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Old 22nd January 2018   #1
Noreen
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Default Urgent help required

Hello I am a new member and inherited an axolotl - Lucy two weeks ago from my son who has gone overseas indefinitely and she has not eaten anything since. My son rescued her about 5 years ago and she is now about 9 years old. My son had never had an amphibian before nor a fish, and was advised that because she never had a filter not to put one in. Her tank is 50 gallons but has approximately 20 - 25 litres in it. I had were water levels checked and was advised to get a filter straight away which I did. The ammonia levels were .25 and everything else was ok. The problem was she became so distressed with the filter that I had to take it out almost immediately. I tried it again and same thing happened. She still wont eat. I have contacted several vets and was advised to go to a fish vet which is about a 3 1/2 train trip and I don't want her getting more distressed by travelling. I am quite distressed and don't want her to die. I have never had any experience with axolotls or fish. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thankyou Noreen



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Old 22nd January 2018   #2
Jensino
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Default Re: Urgent help required

Hi,

it's difficult to say what causes the problem, there could be many reasons.
My assumptions are the following:

- Axolotl prefer cooler water temperatures between 15 and 20 C. Maybe it's just too warm?

- The ammonia level is too high, it should be 0 ppm. Nitrite is a byproduct of ammonia and should be 0 ppm as well. Nitrate is the end product of the nitrogen cycle and less toxic, but at high levels (50 ppm and above) can cause distress to aquarium inhabitants.
Frequent water changes help to reduce the waste levels.

- Maybe you tried the wrong food? But I guess you feed what your son fed her before, right? You can try to feed earthworms or any other live food, as the movement can trigger the hunting instinct.

That's all what's coming to my mind so far. Best of luck with your Axolotl!



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Old 22nd January 2018   #3
Noreen
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Default Re: Urgent help required

Thanks so much for you reply Jensino.

I put the ammonia liquid in as instructed but hasn't dropped the level. I will do another water change and test the levels again and buy a nitrate tester today plus earthworms plus other food as suggested and see if she will start eating. She has only every had axolotl pellets.

Her water temp was 25 yesterday and put a frozen water bottle in and had a fan going all day in her room when it is hot. She is in the coolest room in the house, but we have been getting very hot days. It only came down to 21.

There was only a small amount of waste in her tank the second day she was here and my son told me to syringe it out any time I see any waste in her tank.

I was also thinking about buying a different filter that is not so strong so she doesn't start thrashing again. On reading posts on this site everybody seems to have a filter so maybe a filter may prolong her life. I don't know. My son told me not to change anything but the woman from the aquarium shop said she would die without a filter and with the ammonia levels being high. I spoke to the water board and they said the water is the same where my son used to live which is about 4 hours from me.

Hopefully she will settle into her new environment and take the new food. I have been so worried and appreciate your reply very much. Thank you.



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Old 23rd January 2018   #4
UrbanFrog
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Default Re: Urgent help required

Hi. If her tank is a 50 gal (190 ltr), can I as why it isn't full? Why only 25 ltr (6.6 gal)?
While axolotls don't usually do much higher-up-in-the-tank swimming, the much higher volume of water helps to dilute waste considerably, keeps more stable water parameters, keeps cooler and reduces dramatic temperature fluctuation, and makes turbulence from a filter much less - especially if the outlet is close to the top of the water level rather than closer to the lower level where the axolotl spends most of it's time. There is no downside to having a full tank with an axolotl - they don't need shallow water.



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Old 23rd January 2018   #5
Noreen
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Default Re: Urgent help required

Thanks Urban Frog for that information. I measured the litres correctly this morning when doing a water change and there is 48 litres in her tank, not 20 to 25 litres, as I thought. I will take on board what you have said as I didn't realise the benefits of having more water in the tank. My son was told that she didn't need much water just length in the tank and that's why he purchased a large tank.

Lucy has somehow survived the last 5 years with my son doing the best he could and 4 years before that with little care or love and in a very small tank by the previous owner that told my son that he just wanted her to die!! She was so thin when my son rescued her. She is such a survivor.

I bought her different food this morning as advised by Jensino and she is now eating again. I didn't give her very much because she hasn't eaten for 2 weeks. I am very relieved that she took food this afternoon.

I just have to keep checking her ammonia levels and try and get them to 0, Her nitrates are currently 0 and all her other levels are normal.

Thank you again for your good advice.



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Old 23rd January 2018   #6
UrbanFrog
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Default Re: Urgent help required

The other thing to consider is her age. The average lifespan for axolotls in captivity is 10 years, although they can live up to 15. However, given how hard her life was in her early years, her lifespan is more likely to be at the lower end. She's getting to be a little old lady now.
I think your son has done a great job, certainly the best he could with what he knew. He obviously cares for her, and it was wonderful that he was willing to take her on to rescue her from such appalling conditions
I have seen the "only partly fill the tank" advice given before - people think because the can survive in shallow water, they should only need shallow water. Pet shops aren't a great place to get advice either, as these days most people working in them know very little about the animals they sell. I have seen pet shops keep them on - and advise keeping them on - gravel, and when I asked my local pet shop about getting axolotls or fire bellied newts, the guy said "we don't get those kinds of fish in". I couldn't convince him they weren't fish! That's why it's so great to have access to these kinds of specialty sites now.
Anyway, all the best to you, and I hope your girl does well. And stay cool I have friends and family in Aussie, and the heat and fires you guys have been getting the past few years is insane! Cheers.



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