Axolotl not eating need help

MichelleM

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Last week we brought home a 5" juvenile axolotl. According to the breeder she has been eating red worms, earthworms and minnows. So I went out and got redworms from a bait shop. I tried for three days to get her to eat those red worms, and she would either try and spit it out, or just outright swim away.

On day three my pellets arrived from Lexolotls, and she ate 4 or 5. I was over the moon! Next day she ate 4 pellets and then the next day she would not eat at all.

She swims around and otherwise seems happy exploring her tank. Should I just keep offering food and assume she will not starve herself to death? This is my first axolotl and I am super worried for her.

Thanks!
 

tundrabadger

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With regard to the worms, i've gotten some crazy big worms from bait shops, so depending on the size they might have been a bit on the big side for her. I know mine will all spit out worms that they can't quite get down for whatever reason. So you might try snipping them in half. It's also pretty normal for them to not eat right when you bring them home, the new space and the process of getting there can kind of wig them out. As she gets older you're going to find that she doesn't necessarily eat every day. I can't tell you how often she WILL eat since they all seem to have their own ideas about it...they are weird like that. She's on the young side, so that's probably not something you are going to see much of yet though, she will most likely be eating everyday, but don't get too too worried if she doesn't for a day and her condition and water quality are otherwise good. Yes, absolutely, keep offering her food, make sure you take anything she doesn't eat out, since the decomposing food can cause an ammonia spike which is bad for your axie. And also a decomposing worm in water gets beyond disgusting.



That said, how long has it been since she last ate, and do you know what your water parameters are? And is she showing any signs of stress, curled tail, gills curled forward, that kind of thing?
 

MichelleM

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Hi, I have been checking water parameters and nitrite levels are around .25 to.5 so I have been doing 25% water changes frequently. I wonder if the water changes are stressing her out? All the other levels are checking out fine.

Her gills are not forward and tail is not curled. Other than not eating she seems fine.

In addition to the red worms, I tried a cut up night crawler. No go on that either.
 

MichelleM

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As for last eating, it was two days ago, about four pellets. So in total since bringing her home 7 days ago, she has eaten about 9 pellets.
 

tundrabadger

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How frequently are you changing the water, and do you have numbers for Ammonia and Nitrate. Also the temperature?
 

MichelleM

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Ammonia is at 0 and nitrates are between 5 and 10 ppm and pH is 7.4. Temperature is staying around 66 to 68 F
 

MichelleM

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And changing water by 25% daily and treating with Prime
 

tundrabadger

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I'm guessing the water changes are because the cycle isn't complete and you still have nitrites? I couldn't say if they water changes are stressing her out enough to keep her from eating...I don't think any axie particularly enjoys water changes, but without being there seeing her and knowing what she's like normally I couldn't tell you if that's the problem...upside there is you're going to learn about her the longer you have her, and you'll be able to spot what is normal behaviour for her and what is cause for concern. Aside from the nitrites your parameters sound good, could be a tetch cooler but (and I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, this is my hobby not my profession I don't claim to have higher knowledge) not so much that I would be concerned. What's her setup looking like?
 

Tye

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Prime will help with the end of the cycle. Just be cautious when those nitrites spike any higher. They're reaching the toxic level. Perhaps do a 30% or a 50% change esp if they ever tip past .50ppm.
Red wiggled worms are known to produce a foul bitter tasting slime when handled or cut. Rinsing them can help or you can switch to night crawlers, chopped into bite sized pieces. Also rinse the crawlers because they can slime too.
The temperature is ok, could be colder but not the worst.
Two days isn't the worst to go off feed. Try offering food at different times of the day and see if that helps too.
 

MichelleM

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Thanks, everyone! We have a fan for evaporation cooling today and that is keeping the water cool. I do have nightcrawlers and they are HUGE. We tried a cut up one but it may have been too big still. The worms are rinsed off. My guess now is she is just not a big eater. I have tried offering things are different times. Will just keep it up and learn her "normal"
 

tundrabadger

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Thanks, everyone! We have a fan for evaporation cooling today and that is keeping the water cool. I do have nightcrawlers and they are HUGE. We tried a cut up one but it may have been too big still. The worms are rinsed off. My guess now is she is just not a big eater. I have tried offering things are different times. Will just keep it up and learn her "normal"



Are they particularly fat nightcrawlers as well? That can make a difference...Alexander almost always needs his cut up still, and with really fat worms he cannot incorporate the same length as he could with thinner worms. Red wrigglers and smaller nightcrawlers he can handle just fine, but while he isn't full grown he's got a few inches on your axie.



Fans are good. I use fans, they do the trick unless it is very hot indeed.
 

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Try mealworms, I know this sounds cruel but if you squish the head of the mealworm and allow its guts to come out, them if you hold the tail of mealworm and put the head close to your axolotls mouth they should smell it and eat it happily :eek:
 

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Try mealworms, I know this sounds cruel but if you squish the head of the mealworm and allow its guts to come out, them if you hold the tail of mealworm and put the head close to your axolotls mouth they should smell it and eat it happily :eek:
I'd stay away from mealworms and other insects with a hard exoskeleton as axies can have trouble digesting it :)
 
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