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This is a discussion on New Owner within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I am planning on buying my first axolotl very soon, I had a few questions for axie owners on care ...

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Old 7th May 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Owner

I am planning on buying my first axolotl very soon, I had a few questions for axie owners on care and tank set ups. I want one axie in a 10 gallon tank, I wanted two but I have been advised against that. I have done a lot of research but find its always best to talk to the people who love these creatures!

What do you wish you knew as a first time owner/ what should I know?
How expensive is it to care for them?
What do you feed your axis?
What kind of filter do you prefer?
What is your favorite color variations?



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Old 7th May 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Owner

Hello! Fellow Axolotl owner from the UK here, welcome to the site! You've done the right thing asking us :) ~

First of all, as you're a new keeper I would like to share some information with you. I will try not to blab on, I understand you did a lot of research, but I've learned a lot from handling personally, and made loads of mistakes. I'd dislike you to go through these too!

I keep my axi in a 90 gallon tank, it's 3ft in length- perfect for a single axolotl - however you can get away with keeping two in a 3ft tank. A 10 gallon tank however, is a little too small. If you have limited space, you're best getting a 40 gallon tank at least. Length is way more important than height!

Give your axi sand substrate, and make sure it's fine sand. Please syphon it first, you can't be too careful! Sand is recommended for an Axi who is more than 3 inches long.

Don't crowd your tank, as pretty as you want it to be, less is better especially on the floor. Axi's love to have a good strut about and objects can take up their space. That being said, you're better off having a small hide (like a log), a couple of large pebbles, a couple of plants (fake or real), and maybe a small decoration of your choice. My tank has all of the above, other than a decoration- I just use a moss ball because it's rather cute.

Please keep your tank filtered, this is very important and yet a lot of owners don't do this. It helps keep the tank clean, air to cycle in the water, and saves you from cleaning and replacing the water every day.

Do not buy an aquarium with a heat trap hood. Keep your lid off, and put a mesh over the top to stop your Axi jumping out.

I will get stick for this, but I didn't do the ammonia cycle. My Axi has been nothing but healthy, and I've had no problems in my tank- and I've had it for over a year. I just use water conditioner to get rid of those nasty chemicals and age the water before I put it in the tank.

Now I hope that wasn't too much! Here's the short answers to your questions!

What do you wish you knew as a first time owner/ what should I know?

Don't clean the water out so much. Clean every two weeks, and take about 20% of the water out. Do not put the tank in front of a window or bright light source, or even a radiator. Melanoids and other dark Axolots will get white patches on them, unless it's fuzzy don't worry about it.

How expensive is it to care for them?
Not too bad, just can take a lot of water. You can dig your worms up in your backyard, as long as you don't use harsh chemicals. You can buy them online or at a fishing store, make sure they are only in soil and have no additives. Roughly a year? Waaay less than 250 for me!

What do you feed your axis?

EARTH WORMS ARE THE KING! Unless your Axi is tiny, earth worms are the yummiest and best snack for a healthy growing axi. They keep them super healthy, and they're fun for your axi to wrestle/hunt with :)


What kind of filter do you prefer?


I use the one my tank came with, I do not know the model but it was by Marina. It's hooked onto the back of the tank, and is a tiny waterfall. Just a warning- they can hum and sometimes wurr a little so if you're easily disturbed do not put the tank in your bedroom.


What is your favorite color variations?


I'm not sure what this means? Axi colours?? I like Lecustic, and Wild :) my axi is a dark wild!

Hope this helps



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Old 7th May 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Owner

Buy an API freshwater test kit and monitor the water frequently - ammonia should be zero, nitrites also zero and a low reading (under 40) for nitrates. Do not use test strips as they are notoriously unreliable - a good liquid test kit is the go (such as the API one). If readings are higher than they should be, do water changes (as big as you need to) until they're within safe limits.
The temperature of the tank water should never get above 20 celcius - anything higher than this is bad for your axie - but avoid temperature fluctuations (no more than 2 degrees over 24 hours is recommended). You'll need a good thermometer.
Lotls are not keen on currents, so baffle the filter to minimise water disturbance. Nor are they keen on bright lights so avoid sunlight (also good for keeping temperatures down) and don't use bright lighting on your tank.
I second the earthworm recommendation - worms are an axie's best friend. Just be sure there have been no chemicals used in the garden they come from (or buy them from a reputable source such as a good bait store).
Colours are totally a matter of personal preference. Leucistics and albinos are gorgeous but wildtypes have some amazing colour variations. In short, all axies are absolutely stunning.
And remember that axies are not fish. Fish medications are not necessarily ok for lotls and sometimes can hurt them severely. Do not trust any staff in local fish or pet stores - many many people here tell horror stories about the fatal results of following such advice. Seek advice on this site. Caudata is king!
Oh, and amidst all the research and worrying, don't forget that axies are the most engaging and weird creatures. Endlessly fascinating and incredibly amusing. I wish you many happy years of lotl love. (They're a bit like Tim Tams - you can't stop at one!)



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Old 7th May 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Owner

Hello. I am still fairly new at keeping axie's and hope this is helpful to you. Everything I learned was from the experts on this site.

1) Read the different threads. You never know when one of the experts will provide a quick tip in a thread that will help you out.

What do you wish you knew as a first time owner/ what should I know?

The API test kit can conflict with some dechlorinators; specifically the Seachem Prime which comes highly recommended by folks on this site. You'll want to take the reading a minute or two into the test. Waiting the full length of the test will give you a false high reading. I couldn't figure out why my tanks were reading such high ammonia levels 8 weeks into the cycling process - turns out they were cycled it was the test that was the issue. This tidbit was in a thread on this site. It changed my life. Now I buy the Seachem test kits to go with the Seachem prime. If you want to know more use the search function in the forum - the discussion got rather technical :) My axie's were very happy to go back into the tanks - I had kept them in separate containers thinking the tank water wasn't safe.

How expensive is it to care for them?

Not very. Earthworms are cheap and reproduce! If you get the salmon pellets, those are not expensive either and a bag lasts a long time.

What do you feed your axis?
Earthworms are best. And many use a high quality pellet.

What kind of filter do you prefer?

This is a personal preference. Many on this site recommend the ATI sponge filters. They are cheap and easy! I use these in along with a canister filter. Axies are very filthy and I've found the mechanical filtration the canister filter is very helpful in keeping the tanks clean and to use in conjunction with a chiller. Again learned from folks on this site - rule of thumb you'll want to filter to be 4x tank size. So if you have a 10 gallon tank you'll want a filter rated for 40 gallons, minimum. In another thread another expert recommended not using the carbon pads in the canisters - if you go that route. Instead just stuff it with ceramic , sponges and filter floss. The sponges will need to be changed monthly.

What is your favorite color variations?
They are all interesting :)

Have fun, these are interesting creatures. We find ourselves watching them for hours every day.



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