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?
 

NC axy

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I find it the easiest, is if you stick with one food item and they will eventually get hungry enough to eat what is offered... I feed all of mine carnivore pellets...take it or leave it..lol...hang on there, and try n relax...before you know it they'll be 6 inches long.
 
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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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  • Murk:
    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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  • Murk:
    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
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  • Sal22:
    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
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  • Sal22:
    Update about my axie, unfortunately he has died over night, he looked as if he was bruised allover his belly, his mucus layer had also started to come off.
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    Anyone here from DMV?
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    hi.....
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  • JDeslippe21:
    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
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  • Murk:
    Could be he's just excited, spooked or temporarily stressed, which could pass in a few hours. It could also be an indicator of other problems. Do you have any recent water parameters?
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    Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
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  • MuggleMiChu:
    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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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @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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  • MuggleMiChu:
    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @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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  • MuggleMiChu:
    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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    @MuggleMiChu,your so welcome im glad to be of help! and I'm glad that they are eating as well!
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