Floating juvenile, taking gulps of air frequently

Abby_Valdes

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One of my juvenile axolotls started floating about 4 days ago, but couldn't go back down to the bottom of the tank. I took him out of the tank and put him in a smaller container where he could touch the bottom. I kept the water temperature colder with ice packs. I fasted him for two days to make sure there wasn't anything he needed to pass through his system. I then fed him the last couple days and he ate and pooped normally. I put him back in the tank today and he's floating still (slightly sideways) and gulping air at the top frequently.
My tank temperature is about 64 degrees. PH is between 6.8 and 7.2. Ammonia, NH3/NH4 is at 0. I keep sand in my tank so swallowing some of it shouldn't be an issue. The other axolotl is the same age and they're both about 4 inches in length. The other axolotl is walking around on the bottom of the tank fine and doesn't seem to be having any issues. I do think the one floating maybe ate too many bloodworms earlier this week and that's when he started floating. But I'm concerned that it's still happening. I've read different things about fridging and that it's not usually recommended for juveniles. Any ideas on what else I can do? Just be patient?
 

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EasternRomioi3

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Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are all 0? Something isn't right. They should be producing waste to create the cycle, there should always be some nitrates around to show that it is indeed cycling.

I know this reply is kinda late, was at work all week, have you had any improvement?
 

GulfCoastAxolotls

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One of my juvenile axolotls started floating about 4 days ago, but couldn't go back down to the bottom of the tank. I took him out of the tank and put him in a smaller container where he could touch the bottom. I kept the water temperature colder with ice packs. I fasted him for two days to make sure there wasn't anything he needed to pass through his system. I then fed him the last couple days and he ate and pooped normally. I put him back in the tank today and he's floating still (slightly sideways) and gulping air at the top frequently.
My tank temperature is about 64 degrees. PH is between 6.8 and 7.2. Ammonia, NH3/NH4 is at 0. I keep sand in my tank so swallowing some of it shouldn't be an issue. The other axolotl is the same age and they're both about 4 inches in length. The other axolotl is walking around on the bottom of the tank fine and doesn't seem to be having any issues. I do think the one floating maybe ate too many bloodworms earlier this week and that's when he started floating. But I'm concerned that it's still happening. I've read different things about fridging and that it's not usually recommended for juveniles. Any ideas on what else I can do? Just be patient?
What size is your tank?
What are your current water parameters? (i know you said 0 before, just want to recheck it)
I saw you are feeding bloodworms. How often? and how much?
 

Abby_Valdes

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What size is your tank?
What are your current water parameters? (i know you said 0 before, just want to recheck it)
I saw you are feeding bloodworms. How often? and how much?
My tank is 40 gallons. I’m going to take about 20% of the water out today and top it off. I will check the water parameters again then and follow back up. I’ve been feeding them each about 1/4 of a frozen cube daily. I do think the one floating might have ate a bit more of the others’s food when this started happening.
 

Abby_Valdes

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Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are all 0? Something isn't right. They should be producing waste to create the cycle, there should always be some nitrates around to show that it is indeed cycling.

I know this reply is kinda late, was at work all week, have you had any improvement?
They are producing waste which is reassuring. I’ll check the water parameters again today when I change out some of the water. I still have the floating one in a small container where it can touch and I’m keeping it cooler. It still looks bloated on one side of the belly but does seem a little improved.
 

GulfCoastAxolotls

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My tank is 40 gallons. I’m going to take about 20% of the water out today and top it off. I will check the water parameters again then and follow back up. I’ve been feeding them each about 1/4 of a frozen cube daily. I do think the one floating might have ate a bit more of the others’s food when this started happening.
You can't really overfeed them at this age, so thats not my concern at all. 1/2 cube per day is not really enough for a 4 inch axolotl anyway. They will keep eating until they are full. Juveniles will actually tend to gulp/retain air in their abdomens and float when they are underfed. If he is pooping normally, I would not be worried about impaction or constipation at all. Water quality and nutrition are going to be your 2 biggest health factors. Keep me posted about the water parameters.
 

Abby_Valdes

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You can't really overfeed them at this age, so thats not my concern at all. 1/2 cube per day is not really enough for a 4 inch axolotl anyway. They will keep eating until they are full. Juveniles will actually tend to gulp/retain air in their abdomens and float when they are underfed. If he is pooping normally, I would not be worried about impaction or constipation at all. Water quality and nutrition are going to be your 2 biggest health factors. Keep me posted about the water parameters.
Sounds like I've been underfeeding them then. That would make sense without enough food they will retain air and become bloated. I was too worried about overfeeding... I changed 20% of the water today and let it cycle for a couple hours before testing the water. Ammonia came back between 0 and 0.25 and ph around 7.6. Water temp is staying around 63-64 degrees Fahrenheit. I fed the floating axolotl more food the last couple days and he's still pooping normally. Still a little bloated and tilted to one side, but does seem a little better today. I'm going to keep him in the container a few more days to see if he improves with more food.
 

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EasternRomioi3

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Your ammonia looks good, is the blue one your pH? 7.6 is good, at least that's what mine likes. I am concerned about the tilting to one side. I have no idea what that is. How are your axolotls doing tonight?
 

GulfCoastAxolotls

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Sounds like I've been underfeeding them then. That would make sense without enough food they will retain air and become bloated. I was too worried about overfeeding... I changed 20% of the water today and let it cycle for a couple hours before testing the water. Ammonia came back between 0 and 0.25 and ph around 7.6. Water temp is staying around 63-64 degrees Fahrenheit. I fed the floating axolotl more food the last couple days and he's still pooping normally. Still a little bloated and tilted to one side, but does seem a little better today. I'm going to keep him in the container a few more days to see if he improves with more food.
what are your nitrites and nitrates at? out of curiosity, do you know if hes ever been fed live black worms?
 

Abby_Valdes

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what are your nitrites and nitrates at? out of curiosity, do you know if hes ever been fed live black worms?
I am going to run to the store and get a test kit for the nitrites and nitrates. : ) Doesn't look like I have any left so I will follow-up on that today. I know he was fed live brine shrimp and bloodworms. I don't believe he's been fed live black worms but I can check!
 

Abby_Valdes

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Your ammonia looks good, is the blue one your pH? 7.6 is good, at least that's what mine likes. I am concerned about the tilting to one side. I have no idea what that is. How are your axolotls doing tonight?
The blue one is the pH :) I'm going to get a test kit for the nitrites and nitrates today to test that. Here is a reference photo of the axolotl with one side being bloated. The other axolotl is in the tank still and doing great. It's just this one that has been having an issue =/
 

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EasternRomioi3

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Oh my, I don't know why their side looks like that. I sure hope someone can give you a clearer idea. The only thing I can think of is a stone, but you don't have any substrate in their tank, right?
 

GulfCoastAxolotls

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I am going to run to the store and get a test kit for the nitrites and nitrates. : ) Doesn't look like I have any left so I will follow-up on that today. I know he was fed live brine shrimp and bloodworms. I don't believe he's been fed live black worms but I can check!
The reason I ask is because live freshwater worms like blackworms can carry parasites. Floating like that can be a symptom of parasite infection, but i'm not convinced that's the case here. Prazipro is a great parasite treatment for axolotls if you wanted to try it just in case though. It's really quite harmless and very effective. I always keep prazipro and furan 2 on hand.
 

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Just chiming in to say I agree this is probably a case of the axolotl being a little underfed. Would explain the floating and the strangely shaped belly.
If you get them more food (and preferably some different food in addition to the bloodworms) I think that should solve it.

You can't really overfeed an axolotl on accident - the biggest risk with more food is the effect it has on water quality, so a nitrates test kit would indeed be a good idea.
 

Abby_Valdes

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Just chiming in to say I agree this is probably a case of the axolotl being a little underfed. Would explain the floating and the strangely shaped belly.
If you get them more food (and preferably some different food in addition to the bloodworms) I think that should solve it.

You can't really overfeed an axolotl on accident - the biggest risk with more food is the effect it has on water quality, so a nitrates test kit would indeed be a good idea.
That seems to have been the issue! The nirate test was good. I gave him more food though the last few days and he is doing great. His belly looks normal and he is back in the tank as of this morning. Thank you for the tip!
 

Abby_Valdes

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Oh my, I don't know why their side looks like that. I sure hope someone can give you a clearer idea. The only thing I can think of is a stone, but you don't have any substrate in their tank, right?
I have sand in the tank. Seems I underfed him though =/ He is doing much better now today! And he is back in the tank.
 

GulfCoastAxolotls

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I have sand in the tank. Seems I underfed him though =/ He is doing much better now today! And he is back in the tank.
glad he is back to normal. keep us posted if that changes or send a message if you need help or have any questions. Always happy to help.
 
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