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T. marmoratus suddenly out of water

evut

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I have five T. marmoratus, one three-year-old male and one male and three females which are two years old. They have all been kept aquatically since they were quite small. Three days ago, all of them appeared on land. They do go up on the island, but never all at once, and never stay on it much during the day. I think something is wrong - but can't figure out what.

They have large tank holding about 120l water, heavily planted, with a planted island. Temperature is around 20℃. The tank has a fake rock wall made from polystyrene, silicone and sand.This tank was running for several months when I decided to tear it apart and start again. I wasn't happy with the substrate (wrong type of soil and too much of it) and used the opportunity to treat it with fendbendazole for a hydra infestation. Everything was soaked, then rinsed, substrate was thrown out. I put in new soil (topsoil), covered it with new sand, and planted as it was before. The newts went in about a week later - I checked the water (no issue), did a water change, put the newts in. They were happy in there for about 2 weeks. Then I tested the water again (no problem), did a 20% water change, and then they all climbed out on land. Yesterday I tested again, nothing wrong, did a 20% water change, added an extra dose of Prime, newts still don't want to go in. Today I had a small ammonia reading (first time ever), changed half the water and added a different water treatment. (Prime is giving me false ammonia reading). Newts still won't go in. For a while now, I have also been finding a lot of shed skins. Another thing - an anubias which has been growing well for several years, suddenly has rotting leaves.

I realise the tank has been messed with far too much but I really can't figure out what is bothering them - tests don't reveal anything unusual (pH, NO2, NO3, ammonia). If someone has an idea, I will be very grateful to hear it. I know they aren't naturally 100% aquatic newts but this seems suspicious. I was also wondering if it's something to do with a weather change (unusually hot weather turned cold, my opacum have been quite active at night), but I doubt it.

I moved three of the newts into a smaller tank to observe if they are ok in it or if they still want to be on land. They immediatelly beached themselves on cork islands. This tank is a well cycled planted tank, nothing has been changed recently.
I don't want to force them to be aquatic if they simply want to do what nature is telling them to do...but they've never behaved like this before. Thanks for your input.
 
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Niels D

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I've experienced the same thing with N.viridescens last year. The water and the temperatures were just fine. The only explanation I could imagine was the weather. There was a storm coming up. All the other conditions didn't change. Is the weather changing were you're at?
 

evut

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They did get cooler water today, Sam. I don't think it made any difference.

Niels, the weather changed a lot here (the temperatures dropped by about 10℃, we might even have rain in a few days) - I wonder too if it's the reason for their strange behaviour. As I mentioned, my opacum seem quite active at night which I last saw in November when we had lots of rain.

I left two newts in their big tank - one is on land, the other one has been in water for hours now (which is making me think that perhaps there isn't anything wrong with the water after all). The other three are in the temporary tank - all on the cork islands, like beached whales. This tank can't have the same water problems as the big one (if there are problems at all), it's been running for a long time.
 

evut

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An update: the newts appear sick today. The one that stayed in water looked very strange this morning - pretty lifeless, enlarged throat. I fished her out of the tank with my bare hand with no problem. She's in the fridge now. Some of the others appear to have slightly enlarged throats as well. There has been more skin shedding. I have put all of them on damp paper towels - I will look at them later today, see if they're better. I'm wondering if all should be in the fridge now? If anybody has seen this before, I would really appreciate advice, its very worrying.
I'm thinking of setting up a terrestrial vivarium for them in the mean time.
 

Bellabelloo

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Not sure what to suggest Eva.
My initial thought where that they where reacting for some reason to the change in air pressure. It had been quite high and had then dropped.
My only other thoughts that maybe something has been leaching from the new top soil, or something else in the tank ?
Are you feeding them worms from your garden? Is there any chance these have been contaminated by something..has your neighbour been gardening?
I think you are doing all the right things, I too would keep them on paper towels. Are you able to take a photo of sickest looking one?
 

evut

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I will take a picture later when I check her again - I don't want to disturb her for a while. One of the others is looking out his hide and seems normal. When I picked him up earlier he had a strange throat, now looks normal. To describe it better - it's as if they're "tasting water" and inflating the throat area, but keep it like that. It definitely looks like they don't want to be in water. I hope they will improve in terrestrial conditions.

They've been eating mainly red wigglers which I keep in buckets. I haven't added any new worms into the cultures recently. They have left some worms last time I fed them, which was strange but they were acting normal otherwise so I didn't think it was a reason to worry. I think I will throw away the worms and start again.

In the meantime, I will have to re-do the two tanks they've been in, to be on the safe side. Not sure how to disinfect stuff though - especially plants...?
 

Silver

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When I sterilize plants, I rinse them off with very hot water (as hot as I can stand, anyway). Usually I'll do this until they're clean then pat them dry and put them back in the tank.
 

evut

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I've just checked all the newts. They seem pretty normal, a bit sluggish, when picked up inflate their throats but deflate them again - I don't know if this a normal thing. There are some red veins visible in the throat area and the females seem to have slightly reddish cloacae. The one that looked really sick this morning has been in the fridge - she seems worse than the others, her cloaca is very red. The photo is of this newt. She struggled a lot when I held her which seemed good to me.

I am going to set up a vivarium with soil and moss for them tomorrow. If they don't appear terribly sick, is it a good idea to put them into a more natural environment or should I keep them on paper towels for longer? Is there anything else I should try, like salt baths (they were shedding a lot, but their skins look normal)?

If anyone could shed any light on what's happening with these newts, I would really appreciate it.
 

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evut

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Another update: one of the newts seems to be healthy - she was walking around her temporary home last night and there is nothing abnormal about the way she looks.
The two males are the same - slightly strange throats and reddish cloacal region. The two other females have been in the fridge - they both have red cloacae. The refrigeration doesn't seem to have made any difference so far - I don't know if it's redundant and the newts would be better off at room temperature (16-18℃).

Silver, thanks for the advice. I can stand really hot water - I wonder what's the maximum plants can take and would it kill germs?
 

Azhael

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Sorry to hear about this, Eva.
I wish i could offer genuine help...To my untrained and ignorant eyes it looks like septicemia, perhaps. I suposse the underlaying infection is consistent with excessive shedding (which might be why they inflate their throats). I don´t think something like this can really be tackled without the help of a vet.
Good luck, i hope this ends up as a mere anecdote.
 

evut

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I am trying to work out why they reacted so badly even in the other tank - if there was something wrong with the water in the first one, why did they hate the water in the other tank as well? The female who seems ok spent the last night before being moved on dry land in the original tank, three were on cork islands in the other tank and seem much worse for it - they couldn't get completely dry like she could. I wish I had just moved them onto paper towels a day earlier :(
 

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I wish I had some idea, but I don't - it sounds all very mysterious. One observation I can offer is that when one of my small vulgaris females got sick (from a suspected Ca deficiency, but I have no proof that's what it was), she'd go into these weird spasms during which her throat and cloaca would also become red with veins showing. I though for sure she'd die, but she's much better now and eating again.

The fact that all 5 got sick at once would indicate that something got into their environment and had a toxic effect. If it were bacterial, somehow I wouldn't expect them to all get affected at once like this.

I once tested using some flourish excel in one of my Walstad tanks, with the result that within days after that all my Vals and Sagittarias - normally my most robust and fastest-growing plants - melted down. The Crypts also suffered a blow but recovered.

I wonder if increasing blood flow to the skin and also shedding a lot somehow indicates an attempt of the body to excrete substances over the skin. I'm not much of a newt physiologist, however, and may be way off with this.

I don't know, I sure hope they recover for ya :(
 

Triturus87

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it seems that the cloaca is infected, keep the newts a little bit colder. i would get them into the cellar, so that they live in a colder room. maybe FLOXAL helps to fight the infection...
 

evut

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Thanks for your help, everyone. They are kept cool (not cold, around 17[FONT=DejaVu Sans, sans-serif][FONT=DejaVu Sans Mono, monospace]°[/FONT][/FONT]C). I don't think their cloacae are infected, it seems more like a symptom of a wider problem to me. The redness isn't too bad and seems to go up and down.

Today I have a feeling that they are getting better. I see the biggest difference in posture - the healthiest looking one looks kind of perky compared to the others. One of the males seems much better in this respect today and one of the other females had a little wander around the enclosure yesterday. The healthy one spends her time stuck to the wall of the box and showed a little interest in a worm, although she didn't eat it in the end. They have always been on the chubby side so this doesn't worry me right now. I also realise that this has been very stressful for them which in itself could suppress their appetites for a while.
I don't want to be getting too optimistic just yet but they do seem a little better and they are definitely not getting worse.
 

evut

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Time to update this thread again:
The newts look well - there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with them at all. They are in a terrestrial vivarium with forest soil, mosses, hiding places and a large water bowl.

In the meantime I cleaned out the two tanks, soaked everything with a pond disinfectant, then rinsed everything well and let the tanks stand filled with water for a while. I set up the large tank again yesterday - fingers crossed it's going to work well. I used aquatic compost, different stuff than what was in the tank last time.

I wish I knew what happened. I hope I've done enough to prevent it from happening again. I will keep the newts on land for a while - they seem happy and the tank can mature in the meantime.
 

Molch

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glad to hear your marms are doing ok. !
 

froggy

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I'm glad they seem to have improved. I had a similar issue with some Tylototriton verrucosus a few years ago, with basically identical symptoms. They were maintained in an aquatic tank with cork bark islands. I lost the sickest animal (they went down, as always seems to happen, while I was away for a few days), but the others recovered when moved to a terrestrial tank. I reveiwed the tank and they only modification I made was to increase the ventilation, from essentially none (a normal aquarium hood) to a large strip of mesh stuck over a hole cut in the top. Once the newts recovered, they went back into the same setup and never had the issue again...

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  • Asholotl:
    looks like the water is fine till tomorrow. which is nice. im super tired of late. ive been doing large water changes for a week before getting their 'tubs' i just wish i had the old filter ;3;
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  • Asholotl:
    you got a cooler :D Thats so cool! i normally chill their water down if it gets too warm with clean dechlorinated water when they were in their bigger tanks. i'll need to get one that can work with two tanks at some point. or find them for cheap and get two quiet ones. since im in an apartment.
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  • The-Axolotl:
    Yea most coolers are super expensive though the price range is around $100-$500
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  • Asholotl:
    yeah D:
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  • Asholotl:
    i need one before summer though so i should prob save up
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  • Asholotl:
    or its waterchanges and/or air fans for me.
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  • The-Axolotl:
    Here its Hot like every day so we have to have the cooler :p
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  • The-Axolotl:
    But we also have a fan
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  • Asholotl:
    its just wet in oregon and cold most of the time.
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  • The-Axolotl:
    So good axolotl weather :p
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  • Asholotl:
    yeah, most of the time lol. its always cold in my room now cause of them.
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  • The-Axolotl:
    Yea my room is freezing because of the axolotls xd
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  • The-Axolotl:
    The worst thing is my cat always jumps up next to the tank but good thing it has a lid 😁
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  • Asholotl:
    same D: my cat is constantly knocking over my bottles and stuff for my axolotls.
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    One time he almost knocked over a whole bottle of tap water conditioner we just bought
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    haha. sounds like a cat
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  • The-Axolotl:
    I know right what is it with cats constantly knocking every thing over??
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    And boxes. you can even tape a square on the floor and ive seen them go in it xD
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    Haha 😂
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    im going to head off now, its 12 am now so i got to rest. :D nice talking with ya!
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  • axolotl nerd:
    hey everyone - sorry for the inactivity. things have been really rough in my world the past few days, but i’m safe now. i should be back to my normal active self here soon :)
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  • axolotlnewtlover:
    the nitrites in my tank are so high omg
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  • The-Axolotl:
    Hello, I think my axie might have anchor worms, could someone please look at my thread its called 'rapidly growing strange things all over my axolotls' thanks- The-Axolotl
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  • axolotl nerd:
    @The-Axolotl, reading through your thread now, sorry i didn’t get a chance to welcome you yet!
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    axolotl nerd: @The-Axolotl, reading through your thread now, sorry i didn’t get a chance to welcome you yet! +1
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