Illness/Sickness: Recently purchased Axolotls floating

LM901

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2 days ago I bought 2 axolotls, a leucistic and wild type and paired them in a tank with enough water and space for them both. I also ensured that they're on sand and not gravel.
This is the first time ever having an axolotl so I'm not entirely sure of what's normal behaviour and what's not

Recently both the Leucistic and Wild type have been floating to the surface of the water and will bob up and down. They're also trying to get out of the water by franticallly trying to swim up the glass. They are able to reach the bottom of the tank easily and will occasionally rest there until they start to float back up again and try to jump out.

We've tried everything and checked the water levels. In the beginning we thought it was the water temperature (as it was really warm when we first got them) and managed to bring it down to a cooler temperature (still not sure of how to maintain a constant temperature, we've tried using fans but I know too much movement on the water is something they don't like.)
The water is at 17 degrees

The only thing left I can think is the water quality as I've noticed that as it's gotten cloudier (from leftover food and such) and have continued to float at water level.
We have a filter which is supposed to do a good job of cleaning the tank and managing ammonia levels.

What could it be that's causing them to try to jump and float at the water level?

We've also considered that it might be stress due to being In a new environment and such but it's been on and off for the past 2 days.
 

Canecorsonewt

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Be sure your aquarium is cycled, if not replace 20% of water intill it is cycled.
 

LM901

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Would it be safe for the Axolotls to remain in the uncycled tank until it's cycled? If not, where would a safe place be for them until the tank is cycled completely as I'm worried that the ammonia buildup and lack of a cycled tank will cause them to die due to exposure

We did a 70/80% water change today in a panic, would that have benefited in anyway?
 

Eternie

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Never leave an axolotl in an uncycled tank, it is too risky. Instead, go out and buy a tubwith a lid,and put holes in the lid, keep it in there until the cycle is complete. I dont know how fishless cycling works though. You MUST DO 100%WATER CHANGES EVERYDAY while its in the tub!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good Luck
 

LM901

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We have them in tubs for now until the tank is cycled, the wild type isn't fond of being in it though, hopefully he'll adjust.
So, complete water changes everyday whilst they're in the tub?
I also wanted to mention that the wild type seemed completely fine in the uncycled tank and acted normal, until I noticed he wasn't eating. So I just decided to take him out anyway.
 

Eternie

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Yes water changes everyday, this is so that there is no ammonia build up, because these creatures are very sensitive to ammonia. He should adjust soon,he just needs to get used to it.
 

LM901

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Just an update -
Both axolotls seem fine and happy in the tub they're in and are eating as they should.
We just have to wait for the tank to cycle completely.
Also, is there any possibility that the substrate in their tank could be holding in any waste or leftover food that the filter can't get to? If so, should i remove the sand and keep it bare?
 

Eternie

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Its a possibility, you can keep it bare,it is easier to clean things up that way, but as they become adults, they stress because they wont be able to grip the bottom as easily if there were sand. My suggestion is to get a turkey baster (which you should have one for them anyways) and sift through the sand a little bit to remove poop and food. You need to remove that stuff anyways when they are back in. You remove food 30 minutes to an hour after feeding them.
 

debadog

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I don't know if Eternie has properly explained what the issue is here.

Your tank needs to be cycled but this is not a case of just letting the water sit there. With your axolotls removed, you will need to add a source of ammonia to start the cycle, and monitor the cycles progress using a water testing kit such as the API test kit (not strips). Cycling is relatively tricky to get your head around so you will need to read up until you understand what is happening and why. Water quality issues might arise in the future and you will need to be prepared and knowledgable to tackle it. The filter only does mechanical filtering, ammonia and nitrite will need to be removed by bacteria that you'll grow while your tank cycles, and then we do weekly water changes to remove the remaining nitrate.

You can do a 100% water change in the tank and then put your axolotls back in and do a cycle with them in it, but most people consider this a bit cruel. You would also need to do large water changes daily in the tank until the cycle is complete.

Fishless cycling takes 6-8 weeks so your axolotls will be a bit miserable in small tubs for that long, please buy some big tubs for them if you haven't already.

Finally, you must never leave food in the tank with them to rot as it contaminates the water. I don't know what you're feeding them but pellets etc. need to be removed 30-60 mins after being put in the tank if they are uneaten. When they are big enough you will need to start feeding them worms as a staple diet, which require no clean up (they'll gobble them down right away!)

Good luck.
 

LM901

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I decided that I'll keep the axolotls out of the tank until everything's cycled as I do think that would be quite cruel for them, especially after seeing how stressed the leucistic was.
I've boughta test kit (not strips) to monitor its progress and I'll see how it goes. I also have a source of ammonia and I understand that a certain bacteria has to grow through cycling to manage it
Hopefully, if I'm doing everything right and as people have said then I should end up with a cycled tank within a few weeks.

I'm also looking into buying a bigger tub for them and I'm doing larger water changes then I have been.
Thank you for your help!
 
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  • Lonewolf:
    Ok I’m new so I have a pink Axolotl and it’s a baby like two three max inches and it eats from the top and it has now been floating a while now should I be worried ?? The other one is at the bottom of the tank and the tail isint hoocked or the gills aren’t curved flowerd they seem relaxed
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  • Lonewolf:
    ?? I’m new owner to the type of fish
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  • Lanalotl:
    Hi I recently rescued a lotl (i did weeks of research before rescuing) Hes mabey 5 or 6 years of age..the previous owner could not remember the exact age of him. I got him from her as he was or had been picked on by his tank mate another lotl who was bough with him from every younger age, I noticed one of his gills, a middle one at the end had split in two? And is slightly more floppy? He also appears or mabey I'm just over worried to mabey have lost some feathers, is that normal to lose some?...all levels in the tank are fine, but wondered if theres and advice anyone could give me as an experienced owner to a new one.
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  • Axolotl Queen:
    @Lanalotl Sounds like the gills may have been nipped by the tank mate. If he is in his own tank and the parameters etc are all good, then he should grow them back and they should go back to full health and strength. However, depending on how old the injury is they may not fully grow back if they have been constantly nipped at.
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  • Smknmom421:
    Can anyone tell me why this is happening? We just did a water change and after freaking out and whipping around the tank, an hour later they look like this. It won't let me send a pic. The edges of their gills are white and it looks like they have skin shedding off
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  • Murk:
    That sounds like severe skin damage. If you post a thread on the forum, you can attach pictures.
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  • Murk:
    It sounds like something went wrong with the water change, so this could be very dangerous. Did you use a dechlorinator? Could it be there are traces of chlorine or soap in the water? (Or for example, in the bucket you used?)
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  • Murk:
    Normally, I would recommend taking them out of the tank asap and putting them in a tub with fresh water, but if there's something wrong with your tap water or dechlorinator, that might not help either. Do you have acces to bottled water or rain water?
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  • Sal22:
    I think my axie is dying, he’s never had any issues before, I’ve had him 3 years, today I noticed some fluffy looking stuff coming from his genital area so I took him out of his tank and did a full tank clean to make sure the water wasn’t infected as I thought it was fungus and then I noticed he had a cut on his belly which was only small about 5 hours ago and now it’s spread to all of his belly, what do I do I’m freaking out
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  • Sal22:
    Update about my axie, unfortunately he has died over night, he looked as if he was bruised allover his belly, his mucus layer had also started to come off.
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    Anyone here from DMV?
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    Hi I have 2 4in juveniles (I’ve had them about 2 weeks and they are doing well I think they’ve grown a little already honestly) but I am supposed to go on a 5-6 day vacation in October about 3-4 months from now. I am wondering how I should go about their care when I am gone. I thought about putting them in separate (fairly big) containers with live plants and/or bubblers with a fan in the dark and either fridging them (my last plan) but I am hoping to to either have someone I trust come feed them and turkey baste waste out or just leave them out and clean the containers before we leave and have someone come check on them once or twice. Does any of this sound like a good or bad idea? I want the best for them. All help appreciated :)
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    @patrickstar116, do you still have your fire salamanders?
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    @Ganaa, I do you may message me if you wish
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    hi.....
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  • JDeslippe21:
    Hi, so I have 2 male axolotls and about an hour ago they were both perfectly fine and now only one of them has his tail curling up and his gills are slightly curled?? But other than that they’re both acting normally
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  • Murk:
    Could be he's just excited, spooked or temporarily stressed, which could pass in a few hours. It could also be an indicator of other problems. Do you have any recent water parameters?
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  • AlexisJG:
    Does anyone have any idea how to help with high ammonia levels? I have the API freshwater master kit and everything else’s test results were great besides ammonia. I did a 50% water change and I use API products including ammonia lock.
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  • MuggleMiChu:
    Help! I got my first axolotl two days ago and they have stopped eating. They ate a few frozen blood worms the first day and haven’t eaten or been interested in food since. I feed them frozen blood worms and the tank is around 64 degrees. I do have a filter that moves sometimes and I noticed them swimming up to it, I have a new filter and a fan coming today or tomorrow. I leave the worms in the tank or a little bit before taking them out so I don’t know if they ate when I wasn’t looking. I know it takes a while for them to digest. Does anyone have any tips or knowledge they can share? The pet store I bought them from didn’t have gravel or sand in the tank so I’m not sure if theres an issue or if I’m just impatient. Thank you!
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu, how big they are? also for substrate, i would not do gravel at all I would either do sand or none at all!
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  • MuggleMiChu:
    They are about 2-3 inches long and I have them in a bare bottom tank
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  • HalfDrunkToast:
    @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head away ( that's what mine do) if that does not work try to get some live brine shrimp and see if they eat that. baby axolotl prefer live food over frozen food as the frozen food is too cold for them or they can't eat it in one go( that's if you do the blocks) mine eat chopped up frozen thawed shrimp. as for them not eating from what I have experienced with my second axolotl, I got her when she was about an inch long and she ate every day, when they start getting 3-4 inches long they will gradually slow down there eating. and if you really want to do substrate I would do sand because if they do ingest a little bit it won't hurt them.
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    HalfDrunkToast: @MuggleMiChu I would say try live black/blood worms untell they are full or just turn there head... +1
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