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



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Old 24th April 2016   #1
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Default Axolotl hasn't eaten for a month!!

My axolotl hasnt eaten for a month! Getting worried how much longer she will last without eating...

My tank has now cycled and the parameters are stable, 7.6ph, close to 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and about 20 nitrate and temp at 18 degrees. Both my axolots were in the tank while it was cycling and both were eating during the cycle, feeling bad that maybe doing this has caused illness and I should have done a fishless cycle but I thought the fish shops advice of putting them straight in would be trustworthy!

A month ago I fed my 2 axolotls dendrobaena worms for the first time(Only had my axolots a couple of months). The bigger one, Axy, had no problems and will eat anything you put in front of him. The smaller one, Lottie, ate one worm with no problems but while trying a second one Axy came along and bit her tail and since then she hasn't eaten a thing. She never used to eat much compared to Axy to be fair and only ate bloodworm while Axy would eat anything - worried all the bloodworm has caused liver damage?

I put a tank divider between the 2 of them shortly after feeding worms for the first time as Axy now keeps biting Lotties tail. Lottie has also spent a week in the fridge as we thought she may be constipated but she never passed anything, the only time I have seen her poo it was a green goop that disintegrated. Thinking now she may not be constipated so brought her back into the tank in the hopes she would eat.

I've tried feeding her frozen bloodworm, daphnia, Axolotl pellets and dendras - both live and blanched, cut up in to small pieces and tried holding it with tweezers, on the end of cocktail sticks, hand feeding it to her but she doesn't seem to react to anything other than putting her nose on it and then often swims up to gulp air at the surface. The last couple days she has taken a bite of blanched worms but then spits them straight out. When they are live she seems afraid and freaks when it touches her.

Feeling helpess now wishing she could just tell me what was wrong! She is more frequently gulping air at the surface but her gills are fine and Axy has no trouble so must be enough Oxygen. Doesn't have trouble with balance, she floats now and again but not too often and can sink to the bottom with ease when she wants. She doesn't seem to have lost weight either...

Why wont she eat?? How can I get her to eat?

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Old 25th April 2016   #2
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Default Re: Axolotl hasn't eaten for a month!!

Dear Doughdog,

I have had exactly the same happen to my female, Embry. She suddenly stopped eating and didn't eat for a month. She wouldn't eat anything I put in front of her. She used to be the greediest one.

A well-fed axxie can live up to eight weeks without any food, just to put your mind at rest. Lottie likely hasn't lost any weight - like mine didn't - and I have a theory why.

I see this again and again with females and I think this is because females store eggs. Since they constantly 'carry' they might well reabsorb their eggs if they're not fertiised, and this may be why she's not eating.

Looking at your parameters and temp, I'd say it isn't that. I knew Embry stopped eating partially because I think she was reabsorbing and partially because the tank was too warm.

If you haven't noticed any other signs, like unusual poop, fungus or unusual behaviour - if you have, it might be worth having a check with the vet, as you did mention an unusual motion - then the key here is patience.

She will eat again if she hasn't any other issues. Keep offering her her favoured food - if that's bloodworm, so be it - every day. She may not take it right away, but persist. If she won't take her favoured food after a week, try a new food - I can see you've tried others. Have you offered blackworm or waxworms? Blackworm is meant to be nigh on irrestible and waxworms are very soft, so worth a go. I don't think she has liver damage as you've offered her other foods and you'd see worrying signs if she did have damage.

She will eat again if she is well, but you may have to be very patient. Try not to worry. If she shows any signs of illness, it may be worth taking her to a vet.

For now, try to keep her as calm and unstressed as possible and persist with feeding. She should come around. If she hasn't eaten within the next two weeks, or she loses weight or looks ill, I'd suggest the vet.

Good luck!

PS You said she was bitten on the tail. Is there a wound? If so, it's likely she's a little stressed. You can tea bathe her if you like to speed up the wound healing.

"One head cannot hold all wisdom,' - Masai saying.
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Old 25th April 2016   #3
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Default Re: Axolotl hasn't eaten for a month!!

Hi Petersgirl, thanks for your response!

To be honest I don't know for sure that Lottie is definitely a female - any tips on how to be sure of this? Shes only about 4.5-5 inches long at the most.

However if she is definitely female hopefully your theory is correct and she will eat again soon! I'll persist with tryjng to feed her each day and see if i can source some blackworms and waxworms to try.

A good chunk was bitten off by Axy nearly a centimetre of it I'd say but it seems to be healing nicely.

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feeding problem, not eating, sick axolotl

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