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Is my axolotl sick?

Phippsy

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Hey,
if anyone knows whats wrong with my axolotl and/or how to fix it this would be greatly appreciated.

he is a golden axolotl. when i got him on Friday last week he had bright red gills and only a few white spots on his tail. Today Mon he has white gills that look a bit like their going to fall off and most of his tail is covered in white spots and a bit on his feet and body now. his mouth has also started to turn really white. i don't know whats wrong with him or how to help him.

i'm really quite fond of my little axolotl and would hate to have him die and me have to get a new one (i know how hard that can be)

whoever can help me please give me some advice on what to do!!! i am really not sure whats wrong :(
 

saisamara

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Here are some problems and solutions.:D

Good captive conditions are described on the Housing Page. Under the conditions described there, it is very unlikely that an axolotl will succumb to disease. Nevertheless, ill-health can occur, and it is important that the hobbyist be equipped to deal with problems, if and when they arise.

Stressed animals, whether they be axolotls, dogs, cats, or even people, are more likely to fall sick than comfortable animals. The most common stresses that lead to disease in axolotls are water flow (too powerful a filter in your tank) and temperatures over 24 °C. Other stresses include foul water (the result of inadequate water changes), sudden temperature changes, untreated tap water, parasites, and other tank companions (such as fish). Water quality is probably the most important consideration when it comes to your animal's health. Ammonia or nitrite build-up from inadequate biological filtration (or, in an unfiltered aquarium, lack of regular water changes), can be fatal in a matter of days if left unchecked.

Some hobbyists in temperate regions maintain axolotls in outdoor ponds. These ponds may even ice over during the winter. Provided the winter isn't particularly harsh or long, axolotls can do quite well under outdoor conditions. Obviously, a food source must be present during the rest of the year.

Temperatures above 24 °C (75 °F) are very stressful to axolotls. Such temperatures cause metabolism to increase (the rate at which the body "works"), and consequently, an increase in appetite. However, the stress resulting from more than a day or two of exposure to these temperatures will quickly lead to disease and death. You can read more about axolotl diseases and their treatment on the Health Page.

The first symptoms of heat stress in axolotls include refusal of food and/or the development of pale patches of mucus-like material on the skin.If you are having difficulty maintaining the temperature of your axolotl's aquarium below 24 °C (75 °F), there are a few options to consider. The easiest short-term solution is to move the aquarium to a cooler part of the home. Remember, in every room, the temperature at ground level will be at least 1-2 °C (3-5 °F) cooler than high up on a shelf. In the summer, the same rule holds true for a house as a whole: the lower rooms in the house (or the basement) will be cooler than rooms on higher floors. So, moving the aquarium may easily allow you to reduce the temperature in your axolotl tank from 26 °C to 23 °C. Such a temperature change could make the difference between your axolotl living and dying.


Water flow is usually caused by a filter or when you use an air pump on an aquarium. Output from a filter can cause significant flow and this is perhaps the most common cause of stress in axolotls. Excessive water flow will, sooner or later, lead to disease.
Here are several approaches to minimise concentrated water flow, such as that typical of a filter's outflow:

If the filter has a built-in facility to reduce the flow, use it.
Use a spray bar. Either make one from a piece of tubing that has had holes drilled in it, or buy a proprietary spray bar kit, the longer the better. Orientate it against the glass so that water force is lessened. An aquarium equipped with such a system is depicted and described on the Housing Page.
Angle the filter so that the water flow is aimed at a glass side of the tank.
Angle the filter so that the water flow is directed upwards towards the water's surface.
Partially obstruct the filter's output using a piece of filter wool, or a home-made device, such as a piece of filter tube. Be careful not to obstruct the output nozzle too much, as this may cause your filter's motor and impellor to wear rapidly.
Consider using a smaller or different filter.

For More INFO go to: Axolotls - Health & Diseases

Hope it helps
Sai Samara
 
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saisamara

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Yes one other thing,
if you are using a bedding of rocks especially if they are approx. the size of peas you should change it immediately and bring your Axie to an amphibian specialist.
It is common that Axies will swallow small stones (and sometimes limbs of tank mates).
If your Axie has swallowed a stone it may have gotten stuck in its through or intestines (preventing it to eat thus eventually killing it if not treated).
If you do have a stone bedding and the stones are small enough too be swallowed then it has probably got one stuck inside.

If you have a sand bedding then no problem, they will just spit out the sand (quite interesting to watch). another thing is that if whoever you got it from had it eating live food and you have pellets (or vice versa) then it will take some time to get accustomed to the new food. If so you should slowly start feeding it less of the original food and more of the new food.

Hope it helps.:D
Sai Samara
 

Jennewt

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I agree, a photo would help. The things you describe could be normal or abnormal, it's hard to say.
 

Phippsy

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hey,

sorry they didn't work. i am not quite sure how your meant to get the pics on but i just put in the link that came up with the pics on my mums phone. i'll try it again later today when i get a camera that i know how to work and will get better quality photo's. send them soon

soooooooooooooo sorry. talk soon, Phippsy
 

Phippsy

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hey

here are some photos that you wanted of my axolotl, it's tank and the filter setup i've got.

hope you can help me. Phippsy
 

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Mandy6

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My first advice would be to get rid of that gravel and those stones! Your axie could swallow them and end up impacted ;(

Second, if you have the lights on all the time I'd advise turning them off, axolotls are stressed by bright light

Third, what is the tempreture of your tank?
What are the water parameters? (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia)

Fourth, it may just be the picture, but that tank looks quite small, how big is it? It will be ok when your axie is young but you may find he needs something bigger as he grows
 
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Aaran

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As to advance on whats previously been said, change to sand for your substrate, i would advise only using the light when you need a photo.

the tank looks to me to be 2ft(w) x 1.5ft(h) x 1 - 1.5ft(d)

if it is those dimensions then that tank is fine even throughout adult life :)

dont take alot of these comments as rudeness btw its not an assault just advice :)
 

Phippsy

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hey,

the tank is about 50cm length x 45cm width x 45cm depth. i was pretty sure that this would be a big enough tank for at least 1 axolotl. the temperature is at about 16 degrees. the pH is at 7.0 which i was told was perfect for an axolotl. i'm not sure how too check for nitrite, nitrate and ammonia. i don't have the light on very often. i only had it on so that you would be able to see him in the picture.

i think that i will definitely think about changing the gravel to sand but i'm not sure if taking my axolotl out will stress him. if he has eaten a rock how do i get him to get it out??? I've heard that you can fridge axolotl's but i don't want to do that unless i know that my axolotl will be alright with it.

could you give me any tips on how to keep my tank perfect for an axolotl please.

PS he keeps running into the glass. is this a good or bad thing?

thanks heaps Phippsy :p
 

Phippsy

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hey,

also when you were looking at my axolotl did you look at it's gills? the thing that rose suspicion was the fact that his gills started to look really white and like they were goig to fall off. in the picture that i showed you his gills look much better but they still look a little funny. is this a problem and if it is could you please tell me how to fix it?

thanks heaps for all the tips. PHIPPSY
 

Mandy6

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Ah that temp and tank size sounds good then. Sorry I always think tanks are smaller than they are in photos :p

It wont stress him out too much to change the substrate, it will be best for him in the long run to go through the substrate change than to stay on the gravel.

If he has swallowed gravel fridging will help him to pass it.

I'd advise getting a master liquid test kit, then you can test for nitrate, nitrite and ammonia. It's important to be able to keep these levels in check to keep your axie healthy ;0
 

Phippsy

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hey,

thanks. your forgiven :) i really am quite keen for any advice anyone has.

i'm not quite sure how to 'fridge' him so some tips would be great. so switching from sand to gravel would be much better for him?

around about how much would a master liquid test kit cost in Australia. the closest thing that I've seen is the senior pH test kits in the pet shops. i live in coffs harbor in NSW and i don't think that I've seen any master liquid test kits.

also as i asked before, did you have a look at the axolotls gills when you were looking at the photos. are these OK or does this mean that he's sick?

thanks heaps for all the help PHIPPSY
 

Mandy6

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There is a good guide on fridging here Axolotl Sanctuary

Getting rid of the gravel could very well save his life. If he swallows some and gets impacted and can't pass it at all, it will kill him. He may pass any gravel he has swallowed on his own, and will be easy to see if you switch to sand.

His gills look ok to me, I'm still learning as well though ^^

I'm in SA but I got my test kit from Pet Stock, I believe they were around $30-40. They last AGES though so it's well worth it.

There is also a picture of a constipated/impacted axie here: http://www.caudata.org/axolotl-sanctuary/illness_photos.shtml so you will be able to look out for signs of impaction. I don't think it's absolutely nessercary to fridge unless he is obviously having trouble passing any gravel he may have swallowed/stops eating. Like I said I'm still learning though ^^
 
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Aaran

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How big/old is your axie? Sorry if you have mentioned it before,

Older axies gills tend to shrink a little, but your water could be overoxygenated too depending on your filter :)
 

Kaysie

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His gills look fine to me as well. But if you're not checking your water quality, he could get ammonia burns, which can damage his gills.
 

Phippsy

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hey,

i'm changing his tank from gravel to sand and i'm trying to get a master test kit to check my axolotls tank water. i hope that everything is fine but his gills seem to be looking even more stringy and the top of them are growing whiter. i don't know if this is a problem but i would still like someone to check them out if they can

i also would like to know if he looks constipated. I've seen some photos and i'm not sure if he is or not. could someone please help me!

thanks heaps for all the tips. PHIPPSY
 

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