Axolotl Floating On Surface Help

  1. Live Love Aquatic Life

    Live Love Aquatic Life Valued Member Member

    A few weeks ago I got an Axolotl, Achilles, who is around three months old and living in a 20 gallon tank. He has been doing really good until an abrupt change today. He floats at the top of the water at an angle and his symptoms are:

    • Lack in equilibrium
    • Swims in corners, tail up.
    • Low responsitivity to me touching him with a net.

    This is definitely not the norm. I’m worried about him. Water temp is a bit higher than ideal, so I just put a bag of ice cubes in to hopefully bring it down.

    Aeration has been manual on my part due to destruction of airline tubing by other pets. (I’ve been sloshing around the water with my hands multiple times a day in short segments to remove the film on the water and make it not stagnant).

    I also just reduced the water level to about half full since I heard that helps. Pls refer me to someone who can help.

    Also sorry for poor details, I’m rather urgent (and will do about anything).
     
  2. Lunnietic

    Lunnietic Well Known Member Member

    How long have you had him?
    And do you actually have a filter?
    What is the temperature of the water exactly?
     
  3. Neutral-Waterinos

    Neutral-Waterinos Valued Member Member

    Manual aeration? I suggest since there is a film forming u should try pointing a fan at ur tank to create water movement to allow oxygen exchange. Yes you have to reduce the water level and then refill it with half fresh dechlorinated water. You could also try a DIY oxygen system with chopped potatoes or any starchy items mixed with hydrogen peroxide in a bottle and put a small hole on the cap to insert a bit of tubing, place the other side of the tube in the tank and oxygen will be coming out, King of DIY did a video on it.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Live Love Aquatic Life

    Live Love Aquatic Life Valued Member Member

    I got him on May 6th. I did have a filter for the first two weeks of owning him (a sponge filter) but it no longer works due to a mistake on my part. I’m moving the tank into a colder room though, that my pet rats couldn’t get to it in.

    The water is currently 66° F which is better than before, where it was over 70°F. Still hot for him though.

    My plan is to move him into my basement, do a 100% water change and invest a canister filter or something high quality. Also maybe a water chiller if the basement isn’t cold enough, but that’s expensive and i would only invest if necessary.
     
  5. Neutral-Waterinos

    Neutral-Waterinos Valued Member Member

    You could also do a DIY water filter I reccomend it as that’s what’s I did it’s a lot cheaper than a filter and you can make a lot more filtration you just need an air pump. As long as ur other filter still has media which is cycled u can use It. Many tutorials online on a DIY filter. Approx a 500ML bottle filled with water can filter 30 gallons or 120litres, dependent on the air pump.
     
  6. SecretiveFish

    SecretiveFish Well Known Member Member

    Is there anything moving water in your tank, like a power head or air stone? I would guess the water quality is poor due to no filter and/or no water movement. Until you can move him/her and get a filter going, I would suggest doing large water changes daily in the 25-50% range. My oldest axolotl was doing something like you describe when the filter when out for a week (seal gave, took 1 week for new filter to show up!).
     
  7. Kiks

    Kiks Well Known Member Member

    You need to get a filter and it needs to be right away. They absolutely cannot live without a filter unless you intent to change 100% of the water daily. The water parameters are almost certainly completely off, causing the axolotl to get uncomfortable and burned.

    One other thing that will create problems for you - which likely already has, is that you have no cycle anymore. They are extremely messy creatures and even if you put a new filter in today, your cycle is gone and you'll have to cycle it all over again. I do not suggest you keep your axolotl in the tank while cycling, so you'll need to take it out and put it in a tub of some sort doing 100% daily water changes until your new filter cycles.

    I wouldn't worry much about the aeration since they have lungs. It's not ideal to have no surface movement, but it's manageable. It's all the other things I'd worry about if I were you. You need to take action now or it will get a lot worse.