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kgracelew 2nd September 2018 20:40

My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
So i bought an axolotl from a breeder that kept her in a tiny tupperware container and while i was waiting on my parents to bring me a 50 gallon tank that they had, i also kept her in a tubberware container (very sad, i know). I just got her tank completely set up and all of the chemicals and water levels are correct (i just tested it earlier today). I put her in and had a fan going to cool down the water but i think maybe there was a little too much motion maybe because her gills were moving in the water. she's been in there for about an hour and now her gills are flicking constantly. i am worried maybe the fan removed too much oxygen from the water? i really don't know what is wrong but she seems stressed...her gills are pointed forward more than usual...should i put her back into the tubberware?! or is she just adjusting to the tank? she has NEVER had a tank this big in her life. please give me advice i don't want her to die or have a bad life.

i read that it could be that the water is too hot? its at 73 right now which i KNOW is not ideal. im trying to get it below 70 to around 65-68. i hope that this fan lowers it enough. my question is, should i remove her from the tank and put her in a cooler tupperware or will she be okay? is this a life threatening temperature...? when i change her water in the tupperware, i always put it in the freezer to get the water colder and then put her in after i treat it with prime. but after a while it is around 70-73 degrees. so i thought she would be okay....i really need some advice. will she die if i leave her in the tank?

kgracelew 2nd September 2018 21:30

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
update: i took her out of the tank and put her back in her tupperware. it is at 67 right now and she seems to be doing better. i am very nervous about putting her back in and if the fan does not cool the tank down enough, i may just get a second fan. please give me advice i do NOT want to kill her...

Hayleyy 3rd September 2018 02:34

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
Okay, first a tupperware is okay for the axie to be in temporarily, so don't worry about that :)
How long was the 50 gallon cycling for? Can you post the water parameters so we can get an idea of the tank please. Great size for a tank too, you could get a few more axies in future if you want!
Because the fan agitates the surface it will add oxygen, not remove it.
I believe gills can flicker as she is getting used to a new tank but if there is a current pushing her gills around you want to reduce that. You could try turning the fan down if it has settings, or moving it further away. What filter are you using? It could be contributing to the current as well. Depending on the fan I don't think that alone it could cause such a current in a 50 gallon.
In the long run 73 degrees is too hot, and if she is a juvenile she will be more susceptible to hotter water. The fan may be able to drop it enough but for a large tank like that (and to make your life easier) I would recommend a chiller. You can buy one or make one yourself, if you're handy. They can be pricey but you can probably find a second hand one, or one on sale.
If the fan drops and maintains the temperature under 68 degrees, and you can reduce the current, then it is okay for her to be in there. Otherwise tubbing is fine while you find a solution. If tubbing make sure to change 100% of the water every day so ammonia doesn't build up. You can also set up a small fan near the tub if it's getting above 70 degrees. To the main tank you could add some tall decorations where the current is the highest, this might be able to drop it a bit.
Hope all this helps!

kgracelew 5th September 2018 16:38

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
1 Attachment(s)
So the tank has been "cycling" for a few days now. I followed the instructions on Axolotl City and did a capful of Prime and then five capfuls of Stability (2.5 every day for 7 days after...i think im on day 4 now). I will attach a picture of my water levels. The fan has brought my temperature to 70 degrees exactly. It cannot change how strong it blows but i can angle it away from the water if i wanted to. I am using a Eheim 2215 filter and the current created by that is insanely gentle. i want to add another fan to bring the temperature down but am scared it will disturb the water too much.

i can attach a video if you want of how often she's flicking her gills but its either every 5 seconds or sometimes every second which is not normal at all. i kept her in the tank for a while to see if she would get used to it...but then after 30-60 min i saw her scratch her gills and immediately took her out and put her in her tupperware (yes, i do 100% water changes and chill and treat it with prime beforehand).

i am really worried because i don't know what the problem is...i know there is an issue with the tank but im not sure what it is. another thing that could be the problem: the fan has made my water murkier (im assuming its disturbing the sand). hopefully it will settle in a while but this could be irritating her gills?

thank you for helping me. i just REALLY don't want to hurt her and i want this tank to be perfect.

Attachment 54228

Hayleyy 6th September 2018 03:27

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
So the test readings look like the tank hasn't cycled yet, which is fine since it's only been running a few days. The best way to cycle it will be to keep the axie tubbed and let the tank do it's thing. You'll need to add a source of ammonia, which could be fish/axolotl food or liquid ammonia. Keep using the stability as per instructions. Axolotls are really sensitive to water parameters which is why it's good to keep them out of a cycling tank if possible. The ammonia results you have aren't showing properly, might be a silly question but did you add bottle #2 to the test tube? It should show some variation of yellow-green within a few minutes.
Ammonia can cause them to scratch at their gills, so check it again. Sand might also be irritating her. Can you post a video of the fan causing the water current? It shouldn't be that strong to bring up the sand, the fan on my 35 gallon only makes the surface move. Must be a really strong fan!
You can use frozen water bottles as an emergency measure to bring the water temp down, but it isn't something you want to rely on as it can cause fluctuations in temperature. You can have 2 fans but if it's causing a big current issue then look into the chillers. Especially good if you live somewhere that is really hot (especially in summer) like I do :)

kgracelew 6th September 2018 23:15

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
Wait it has not cycled yet? I am so sorry I am very new to aquariums. I read that once I put the solutions in that it would be fine after 10 minutes to introduce your animals. That would explain explain a lot...I have tested for the high range ammonia and it doesn't even come to the first level. Theres literally none in there. Should I add some of her pellets to the water to get some ammonia? If so how many or does it even matter? Also I wanted to tell you that there is a clear/whiteish slime looking substance on the top of my water...I read this could be biofilm? Is this harmful or good for my tank? From what Ive read it seems to be normal...I will do a 25% water change at the end of the week and test my water again after that. Thank you so much for all your help I feel very lost at the moment...

Hayleyy 7th September 2018 01:17

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
Very happy to help, lots of places give incorrect information about aquariums let alone axolotls so I'm glad this forum exists!
With the ammonia even if there is none in the tank it should show up as yellow, which is odd! Could be human error, or a one off.
The additives would help a tank along but they can take a week up to months to actually cycle. The cycle is basically growing beneficial bacteria to eat all the nasties building up in the water. To add ammonia you can put a bit of fish food in every day or two. I haven't used this method before but I would probably add food until the ammonia test is coming back as 0.50ppm, unless someone says otherwise. You don't have to do any water changes while it is cycling, unless there is an animal living in it. Ammonia is "eaten" by nitrite which is then "eaten" by nitrate. Water changes will remove ammonia which means there is less "food" for the nitrite to eat and so on, so the cycle can slow a little bit.
Yes the coat on the top is probably biofilm, surface agitation should reduce it (from the fan or filter). I believe it is okay, as long as there isn't too much as it affects the oxygen and CO2 in the aquarium. You can use a net to remove it if you want :)
Hope all this helps!

kgracelew 8th September 2018 18:38

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
So i have been testing my ammonia levels and it is still not showing up...should i buy a separate kit to test for it...ive used both bottles and I've been adding her pellets to the water and just put in her poop (ew). i am thinking about getting some goldfish to put in there to kick the cycle off but im not sure if i should?

Hayleyy 9th September 2018 02:42

Re: My axolotl is flicking its gills constantly
Cycling with fish can take longer so just do what you're doing. You could take a sample of water to your local fish/pet store and ask them to test for ammonia. They should be able to do it for free.
I've never had my ammonia show up like that so I have no idea if that's normal :/ Test it again in a few days, you should absolutely see ammonia soon.

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