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New Axi owner

This is a discussion on New Axi owner within the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; Hi Guys I am soon to become a proud owner of my first axolotl, I have set up my tank ...

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

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Old 1st August 2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Axi owner

Hi Guys

I am soon to become a proud owner of my first axolotl, I have set up my tank and am currently letting to water stand before de-cholrinating.

However although I have done a lot of research on keeping axies I do still have a couple of quandries:

My water is currently settling at 23c so early 70s in Farenheit. So I was wondering whether this would cause him/her unnecessary harm? If so what can I do to keep it consistently cooler?

Also how much food should I feed him/her per feeding and when is the best time to?

All potential naming ideas are welcome as well

Thanks again



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Old 1st August 2013   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

23C is a bit too high. The best temperature is between 14C-20C.

There are several cooling options, one more easily obtained than the other.

First off, we have aquarium chillers:
These are definitely the easiest, since you don't have to monitor the temperature at all; the chiller does it for you. However, this is the costliest option. A chiller (depending on the amount of water that needs to be cooled) can easily set you back between 300-600 dollars or euros.
I do however know of people who use old refrigerators and a self-made tube system to cool their water down.
Either way, with a chiller or an old fridge, they both take up space so take that into account.

Second, we have cooling fans:
These are placed at the border of your aquarium and blow air on the surface of the water, effectively cooling it down, like this. These are a much cheaper option; but do require some monitoring since most don't come with an automatic temperature monitoring system.
There are ways to make your own aquarium fans with cheap materials (such as CPU fans), but you need to know your way around electrics.

Thirdly, you have the frozen water bottle system:
This involves keeping a lot of bottles filled with water in your freezer. You put some (depending on the amount of water needing to be cooled down) in your tank. When the water inside has (almost) completely melted again, you switch them out with other bottles from the freezer, and freeze the frozen ones again.
This requires almost constant monitoring of the temperature however, and requires space in the freezer, and a lot of bottles. It's the most fickle option in my opinion, but the cheapest.
It can get quite challenging in a heat wave though. In summer time, it can get quite difficult to go on a weekend trip (unless you have someone to stay in your house for a few days).


Now, onto the food.
The best adult axolotl food (your axolotl is best 18cm or longer) is always earthworms. You can dig them up from your garden if you don't use pesticides, or you can buy them at a fishing supply store.
You can also set up a small worm farm. This isn't difficult at all, their food is simply leftovers from uncooked fruits and vegetables and the likes, and they breed on their own. That way you won't have to dig them up from your garden or spend money to buy them.

Here's a link on how to set it up.

If your axolotl is still quite small however, feeding it cubes of frozen blood worms should be fine. They can be found in almost any pet store. Everything that hasn't been eaten after about half an hour should be cleaned up however; or the worms will decompose and foul your water.

Baby and juvenile axolotls should be fed every day if possible because they need the energy for growth.
Adults are usually fed once every two days. One big worm for one axolotl should suffice, but not all axolotls are always the same. A good way to tell if your adult is healthy in weight is to measure the width of its head against the width of its body. They should be equal in width.


Here concludes my long tutorial on keeping healthy axolotls
Quite long.
Also remember, if you have any other questions, or if you are worried about something and suspect your axolotl might be sick, feel free to ask questions. There are no stupid questions here.

And welcome :)



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Old 1st August 2013   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

That's great, a lot of help, I will have to check out further the cooling methods as a chiller seems too expensive. So icing the water may be the best way to go. I was thinking about just adding ice-cubes to the water every so often to keep it cooler. Although I think this will only be until the end of the summer, as the water will be cool in the winter anyway.

Thanks again



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Old 1st August 2013   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Happy to help :)

I would like to suggest though; don't add the ice cubes just like that. Ice must be in a container (like the suggested bottle) to prevent ice burn in case one of the axolotls accidentally touches it. You never know, better safe than sorry eh :)



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Old 1st August 2013   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

And the prize for most compehensive reply to a 'new axie' thread goes to......
*DRUMROLL*

Tephra!
(it's all good)

Here in the UK we rarely have the sorts of temperatures to cause problems for axies - except this summer. All of Tephra's advice is great - I have a 4x fan and use ice loaves (made with dechlorinated water) to chill them with. Just watch that your axie doesn't try and nose the ice cubes.

Did I read that you're letting your water stand BEFORE dechlorinating? It's better the other way around - dechlor then stand. Or if you stand the water for a whole week you shouldn't need to dechlorinate.

You didn't mention cycling - is your tank cycled properly? If you are doing fishless cycling are you confident you are established?

And what size will you axie be? Worms are fine at any size - just select the right size for your axie. Mine are 8" and take one large worm every day, sometimes 2 smaller ones, 3 waxworms, a few pellets, some live shrimp (river shrimp or brineshimp), raw prawns or mealworms. Sometimes thay skip a day's feeding. Mine gave up on bloodworms at about 7" - or rather I gave up because they were just getting too expensive. I have a worm farm and they are bredeing - cost me 50 to set up, and now I have free axie dinners forever :-)



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Old 1st August 2013   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Oh right okay, I haven't got my Axi yet so I will be cycling my tank first but, I am wondering which way is the best for doing this as I have heard that you can buy bacteria from a aquarium shop and use this as a short cut?

What's the story with this/best way?

Thanks



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Old 1st August 2013   #7 (permalink)
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I use fans and they help a lot:) I just use one of those little dorm fans and clip them somewhere near the top of my tank:) on really hot days I use water bottles though.

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Old 1st August 2013   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Welcome to the happy world of axolotls!

The temperature is a nightmare at the moment. Especially today since it's just decided to have a mini heatwave over 1 day. My tank was at 23c when I got in from work and that's with a quad fan pointing at the water. I've found that the fan helps a little. I also put wet towels around the tank which stops any sunlight getting in and keeps it so much cooler! I sometimes put ice bottles in to cool it, although they're a nightmare because they fluctuate the temperature which can be even worse. So yeah, I've found fan and wet towels is the best combo.

It's well worth reading this article about cycling if you haven't researched already, it really helped me. Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling
Also, if you don't own a test kit, the API master liquid test kit is really handy! It has all the tests in for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and ph.

The best way to cycle is get some ammonia from somewhere and add it to the tank. I've heard you can get pure ammonia in bottles. Or, you could just add some food like frozen bloodworms in the tank and let the ammonia build up. I'm not 100% sure if the bottled bacteria works or if it's just shops trying to rip you off.
Another easier option is to seed some bacteria from an established filter. If you know anyone with a fish tank just steal some sponge or media from their filter.

Earth worms are the best food for axies if they're big enough. I get mine from here, they're very reliable if you don't have access to a garden. Buying Lobworms, Worm Fishing for Salmon, Earthworms for Sale, Wormeries for Fishing, Worms Coarse


Have you got a picture of the tank so far? Do you know what type of axie you're getting?



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Old 2nd August 2013   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by snuggly time View Post
I'm not 100% sure if the bottled bacteria works or if it's just shops trying to rip you off.
Yes they do! I started my tank with the pearls that go directly in the filter. Not quite the same as cycling with live beasties, but makes it much quicker to stabilise when you add axies. But if you can get some water and an ornament from an established tank it would be really useful. Or borrow a fish or 2, or even buy a couple of guppies that will be eaten when the axie arrives!



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Old 2nd August 2013   #10 (permalink)
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Okay guys, this is all really useful info thank you all. I have read that article on caudata. But I think the quickest way will be best as I just want my axi now :)

I might try getting a couple of guppies then and see how they go. I'm going to get an albino one

Thanks again.

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Old 3rd August 2013   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Axies will do fine on their own. But if you can (aka if the tank is big enough) try to go for two 'lotls. Observing mine, they seem to enjoy the company :)



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Old 5th August 2013   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

If I want to use Guppies or bloodworms etc. to cycle my tank what is the best way to do the cycling procedure? I have read through thousands of articles looking at the best ways of cycling, but if I just drop in some frozen bloodworms will the bacteria automatically cycle itself?

If anyone gets what I mean by this



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Old 5th August 2013   #13 (permalink)
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Living creatures making waste, or just dropping in waste will both work. Like you said, you can just drop some blood worms in there, no problem. Make sure to test the water every day to see how the cycle is coming along.



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Old 5th August 2013   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Thanks Tephra, yes I'll use my test kit to check the water everyday.



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Old 6th August 2013   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Axi owner

Hope this helps a bit...

Letting the bloodworms decompose in the tank water will feed your bacteria, enabling them to convert the ammonia from the dead worms into nitrite, then nitrates. This essentially means that the bacteria are changing otherwise dangerous chemicals into milder ones - although nitrates also need to be removed by water changes as they are damaging, just less damaging than ammonia or nitrite.

If you find your tank isn't cycled - i.e, you get your axolotl and your tank isn't consistently reading 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and below 40 Nitrate - you can keep your axolotl in a large container or small tank, which you'll have to water change daily, and add the dirty water each day to the cycling tank.

For the bacteria, API has two products, both of which I've used. Quick Start is a sort of jumpstart, introducing plentiful bacteria to the tank, but I would still make sure the tank is safe before adding axolotls. Stress Zyme is a good top-up for when you've done a large water change or washed the filter sponges (your bacteria live on the sponge filters, which is why I always wash mine in tank water - never tap water, as the chlorine will kill the bacteria off).

Hope this helps keep your tank safe! Good luck with your new albino baby! (We hope for pictures!)



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Old 12th August 2013   #16 (permalink)
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I am currently cycling my axi tank before I get my pet. However I was wondering do I change the water as it is cycling or after??

Hope you guys can help me



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