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Potential Owner With Some Questions

This is a discussion on Potential Owner With Some Questions within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hi everyone! I've loved axies since the first time I saw one 20 years ago, and I think the time ...

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Old 6th May 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Potential Owner With Some Questions

Hi everyone! I've loved axies since the first time I saw one 20 years ago, and I think the time might be right to finally get one of my own. Before I get all excited and commit myself to cycling a tank, I had some questions about care and whatnot. I basically just want to recap everything I've been reading, make sure my information is correct, and have you all let me know if I've missed anything vital. This is going to be long, so brace yourselves!

Here goes.

I've kept large-ish betta tanks, a clawed frog tank, and a pea puffer tank in the past. I currently have a small 3 gallon betta tank and a 10 gallon saltwater tank. I'm not loving the aquascape of the saltwater tank, and since it's just a zoa garden I'm thinking I might move it into an 8 gallon cube I have laying around. This means I have a 10 gallon tank available.

It currently has a custom mesh lid, a, internal filter with a bar to slow the water flow, and a thermometer that I could use for an axie setup. The tank is at my desk here in the basement, so I think once I take all the lights and the heater off of it my temperature range should be close. That being said, my 3 gallon betta tank with filter sits at 27C naturally down here. Should I cycle the tank and see where the water temperature sits, or should I buy one of the coolers? If I buy a cooler, what do you all recommend? I was thinking about one of the marine fan systems meant for saltwater. I've never worked with water this cold before!

On top of making sure the water temperature is low enough, (16-18C, right?) I'll still need to buy: sand for substrate, low light, low temperature plants, and cage decor.

I can just use any sand meant for freshwater fish tanks, right? I have a ton of live marine sand but I won't use that since it's made of coral bits.

For plants, I was thinking cabomba, java fern, and java moss. I'm not planning to light this tank at all, but it may get a little bit of residual light from the saltwater cube, since they'll be near each other. Will those plants be happy with that? I've kept all three before but they were in tropical tanks with decent lighting.

I'll likely add some silk plants for filler as well until my live plants spread. I keep a lot of reptiles and amphibians, so could I just throw a plastic reptile plant or two in the tank?

As for cage decor, I'm an aquascaping nut, so I'd like to do something unique while still being safe for an axolotl. I was thinking a glass bowl like THIS, one of THESE terracotta spheres, without the paint, some large round river rocks, and the plants. Is that reasonable and safe? I read glass is fine as long as it's not sharp, and terracotta is fine after cleaned and boiled. I'm hoping the axie will use the terracotta sphere as a hide, and I'm hoping to use aquarium silicone to make a hide out of the river rocks. Depending on how full that makes the tank, I'll add a small piece of driftwood from an aquarium store to secure plants to and fill space.

Is that logical so far!?

Okay, feeding. I'm having an insanely difficult time finding Canadian nightcrawlers here for my other guys, so earthworms won't be able to be a staple. If I find a supplier someday I'll definitely add them to my diet plan, but as it stands I've even had to convince my garter snake to eat things other than worms. For food options I have: bloodworms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and salmon pellets (preferably soft). Would that work? I've dealt with live bloodworms before when I had my puffer, so I know how messy they are, but if they work as food, I don't mind.

Water... The filter I have was originally used on the 8 gallon as a planted betta tank, and the flow was gentle enough it didn't disturb the betta, so I'm guessing it should be fine for an axolotl? The tap water here is pretty good. It tests out at 7.2 pH and doesn't have anything too crazy added to it. I have a big bottle of water conditioner that I use for my other amphibians and the betta. I also have access to RODI water, which I use for the saltwater tank. The RODI tests out as a perfect 7.0, and an absolute 0 for dissolved salts. Should I use the tap water or the RODI water? I know all about ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, so I'm good there... I'll be doing 20% water changes once a week, just like everybody gets around here. I'm expecting algae blooms and I know how to deal with those... So I think that's it.

Did I miss anything?!

Thank you so much for your time, and sorry about the crazy long post!



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Old 6th May 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

I'm guessing you've come across this in all your research, but you want to make sure your axolotl will have room to gulp air. I have a ten-gallon tank, and I fill it up with six gallons, so my filter can work, and so my axolotl can go up. He loves to take a big gulp of air then grab a rock, so he floats. I'm new to axolotls myself, but I think you have everything down! Hopefully, one of the more experienced members can tell you if you missed anything.



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Old 6th May 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

10 gallons is not big enough for an adult axie, let alone six! You'll need a minimum of 20 gallons for one axie, so you'll need to upgrade as your axie grows.

There are other worms than Canadian nightcrawlers, red wrigglers and tigers do very well in a home worm farm.

RODI is not suitable for axies at all, it will make them ill and potentially kill them. If you use it you must remineralise it to 'hard', which kinda makes it pointless...



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Old 6th May 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

I totally forgot they gulp air. Thanks for the reminder!

I didn't say anywhere I wanted to keep 6 axolotls... The website I've been using (Axolotls - Housing in Captivity) says 10 gallons is an acceptable minimum for one axolotl. Is this incorrect?

I had no idea red wigglers were okay for axies. My salamanders think they taste awful. I can get some of those easily!

I figured the RODI wouldn't work in this case. With reefkeeping tap water is always the bad guy, so it's a nice change.

Thanks again!



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Old 7th May 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by geckers View Post
The website I've been using (Axolotls - Housing in Captivity) says 10 gallons is an acceptable minimum for one axolotl. Is this incorrect?
Not incorrect as such, it's usually 20gal for the first one, then 10 for each extra. So 2 axies would want 30 gals. 10gals is fine for a juvenile up to about 6-7 inches.
(and 6 refers to the 6 gals Ruggedturf has for one axie)



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Old 7th May 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

I'm just thinking here...is there a discrepency between the UK gallons and American Gallons?

I think 1 UK Gallon = 1.20095 US Gallon.

Therefore 20 UK Gallons = 24 US Gallons.

It was a small detail but I just wondered which measurement was being used.



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Old 7th May 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

Yes, an American pint is 4 floz smaller than a UK pint, meaning their gallons are smaller too. 20 US gallons = 16 imperial gallons = 75 litres.
We usually refer to US gallons when we talk about tanks, seeing as they are measured in litres everywhere else.



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Old 7th May 2016   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by auntiejude View Post
Not incorrect as such, it's usually 20gal for the first one, then 10 for each extra. So 2 axies would want 30 gals. 10gals is fine for a juvenile up to about 6-7 inches.
(and 6 refers to the 6 gals Ruggedturf has for one axie)
Okay I get it now! This tank is 50.8cm x 27.9cm x 33cm, so definitely a US 10. I can upgrade it no problem as my axie grows.

Is everything else there correct?

1) Cabomba, java fern, and java moss are okay with low light and low temp?

2) Types of coolers you all suggest if I need one?

3) Any freshwater fish sand is safe?

4) Smooth-edged glass bowl, terracotta sphere with a hole in it, cave made of large river rocks and silicone, and driftwood as other ornaments?

5) Are plastic and silk reptile plants safe?

Thanks again, again!



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Old 9th May 2016   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

1) I am not sure about Camboba but Java Fern and Java Moss are suitable for axxies. Just be warned that apparently Java Fern doesn't grow quickly, even with liquid supplements.

2) I have a Hailea 150 attached to a Eheim Ecco and I adore it! It was relatively cheap for a chiller (250) and runs like a dream!

3) Sand is a personal choice but it's recommended to get fine sand, and to buy it from an aquarium retailer. Personally I use bare bottom.

4) All the ornaments sound fine - as long as they provide adequate shelter and are smooth.

5) Hmm..personally I would buy specialist plants made for aquariums only because I have no experience with reptile ones. Silk plants are sometimes used if owners don't want axxies uprooting their precious planted gardens.

Hope this helps!



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Old 9th May 2016   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Potential Owner With Some Questions

Perfect, thanks very much! I'll definitely look into that chiller, and just use fake aquarium plants as filler if I need them.



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