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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 10th July 2016   #1
M3Dylan
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Exclamation First Axolotl please help

I researched quite a bit of information about Axis before buying one and I knew not to put gravel in the tank. So I used sand to give him something to grip, and I hate how bare bottom tanks look. The sand I purchased was from National Geographic and it was made for aquarium fish so I knew it was safe, however as soon as I got my Axi in the tank he started exploring in the not so good way buy eating the substrate. He even managed to get it in his bowl and then inhale it in there too. As I kept reading various things about these creatures I found that they will basically eat as much as you give them. It was my second day with him and after putting bloodworms in his bowl he barley touched them and his stomach (since he is transparent) looked like whatever he consumed was black and a lot of it. Well my substrate is black and I haven't seen him produce waste for 2 and 1/2 days now and his belly is still full. I'm worrying that he could be blocked up because of this substrate. It's fine sand but still has visible grain and not nearly as fine as pool sand. I will post pictures so you can see. The last picture IS NOT my tank. It's my friends who has some of the same substrate as me (mines on the let) and it is being used as comparison to size from the gravel he has in his tank. (on the right)
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Old 10th July 2016   #2
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

I know that his stomach looks dark, but that could also just be the bloodworms.
Yes, your axolotl may have ingested some sand, but this should pass through rather than cause your axolotl to become impacted.
When my juveniles were very young they would sometimes eat until they were sick, so I then started to watch what they were eating. I have also read that you cannot really overfeed an juvenile because it is growing.
I wouldn't be too worried just yet. Your little one may still be too full of the previous bowl of bloodworms to feel hungry. Your axolotl also looks well fed, so not feeding for a day or two won't be a problem. Chances are that he will produce some poop for you very soon, and will be fine. Just make sure that your water parameters and temperature are all good.
Saying that, I'm not a very experienced keeper as I've only had my gang for 4 months, so perhaps one of the more experienced keepers will offer some advice which will resolve the problem.
If he is constipated, that can also be resolved. There is a fridging guide on a sticky in the sick axolotl section of the forum index. I wouldn't do this just yet, not until one of the experienced keepers suggests that it is necessary.
Sorry I can't be more specific, but I just wanted to offer you some reassurance that it wasn't a big problem, then the experienced keepers can offer more specific advice.



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Old 10th July 2016   #3
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

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Originally Posted by Donna001 View Post
I know that his stomach looks dark, but that could also just be the bloodworms.
Yes, your axolotl may have ingested some sand, but this should pass through rather than cause your axolotl to become impacted.
When my juveniles were very young they would sometimes eat until they were sick, so I then started to watch what they were eating. I have also read that you cannot really overfeed an juvenile because it is growing.
I wouldn't be too worried just yet. Your little one may still be too full of the previous bowl of bloodworms to feel hungry. Your axolotl also looks well fed, so not feeding for a day or two won't be a problem. Chances are that he will produce some poop for you very soon, and will be fine. Just make sure that your water parameters and temperature are all good.
Saying that, I'm not a very experienced keeper as I've only had my gang for 4 months, so perhaps one of the more experienced keepers will offer some advice which will resolve the problem.
If he is constipated, that can also be resolved. There is a fridging guide on a sticky in the sick axolotl section of the forum index. I wouldn't do this just yet, not until one of the experienced keepers suggests that it is necessary.
Sorry I can't be more specific, but I just wanted to offer you some reassurance that it wasn't a big problem, then the experienced keepers can offer more specific advice.
Thanks so much for the help! Ill keep an eye out for now!



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Old 11th July 2016   #4
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

There are a few factors to consider. Axolotls will often not eat in the first week of having them in a new environment so he/she may be adjusting to their new home so that in itself may not be too much to worry about just yet. If less than five-six inches it is probably best to remove the sand for now as sand impaction is a potential risk. Regardless of size, it is probably best to remove the sand at least for now if he/she is purposefully eating the sand. The parameters can play a part too in their appetite.

It may be helpful to get a bit more information about your axolotl. Could you provide the following?

How long is your axolotl?
Is your tank cycled? What are the parameter readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH and temperature?



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Old 11th July 2016   #5
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

I removed the sand and put him in a 5gal tank. He is about 3 1/2 inches long and started to float this morning. I then put him back into the original tank with sand to see what would happen. He was moving around the tank very quickly and acting skittish also floating trying to swim back down and then floating again. I now have him in about half a gallon of dechlorinated water inside of my fridge. The fridge is most likely around 40deg F. I think ill keep him in there and check on him tonight



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Old 12th July 2016   #6
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

The fridge is set far too cold for an axolotl! Also, given his size I would not fridge him at all. For now, I would keep him in a tub of dechlorinated water (change 100% of the water in the tub daily) somewhere not in the fridge but somewhere cool. If he has become constipated from the sand, it should hopefully pass and you will be able to monitor what he passes.



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Old 12th July 2016   #7
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

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The fridge is set far too cold for an axolotl! Also, given his size I would not fridge him at all. For now, I would keep him in a tub of dechlorinated water (change 100% of the water in the tub daily) somewhere not in the fridge but somewhere cool. If he has become constipated from the sand, it should hopefully pass and you will be able to monitor what he passes.
Thank you! He was in there for roughly 5 hours and I immediately took him out as soon as I read your response. He was swimming around doing his axolotl thing. Honestly seemed somewhat happy (probably because he was being removed from a fridge) but now I have him in the same container but in my cool dark basement with a corner of the container lifted open so he could get some fresh air at the top if needed. He passed a decent amount of sand but is still floating pretty bad with his lower half in the water and his head and upper half floating (occasionally his whole body will float). I also see him frequently with his tail curved to himself slightly. I would appreciate if some other people would also give me some input and advice. Thanks Skudo! Let me know what to do next



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Old 12th July 2016   #8
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

It may take some time to pass all the sand. feeding small chunks of earthworm may be beneficial and help pass the sand. Earthworms make an excellent staple diet so it would be good to transition him to earthworms anyway if you can. The location you have him now sounds perfect and be sure to change the water daily. To make this process easier, you can have a second tub pre-prepared to transfer him to each day and you can tip the old water into the main tank to help with the cycle.

In the meantime, it would be worth making sure the main tank is in optimum condition to give him a smooth recovery. Make sure the parameters are all in optimum condition. It is best to remove the sand for now until he is a bit bigger or at least five inches long. Once he is bigger you could try the sand again or choose a finer sand. If he does continue to purposefully eat the sand though, it may be better to choose an alternative substrate.



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Old 12th July 2016   #9
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

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Originally Posted by Skudo09 View Post
It may take some time to pass all the sand. feeding small chunks of earthworm may be beneficial and help pass the sand. Earthworms make an excellent staple diet so it would be good to transition him to earthworms anyway if you can. The location you have him now sounds perfect and be sure to change the water daily. To make this process easier, you can have a second tub pre-prepared to transfer him to each day and you can tip the old water into the main tank to help with the cycle.

In the meantime, it would be worth making sure the main tank is in optimum condition to give him a smooth recovery. Make sure the parameters are all in optimum condition. It is best to remove the sand for now until he is a bit bigger or at least five inches long. Once he is bigger you could try the sand again or choose a finer sand. If he does continue to purposefully eat the sand though, it may be better to choose an alternative substrate.
I have frozen bloodworms and freeze dried shrimp. Would any of those be ok to feed or would it just make the process of passing the sand longer? Should I feed him at all if he's impacted? Lastly how long would he take to grow a decent size? I have pool filtration sand (Aqua Quartz) in the cycling 10gal long. I can put him in a 5 gal bare bottom (once he passes the sand in quartine) until he is of size to put into the 10 long with sand



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Old 12th July 2016   #10
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

I just checked and it seems that he passed some very large (almost gravel) sized stools. He also passed some sand that was no where near the size of the stool. When he started to float it was in the tank with no sand and happened overnight after feeding him a frozen dried shrimp by Omega One. I'm starting to think that maybe the small sand wasn't the issue and mabe he just bit off more shrip then he could chew for his size. I'm going to keep him in the basement for another 8 hours in a fresh bowl of water just to moniter what he continues to pass and to have cooler water (my basement is about 5deg cooler than my room). Tonight ill acclimate him to my room in the 5 gal bare bottom with some frozen bloodworms.His tummy is still black but less plump, and the sand he is passing is less than half the size of his stool. I'm starting to wonder what caused him to float



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Old 12th July 2016   #11
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

Dried shrimp is not the best food option. Bloodworm is OK but you will need to transition to a more nutrititious option. Get yourself some earthworms.

The floating was probably due to constipation. It may have been the food or may have been the sand or a combination of both. Either way, it is good he has passed faeces. They do produce some surprisingly large poos... I would suggest keeping him on bare bottom until he is bigger. It shouldn't take too long for him to grow on a good diet.



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Old 12th July 2016   #12
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

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Dried shrimp is not the best food option. Bloodworm is OK but you will need to transition to a more nutrititious option. Get yourself some earthworms.

The floating was probably due to constipation. It may have been the food or may have been the sand or a combination of both. Either way, it is good he has passed faeces. They do produce some surprisingly large poos... I would suggest keeping him on bare bottom until he is bigger. It shouldn't take too long for him to grow on a good diet.
Awesome! Thanks so much! Can you give me a few food options ranging from most nutrititious to least. I've read many different and contradicting things to feed these little guys



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Old 13th July 2016   #13
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

Below are a couple of links on food items.

Caudata Culture Articles - Food Items for Captive Caudates

Caudata Culture Articles - Worms

Caudata Culture Articles - Nutritional Values

Hopefully these will help :)



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Old 17th July 2016   #14
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

How about live California black worms? I only feeding my axolotl mostly that cause it's high nutrious and it's aquatic worms that house inside the sand . They stick their body out like grass and axolotl can't get enough of them. The most easiest live food to keep in tank actually.



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Old 17th July 2016   #15
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

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How about live California black worms? I only feeding my axolotl mostly that cause it's high nutrious and it's aquatic worms that house inside the sand . They stick their body out like grass and axolotl can't get enough of them. The most easiest live food to keep in tank actually.
Blackworm have similar nutritional values to earthworms so make a good staple diet but given their size, I would only bother feeding them to juveniles. Larger axolotls or even from 3 inches in length I would just stick with earthworms.

Also, it is best not to encourage axolotls to eat directly from sand substrate as this can cause them to consume sand with their vacuum-like mouth. So if choosing to feed blackworms to axolotls, it would be best to house the blackworms separate to the axolotls tank and just take blackworm as needed and hand feed with feeder tongs or use a feeding dish.



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Old 21st July 2016   #16
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

Ok so he's been in the 5 gal bare bottom for about a week or two. Letting the 20 gal cycle more and waiting for him to get bigger so he can pass the very fine sand that is in there without a problem. Today I went to feed him his staple diet of bloodworms. I haven't feed him in close to 30 some hours and it seems to be that overnight he started floating again. I know he's floating because again it seems to be he is struggling to stay down. I'm confused on why he is floating AGAIN because there is nothing for him to be impacted on. I have a bare bottom tank and a small airstone with a low PSI pump pushing out very little air. I also have a fake aquarium plant to provide some cover and athestetic for him. I just don't know why he's floating again. I guess he could have taken a bite of the air stone



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Old 22nd July 2016   #17
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

Floating problem sometime cause by accidentally swallow the air bubble .. It could mistaking it for food that's why I recommend the black worms cause it easier to digest , However a while back I experienced the floater and if I remember it correctly some one once told me "floater" can be cure one alternative way .

First you need a shallow water container to put your axolotl in the fridge . Cause when it can touch the bottom floor it will feel more relax enough to let go of bubble that cause the floating another word burb out. Then bring the axolotl back out but still in some wide shallow water container and feed it small food then back in the fridge . If not still, then just kept on using shallow water till it finally stop floating.



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Old 22nd July 2016   #18
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

One question, does your axolotl float upside down or just hanging around on the surface? , if it just float with the feet hanging not belly up then it is actually doesn't have any problem at all ( cause only the belly up floating that we call them the floater) If it just doggie paddling around the surface of the tank it just because it's still young. Easy to get air .. Being lazy .. Life easy floating around once it gets older .. Body gets heavier .. Walking on the bottom floor seem more appealing.



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Old 23rd July 2016   #19
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Default Re: First Axolotl please help

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One question, does your axolotl float upside down or just hanging around on the surface? , if it just float with the feet hanging not belly up then it is actually doesn't have any problem at all ( cause only the belly up floating that we call them the floater) If it just doggie paddling around the surface of the tank it just because it's still young. Easy to get air .. Being lazy .. Life easy floating around once it gets older .. Body gets heavier .. Walking on the bottom floor seem more appealing.
Oh my gosh he was floating with his feet hanging just chilling around. In everything I read no one specified that there is something wrong when he floats BELLY UP. Everyone just says floats. I should have known he was being lazy



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