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Is he an axolotl?

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MrsFalker

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My name is Shelby and I rescued a "glow in the dark" axolotl from a less than reputable pet store. I love 'him' we call 'him' cooper but we don't truly know. I have attached images, where are his gills? I'm thinking the poor husbandry from the petshop got them nibbled off and hopefully with some love and care I can give him the best life I can! What do you guys think?
 

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Hayleyy

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Welcome! It looks like an axolotl to me, but yes it has very damaged/shrunken gills. The best thing you can do is keep the water cool and in perfect conditions. Do you have a test kit? I'd also recommend a GH/KH test kit to keep track of your water hardness. I've found recently that I have soft water so am adding aquarium salt to bring it up and my axolotl's gills are getting huge now!
How is feeding going for this one?
 

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Feeding has been going well he eats a sinking shrimp pellet everyday I fed him a cricket once I do a 50% water change every week and use a Turkey baster every day. His water parameters are as follows
PH 7.4 ammonia (i know way too high ) 1 PPM nitrate 5.0 PPM nitrite just above 0 PPM temperature 60 degrees Fahrenheit. He is on a bare bottom floor.
 

Hayleyy

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Okay so I'd recommend tubbing your axolotl until your cycle is finished (once both ammonia and nitrite are 0, and you have nitrates). This will keep it protected from the ammonia and will help with healing. When tubbing you need to change 100% water every day. The good thing is if doing this you wont need to do any water changes in the tank, it'll cycle quickly that way. Bottled bacteria and live plants can help it along, though plants should be quarantined.
As for the diet pellets are good but crickets aren't the best. Axolotls have trouble digesting the exoskeleton which can cause digestion issues. I always try and get my axolotls on worms (nightcrawlers especially) as it's the best option and keeps them nice and plump. If you offer more pellets will he eat them, or have you tried offering pellets more than once a day?
Great that you are using the turkey baster! The ammonia tells me there must be something hidden in the tank making the levels so high. Move around the decorations in case he's left some treasures for you :)
 

MrsFalker

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I'm really glad I joined this community I really appreciate all of this advice I have purchased some ammonia detoxifier and I picked up some aquarium salt I'm going to do a water change today take him out tub him so I dont stress him out by shaking up his decor. He only ate the one cricket and isn't interested in anymore so I stopped and in the beginning I think I was overfeeding I gave him 3 pellets twice a day but he just gulps his one and swim/waddles off to another part of the tank so I've been just giving him the one in the morning which he happily eats then one at night and hes happy and not littering my tank with uneaten food. I will consider nightcrawlers, I realize you can cut them up for feeding but the ones I can buy locally are HUGE! And dying worms stink lol. I keep trying to add attchements of my tank and filter so I will keep you posted!
 

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Penguin Bio Wheel HOB filter for a 75 gallon tank
Is the filter we use. Pictures attached (hopefully)
 

MrsFalker

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Hi I added some aquarium salt and ammonia lock to my tank and have been doing 20% water changes every day heres my new numbers

Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5.0ppm
Ammonia .25 ppm
 

Hayleyy

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Okay you're seeing progress, that's great! What amounts of aquarium salts are you using? I do about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons per 10L bucket during a water change (only if I have removed water, otherwise you'll be increasing the salt).
You can use garden worms if they're different to nightcrawlers where you live, they might be smaller. But only if you don't use any chemical additives to the soil. You can try red wrigglers, but some axolotls wont eat them because they have a bad taste. Blanching might help :)
Check how much of a current the filter makes. You want as little water movement as possible. If you need to reduce it a prefilter sponge shoved into the output works wonders!
I've learnt so much from this site, I'm so glad I found it! Keep me updated on how he's going.
 

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I did 1 teaspoon for 5gal, slightly less the the instructions recommended but I figure starting slow wouldn't hurt. I keep the water level right to the top of the filter so the flow is very muted, and I have a few artificial plants toward the surface to help with the pressure as well. He doesnt appear to be bothered, he will lay right under the filter instead of in his hideout. I haven't seen any gill improvement yet. I'm just being impatient :)
 

Hayleyy

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Good to start small with the salt. The gills may take some time to heal but given the right conditions you'll get there :)
 

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Pink! Pink! His gill filaments are pink! They are starting to grow!!
 

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Oh boy we gave him a worm for the first time he loves it!!
 

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Great news! Thank you for the update :)
 

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Great progress!!
 
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    Hey guys I was wondering if my axolotl looks fine to you he/she (still don’t know) I’d activate and eating as usual but I did notice veins in the tail area.. let me know what you guys think! Also if anyone could tell if it’s a boy or girl that would be great! (Zolo was eating a worm and pretty sure the worm pooped XD)
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