a bit of Tank water taken out, and I never use tap water on the Bio's as I have always read that changing them - you take out the Bio from your whole Tank so this is always cared for greatly.

Chris - No I havent added anything into the Tank, and only Axolotls in the Tank.

Thank you all in advance for your time in Reading



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Old 9th March 2016   #4
Chris
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

The rain water being at 6.6 is on the low side but is not necessarily a problem, ideally you want to be at 7.4 - 7.6.

Your nitrAte is too high, as nitrAte begins to reach 40ppm+ it becomes toxic and can poison your Axolotl. 20-30% water changes will help in reducing nitrAte.You can test your water after each water change to saee if the changer was sufficient to lower your nitrAtes.

Your tank has the lowest level of water I've ever seen! You could fill the tank 5 inches from the top and that would be much better for your Axolotl since larger volumes of water will keep a cooler temperature for longer, where as small volumes of water will heat up faster. Also having a larger volume of water will dilute/buffer any ammonia, nitrites, and nitrAtes in your tank.

To make tap water 'safe' you need to use what is known as 'Dechlorinator'.
Dechlorinator is a liquid which you add to the water your putting into your tank. If you refill your tank using buckets of water you would add the correct dose of dechlorinator to the bucket, and then fill it with water, this makes sure the dechlorinator is mixed well with the water.
Dechlorinator removes toxins from the tap water, such as chlorine, chloramine, which are added to our tap water by water authority's to make tap water safe for us to drink, and also metal toxins that become present from running through pipes. If you dechlorinate the tap water before adding to your tank your Axolotls will be safe.

I use a dechlorinator called 'Seachem Prime' this is a highly concentrated dechlorinator so only small ammounts need to be used. Otherwise I also use 'Tetra AquaSafe'.

Seachem. Prime
AquaSafe Aquarium Dechlorinator Conditioner | Tetra Aquarium

Read this article for more in depth information on water temperature and water quality: Axolotls - Requirements & Water Conditions in Captivity It's highly informative.

The gravel you are using as a substrate could well be the cause of the issues with your sick Axolotl. Gravel can cause impaction (getting stuck in the digestive system) which can result in death unless it can be passed. Axolotls are 'gape-limited' meaning they can eat anything they can fit in their mouths. Read this article for more information: Caudata Culture Articles - Aquarium Substrates

Also view this current live thread of a user who's Axolotl ingested gravel: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beg...tml#post461646

So the main issues I would address with your tank is:

-Increase your water level substantially.
-Remove the gravel substrate as this can be eaten by the Axolotls and cause impaction and possibly death.

Can you post the temperature of your tanks water?
Also post images of your Axolotl



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Old 9th March 2016   #5
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Hi Chris
many Thanks
I change my water ( 20 to 30%) on a regular basis, but will increase the water- its funny I had the opposite advice - keeping water lower - the photo shows the photo of the water at most probably its lowest - I usually have it around 3 to 4 inches higher.
I will get some dechlorinator and put it to use.
I will get some more images - I need to go out straight after work tonight - I got the sick one to eat a little today -
I will come back with images of my wee friends.
Many thanks for your support and helpful links.



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Old 9th March 2016   #6
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

No problem!

Fill the tank about 4-5 inches from the top, would be worth getting a mesh lid to allow evaporation to keep the water temperature down but also to stop your Axolotl jumping out.

You should look at your substrate. The gravel can cause problems as you can see in the thread I linked you. I bet if you put your Axolotl in the fridge you will end up with lots of gravel being passed, and it could be what's causing the symptoms with your Axolotl.



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Old 10th March 2016   #7
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Chris
Thank you
I added about 30% more Water in today - and will wait for another few days and do the same until the water level is up.
I will also look at taking out the Gravel - although its bigger chunks - what shall I put in there instead? Plain Glass just looks yuk?

I got my sickly one to eat agin today - two days in a row now

I will keep you posted.
Many thanks Chris, your time in helping me is VERY much appreciated!

Duncan



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Old 10th March 2016   #8
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

It good that your increasing your water volume, it will really help keep your water quality last longer and keep your temperature lower for longer.

Sand substrate is generally the safest option for adult Axolotls. I know there are some keepers that use very smooth round gravel sized between 1-3mm, this is suppose to be easily passed through the digestive tract if ingested.

Great that your Axolotl is eating again!

I would be really interested to see if any gravel is passed by fridging your Axolotl, I expect there would most likely be a fair amount.



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Old 12th March 2016   #9
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Ok....

My wee sick Axolotl is looking SO much better, eating now, and now doing the usual in the morning and coming out and staring at me with one of (her?) little feet up on the glass!
So so much more healthy and happy looking.
Ph is near perfect, Ammonia perfect. Nitrates still a bit high.
Water level ( not wanting to add too much all at once ) is now Half full.

Making plans on changing the floor Gravel to much larger rocks( that can in NO way fit in their mouths)

I have also just today started a water tank after visiting my friend who has a HUGE tank - that he recently changed from over 20 years of Tropical - to cleaning out the tank altogether after finding the remaining friends new and good homes - and going fresh water - this Tank holds over 1200 Litres! yep you read that right.

I have snails in the new Tank as well as oxygen weed and a few other surface gatherer plants, I will also be planting Fresh water plants in there as well as soon as I build the level up - as the PH is perfect for the snails right now and so I will build the level up as my water in the spare tanks slowly come up in PH to 7.6.

Chris you asked for photos, I quickly took some this morining before I had to shoot out the door - .......
Here is my wee thing who was feeling sick - no longer floating - so much more active AND eating well
Click the image to open in full size.

Smile for the Camera....
Click the image to open in full size.

If you look closely two other shyer lads poking their heads out...
Click the image to open in full size.

And my other white one whom I bought with no feet and no one wanted so I took the wee thing in and now here is my wee friend....
Click the image to open in full size.

Thanks again for the help Chris.



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Old 12th March 2016   #10
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Make sure to keep your nitrAtes down with weekly water changes, your Axolotl looks very healthy!

Glad he's all better, once you change the substrate your likely going to see your Axolotl passing a lot of stones!

Good luck with the new tank



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Old 12th March 2016   #11
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

So glad to hear that your axolotl is eating again.
I went on quite an emotional journey/rollercoaster reading your thread, so please keep us posted.
Best of luck.



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Old 14th March 2016   #12
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Thank you Donna

Things are going well! I am really happy with how my little fella's are looking - continually topping up the Tank gradually.
I will keep you posted,



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