Illness/Sickness: Axolotls are extremely sick, red fungus, dying

dormroompets

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I had 3 males in a 40gal breeder for over a year now. They have two sponge filters, and they mostly eat bloodworms.

To cut to the chase, I know I don't take care of them as well as I should. I have really bad anxiety and depression, and it is really hard for me to get up the energy to change their water as frequently as I should (right now i do about a 75% change once a month) or to take care of earthworms to feed them a better diet.

In the past week or two the axolotls started getting small puffs of fungus. then a little bit of discoloration of their slime coats. after a week i mustered up the energy to soak them in black tea for a day, but put them back in their tank as i work really long hours and didn't have the time or the strength to clean their tank yet.

Today I went in and two of them were dead, like, REALLY dead. one was floating at the top of the tank and was in the decomp stage. The skin on his back was completely red, and his cloaca was very enlarged and extremely red. there were bits of red fungus popping up over his body. The second one was probably more recently dead, and did not have much fungus but had a bit of a swollen cloaca. The third is alive and has puffs of bright red fungus at a few points on his body, what looks like an open wound on his back, and a very very red and swollen cloaca.

I feel like absolute garbage. I have never seen anything like this before, and can't find anything like it online. I took photos but will only post if requested as they are very sad.

The one that is alive, i just did a 15min salt bath and now have him tubbed in a tea bath.

I'm posting mostly to see if anyone knows what the f**** the red fungus is or what causes open wounds like that. I'm about to test the water though the first axolotl had probably been dead for a day or so so i'm expecting high ammonia.

The last thing I want to talk about is how fragile axolotls are and how difficult it is to properly take care of them. I care about them so, so so much. But I have had many die. Some were sick, some died out of nowhere. I think that feeding bloodworms as a staple diet contributes to poor health as they are not very nutritious and can cause dirty tanks. But in three years i've probably had about 35 axolotls (twice they accidentally bred and i raised the eggs, and some died as babies, some grew to juvies then died) and I only currently have 3 living axolotls left. I thought I was going to have these pals for a decade. I have not actively gotten any more axolotls because I know I am obviously not in the place to give them as much care as I should to keep them healthy longterm. but i don't know how to deal with the fact that so many I have had have gotten so sick and died. I even had one I nursed for a year and brought to an animal hospital and spent $900 on testing because they thought it had cancer. It's not that i don't care. I just. Idk. It seems like everyone else is so good at taking care of them and they never get sick. I feel like a huge, awful, horrible failure and a terrible person.
 

Kitan

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*hugs* I'm sorry for what you are going through.

The red really does sound like ammonia burns which, if you had a decomposing axolotl in there, is not at all surprising. On top of that, if you haven't been able to clean the tank, your efforts will have had no impact as all that bacteria and fungus are still happily living in the tank. I think your axolotl immediately needs salt baths and fridging (with 100% daily water changes) if there is any hope and then the tank needs to be throughly cleaned before they he can go back in. Which may require re-cycling your tank. Hopefully the more experienced people can chime in.

Either way, with love, I would suggest if you can get him back to good health, you should consider rehoming BECAUSE you care about him. You aren't in a place right now where you can provide him what he needs to thrive. I totally get that you care and that depression is stopping you from being able to do what he needs for care. It isn't that it is easy for everyone else, it takes a fair bit of effort. Additionally, it is clearly causing you stress and will NOT help with your current mental well being. Right now I would avoid caged/tanked animals and just work on you and your happiness.
 
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    Nice! Also, from what I can see you have an amazing setup! What species?
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    S. S. Gigliolli
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    Ooo nice!
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    Thank you! I tried to share the video but unsuccessful. You can see it on my IG story @jnerdx
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    Cool! I just have a tiger and a long tail, who we are trying to find as he ESCAPED INTO MY ROOM!
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  • LauraLobster:
    Hey y'all, recently my juvenile axolotl's tail has been floating and can swim down but his tail lifts to an angle and I believe that it is stressing him out. He gets in between his plants to balance himself and I am cleaning out the bottom of the tank with my baster. I believe I overfed him and he also may have eaten many air bubbles. He's been like this for nearly 1 1/2 days.
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    What would be the best thing to do ?
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  • Mark.H:
    Hey, does anyone know if hot glue is fine to glue rocks together?
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    Should be. Hot glue is good when dry I believe, just don't let it get too hot and you should be good. Most super glues are good as well just watch out for flume warnings
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  • Mark.H:
    Ok, thanks! I am going to glue together the shale I mentioned.
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  • Kwags:
    hello, I am currently tubbing my axolotl due to cycling the tank. I have read different answers on how many times to do a 100% water change a day when tubbing. Some say once and some say twice. I just want to actually ask and get answers for myself. Thank
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  • Murk:
    As often as you need to keep the water clean! Since you´re cycling, I assume you have a test kit. Just test a few times to see how long it takes for your ammonia to go up, and as soon as it does, change the water.
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  • Kwags:
    Yes,I have the master test kit. Thank you! So just test the water in the tub that my axolotl is in now to gauge off of for changing?
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  • Murk:
    That´s the most accurate. Depends on the size of the tub etc. - you just want to make sure the water is always clean
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  • Kwags:
    When little axolotls are tubbed is it common for them to get a little more spunky then usual? Water temps around 64-65 F and has been changed today with prime added
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  • Murk:
    Uh. That depends on your definition of "spunky"?
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @Kwags, how big?
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    my baby hes tubed and hes a wild child xD
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  • Kwags:
    Swimming like crazy. A little more pep in his step. I think about 3 inches.
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  • faebugz:
    Hi does anyone know if jungle fungus clear is safe to use for my axolotl? She has some either fungus or bacterial growth on her fillibrae and maybe body and I read that's good to use if you aren't sure if the problem is bacterial or fungal
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  • EasternRomioi3:
    I have not heard of that before.
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  • EasternRomioi3:
    That jungle fungus clear. I've been dealing with some fungus with my axolotl on and off this summer. The Holtsfreter solution and water changes just seem to do the trick after a bit
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  • faebugz:
    Where do you get the holtsfreter solution? I've been upping water changes but salt bath seems to be more stressful/harmful than beneficial because she does not like to be caught!
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  • Slash-GNR:
    Anyone know how to harden soft water without raising pH?
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    Slash-GNR: Anyone know how to harden soft water without raising pH? +1
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