What do I do now? Skinny, Not Eating, Upside Down

Abigail518

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Hello!
My male axolotl seems to be sick and I’m having trouble figuring out what the best way to help him is. I’m going to try to add everything I can but please let me know if there is any more info you guys need, I just really want to figure out what the best course of action is here.
I’ve had my two axolotls for about a year and a half now. They were housed together at first, but as soon as I learned I had a male and a female they were split up.
I use a sponge filter, substrate is white sand, and he’s fed half an earthworm to an earthworm (depending on how hungry he is) every other night. The water is always kept between 18 and 20* celsius.
I’ll post a picture of him down below, but some notes on his appearance:
-His gills have always been quite small but when I was concerned I’d been told it was likely just genetically how he is since they were never long and the water parameters didn’t point to any issues there. They are curved forward right now, so the little guy definitely is stressed.
-He’s also always been fairly thin, but never THIS skinny, always a body at least slightly wider than his head. Sometimes he’ll go off food for a few days but it’s never resulted in weight loss like this and he’s acted completely normal other than that, which has not been the case this time.
-I can’t tell if the white stuff on him is just his slime coat and the bubbles on him or a fungus. It doesn’t look like most fungus I’ve seen in pictures, but I want to toss any possible problems there could be out there!
Recently, he’s not really been eating. I managed to get him to eat some newt pellets around 4 days ago, and he was still acting normal other than the not eating thing then. I was hoping it was just him not being hungry again, fed him those newt pellets since he took those, did a water change, and let him be.
Since he ate recently I wouldn’t be too concerned, except he started looking really thin.
He started curving his spine slightly last night, and my searches online and through this forum pointed to him being constipated. I was keeping an eye on him and seeing if fridging was my best course of action, but looked down from the tank and then back up to see him laying flat on him back not moving.
I don’t have access to a fridge it would be safe to treat him in, so I immediately set up a small container of dechlorinated water in a cooler that I’ve been keeping at around 53* (Fahrenheit). He’s been in there for about 24 hours now and I did a 100% water change a few hours ago. So far he seems to be doing okay in there, but I’m worried he needs to be eating.
I recently moved, and it meant that despite it being far from my ideal situation, the axolotls both got essentially 100% water changes. There was no way I could cycle the tanks and then have them come be moved back in, the tanks were emptied, refilled, and then they were back in them. Though he was previously in a 20 gallon tank, he spent the last month or so in an approx. 11 gallon tank (so basically a 10 gallon), which I planned to upgrade back to a 20 when I got down here (which is still happening, it’s set to arrive on Thursday or Friday). I completely waited too long to upgrade his tank, and he really should have been in a 20 far sooner than this. I monitored the water levels frequently and kept it where it needed to be, but I’m sure being in that small tank probably caused some extra stress for him. Both axolotls have seemed fine despite big water change and the water tests I have done have shown no indication of a problem, but in this continued series of unfortunate events my remaining test strips got exposed to some moist air and no longer work. I can’t see if it was an ammonia spike, but I have a feeling that was the case.
The only other thing I could think of is possibly an issue with the water conditioner I was using. I was using the API stress coat (and have been in tanks since before I got my lotls), but I just learned that that increases the bioload and also has other negative effects due to the aloe in it. I have ordered new water test kit (not strips) and new aloe-free water conditioner.
As soon as the 20 gallon arrives I’ll be setting it up and cycling it and monitoring it to make sure he is not put back into a dangerous situation but until then I’d love to know the right course of action. I know where I’ve gone wrong in my husbandry recently and will make sure those things are solved and strive to be better in the future, I really feel like I let him down here with this move.
I’m overall feeling like the worst axolotl mom right now and really don’t want to do anything else that might harm him, just help him get better.
Help :(
 

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Abigail518

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Just woke up and he seems absolutely unresponsive.
I think I've lost him ?
 

Giuseppe

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I'm sorry I don't have any advice to offer but it really seems that you've taken excellent care of him and you should feel good about the care and research you put into him
 

Hayleyy

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Sorry there hasn't been any responses for you. Is he still with you? Once you get the new test kit post the results here so we know what the tank is like.
 

Abigail518

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Unfortunately no. As I said he seemed unresponsive that next morning, and it seems he'd passed right before I woke up (my boyfriend had checked in before he left an hour beforehand and he was still hanging in there then).
I did the water tests that same day and they were all seemingly fine (Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrate 0-5, pH 7.6). Unless I'm overlooking something it seems like that wasn't what got to him.
My guesses now are the water conditioner, just the stress of moving, or an underlying genetic issue since I've consistently had trouble getting him to gain weight or grow his gills.
Overall I'm really devastated by the loss, but my boyfriend and I had a little funeral for him and are moving on by giving our remaining lotl all the love and attention possible.
 

Hayleyy

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Very sorry to hear that :(
 
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    Nice! Also, from what I can see you have an amazing setup! What species?
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    S. S. Gigliolli
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    Ooo nice!
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    Thank you! I tried to share the video but unsuccessful. You can see it on my IG story @jnerdx
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    Cool! I just have a tiger and a long tail, who we are trying to find as he ESCAPED INTO MY ROOM!
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  • LauraLobster:
    Hey y'all, recently my juvenile axolotl's tail has been floating and can swim down but his tail lifts to an angle and I believe that it is stressing him out. He gets in between his plants to balance himself and I am cleaning out the bottom of the tank with my baster. I believe I overfed him and he also may have eaten many air bubbles. He's been like this for nearly 1 1/2 days.
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    What would be the best thing to do ?
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    Hey, does anyone know if hot glue is fine to glue rocks together?
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    Should be. Hot glue is good when dry I believe, just don't let it get too hot and you should be good. Most super glues are good as well just watch out for flume warnings
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    Ok, thanks! I am going to glue together the shale I mentioned.
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  • Kwags:
    hello, I am currently tubbing my axolotl due to cycling the tank. I have read different answers on how many times to do a 100% water change a day when tubbing. Some say once and some say twice. I just want to actually ask and get answers for myself. Thank
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  • Murk:
    As often as you need to keep the water clean! Since you´re cycling, I assume you have a test kit. Just test a few times to see how long it takes for your ammonia to go up, and as soon as it does, change the water.
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  • Kwags:
    Yes,I have the master test kit. Thank you! So just test the water in the tub that my axolotl is in now to gauge off of for changing?
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  • Murk:
    That´s the most accurate. Depends on the size of the tub etc. - you just want to make sure the water is always clean
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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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  • Murk:
    Uh. That depends on your definition of "spunky"?
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @Kwags, how big?
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    my baby hes tubed and hes a wild child xD
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  • Kwags:
    Swimming like crazy. A little more pep in his step. I think about 3 inches.
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  • faebugz:
    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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  • EasternRomioi3:
    I have not heard of that before.
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  • EasternRomioi3:
    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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  • faebugz:
    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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    Anyone know how to harden soft water without raising pH?
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    Slash-GNR: Anyone know how to harden soft water without raising pH? +1
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