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I got a lot of questions

This is a discussion on I got a lot of questions within the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; So I'm planning on getting axolotls prefferably two: leucistic and gpf leuc. Q1: do you recommend websites to buy them? ...

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 May 2014   #1 (permalink)
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Question I got a lot of questions

So I'm planning on getting axolotls
prefferably two: leucistic and gpf leuc.
Q1: do you recommend websites to buy them?
I got a big question I searched everywhere on internet for:
Q2: What do they eat from birth to adulthood? Like month per month? Most websites sell them from 3 months on.
I called pet shops and managed to find the french name of bloodworm and yeah short story I got live bloodworms, earthworms and pellets available, will that be ok? when do I use which?
Q3:Will 2 axies same size eat each other? from the 3 months old they are sold and later on?
I got 2 leopard geckos in a 20G tank, separated because they were fighting, and I got 2 10G tanks. I plan on using a 10G tank for 2 axies at first and if they outgrow it, put 1 gecko in each 10G tanks and use the 20G for the axies, so:
Q4: Is that a good plan? Will that be enough?
Q5: I heard about a certain salt solution or something but it's way too scientific for me, so what is it for and how do I make/get it?



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Old 1st May 2014   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by punkette View Post
So I'm planning on getting axolotls
prefferably two: leucistic and gpf leuc.
Q1: do you recommend websites to buy them?
I got a big question I searched everywhere on internet for:
Q2: What do they eat from birth to adulthood? Like month per month? Most websites sell them from 3 months on.
I called pet shops and managed to find the french name of bloodworm and yeah short story I got live bloodworms, earthworms and pellets available, will that be ok? when do I use which?
Q3:Will 2 axies same size eat each other? from the 3 months old they are sold and later on?
I got 2 leopard geckos in a 20G tank, separated because they were fighting, and I got 2 10G tanks. I plan on using a 10G tank for 2 axies at first and if they outgrow it, put 1 gecko in each 10G tanks and use the 20G for the axies, so:
Q4: Is that a good plan? Will that be enough?
Q5: I heard about a certain salt solution or something but it's way too scientific for me, so what is it for and how do I make/get it?
Q1: Try to find a good breeder from this site as it will be better quality and service.

Q2: When I got mine at about 3 months old, they were eating bloodworms (about 2-3 worms twice a day) I switched to blackworms but the sooner they can get on earthworms the better. You can chop the worms up into small pieces the use long forceps to wave it in front of their faces until they eat. I prefer worms over pellets but a good pellet diet can be just as nutritious as worms.

Q3: two axolotls the same size might nip at each other but if they are being fed regularly should not have any issues. Leopard gechos can be a little more territorial than an axolotl. I would switch the geckos to the 10s and set up the 20g at least a month and a half before you get your axolotls. Look up fishless cycling, and make sure your tank is fully cycled before you add them if you don't want sick/dead axolotls. The 20g should be fine for them as adults as long as you keep up with water changes.

Q4: The things I consider necessary:
-Good water dechlorinater
-A bucket for water changes
-Turkey baster for waste removal
-Liquid water test kit (API master kit is pretty good) any strip test is not as accurate

Q5: If it seems too scientific for you, don't use it. I know the solution you are talking about and it should not be necessary for your tank and may only complicate things for you.

Don't rush into buying them, it's better to do more research before than trying to research what went wrong. A well planned tank will result in very healthy axolotls. I suggest definitely understanding the aquarium nitrogen cycle and how to properly do water changes as a starting point. Then look at axolotl care requirements such as food, temp, habitat,.. etc. You can always ask questions on here and you'll get some pretty sound advice.



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Old 1st May 2014   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

looking at it right now, thank you! I read a lot about the care requirements and I think I'm ok on that side, it's the scientific stuff with ammonia and chlorine and cycling your tank that lost me.. I failed my chemistry class. I read you need to set the water one day to a week earlier to get the chemicals to go away, so I got my tank full of water and I'll be looking for plants tomorrow to cycle my tank. I didn't actually plan on getting them before a month because I need to set everything up and I'll have to move (new appart.)

also when young (and I mean like 10 years ago?) I had a bad experience with an aquarium, I wasn't able to make a cycle (I could barely understand it anyway) and plenty of bad stuff happened and yeah my fished died obv. so... I'm scared this happens again so I'll be extra carefull.



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Old 1st May 2014   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

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Originally Posted by punkette View Post
looking at it right now, thank you! I read a lot about the care requirements and I think I'm ok on that side, it's the scientific stuff with ammonia and chlorine and cycling your tank that lost me.. I failed my chemistry class. I read you need to set the water one day to a week earlier to get the chemicals to go away, so I got my tank full of water and I'll be looking for plants tomorrow to cycle my tank. I didn't actually plan on getting them before a month because I need to set everything up and I'll have to move (new appart.)

also when young (and I mean like 10 years ago?) I had a bad experience with an aquarium, I wasn't able to make a cycle (I could barely understand it anyway) and plenty of bad stuff happened and yeah my fished died obv. so... I'm scared this happens again so I'll be extra carefull.
We all started from nothing and I know I have made mistakes along the way.
I'll explain cycling as easily as possible.

Fish produce waste, decaying food/anything produces waste. That waste breaks down into ammonia.

Ammonia is not good at any concentration for any aquatic life especially axolotls.

When you start you cycle you want to add ammonia. This seems counterproductive but bear with me. The ammonia will induce a special type of nitrifying bacteria to colonize on every surface of your tank, and even more so in your filter media. This bacteria converts ammonia into nitrite.

So the ammonia is gone! but nitrite is just as bad if not worse
Then along comes another type of bacteria that converts nitrite into nitrate.
Nitrate is the least worrisome of all three and is removed when you perform water changes.

Now the reason why we use dechlorinaters is to remove chlorine and chloramines from the tap water. Chlorine will kill the nitrifying bacteria and if enough is added, can crash your cycle. Chloramine is chlorine bonded to ammonia, so it will break down into the two things you don't want.

Plants wont produce ammonia to start your cycle (unless they are decaying). Plants do use nitrate to grow but unless you have a ton growing, it still won't remove all the waste an axolotl produces. This isn't the first time someone has mentioned a plant cycle to me and i'm glad you're still in preplanning of your tank. The other person had tons of dying fish. You need to get an ammonia source (pure ammonia can be found at hardware stores). I recommend fishless and only adding about a drop or two of pure ammonia into the tank initially. Then you check your water parameters daily. You want ammonia to be at about 4ppm initially and its really easy to add too much, so be careful. Too much ammonia will kill the bacteria too. After about 1-2 weeks you should see nitrite forming in the tank. At this point you need to add ammonia again so that the bacteria won't starve. Nitrite will go up for another 1-2 weeks and you might need to do a water change to keep it from getting too high. Eventually you'll see nitrates form and after a week you'll see ammonia and nitrite at close to zero. It's important that once you see nitrites forming to add a steady amount into the tank. Your readings will not be at the 4ppm you started at since now you have enough bacteria to consume that, so you just want to maintain the 1-2 drops.

It could take less than a month to cycle your tank, or over 2 months. Patience is important! Its basically you feeding two bacterial colonies with ammonia until they are large enough to handle what you put in the tank.

Setting your water for a day allows any dissolved gases to leave and also for the water to be at room temp. It's more important to use a dechlorinater since water municipalities use chloramines because they don't dissolve out as easily.



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Old 1st May 2014   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

Thanks I also found a super link with a step-by-step explanation, so with both of you it's way clearer!



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Old 1st May 2014   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

No problem! At this point you're all set to get started. If you keep up with maintenance and water conditions you should have a very healthy axolotl. If you do ever suspect your axolotl is sick, test the water, research, identify, confirm, treat. A lot of people on here have rushed treatments (fridging, salt baths etc) before ever confirming it was the right treatment. Unless your axolotl is deathly ill with a fatal disease, you'll be fine taking some time to make sure you know what the problem is before acting. Other than that, good luck!



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Old 1st May 2014   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

thanks! btw, can you tell me more about those things like salt baths and fridging, because when I first read that I was weirded out. an animal in the fridge? saltwater for a soft water fish?



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Old 1st May 2014   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

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thanks! btw, can you tell me more about those things like salt baths and fridging, because when I first read that I was weirded out. an animal in the fridge? saltwater for a soft water fish?
First thing to know is when it comes to aquarium keeping there are different types of water depending on what environment the tank is supposed to mimic.

Saltwater tanks mimic the area of the ocean for whatever species it holds.
Brackish water is mimicking the areas where freshwater meets the salt water. Like a river emptying into an ocean, so its not quite fresh and not quite salt.
Freshwater is often broken up into soft or hard water.

now to keep it simple everything that breaths underwater needs some trace minerals (salts) in their bodies at all times to osmoregulate. Basically how they drink water depends on where they live.

Salt water breathers are surrounded by water that has a higher salt concentration than inside their own bodies so water is constantly leaving their bodies through osmosis. They compensate by drinking water through their mouths and also excrete excess salts through their gills.

Freshwater breathers still need those trace minerals in their body but now the water has a lower concentration of salt and moves through osmosis into their bodies to dilute the salt. So freshwater fish are constantly using their kidneys to urinate out excess water to keep that mineral concentration up in their bodies.
So just because they live in "freshwater" doesn't mean they still won't need those minerals. And those minerals naturally occur in most water systems.

Soft water is considered water with a low amount of dissolved mineral content.
Hard water is a high amount of dissolved minerals.
Axolotls prefer hard water and soft water can make them go anemic. It's supposedly not immediately life threatening but I'm wondering what the effect on their kidneys might be since they are basically overworking.

onto treatments...
Okay so lets say you notice some fluffy white stuff growing on your axolotl. You find out it has a fungal infection and you know most fish meds are not safe or recommended for axolotls. The first thing you need to do is assess how severe it is, because a milder treatment can be just as effective. If its only getting worse some people will place their axolotl in a saltwater bath for 20-30 min to basically destroy the fungus. This is explained in better detail in another thread.
Let's say your axolotl is constipated or has some type of intestinal blockage. Fridging can be effective to help them go. Axolotls in general need to be kept at temperatures below 70F if they want to be healthy.
Short term fridging (basically rapid temp changes) and salt baths should be considered the more extreme save for last treatment before a vet.



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Old 2nd May 2014   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

Why must everything be so expannnsiveeeee :'(



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Old 3rd May 2014   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

You already have the tank which saves you some money.
It's important you have the dechlorinater which is maybe $5
You probably can find a good bucket for water changes for like $2
The water test kit is something that shouldn't be skimped on and I recommend a liquid kit.
It'll probably run $20-25.
If you start a worm farm and keep it going you can have endless food for only the initial startup cost.
I only really go to pet stores to buy dechlorinaters and water test kits. Everything else can be bought elsewhere for cheaper. For example a 'petco aquarrium bucket (5gal)' was like $10 while a home depot 5 gal bucket was $2. A betta cleaning siphon (turkey baster) was also $10 and at target it was $3.



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Old 3rd May 2014   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

well I set un a not bas aquarium with walmart and a 1$ store, however no ammonia was available anywhere, I had to make some mom'n'pop store order some specially for me.
I live in a little almost non-existant town so...
Also had to make sand order because they only had gravel, and the test kits are 15$ each, 30-40$ on internet is the best deal I can find.



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Old 3rd May 2014   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

http://cutecatsandme.tumblr.com/post...up-my-aquarium
How's this for a start?
I got a goldfish that I'll remove when I start cycling but he likes it for now, and he's good at hide and seek :P



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Old 3rd May 2014   #13 (permalink)
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Hmm yeah it seems depending on the country the test kits can get pricey. To be honest your set up looks fine. The only issue I see might be some of those rocks and tiles might become a problem as the axolotls get older. They can also be a pain to clean in between and under. I would recommend to any beginner to hold off on sand for a while. The first reason is it can cause impaction on young axolotls under 5" if they eat too much. Also it makes it easier to clean the tanks if you see their waste on the bottom rather than getting mixed in the sand over time. Another thing is that those plants might require more than the average aquarium light to grow. If they aren't growing they will eventually die and release ammonia. Plants are great in the tank but I find they only work well if they have the right light and the axolotls have enough shade. Its better to start off simple then add stuff as you gain experience.



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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

makes sense.. I'm not exaclty a begginer tho, because I'm pretty good with plants in general and I've already had a tank (which miserably failed but I still learned a few tricks) and I chose my plants for their low need in light and heat. I'll follow your advice for the sand tho, but it never hurts to have some near. Yeah I plan to try my best and really be ready but from then adapt when they grow.. so when they'll get 5" or more I'll change to sand. I'll go with the rule "if it fits in the mouth and it's not food, no-no"



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Old 4th May 2014   #15 (permalink)
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makes sense.. I'm not exaclty a begginer tho, because I'm pretty good with plants in general and I've already had a tank (which miserably failed but I still learned a few tricks) and I chose my plants for their low need in light and heat. I'll follow your advice for the sand tho, but it never hurts to have some near. Yeah I plan to try my best and really be ready but from then adapt when they grow.. so when they'll get 5" or more I'll change to sand. I'll go with the rule "if it fits in the mouth and it's not food, no-no"
Good job on the plants! I made the mistake of getting the wrong plants in my fish tank a few years ago so didn't want you to have to go through that mess either. Make sure the sand isn't too deep and remember to stir it every few days to prevent anaerobic bacteria from building up underneath. When you do add sand you might also want to invest in a feeding jar or dish.



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Old 5th May 2014   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

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When you do add sand you might also want to invest in a feeding jar or dish.
I got one in fact but it's glass, so you might not see it in the picture.. My goldfish spent quite a few days wondering about the misteries of that invisible wall lol

I just bought my test kits and I realized I already have nitrites and nitrates??? but no ammonia maybe the bacterias followed the plants. I sure hope nothing else did, but I'm quarantaining them at the same time of cycling, so I guess if there's anything it'll show. that was the goal of the goldfish, seeing if the water is ok for life (yeah it's a bit mean but I prefer a 2$ fish dying than a 50$ or more... doesn't mean I don't care for the goldfish tho, he is now in a new container for the cycling and I'll invest in a proper home for him when I get the axies, and for now I keep a close eye on him. He looks happy )



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Old 6th May 2014   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

also if my ph is not right what do? I buy ph raisers and lowers?
I'd also like to know how do they work?



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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

Your pH should be anywhere between 6 and 8 for axies, unless your water quality is really poor you shouldn't have to worry about pH.

As for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates, it should be the following IF the tank is cycled:
ammonia: 0 ppm
nitrite: 0 ppm
nitrates: <40 ppm

If it's not that, then keep adding ammonia daily and wait you get the readings above :)



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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

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also if my ph is not right what do? I buy ph raisers and lowers?
I'd also like to know how do they work?
avoid adding any chemicals to the tank water besides the dechlorinaters. The pH up or down alters the pH temporarily and needs to constantly be added otherwise there will be no stable pH. Unless you have pH that is extremely high or low its better to be stable. I don't know exactly how they work besides some reaction that eventually stops.



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Old 7th May 2014   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: I got a lot of questions

ok thank you!



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