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Dead Axolotl

Discussion in 'Amphibians & Aquatic Reptiles' started by Taka, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. Taka

    Taka New Member

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    Hello,
    My axolotl just died and I'm looking for answers as to why.
    Yesterday at about 3pm she looked okay, her gills were flared but her tail was straight. Sometimes she flips out after she poops (which she had just done) so I thought the stress sign was from that.
    Later at about 9pm her gills had turned white. I didn't see anything else out of the ordinary on her body but I knew that it was a bad sign. I tried to feed her and she wouldn't eat anything. After pulling the food away she seemed to be gagging despite having not eaten for over a day (I feed her every other day). She was pretty inactive and not very responsive.
    I couldn't find a solid suggestion to what might be wrong with her. I first thought it was a fungus, but her gills had faded in color and nothing was growing on her anywhere so it didn't completely look like a fungus.
    I decided to wait until the next day to see if there were further signs of anything else since a couple websites suggested that she would be better after moving around.
    In the morning at 8am she was completely unresponsive and looked 10x worse. She kind of looked like she had already started rotting but I could see her gills moving every once in a while so I knew she was still there. She also looked like she had somehow lost a third of her weight overnight. Her stomach looked sunken in.
    I decided to immediately put her in a salt bath for just over 10 minutes. She was completely limp and did not react to anything.
    Stuck her in the fridge after this because she looked so bad and checked on her periodically until 2pm when I had to go to work.
    Every time I checked on her I would eventually see gill movement but absolutely no improvement.
    I've gotten home at about 8:30 pm and found her dead.

    Whatever was wrong did not visibly display itself until yesterday and killed her in a days time. She was a lucy with only a few freckles on her face, so with the white everywhere else it is entirely possible that there were symptoms beforehand that I didn't see. However, she was not acting funny until yesterday.
    It is also worth noting that the last time I fed her, she seemed to struggle with her food. She still ate everything, but she didn't have a good time doing it. I usually feed her 2 worms and however many pellets she wants. It is also worth noting that she was slightly underweight and in the 2 months I had her, she did not gain any weight.

    I doubt I can ever know why exactly she died but if anyone has ever seen similar stuff or sees something that I don't, please let me know! This was my first axolotl and I am heartbroken that she died so fast and lived too short of a life. I would like to understand what I did wrong so that I can do better.
    Thanks

     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    How long has the tank been set up for?
    How often do you do water changes and how much water do you change?
    Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do water changes?
    Do you dechlorinate the new water before it is added to the tank?
    Do you use buckets specifically for the aquarium, or do you use any bucket in the house?

    When was the last time you cleaned the filter and how did you clean it?

    What sort of substrate do you have in the tank, sand or gravel?

    Have you checked the tank's water quality for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate & pH?
    If yes, what were the results in numbers?

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    The biggest killer of Axolotls is poor water quality, followed by fish medications and ingesting gravel.

    If the tank was less than 1 month old it was probably poor water quality caused by fish food and waste breaking down in the water, causing ammonia or nitrite problems.

    You didn't use any medications so that is not an issue but for future reference, most fish medications can kill Axolotls so you should be wary about what gets used on them. If the medication is not suitable for catfish, loaches, eels and other scaleless fishes, it will not be safe for Axolotls.

    If the Axolotl swallows gravel when eating food off the bottom, the gravel can block up their digestive tract and they die.

    Putting an Axolotl into a salt bath is not good for them because they absorb a lot of salt into their body and it can damage their kidneys.

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    The best thing to do if a fish or Axolotl every looks off colour or gets sick, is a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate each day until the issue is identified. Posting a picture of the sick organism on here can often help with identifying the problem, and you should always check the water quality if a fish/ axo gets sick.

    There is more info on what to do if a fish/ Axolotl gets sick, at the following link. It is written for fish but Axolotls respond the same way from a water quality perspective. It is a bit long and boring but worth reading when you have some spare time. You can print if off and read it in bed to help you fall asleep :)
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/what-to-do-if-your-fish-gets-sick.450268/
     
  3. NickAu

    NickAu Member
    Tank of the Month Winner!

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    Actually salt baths and refrigeration can work wonders for some things but it must be done correctly or it can harm the fish.
     
  4. Taka

    Taka New Member

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    The tank was set up two months before she came and she lived here for 2 months.
    Water changes twice a week. 50 or 80 percent depending on how dirty it is and 100 percent every 2-3 weeks.
    There is no substrate.
    Of course I dechlorinated the water.
    Buckets specifically for aquarium.
    Cleaned it as soon as we saw her look funny (as well as did a complete water change), wiped everything out with a specific sponge that has no chemicals and used lots of water.
    ammonia- nitrite-0 nitrate-40ppm ph- 7.6

    I don't think she died from water quality, though I know that's what one should first look at. It was not medicine and it was not ingestion of gravel.
    I did a water change but that did nothing and she was literally dying in front of me.
    Did you look at her symptoms?? Something seriously wrong with her besides these things.
    Had it been water quality or ingestion of gravel, I would have had more time. She died in less than a day.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Water and gravel are obviously not the issue here, neither are external parasites or diseases.

    If she had trouble eating a couple of days ago, she ate but seemed to struggle with it, then she was unwell back then.

    The pale gills would have been from poor circulation where the axo was no longer able to pump enough blood into them.

    I would say the axo had an internal bacterial or protozoan infection that started a few days before it killed it. As to why it had an infection, could be anyone's guess. It might have been a genetically weak axo to begin with or had an underlying infection which finally took over last week.

    About the only way you can find out for certain would be to get a vet to do a necropsy (autopsy) on it but it's been a few days since it died so that's probably not going to happen now.
     
  6. Taka

    Taka New Member

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    Ah yeah. I've had another person suggest that it was just a weak axolotl as well.
    I'll look into those infections more though and see if there was something else I missed. Thank you!
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Internal bacterial infections can occur in any fish or animal but in an aquarium it is usually caused by bad food (food that has gone off) or Tuberculosis (TB).

    TB is pretty uncommon in Axos but can affect any organism that has been exposed to it. Normally fish exposed to TB will carry the bacteria for months or even years while the bacteria slowly damages internal organs. Then one day the organ ruptures, the fish swells up, stops eating, breathes heavily and dies within 24-48 hours of showing symptoms.
    I do not believe this is the issue with the Axolotl.

    -----------------------
    Bad food can happen to anyone. You might have some frozen food that gets defrosted and refrozen (either at home or at the shop or even the manufacturer). The fish tolerate small amounts but eventually the bacteria get established inside the fish and cause it to feel unwell, stop eating, swell up and die.

    Dry food can go off as well, or it can get mouldy. Dry foods absorb moisture very rapidly and can grow mould and fungus but still look normal. If fish eat this contaminated food they get sick and die.

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    Internal protozoan infections usually come from bad food and cause fish to get skinny over a week or two. They continue to eat but lose weight, do stringy white poop, and eventually die.

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    If the Axolotl had an underlying health issue or was genetically weak, it would be more likely to get sick from any number of issues, including the ones listed above.
     
  8. Taka

    Taka New Member

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    Gotcha gotcha. Thanks so much for the continued information and help!
     
  9. Jessie J.

    Jessie J. Fish Fanatic

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    So sorry for your loss.
     
  10. Taka

    Taka New Member

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    Thank you
     

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