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New Setup Questions

This is a discussion on New Setup Questions within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello to everyone on this forum, I've been reading for a couple months now but I haven't yet setup an ...

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Old 13th October 2007   #1 (permalink)
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Hello to everyone on this forum, I've been reading for a couple months now but I haven't yet setup an axolotl tank. I look to be getting my equipment together in late November or maybe December and need all the advice I can get.

I will be setting up a 40 Gallon "breeder" size aquarium and would hopefully house 2 axolotls in here. I intend on making a fairly heavily planted tank. I will look to make 2/3 of the tank heavily planted with ground cover and the other portion have some nice leafy plants for the axies to float/climb on. I will probably use a plant substrate and have a couple nice large rocks for aesthetics. If you have any advice or if any of this is not OK let me know, but I think this part I'm OK on.

As for a filter I'm looking at using an Eheim Ecco 2232 canister filter which I will probably split the output and further stem its flow through some of the taller plants. I know this is more than an adequate setup for fish (I'm a pretty experienced fishkeeper) but I'm not sure if this is too little/too much (can there be too much?) filtration for an axolotl.

For lighting I will probably use a 3 bulb setup -- 2 "white" 1 actinic on approximately an 8-10 hour cycle as needed to keep the plants growing nicely. I don't intend on injecting CO2 as ground cover plants aren't all that needy. From what I've read, this sounds like a lot of light for the axolotls to handle, so I'm hopeful the leafy plants will provide good cover and I may set the rocks up to have a ledge or cave-like area to provide another shady spot. Let me know what you guys think about this. Lastly, I'm concerned the lights will put off a decent amount of heat, the tank will be in a room that's a year round 69-71*F but with only two bulbs my other tanks can hold 72-73 with the heaters off. I'm guessing this one would top out at 73-74 but I'd like to keep it a couple degrees cooler at least, any suggestions for what I could setup that would avoid using ice bottles?

Sorry if that was kind of long but I think I covered everything. Let me know what you guys think as you are the experts!

Thanks!
--Tommy



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Old 13th October 2007   #2 (permalink)
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The tanks should be 60-65 you can get some low light plants. What do ypu mean by plant substrate (dirt?) Bare floor or sand is best. What is the foor space on the tank? As long as the filter dose not have to much flow you chang it later. Are you going to cycle first. Sound great nice to see some one thinking about this stuff first.



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Old 13th October 2007   #3 (permalink)
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The substrate is called "Eco-Complete" it's something like dirt, but it doesn't really get "muddy".

The tank dimensions are 36"x18" and I believe 18" deep (but as I understand depth doesn't matter).

If worse comes to worse I'll buy an in-line chiller like many of the big saltwater fishkeepers use, with that I can drop the temp to 60 no problem, although I think a chiller may be overkill, I will experiment with small 'computer' fans and keeping the lights raised a bit above the tank while I let the tank cycle and such, if I can keep the tank suitably below 70 then I won't get a chiller but if it's staying at all above 70 I will have to invest in one.



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Old 13th October 2007   #4 (permalink)
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I think that size is good for 2 axies Your right depth dose not matter. Computer fans and ice bottles are alot cheaper. Sorry I don't know about the Eco-Complete. Just in case you don't know the higher the temp, chance of more stress more chance of fungus.



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Old 13th October 2007   #5 (permalink)
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For a few weeks while the tank is cycling I'll run the lights on a normal schedule and keep a good eye on the temperature. If the room is 70 or less and I keep some fans going, I think the tank should stay 70 or less. If I find out it's ever going to top 70 I'll invest in a chiller (even though the ice bottles are definitely cheaper, the chiller is a lot more consistent). I don't want to spend a ton of money on the chiller, but I imagine I can keep the temperature around 65 for a good price.



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Old 13th October 2007   #6 (permalink)
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Might be able to get a used one or pick one up on ebay. Sounds like you are going to take great care of them.



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Old 13th October 2007   #7 (permalink)
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You do seem to be pushing the temperature tolerances a bit. Consider carefully if you can cut heating by moving the power supplies of the fluorescents away from the tank and possibly cutting to two tubes for 12/14 hours which would supply the same amount of light but at lower intensity. I run a very heavily planted tank without filtration. The down side is most of the time you cannot see the axolotls, which move slowly around hunting snails. They seem happy but my temperatures are 5F lower than yours.



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Old 14th October 2007   #8 (permalink)
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Sounds like that might be a good idea, my other planted tanks run pretty bright, but I could definitely cut back and run a longer "daylight" cycle. What is your room temperature if your tank will stay 65ish?



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Old 15th October 2007   #9 (permalink)
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Thumbs up temperature tolerances


hi
i am new to this
but have u read and re/read all in axoloti site
if u have this will uncover all
do u really need a light
axies are a wild breed coming from cold dark but clear waters
if room temp is a problem as in my home town
have u got air con/can u wrap tank in polyurethane/it has dropped mine and many tanks in australia by at least 4/6%
I will use a fan in the hight of summer if need be
but keeping lids of and aircon on or water blocks is all needed where i am
my dearest friend also major axie breeder for south australia
where temps get to 50 % where i live
only believes in all of the above
new to him was my sons idea of wrapping tank in polyurethane.
his tanks have dropped as mine by at least 4% on doing this.
well we can only advice what we have done.
kind regards
catherine selfridge/catherinpet1



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Old 15th October 2007   #10 (permalink)
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The aquarium I got my axie from had them in 28 degrees centigrade water but this was definately stressing them. I'm keeping my temp down to 20 degress or less now, with a fan I got from Ebay. I have a timer which switches the fan on 3 times a day, to co-incide with morning/evening heating and noon. This seems to work and the temp never goes above 20.5.

In terms of lighting you may want to rethink as axies do not like strong light at all. When I get my axie in his new setup the only lighting I will have is some blue LEDs (again from Ebay) which can be dimmed if necessary. Axies are more happy with moonlight or no light at all. I decided in these LEDs as they are bright enough to see what the axie is doing, but will not stress them at all. This obviously means no natural plants (or extremely hardy ones) but that's ok :)



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Old 15th October 2007   #11 (permalink)
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The lighting sounds like it may be on the high side for axies. However it does increase the species of plant you can grow. Since you can grow some of the larger broad leaf species your axie will not see much of the light anyway as the plants will block it. I would also not waste time with the Actininc bulb as that spectrum has little value in planted tanks other than the cool blue hue some people like. The exception is if you are doing a deep water pond tank. I would also recommend a layer of sand over the Eco-Fresh as axies are regular ingesters of substrate.



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Old 15th October 2007   #12 (permalink)
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Everyone thanks for your suggestions, don't worry, I won't be putting any axies in the tank until I can assure I can keep the temperature down. I'm not sure if anyone has seen them before but the "IceProbe" water chiller looks like it should do the job for me as far as keeping the temperature down in a 40 gallon aquarium. I'll keep the lights raised slightly and obviously have the gap in between vented/fanned.

As per MRIGuy, I'll definitely be using broad leafed plants on at least a portion of the tank as well as making a "cave" or similar with some fieldstone for the axies to take shelter from if the lights bother them. I intend on raising them from as young as I can get, so hopefully they'll acclimate to the lights (I know they don't live in much light in the wild, but none of the axies in the trade are wild anyway, after a few generations some may like light and others may still hate it).

If you're afraid the eco-complete will be harmful to them, I can definitely just use filter-sand or play-sand as a substrate, perhaps a bit less natural looking but definitely not a problem as far as planting.



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