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White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

This is a discussion on White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I can probably find this answer in the forums a million times but i just want to ask myself with ...

Sick Axolotl? Axolotl looking down in the gills? The doctors are in.

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Old 26th March 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

I can probably find this answer in the forums a million times but i just want to ask myself with my own pics to make sure the treatment I do is right (if treatment is necessary)

Noticed Mushu has been acting more lethargic ever since I had to switch him back from his 20L to a 10G to help with temperature fluctuations (temp in 20L would rise to 74 every day. temp in 10G stays below 70 and on average is 68.8 degrees). he stays mainly at the surface and when i nudge at the surface of the water he'll take his time swimming to the bottom instead of being super alert and responsive.

today I tried to feed him and he refused and turned around on me (he did eat a large earthworm yesterday though) and when he did turn around I noticed this on his gills.

White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions-img_1427.jpg
White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions-img_1428.jpg

Is this a fungus? bacteria? what is it? and what causes it and what should I do to treat?

There are two things that definitely could've caused this. His filter broke a week ago and started spilling all the water out of the tank, so I basically had to do a sudden 80% water change. So he has 80% uncycled water now. Second thing is his filter. His tank gets insanely messy over night. Maybe they all do, but since he has no substrate (have yet to find a good fine sand that doesnt pose as a threat to him that hasn't clouded his water severely even weeks after it's been added) I notice the mess immediately as it covers his entire base of his tank. So because of this mess I have a pretty good quality filter running in there- a fluval 30 set to middle speed to not overdue it on the water flow. which leads me to this... If there's too much movement could that have caused this white stuff?? or is it water quality related??


All has gone well for the 5 months I've had him so far, he eats fine, nearly every single night. Has always been active and alert and responsive. but lately he's just...off.

I'll add one more thing,
in the 5 months i've had him he's gone from 2 inches to almost 10 inches. he is MASSIVE. I'm sure this isn't a bad thing to be healthy and growing, but for a 10 inch axolotl how often should they be eating? I offer him food every single day, is that too much?


thank you for your help! Sorry for such a long post. I just wanna get this fixed. :)



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Old 26th March 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

I think it's possible that if Mushu ate a large earthworm yesterday that he may not be hungry yet.
Was the 10G tank fully cycled? What were the water parameters when you moved Mushu? When you say you did a water change, you say uncycled water, what do you mean? Was the water treated/dechlorinated?
What sort of mess is on the bottom of the tank overnight? In a bare tank I would only expect to see the occasional poop in the tank, so what mess is being caused overnight? Please could you provide some pictures of the mess, and some larger/more detailed pictures of the possible fungal problem.
I'm not as experienced as others on this forum, so I'm sure that you will be gived more detailed advice soon, but if you could provide as much information as possible, and some more pictures, that will help everyone to provide the best help possible for both you and Mushu.



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Old 26th March 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

It does seem to be fungus. As Donna said, what are your tanks test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrAte, and PH? Fungus in usually caused when there is a breach in the slime coat, often due to accidental self inflicted damage. But if your tank water quality has slipped this can also cause fungus to appear.

You could probably feed every two days, it's really down to gauging how much your Axolotl wants to eat, if he will accept worms daily then it's not a problem.

Adding fresh water to your tank isn't quite 'un cycled water'. Your water will develop ammonia when your Axolotl creates waste, or if there is any old food being left to degrade. The beneficial bacteria from your nitrogen cycle will feed on this ammonia and convert it to nitrite and then convert the nitrite to nitrAte. When you perform large water changes you will be removing most the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrAte. But the cycle should continue aslong as ammonia becomes present for your bacteria to feed on and continue the cycle. The problem with large water changes is that if you eliminate all the ammonia there is a risk of crashing the cycle, as you leave it with nothing to feed on. it's not common but its possible.

At this point you want to make sure your water quality is okay. Considering you've moved your Axolotl to a new tank, it's more than likely not cycled, meaning the water quality is not good which is allowing the fungus to appear.



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Old 26th March 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

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Originally Posted by AxolotlChris View Post
It does seem to be fungus. As Donna said, what are your tanks test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrAte, and PH? Fungus in usually caused when there is a breach in the slime coat, often due to accidental self inflicted damage. But if your tank water quality has slipped this can also cause fungus to appear.

You could probably feed every two days, it's really down to gauging how much your Axolotl wants to eat, if he will accept worms daily then it's not a problem.

Adding fresh water to your tank isn't quite 'un cycled water'. Your water will develop ammonia when your Axolotl creates waste, or if there is any old food being left to degrade. The beneficial bacteria from your nitrogen cycle will feed on this ammonia and convert it to nitrite and then convert the nitrite to nitrAte. When you perform large water changes you will be removing most the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrAte. But the cycle should continue aslong as ammonia becomes present for your bacteria to feed on and continue the cycle. The problem with large water changes is that if you eliminate all the ammonia there is a risk of crashing the cycle, as you leave it with nothing to feed on. it's not common but its possible.

At this point you want to make sure your water quality is okay. Considering you've moved your Axolotl to a new tank, it's more than likely not cycled, meaning the water quality is not good which is allowing the fungus to appear.

Ye un-cycled water probably wasn't the right word. I meant new water. I treated it with water conditioner before adding it but yeah, it's new water that isn't established, that's what I meant. The new tank is definitely not completely cycled. I did use about 40% of the water from the 20 gallon, but then my filter broke and leaked all my water and I lost at least 20% of it. So there's maybe 10-20% of old tank water in there, everything else is new. I'll definitely keep up with small water changes for awhile just to keep the levels down.


Ammonia was actually only at .5 ppm, still not 0 but not insanely high.
nitrate: a little less than 5ppm
nitrite: 0ppm

So i'm going to do a small water change now, the water quality doesn't seem awful but not perfect.


What should I do to treat the fungus? Salt baths? Or when my tank gets more established should it go away?



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Old 26th March 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

As long as the water had been treated with water conditioner that is all you can do.
The uncycled tank wont be helping the fungus, and any ammonia at all is quite worrying, but short of moving your axolotl to a smaller container with daily large/complete water changes on the smaller container while your tank cycles I don't think there is anything else you can do.
It might be worth checking this with AxolotlChris or one of the more experience keepers though.
I have attached a link about health, fungus and treatments
Axolotls - Health & Diseases
I hope that this is of some help and please keep us posted on progress.



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Old 27th March 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

I honestly think he's getting worse, his gills seem to be getting more and more white. I just really need to figure out how to treat the fungus if there's any way I'm doing very frequent small water changes to keep up with the ammonia in his tank since the cycle seems to have most likely crashed. I just need to get him better I'm noticing some curling in his tail now too.



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Old 28th March 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: White Stuff In Gills?? + Extra Questions

I have posted in your other thread not seeing this one first. To add to my other post, I would keep your axolotl in a tub doing 100% water changes daily. This will allow you to monitor the condition closely and ensure good water quality (as long as you can keep your axolotl somewhere cool) and will also allow you to work on getting your tank cycle reestablished without worrying about your axolotl being exposed to ammonia and nitrite.



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