Difficulty Feeding Juvenile Axolotl

Jackson201739

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I have two Axolotls that my sister impulsively bought and found to be too difficult to care for so now I have them. One of them (the dark one) is generally just more skittish than the other and kind of a pain to feed. He (no clue on their actual genders) doesn’t seem to like worms I’ve tried small earthworms cut up and bloodworms and he will kind of investigate them then leave. He’ll eat pellets but only as they’re falling. Once they hit the bottom of the tank, he will not eat them but he also freaks out when I try to use a turkey baster to lift them and make them fall again. The other one (white one) will eat anything whether it’s on the bottom or falling he just doesn’t care.
Also, they have a little curve going on in their gills which I’ve read can be a sign of stress but the water parameters are fine (pH 7.0 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate between 0-5) temperature stays 60-65 degrees. Their is the tiniest water disturbance from the filter but I have a thick filter foam in front of the flow to calm it down and a fan over the top of the tank to keep it consistently cool that again, barely moves the water.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching them to try to meet all their needs and make them comfortable but I'd appreciate any help.
 

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basilstorm

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I got my axie when he was a baby and he wasn’t eating anything, he just didn’t seem interested. Hand feeding turned out to be the solution. I feed pellets, so I’ll take one and hold it between two fingers at the very top of the water and wiggle my hand around a bit so there’s a small disturbance in the water. He might accidentally nip at your fingers, but it doesn’t hurt at all. Since it’s moving while you hold it, it seems to be easier for the axie to see and they stay interested in it. You can feed straight from your fingertips or drop it for him, whatever he seems to like more. I believe I saw someone on Instagram using chopsticks or a small pair of tweezers to feed the pellets, so you could also possibly train him to take it from either of those. He might be nervous with this method, and get worried when you reach into the water, but in my case my axie got used to it in a few days and actually seemed a lot more comfortable in general. Now he swims over to watch me walk around the room because he wants to be fed, so he’s actually excited to eat and much calmer at the same time.

It sounds like you’re taking really good care of them! The water conditions don’t sound like they’re the cause of the stress, it’s good that the water flow isn’t strong either. The only things I can think of are 1) how big is the tank for each of them, 2) did you recently move them to a new location, or 3) do they use the hidey place in their tank? Keep an eye out for their tails getting curled, that’s a really good sign that they’re very stressed, but otherwise they should be alright! They look pretty young, my boy tended to have his gills a little forward when he was about that size but it seemed to be just a “getting comfortable” thing.
 

Jackson201739

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His feeding doesn’t bug me really it’s just so drastically different from the white one so I didn’t know if maybe there could be something else going on but I think he just has a more timid personality which is totally fine by me.
The tank is 20 gal long. My sister had them both together in a 10 gal and I just didn’t think that was enough space and all I had available was a 20 gal long I used to use as a hospital tank for my fish. I want to get them a 40 gal long but I have to order it and find a spot for it first. I have not moved or changed anything in their tank (aside from changing water of course) since I took them over about one month ago. They love their caves and spend lots of time in the caves or wrapped up in the leaves. I also never keep their light on. It was in in the picture just to take the photo but I keep the light off regularly and I keep the curtains closed in the room so not too much light gets in.
The black one also clearly gets worked up walking along the bottom and I read a lot about how bare bottom could potentially bother them since they can’t get traction BUT I also don’t want to risk them inhaling any substrate. Black one is 4 months old and white one is 3 months old and they’re both about 4 inches long which I know is still small so is there a specific size I should wait until to put them on super fine sand?
 
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