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

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
ophelia123
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Default Sick Axolotl, treatment advice??

Hi all,

My two year old axolotl, Ophelia, is looking quite stressed and I would love a second opinion on a treatment plan for her.

About a week ago, I noticed the water getting pretty cloudy. I did an API test kit, and found the nitrite levels to be somewhat high, at about 0.5 ppm. Ammonia seemed normal, less than 0.25 and nitrates seemed very high, between 80 and 160 ppm. My axie seemed fine, however, active with a normal appetite. The tank is well established and has been up and running for about a year. Substrate is sand. I did a 50% water change and put in some Acurel F water clarifier. On the following two days switched out about 15% of the water. Water parameters are unchanged as of today, and the water has grown very cloudy. I can hardly see my axolotl inside the tank! I noticed some white cottony fungus on her gills today and saw that her gills were curved inwards. I am starting her on salt baths and my plan is to fridge her for the next couple of days.

My concern is, I don't know what is causing issues with the water quality. The temp has been higher than I like lately, at about 20 degrees C, but this is the only change I can perceive. I am also doubting my test kit. Do these parameters (high nitrite and nitrate, low ammonia) make sense. In the past, whenever I have done a water check, the nitrate levels have always been high (around 80 ppm) which doesn't really make sense in a cycled tank--I do a 30 % water change once a week. Thoughts?

I am considering totally emptying the tank and replacing the sand while she is being fridged and allowing the tank to cycle again while her fridging continues. Is this necessary?

Thanks in advance!!



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
Kingfisher
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Default Re: Sick Axolotl, treatment advice??

What is the size of your tank and type of filter?

If your tank is cycled you should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and around 40 nitrates. If you're getting all of a sudden high nitrites you may have some food or waste caught in your sand creating more ammonia levels.

If you remove your sand you might get higher ammonia and nitrites levels because you'll be remove the beneficial bacteria in your sand.



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
ophelia123
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Default Re: Sick Axolotl, treatment advice??

It's a 20 gallon tank w/ a fluval three media filter (sponge, carbon, and those chemical pellets to help bacteria).

I did find a piece of food stuck in the sand,which would explain the nitrite spike. In this case, does it make sense to have low ammonia with the high nitrites? I'm guessing this would explain the cloudy water as well.

After three salt baths, the fungus seems to have cleared. I'm thinking of taking her out of the fridge and keeping her in an isolated tub until I fix the water quality. I'm nervous that my fridge temp is too cold, it's about seven degrees now. I might also throw in some indian almond leaves when I transfer her back to the tank--does this help with stress/fungus?



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
ophelia123
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Default Re: Sick Axolotl, treatment advice??

Update:

Nitrite and ammonia levels are now sitting at approx 0-0.25 ppm

However, the water is still very cloudy (even after three doses of Acurel F which usually works wonders)

Should I be concerned about the cloudy water?



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #5
Hayley
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Default Re: Sick Axolotl, treatment advice??

I would recommend not using any additives with axolotls. They're a lot more sensitive than fish are and it can cause issues. I'd tub the axie like you suggested until you get the tank back on track. The cloudyness could be a bacterial bloom which will reduce with regular water changes. It isn't anything to worry about. The hidden food is probably causing your issue so you should see the cycle fix itself back up. I would do a couple of large water changes just to rid the water of Acurel F.
7 degrees is too cold for my liking for an axie that isn't super sick so if you can tub somewhere and keep temps 15-18 degrees that is perfect.
Indian almond leaves will absolutely help fungus. I would suggest you use them in the tank :)



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