New Owner- Baby With Red-Tipped Gill- PLEASE HELP!

Slash-GNR

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Hello! I am new to keeping Axolotls. I recently purchased a baby (born in May 2020) that is a four inch melanoid. His (though I obviously don't know his gender yet due to his age) name is Vader. Everything has been going well. He eats like a champ, and I keep his tank very clean by using a turkey baster. He is active, and I often see him swimming around and using up the whole tank. He likes to float every now and then, but he doesn't have an issue with uncontrollable floating. He even comes to the glass like a puppy when I come into the room or sit in front of the tank.

However, tonight while I was cleaning out his food dish and tank, I noticed a small red spot on his bottom right gill. There are no other places that have red spots including his body. I'm new to this, so please understand that I will make mistakes, but I want the best for Vader, and I just don't know what is going on. Please help!

My water parameters are as follows...

GH: around 60 ppm (this used to be around 100-120 ish, so I don't know what happened)
KH: 40 ppm (this used to be around 80 ppm, so I don't know what happened)
pH: 6.5-7.0
NO2-: 0 ppm
NO3-: 0-20 ppm
Temperature: 63-64 degrees F

For the GH and KH, this was a sudden change because I was doing water tests almost every day since I started the tank and especially since I have gotten Vader. If the GH and KH are unacceptable ranges, would anyone happen to know how to raise them? I can't do crushed coral because there isn't a place around here that sells them in bags less than 40 lbs unfortunately. I also don't know if this helps, but I have recently removed a few rocks because I had noticed that they started to grow what looked like to be be white fluffy fungus. I imagined this could harm Vader, so they are now out of the tank.

EDIT: I forgot that I added one Indian Almond Leaf into the tank, which had came with Vader (he was shipped to me) along with instructions that it should be added to the tank to help him settle in. I think I remember reading that these leaves do soften water...?

Thank you very much in advance to anyone that helps!

Some pictures of Vader are bellow. The first is when I first got him, and he was acclimating in his bag. The second is a picture from tonight when I noticed the red spot in the first place. Sorry if the second picture isn't very clear! I don't have the best camera. If you need more pictures, I'd be more than happy to upload more!


Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 10.05.00 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 10.07.09 PM.png
 
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Calgarycoppers

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Hi

Are you using test strips?
Get yourself a freshwater master test kit which is liquid reagants.
GH/KH is a separate test kit and with these results I would recommend investing.

For the results you have

pH isn't ideal - optimal is 7.4-7.6
GH should be 7-14 degrees or 124.6-249.2 mg/L
KH should be 3-8 degrees

OK - So assuming this is an actual cycled tank - which could go either way without ammonia results.

You need to harden your water - Crushed corral in a nylon in your filter will be the best long term option.

All botanicals do have the effect of softening water and lowering pH.
 

Slash-GNR

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Hi

Are you using test strips?
Get yourself a freshwater master test kit which is liquid reagants.
GH/KH is a separate test kit and with these results I would recommend investing.

For the results you have

pH isn't ideal - optimal is 7.4-7.6
GH should be 7-14 degrees or 124.6-249.2 mg/L
KH should be 3-8 degrees

OK - So assuming this is an actual cycled tank - which could go either way without ammonia results.

You need to harden your water - Crushed corral in a nylon in your filter will be the best long term option.

All botanicals do have the effect of softening water and lowering pH.
I got the water testing kit and here are the results...

pH: 7.2-7.6 (more towards the 7.6... so the strips were wrong about that)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0-5 ppm
Ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm

I'll have to find a GH/KH test kit because all I have is the strips to test that. It isn't a part of freshwater master test kit. Also the PetSmart near me just got in some smaller bags of crushed coral, so I'll use that. What is a nylon? I've never been very good at knowing the parts of a filter.
 

Calgarycoppers

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So from the look of it I'm guessing you do not have a cycled filter.

Which needs to be remedied asap as it will cause issues.

Your pH is perfect don't worry about the coral.

Cycling is your current challenge.

I have to go find my write up or a good on in the forums.
 

Slash-GNR

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So from the look of it I'm guessing you do not have a cycled filter.

Which needs to be remedied asap as it will cause issues.

Your pH is perfect don't worry about the coral.

Cycling is your current challenge.

I have to go find my write up or a good on in the forums.
Oh geez, that's bad. I wish I knew that. I guess I've been taking the "proper parameters" for an axolotl from an unreliable source. Glad I came here then. I have a used filter cartridge from a betta tank. Would that help if I put that into my current filter? Also, I read that putting coral in the filter helps harden the water, which I believe needs to happen with mine? If that isn't the right way to go, how do I harden my water to fit the needs of an axolotl?
 

EasternRomioi3

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@Slash-GNR

I would have to agree with @Calgarycoppers on it being a tank cycling issue. You little guy sounds very healthy other than that. An axolotl that is eating, swimming around without urgency, crawling on the bottom, all that is a good sign. Having just redid a cycling with my axolotl, I can tell you it, in like a simplified form is...

1 add axolotl, 2 axolotl and daily life of axolotl produces ammonia, 3 sponge filter will slowly convert the ammonia into nitrites. 4 sponge filter will convert nitrites into nitrates. 5 nitrates are end of the road, water change is necessary.

Question, what filter are you using? Like, what kind of filter are you using? Also what are you feeding him, I'm just legit curious there. I never had a little baby axolotl, my best friend had our axolotl during that period of her life. I am very new to this myself but I went through a rather turbulent summer with my axolotl and things are finally good now, she's had a little fungus but good water quality, good eating make all the difference. And I know from experience, my little girl had a part of her gill stalk erode away from fungus-like stuff, might have been an injury, couldn't tell. Took her 2 weeks to regrow the tip, you can tell it's newer than the flesh around it. So Vader should have no problem healing if you protect him throughout his tank cycling.

Oh and just for you reference, ammonia will cause physical burns, so you can tell when something is immediately wrong there. Nitrites will make your axolotl lethargic. Major red flag, if they're not moving or camped out in their spot but refuse to leave, check the nitrites. I wasn't paying attention and went out one day in early September and when I got home my axolotl's nitrites were horribly high, I gave her a worm which she ate but after eating, she was done. She wouldn't come to the surface to say hi or anything, I was able to reach in and just gently remove her to tub her. She didn't fight me at all. That's the sign of nitrites being too high. I do not think nitrates have any obvious signs. I don't fully understand those to be honest.

And make a cheat sheet! That has helped me. I have a little notepad with these things written down, I keep it in her box with all my other things for her (like her pellets and test kit).
 

Slash-GNR

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@EasternRomioi3

Thank you so much for the help!

I've gotten clearer information from you than the sites that say they are pros in caring for axolotls.

To answer your question... my filter is a Tetra Whisper IQ for a 30 gallon (I have a 20 gallon long). I've stifled the current, which is already low due to putting it on the lowest setting, with an unused soap dish and some rocks put into the dish. I also have some silk plants stifling the current too. I haven't seen any current effected Vader. The only way to actually get effected by it is if he somehow swam up to the top of the tank and tangled himself in the plants or wedged himself between the filter and soap dish. He tends to liked to stay either in the middle of the tank, which is open for him to swim around... because he is very active, or he likes to chill next to some of the decorations on the opposite side of the tank. Though I have seen him chilling right next to the filter stalk (Idk what it is actually called)... the part that sucks up the water.

As for food, I typically put some frozen blood worms in a small container, then I suck them up with a turkey baster and put them in his feeding dish, which he already knows to go to when he sees me coming to the tank or if he is begging for food. I'm currently looking for some brine shrimp or something along those lines because I read where frozen blood worms don't have the best protein, but for now he is really enjoying them. I have some earthworms ready to chop up too... I've tried to give him a very small section, but it was too big, so he spit it out, which is why I have blood worms now. He's gotten bigger I believe, so I may try again once I get the tank cycled. Speaking of...

I have a 10 gallon getting ready to transfer him to while I cycle his main tank. I just have to get the water temperature right... thank goodness the seasons are turning colder! Makes it easier on me. I've treated it with Prime too, so it should be good to go later today.

As for the gills. I hope they do start healing once I get the tank cycled and everything stable... because last night I saw that his other lower gill is starting to form the same red blister like signs. The original gill hasn't developed any more... at least that I can see... so hopefully I can treat that problem before it gets too out of hand.
 

EasternRomioi3

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You're welcome. I try to give as easy info as I can to make sure it's easy to memorize, or, like I said, write down. And the siphon I guess is the word, for the part of the filter your little buddy likes to cozy up to. But I see you've learned the turkey baster trick! That's what I use for cleaning my girl's tank. Any uneaten food or waste can just be sucked up and dealt with. I usually just open my back window and shoot it into the backyard because we have a huge drop with nothing but trees so it's not like it's going anywhere important lol.

As for a food suggestion, since he's small, the bloodworms are recommended by others but let me link you to the little pellets I use for my girl.


I use those in combination with large earthworms, my girl is almost 3 years old so she's a big tubo. I just order like a 4 ounce bag and give her 3 pellets every other day, a worm here or there is she's good. She's almost as bad as my dad's turtles, who beg like nobodies business for food. You accidentally make eye contact with them and they're climbing on top of each other, demanding food.

As for the other blistering, you may just have to do prompt water changes. What I do, since we have those turtles and a caiman in like a 500 gallon tank, we always have water on hand. I have, for just my girl, 2 5 gallon buckets from Home Depot and we all share about 10 little 1 gallon jugs. They're actually old Sunny D and Hawaiian Punch containers that we saved and cleaned back in like 1997. They're good when I need to add just a little water and plus, they fit in the fridge. I usually keep one in the fridge as an emergency cooling source.

Though what I learned, you shouldn't be viciously concerned unless your axolotl is minimally responsive. If you come by and try to feed him and he puts minimal effort in, keep an eye on him, and if you think he's being sluggish, test him by wiggling your fingers. If he just turns but doesn't come up to the surface, he may not be feeling well. I just walked by my girl on my way to the kitchen and she immediately crawled up the front of the glass to see what I was doing. When she was in her old tank and old spot, she's always slither out of her hiding spot to watch me and my friend paint all day. She'd sit there with her head bonked up against the glass in our general direction. We'd get up and walk away, she'd follow as best she could. Some people say they're brainless goofballs, others say they're deceptively smart, I am unsure to their actual brain power but they sure are charismatic little critters.
 

Binditheaxolotl

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@EasternRomioi3

Thank you so much for the help!

I've gotten clearer information from you than the sites that say they are pros in caring for axolotls.

To answer your question... my filter is a Tetra Whisper IQ for a 30 gallon (I have a 20 gallon long). I've stifled the current, which is already low due to putting it on the lowest setting, with an unused soap dish and some rocks put into the dish. I also have some silk plants stifling the current too. I haven't seen any current effected Vader. The only way to actually get effected by it is if he somehow swam up to the top of the tank and tangled himself in the plants or wedged himself between the filter and soap dish. He tends to liked to stay either in the middle of the tank, which is open for him to swim around... because he is very active, or he likes to chill next to some of the decorations on the opposite side of the tank. Though I have seen him chilling right next to the filter stalk (Idk what it is actually called)... the part that sucks up the water.

As for food, I typically put some frozen blood worms in a small container, then I suck them up with a turkey baster and put them in his feeding dish, which he already knows to go to when he sees me coming to the tank or if he is begging for food. I'm currently looking for some brine shrimp or something along those lines because I read where frozen blood worms don't have the best protein, but for now he is really enjoying them. I have some earthworms ready to chop up too... I've tried to give him a very small section, but it was too big, so he spit it out, which is why I have blood worms now. He's gotten bigger I believe, so I may try again once I get the tank cycled. Speaking of...

I have a 10 gallon getting ready to transfer him to while I cycle his main tank. I just have to get the water temperature right... thank goodness the seasons are turning colder! Makes it easier on me. I've treated it with Prime too, so it should be good to go later today.

As for the gills. I hope they do start healing once I get the tank cycled and everything stable... because last night I saw that his other lower gill is starting to form the same red blister like signs. The original gill hasn't developed any more... at least that I can see... so hopefully I can treat that problem before it gets too out of hand.
Popping in for a moment, your filter may need some help. I have aquaclear 20 and it couldn’t keep up with the waste load since it was on the lowest setting. I just got a cheap sponge filter, an air pump and some air tubing and we r good. Mines for up to 55 gallons, which keeps the water crystal clear but you don’t need one that big.
 

EasternRomioi3

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In my area, the sponge filter is about 10 bucks, the pump was 30, and extra hose, depending on length can be 5-10 bucks. But sponge filters are, from what I read, and from what @Binditheaxolotl said, better for axolotls. You may benefit from having that aquaclear 20 and a sponge filter. Make sure you get one that's good for more gallons. My midsized one is good for 75 gallons, supposedly. Thus, it does well with my 20 gallon.
 

Slash-GNR

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Unfortunately the filter I have atm is the best I can do. None of the pet or fish stores around me sell sponge filters, and I can't order one online atm because my parents are already kinda irritated with me with buying so much stuff for Vader. They don't understand that in order to give the best for you pets, you have to spend money... and they don't really see anything that lives in water to be an actual pet worth spending money for. It's weird because the stores sell the sponges separately, but they don't sell the actual filter. I'll get a sponge filter as soon as I can though. If I can't get it before Christmas, I'll ask for one for Christmas. Could I like wrap anything around my current one to make it more like a sponge filter?
 

Binditheaxolotl

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Unfortunately the filter I have atm is the best I can do. None of the pet or fish stores around me sell sponge filters, and I can't order one online atm because my parents are already kinda irritated with me with buying so much stuff for Vader. They don't understand that in order to give the best for you pets, you have to spend money... and they don't really see anything that lives in water to be an actual pet worth spending money for. It's weird because the stores sell the sponges separately, but they don't sell the actual filter. I'll get a sponge filter as soon as I can though. If I can't get it before Christmas, I'll ask for one for Christmas. Could I like wrap anything around my current one to make it more like a sponge filter?
You can turn urs up! If u do this, u won’t need a sponge filter. You can have something to buffer the output below if it bothers Vader.(love the name btw!) same, I have the necessities and more for Bindi, but I always want my tank to look like the professional aquascapers and I want live plants and such. I feel like your always wanting for decor😂 my parents say I can buy all that stuff once I’m old enough to get a job, and that they are done buying extra stuff for now. After ordering the pre seeded sponge filter since my lotl was getting to big for her tub and the tank was refusing to cycle, my dad turns to me and told me we r done😂😂 same, my local petco doesn’t sell the airpumps or anything.
 

EasternRomioi3

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Ok, so 1, I sympathize there, my mom did not like me, and I quote "lavishing so much attention on that ugly creature." 2, I sympathize because during the lock downs, it took multiple trips to multiple stores just to get her necessities, let alone improvements. I use the Aquarium Solutions Bacto-surge, up to 75 gallons. They're a flagship filter of Hikari Sales USA. They have a website, here's a link to the one I use...


It does not seem like they have any to sell but Amazon may, I only saw a double pack currently. But check out that link and look at the sizes. I use what they call a large but they have one that is absolutely a beast and entirely. But again, I sympathize, I often forget how young a lot of you guys are here. Just to get my girl's second sponge filter, I had to go to the aquarium store, get the filter, they were out of air pumps so I had to go to 2 other random pet stores to find one, took an hour. That was POST lock down.

And if you want to ever add plants and whatnot, really look at the plants and where you get them from. Sometimes life plants will have snails on them, small ones, that can eventually grow big enough to attract your axolotl's attention. They cannot eat snail shells, that can lead to major problems.

And 3, my third and final point. Be calm when you talk about this stuff to your parents but that axolotl, you didn't buy little Vader willy nilly, he is now a part of your family and must be taken care of appropriately. If you have a sick axolotl and actually need help, you may have to beg for help from them, financial help, rides to places, but be firm with them and let them know that little guy is your little guy and you want him to have the best quality of life you can provide. My mom now understands that my axolotl is the replacement for our old German shepherd, who I raised from a 5 week old puppy till she laid a paraplegic and then, well, you know. You lose a pet and you want to fill the void but if you're like me, you're not interested in another dog that might die before they're 10. Or you may want to get away from dogs altogether and enjoy the perpetual charisma of an axolotl.

He or she, we'll find out down the road what Vader is lol.
 
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  • Kwags:
    When little axolotls are tubbed is it common for them to get a little more spunky then usual? Water temps around 64-65 F and has been changed today with prime added
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    Uh. That depends on your definition of "spunky"?
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    @Kwags, how big?
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    my baby hes tubed and hes a wild child xD
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    Swimming like crazy. A little more pep in his step. I think about 3 inches.
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    Hi does anyone know if jungle fungus clear is safe to use for my axolotl? She has some either fungus or bacterial growth on her fillibrae and maybe body and I read that's good to use if you aren't sure if the problem is bacterial or fungal
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    I have not heard of that before.
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    That jungle fungus clear. I've been dealing with some fungus with my axolotl on and off this summer. The Holtsfreter solution and water changes just seem to do the trick after a bit
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    Where do you get the holtsfreter solution? I've been upping water changes but salt bath seems to be more stressful/harmful than beneficial because she does not like to be caught!
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  • Slash-GNR:
    Anyone know how to harden soft water without raising pH?
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    To raise GH, add calcium carbonate (or tums). What has you doing this?
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  • Slash-GNR:
    Thank you! My tap water is naturally low in GH and KH, and I need to raise it... but I don't want to raise the pH, which is perfect, with coral.
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    anyone have firebelly newts forsale message me !!!!!
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    Lol
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    Hey all I’m looking for some help.
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    LYes? It might be easier if u posted a thread
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    Yes, how can I do this? Is it by creating a room? Thank you for your help
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    Hey guys... Hope you all keeping well... I have 4 fire belly newts and one looks very bloated... I have seperate him and moved him to his own enclosure so he can get better hopefully but I don't have a filter in this specific enclosure. Please can you guys advise if I need to get him one or whether I can leave it? I have read a lot of articles that say they prefer still water and I can change his water frequently keeping it clean. Please advise 😊
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