Illness/Sickness: I think my axolotl is dead, but not quite.

cornallster

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I think my axolotl is dead, he was in his tank on the bottom, head on the sand not moving at all even when touched. I put him in the fridge for a day just in case really, however he didn't show any signs of movement in the tub I put him in (in the fridge) l. Today I had just about given up so I went to get him out to bury him and his tail was sticking out of the net as I picked him up. He didn't struggle at all but his tail started to move, it was very slowly but it moved up and down a few times against gravity. I didn't want to bury him if he's still alive so he's back in the fridge. He is on his back in the container not moving whatsoever but there is a chance he's alive and just, I don't know in a coma or something. Here's some info that might help:

- he is in a tank with another axie who appears perfectly healthy, I will test the water tomorrow but I don't think there are any huge problems with it.
- before he appeared dead he looked very unwell and has seemed to lose all the colours in his gills
- the only tank issue that I have had I'd a bit of protein building up on the surface but I cleared it up by increasing the surface water agitation.
- I didn't notice it before but now he's in the fridge it looks like one of his feet has some white stuff growing on it. (Fungal infection maybe?)
- just before he 'died' he kept twitching to the left as if something was hurting him.
-only the day before yesterday he seemed perfectly happy and healthy.

Let me know if you need any other info, we have fully accepted that he's dead but I can't put him in the ground with his tail moving like that unless its a I don't know reaction to the air temp being warmer or something but it definitely looked like a sign of life.

Any help greatly appreciated.
I can post pictures and tank water test results tomorrow.
 

layna

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Im sorry to hear this, its such a shame when they get ill. Hopefully someone with more experience can help you :(
 

Jacquie

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By your description I would say he has passed. For peace of mind though, there's no harm keeping him in the fridge overnight until you check on him again in the morning. Better safe than sorry.

If you could post photos of the axolotl in the fridge, your tank set up with the other axolotl, and also post those water test readings, that would be helpful.

A few questions:

How large is the tank?

What is the tank temperature?

could the tank have been exposed to anything harmful such as: aerosols, perfume, soap, detergent or moisturiser (on your hands when you immersed them in the water), flea bombs for cat and dogs, scented candles, etc?

What do you feed them? Is there any chance the food (if live) could have been exposed to anything harmful, such as: pesticides, fertilisers, snail bait? If the food is frozen, is it within use by date?

How long have you had the axolotls?

Could you give us a rundown on your tank maintenance procedures:

Is your tank cycled, or is it in the process of cycling?
How frequently do you conduct partial water changes?

Sorry for all the questions, but anything further may help light our way.

Sorry you have joined under such sad circumstances. I hope we can help.
 

cornallster

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Hi,

I checked after giving him another day in the fridge and then there was no sign of life at all. So I can hopefully identify what might be wrong here are the answers to your questions.

-The tank is I think a 140L it 120cm long and 30 cm deep, I have an in tank filter with a custom made spray bar attachment to avoid water flow stress.

-The temperature of the tank is always between 18 and 21 degrees, when I checked today it was 19.4 degrees.

-Any exposure like you suggested is very unlikely I make a habit of washing my hands before I put it in the tank, the only possible cause for concern is I have a home made wooden aquarium lid that was being used (its not at the moment because I am adjusting it slightly) could the paint (normal household paint) have anything to do with it?

-I have recently been feeding them frozen blood worms that are certified parasite free, in the past I have fed them meal worms as well but not recently at all. The food I have is still within its use by date.

- I have had both axolotls just under 6 months.

- As far as tank maintenance I do a 20% water change weekly however I use a aquarium hoover type thing to remove any remaining blood worms (usually within 24 hours), every 4 weeks or so I do a more in depth clean where I agitate the sand substrate and change maybe 30-40% of the water. When changing water I always use tetra aquasafe to remove the chlorine. I clean out the filter with cold water every other week when I do the water changes.

- When I started the tank I let it cycle for about 9 days before adding the axolotls

I had the water tested today (just before I did the weekly water change so I could see it at its worst) in a local aquatics shop.

The results were:

Ph - didnt tell me the result but said it was fine
Nitrate - 160ppm
Nitrite - 10+ ppm
Ammonia - 0

Based on what he said with the nitrate and nitrite being so high I did a 60% water change as soon as I got home.

I have attached some pictures of the tank set-up, poor Bill in his fridge container (I have now buried him) and Ted my remaining axolotl.

All I need to know now is what I did wrong so I can avoid it in future and whether people suggest I replace Bill so as to not leave Ted on his own.

Any help much appreciated, thank you.




 

Shizeric

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The tank had only cycled 9 days prior to you adding the Axolotls? Seems like the tank hasn't cycled completely, which may have been the cause of the axolotl's death,
 

cornallster

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The pet shop I bought the axolotls from said a week was sufficient. But either way if that was the case wouldn't it have taken less than 6 months to have an effect?
 

ZombieAxolotl

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First off, i'm sorry for your loss:(

It can take upwards of a month to cycle a tank, especially if no benificial bacteria is introduced.

Adding the axxie's after only 9 days would skew the water chemistry even further off, and if you haven't been checking it it's probably been off ever since. Going up in down in parameter's.

Axolotls, especially larger ones can deal with quite a bit of toxic water chemistry. Usually with no outward signs, except a light blushing to the skin (usually only seen in albino's and leucistic) It will take a toll on their health and can lead to death though.

It sounds like this may have been the case.

You need to buy a water test kit, or if they do it for free and the store is close, get a weekly test of your water until your chemistry reads safe for several weeks at a time.

Don't feed mealworms.

Yes you can buy Ted another friend when the water chemistry is correct, just make sure he's of similar size.
 

snuggly time

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Hi,

An API test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph are around £25 - £35. It might seem expensive but they're the best tool you can get for your axies health and well being. The kits last quite a while too, so work out quite cheap for what you get.

Also, cleaning the filter should be done in dirty tank water. If it's done in fresh water it might kill off your bacteria colony making the cycle start all over.

Have you tried feeding earthworms? Axies love them and they're very nutritional. They can't resist the wiggly ones! They may need cutting up slightly so the axie can eat them without struggling. :happy:
 

cornallster

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I have done water tests ever month or so. I mean the ammonia has always been zero and the nitrates and nitrites have usually been fairly low. What are the acceptabe parameters? And if the cycling was potentially the cause what can I do to protect ted now (apart from regular water tests) should I add some filteraid or safe start now to boost the beneficial bacteria?
 

Kerry M

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I have done water tests ever month or so. I mean the ammonia has always been zero and the nitrates and nitrites have usually been fairly low. What are the acceptabe parameters? And if the cycling was potentially the cause what can I do to protect ted now (apart from regular water tests) should I add some filteraid or safe start now to boost the beneficial bacteria?
The ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0. The nitrates should be very low. You should test water weekly in an established tank. A partial water change will reduce the nitrate levels. Last time I changed some water the nitrate level was just under 20ppm.
 
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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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    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
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    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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  • 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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