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

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
Beth Stephens
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Default Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

So I had two beautiful axolotls, a white albino (female) and a black mel (male)

The melanoid I've had for about a year, and the albino I just got a few months ago. The other day I went to feed them and found eggs all over the tank. I've been following some online forums on raising eggs and so far that's all going well, right now there's about 100 and they've been moved to a separate 20 gallon tank. My problem is with the parents.

When I removed the eggs it kicked up a lot of the sand in the bottom of their tank and dirtied the water. This wasn't a big deal, I did a water change and cleaned the sand and all of the nasty surfaces in the tank, it was due for a cleaning anyways. However, I noticed about a day later that the sand still hadn't settled, and the water looked cloudy, but decided I'd give it another 24 hours before worrying. Well, the next day I came home from work and was completely shocked. Both of my lotls (which have always been super beautiful and healthy) looked awful. Noct, my black melanoid's gills were all clumped together and receded, he had a tacky salt like substance all over his skin, and he wasn't moving. The white albino, Haku, looked fine but was also pretty unresponsive so I moved them both to the fridge where they stayed for 48 hours until they both looked good and healthy again. In the meantime, I treated the tank, tested the water to find out that ph was super low (ranged around a 5) and ammonia was pretty heavy too. I fixed the water conditions and gave it a day, and then moved both axies back into the tank. They looked find although neither were eating (haven't ate in almost a week now) so I decided I'd give them another day to let their metabolism wake back up. MISTAKE.

I came home form work yesterday and they looked worse than ever. Noct now has white fuzz all over his body and his back legs were floating (they aren't now) and Haku wouldn't even move. When I picked her up she literally just flopped over in my hand and I thought she was dead until I saw her little hand move.

I immediately put them back in the fridge and ran to the pet store to get some salt for some salt baths. By the time I got home Haku was almost completely unresponsive. I gave them both a salt bath for ten minutes each in a litre of water.

The black mel is looking better, he immediately started scratching at his gills and moving around in the salt water. Haku, however, didn't even move. She floated at the top of the water the whole time, and the only motion she made was weakly trying to turn herself around before she gave up. She passed away around 10 last night.

Like I said, Noct is doing better, but after losing my precious little Haku I'm super worried I'm going to come home from work to find that he's passed as well. I'm not sure what they have, or how it could have happened so quickly (they've been sick for less than 4 days) I'm afraid to put Noct back into his tank because even though the water readings are fine, I'm afraid that if it's bacterial he might just re-catch it. Haku was only in that tank for 1 day and she got bad enough to pass away. Please help! I'm posting pictures of the axolotl (I'm sorry I only had one picture of Haku while she was sick, but I couldn't get registered for this forum soon enough to post this yesterday, and when she passed I was too heartbroken to look at the picture of her sick so I deleted it) as well as the tank.

Any and all help is appreciated. I'm currently in pre-vet school right now, and I know that animals passing will be something I will deal with regularly. But I also can't help but feel like the reason she died is because I didn't know how to treat her fast enough. I really don't want to lose my mel, I've had him for a year and I love the sweet boy so dearly. Any and all advise is appreciated!
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Last edited by BiBoMo; 3 Weeks Ago at 15:47. Reason: Add Tags
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
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Default Re: SOS one of my axolotls is dead and the other is dying!

Probably a bacterial explosion caused by the dirt from the sand.



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

Hello,

Sorry to hear that one axie died.

This is very odd for an established tank to crash like that even after you stir the sand (gas pocket in the sand?). It caused your ammonia to spike and was PH was low and even more over time or combined with the waste already in the water or was low in first place. Having low PH and ammonia is also not best combination as well.

Doing the big water change ( what is the tap water PH? probably shocked your tank chemistry even more) keep in mind all of this is speculate what might happened from your story.

Do you have a water test kit to check the tank water quality?
Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrates:
Temperature:
Current PH of the tank?
Are you using water conditioner for the water changes ( API Prime etc?)

Compare those versus your regular tank readings?

Btw how many liters your aquarium is and what kind of filtration do you have? How often do you perform water changes on it normally ?

What I would do in this situation would be, do a big water change on the main tank, take readings for water quality , make sure your ammonia is not off-charts, ammonia should be zero in cycled tank, check your ph and take it from there.



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

Okay,so, dont put the Melanoid back, keep him in nice clean cold water, and change it every day until you get the things needed for this, and salt baths for 4 days 10minutes a day. Go to the pet store and buy Zeolite, and Alkaline buffer, and some of those netting bags like the ones that hold the Biomax noodles in the filter. Then take out the carbon in the filter (The black powder) and fill the bag up with Zeolite to about the size of the carbon bag, rinse it in cold tapwater, then put it in your filter, so sponge, zeolite, biomax noodles. Put your Axie back into the tank so there is an ammonia source, (the salt baths should keep whatever is happening from spreading, you can do it twice a day if you must), and you want to do 50% water changes everyday to every other day to keep ammonia down. Once the ammonia is back down take a teaspoon of the Alkaline Buffer and sprinkle it into the water, and it shoot bring the pH back up, and make sure to change out the zeolite bag every time you do a water change. The Zeolite should bring the Ammonia down within a few days, and wait to use the Alkaline buffer until so because it will cause a slight rise in the ammonia.

Good Luck, and I hope your Axie makes it through this!!!!
If you need anything don't hesitate to contact me!
Good Luck!



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
Beth Stephens
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

Thank you guys so much for the help! Noct is looking much better after the first few salt baths, most of the concerning areas have died down a bit. I'm going to continue treatment, I'm not rushed to put him back in the tank just because I lost my other axie so quickly after putting her back in that I'm afraid of a repeat.

The tank is about 40 gallons or 150 litres. I don't have a test kit atm, but I'm picking one up tomorrow when I get paid and I'll post the results in here as well. I always use a bit of water conditioner or dechlorinator and some ph balancer with my water changes, at this point I've done probably about a 50% water change and I haven't checked the conditions yet. Should I worry about draining the tank and cleaning/replacing everything? Or do you think just a water change and some balancing will do the trick? I only ask because I'm still pretty worried that whatever happened last time is still in there and that Noct will get sick again if I put him back in that tank after I finish fridging him.

As for the Zeolite and Alkaline buffer I'll make sure to pick that up tomorrow as well! Again thanks everyone for the help! This axolotl has been an amazing little dude and I'm really hoping he pulls through! I'll post updates tomorrow and as I start treating the water. Thanks again~



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
Beth Stephens
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

Update: I started treating the tank per the instructions with the zeolite. Noct is back in the tank and Iím checking on him every hour. Heís completly perked up and is super active but for some reason heís floating? Iíll post pictures as well. Heís still not eating and itís been almost a week since Iíve gotten him to take food too. For intents and purposes heís looking and acting better but Iím not sure what to do to keep him from floating because he seems distressed about it.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

Try gently blowing on him, if he floats back down then he is fine, but if he struggles with getting back down, or he doesn't come back down at all he is probably constipated, which can be fixed with a few days in the fridge. Sometimes they just like to float, both of the Axolotls I have like to float sometimes, they find it fun.

And since he is in a 40 gallon tank, use two teaspoons of the alkaline once your ammonia is back down.

I am SO glad he is doing better, continue to share updates, and concerns!!!:)



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Beth Stephens
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

Thank you again for all your help! So when I blow on him heíll swim down the bottom of the tank but he immediately floats back up. It looks like heís floating more on one side than the other, usually tail first and more on his left side, and his tummy looks a little swollen (especially considering he hasnít eaten in a couple days now) every once in a while heíll start thrashing about and acting like he wants out of the tank. Heís still super responsive and moving a lot though, so Iím not sure what could be bothering him.

Water tests are:
Nitrate: 20
Nitrite: 0
Total Hardness (GH) 60-75
Chlorine: 0
Alkilinity: 50(ish)
Ph: 7

The water is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit at the moment and Iíve been continuing to give him 2 salt baths a day to prevent him getting from getting sick again. Should I take him out and put him back in the fridge for a few day to see if he passes any waste or gas? Iím glad heís looking better and that heís active but this behavior is really unusual for him. Normally heís always at the bottom of his tank in one of his hides, and heís never clawed at the top of the tank before as if he wants out. Again, thanks so much for your help and advise, Iím pulling out all of the stops for this little dude, Iíve had him a long time and I want to see him get better.



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

When he floats is he more bum up, or is he level?



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
Beth Stephens
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

When heís actually ascending heís bum up, but while heís floating itís just sort of his middle tummy. Heíll float more on one side as well.



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

I'd say maybe try fridging him a few day, it seems he might be constipated, or he has an air bubble stuck in his tummy.



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #12
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Default Re: Help! My axolotl is sick, and the other has already died!

I also forgot to mention that you pH is perfect, it should be between 7.0 and 7.2



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