HELP-BACTERIAL INFECTION

Therealkarp

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Hi all. I'm experiencing issues of bacterial infection with my little man. I've seen the issue come up before I realized what it was, but never payed attention to it as it seemed to go away on its own periodically. Yesterday, my little guy was freaking out trying to get air, then swimming to the bottom and twitching to the side most affected by the infection. After doing some reading, I found that giving him salt baths for 10 minutes a day is supposed to help so I did it yesterday and the issue seems to be a bit better, but I am still wary to keep doing so. I wanted to ask, is this the best way to treat the infection? Is there something that I should do? I'm scared he might die soon as he won't eat. The last time he ate was a little bit of pellets last week, and completely refused to eat a nightcrawler I put in his tank yesterday. Please help!!
 

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Therealkarp

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Update: I just gave him a second salt bath in which he seemed very limp. When I move him during water changes he usually resists and tries to swim away from the net I use to move him but he seemed like he couldn't do anything even if he wanted. When I put him back in he just fell right to the bottom like he couldn't help it. I'm really worried about him.
 

Toothpickthelotl

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Hi! I’m a newer axie owner and might not be as experienced as other people, but I’d love to try to help. Firstly, what are your tank water perimeters? What temp is your tank? He looks very red which may be caused by an ammonia spike rather then a bacteria infection.
He does look unwell in the pictures. Salt baths do help kill off bacteria but they can be very stressful to the axoltol. I would look into tea baths to help treat and soothe. I’m no expert abd don’t want to provide any misinformation, but here is a thread that explains it! How do I do a black tea bath?
I would also put him in a tub with shallow water just enough to cover him. This would allow him to get air easier and for you to keep a close eye on him. You may want to try some frozen bloodworms, they are easier to digest and he might be interested in something lighter then a meaty earthworm.
im so sorry about your little guy!
 

Therealkarp

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Thank you for the reply! I just did another check and here are his perameters. I had the nitrite pretty well eliminated before I switched his tank, and though it is higher in this one I moved him into some months ago, over the last two weeks I treated it with bacteria and prime to eliminate some of it and the levels of it have actually gone down, but now this has developed! And I think the salt baths are causing his skin to peel, and I have noticed his tail has drastically reduced in size. I'm at a loss of what to do!!! I attatched a photo of his tank as well as a better picture of the infection. I'm trying to feed him some pellets but he still won't eat
 

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Toothpickthelotl

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My poor baby! He looks so frail (this is not your fault btw! I know it’s because he is refusing food) What bacteria did you put in the tank? Certain chemicals and bacteria’s being added into the tank can actually cause more harm than good. Also, I would order this testing kit API Aquarium Test Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000255NCI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_j8McGb1WBAZBW instead of using test strips. Test strips are normally fairly inaccurate. They are the cheaper option so most people tend to go for them, I did the same at first. But the API test kit is the absolute best one you can get. It’s more expensive but worth it in the end. I’m worried that your tank levels are different then what the strips are telling you-I may be wrong though.
for now, put him in a shallow tub with dechlorinated water to get him out of the tank and keep a close eye on him. You can put him in the fridge to ease stress.
 

Therealkarp

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Okay so I've moved him into a quarentine tub dechlorinated with prime and nothing else. Last night I tried to give him some bloodworms I had left over from when he was a baby (I've had mine since about late september) and when I woke up this morning I'm not sure if he ate any. It is certainly scattered around the tank area a bit, I think he may have had a little though I am not certain. Turns out I do have this API kit, though only for ammonia. As you can see, my ammonia readings are minimal, which is what the test strips were giving me. I've attatched a picture of him in his new tub for now, He seems to like sticking his head towards the surface, and he seems to be slightly more active. I will see if my local Petsmart has that testing kit and update when get the peramiters of it. What should my next step be?
 

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Toothpickthelotl

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Perfect, I’m glad to hear his in the tub and slightly more active and maybe ate a few bloodworms. I’m also so happy the ammonia is little! That was my main concern
I know it sounds slightly crazy, but the reduction of his tail and his gills almost looks like he is beginning to metamorphosis, which is due to lack of oxygen in water (so they start having to use their lungs more for air rather then gills). I’m not sure the leading cause of lack of oxygen in water, but I know it could be a variety of off water perimeters or a filter that is struggling to circulate the tank. The way you have him tubbed is perfect. For now, I would keep a close eye on him and look into tea baths and fridging him. I don’t know much about these so I don’t want to provide anything wrong. Try the blood worms again today and watch to see if he eats any, if he does that’s a good sign!
I will try to do some more research in a bit to see if I can find anything else to help
 

Therealkarp

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Hey! So I got the kit and ran the test. It looks like his nitrite is a little high, as well as Ph, but they don't seem to be a crazy spike or anything that would cause this out of no where. I am unsure of tank temp as the battery died and I had to go get a new one. First pic is Nitrite, second is Ph, third is Nitrate
 

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madcaplaughs

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If your parameters are as is, pH 6.8-8, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, and <20ppm nitrate, temperature 60-68F, then I’m not sure what has caused the infection. Doing salt baths might be exasperating the issue. They’re unnecessarily harsh and abrasive, and aren’t ideal for treating amphibians. I’d suggest doing tea baths twice per day using caffeinated black tea where the ONLY ingredient listed is black tea. There’s guides for that online. You’ll want to keep the axolotl tubbed and do daily 100% water changes until the infection has cleared.
The person above me is incorrect that lack of oxygen will cause morphing. Generally speaking, forced morphing is caused my poor water quality. Your axolotl’s gill stalks are nearly completely diminished, so there’s something off with your water quality that needs to be addressed. You definitely need to get a new thermometer as well.
 

Therealkarp

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That's why I'm so schocked!! I've been treating his water more and monitoring it the last 2-3 weeks and it seems to be getting better, but he seems to be getting worse. I will continue to tub him and change his water 100% everyday, he does seem to be more active in this tub and keeping his head up towards the top of the water which is reassuring that he isn't about to die completely yet. I will get a new thermometer and some black tea tonight and try a bath tomorrow, will update with pics!
 

Toothpickthelotl

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If your parameters are as is, pH 6.8-8, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, and <20ppm nitrate, temperature 60-68F, then I’m not sure what has caused the infection. Doing salt baths might be exasperating the issue. They’re unnecessarily harsh and abrasive, and aren’t ideal for treating amphibians. I’d suggest doing tea baths twice per day using caffeinated black tea where the ONLY ingredient listed is black tea. There’s guides for that online. You’ll want to keep the axolotl tubbed and do daily 100% water changes until the infection has cleared.
The person above me is incorrect that lack of oxygen will cause morphing. Generally speaking, forced morphing is caused my poor water quality. Your axolotl’s gill stalks are nearly completely diminished, so there’s something off with your water quality that needs to be addressed. You definitely need to get a new thermometer as well.
Oops! So sorry about being incorrect with the morphing. I was misinformed!
 

Toothpickthelotl

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Your levels actually look perfect, that’s so strange! I’m not too sure what’s going on, I’m so sorry I wish I could be of more help. Def keep monitoring him and keeping us updated.
 

Axomommy

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Perfect, I’m glad to hear his in the tub and slightly more active and maybe ate a few bloodworms. I’m also so happy the ammonia is little! That was my main concern
I know it sounds slightly crazy, but the reduction of his tail and his gills almost looks like he is beginning to metamorphosis, which is due to lack of oxygen in water (so they start having to use their lungs more for air rather then gills). I’m not sure the leading cause of lack of oxygen in water, but I know it could be a variety of off water perimeters or a filter that is struggling to circulate the tank. The way you have him tubbed is perfect. For now, I would keep a close eye on him and look into tea baths and fridging him. I don’t know much about these so I don’t want to provide anything wrong. Try the blood worms again today and watch to see if he eats any, if he does that’s a good sign!
I will try to do some more research in a bit to see if I can find anything else to help
I put Air Stones {attached to an Air Pump} in my tanks. My Fab Four LOVE the aeration.
 

Therealkarp

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Update: Did my first 100% water change today, put him in a small container (right) while I did the change and he seemed active to try and get away from me which is what he used to do lol. I still use a net to pick him up as he doesn't like being handled (I still don't much like touching him anyway so we're on the same page lol). I'm wondering if the left picture is of any use? It's the filter I have in the filtration device. I gave it a quick rinse (not too long as I know this is where bacteria sits), does anyone think this may have caused the issue? I got a thermometer and checked his tank sits at around 62 F, so I'm genuinely stumped why this is happening. His nitrate is the most of perameter but even that isn't bad! I don't want to reintroduce him to the bath until I get his tank figured out!
 

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madcaplaughs

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Did you rinse the filter in tap water? If so, you've killed all the bacteria and will need to cycle again. I'd continue to do tea baths twice per day, and do 100% daily water changes twice per day as well.
 

Therealkarp

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Did you rinse the filter in tap water? If so, you've killed all the bacteria and will need to cycle again. I'd continue to do tea baths twice per day, and do 100% daily water changes twice per day as well.
Unfortunately, yes I did... I only did it to one side of the filter (there are 2) for about 5 seconds. I put them back in afterword.
 

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Oh Good, I see others replied to you here on this post! I am so glad, have you had success with your little guy? Perhaps a true sponge filter would help?
 

Therealkarp

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Oh Good, I see others replied to you here on this post! I am so glad, have you had success with your little guy? Perhaps a true sponge filter would help?
So far I'm not sure. I've been doing 100% water changes, though today was only his second full day n a tub. I will update with pictures tomorrow
 

GulfCoastAxolotls

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So far I'm not sure. I've been doing 100% water changes, though today was only his second full day n a tub. I will update with pictures tomorrow
just wanted to check in and see how the little guy is doing? Maybe I missed it and you already said, but what kind of water conditioner are you using in your tap water? just another angle I thought of. He also looks super malnourished. Getting good quality food into him will be a big help. earthworms are ideal. Rephasy grub pie is another good option because its high in fat, protein and they love the smell of it.
 

Therealkarp

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Hi all! Sorry for not updating. I managed to get a hold of a couple of things that have GREATLY helped Boots! (I am posting this for anyone who googles a fix for this as frantically as I searched!)

1) 100% Water changes EVERY morning for the last 4 days
2) I purchased an airstone and pump (didn't know about stale water) (which he seems to like sitting in front of/near now!) for oxygen as I noticed him going up for air every couple of minutes for a day or two
3) TEA BATHS!!! I googled it and to the best of my research, giving him baths with BLACK TEA AS THE ONLY INGREDIENT (I use Typhoo black tea) seemed to work well the last 2 days I have been doing them. I do 1 cup of boiling water with 2 bags of tea steeped for 15 or so minutes, then cool it to room temperature overnight in a pot on my desk, then in a small bucket I add the water to 6L of dechlorinated (with prime) water, let him chill for 15 minutes sharp, then bring him back to the quarantine tub (which I change the water while he is in his bath). I initially gave him those two salt baths (with table salt, BIG MISTAKE. I know NEVER to use table salt again!!!, Aquarium salt only if I do that, but honestly never will after these tea baths)


So far he has pooped this morning (the first time in about a week and a half, though he has not eaten for that time as well). I plan on trying to feed him in another day or two. I tried a couple of days ago but he had NO interest so I didn't want to force him. He still has a bit to go, but as you can tell from the pictures (The first picture is from Saturday, the right is from today) he's MOSTLY kicked the fungal infection and he has mostly recovered from the skin peeling/abrasions he took from the salt bath damages. I'm very happy he looks better! I will update in a couple of days as daily progress pics can be annoying and not show much, but 4 days shows a LOT as you can all see!

As for my tank: I determined there were lots of small things in there that I just couldn't get with my turkey baster/water pump, so I decided to dump it all out in my shower and restart the cycle. I have been using prime and Nutra cycle water conditioner and bacteria to recyle the tank, I will do a water parameter test after 1 week of this to see how things go. boots will be kept in his quarantine tub for a little longer, likely a week or so, until I have determined the skin has healed properly and his fungal infection is gone (don't want to reintroduce it into the tank) and the tank has safer parameters to re introduce him. Thank you all for the support I will update in a few days :)
 

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