The longest running Amphibian Community on the Internet.

Tags Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Caudata.org Store


Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

This is a discussion on Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please? within the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; Hi everyone! I was misinformed about cycling tanks before, and now that my axolotls are in the tank and the ...

Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) A dedicated topic for those seeking help with Axolotls, showing off your photos, or just to talk about them.

Like Tree5Likes
  • 5 Post By AxolotlChris

Reply

 

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 5th March 2016   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Exclamation Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Hi everyone!

I was misinformed about cycling tanks before, and now that my axolotls are in the tank and the levels have increased, I'm getting worried and looking for some advice. They are eating and behaving normally, and do not appear stressed, however I can't help but worry. My tank temperature is at about 17-18 degrees (depending on day/night), and my PH is at the higher end of 7, but within the safe range.

Before I got the axolotls, I let the filter run the dechlorinated water with a bacterial additive. Unfortunately, I was misinformed and did not add an ammonia source to complete the cycle. (I am so prepared for my next cycling adventure, you definitely learn from your mistakes.) Then, I added my juvenile axolotls after a few weeks.

When I first tested my levels the day after they came home, the ammonia levels were high. I immediately set a bucket of cold water aside (and treated it with Prime and a bacterial supplement), and changed the water after about 5~ hours. After the water change, ammonia levels went down slightly. When I feed them, though I wasn't at first during the first feeding, I have become very careful with removing waste and excess food.

I've tested my nitrites and nitrates, and they are in the tank, but not overwhelmingly so. They measure 10 and 0.3-0.8, respectfully. (According to API liquid test). I'm just wondering if things are going in a good direction? Should I keep up the water changes (25%-30%) daily? Are they okay to be in the tank? Is my cycle almost done? I will put them in separate containers if it is required, but I'm concerned about stressing them out, so I'm leaving them for now. They are eating and behaving normally thankfully, but of course I can't ask them, so I don't know for sure.

I appreciate any guidance or advice anyone has to offer immensely.




Last edited by danioltl; 5th March 2016 at 16:50.
danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th March 2016   #2 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 926
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: LSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Can you check to see if nitrites and nitrates are in your tap water? If not, then it sounds like your tank is close to being cycled. I'm basing my advice below on that assumption.

Since you have nitrites and nitrates, your tank is close to cycled. What you need to do is to keep the ammonia and nitrite low enough to not poison your axies. So, you do this with water changes.

Something confuses about the reading you report - 10 ppm for nitrite, right? But 0.3-0.8 for nitrate - what is your test measuring? There is no way my test would measure levels that low precisely. (Have they changed the test lately, does anyone know?) Or could you have reversed nitrite and nitrate? That changes the advice below too.

You want to stay under 0.25 ppm nitrite. if your reading really is 10 ppm, you should change most of your water or decide to take your axies out and keep them in containers while you finish a "fishless" cycle. If you have nitrate in your tank already, it shouldn't be too long.

The ammonia limit depends on pH. The higher the pH, the more toxic the ammonia. Since your nitrite level is so high, I'm guessing you don't need to be concerned with ammonia at this point, and that your axies will be fine if you keep the nitrite down.



LSuzuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th March 2016   #3 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSuzuki View Post
Can you check to see if nitrites and nitrates are in your tap water? If not, then it sounds like your tank is close to being cycled. I'm basing my advice below on that assumption.

Since you have nitrites and nitrates, your tank is close to cycled. What you need to do is to keep the ammonia and nitrite low enough to not poison your axies. So, you do this with water changes.

Something confuses about the reading you report - 10 ppm for nitrite, right? But 0.3-0.8 for nitrate - what is your test measuring? There is no way my test would measure levels that low precisely. (Have they changed the test lately, does anyone know?) Or could you have reversed nitrite and nitrate? That changes the advice below too.

You want to stay under 0.25 ppm nitrite. if your reading really is 10 ppm, you should change most of your water or decide to take your axies out and keep them in containers while you finish a "fishless" cycle. If you have nitrate in your tank already, it shouldn't be too long.

The ammonia limit depends on pH. The higher the pH, the more toxic the ammonia. Since your nitrite level is so high, I'm guessing you don't need to be concerned with ammonia at this point, and that your axies will be fine if you keep the nitrite down.
So I tested my tap water, and for nitrites it reads 0 (clear), and for nitrates it reads 0 (clear as well!). Which I'm very glad to know!

You were correct about me mixing up my nitrite/nitrate! My nitrite levels are around 0.3-0.8 (I took a photo with the results next to the reading if that would be of use), and my nitrate levels are around 10-20.
I'm very happy to hear that it sounds like my cycle is almost complete, it's a little relieving. As for water changes, do you think that one in the morning and one in the night (of about 10-20%) is too much? And, is adding bottled bacteria beneficial to the tank at this point or should I just 'let it happen'?

Thank you so much for replying! Me and my axolotls really appreciate it!



danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th March 2016   #4 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 926
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: LSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

10-20% is not too much of a water change unless the incoming water is a lot different than the water that is there. I change 25-50% at a time (once a week) since my axies seem to stay happier and healthier that way. Plus, it keeps the nitrates down. :-) A more typical recommendation for axolotl tanks is 25%/week, since they produce so much ammonia (which turns into nitrate).

Don't bother with the bacteria in a bottle at this point. Whether or not they even work is subject to debate. Some people question their safely for axolotls, but I have never heard of anyone reporting a bad reaction. The "safety" concern was more of a theoretical point - safe-for-fish and safe-for-amphibians are not the same.



LSuzuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th March 2016   #5 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 926
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: LSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

I should have asked - what is your pH and ammonia reading? If your ammonia is high, especially if your pH is high, you should do a big water change to bring it down to safe levels.



LSuzuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th March 2016   #6 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSuzuki View Post
I should have asked - what is your pH and ammonia reading? If your ammonia is high, especially if your pH is high, you should do a big water change to bring it down to safe levels.

Oh geeze. Things aren't looking so progressive anymore... I really that hope this can be helped though

I just tested my pH, and it read to be 6.5.... it was higher yesterday? My ammonia level is between 4.9-7.3 (judging by the colour, I wish I had a more specific answer, sorry), after a 20-35% water change. My nitrites are currently at about a 0.3 (again, only judging by test colours), and my nitrates are approximately 5 now... so things are changing. I know this isn't improvement, but where should I go from here? Are things beginning to look severely grim?



danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th March 2016   #7 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 926
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: LSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

If you have nitrates and nitrates, the end is in sight. It won't be much longer until your tank is cycled.

The good news is that lower pH makes ammonia MUCH less toxic. Your axies seem happy and healthy, right? No shedding mucous coats or anything? But you really should bring it down. I would do a major water change. Like, 50%, if you can do it safely (same temp, dechlorinated properly, etc.). That should drop the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate down to 1/2 of what they are now.

What happens about this time is as the ammonia eating bacteria get going is that the nitrite rises quickly. So you need to watch both and do water changes to keep them down. You already have nitrate, though, so it won't be long (she says, hopefully) before the cycle is done cycling.

Are you using a water conditioner that neutralizes ammonia, like Prime?

Now, your pH ... Sometimes low pH will stall they cycle. I don't think this is a problem at 6.5, but I don't have experience with low pH water. Is your water naturally this low of pH? Consider getting some crushed coral in a nylon stocking to put in your tank. That will gently raise the pH and raise the calcium, which axolotls like.



LSuzuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th March 2016   #8 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSuzuki View Post
If you have nitrates and nitrates, the end is in sight. It won't be much longer until your tank is cycled.

The good news is that lower pH makes ammonia MUCH less toxic. Your axies seem happy and healthy, right? No shedding mucous coats or anything? But you really should bring it down. I would do a major water change. Like, 50%, if you can do it safely (same temp, dechlorinated properly, etc.). That should drop the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate down to 1/2 of what they are now.

What happens about this time is as the ammonia eating bacteria get going is that the nitrite rises quickly. So you need to watch both and do water changes to keep them down. You already have nitrate, though, so it won't be long (she says, hopefully) before the cycle is done cycling.

Are you using a water conditioner that neutralizes ammonia, like Prime?

Now, your pH ... Sometimes low pH will stall they cycle. I don't think this is a problem at 6.5, but I don't have experience with low pH water. Is your water naturally this low of pH? Consider getting some crushed coral in a nylon stocking to put in your tank. That will gently raise the pH and raise the calcium, which axolotls like.
First and foremost, thank you so much for your time and responses! Seriously, I would be so lost without someone to make some sense of this for me (and unfortunately no one in my area apparently knows about cycling axolotl tanks - lol!)

My axies are still acting fine, they're eating much better than the first day they arrived (but this may be due to the time I'm feeding them at, who knows!?), they have normal looking coats and don't appear to be freaking out.

So, I did a decent water change (with water that sat over night and was treated with Prime and had a bit of bio additive, temp was about .5 C different, I hope this doesn't impact anything because it typically stays around the same temp most of the time) which was about 50%, maybe a bit less, and while my ammonia is showing up as a lighter colour in the test kit, its still pretty prominent, which is worrying me. I'm adding Prime to my new water and letting it sit. There are NO ammonias in my tap water... ack! When does this go away?! I've been cleaning out any poo or uneaten food, my filter is running fine (I previously had a loofah in front of it for flow but have taken it off to get my tank a bit cleaner without any blockages), and my nitrites are at 0.3, and my nitrates are at 5. I tested my pH again (because the test has been known to be strange with pH), and I'm back to the regular range I was at before, 7.0-7.5 (which it could have been at yesterday if I accidentally added another, or half of, a drop?)

I can't wait for my tank to be cycled.... I will never cycle a tank like this again!



danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th March 2016   #9 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
AxolotlChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 1,067
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 1
Rep: AxolotlChris has given good advice and informationAxolotlChris has given good advice and informationAxolotlChris has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Read this current live thread: New owner (cycling help)

It contains most the information and website links you need to be informed on the basics of the nitrogen cycle.



__________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, we call it.
Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time bad luck we call it.
AxolotlChris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th March 2016   #10 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AxolotlChris View Post
Read this current live thread: New owner (cycling help)

It contains most the information and website links you need to be informed on the basics of the nitrogen cycle.
I have been reading that thread (because it's been getting a ton more replies) and I've read just about every thread on caudata about cycling with axolotls. I do understand the basics of the nitrogen cycle, again, I'm just currently looking for advice regarding my situation.

Thanks



danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2016   #11 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 926
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: LSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and informationLSuzuki has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

How are the levels now? Hopefully, it is closed to cycled. :-)

One thing that concerns me is your (possibly) fluctuating pH. My experience (with is not necessarily relevant, since I have hard, high pH water) is that pH tests are pretty accurate, and fluctuations represent actual fluctuations in the pH. Is your water very soft? If it is, you might want to add some crushed coral in a nylon stocking (to keep axolotls from eating it) to harden it.



LSuzuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2016   #12 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSuzuki View Post
How are the levels now? Hopefully, it is closed to cycled. :-)

One thing that concerns me is your (possibly) fluctuating pH. My experience (with is not necessarily relevant, since I have hard, high pH water) is that pH tests are pretty accurate, and fluctuations represent actual fluctuations in the pH. Is your water very soft? If it is, you might want to add some crushed coral in a nylon stocking (to keep axolotls from eating it) to harden it.
Hello!

Since my last post, my ammonia levels are slightly lowering, but still between 2 and 4 ... they're never any lower, though sometimes they are higher. I do water changes and add Prime to detoxify it for my little water dogs. My nitrItes are rising slightly, and my nitrAtes are still low, but still reading, which is good. My pH was tested a few times in the past few days, all reading green (7-7.5) and looking good.

So, a few days ago I bought large containers, cleaned them with hot water, and set aside some buckets of dechorinated water for them. I put my jeuveniles into them. They were scared for the first bit, and then after their feeding they seemed comfortable and I left my house for a few hours. When I returned, I scooped all of their waste immediately and noticed that my leusistic was floating. He's never done this before, so I was freaked out. I pushed his fin down lightly (his back fin was almost coming to the surface), and he began to sink back down, with his tail floating. After a few swims, he was eating and all was well with him as usual. He hasn't really had an issue since. I feed them, clean their water partially (collecting all waste of course), test it occasionally (it's not as bad as the tank's levels), and all seems alright.

However.... the second time I left them, when I returned, my melanoid was turning white. So, naturally, I panicked. I slowly took some of his water out, took waste, fed him, replaced it with clean, sitting, dechlorinated water, and I watched as he slowly turned back to a black colour. I had no idea they were capable of changing colours like that.

So.... should I take them out of the containers? I intended to leave them in there for a few days (it's on top of their tank, side by side, in an attempt to relieve any stress they're experiencing) while the tank cycles and does it's own thing. I wanted to efficiently cycle my tank without stressing them out, however it seems I've done it anyway. They have NEVER shown any signs of stress while in the tank, it's only now, separated, that they're showing signs of stress and strange behaviour. Is this typical? Would they be better off in the tank?



danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2016   #13 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 7
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: danioltl has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

I'm going to post an update on this just in case there's someone like me out there who is looking for advice and came here for help (but never got any).

My axolotls are looking A LOT better now that they're in their regular tank. It's still not cycled, but it's getting to be there and should be there soon. If anyone is reading this and considering putting their axolotls into containers while their tank cycles, read the following;

If your axolotl appears to be happy and is not showing any signs of stress, continue to monitor it. Signs of stress are a curved tail, forward gills, motionless, disease, too much motion, etc. If you see normal activity on your axolotl and your water quality is ALRIGHT, you're changing water, etc., it might be better to keep your axolotls in their tank. I read a bunch of posts on here which scared me ("YOUR AXOLOTL WILL DIE IN AN UNCYCLED TANK! YOU DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT THEM DO YOU!?") and put them in to a container while their tank cycled. Did water changes with treated water, etc., but they absolutely hated it. My melanoid turned white, and my leucistic started floating. They were not pleased. So, no, axolotls won't die in an uncycled tank. They're hardy, wonderful creatures. I got to the point where as long as they're happy in their tank, I don't give a what their cycle is doing, eventually it will get there.

I hope this helps someone, somewhere. I came here for advice and got little to none. I will definitely be helping out other owners in the future much more efficiently and am more than happy to help anyone looking for advice.

Have a good one.



danioltl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2016   #14 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
AxolotlChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 1,067
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 1
Rep: AxolotlChris has given good advice and informationAxolotlChris has given good advice and informationAxolotlChris has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Lol I don't see how you didn't get 'any' help. Considering you got 6 replies on this post giving information and links to even more information.

Cycling a tank using Axolotls is potentially harmful, ammonia is toxic. Why cycle using your Axolotls as the source of ammonia when you can purchase liquid ammonia or use degrading food e.g pellets, shrimp, fish flakes.

I've never read a single post that says what you quoted, care to share this thread?

The Nitrogen cycle exists and ammonia and nitrite is toxic, if you choose to play the ignorance card then that can potentially put your Axolotl in harms way.

You sound pretty rude to be saying your going to be 'helping other users much more efficiently'. The information you were given was beneficial, people used their own time to respond to your post and give advice.

I wouldn't be taking any advice from someone who says 'I don't give a * what their cycle is doing'.



__________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, we call it.
Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time bad luck we call it.
AxolotlChris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th April 2016   #15 (permalink)
Member
 
CatSpit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 188
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: CatSpit has given good advice and informationCatSpit has given good advice and information
Default Re: Ammonia high (but lowering), nitrites low/med, nitrates also low/med. Cycling with axolotls, help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by danioltl View Post
I'm going to post an update on this just in case there's someone like me out there who is looking for advice and came here for help (but never got any).

My axolotls are looking A LOT better now that they're in their regular tank. It's still not cycled, but it's getting to be there and should be there soon. If anyone is reading this and considering putting their axolotls into containers while their tank cycles, read the following;

If your axolotl appears to be happy and is not showing any signs of stress, continue to monitor it. Signs of stress are a curved tail, forward gills, motionless, disease, too much motion, etc. If you see normal activity on your axolotl and your water quality is ALRIGHT, you're changing water, etc., it might be better to keep your axolotls in their tank. I read a bunch of posts on here which scared me ("YOUR AXOLOTL WILL DIE IN AN UNCYCLED TANK! YOU DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT THEM DO YOU!?") and put them in to a container while their tank cycled. Did water changes with treated water, etc., but they absolutely hated it. My melanoid turned white, and my leucistic started floating. They were not pleased. So, no, axolotls won't die in an uncycled tank. They're hardy, wonderful creatures. I got to the point where as long as they're happy in their tank, I don't give a what their cycle is doing, eventually it will get there.

I hope this helps someone, somewhere. I came here for advice and got little to none. I will definitely be helping out other owners in the future much more efficiently and am more than happy to help anyone looking for advice.

Have a good one.

I agree with AxolotlChris in his response to your last post.

Having read this entire thread, I am surprised that you don't feel you received much help. You were given thorough feedback in a timely manner with regards to your concerns. Your attitude is perplexing.

I hope your tank finishes its cycle soon, for the sake of your axolotls. They have been exposed to enough as it is.



CatSpit is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ammonia, axolotls, cycling, nitrate, nitrite, tank

LinkBack
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads

Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question: (Tank Cycling) Nitrates, but 0 Nitrites? lexfix Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate 12 2nd March 2016 01:41
Ammonia & high nitrates?? giventofly Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate 4 24th August 2014 05:05
High nitrites and nitrates. Help! Guardianangel69 Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) 3 10th June 2014 02:48
No Ammonia or Nitrites, Nitrates & PH High? Equus Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate 3 7th April 2014 12:31
High ammonia but no Nitrates/Nitrites seminormal Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate 4 11th March 2011 12:07


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:54.