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

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Old 30th December 2007   #1
pallyndrome
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Default FLOATING AXIE please help

Hi my brother has an axolotl named Leopold. He's away at the moment, so me and my mum are keeping an eye on him. Recently we got some live plants for his tank. Aside from the plants there is also gravel and a filter. He doesn't have a light, but mum has let more light into the room since we got the plants. recently he has been floating on the top of the tank. the plants are clustered at one end, and he is floating on top of the plants or in between the plants and the side of the tank. he is eating fine, and still seems interested in his surrounding. we don't know if it's a he/she. we tested the pH and ammonia, and both are fine. we clean the tank (syphon the gravel and replace around a third of the water) around every 10 to 14 days. the filter creates bubbles, so we think his oxygen is ok. we think he looks ok health-wise, but we're not experts, so maybe someone could give us some tips on what to look for to see if he's sick? and is the floating not normal? does it mean that he is sick? advice would be greatly appreciated. thank you.



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Old 30th December 2007   #2
Sarah
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Axolotls sometimes float normally, the problem is when they float excessively or have trouble going back to the bottom of the tank. Can you ask your brother if your axie often floats? I find mine floating in the plants a lot in the morning and have never been that worried about it as he has always been like that and all my paramters/temp are fine. If yours is eating that is a good sign as axolotls often don't eat when they are stressed out.

What is the temperature of your tank also? It should be under 20C ideally.

Some signs of sickness or stress to look out for are gills that point forward instead of back, a curled tail tip, refusal of food, bloated stomach or anything unusual with the skin (like white cottony stuff). If your axolotl doesn't have any of them and continues to eat I probably wouldn't worry too much.

On a side note, I would tell your brother when he gets back to remove the gravel. Axies can eat gravel and it can make them quite sick. He would be better off keeping his axolotl on sand or a bare tank floor.



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Old 30th December 2007   #3
pallyndrome
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thank you for the advice. The axie has only been floating since around the time we put the plants in (live plants), and started letting more light into the room. Before that he didn't float much, but now he is always at the top of the tank. We can't see any of the other problems you mentioned, like gills forward etc. We will check the temperature but we have to buy a thermometer first (the room temperature is around 26 celsius at the moment).



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Old 30th December 2007   #4
kapo
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Best if you buy a thermometer asap. It's ok letting light into the room, but if the tank temperature is over 20C then you may have to use cooling methods to bring the tank temperature down. See: http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/cooling.shtml

A good method is to use a fan blowing across the surface of the tankwater (pedestal fans are good for this as you can change height and angle of the fan without worrying about it falling into the tank - I've seen members take photos of the small desk fans that they propped on the tank top aimed downwards to try and cool the tank), this brings the temperature down a couple of degrees.

Also, freezing bottles of dechlorinated water (3/4 full as ice expands); and then floating them in the tank. You have to rotate bottles, so as one melts and before its completely melted put another bottle in the tank, to maintain cooler tank temperature.

If you add styrofoam/polystyrene round the exterior of the tank (back and sides and front if need be), this will also help maintain cooling temperature longer (which can be handy if you work during the day).

Otherwise failure to cool the tank and maintain it below 20C can stress the axolotl and make it sick. When this happens the best place to put an axolotl is in the fridge.

If temperature is fine (you need to monitor it daily), the axie may just be enjoying the plants (hangout mode is common especially if there are plants in the tank).

One thing you have to be a bit vigilant about during the summer months other than temperature is water quality. 10=14 days can be too long to leave the tank for a waterchange as if there happens to be any ammonia or nitrites in the water the temperature can speed it up faster; especially with there being gravel in the tank. Gravel (especially if it has an undergravel filter) harbours waste. A lot of gunk builds up beneath the filter plate and beneath the gravel; despite being siphoned; hence the need to check the water parameters (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) weekly and siphon more regularly (weekly) than 10-14 days.

pH levels do not need to be adjusted if they range between 6.4-8.0 (axies can live in those pH levels, so no need for adjusting those - pH up and down are only temporary fixes). Only thing is if pH is 8.0+ and there happens to be any ammonia in the tank then the ammonia is far more toxic.

How large is the tank (measurements)?

Other than that welcome to the forum and keep us posted!

On another note: Don't be tempted to buy things the petshop may try and sell you to fix the water parameters (this can be fixed by frequent partial waterchanges - 20=30% waterchange when needed; ie ammonia or nitrIte levels over 0) or give medicine to your axolotl (most fish medicines are toxic to an axolotl)



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