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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