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

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Old 9th January 2018   #1
Kevin Mifsud
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Default Very sick axolotl

So I have been breeding axolotls, all of which the offspring have been wild type (black). I only have 5 remaining which are just under 2 inches in length in a 32 gallon tank. They are about 4 months old, are extremely healthy and eat voraciously. All of a sudden one of them became really ill and developed white spots all over its body and its gills are completely burnt off. It still eats and moves around but is a bit sluggish and sometimes goes for air at the surface. I have been doing multiple water changes and using treatment for parasites and amonia/nitrite but it doesn't seem to be getting any better. The rest of the 4 siblings remain solid black with bright red healthy gills and live in the same tank. I have attached some photos, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 22nd January 2018   #2
joshuah459
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

It looks like it may have metamorphosized?



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Old 22nd January 2018   #3
UrbanFrog
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Hi Kevin. It looks like a fungal infection. Fungal infections eat away at the soft tissue - gills in axolotls, fins in fish. In fish' it is called white spot or fin rot. It happens most often when the animals are stressed, particularly when temperatures get above 22C with axolotls, or if the ammonia levels get too high from overstocking.

Check your tank temp, and try to cool it down if necessary. Also, the axolotls may have grown to the point where there are now too many (too much waste) for the size of the tank.

Like with people, some individuals stress more easily, and get sick more easily, so not all will be sick, however it would be a good idea to put the sick one in a separate tank or container, to stop the spread, and make treating easier.

Here is a link to a post on this site, for salt bath treatment.
http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beg...-tutorial.html

Hope that helps, and your little guy/gal gets better. Cheers.



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Old 25th January 2018   #4
Kevin Mifsud
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Thanks for the replies, I thought this post would go unnoticed =/

I have heard it can be many things such as fungus infection, parasites, ammonia burn or even metamorphosis! I'm still trying to figure out which one of them it is.

He is now in a separate tank with the ambient temperature not going above 18 Celsius in this cold winter. He eats bloodworms and axolotl pellets and the waste is siphoned out daily or every 2 days. His movement is still sluggish and is mostly seen hiding but other than that his behaviour remains the same as the others.

Metamorphosis is interesting topic. I heard it doesn't occur naturally in axolotls, but can be artificially triggered with Iodine injections. The only reason it would occur naturally is if the animal lives in toxic water conditions and becomes terrestrial, losing its gills and relying on its internal lungs. But in my case this makes no sense since there is no land for it to go on and has clean water since I do tests and frequent water changes. I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that this only happened to 1 out of 5 axolotls which are siblings.

About the salt bath I heard you need to use aquarium salt and a few drops of iodine antiseptic solution and let him soak in it for about 10 mins. I have not tried it yet since I recently found out about it but when I get my hands on the required substances I will give it a shot and hope for the best. (I can't view the images in that article you posted)

Thanks for the replies, will keep you updated in the near future :)



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Old 25th January 2018   #5
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Default Re: Very sick axolotl

Hi Kevin. With aquarium salt you can guarantee it is not iodised, but any non-iodized salt is fine. DON'T use iodine antiseptic - that is highly toxic to axolotls. Read the tutorial I gave the link to, it will give you the correct info.
Metamorphosis does happen on occasion naturally, and isn't necessarily a result of poor living conditions. It is simply a genetic abberation.
Looking at his tail, it could actually be metamorphosis rather than fungus. If that is the case, make sure he has a few large rocks or a piece of wood above the waterline, so he can get out if he wants. If he does get up out of the water, then you know for sure it is metamorphosis. Here is are a couple of threads with pics about it. Well worth the read.

http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beg...ost-gills.html

http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beg...d-axolotl.html

Cheers.



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