Second Bout of Gill Fungus

EasternRomioi3

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Hey everyone, my almost 3 year old female axolotl has gill fungus again, real bad, and real sudden. However, it is entirely regulated to the gill stalk she originally suffered with. Back in October she had it real bad and half her gill stalk withered. It regrew in about 2-3 weeks but it has poorer blood circulation than her other ones. Now today I get up and she has a huge plume of it on that same, previously damaged gill stalk. Her water quality is perfect, ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0, nitrates were about 30. I just did a 50% water change on Monday. I was going to do another one tomorrow since I am off work that day.

Is this going to be a chronic problem her whole life? Is there something in my water that is causing this? I feed earthworms like twice a week, usually just pellets. I do a massive water change once a month, like 90%, so I take her out, tub her with an air stone, give her a worm to keep her busy while I work. She's very friendly and active, she's used to being held since I had to give her a salt bath regiment back in October, she's not afraid of me reaching in, sometimes she even rubs up against me. She's not being overly aggressive, she's not throwing her gills forward, she's not hiding, not scratching at her gills. What do you think I should do? I use a little aquarium salt in her tank as a preventative.

I'm quite alarmed how on Monday she had only a teeny spec of it and now she has a cotton swap sized patch of it. It was like half the size of a grain of rice on Monday. I don't know if I should immediately start the successful salt bath regiment again. When I did it, she got 2 baths a day, 1 for 15 minutes, 1 for 10, for 4 days straight, then she got 1 for 15 minutes once a day for 3 more. Her fungus cleared up, she eventually got used to it and wasn't freaking out. I performed it in a bucket bought special for her and with 2 gallons of clean water and would add 8 teaspoons of aquarium salt, 2 teaspoons per gallon. Within two days, the major fungus died and fell off.

Her tank is super cycled, she has two medium sponge filters, she uses the bathroom regularly, eats regularly. My only THEORY on her gill fungus is the sand she now has. She had a super fine, all white sand, but then we got a brown super fine BUT it is not the same company. The sand was exceptionally sludge-like. It took WEEKS for it to settle entirely and now her filters get caked with it, so when I do the big water change, I pull the filters out and pick at the sand, removing it. Could that bad sad be like a vector or something for this disease?

Our water in my area is notably hard to begin with so her ph sits at like 7.6 on a standard day. I've been having such a good time with her and she's been super healthy since Halloween and now this. I don't know why this keeps happening. The last time she had this, I also took all her toys, driftwood, etc out, and soaked them in aquarium salt water, to discourage any fungus growth on them.

Am I accidentally introducing it? The ONLY thing I can think, and this just popped into my head, I've been in a cast on my right hand for over a month. I just got it off but that hand was filthy when it was stuck in that cast. I can't remove her lid with one hand so I always had to like, lift it up on a corner, put my cast under, and then lift the other corner with my left hand. Could I have accidentally introduced some sort of fungus from my cast? I am left handed so I don't generally use my right hand to clean anything in her tank but it's the only theory I have other than something completely outside of our control.

The water she gets is the same water she's always gotten since we got her. I upgraded her tank from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon last May. I am considering removing the sand altogether and replacing it with large tiles on the bottom, that way my mom's silly cat won't be able to crawl under the shelf and look straight up into my axolotl's lair. Would the removal of the sand help?

I just want to know WHY this has happened again. I can fix it when it happens, I would rather not have to fix it.

I have attached a photo and highlighted the offending spot. That gill stalk as ALWAYS been shorter than the others, since we got her, so my dad theorizes it is just susceptible to fungus, a weaker part naturally. The last 3 are all from the previous week, she has NO gill fungus at all. You can see on the one photo her highest gill stalk on HER left side, is the shorter one, it always has been. Any advice would help. Do you think I should start a salt bath regiment asap or wait till next Monday? Let me know, no hurry. Thanks in advance.
 

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Littlewolf

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Hey everyone, my almost 3 year old female axolotl has gill fungus again, real bad, and real sudden. However, it is entirely regulated to the gill stalk she originally suffered with. Back in October she had it real bad and half her gill stalk withered. It regrew in about 2-3 weeks but it has poorer blood circulation than her other ones. Now today I get up and she has a huge plume of it on that same, previously damaged gill stalk. Her water quality is perfect, ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0, nitrates were about 30. I just did a 50% water change on Monday. I was going to do another one tomorrow since I am off work that day.

Is this going to be a chronic problem her whole life? Is there something in my water that is causing this? I feed earthworms like twice a week, usually just pellets. I do a massive water change once a month, like 90%, so I take her out, tub her with an air stone, give her a worm to keep her busy while I work. She's very friendly and active, she's used to being held since I had to give her a salt bath regiment back in October, she's not afraid of me reaching in, sometimes she even rubs up against me. She's not being overly aggressive, she's not throwing her gills forward, she's not hiding, not scratching at her gills. What do you think I should do? I use a little aquarium salt in her tank as a preventative.

I'm quite alarmed how on Monday she had only a teeny spec of it and now she has a cotton swap sized patch of it. It was like half the size of a grain of rice on Monday. I don't know if I should immediately start the successful salt bath regiment again. When I did it, she got 2 baths a day, 1 for 15 minutes, 1 for 10, for 4 days straight, then she got 1 for 15 minutes once a day for 3 more. Her fungus cleared up, she eventually got used to it and wasn't freaking out. I performed it in a bucket bought special for her and with 2 gallons of clean water and would add 8 teaspoons of aquarium salt, 2 teaspoons per gallon. Within two days, the major fungus died and fell off.

Her tank is super cycled, she has two medium sponge filters, she uses the bathroom regularly, eats regularly. My only THEORY on her gill fungus is the sand she now has. She had a super fine, all white sand, but then we got a brown super fine BUT it is not the same company. The sand was exceptionally sludge-like. It took WEEKS for it to settle entirely and now her filters get caked with it, so when I do the big water change, I pull the filters out and pick at the sand, removing it. Could that bad sad be like a vector or something for this disease?

Our water in my area is notably hard to begin with so her ph sits at like 7.6 on a standard day. I've been having such a good time with her and she's been super healthy since Halloween and now this. I don't know why this keeps happening. The last time she had this, I also took all her toys, driftwood, etc out, and soaked them in aquarium salt water, to discourage any fungus growth on them.

Am I accidentally introducing it? The ONLY thing I can think, and this just popped into my head, I've been in a cast on my right hand for over a month. I just got it off but that hand was filthy when it was stuck in that cast. I can't remove her lid with one hand so I always had to like, lift it up on a corner, put my cast under, and then lift the other corner with my left hand. Could I have accidentally introduced some sort of fungus from my cast? I am left handed so I don't generally use my right hand to clean anything in her tank but it's the only theory I have other than something completely outside of our control.

The water she gets is the same water she's always gotten since we got her. I upgraded her tank from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon last May. I am considering removing the sand altogether and replacing it with large tiles on the bottom, that way my mom's silly cat won't be able to crawl under the shelf and look straight up into my axolotl's lair. Would the removal of the sand help?

I just want to know WHY this has happened again. I can fix it when it happens, I would rather not have to fix it.

I have attached a photo and highlighted the offending spot. That gill stalk as ALWAYS been shorter than the others, since we got her, so my dad theorizes it is just susceptible to fungus, a weaker part naturally. The last 3 are all from the previous week, she has NO gill fungus at all. You can see on the one photo her highest gill stalk on HER left side, is the shorter one, it always has been. Any advice would help. Do you think I should start a salt bath regiment asap or wait till next Monday? Let me know, no hurry. Thanks in advance.
First off, deep breath. We will figure out whats going on. Second, and sorry if I missed it, but what is the temperature of the water? I saw the water parameters you posted but didn't see temp listed anywhere.
 

EasternRomioi3

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First off, deep breath. We will figure out whats going on. Second, and sorry if I missed it, but what is the temperature of the water? I saw the water parameters you posted but didn't see temp listed anywhere.

Her water right now is at 62 degrees. I hovers around that. We have no AC, so the summer is a major problem.
 

kirby the axolotl

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Salt baths are very stressful to axolotls so only do salt baths in an emergency, but if it gets worse you might have to do them
 

EasternRomioi3

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@kirby the axolotl

I have done salt baths with her before. Back in October she received a week of them to clear up her fungus then. They worked and she forgave me for snatching her out of the water. I actually just fed her a worm and she kicked up sand into her gills so I had to clean them for her. She was receptive. I can handle the fungus, I need to know WHY the fungus had occurred. I am willing to bet my filthy cast is the cause of it.
 

Littlewolf

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Her water right now is at 62 degrees. I hovers around that. We have no AC, so the summer is a major problem.
ok. 62 is fine. Generally when I see repeated fungal infections, temperature is usually a factor. Did you do anything with the tank after her infection in October before you put her back in?
 

EasternRomioi3

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I was doing like 75% water changes and when she was all healed up, I took all her stuff out, including filters. I rung them out, took the sponge off, cleaned the sand off it with my bare hands, no water used, and then put them back together and then added them to the waterless tank. Then I made a big thing of salt water, 5 gallons worth, and dipped all her stuff into it. Her two things of driftwood spent an hour in the salt water, an hour in normal water, then I left them to dry in the sun. I did the same with her fake plants and rock.

Back in early November I bought a thing of Methylene Blue. I filled up my one 5 gallon bucket and dipped all her stuff in it, the driftwood, fake plants, and rocks. Not her nor her filters. I was worried about her. After dipping them, I soaked them again in normal water from the bathtub before reintroducing them to a clean tank.

Her temperature since October ranges from 60 to 64 degrees. My parents are on blood thinners so they keep the house super warm but Darwin is in the safest spot possible, the corner of our dinning room. It receives 0 sunlight, and has no heating around it and she's on a shelf that keeps the cats and dog away from her. I've considered putting her in my room because I have an AC window unit but my room is actually the hottest in the house because the sun hits it at almost all hours of sunlight. Plus my art lamp will probably drive her nuts, it's super bright and I'm always drawing. She enjoys her spot in the dinning room, she can see us from the safety of her tank but in the shadows.

I just checked on her, she's under her one driftwood, poked out to see that I came home from walking the dog, then slithered back in. Generally that means she's using the bathroom so I will probably deal with that later. No abnormalities in her OTHER than the fungus. My mom pointed out that this gill stalk that keeps getting effected is the smallest and always has been. Her tip is curled, it is not straight. It has never been straight, since she was a little baby axolotl. Like it's got a hook shape.
 

Littlewolf

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I was doing like 75% water changes and when she was all healed up, I took all her stuff out, including filters. I rung them out, took the sponge off, cleaned the sand off it with my bare hands, no water used, and then put them back together and then added them to the waterless tank. Then I made a big thing of salt water, 5 gallons worth, and dipped all her stuff into it. Her two things of driftwood spent an hour in the salt water, an hour in normal water, then I left them to dry in the sun. I did the same with her fake plants and rock.

Back in early November I bought a thing of Methylene Blue. I filled up my one 5 gallon bucket and dipped all her stuff in it, the driftwood, fake plants, and rocks. Not her nor her filters. I was worried about her. After dipping them, I soaked them again in normal water from the bathtub before reintroducing them to a clean tank.

Her temperature since October ranges from 60 to 64 degrees. My parents are on blood thinners so they keep the house super warm but Darwin is in the safest spot possible, the corner of our dinning room. It receives 0 sunlight, and has no heating around it and she's on a shelf that keeps the cats and dog away from her. I've considered putting her in my room because I have an AC window unit but my room is actually the hottest in the house because the sun hits it at almost all hours of sunlight. Plus my art lamp will probably drive her nuts, it's super bright and I'm always drawing. She enjoys her spot in the dinning room, she can see us from the safety of her tank but in the shadows.

I just checked on her, she's under her one driftwood, poked out to see that I came home from walking the dog, then slithered back in. Generally that means she's using the bathroom so I will probably deal with that later. No abnormalities in her OTHER than the fungus. My mom pointed out that this gill stalk that keeps getting effected is the smallest and always has been. Her tip is curled, it is not straight. It has never been straight, since she was a little baby axolotl. Like it's got a hook shape.
hmm. It sounds like you covered your bases with disinfectng everything well, so that good. What I would do if I were you is do a couple salt baths, especially if you have done them before and are comfortable with it. Then keep her tubbed a do some black tea baths. They are soothing and really can help them heal. I use tea baths as kind of a default treatment for a lot of different ailments. If you dilute it enough, you can leave her in the tea even over night no problem. Black tea has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties so it will help no only clear up the fungal issue, but may also help her gill stalk heal up a little too. It's very mild so its worth trying.
 

EasternRomioi3

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I can't keep her tubbed, I have no where safe for her. My mom's German shepherd will tip my axolotl over. I actually did physical therapy today because that said German shepherd pulled me over and shattered my fingers. She is also currently being chained up for biting my mom, so tubbing is impossible for more than like a few minutes. Unless I get rid of the German shepherd. My axolotl's tank is the only place she's 100% safe.

So tell me more about this black tea bath? What's the like quantity of water and quantity of tea bags, etc.

The big patch of fungus is ALMOST off my girl's tendril. I was trying to get her to shake it loose but she's not exactly cooperating, she just wants food. Lemme show some photos from her water change today. The last one is an example of her gills should normally look but I kinda screwed up and took the photo lower than I intended.

I think I've resolved it that if she hasn't shown improvement by Sunday, I will start a salt bath regiment but I may try that black tea thing tonight or tomorrow.
 

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  • Junaz:
    Thank you, I appreciate it. I'll look up ammonia and nitrate lockers, and see if I can find someone who can help me with cycling the tank with her in there. She still is looking and acting ok so I hope everything turns out ok. Thanks for the advice
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hey @Junaz. It appears your tank is uncycled. You'll need to purchase a source of ammonia (i.e., Dr. Tim's Aquatics ammonium chloride) to cycle the tank with. Dose the tank up to 2ppm (bottle says 4 drops/gal=2ppm. This is false. 2 drops/gal=2ppm) daily until you've build up a bacteria colony that is able to convert 2ppm of ammonia into 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite in 24hr. You'll want to tub your axolotl immediately and while you cycle as these levels are extremely toxic. To tub, just use a food-grade tub large enough for the axolotl to extend itself and turn around in, and perform daily 100% water changes. Make sure your water is dechlorianted (and make sure your dechlorinator has no aloe or iodine, both of these are toxic to axolotls). If you have any more questions about cycling or axolotls, PM me :)
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  • Chamoxnle:
    My new axolotl enjoys floating. He doesn't seem stressed, or like he's being forced to float. He just likes to chill at the top. Why do some enjoy floating around? Most of my other axolotls are content staying stationary, but this one just continues to move, only stopping to eat. Again, he doesn't seem stressed, and it's not a fretful swim.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Hi, Im fairly new to keeping axolotls. I have to lil buddies that I got a few months back. They were doing fine, up until a month ago when one got fungus in his gills. Took him out to fridge him, then the other guy got it too. I'm currently fridging both and doing salt baths for one (not enough fridge space to keep that much pretreated water for both at the same time). Its been hard to tell if its helping or not and then about a week and half ago one of my axies had a bunch of weird white goop in the water. I immediately changed it, happened a tiny bit again, then seemed to be okay. I had returned him to the tank, but it happened again. Back to the fridge but wanted hear from people who knew more
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I have pictures. Tried looking through other peoples questions, but couldnt find the same white goop.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    @Kailynom My cousin (who i got my baby axies from) had the same problem. She developed an allergy to the bloodworms she was feeding them and it got really bad. To the point where her throat would close up just being around the bloodworms. Happened within a few months. Be safe :)
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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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  • madcaplaughs:
    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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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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  • k.em:
    anybody growing tylototriton?
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    k.em: anybody growing tylototriton? +1
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