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Floating, not wanting food, help?

This is a discussion on Floating, not wanting food, help? within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello, I recently bought two axolotls, they seemed ok until yesterday when i woke to discover Nim-a-nim floating, I took ...

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


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Old 26th April 2010   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Floating, not wanting food, help?

Hello,
I recently bought two axolotls, they seemed ok until yesterday when i woke to discover Nim-a-nim floating, I took the lid off and he swam backl down. But when I tried to feed him he ignored me. Onyx ate straight out of my hand as she likes to have her food elevated from the floor. Nim-a-nim doesn't like it when i put my hand near to feed him so i usually leave it on the exsposed glass. I have never seen Nim eat so Onyx could be eating it all. Also, they both seem to be floating a bit and sitting next to the airstone or filter to gulp air. Is this normal? Do you have any ideas on how I could make sure Nim eats properly?

Many thanks, Lexii

P.S. I should mention the axolotls are somewhere between 9 and 12 months. Not sure how old they were when the pet shop aquired them.
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Old 26th April 2010   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

What are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) and temperature?

Can you post a photo of your tank set-up?
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Old 27th April 2010   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

i cannot test the parameters because i have no kit but i am working on getting 1 tomorrow. the temerature is on average 20oC, the camera has bust so ill describe the tank until i can fix it. there is a filter in the back right hand corner of the tank, the correct size for the tank, a tall plastic plant in the front let hand corner and a short set of plastic plants in the middle with an airstone next to it. The substrate is big gravel, they haven't swallowed any, i hand feed them to make sure. Do you have any ideas?
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Old 27th April 2010   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

How often are they floating? Is you tank cycled or in the process of cycling?
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Old 27th April 2010   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

Just because you hand feed your axies does not mean they can't or haven't swallowed any gravel. It certainly reduces the likelihood, but axies are curious creatures and have been known to try to swallow objects (snails, rocks, gravel, ornaments, etc) that are shockingly large. You won't find many people on this site who keep their axies in tanks with gravel substrate. Most people use sand, bare tank bottoms, or slate.
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Old 27th April 2010   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

ok, I realise that and will change it soon but do you think the axolotls are ok with the floating? Will it stop?
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Old 27th April 2010   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

It could be a sign the axolotl has already swallowed some gravel.
Were they on gravel in the pet shop?
If so i think maybe a short spell in the fridge might help.
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Old 27th April 2010   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

I think fridging is an excellent idea. There is a good chance she has a tummy full of gravel. Floating is not all that harmful in itself, but it is clue that something is not quite right. In my opinion, a healthy axie should not be floating around like a bobber constantly.
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Old 27th April 2010   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

they don't float all the time, normally they are at the bottom and can stay there but i was wondering if when they are at the top they are breathing? Because when they swim dowm they sit next to the filter or airstone. Also, i think my family would be very reluctant to have me keep them in the fridge, Do you have any other ideas?
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Old 27th April 2010   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

Did you get a chance to check your water parameters? I would love to know the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. This is possibly the most beneficial information you could provide us to help you figure out what is going on with your axies. Do you do regular water changes? And how much do you change at a time?

Also, did you properly cycle your tank before adding the axies? If I had to guess, I would imagine that your ammonia levels are starting to get elevated, and it is having a negative effect on your axies. The fact that your axie is not interested in food is a very good clue that something is off in its environment (most likely your water). Axies love to eat, so an axie that is rejecting food is not a happy axie. The problem is only going to get much worse unless drastic changes are made.
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Old 28th April 2010   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

the earliest time i can check the chicals is tomorrow. They can hang on one more day right? Also, I think they are eating, just not when i watch because the food disappears when i turn away for five minutes. I have a filter in the tank and have done one water
change, I change about 5Litres at a time, thats about a tenth of the water. I've only had the axies for 5 days, the tank has't cycled yet.
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Old 28th April 2010   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

Hi
If you plan to cycle the tank with the axolotls in you need to be doing 20% changes on a daily basis.
I suspect the problem is as shoegal said high levels of ammonia starting to build up.

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Old 29th April 2010   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

i just checkd the pH and it was high so i am lowering it, also, how much of 5oLitres should I change daily/weekly if it is cycling? how long does cycling take?
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Old 29th April 2010   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

If you have 2 Axolotls in a 50 liter tank, that's definitely a problem. This also contributes to the assumption that high ammonia is to blame.

How often do you do water changes? 20% daily is required for cycling..so 10liters a day.

Cycling usually takes 4-6 weeks.
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Old 29th April 2010   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

Yikes... not to hijack the thread... but I thought cycling took two weeks.
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Old 29th April 2010   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

@Mac - Unfortunately, cycling is not an exact science - a lot of factors contribute to the time frame needed. The lower temps required for axies can slow the cycling process as well.

@lovely axies - I am curious to know what your pH is? Axies can tolerate a large range and if you suddenly start trying to change it, that can shock them. If you got your water tested, what are your other parameters?
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Old 29th April 2010   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

Personally, I don't think you should ever try to alter the PH. I think drastically changing it causes many more issues than just leaving it alone even if it is a little high or low.

Forget about the PH for now- you have bigger fish to fry.

You obviously had your water tesed: What is your AMMONIA, NITRITE, and NITRATE?

Last edited by shoegal; 29th April 2010 at 16:18.
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Old 29th April 2010   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

the pH was above 7.4, thats too high I believe. The lady at the shop said the kit i got tested them all. It came with powder to lower or raise the pH and that is all you need. When you lower /raise it you just do it gradually, over a few weeks. I do not know if the same solutions occur in your countries but I am doing the right thing to lower the alkalinity.
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Old 29th April 2010   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

Lovely Axies~ Your PH is perfect for an axolotl. I would recommend not altering it.

The more important issue is:

What were your readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?

Last edited by shoegal; 29th April 2010 at 19:14.
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Old 29th April 2010   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Floating, not wanting food, help?

This is a direct excerpt for www.axolotl.org, a great source for comprehensive information about the species. According to the website, your current PH is ideal.

pH: Acidity & Basicity/Alkalinity

pH stands for "power of hydronium". Water (H2O) exists in a constant equilibrium with itself: H2O Click the image to open in full size. OH- + H+. The hydrogen ion (H+) is very small and strongly hydrated (meaning it attaches itself to another water molecule), essentially existing as the ion hydronium (H30+). pH is a convenient way of expressing the hydrogen ion concentration. In actual fact, it's the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A solution (i.e. water containing something else) with a pH of less than 7, is said to be acidic. A pH greater than 7 is considered basic (also known as alkaline). And a pH of exactly 7 is considered neutral, neither acidic nor basic. The further the pH is from 7, the stronger the acidity or alkalinity/basicity of the solution. You can obtain simple-to-use pH test kits from your local aquarium retailer.
Most municipalities treat their water so that it is within a few degrees of pH 7 (neutral). My local water is 7.2 after treatment. For axolotls, a pH of 6.5 to around 8.0 is acceptable, but 7.4 to 7.6 is probably ideal. pH can affect the toxicity of ammonia and this is discussed below.
If you have particularly acidic or basic water, you can adjust the pH using the kits sold by your local aquarium retailer, or you can basicify the water by adding salts, as described in the Water Hardness & Dissolved Salts topic, below.
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