Axolotl with no feathery gills?

HeavenlyCharmed

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Ok so a couple of weeks ago my only year old axolotl died, from unknown cause. :(. I was very upset but I still have one original, and I bought a new gold albino one. Now my other original I've had since around April '08 and I bought it because it was stuck it a tank with fish that were eating its feathery gills. I thought they would grow back, but there still the same. You can just see red bits at the end. I really would love to see them back on him. Is there anyway I can make them grow quickly. Also he swims up for gulps of air, and my other two (ying R.I.P) don't.
Please help!

Matt,
 

paullism

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Hi HC

What your describing sounds like a parasite that was probably carried by your goldfish, it's caleed anchorworm. This parasite is also known to infect axolotls.

Your going to need some medication to treat it. I strongly suggest that you take your axie to a vet and tell them of the parasite.

You will also need to sterilise your tank otherwise the parasite will remain in the tank.

Please keep your axolotls in their own take without any other species, this avoids disaster stories like yours.

Good luck
 

Kaysie

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I don't think anchor worm would cause goldfish to bite gills off.

Heavenly, some axolotls will regrow big feathery gills, while others won't. In addition to having gills, axolotls also have rudimentary lungs. Your axolotl didn't regrow his gills, and instead relies heavily on his lungs for air. This isn't 'bad', but it is probably permanent. You may see a little regrowth, but probably not a lot.
 

paullism

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Sorry maybe I read the post wrong, sounded like to me that one had died from the gills being eaten and another was placed in the same tank & it's gills started to dissapear.

I do offer my apologies for getting this wrong

Thanks Kaysie
 

Darkmaverick

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Hi Matt,

When an axolotl loses the exuberance of its feathery gill filaments, it could be physiological or pathological. So most importantly, it best to try determine which is it first.

Physiological - When a juvenile axolotl grows up to adulthood, the gill filaments may appear less feathery. This is in part due to a visual trick whereby the relative proportion of a young shorter bodied axolotl to its gill filaments makes the gills look more exuberant compared to an adult axolotl.

The length or exuberance of the gill filaments are also determined to a large extent by the genetics of that particular axolotl. So comparinng different axolotls kept in the same tank, one with shorter filaments may still be healthy and normal.

In the other case scenario, the amount of dissolved gases (oxygen) in the water can also play a pivotal role in the amount of filament growth. In water with adequate (or even excessive) oxygenation, there is no need for the large surface area of long feathery gills. Hence the filaments may over time gradually become less feathery.

In the abovementioned cases, despite the shorter filaments, the axolotl is still healthy and there is no cause for concern.

At the other end of the spectrum, gill filament loss can be due to pathology. This is the one you have to watch out for.

Pathology - Poor water conditions/parameters. If your tank water has high levels of nitrogenous wastes especially ammonia and nitrite, there is a risk of causing trauma and chemical insult to the axolotl's gills. This would cause gill damage and shrinkage. Although axolotls can tolerate a relatively large range of pH. Some literature suggests that excessively low pH can too impact on gill health.

To rectify this - monitor water conditions and perform regular water changes.

Pathology - Any opportunistic infection by microbes such as fungus, bacteria, protozoa, parasites etc can cause a branchitis whereby the gills shrink and become deformed. There is normally other accompanying signs such as inappetance, abnormal behaviour, visible mass growths or discolouration associated with these.

To rectify this - You would need to determine the exact cause and then administer appropriate treatment. You may like to post a photo of the affected gills.

The behaviour you observed with your axolotl coming up to the water surface to breathe could be largely attributed to the reduced oxygen exchange capacity of the shrinking gills. This is a normal compensatory mechanism.

Feel free to message me if you need any other help.

Best regards
 

Darkmaverick

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Hi Matt,

Sorry i missed out one VERY important point.

It is inadvisable to keep your axolotl with other species. Axolotls are best kept with only conspecfics.

As you have discovered, the allure of the seductively flowy feathery gills attracts nippy fishes which can obviously cause trauma to the gills by sheer physical damage.

If you wish to have feeder fish, i would advise minnows or guppies. They are much less nippy.

Cheers
 

Kaysie

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I don't think Matt was keeping his axolotls with goldfish. I think the pet shop was keeping them with gold fish and he rescued it, after its gills had been bitten off.
 

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Hi Matt,

Im glad you are taking steps to do research beforehand before committing to an axolotl. This is the hallmark of a responsible owner.

Unfortunately, even though axolotls have an incredible regenerating ability, sometimes a regenerated part may not grow back as beautifully or as evenly compared to before.

The rate at which regeneration occurs depends on several factors.

Age of the axolotl - The younger the axolotl, the more rapid the regeneration

Nutrition* - Proper nutrition would acclerate the regeneration process as nutrients are assimilated for growth.

Stress and health* - Obviously you want to minimise stress and illness. A stressful axolotl is healthier and can direct its energy to regeneration rather than say fighting against infections.

Genetics - Alas, genetics always play a part. Different lines of axolotls, different inherent rates.

Water chemistry* - As mentioned in my earlier post, highly aerated water can actually stimulate the regeneration of shorter filaments. However good clean water is important for gill health.

Temperature* - As axolotl's metabolism relies on external temperature, an optimum temperature of around 18 degree celsius would ensure enough warmth to regenerate (as opposed to lets say 4 degrees) yet cool enough not to stress it.

Therefore, to accelrate the regeneration process, all you have to do is to take measures for the abovementioned points that are *. The other factors are beyond your control.

Cheers
 

shellysue

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Hi Matt
as I understand it, you bought an axie 9 months ago with feathery bits of its gills missing and you want to know if these will ever grow back?
my question is are you sure it was other fish eating the gills, because reading the posts it could have been due to something else.
 

reagangallaher05

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My axie’s gill filaments fell off over night, I just saw them this morning. I added a biological booster and put in probably 4 times the amount than directed and that is most likely the cause because it introduces healthy bacteria. It called for 2 tsp and I misread it as 2 TSB.. I’m hoping that this is the cause and not something else, as he has been rejecting food.. He’s lost some weight at a rapid pace. I am going to go and get my water parameters tested in a day or two, but the last time I checked them they were all perfect.

What do you all think?
 

reagangallaher05

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My axie’s gill filaments fell off over night, I just saw them this morning. I added a biological booster and put in probably 4 times the amount than directed and that is most likely the cause because it introduces healthy bacteria. It called for 2 tsp and I misread it as 2 TSB.. I’m hoping that this is the cause and not something else, as he has been rejecting food.. He’s lost some weight at a rapid pace. I am going to go and get my water parameters tested in a day or two, but the last time I checked them they were all perfect.

What do you all think?
Oh, I thought I should say something else too. Last night I saw something on his gills and I thought it was a fungus and was going to do research today but then I looked and they were gone. Could that be another possible reason why as well?
 
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  • Lanalotl:
    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
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  • Axolotl Queen:
    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
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  • Smknmom421:
    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
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  • Murk:
    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
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    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
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    Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
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    @MuggleMiChu, how big they are? also for substrate, i would not do gravel at all I would either do sand or none at all!
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    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
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    @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
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    Thank you so much for the information and advice! They are eating again, they ate a lot today. I think it might have been stress from the move or digesting old food, I also noticed they ate some of the food left in the tank (I removed the rest). I’m going to keep the tank bare bottom.
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