HELP! New axolotl owner has many many questions...

ToddG

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Hi! My son has wanted an axolotl for a couple of years and I told him if he could keep fish alive for a year he could get one. He kept his fish alive so i kept my promise. We have had “Todd“ for about 10 days. He hasn’t eat much of anything and is super skinny. His skin is peeling and his back feet are floating and his gills are disappearing(?). I got the 20 gallon long aquarium about 4 weeks ago and cycled it. His water levels are perfect and his temp is at 62F. I might be freaking out a bit because he is so new to us but I feel like something is wrong. pics attached are of his peeling face and tail. He truly just hides all day and night. HELP!!! 😞
 

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Jennewt

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Where did you get Todd? The disappearing gills could be a sign of a health problem, but could also be a sign that Todd is a tiger salamander larva and not an axolotl.
 

Calgarycoppers

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Please tub him ASAP in clean cold dechlorinated water. Preferably Seachem Prime

What water conditioner are you using?
Was the tank fully cycled?
Tank temp?
Have you tested the water?

Axolotls are highly sensitive compared to tropical fish.
 

ToddG

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Where did you get Todd? The disappearing gills could be a sign of a health problem, but could also be a sign that Todd is a tiger salamander larva and not an axolotl.
I got him at a local pet store. They special ordered him for us. He has just seemed sickly since day one. 🙁
 

ToddG

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Please tub him ASAP in clean cold dechlorinated water. Preferably Seachem Prime

What water conditioner are you using?
Was the tank fully cycled?
Tank temp?
Have you tested the water?

Axolotls are highly sensitive compared to tropical fish.
Using API water conditioner, tank was fully cycled, water tests all normal with API master test kit. Temp is 62.
 

Paige1warren

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Hi! I’m a newer axolotl owner myself, so I understand getting scared! How is he doing now? His symptoms seem to have to do with water quality, but I know that you mentioned the water is fine and fully cycled.
I have a few questions.
What filter do you use?
What do you feed him, how often, and how do you feed him?
Is he having any physical symptoms? (Lethargic, non responsive, etc?)
Have you seen any bowel movements in the past few days?
So sorry about this little guy! It’s also possible his symptoms are due to stress. New environment... new people... all of that.
 

Calgarycoppers

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What are the actual numbers on the tests?

The plain water conditioner or the one with additives?
They add aloe to alot of products which is toxic.
Using API water conditioner, tank was fully cycled, water tests all normal with API master test kit. Temp is 62.
 

ToddG

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What are the actual numbers on the tests?

The plain water conditioner or the one with additives?
They add aloe to alot of products which is toxic.
Ph is 7.4. Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites all at 0. Temp is still 62. He has eaten a couple chunks of red wigglers worms in the last 2 days but he eats one piece then spits the rest out. I have been using the API water conditioner which I just read has aloe in it!! Do I need to start all over with cycling the aquarium??
 
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madcaplaughs

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Ph is 7.4. Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites all at 0. Temp is still 62. He has eaten a couple chunks of red wigglers worms in the last 2 days but he eats one piece then spits the rest out. I have been using the API water conditioner which I just read has aloe in it!! Do I need to start all over with cycling the aquarium??
0ppm nitrates would indicate the tank hasn't been cycled. How did you go about cycling?
 

Calgarycoppers

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Yes you likely need to restart with cycling

Ph is 7.4. Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites all at 0. Temp is still 62. He has eaten a couple chunks of red wigglers worms in the last 2 days but he eats one piece then spits the rest out. I have been using the API water conditioner which I just read has aloe in it!! Do I need to start all over with cycling the aquarium??
 

Jennewt

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Try to get some live food other than red wigglers. Canadian nightcrawlers are the best. You can offer crickets or waxworms from tweezers. The problem with the red wigglers is that they have a funky smell (and presumably taste), and they are often spat out.

I don't think you need to start over with cycling. If you remove all poo and uneaten food promptly, and keep with with large water changes, and make sure the ammonia stays near zero, the cycling will take care of itself in due time.
 

Retrixy

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Hi! My son has wanted an axolotl for a couple of years and I told him if he could keep fish alive for a year he could get one. He kept his fish alive so i kept my promise. We have had “Todd“ for about 10 days. He hasn’t eat much of anything and is super skinny. His skin is peeling and his back feet are floating and his gills are disappearing(?). I got the 20 gallon long aquarium about 4 weeks ago and cycled it. His water levels are perfect and his temp is at 62F. I might be freaking out a bit because he is so new to us but I feel like something is wrong. pics attached are of his peeling face and tail. He truly just hides all day and night. HELP!!! 😞
If his gills really are disappearing then the axolotl might be undergoing metamorphosis into a salamander. This is a very rare phenomenon with axolotls and usually only happens when the axolotl is exposed to a specific chemical. In some rare cases, it happens naturally, usually due to bad water conditions or being overcrowded.

If his gills are disappearing then he is probably still in the metamorphosis stage and has not finished it yet which means, depending on how he his metamorphosis started, he might die. I would suggest reading this for more information on what to do next (if he really is in metamorphosis that is).
 

madcaplaughs

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Try to get some live food other than red wigglers. Canadian nightcrawlers are the best. You can offer crickets or waxworms from tweezers. The problem with the red wigglers is that they have a funky smell (and presumably taste), and they are often spat out.

I don't think you need to start over with cycling. If you remove all poo and uneaten food promptly, and keep with with large water changes, and make sure the ammonia stays near zero, the cycling will take care of itself in due time.
Axolotls shouldn't be fed crickets or waxworms. Crickets contain chitin, which is hard for them to digest, and waxworms are too fatty. Ideally, an axolotl should be fed a varied diet of earthworms and pellets.
Red wrigglers can be prepared by soaking, blanching, or freezing (and then thawing) prior to being offered to help get some of the bitter slime off.
Most of the time, gill deterioration (stalks and filaments) is caused by poor water quality. If the tank was cycled, it sounds to me like the cycle must of crashed (as indicated by 0ppm nitrates-- a cycled tank should have readings for nitrate).
The photo looks like the axolotl has some sort of fungus on its face, though I could be wrong.
For now, it's best to tub the axolotl and perform 100% daily water changes. The axolotl shouldn't be returned to the tank until it's completely cycled (when the tank can process 2ppm ammonia into 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrate within 24hr). If the axolotl does in fact have fungus, tea baths can be performed in conjunction to tubbing.
 
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Calgarycoppers

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Axolotls should not be fed crickets its a huge impaction risk, any wx worm would need to be newly molted with no exoskeleton.
Canadian nightcrawlers have a horrible bitter taste and profuse slime coat many axos hate.
Yes red wrigglers have a bitter taste as well.

European nightcrawlers seem to be the most readily accepted with no profuse slime coat or weird taste reaction.

Try to get some live food other than red wigglers. Canadian nightcrawlers are the best. You can offer crickets or waxworms from tweezers. The problem with the red wigglers is that they have a funky smell (and presumably taste), and they are often spat out.

I don't think you need to start over with cycling. If you remove all poo and uneaten food promptly, and keep with with large water changes, and make sure the ammonia stays near zero, the cycling will take care of itself in due time.
 

AnimeDan

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In the future I’d recommend ordering your Axie from a reputable breeder or a specialty aquarium store. You can even search for people around you whose Axolotls gave birth and they are trying to find people to take the babies (that’s how I got my first Axolotl). My axolotls prefer red winglers but you can also try Repashy Grub pie which is very nutritious and is the best to have on hand if you ever have to force feed.
 
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @MadamePirateOwl Fridging is best left to life-or-death situations, and salt baths are unnecessarily harsh, stressful, and abrasive. I'd suggest doing tea baths instead (using caffeinated black tea, where the only ingredient is black tea).
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    so no idea what the goop is?
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hard to tell without a photo, but might be algae or fungus floating. Water changes will take care of that.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    It definitely came from the axolotl. Looked to be mixed into poo the first time. Can I post the photos here?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Im not actually sure how i would post it. It seems to want a link
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Its fairly thick and chunky
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    (Also thanks for your patience and help!)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    You could always upload the photo to imgur and link it back here
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    The second image was how it looked the first time, it was mixed with some other poop like stuff. after that its been small and without the poopy stuff
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  • madcaplaughs:
    The second photo looks reminiscent of partially-digested worms, though I've never seen anything like that. Have you checked your parameters lately?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Right now theyre in smaller tubs that i do daily water changes in
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I'll admit Ive bought test strips but they havent come in yet
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I use Prime to dechlorinate the water, which was recommend by the girl I got them from
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  • madcaplaughs:
    For now I'd tub the axolotl and do daily 100% water changes until you're able to test your parameters
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    I'd also recommend ordering a liquid test kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit since strips are generally unreliable and inaccurate.
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    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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    anybody growing tylototriton?
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    Hello! Anyone there right now by chance? I have a couple questions about plants in an axolotl tank.
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