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Excessive Gill Flapping

This is a discussion on Excessive Gill Flapping within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hi guys, I've had my axolotl for about 5 months now and up until a recent series of unfortunate events ...

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

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Old 3rd September 2014   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Excessive Gill Flapping

Hi guys, I've had my axolotl for about 5 months now and up until a recent series of unfortunate events my 20 gallon long tank was fully cycled and my Axolotl who is about 5 inches long now was doing really well.
First off seemingly out of no where a fungus outbreak happened in the tank. Which seemed odd to me because I had being doing water changes about once a week 20%-30%. This outbreak was bad I mean the stuff was everywhere. Long story short I had to empty the tank and steralize. I should have done more research but I panicked and cleaned my air-stone and filter using the bleaching method. (big mistake). After thoroughly rinsing and dechlorinator I introduced him back to the tank and he was flapping his gills very profusely. I immediately took him out and fridged him with some fresh water and dechlorinator of course and left the tank overnight. In the morning I emptied the tank again and re-filled it with fresh clean water. I also tossed the air-stone as it is a porous material. Soaked the filter in more decholirnater and hot water and thoroughly rinsed it. Nothing smells like bleach and I tested the water parameters. I put him back in the tank and same thing. He's not doing well in the fridge he seems VERY stressed and wont eat today. I am a new axolotl owner and I'm realizing that even with all the research I've done I'm still not well equipped. I always take very good care of my pets. I'm worried and I want him to be okay.



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Old 3rd September 2014   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

Looks like you're battling on several fronts here.

So here are some potential solutions:

1.You need to rinse your tank and filter at least half a dozen times to get rid of any residue from the sterlisation.
2. Your cycle had crashed since you sterilised the filter - you need to treat it like a new set up and re-cycle your tank - monitor water quality closely, with daily changes if needed.
3. Your axie may be stressed by the constant changes in his environment - in and out of the fridge, a change in his tank etc. If you're going to put him in the fridge leave him there for a week. Axies often don't eat in the fridge as their metabolism slows down. TBH he might be better in a tub at room temp with daily changes until the tank is cycled.
4. In future if you get a problem in the tank you need to deal with it gently - without seeing a picture I don't know exactly what was going on in your tank to help you further. Tank fungus is usually black and filamentous, if it was green or brown slime on the surfaces it was more likely to be an algae bloom - usually cause by high nitrates and high temp. And fungus or algae in the tank or water doesn't always mean it's bad for your axie - it's a different fungus you get in the water than what will infect your axie's gills.
5. Gill flapping is the axie equivalent of panting - they are struggling for oxygen - and may have just been a reaction to all the upheaval rather than anything more sinister.

I can appreciate your panic response, but you now need repair the damage you did with sterilising the whole thing. Get your tank re-cycled and you should be OK.

In future all you need to do for algae or bloom/growth of any kind is a large water change and rinse the affected stuff under a cold tap, use a toothbrush (dedicated to tank cleaning!) to clean out any crevices. Clean one item per day to avoid affecting your cycle too much.



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Old 3rd September 2014   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

Oh my goodness that was very sound advice thank you.
I will keep him in the fridge and re-start the cycle. The fungus was white slimy and very thick and coated all the walls of the tank. I did water changes and scrubbed without using anything but cold water for a few days but it kept coming back faster and thicker every time.
I'll empty the tank again and continue to rinse the filter. Its just so tricky because nothing smells like bleach and it's hard to tell if it's gone or not. To re-boot the cycle I have some "colony" by ATM and maybe I should look into getting some hardy starter fish?
Thanks again for your sound advice I love him so much his name is Apollo.



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Old 3rd September 2014   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

Rather than getting fish get some pure ammonia. High ammonia isn't good for hardy fish either. Plus that way you can adjust the ammonia level a lot better while cycling and you don't have to figure out what to do with the fish afterwards.



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Old 3rd September 2014   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

What dechlorinator do you use, and does it contain aloe vera? Sounds more like aloe slime than anything else.

Don't bother with the quick start stuff - kinda rubbish in most cases.

Agree with Keiko on the ammonia - much better than fish, and with a fishless cycle it's likely to be much quicker.



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Old 3rd September 2014   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

Thanks for all the info guys it really does mean a lot to me.I've noticed everyone on this forum is so helpful and I really need the advice. Well the water conditioner I use is called prime. It's pretty common (or so I've heard). So do you think I should empty the tank for a third time and rinse the filter again? because It's a plastic HOB filter. Im wondering if I should try starting the cycle now. I will try the pure ammonia thing too, I don't add that on the first day though right?



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Old 4th September 2014   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

I don't have a reply about rinsing your tank and filter, but you want to start dosing the ammonia on the day 1 of your cycling, it's what will feed the bacteria. I think you want it at 4ppm, but you should be able to find some info easily if you do a search for fishless cycling.

Also, Prime does have aloe in it (I use it) so it could be part of the cause. Every now and then I'll scrub the tank down while doing a water change and then let the filter suck up the rest of the film up, then I just rinse the filter sponges to keep them clean until next time.

Edited to add: Only use ammonia if you're doing a fishless cycle, it would hurt any critter. I might be stating the obvious but better safe than sorry.



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Old 5th September 2014   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

I can't thank everyone enough I've already started cycling after a dew more thorough rinse downs of the tank and its contents. Everyone on this site is so helpful it makes being an owner of an axolotl a little less daunting at times. They deserve the best care and support.



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Old 5th September 2014   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

In case you need a reference:

http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/cyclingEDK.shtml

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community



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Old 13th April 2017   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Excessive Gill Flapping

Can someone please help, I am a new axolotl owner and I recently bought 2 axies about a month or two old each. One of them has been flapping it's gills rapidly every 5 secounds.



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