Help please - white fluffy substance on golden's gills - pics attached

AEG

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Hi, I'm a new axolotl owner and freaking out a bit - any advice very welcome please!! I've woken up this morning to find a white fluffy ball apparently attached to Gannon's gills - is it some sort of fungus? I've been having problems establishing the tank so worried it's caused by that. I did attempt to cycle the tank before we introduced Ganon but this is totally new to me and it seems it was not full cycled as I keep getting nitrite spikes. Ammonia levels are always pretty much zero so the first part of the cycle seems to be working but nitrite keeps going up (so not converting to nitrate?!!!). I'm regularly doing 50% water changes and using Seachem Prime as a water conditioner and Stability to help get bio filter going properly.
I also had some live plants in there which don't look too healthy - I think probably not getting enough light. I've taken them out today and will replace with plants tolerant of low light - could it be that causing my problem?
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated - I'm totally new to this and feeling very stressed!
Ganon.jpg
 

EasternRomioi3

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Hey, so that does look like gill fungus, to me. I am a major amateur/novice at this, but my axolotl had bad gill fungus in like October and we were able to cure her and she's healthier now than she's ever been.

I suggest doing larger water changes. I do like a 70% one once a week. I have a bunch of buckets that I take, each is 5 gallons, and I fill them with normal water from our bath tub but I let them naturally dechlorinate with some plastic bags over the top (so dust and certain cats don't fall in the buckets like morons). Usually takes 48 hours with the terrible water my landlocked US city has.

As for the nitrite spike, ok, first, can you give me a time table. When did you set up the tank and when did you introduce him and when was the first nitrite spike. Approximate it if you have to. My axolotl's cycle broke back in August, I actually screwed it up, was my fault. I cycled the tank again with her in it. I was off work so I was home constantly. One night she had a bad nitrite spike at like 1am, I took her out, put her in a tub with fresh, cold water, and then did like a 95% water change. She came out of it ok but that's how she got the fungus. From what I can tell, those 2 things go hand in hand. So I want to say my girl's tank wasn't fully cycled till the last day of September, so about 35 days. I cheat however, and have two medium size sponge filters in her tank, so the cycling didn't take as long as usual.

What filter are you using?

As for the live plants, I've had no success with them, mainly because of the lack of light. What plants do you have? We tried some pothos plants and while they did help on the nitrates, they started to wither too much so I pulled them out and repotted them.

Oh and do you have an API Fresh Water Master test kit? That thing helped me save my axolotl's life.

Now, the last thing I'm going to say, do not thing you need to go do a salt bath regiment immediately. I waited like 2-3 weeks and then one of the gill stalks on my girl fell off and I knew it was time for the salt bath regiment. It is very unpleasant, we experimented with quantity of aquarium salt and water volume till we found an amount she would tolerate ok. IF this continues, I can help you with that. I have notes all written down.

Oh and if you have a spare notebook, write down that type of stuff. Straight up, I have like 20 pages of notes from what I've read here and gotten from friends on the site, that way if I'm at my girl's tank, I can just open the book I keep under her and figure out what I need to do.

How long has the fungus been on your little one's gills? Is this the first time you've noticed? I've had success with taking my girl into her little quarantine tub for like 10 minutes, letting her cool down and then using my turkey baster to blow water gently across her gills. Sometimes she tries to bury herself and gets sand in her gills and is pretty irritated from it. Could possibly loosen some of the fungus but it is only a temporary fix.

Sorry for the thesis I left you. I hope it works out. Hopefully more members will weigh in on this too.
 

AEG

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Hey, so that does look like gill fungus, to me. I am a major amateur/novice at this, but my axolotl had bad gill fungus in like October and we were able to cure her and she's healthier now than she's ever been.

I suggest doing larger water changes. I do like a 70% one once a week. I have a bunch of buckets that I take, each is 5 gallons, and I fill them with normal water from our bath tub but I let them naturally dechlorinate with some plastic bags over the top (so dust and certain cats don't fall in the buckets like morons). Usually takes 48 hours with the terrible water my landlocked US city has.

As for the nitrite spike, ok, first, can you give me a time table. When did you set up the tank and when did you introduce him and when was the first nitrite spike. Approximate it if you have to. My axolotl's cycle broke back in August, I actually screwed it up, was my fault. I cycled the tank again with her in it. I was off work so I was home constantly. One night she had a bad nitrite spike at like 1am, I took her out, put her in a tub with fresh, cold water, and then did like a 95% water change. She came out of it ok but that's how she got the fungus. From what I can tell, those 2 things go hand in hand. So I want to say my girl's tank wasn't fully cycled till the last day of September, so about 35 days. I cheat however, and have two medium size sponge filters in her tank, so the cycling didn't take as long as usual.

What filter are you using?

As for the live plants, I've had no success with them, mainly because of the lack of light. What plants do you have? We tried some pothos plants and while they did help on the nitrates, they started to wither too much so I pulled them out and repotted them.

Oh and do you have an API Fresh Water Master test kit? That thing helped me save my axolotl's life.

Now, the last thing I'm going to say, do not thing you need to go do a salt bath regiment immediately. I waited like 2-3 weeks and then one of the gill stalks on my girl fell off and I knew it was time for the salt bath regiment. It is very unpleasant, we experimented with quantity of aquarium salt and water volume till we found an amount she would tolerate ok. IF this continues, I can help you with that. I have notes all written down.

Oh and if you have a spare notebook, write down that type of stuff. Straight up, I have like 20 pages of notes from what I've read here and gotten from friends on the site, that way if I'm at my girl's tank, I can just open the book I keep under her and figure out what I need to do.

How long has the fungus been on your little one's gills? Is this the first time you've noticed? I've had success with taking my girl into her little quarantine tub for like 10 minutes, letting her cool down and then using my turkey baster to blow water gently across her gills. Sometimes she tries to bury herself and gets sand in her gills and is pretty irritated from it. Could possibly loosen some of the fungus but it is only a temporary fix.

Sorry for the thesis I left you. I hope it works out. Hopefully more members will weigh in on this too.
Thanks for the reply, that's really helpful. Tank was set up around 10th December and following advice we 'cycled' the quick way using Seachem Prime & Stability (maybe not the best advice in hindsight!)... Our little guy, Ganon, arrived 21st December - he's not fully grown - although grown a lot in couple of weeks since we got him. First week or so he seemed fine and water testing all normal. I think early last week, around 5th Jan, I tested and found high nitrite. Did big water change and have been using prime as water conditioner and adding stability every day, doing water change about every 2 days - keep checking water and nitrite keeps going back up. Not seeing any ammonia though? Nitrate seems to stay the same around 40...
Using interpet internal filter - having touched it since the tank was set up. Got rid of plants today (not sure what they were - got them from aquarium place when we collected little Ganon) and replaced today with a java fern which the internet tells me is better with low light! I'm wondering if the old plants decaying were part of my problem?
So will keep doing water changes until the nitrites finally start to drop? Not sure what else I can do?
As for the fungus, actually when I checked again today the worst cotton wool looking bit seems to have fallen off - not sure if that's good or bad?! Will just keep an eye on him for now? Otherwise he seems pretty happy and is eating well which I'm hoping is a good sign?
Thanks again for the help!
 

KayDee

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Yes, it does appear that your little friend has fungus.
My axolotl had a minor case a couple of months ago when my cycle crashed. I tubbed him and changed the water daily with dechlorinated water and he healed quite quickly.
I am quite concerned about him today as we are heading into a heatwave and tomorrow is supposed to reach 37 degrees. Yesterday was 28 degrees and his tank read 23 degrees so I think i will be tubbing him and moving him into the cellar where the temps remain consistent.
Get your bloke into a tub and do water changes once or twice a day while your tank keeps cycling. Once you have a routine it really isn't too difficult to manage his care. I just scooped mine up in a net, plopped him in a small container, changed his tub water and popped him back in.
 

EasternRomioi3

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@AEG

Yes, do water changes more frequently for a bit. When I was dealing with the nitrite spikes, I did a water change every other day, at least 50% but twice a week I did a big one. As @KayDee suggested, just take your little axolotl out of their tank, put them in a nice clear, clean container, I put mine in with 2 gallons of water, I cool it for like 10 minutes in the fridge before hand. Be careful, if you have cats or other animals. My mom's cat fell into my axolotl's tank while I was feeding her, he sank right to the bottom and came face to face with my little girl and it was AWFUL. Fur clogged the filter, huge mess. IF you have cats, watch out for that, they're dumb and curious.

As for removing your axolotl, I recommend using your hand for 2 reasons, 1, get them used to you as their primary human, and 2, if you don't have a SUPER FINE net, you risk getting their gill stalks or filaments stuck in the netting and that will only make the problem worse. Mine is very aware of me and will swim into my hand sometimes, she will also, of course, also take a bite every now and then because she's a sea monster.

Your little buddy also has VERY long gill stalks, so be careful. Mine never had super long ones. And just to give you a heads up, as they age, generally by the second year, they will get spots in weird places, like commonly on the feet first. Mine has black toes, they're not sick or damaged, they're just it. She should get more spots as she ages.

Once an axolotl tank is good, cycled, and you have an established routine of maintenance, everything will work out. I feed mine almost every day, just a pellet or two because I want her to be social, I don't give her a big meal except after I clean her tank. Usually an earthworm.

Hey, I didn't ask, does your house have AC? If not, there are some nice little desk vans that you can use to cool the tank. I have two small, light ones that sit on top of the mesh lid for my girl. My area has no AC since we have winter for like 9 months of the year, but June-August are horrible for axolotls here, since no one has AC.

Oh AND, the turkey baster, get a cheap one. I use it to suck up poop easily without disturbing her. I have another one I use to suck up clean, fresh pellets and then I just let gravity pull it down towards her mouth. Once routine is established, good health will follow.
 

AEG

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Thanks for the replies - really helpful and reassuring! No problems with heat here - am just outside London, absolutely freezing at the moment and doesn't get too hot in summer. No AC - it's unusual in homes here, hopefully we'll be OK. No cats either - do have a particularly stupid dog but he hates water so think we're fine!

Have a turkey baster and doing regular clean ups with that. Still adding Seachem Stability every day to help with the bio filter but no idea if it's helping...

Have done another water change today, will keep going with that and hope the tank stabilises soon...

Any ideas on how long roughly it's likely to take before I start to see the nitrite levels drop on their own, without all the water changes??
Thanks v much.
 

EasternRomioi3

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Yeah, my area is kinda like northern Germany I have been told. But all the Russian immigrants at my church say we're more like Russia, so like 9 months of winter, 3 months of summer. We had a BAD heatwave in June, got over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, was real bad for my axolotl.

As for how long, I estimate like 2 weeks but that's only an estimate. I would just remain hyper vigilant. Like the red flag for mine was when she refused to come out one night. She always comes out and says hello and follows me as I walk back and forth from her tank. She refused to come out one night, I could see her "breathing" and flicking her gills but I noticed she had thrown them forward, which is the defensive posture, so I tested her water and nitrites were FAR too high. I took her out, got clean water, she came back to life in like 5 minutes after being introduced to fresh water.

Wait, what kind of filter do you have? I have two medium sized sponge filters in my girl's tank. One is her old one from her 10 gallon that is fully prepped and her other one is a new one I precycled in left over water in my old turtle tank (turtles are now sharing a much larger tank). Then in like late August I added the second filter. I have one at one corner and the other criss-crossed into the other corner. Two separate air pumps so they both get a strong flow.

Again, I am a super novice at this, just recounting what I did and my axolotl is alive, swimming, super happy, eats regularly, etc, etc.
 
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @MadamePirateOwl Fridging is best left to life-or-death situations, and salt baths are unnecessarily harsh, stressful, and abrasive. I'd suggest doing tea baths instead (using caffeinated black tea, where the only ingredient is black tea).
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    so no idea what the goop is?
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hard to tell without a photo, but might be algae or fungus floating. Water changes will take care of that.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    It definitely came from the axolotl. Looked to be mixed into poo the first time. Can I post the photos here?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Im not actually sure how i would post it. It seems to want a link
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Its fairly thick and chunky
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    (Also thanks for your patience and help!)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    You could always upload the photo to imgur and link it back here
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    The second image was how it looked the first time, it was mixed with some other poop like stuff. after that its been small and without the poopy stuff
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  • madcaplaughs:
    The second photo looks reminiscent of partially-digested worms, though I've never seen anything like that. Have you checked your parameters lately?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Right now theyre in smaller tubs that i do daily water changes in
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I'll admit Ive bought test strips but they havent come in yet
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I use Prime to dechlorinate the water, which was recommend by the girl I got them from
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  • madcaplaughs:
    For now I'd tub the axolotl and do daily 100% water changes until you're able to test your parameters
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    I'd also recommend ordering a liquid test kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit since strips are generally unreliable and inaccurate.
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    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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