Baby axolotl stopped eating, please help

Lizardsaxolotls

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My boyfriend and I recently acquired a baby axolotl. From what I can tell he/she is about a month to a month and a half old, both her front and back legs are present although she’s still only about an inch to and inch and a half. We’ve had her for about 7 days and she’s eaten like a champ, we did a water change yesterday and can’t get the ammonia levels below .25, her tank temperature fluctuates between 61 F and 68 F and she’s all of a sudden stopped eating. Please help, we’re unsure what to do.
 

Lizardsaxolotls

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Also unsure if it’s important to note but when we got her she was missing a front arm. My guess is the shop we got her from was housing a bunch together and another ripped her arm off? It looks like it’s starting to regrow. I’m not sure if that affects appetite at all?
 

AMurry24537

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What have you been feeding it?

Ideally, the tank would have been cycled firs to avoid your ammonia problem. You'll have to do 100% water changes every day in order to combat the ammonia and then the nitrites, which are both deadly.

Also, that amount of temperature change is going to put a LOT of stress on your axolotl. What are the conditions that are causing it to change so drastically? Your aquarium should be in a quiet, dimly lit, stable place away from windows or heaters. I would recommend investing in a chiller and temperature controller (this will turn on electricity to the appropriate device when it senses the temperature has gone past the levels you want. I'll try to get a link to the one I have and add it in a new comment).

In the short term, you need to get the temperature stabilized. Fridging may be your best option for now; there are some good guides on this website for how to fridge your axolotl.
 

Lizardsaxolotls

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We’ve fed her brine shrimp and blood worms, she seems to still like brine shrimp better. She’s in a 10 gallon tank with a low flow filter and originally the shop who sold her to us said she was fine in room temperature. (Which I knew not to be the case). We bought a small fan to put above the tank to keep it chilled but we aren’t sure if we should keep it on all the time? We’re worried it will get too cold. Also, the shop said we didn’t need to cycle the tank and that a lot of people have success not doing that? So we were questioning whether we should tub her until the tank is cycled maybe?
 

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The food sounds good, she may start eating again once everything else settles down. A 10-gallon is good for how young it is, but once it passes 7 inches or so, it's best to put them into a 20 gallon long/wide tank to allow them to walk/swim around comfortably.

Room temperature only works if your house is in an extremely consistent low 60s range. The fan is a good thing and may be enough, but you might have to purchase something more heavy duty in warm months as the temperature absolutely should not exceed 70 degrees F. You also want to avoid major temperature fluctuations (more than 4 degrees in less than 12 hours) if at all possible. I would say that you probably don't have to worry too much about the temperature being too low as long as it doesn't get below 55 for too long. Your ideal temperature range is 62-65. I typically aim for 62 myself.

I often leave my fan running all the time, but if you're concerned, the temperature controller should also work with the fan--you would just leave the fan switch in the on position, plug it into the controller, and that will turn it on whenever it's needed. Sorry I haven't gotten the link yet, got distracted, it'll be here soon.

The tank absolutely needs to be cycled first. Axolotls produce a ton of ammonia-producing waste and as amphibians who absorb everything through their skin, they're relatively delicate. The people in that shop are very VERY wrong on that count. I would say that you should definitely tub her until the tank is cycled. I personally had a lot of success using liquid ammonia (you can get it from Walmart or Amazon or lots of other places). There's lots of great guides on how to cycle a tank online. A liquid water testing kit is an absolute must for this project since you need exact information.
 

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Here's the temperature controller link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01HXM5UAC?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

It's a little pricy, but believe me, it will save a lot of headaches and is fairly easy to use after reading the instructions. I don't have anything plugged into the heating outlet because, like I said, you'll rarely have to worry about it being too cold, but this thing will turn on your cooling element if the temperature gets as little as one degree off.
 

Lizardsaxolotls

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Thank you so much! We’ll definitely tub her until the tank is cycled. How often should we change the water? I’ve read some things say once a day and others say twice a day?
 

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That depends on your ammonia levels. There will be some in the tub of course--the goal of the tubbing is to make sure she isn't sitting in ammonia but also that you don't have to go through 10-20 gallons a day. I would suggest checking the ammonia levels after 12 hours of tubbing and if there's any, do it twice a day. If there's not, wait until the 18-hour mark and test again. If there's any that time, I would still do twice a day. Otherwise, keep it at once a day.

These water changes can be fairly stressful to your axolotl as well, so do what you can to make sure the two water temperatures are as identical as possible and keep the lighting as low as you can.
 

Lizardsaxolotls

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Thank you so much, we tubbed her last night and kept the fan on, the water is holding at 57.4-58 F, we fed her this morning and she ate like crazy! But her color turned quite pale? She’s a wild type and was very dark, and her head is super pale all of a sudden? Like almost brighter? Is this cause for concern??
 

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We’ve also been checking the water conditions all day, they stayed at 0 all day and just now turned SLIGHTLY green. Like in between 0ppm and .25. Could it just be that she looks lighter in shallower water?
 

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4851625E-CF2D-4E3A-A022-03E4BEE30B73.jpeg
 

AMurry24537

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We’ve also been checking the water conditions all day, they stayed at 0 all day and just now turned SLIGHTLY green. Like in between 0ppm and .25. Could it just be that she looks lighter in shallower water?
It could be related to a number of factors and shallow water refracting the light could be one of them! Other potential causes could be the decrease in temperature (this causes axolotls to "slow down" in many ways, including blood flow, which often has an effect on their coloring) or the fact that some wild and darker colored morphs have displayed the ability to change their color a little bit (nothing super drastic) to blend in with a lighter or darker background. I wouldn't be too concerned, but keep an eye on it and see if anything changes.
 

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If your Axolotl ever stops eating again I’d suggest getting some Repashy grub pie. Axolotls love it and it’s like a meaty gelatin so if force feeding becomes necessary (only ever as a last resort) it’s good to have on hand. Of course we all hope that such an event never occurs.
 
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @MadamePirateOwl Fridging is best left to life-or-death situations, and salt baths are unnecessarily harsh, stressful, and abrasive. I'd suggest doing tea baths instead (using caffeinated black tea, where the only ingredient is black tea).
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    so no idea what the goop is?
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hard to tell without a photo, but might be algae or fungus floating. Water changes will take care of that.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    It definitely came from the axolotl. Looked to be mixed into poo the first time. Can I post the photos here?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Im not actually sure how i would post it. It seems to want a link
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Its fairly thick and chunky
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    (Also thanks for your patience and help!)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    You could always upload the photo to imgur and link it back here
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    The second image was how it looked the first time, it was mixed with some other poop like stuff. after that its been small and without the poopy stuff
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  • madcaplaughs:
    The second photo looks reminiscent of partially-digested worms, though I've never seen anything like that. Have you checked your parameters lately?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Right now theyre in smaller tubs that i do daily water changes in
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I'll admit Ive bought test strips but they havent come in yet
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I use Prime to dechlorinate the water, which was recommend by the girl I got them from
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  • madcaplaughs:
    For now I'd tub the axolotl and do daily 100% water changes until you're able to test your parameters
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    I'd also recommend ordering a liquid test kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit since strips are generally unreliable and inaccurate.
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    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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    anybody growing tylototriton?
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    Hello! Anyone there right now by chance? I have a couple questions about plants in an axolotl tank.
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