Axolotl gills shrinking when in fridge

Ranypizzy

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I have 2 axis for 2 months now. A week ago the white axi started floating more than usual. It even finds it difficult to dive for foods. 3 days ago it had some blood spots on the tail and really didn’t move much but floating. It also lost some appetite. The other axi is fine and I do water change every 5 days so I don’t think ph or other parameters is the problem.
Yesterday I put it in the fridge. Today I saw its gills obviously are shorter and less. Is it normal for losing gills while in fridge? Is fridging a good solution for unknown disease? I would be very appreciate your help since I have no idea what to do next.
 

Binditheaxolotl

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I have 2 axis for 2 months now. A week ago the white axi started floating more than usual. It even finds it difficult to dive for foods. 3 days ago it had some blood spots on the tail and really didn’t move much but floating. It also lost some appetite. The other axi is fine and I do water change every 5 days so I don’t think ph or other parameters is the problem.
Yesterday I put it in the fridge. Today I saw its gills obviously are shorter and less. Is it normal for losing gills while in fridge? Is fridging a good solution for unknown disease? I would be very appreciate your help since I have no idea what to do next.
Will you list your parameters? Sounds like your baby has a ammonia burn. You need to get both lotls out right away into fresh tubs with 100% fresh water changes daily. And order methylene blue and Furan2.
 

Calgarycoppers

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Fridging was not appropriate

Tub both lotls as you likely have an uncycled tank and no every 5 days does not prevent issues.

Are you using Prime as a dechlorinator?

Change the tub water twice daily with the coldest water you can get from your tap.
 

Binditheaxolotl

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Fridging was not appropriate

Tub both lotls as you likely have an uncycled tank and no every 5 days does not prevent issues.

Are you using Prime as a dechlorinator?

Change the tub water twice daily with the coldest water you can get from your tap.
That won’t cure the ammonia burn very fast though. I would prefer to just treat it because of the fact it provides relief faster
 

Calgarycoppers

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You throw the same things at all of these.

Soothing the skin and rebuilding the slime coat is whats needed.

Fridging is for severe impaction, extreme environmental heat and to stall infection under vet treatment or when you think your lotl has passed but 24 hours in fridge is always first.

Throwing antiinfectives at everything means its on the environment and water supply. We have nothing left in Canada because of hobbyists throwing everything at their tanks when it wasnt appropriate. The meds were found in our drinking water, in the local wildlife etc. You do not treat with meds especially furan 2 which can cause huge issues in humans as can several others.

That won’t cure the ammonia burn very fast though. I would prefer to just treat it because of the fact it provides relief faster
 

Binditheaxolotl

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You throw the same things at all of these.

Soothing the skin and rebuilding the slime coat is whats needed.

Fridging is for severe impaction, extreme environmental heat and to stall infection under vet treatment or when you think your lotl has passed but 24 hours in fridge is always first.

Throwing antiinfectives at everything means its on the environment and water supply. We have nothing left in Canada because of hobbyists throwing everything at their tanks when it wasnt appropriate. The meds were found in our drinking water, in the local wildlife etc. You do not treat with meds especially furan 2 which can cause huge issues in humans as can several others.
I recommend them for lots of things because I’ve yet to find something that’s lotl safe and can cure most things. Fungus, ammonia burn, bacterial infections, all methylene blue can treat. Someone even used it for ich or columnaris, I forget. Furan2 is very helpful as well. As long as you use Furan2, when you open the packet, in a ventilated place, or a room with a window. I never suggested to fridge. I suggested to tub. There’s a huge difference
 

Ranypizzy

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Will you list your parameters? Sounds like your baby has a ammonia burn. You need to get both lotls out right away into fresh tubs with 100% fresh water changes daily. And order methylene blue and Furan2.
Thanks for your advice. I’ve ordered Furan2 online and will try it. Yesterday I found out the tank had some strange tiny round insects hanging on the glasses. I removed the other black axolotl immediately. I’ll clean the tank on weekend and leave the 2 axis in 2 small tubs, I’m doing 100% water change every day with dechlorinated water.
The white one has been in the fridge for 2 days now. It looks stable but eat less, I guess it’s because of the low temperature , right? I’ll remove it from the fridge (to the new washed tank) as suggested but this process can only be done on the weekend since I only have free time then.
About the parameters, honestly I only have a electric ph pen. I didn’t scale it when I first posted this query. Then I made 50% water change to the tank, the ph then was 7.2, that was before I found out the strange insects at midnight and removed the black axi. I have just ordered the nh3/nh4 test kit, too; I’m too new in this to know all basic tools we should have.
I have methylene blue but I don’t feel comfortable using it since the usage guide doesn’t describe the symptoms my axi has which is red dots on tail, and I try to avoid making it stressed. Is Furan2 safe to use?
Many many thanks!
 

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You have an uncycled tank which is likely the root of your issues.

You need to read up on cycling your tank. This requires time, a heater, ammonia and a full freshwater master test kit.

those little bugs were likely beneficial as many are and people end up nuking their tanks.

red marks are likely a sign of ammonia and or nitrite burns from the uncycled tank.
 

Binditheaxolotl

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Thanks for your advice. I’ve ordered Furan2 online and will try it. Yesterday I found out the tank had some strange tiny round insects hanging on the glasses. I removed the other black axolotl immediately. I’ll clean the tank on weekend and leave the 2 axis in 2 small tubs, I’m doing 100% water change every day with dechlorinated water.
The white one has been in the fridge for 2 days now. It looks stable but eat less, I guess it’s because of the low temperature , right? I’ll remove it from the fridge (to the new washed tank) as suggested but this process can only be done on the weekend since I only have free time then.
About the parameters, honestly I only have a electric ph pen. I didn’t scale it when I first posted this query. Then I made 50% water change to the tank, the ph then was 7.2, that was before I found out the strange insects at midnight and removed the black axi. I have just ordered the nh3/nh4 test kit, too; I’m too new in this to know all basic tools we should have.
I have methylene blue but I don’t feel comfortable using it since the usage guide doesn’t describe the symptoms my axi has which is red dots on tail, and I try to avoid making it stressed. Is Furan2 safe to use?
Many many thanks!
Yep it’s eating less because of the fridge. I prefer to use methylene and Furan2 as a pair, but I assume Furan2 can work alone. I can give u the dosage off my bottle when I get home, I’m at school in a study hall right now. Red dots are still a sign of ammonia burn, I don’t know why the bottle doesn’t list it
 

Ranypizzy

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Yep it’s eating less because of the fridge. I prefer to use methylene and Furan2 as a pair, but I assume Furan2 can work alone. I can give u the dosage off my bottle when I get home, I’m at school in a study hall right now. Red dots are still a sign of ammonia burn, I don’t know why the bottle doesn’t list it
Thanks, I’ll try the furan2 when I get it, hopefully by tomorrow. Do l need to be very cautious on using this treatment because it’s a chemical thing.
 

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I'm a bit confused. Furan2 is an antibacterial remedy, right?
Floating, loss of appetite, ammonia burns - how would that be helped by it? (It's an honest question - I'm not really familiar with using Furan 2)
Wouldn't it also hurt what little beneficial bacteria the tank does have?

To me, it sounds like clean, fresh water is all this needs short-term, and long-term a cycled tank.
More extreme measures (fridging, medication) would only be taking unnecessary risks.

For cycling, the NH3/NH4 kit would be a good start, though you'll also want a kit to measure nitrites and nitrates. Do you know how to get the cycle started? If not, let us know and we'll walk you through it.
 
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Ranypizzy

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You have an uncycled tank which is likely the root of your issues.

You need to read up on cycling your tank. This requires time, a heater, ammonia and a full freshwater master test kit.

those little bugs were likely beneficial as many are and people end up nuking their tanks.

red marks are likely a sign of ammonia and or nitrite burns from the uncycled tank.
If it’s ammonia burn, I’ll use Furan2 as suggested,
I'm a bit confused. Furan2 is an antibacterial remedy, right?
Floating, loss of appetite, ammonia burns - how would that be helped by it? (It's an honest question - I'm not really familiar with using Furan 2)
Wouldn't it also hurt what little beneficial bacteria the tank does have?

To me, it sounds like clean, fresh water is all this needs short-term, and long-term a cycled tank.
More extreme measures (fridging, medication) would only be taking unnecessary risks.

For cycling, the NH3/NH4 kit would be a good start, though you'll also want a kit to measure nitrites and nitrates. Do you know how to get the cycle started? If not, let us know and we'll walk you through it.
Yes, please. I’ll need some advice for the cycle you mention though I’m not really sure what that means (English limitation). I started with the 100% water change every day. I’ll clean the tank tomorrow and reset everything inside. I have sands, a fake wood, some rocks, shells and a filter pump in the tank, is it ok? I only use pump for some short time because the axis don’t look comfortable with high water flow. I have a cooling fan on top of the tank to keep the temperature at 25~28C. I know, it’s very hot in tropical country. Can keeping the water level low reduce the temperature easier?
I’ll look for the nitrate test kit.
 

Ranypizzy

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I haven’t received the furan2 yet. The white axi has increased its appetite. But I saw its back feet turned pink. I’m not sure what that means 🙁. Should I replace it to the tank or keep it in the fridge, or try to buy furan2 somewhere else?
I fed it bloodworms and changed water every day.
Here is the photo of its red dots on the tail and pink feet.
ABF86B01-1639-4F7D-8A0F-8A2DDE9CE0D6.jpeg
 
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Keep both axolotls tubbed until your tank is cycled.
Your white axie does seem to be suffering from poor water quality; that's the cause of both the spots on the tail and the shortened gills (bad water quality is often the reason for gill shrinkage).
For more info on cycling (long post ahead, be warned):
What you want to be doing with your tank is building up the nitrogen cycle between the filter, the substrate, and your eventual axolotl inhabitants. The way the nitrogen cycle works is:
1. Detritus from the inhabitants decomposes into the water, releasing ammonia, which is extremely toxic to fish/aquatic animals.
2. Bacteria called Nitrosomonas (they will live in your filter, substrate, and other spaces with large surface area) break the ammonia down into nitrite, which is less harmful for the tank's inhabitants, but still isn't healthy.
3. Another species of bacteria, Nitrobacter, breaks the nitrite down into nitrate. This is the final step of the cycle; nitrate is the least harmful to aquarium inhabitants, and you can keep it at manageable levels with regular water changes.
So how do you start this cycle in your aquarium, and maintain it?
The first step is providing some ammonia, so Nitrosomonas can feed on it. You can get ammonia from many sources, but the easiest way I've found is to either buy pure liquid ammonia and put in a very small amount, or drop in some fish food so it can decompose and release ammonia.
Once you have an ammonia source, start to test the water every day for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. Your ideal parameters should be Ammonia <0.06, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0. You will start with an ammonia spike, as the Nitrosomonas start feeding on the ammonia, and then your ammonia should gradually taper down over the next two weeks as the Nitrosomonas becomes established.
Next is your nitrite spike. This occurs when the Nitrosomonas is breaking down the ammonia, but the Nitrobacter has not started to colonize and feed on the nitrite yet. This will last around another 2 weeks, during which your parameters should be Ammonia 0, Nitrite <0.75, Nitrate 25.0.
Lastly you'll have nitrate buildup, which happens when both your bacterial colonies are well established. This usually comes 6 to 7 weeks after beginning to cycle the tank; a good marker for when your tank has fully cycled is when your nitrite and ammonia levels are both very low or zero, and your nitrate levels are over 25. Once you get to this point, you can reintroduce your axolotls to your tank, and do weekly water changes from there.
So, that's how tanks cycle. But seven weeks is a long time to keep two separate axolotls in tubs, doing 100% water changes daily! So are there any steps you can take to speed up the cycle? Short answer: maybe, long answer: it's complicated.
While some aquarists do fish-in cycling (keeping the fish in the tank as it cycles), this is largely considered to be inhumane and dangerous to axolotls, as the ammonia and nitrite buildups can give your animal serious ammonia burns or even kill it. I ran my axolotl through his cycle fish-in, because I didn't have any other options at the time; the only reason I felt comfortable doing so was because I did massive daily water changes and was keeping him in a large tank for his size. Doing that much water changing also slows the cycle way down, so expect it to take closer to six months to finish the nitrogen cycle.
The best option to help speed up your cycle (although you can't avoid it entirely) is to find a local fish-keeper who has a dirty filter they'll let you take. Filters are often where bacterial colonies like to live most, so grabbing an old filter or filter piece from someone whose tank has already cycled and had bacteria established can give you a head start on the bacteria you need. If you do this, keep the filter wet, because the bacteria will die if the filter dries up, and continue to monitor water parameters until your nitrate levels are 25+ and everything else is 0 or close to 0.
Last, a little side note: There are many branded "head start" options that claim to help cycle your aquarium. I've tried one, and I have no idea if it made a difference or not; my tank cycled in around two months, but I don't have a "control tank" to see how long it would have taken otherwise. Largely, I'd be distrustful of bacteria-in-a-bottle, because they're living creatures that don't do well just sitting around. The ideal solution is to get an old filter from a pet shop (if they let you) or a friend; it's free, and it'll probably work just as well.

Sorry for the insanely long post and explanation; I hope this helps you with your nitrogen cycling adventures, though! Good luck and happy axie-keeping :)
 

Ranypizzy

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wow, this is really long instruction. I can only understand half of it :) . I removed both axis into the tank. They look find for 2 days. But the white one starts floating again today. The water was changed 90% everyday. Should I treat it with Furan2?(I finally got the med). Can I put Furan2 to the tank with both axis even though the black axi doesn’t have any strange behavior?
I have a filter which has been used from the beginning. But after a month I changed to use a cooling fan and only switched back to the filter for a few hours every 2 days because the axis don’t look comfortable with the strong water flow and it’s too hot here. Should I use filter all the time ignoring their uncomfortable?
 

Ranypizzy

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Tank’s parameters: ph 7.4; ammonia <0.05, reinstalled the filter with ceramic rings. Still looking for nitrate test kit
 

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@Ranypizzy

You should look on Amazon for API Fresh Water Master Kit. It has everything you need. API, brand name, Fresh Water Master Kit is the product name. That one has pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tests and they're very easy to use and very easy to read and easy to clean.

But I want to try and simplify the tank cycling process for you, here.

1, add axolotl to water. 2, axolotl produces waste, creating ammonia. 3, sponge filter slowly converts (cycles) the ammonia into nitrites. 4, filter will then slowly convert nitrites into nitrates. 5, nitrates are the end result, you must perform a water change.

That is a SUPER simplified way to describe it, others can put it in more technical terms. There are warning signs for ammonia and nitrite problems. Ammonia is very obvious, skin burns, lesion, etc. Basically ammonia will cause rapid changes in coloration, a visible que. Now nitrites don't seem to cause any obvious affects physically but they do make your axolotl sluggish, lethargic, and thus, weak. High nitrites will kill an axolotl. The Fresh Water Master Kit tests nitrites, it's the easier of the tests it comes with. I knew my nitrites were screwed up when my axolotl wouldn't fight me. Usually she comes up for food, when I'm cleaning inside she usually tries to defend her turf but one day she was just in her hidey hole and I fed her a worm by hand. I had to tub her for like 20 minutes while I did a massive water change. The second she touched freshwater, clean water, she sprang right back to life.

I do not know what nitrates do, honestly. I know they can be eaten by plant life, and from what I understand, and again, I do not understand this stuff well, I only have the "if this, then this, respond accordingly" style in my head. From what I can tell, they just are like, think of it as your axolotl will have less oxygen in their water, I guess. I'm a historian and a linguist and not big on all this scientific stuff. Hard enough to memorize the English names for things, let alone their symbols and long form names.

How are your axolotls? How are you?
 

Ranypizzy

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@EasternRomioi3
Thanks for your advice. Since my last post, I started to have 30% water change every day or two with filter on 24/24. I also put dry almond leaves into the water, which I heard could turn amonia into nitrite/nitrate, and put yellow ceramic filter balls inside the filter, which was said that can help absorb nitrates (don’t know if it’s true).
My axis turned very well and ate a lot too! The red dots all disappeared quickly. Their gills obviously grow.
I think water change may help solve the problems without using chemicals which I had very low grade at school! I also removed all the decorations and sands in the tank to keep it as clean as possible. Hope they won’t feel bored.
Only one thing left is that the black Axi has some white patches under its armpit. Shall I bath him with Bensol? Its description is “Anti-External, Parasite, Anti-Fungal, Algicid”.
 

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Murk

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Good to hear it's going better!

Daily water changes will indeed help with most water quality issues, but it's a lot of work and it's easier if the bacteria in a cycled tank do the work for you.
For now it's a good solution, though.

Just a few things I'd like to clear up:

I also put dry almond leaves into the water, which I heard could turn amonia into nitrite/nitrate
Nope.
Bacteria turn ammonia into nitrites, and nitrites into nitrates. They need a place to live (filters, substrate) and time to grow (called "cycling").
Almond leaves can do good things for the pH of the water (which technically can help with the ammonia as well), but they don't do anything about ammonia directly.

put yellow ceramic filter balls inside the filter, which was said that can help absorb nitrates
Also no!
The ceramic filter balls are a great place for bacteria to live. These bacteria turn ammonia (toxic) into nitrites (also toxic) and nitrites into nitrates (less toxic).
So that's good! This is how filters work.
They won't get rid of the nitrates, though. The only way to get rid of the nitrates is water changes (or a heavily planted tank).

solve the problems without using chemicals
Great! I agree that's the best way to go about it.
Do note that cycling your tank doesn't involve chemicals at all. All it needs is a place for bacteria to live (which you have: a filter) and time.
If you want to keep your axolotl in the tank, you'll indeed need to do regular water changes which will slow down the cycling, but that's OK if you're not in a hurry.

I also removed all the decorations and sands in the tank to keep it as clean as possible.
This makes it easier to clean, but it also means less places for bacteria to live - so you'll need to clean more often.
That choice is up to you: would you rather clean more often but easier, or more difficult but less often? Both are fine.

Only one thing left is that the black Axi has some white patches under its armpit.
Dark axolotls tend to have lighter patches of pigment, which would be completely harmless.
It could also be fungus, which can be treated by good water quality or as a last measure salt baths. Most likely just pigment, though. Pictures would help.
Either way I'd stay away from the bensol.
 

Ranypizzy

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Hi @Murk
I’m really happy to know that I’m doing right. Cleared all my confusion. These are my black axi’s photos. I think it turned more “white” since I got it. Even its “nose” appears! But I mostly concern about the pigment under its left arm because it looks more white and big than the others. Sorry couldn’t take better photo because it moves all the time, looking for food (I’ve just fed them, 2 cubes of frozen bloodworms for 2 axis per day).
F02EDF04-7533-4833-BA14-77274E598152.jpeg
E40823A6-17A0-41BA-85DD-ED71E2CAD2CB.jpeg
9B080781-1E8E-443F-AAC9-9A4245662DCD.jpeg
 
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