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URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

This is a discussion on URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello D': We have two 2-year-old axolotls in a tank 1/4 full of water. I think there is about 15 ...

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

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Old 26th March 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Hello D':

We have two 2-year-old axolotls in a tank 1/4 full of water. I think there is about 15 gallons inside.

They started getting "sick" the other day and rapidly lost much of their tails. They have grown a bit of fuzz or slime (it looks like a clear membrane coating them). The gills appear more white to me than normal, but my girlfriend says they look more red than normal. Not sure. They have been eating normally even in their current state up until their second feeding today, when they have been reluctant to eat any food. They also seem to be shedding some of their skin?!

Anyway, this is what I'm freaking out about: While removing them to put in the fridge to see if that would help (in distilled water), we found that the thermometer in the tank had broken and filled with water. I think it may have broken 2 weeks ago when we changed the entire tank. It is one of those basic fish tank Stick Thermometers. I'm worried the mercury or whatever was inside it may have polluted the water and made my Axolotls sick.

Notes:
-The Glass Shrimp and Plants are perfectly fine.
-The newest additions to the tank are some additional Glass Shrimp and some additional live aquatic plants listed as OK for axies on this site, both about 2 weeks ago.
-They have had the strange membrane on them for over 2 weeks. That is the reason we changed all the water in the first place.
-Symptoms in this order: Fuzz/Slime/Membrane @18 days ago >> Tails shrinking @4-5 days ago >> Sluggish Behaviour @yesterday >> Skin peeling & Reluctant Hunger @today

So... what should I do?




Last edited by Sykres; 26th March 2011 at 01:57.
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Old 26th March 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Do you have pics? Do you know the current parameters of the tank? How big is the tank overall?

Does the white growth look cottony? It could be fungus. A pic would help...If it is fungus, a salt bath may be in order. The fridge is a good idea in my opinion.

The liquid inside the broken thermometer could indeed be mercury (according to google; it's either this or alcohol) so I would suggest a water change in that tank too. Getting them out was a good idea.

Why keep the level so low? Axolotls don't mind deeper water and the larger volume might prove easier to keep cooler and stable - just a suggestion.

Don't use distilled water, use dechlorinated tap water or spring water.



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Old 26th March 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

I will get pictures in a little while if possible.

The amonia is 0.25 and pH is 6.8. Liquid tests.

The tank is 12x30 and the water is 6 inches deep as our Axolotls seem to be slow swimmers and we don't have any tall decorations for them to cling onto.

I really don't believe this is any kind of fungus. It isn't cottony and it doesn't extrude from them at all. It is conformed to their bodies almost like the slime coat of a salamander or frog.

We were planning a salt bath (just in case) before we realized their sluggishness and eating behaviours. We will do that tomorrow or later tonight if necessary.

I am changing the water right now. I usually leave some to keep the good bacterias and stuff, but I want to be safe with this thermometer jazz.

I didn't mean distilled, sorry. The water is from a tap and I always have emergency water sitting in open bottles. I'm not sure if it's chlorinated, but I let it sit for about a week. I had read this was okay.

Thank you for your suggestions!



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Old 26th March 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Julius and Abraham, the Axolotls, are looking better this morning after the refridgerator! My girlfriend is going to give them a salt bath when she wakes up.
Their tails have regenerated noticably and they are less stressed. No longer curled up and lazy, they are moving about in their fridge containers.

I will update later today with their post-salt-bath statuses and hopefully pictures.

Any advice would be helpful to maintain their health...



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Old 26th March 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

your ammonia level is a little bit too high.

I would also recommend filling the tank up all the way, if the thermometer has indeed leaked any nasties, doing this will dilute any residue left after your water change.

I had a issue with a broken/rusted thermometer, unfortunately the damage was done and I lost my axie (the one in my display picture) and the plants in the tank.

keep a eye on your water chemistry, it may kill off your filter bed and you may see a ammonia spike.



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Old 27th March 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Thanks Chris. I'm sorry about your Axolotl

Here are some pictures of my sick buddies.

Abraham, the Golden one, seems to be getting better since last night's Salt Bath. He does have some very red looking gills, however. He is eating fine.

The Salt Bath didn't help Julius, the Wild type. He is getting worse. Overnight, he grew some kind of fungal bumps around his body. In the pictures you can see a large one on his cheek and another on his tail and right Eye. We gave him another 5 minute Salt Bath a few minutes ago. Hopefully this will help until we find out exactly what the sickness is. He refused to eat after the Salt Bath.

They are both being fridged, still.

What is normal behaviour when given a Salt Bath? They both seem restless. They walk around and open their mouths alot.
Attached Thumbnails
URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-abraham-closeup.jpg   URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-abraham-footy.jpg   URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-abraham-gills.jpg   URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-abraham-gills-2.jpg   URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-julius-eye-fungus.jpg  

URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-julius-fungus.jpg   URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies-julius-tail.jpg  



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Old 27th March 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Do you remember what colour the liquid was in the thermometer?



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Old 29th March 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

There was a red, wax-looking substance plugging what looked like little balls of silver. I always assumed it was mercury.



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Old 29th March 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

It does sound like a mercury thermometer, I had hoped you would say it was just red.



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Old 30th March 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Based on what I have read about about thermometers (googled), mercury is not being used in fish tank thermometers because of the known dangers. How old is this thermometer? If the reading column is metallic colored, then you could be dealing with mercury. The silver balls could simply be lead weights as mercury would become more liquid-like at room temperature. Most thermometers use a red dyed alcohol encased in a glass column in the middle of the thermometer based on the links I found.

Your pics remind me of this THREAD - Anybody else agree?

In my opinion, I'd keep up with the salt baths...One every 12 hours but for at least 10 minutes at a time (no more than 15) and keep them in the fridge for a bit longer.




Last edited by dragonlady; 30th March 2011 at 04:13.
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Old 30th March 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Click the image to open in full size.

Did your thermometer look at all like this by chance? Mine is alcohol with red dye brought around 4ish years ago. Of cause yours might still have been mercury so I would still be careful, but most thermometers today have alcohol in them, far less toxic when they break. Not all of us aspire to be Mad Hatters when we grow up.

If it was mercury (or a chance of it) I would also be very careful about putting your hands in the water and I would go to a doctor and get tested for mercury poisoning (I assume theres a test, I don't actually know for sure). Even really tiny amounts (mg amounts) to make you ill so it would be good to get tested. Or at least talk to a doctor.



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Old 30th March 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

It is unlikely your thermometer is mercury if bought in the last 10 years. If the thread against the scale was red then it is alcohol, the silver balls inside the outer glass case are used to make it heavier and not float to the surface. They are usually steel rather than lead in modern thermometers and not a hazard.

The thermometer illustrated above by Cas is safe, the main danger is cuts from broken glass. Concentrate on getting your axolotls well. I doubt the thermometer is the cause of your problems, a high temperature or poor water quality is more likely.



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Old 31st March 2011   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Thank you for your responses, everyone.

My thermometer did look like Cas' picture, so I guess it isn't mercury. I'm very glad.

The axolotls are still being fridged. We stopped the salt baths as they were getting too stressed. They are much more lively in the fridge than they have been during previous fridgings. I'm not sure why they are so excited.

During water changes, I have noticed there is more than waste or leftover food in the water. It seems like the stuff growing on them is shedding and regrowing, but regardless they are looking much better now.

I have one thing I remembered. There was a time when my Golden, Abraham, almost died. I believe he was bitten by his tankmate axolotl. He became extremely ill and lost a lot of his weight and most of his tail/gills. He became better through fridging for probably 2 weeks or more. He regrew his hand in a really weird way, as you can see in the pics. Anyway, we think his bite was infected because we had a filter on the tank. I had it specially devised in a way that there was very minimal water flow, but I have always been confused about whether or not filters are okay. Some guides say yes, some say no. I have not been using any filters for the last 3 months.



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Old 31st March 2011   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Filtration is great as long as you have a method of providing maximum filtration with minimum flow in the tank. Axolotls don't do well with water current.



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Old 31st March 2011   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

This is a bit of a different point of view, but I might guess that the Axolotl's poorly condition is due to water quality. In only 15 gallons of water, 2 large Axolotls will foul that water very quickly. You did state that you had ammonia readings, and that was AFTER a substantial water change. I also have a feeling this may be the cause because of their improved behavior in the fridge, where they are receiving fresh clean water on a regular basis.

You also said you thought the infection occurred because you HAD a filter on the tank..does that mean you no longer have filtration on the tank?



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Old 3rd April 2011   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: URGENT?! Thermometer Broke/Sick Axies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shizeric View Post
In only 15 gallons of water, 2 large Axolotls will foul that water very quickly.

You also said you thought the infection occurred because you HAD a filter on the tank..does that mean you no longer have filtration on the tank?
They are juveniles, about 4.5 inches from nose to tail. We have lots of axolotl-approved live plants and maybe 10 glass shrimp in there, if that matters.

I haven't used filtration for at least 3 months. Probably regardless of what anyone says, my girlfriend will not allow me to put a filter on the tank. She has convinced herself that it will kill the axolotls.

Condition Update: They are looking swell! I probably won't post here again unless they don't finish recovering. I will check to see if there are any responses and I will respond accordingly, however. Thanks for everyone's help :)




Last edited by Sykres; 3rd April 2011 at 14:47.
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