Please help!! Axis tail bitten, infected? What do I do?! Picture included.

Babs

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Please help!!! I woke up this morning to find my year old pink axi girl has been bitten on her tail by my other axi and I think it's infected!! I don't know what to do I'm a first-time axolotl owner. please give any advice you can on how to treat her, what to do about the other axolotl, whether or not I need to treat her too, what I should do to the tank? I'm heading out to get new fresh water for a full tank change and new filter sponges for my filter. what should I do? how do I sterilise everything? should I sterilize everything? please help! I have provided a picture, I know there is a little poop somewhere in there but they were fed yesterday and I do clean it every day, please help im freaking out I love my little water bubs so much :'(

 

LSuzuki

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First, do NOT sterilize everything and do NOT replace your sponges! Don't panic! it isn't very bad!

More to follow ... I just want to stop you from doing lots of work that is counterproductive while I draft a better reply.
 

LSuzuki

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First - the good news is that that sort of injury is usually pretty mild, and the best treatment is usually to just keep the water conditions good (which you should do anyway) and let it heal.

Salt baths may or may not be necessary - I am of the opinion that "wait and see" is much better that jumping right to a treatment that stresses you axolotl.

Second - the fact that you are considering sterilizing everything makes me suspect that you aren't familiar with "the cycle". So, time for lots of questions - forgive me if you are experienced with aquariums but just very worried about your new axolotl. We want to help you keep your axolotl safe and healthy.

Do you know what I am talking about when I say "the cycle"?

How long have you had this tank? How long has the axolotl been in it?

Do you have a good test kit? If so, what are the readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH?

What temperature is your tank?

What water are you using to fill the tank? Are you using a dechlorinator?

How often are you doing water changes and how much water are you changing each time?

What are you feeding your axolotl and how often?

What kind of filter do you have?
 

Babs

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Hi there, thanks so much for getting back to me, im so pleased to hear its not as serious as I thought! When I first got mt axis I was told I needed some bacteria in the tank that is really important and good for them, so I put bloodworm in there a few days before they arrived, that seemed to be fine. After that whenever ive had to clean the tank I dont clean their plastic plants and some of the filter sponges to make sure the bacteria is still in there. When I heard 'fungal' I immediately thought id have to sterilize everything, im glad to hear thats not the case! Every week I change about 5 liters, is that enough? Ive had them just over a year, the tank too, its second hand and about 4-5 feet long by maybe a foot and a half and a foot and a half high. I feed them each an earthworm or two every other day. I usually buy fresh water from the shops, a 5lt bottle a time, but if not I use tap water and a dechlorinator. I hope all thats okay :( I do have the test strips, I just moved my room around recently and cant find them :( im sorry, im still looking though, fingers crossed.
 

Babs

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Aah sorry I forgot! The temperature is room temp, and on warm days I put a frozen bottle of water in there. Im not sure what kind of filter it is but its not very good so I just bought a new one which is a 'interpet' internal cartridge filter, suitable for cold water, 68 - 90 litres.
 

LSuzuki

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That is a very nice sized tank for a pair of axolotls - plenty of room.:happy:

I would say you've been lucky up to now. Very often when people don't understand the cycle, their first axolotl post is about a seriously sick axolotl, not one with a nipped tail and a bit of fungus. And just looking at the tail, I'm guessing that your axolotl is otherwise healthy. (Can you post pictures of both axolotls?)

So, here is a simple explanation of the cycle and the beneficial bacteria and all that. This is especially important since you are getting a new filter - your luck may run out if you don't understand the process.

Ammonia (produced by axolotls and decaying organic matter) is toxic. When you put your axolotl into the new tank, ammonia starts building up in the water. If it builds up too high, it will make you axolotl sick or cause ammonia burns.

Bacteria that eat ammonia will colonize the surfaces of your aquarium and decorations, etc. It takes a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, these bacteria eat the ammonia and then produce nitrite. Nitrite is also toxic and will make your axolotl sick if it builds up too much.

Bacteria that eat nitrite will also colonize the aquarium, and it also takes a couple more weeks. They produce nitrate, which is less toxic. Too much nitrate will stress your axolotl, and is associated with fungus outbreaks.

The nitrate is removed by water changes. It is also removed by plants, but that doesn't eliminate the need for water changes.

This growth of good bacteria is called "the cycle", and if they die for whatever reason, they say "the cycle crashed."

If you started with a large tank and a very small axolotl or two, your tank may have cycled without a huge ammonia or nitrite spike, but that is not typical. I think this is where you got lucky - that is a big aquarium.

Filters provide much more surface area for good bacteria to grow on and a steady flow of water to the bacteria. ==> If you take your filter out of the tank and replace it with a new one, there may not be enough bacteria left on the other surfaces of the tank to keep the ammonia and nitrite from spiking. Your axolotls are bigger now, so they produce more ammonia. So you need to test the tank parameters daily for a while, and do water changes if the nitrite and ammonia levels get too high.

==> The beneficial bacteria are why you never want to sterilize everything (with rare exceptions). Even changing water with undechlorinated water can kill them and cause an ammonia/nitrite spike.

Issues I see:

1. If I computed properly, you have at least a 170 L tank. (I suggest getting exact measurements and getting online to compute it.) So, you probably still need a bigger filter. Or you can run both filters in the tank (which I recommend for now anyhow, if the old filter hasn't already been take out and dried out.) A rule of thumb is you want the filter to have a flow rate of 4 times the volume of the tank per hour. So for a 170 L tank, you want 680 L/hr.

2. 5 L a week isn't enough. Most people recommend a 25% water change every week for axolotls, but your tank is large for two axolotls, so you can probably get away with a smaller change, but not that small. However, ==> your nitrates are probably too high, due to the smaller water changes and that may be making the fungus worse. You need to keep the nitrates under 40 PPM.

3. It is best to stick with tap water (properly dechlorinated) as long as there is nothing wrong with it. It is easier to get and so it is easier to do large enough water changes. (If you do use bottled water, make sure it isn't distilled or reverse osmosis - axolotls need the minerals).

4. Test strips are notorious for being inaccurate. The liquid test kits cost more upfront, but are more accurate and last longer, making them cheaper in the long run.

Things to do:

1. You probably need to do some rather large water changes to get the nitrate down, but you should test first to figure out how much it needs to come down. If you don't have a test kit yet, change 25-50% a day for several days.

2. Since you have a new filter, you need to monitor the ammonia and nitrite daily to make sure it doesn't spike, and do large water changes if it does.

3. Watch the tail, and if the fungus starts getting worse or spreading, you will want to try a salt batch or tea bath. Some people swear by tea baths - more gentle than salt, apparently. I don't thing your axolotl needs friging, so you would do a salt bath with tank-temperature water. A salt bath tutorial is here http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-be...axolotl/72698-salt-bath-picture-tutorial.html Search the sick-axolotl forum for "tea bath" and see what people recommend.
 

LSuzuki

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Also, your new canister filter - it it the kind with just sponges on the inside? If so, when they need changing, don't change them at the same time. Change one, wait a few weeks, then change another.
 
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