Illness/Sickness: Axolotl still Skinny with barely any gills

Prixten

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I made a post of this about a month ago but nothing has gotten better. I got my axolotl a new setup in a 10 gallon tank with a few rocks, a little cave, and a small plant. I removed all fish from his tank and diet and i'm feeding him bloodworms once a day. He is very active and is extremely skinny. I have turned off the air pump and water filter for about a day to keep tank calm also. The water parameters are:

NO3: 40
NO2: 0
PH: 7
KH:80
GH: 180

Please help! I am very worried...
 

Nvoyt123

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Can you post a picture?
Some axolotls don't have much in regards to gills. My axolotl has very short stalks and few filaments, he came to me like that. He supplements his air intake by gulping at the air sometimes.
If your water parameters are good and your lotl is not showing any signs of ill health then I would not worry too much. You could perhaps supplement his diet with something other than bloodworms (maybe earthworms, redworms, or other) to ensure he is getting enough nutrients. An air stone will also be helpful to aerate the tank.

Edit:
Well maybe if I could actually read your post >.> lord.
The air pump should be okay and not disturb him too much. Filter can stay off with frequent water changes, I recommend a box filter for calmer filtration.
I would still supplement his diet if you can. Are his gill stalks bare? No filaments at all, or are they just small?
 
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Kitan

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Hi Prixten. I'm really sorry about what it going on with your Axolotl :(

So, I looked up your previous post and I have SOME suspicions. Let me ask a few questions to try to help you sort things out. With the parameters you listed, are you by chance using the Tetra 6-in-1 water test strips? Some people have good luck with the test strips, but the ones I tried were terrifyingly off, which I only found out after I switched to the API master test kit. We are missing some very valuable information such as ammonia levels, filtration, and temperature. Given that you are feeding blood worms and had other fish in such a small tank, my bet is that the ammonia is VERY high. From the look of your little guy I am also suspicious that he may be morphing.

So here are some facts that lead to my beliefs; ammonia will literally burn the skin, which can cause the sloughing that you described and high ammonia ALSO means less oxygen in the water, so they lose their branchial gills. His head shape also looks VERY atypical for an axolotl, so that with the gill-stumps leads me to believe he is morphing.

Suggestion time! So, I would immediately pull him from the tank. Put him in a container with fresh de-chlorinated water shallow enough to cover his head and back, but put a large rock in it so he can climb out of the water if he so chooses, but he still needs room to move around in the water if not. Given his sloughing, I would fridge him to heal. During this time you will need to do 100% daily water changes. Going forward, I would certainly try to transition him to worms. He will likely spit them out if they arent cut up pretty tiny. He needs to put on weight and the blood worms may not be providing him what he needs quantity wise. While you are doing all this fun, you need to get his tank sorted. At minimum get a ammonia test kit. Let us know how that goes.

*hugs* Good luck with your 'lotl!!
 

Kitan

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Oh yeah, I would look up the procedure for proper fridging too :) If you need me to pull details for you I will for sure, I just havent personally done so.
 

Prixten

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Thank you all so much for responding! I don't remember what type of kit I use but I'll check when I get home. I have noticed a ton of clear slime in the filter recently and I forgot to say in the post. Could that be him losing his skin? I'll make sure to put him in the fridge as soon as I get home but I need to know if I should use my bottle of stuff to get chlorine out of the water. Also here is a picture of him two days ago
 

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Kitan

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He's a heckin cutie! But yeah, you can see he's pretty thin :(

You're super welcome. I am not very experienced, but not a lot of people respond and I am a research fiend :p

Well quick answer on the test kit is are they strips you dip into the tank or wee vials you fill with water and pet chemicals in? And no questions you need an ammonia test kit.

Yes, you will want to use the dechlorinator. I would also fill a bottle with water and put that in the fridge, dechlorinated, as well. That way when you do tomorrow's water change, your water is already at the correct temperature and ready to go.


Now, the slime. Without a picture, it's a tough call. Take a look at this article and the pic within. Could be cyanobacteria :( https://www.thatpetplace.com/articles/Aquarium-Slime
 

Nvoyt123

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Definitely get the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Much more accurate and will give you all of the info you need for water. PH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Axolotls like a little higher PH but everything else should be as close to zero as possible.
 

Prixten

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I am going to put my axolotl in the fridge for about three days at 6c and feed him bloodworms until the earthworms I ordered come in the mail. Also, should I keep the fridge light on or off?
 

Nvoyt123

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Noticed something just now. It looks like a fuzzy ball of something. What could this be?
Fuzzy balls on the gill areas are usually always a fungus. A mild salt bath 1-2 times a day will help clear that up. Do not keep him in the salt bath for longer than 15 minutes. It is hard on their gills and body (and he already is struggling in the gill area :p)

Nice instructions are located here https://www.caudata.org/forum/showthread.php?t=72698

For fridging, your lotl should be kept covered loosely. Darkness is good, but a dish towel will be acceptable if you need the light on. They tend to not want to eat that much when fridged because their metabolism slows down so much.
 

Prixten

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Good news. I did a test just now and it shows no ammonia in the old tank's water. I have put my axolotl in a different container and have started giving him salt baths once a day for ten minutes. I hope I am doing everything correctly. :p
 

Prixten

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Wonderful news! He seems to be gaining weight and is starting to grow gill nubs. I'm thinking of doing salt baths and water changes once a day for two more weeks. Is that too long?
 
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