View Full Version : Still floating?

16th January 2014, 02:57
One of my couple of months old axies has a problem with floating, she's had that for a while and the answeres here has been; that some just floats when they needs to poop.
But my Axie Deedo is just floating anyway.

I put her in a separate tub for a few days with water level just covering her back. After two days she's stoppes floating. I put her back in the tank, it lasts for two maybe three days, she starts floating again. The first days just a little bum floating. After about five days she can't stay on the ground, layes under stuff instead. A couple of more days it's like she's given up, and floats at the surface, often on her right side.

So instead of keep moving her to the other tub every second day i put artificial plants in the corner of the surface where she usually stayes.
It seemed to help the first week, but no she's just driftig around with the water flow.

It just doesn't look right. When she's not floating she gets curious when you walk into the room, follows you. When she's like this she's just trying to hide.
She's always had curled gills so it's hard to see when she's stressed. With her it's more behaviour. She's not being herself.

Water parameters is good and stabile, as the temperature ( 19 celcius).
I've tried changing their diet, but no change. I feed them red mosquito larvae now.
She's eating and passing food as normal. No change in skin or gills.

The water is the same in the other tub just lower level.

The other axie is fine, had fungus once but some water baths fixed it. She's behaving like always.

I don't know, Deedo just seems to getting worse. Hard time getting anywhere or turn upside down if she doesn't swim really fast. I'm worried.

I don't get what's causing this. And it doesn't get better.
It's like a bad circle that just starts over and iver again everytime i tried something new and thought it's getting better.

16th January 2014, 03:09
I do 10% water changes every week to. And fine sand at the bottom, the pet store did to, no gravel.

16th January 2014, 03:29
Is she floating now? Can you take a picture of her?

How do you aerate the water in your tank? Do you ever notice your water being cloudy? How often and how much do you feed each of them?

16th January 2014, 14:13
You mean get air into the water? I just have some plants.
And it's not often the swim to the surface for air so i've thought it's air enough in the water.

I feed them once everyday, but i've tried less often too. It's fozen cubes with larvae and i give them a half of that each. So one cube for both of them.

I've never seen the water cloudy except the first time i put the sand in :p

She's in the other tub now and floating a little but for the moment nothing odd about it. I'll try to take more pictures

16th January 2014, 18:26
I was thinking possibly a supersaturation of gasses in the water, overfeeding which can cause floating, or some trapped air which would be visible in a picture. None of these seem to be the case.

I'm at a loss. We'll have to see if anyone else has some ideas. Overall does she seem healthy or has there been a decline in health since the other one contracted the infection?

16th January 2014, 19:38
No she's always seemed healthy otherwise, no fungus when the other one had it for example. So that's calming, i'm just lost about this

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16th January 2014, 19:42
And i don't feed them in the tank, cause i don't want to risk leftovers, or biting incidents.
Had a worm problem some time ago, and hydra, got it with a plant. But it's under controlled now since i feed them in separate tubs.

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16th January 2014, 20:05
And i don't feed them in the tank

Perhaps it still could be an issue with supersaturated gases in your tap water. Trying using aged water in the tubs you use to feed them and see if that changes anything.

16th January 2014, 20:07
Could do that absolutely. But she's been floating before that.

I fed them earthworms before.

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20th January 2014, 16:01
Stopped floating again, put her in the tank and after just one day she's floating again. So it's definently something in the tank. What? Don't know.
I took one peice of wood out, try it if it's something with hardness of the water.

But if there is something else, you talked about gas. What to do about it?
Sometime ago i did water changes every third day, like 20%. And that didn't help.

She's the one on the left of the picture. The other one is just leaning forward.

20th January 2014, 16:14
Sorry the picture is upside down, don't know how to fix it, using my phone. I have videos to but i can't upload them

20th January 2014, 17:33
Sometimes axies just like to float, they take a big gulp of air and just hang about. If they havent learnt how to burp it out, then it could expalin the nearly constant floating.

Have you tried putting an air stone in there to aerate the water, or moving your output on your filter so that it breaks the water surface? :D

20th January 2014, 22:57
Hrm no should that.

But she floats with her but up, and tries to reach the bottom of the tank. When the other one floats and hangs out, her body is on the same level.
This one tips over, and she must swim really fast to not tip over.

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21st January 2014, 02:54
As floating for extended periods of time does cause an amount of stress, keeping her in the tub until the problem is resolved would be best. Also, it might be a good time to start fridging as that has shown to correct prolonged floating in some axolotls.

Below is a link to a very detailed response concerning floating, which Rayson gave to someone who was in a similar situation as you. In his post he also goes in-depth on treatment options and possible causes.


If you have exhausted all possible causes and fridging doesn't work you'll have to consult a vet.

21st January 2014, 17:22
If there is no other signs of stress or illness, it could be that once the air is swallowed its travelling through the body.
As some axies dont poop every day, it could be the reason for the couple of days intervals with the floating.

Try keeping him in lower water levels so he is more comfortable until you can get him to a specialist :D

29th January 2014, 02:59
Awesome tips, and link. I'll try to fridge her, first of all. I've just never done it before so i'm a bit scared i guess.

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6th February 2014, 02:47
Had my axie in the fridge for a week now and she still floats and has not passed any food.
I've feed her every second day and she's been eating somewhat normal. But she seems normal, not bloated or anything.

How long should i keep her there if there is no change? And what to do then? I have no further idea on what the problem is. The vets knows to little about them, can't really get any help.
The pet store knows enough to house them but nothing about this more than all the things we've talked about here

If nothing changes, can i try to have something that floats on the surface in the tank so she can stay under it?
And see if it goes away with time? Can floating be dangerous other than the fact that she gets tired?

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6th February 2014, 03:00
my gal burrito is a floater
some of them just float a lot, but r otherwise healthy
the time from eating to pooping varies
i find females who have just spawned (like my burrito) or who havent eaten in a few days hold food in for longer
then they take the biggest dump u will ever see
perhaps your gal is trying to build up an egg reserve
i think they need to extend their belly with food to fit eggs; i know they gulp air while spawning to keep body pressure up to eliminate all eggs
i wouldnt leave her in the fridge for too much longer than another week
i would set up her regular tank with stuff she can grasp (huge flat stones) and some fake vines and plants
my friend thinks they float from not having enough space
another tip is to float ice in the tank at room temp so she has a temperature gradient
as far as putting anything else in the tank to hold her down i dont recommend it, they surface breathe more than u may think and it isnt safe to prohibit such behavior
i dont think floating is dangerous as long as A:there isnt anything harsh that can get at the water surface (temperature issues or a lamp or whatever) B:no predators can snatch it (cats or such) and C:nothing that can be swallowed accidentally is floating near her

6th February 2014, 15:09
Maybe get yourself an aerator, but try turning the lights off in the tank and making it as dark as possible to see if that helps.

6th February 2014, 16:12
I agree with Seagull. Some axolotls seem predisposed to floating. My female Golden floats all the time, but I have never seen my male Wild Type float.

I believe that many floating problems are caused by a buildup of wind. My Golden is quite greedy and often rushes her food, so it wouldn't surprise me if that is what causes that for her. You may find this particular axxie floats a lot for the rest of her life, but this isn't a problem unless it appears to cause distress or causes her harm. Remember that axolotls gulp air to fill their rudimentary lungs (although of course gas exchange takes place across the gills, they do fill their lungs as an 'air supply,' and researchers found they could hold their breath for a year this way). That can also cause them to float.

I also wouldn't fridge her unless you are sure it is doing her some good. Fridging can release trapped wind but it's generally advised only if a dangerous object has been swallowed - such as a rock - to stop it from being digested. Fridging is stressful for them, as is constant changing of temperatures and locations.

My advice would be to take her from the fridge after a few days (say 1 or 2) and gently acclimatise her to her tank water by warming the cold water from the fridge gradually using her normal tank water. Then reintroduce her to her tank, keeping her dark, cool and calm. I think it will sort itself out. Hope this helps!

6th February 2014, 22:55
Interesting about the eggs. They have both just started to get all black fingernails. And i don't really know their sex yet. They are not that old, but who knows, the first idea i've heard that's different from others at least.

The tank is in a private room where the lights are always off, and it's a really big tank. So neither light or space can be the issue.

Have you read the things i've wrote before? Does it seem like normal floating?

Getting exhausted and just drifting around at the surface. Or swimming constantly trying to find a place that can hold her down, stressig the other axie i have?

The other one floats too. For a couple of days sometimes, but you can see her go down to the bottom when she want's. She seems in control, Poppy seems to have no control and gives up.
Feels wrong doing nothing. But i guess i have nothing left to do but wait.

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12th February 2014, 02:39
Hi! Update.

Had Poppy back in the tank for three days now, she hasn't float until today. But it started all over again, just a little at first, and toonight i got out of bed, checked her on my way back and she was floating upside down. She's been like that a couple of hours now.

The alarming thing is that she spent 11 days in the fridge, eating a normal portion of food every second day and didn't poop during the visit in the fridge. Back in the tank i could easily miss it, but as far as i can see, she hasn't passed any food yet.

Her stomache has not seem swollen, (except right after she eats. ) In fact some days she's seemed thinner, like the food is gone. So some part of her digestive system workes at least.

I just have a feeling that floating upside down isn't a good sign? Am i wrong?

During the night i can hear them both Gulping for air a lot ( i check sometimes ) during the night my other axie also floats at the surface, but during daytime she's at the bottom. And never gulpes, just seems like she's playing around at night. All normal none alarming behaviour, a content lotl that does as she pleases.

I'll try to get a good pic of Poppy tomorrow when the natural light in the room is better, i only see them now in the dark because they are white ;p practical though.

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12th February 2014, 07:56
Have you read this post (http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beginner-newt-salamander-axolotl-help-topics/f48-axolotls-ambystoma-mexicanum/f57-axolotl-general-discussion/90091-floaters-new-phenotype.html)? It seems it may be genetic and it's a mutation that means she can't breathe out properly, making her float. What you're describing sounds more like this than normal voluntary holding-her-breath for a short while behaviour.

12th February 2014, 09:38
Thank you for the read Jude,
very interesting

20th February 2014, 02:07
Thank you, that just might be it. But i'm scared to just do nothing.
This article says though that these floaters seem healthy otherwise, my Poppy gets really swollen from time to time, otherwise healthy but like she can't pass food and gets all bloated. I mean, she stops to float in lower water, just after some days. So it doesn't add up either, but i'll try keeping her in the tank.

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20th February 2014, 02:12
One of my guys is a chronic floater. I would say as long as its eating and shows no sign of stress it shouldn't be an issue. If you can try to watch your axolotl, I caught mine purposely eating bubbles to float. When he wants to sink he will spit them out. Better to not stress out the axolotl, if it wants to be a balloon let it fulfill its dream.

20th February 2014, 02:22
He posted another thread about this problem: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beginner-newt-salamander-axolotl-help-topics/f48-axolotls-ambystoma-mexicanum/f58-sick-axolotl/95888-help-swollen-axolotl.html

Seems it floats belly facing up and struggles to write itself causing his axolotl frustration. Usually when they gulp air they are capable of controlling their orientation.

20th February 2014, 03:57
He posted another thread about this problem: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f46-beginner-newt-salamander-axolotl-help-topics/f48-axolotls-ambystoma-mexicanum/f58-sick-axolotl/95888-help-swollen-axolotl.html

Seems it floats belly facing up and struggles to write itself causing his axolotl frustration. Usually when they gulp air they are capable of controlling their orientation.

This makes me think that there might be some type of internal infection that is causing a buildup of gases. Could the axolotl be reacting to some type of food? maybe a switch in diet can stop this?

20th February 2014, 19:24
I've tried three different diets, for like a month each. Schrimps, earthworms, and now red mosquito larvae.

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20th February 2014, 19:26
I've tried three different diets, for like a month each. Schrimps, earthworms, and now red mosquito larvae.

I know and you must get annoyed having to keep typing that. I wish some would read through the thread before actually posting.

21st February 2014, 03:08
A bit, but it's okey. Just amazed that so many want's to help. Really greatful :)

I put her back in the tank today and gonna watch her.
She turns upside down sometimes, but i put some more plastic plants att the surface so she can turn around now more than before. Seems to be working so far

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21st February 2014, 03:27
(I'm still writing she allthough i'm pretty sure that it's a male. )

And i've noticed that he gulpes a lot of air during the night when he floats at the surface. But if he swims around he burpes bubbles out again. So that seems to be working.

I'm not expecting that much more help anymore, seems like i've heard everything there is twice already. And tried it.

I'll keep trying to find a vet, keep him in the tank keep updating, maybe it can help someone else. Escpecially if he gets better.

Thank you all again! :)

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21st February 2014, 03:41
Okay i skimed through the thread so I am sorry if this has already been asked. What are the water parameters? Ammonia, nitrite nitrate and ph. Floating is completely normal for some axolotls, and expecially still young axolotls. One of mine use to always play dead. What makes me wonder about your water quality os that you said you only do 10% water change weakly which is in most cases not enough.

A buildup of toxins in the water would make your axolotls want to spend a lot more time a the surface, and because they are still young(and clumsy) which would make the chance of inhaling or swallowing air more likely to happen. Since you say they are gulping a lot of air, its a good possibility. Though i noticed this with a couple of my babies, it is a habit they seem to grow out of over time.

22nd February 2014, 23:07
The parameters are stabile and no ammonia. I did water changes a lot before, but was told to do less. So i am now, 10-20% weekly and a bigger one maybe every second or third.
They do not gulp air a lot, just sometimes at night when they float, like they think water movements are food.
But my other axie spends her time at the bottom or in a plant, she hasn't changed at all since i got her.

They're both in the tank now and eats like normal. Poppy still floats, but will see what happens.

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8th March 2014, 12:49
It's been a couple of weeks in the tank now.
Poppy is still floating, a lot, but seems to have found his way around the tank, where to rest and what to grab so to speak. Today he was swimming very calm. Still with his bum in the air but not frenetic and stressful as he usually does. So maybe this is just floating that won't go away but something he can live with.
Still eating normal, and his stomache is not swollen anymore.

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12th March 2014, 15:36
Poppy today, bum floats up when he walks, but he can walk on the bottom now!! I've only fed them schrimps after i read that more fat in their food can help floating. Now after a couple of weeks he can walk again! Amazing, and making me very happy!

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