Gills on my axolotl no feathers?

postytheaxolotl

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I recently got my axolotl from a store a few weeks ago, and noticed when I brought him home he didn't have much for feathers. He currently is in a 20 gallon tank and is around 2-3 inches long. I feed him pellets and earthworms to give him a mix of food. Do his gills look healthy or should I be worried? he's got an airstone and a standard hang-on filter that doesn't cause too much current. Please help me with some advice!
 

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Murk

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Gills are a difficult indicator.

Small gills could mean that the axolotl isn't feeling well, that his skin is irritated, or that the water quality is so bad he gets most of his oxygen by gulping air - all of which are bad.
Small gills could however also mean that the axolotl is very relaxed (so his blood flow is low and he doesn't need much oxygen) and that the water quality is so good he can get enough oxygen without big gills - all of which are good.

Similarly, big bright gills could mean an excited, healthy axolotl who doesn't need to gulp much air; but could also mean a stressed axolotl, agitated skin and water without much oxygen.

And then there's also a genetic factor - some axolotls just have bigger gills than others.

So the gills alone aren't much of an indicator. That also mean the gills alone aren't anything to worry about, too.
As long as the water parameters are good, the axolotl seems relaxed and healthy, and there are no sudden changes in the gills, there's no reason to worry. If they've been this way for as long as you have him, that seems fine to me.
 

postytheaxolotl

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I've had him for a few weeks and haven't noticed any changes besides him getting bigger. I'm going to do a water change soon, as his tank has just finished cycling and the water is a bit cloudy. He's definitely been eating normally and quite a bit, so the gills were the only big concern I had. Thanks for the help!
 

KumquatSquats

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if your water is "soft" (little to no electrolytes) you might see fluffier gills by supplementing some aquarium fertilizers made to increase GH/KH
i saw gill improvement and less fungus once i started supplementing with powdered mixes so its worth looking into, GH/KH test kit is just a few bucks and the bottle of "alkaline buffer" by seachem i bought is going to last me a long time. 1tsp per 20gals puts me at 2-3KH which my 'lotls seem to enjoy (the plants i have eat some of this so i have to test and adjust sometimes but typically it remains stable)
 
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