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Arthurs tail is weird!? Please help

Arthurs Mum

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Hi Guys, my 8 yr old grandson and I have a beautiful axolotl called Arthur. We got Arthur at 5cm (so so adorable!) in December and Arthur is now approx 12 cm long so he is thriving! He is now fed earthworms and has been eating these with joy and gusto for 6weeks after moving from blood worms. Arthur's tail has been curving upwards for 2 days or so. He is still eating, moving around and looks great... apart from this. I checked ammonia and nitrates and ammonia was slightly high so did a 25 percent water change to be safe. He lives with sand substrate but I'm worried this could be impaction?Any advice is appreciated
 

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wolfen

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what is you water temperature?
axolotls tend to lift their tails when defecating and males will do so when preparing to leave spermatophores.
add 0.2g/l magnesium sulphate to help ease digestive movements, also make sure the water is below 18°c (64°f) to reduce breeding behaviour.
 

Arthurs Mum

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Hi Wolfen, thanks for your reply. Wow, is he sexually mature already? As we live in Australia, his tank temp parameter in the summer range from 17-23 degrees Celsius but is normally 19-20.
 

Arthurs Mum

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I haven't vacuumed any pooh in a couple of days so am worried he may be impacted/constipated?
 

Arthurs Mum

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what is you water temperature?
axolotls tend to lift their tails when defecating and males will do so when preparing to leave spermatophores.
add 0.2g/l magnesium sulphate to help ease digestive movements, also make sure the water is below 18°c (64°f) to reduce breeding behaviour.
Hi Wolfen, thanks for your reply. Being new, I thought I'd replied to you but actually replied to my own thread lol. Because we are here in Australia his temp ranges from 18 to 23 in the summer. The last few days have definitely been hot so been 21 to 23. Would Arthur be sexually mature already? We actually thought Arthur is female as she is quite rounded. Ive attached a topside photo. Also, how do I apply the magnesium sulphate?
Thanks again 😊
 

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wolfen

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from the photo she could definitely be a he, but could also be cloaca swelling from constipation, if you can look at the cloaca area, if it looks like the shape of a bean there is a good chance of being male, if the lump is small and round like a pea then chances are she's a female.
because axolotls are seasonal breeders in the wild they will become more sexually active in warm water, labs etc.. used to keep their axolotls at 20°c to keep them in breeding condition although it can be stressful for the axolotls.
it is easier to add magnesium sulphate during a water change, dissolve the right amount of magnesium sulphate (epsom salts) into fresh dechlorinated water then add to tank.
 

Arthurs Mum

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Hi Wolven, thanks again. I really feel he is constipated as still no feces.Also today his tank is 19degrees. I'll do a water change this afternoon. Do I need to dissolve the Epsom salts first? Also, as his substrate is sand and he is only fed earthworms, is it normal for this? Should I mix his diet up?
 

wolfen

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earthworm are good as the main part of a diet but ensure that other meat sources are fed as well ie.. mysis, krill, shrimp, fish etc.. (mainly food which has eyes)
the epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) will need to be dissolved before adding to the tank, this is to ensure an equal concentration.
 

Arthurs Mum

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I have mysis but he doesn't seem to like it as much. Should i alternate days between? I'm feeding him daily but wondering when I slow down his feeds? I know adults only need feeding a couple of times a week and I'm assuming he is officially and adult due to his size?
 

Arthurs Mum

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Sorry Wolven, I know I'm badgering you lol but how long until no feces should I really worry? He is really bulging... I'm praying for pooh
 

wolfen

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in your first mention that he is only 12cm in length, unless you meant 12 inches he has a lot more growing to do (he can grow up to 18 inches in length but average in between 9 and 12 inches.
if he is only 12 cm he is a juvenile and will more likely go for movement (juveniles are attracted to movement where as adults are attracted to smell), he will also require being fed daily (when back to normal), he will reach his approximate adult size at 18 months although he will continue to grow but at a much slower rate.
as to how long it will take to defecate, it can take days, in the mean time reduce his feeding (see if he will eat salmon), try to reduce the tanks temperature as much as possible, if after a few days he still hasn't defecated stronger laxatives may be required.
 

Arthurs Mum

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Hi Wolfen, yes he is about 12cm. I only asked as you said he may be sexually posturing with his raised tail. So he's kind've a teenager lol. We've had his tank consistently at 19/20 for the last 3 days. He really seems to be bulging around his bottom area so I hope the Epson salts helps. I will give him some salmon (my sort of axolotl☺️).
 

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if possible try to reduce temperature as much as possible, closer to 15°c the better.
was you advised about the use of sand before you got him? sand isn't normally advised for axolotls smaller than 5 inch due to impaction risk.
 

Arthurs Mum

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Hi Wolven, have got his temp down to 17, He ate a little mysis last night and we pit the Epsom salts in. He did lots of little poohs overnight and has just had a massive defecation with more to come. It looked like a stone! Originally his substrate was large glass rocks but as he grew so fast we were advised to use river sand instead! Should I only use the Epsom salts as a laxative? And should I use more next weeks water change or just as normal from here? I will alternate his food now as I was also advised earthworms were the best thing to feed them. We are definitely learning as we go. He's super happy now! Hoovering furiously lol... as he's getting bigger, I'm noticing like black freckles on his snout... is this just pigmentation? Thanks for your wealth of knowledge Wolven. It's really appreciated.
 

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wolfen

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earthworms are ideal for axolotls as the main part of a varied diet, make sure to feed the occasional shrimp, mysis etc.. so that he is getting all his vitamins and minerals.
test your kh and gh, if the gh is low adding magnesium sulphate will be a benefit (read here for more details Axolotls - Requirements & Water Conditions in Captivity ) if the kh and gh is fine using magnesium sulphate may only be require if he has any more toiletry issues.
for levels read here.. Water Quality Explained: How It Can Affect Your Axolotl's Health - WSAVA 2015 Congress - VIN
 
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