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New to the Caudata life!

This is a discussion on New to the Caudata life! within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello! I just wanted to come and introduce myself to other Axolotl lovers as I will soon be joining you ...

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Old 5th February 2014   #1 (permalink)
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Red face New to the Caudata life!

Hello!
I just wanted to come and introduce myself to other Axolotl lovers as I will soon be joining you ranks! I have been lurking a little on this site for a while now, but have finally decided to join in on the fun. I will soon be getting my very first Axies hopefully in about a month or so. I know I'm pretty far off from getting them, but I like to do my research and I want to make sure their home is nice and nearly perfect before I introduce my new babies.
I did have a couple questions however, and if any of you would be willing to bestow your advice on me, I would be very appreciative.

Firstly, at the moment I have a 40 gallon tank with a mesh hinged lid set up on a long table. Do you think this would be okay to house maybe 4 axolotls?
I also was recently gifted (after some blatant nudging) a wonderful Eheim classic 250 canister filter, because I have heard axolotls can produce a lot of waste and I've been told it's the best kind to get. However, I believe it came with a spray bar, which I assume will go on the surface of the water (I haven't started setting it up yet). Will this be okay for circulating oxygen through the water or should I get a bubble stone? Also, do you think I should put a mounted rock or something near it to break up the current so it won't stress the Axies?

Other than that, I also have purchased some Tetra Safe Start Plus solution to help cycle the tank. I have read the tank needs to have a well established bacteria colony to assist in lowering nitrogen levels and to keep healthy axolotls. This solution says it has concentrated aquarium bacteria in it as it is, so will this be okay in beginning to cycle the tank for about a week or so before the axolotls? I also have some Tetra Start Zyme tablets I bought because I was not sure which was better. The Start Zyme tablets also say that they are a complete water condition with beneficial bacteria and they removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. Should I use the tablets first to dechlorinate, then the Safe Start Plus or one or the other?

I am also considering some things for my tanks decorations. I was leaning towards using very fine black sand for the substrate at the bottom of my tank, but also might use large smooth river stones. The only issue with the river stones was I am not sure where to get them and I'm not sure I'd like not being able to find my Axolotls underneath the stones. Besides that, I was looking into some flora to liven up the tank a bit and make the axolotls more comfortable. I have learned that a lot of plants get rooted up by Axolotls, but floating plants, potted plants, and such work well. Could anyone give me some advice on aesthetically pleasing plants for the tank? I've heard good things about Anacharis.

I have also been considering some cool looking hides such as castles and bridges to make kind of a dragon type theme in my tank. I know that I must be very choosy on the type of material I use in my tank, such as no BPA plastics or materials that could leech off into the water. Is there any suggestions on types of objects or places that would be best to get such things?

On another note, I also have researched food types for my babies. I was leaning more towards raising my own earthworms and supplementing their diet with higher quality pellet food as well to make sure the get all the proper nutrients. Is this an okay idea? I had considered daphnia, but I feel earthworms would be easier to raise and I would like to hand feed my babies (with very clean hands of course!).

Last but not least, I am very unsure of where to get my new pets from. I know there are a couple pet stores in my area that sell axolotls, but the ones I have seen the tanks look very un-kept and murky/cloudy. I was thinking about looking into getting them from a breeder, perhaps from the website, but I was hoping to get specific colors (such as golden albino, albino, cream/leucistic, and either copper or black) and preferably, large but similar sized juveniles (to prevent cannibalism), yet I am also worried about how much inbreeding has occurred.

Anyways, thank you for taking the time to read all this and I really appreciate any and all advice or comments!

Hopefully within the next month or so I will be able to decorate my threads with pictures of my tank and beautiful babies!!



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Old 5th February 2014   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

Welcome, it's good that you have been careful to do research before getting your pets. There's lots of good advice on here, and you sound like you will take good care of your axolotls!



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Old 5th February 2014   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

Hello, welcome to the forum.

Lots of questions there, lets start with some basics about your tank.
40gal isn't really big enough for 4 axies, 3 should be OK. You need to remmeber that you have to account for space taken up by ornaments, hides & filters etc.
It will take a minimum of 3-4 weeks to cycle your tank (regardless of what the Quick Start bottle says), look up fishless cycling and get going ASAP. Fill the tank with dechlorinated water, add the quick start, add ammonia, keep adding ammonia daily until you get nitrate readings (You'll need a test kit)
Don't use river rocks, they are a pain to clean, as muck gets trapped between them. Sand is OK if your axies are over 5", until then they should have a bare bottom tank. Sand can cause cement-like impaction in small axies. Make sure the sand is smooth (playsand) rather than rough (builders sand), some aquarium sand is not safe (as it is designed to be rough for more surface area for the good bacteria to live on)
Anything designed to go in an aquarium is safe as decoration, check for sharp edges as axies don't have scales to protect them like fish.
A spray bar will help disperse water flow, you can also use ornaments under the outlet. Bubbles are optional, but mine love playing in them.
There is a list on here for plants, but I can't find it - try a search. I use plastic.

Food:
Worms = best. Get an worm farm going - thread here
Pellets are OK, make sure you get the right ones meant for axies or carnivorous fish.
Daphnia will just get sucked into the filter, but they are fine for babies in tubs.

Where to get an axie:
Try checking the ads here, you're much better getting one from a breeder or enthusiast than a pet shop. Inbreeding is not as much as a problem in axies as it is in mammals, but a breeder should be able to tell you the parentage of your axies.

I think that covers a lot of your questions!



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Old 5th February 2014   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

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Originally Posted by bugdozer View Post
Welcome, it's good that you have been careful to do research before getting your pets. There's lots of good advice on here, and you sound like you will take good care of your axolotls!
Thank you!
I'm very excited for them!



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Old 5th February 2014   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by auntiejude View Post
Hello, welcome to the forum.

Lots of questions there, lets start with some basics about your tank.
40gal isn't really big enough for 4 axies, 3 should be OK. You need to remmeber that you have to account for space taken up by ornaments, hides & filters etc.
It will take a minimum of 3-4 weeks to cycle your tank (regardless of what the Quick Start bottle says), look up fishless cycling and get going ASAP. Fill the tank with dechlorinated water, add the quick start, add ammonia, keep adding ammonia daily until you get nitrate readings (You'll need a test kit)
Don't use river rocks, they are a pain to clean, as muck gets trapped between them. Sand is OK if your axies are over 5", until then they should have a bare bottom tank. Sand can cause cement-like impaction in small axies. Make sure the sand is smooth (playsand) rather than rough (builders sand), some aquarium sand is not safe (as it is designed to be rough for more surface area for the good bacteria to live on)
Anything designed to go in an aquarium is safe as decoration, check for sharp edges as axies don't have scales to protect them like fish.
A spray bar will help disperse water flow, you can also use ornaments under the outlet. Bubbles are optional, but mine love playing in them.
There is a list on here for plants, but I can't find it - try a search. I use plastic.

Food:
Worms = best. Get an worm farm going - thread here
Pellets are OK, make sure you get the right ones meant for axies or carnivorous fish.
Daphnia will just get sucked into the filter, but they are fine for babies in tubs.

Where to get an axie:
Try checking the ads here, you're much better getting one from a breeder or enthusiast than a pet shop. Inbreeding is not as much as a problem in axies as it is in mammals, but a breeder should be able to tell you the parentage of your axies.

I think that covers a lot of your questions!
Okay. I was going to get some test strips next time I went to the store. But does it matter which one I use? Should I use the tablets first? But since its says that it has bacteria in the tablets, would it be okay to use the other solution after? Or would it be too much bacteria?

Thanks you so much for all f your information!!



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Old 5th February 2014   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

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Okay. I was going to get some test strips next time I went to the store. But does it matter which one I use? Should I use the tablets first? But since its says that it has bacteria in the tablets, would it be okay to use the other solution after? Or would it be too much bacteria?

Thanks you so much for all f your information!!
I would not use test strips - they're often inaccurate. Invest in a liquid test kit (I recommend the API liquid master test kit) It's really the best thing any aquarist can invest in.


I wouldn't use both bacterial starters - pick one or the other. I've heard good things about tetra safe start.



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Old 5th February 2014   #7 (permalink)
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I would not use test strips - they're often inaccurate. Invest in a liquid test kit (I recommend the API liquid master test kit) It's really the best thing any aquarist can invest in.


I wouldn't use both bacterial starters - pick one or the other. I've heard good things about tetra safe start.
Okay! I think I've seent he liquid tests in the store....I think they sold each test individually though.. Ugh.



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Old 5th February 2014   #8 (permalink)
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Okay! I think I've seent he liquid tests in the store....I think they sold each test individually though.. Ugh.
Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies This is what you're looking for.

You can also buy the liquid tests individually - just make sure you get the tests for ammonia - nitrite - nitrate.



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Old 5th February 2014   #9 (permalink)
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Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies This is what you're looking for.

You can also buy the liquid tests individually - just make sure you get the tests for ammonia - nitrite - nitrate.
Cool! Thanks for the link!



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Old 5th February 2014   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

Ah, I also have to admit I haven't explored the site very much...
Is there a specific place where ads are put up where I can look into getting Axolotls?



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Old 5th February 2014   #11 (permalink)
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Ah, I also have to admit I haven't explored the site very much...
Is there a specific place where ads are put up where I can look into getting Axolotls?
Yes! The for Sale, Give-away or trade section, specifically the USA section: For Sale, Give-Away or Trade - FS: USA at Caudata.org Newt and Salamander Portal

I personally purchased my Axolotl from Margie, and I highly recommend her :)



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Old 5th February 2014   #12 (permalink)
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Yes! The for Sale, Give-away or trade section, specifically the USA section: For Sale, Give-Away or Trade - FS: USA at Caudata.org Newt and Salamander Portal

I personally purchased my Axolotl from Margie, and I highly recommend her :)
I will definitely check her out then. Thanks again!



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Old 5th February 2014   #13 (permalink)
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Nice to see another in my area on here!!!!!



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Old 6th February 2014   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

Congrats and welcome! It's always good to see someone who is getting their research done before they actually purchase an axolotl.

It seems all of your questions have been answered, but I'm going to offer a small bit of advice.

Don't start out with three or four axolotls. It can be tough when you're new at this, so I suggest just getting one, maaayyybbee two, and seeing how it goes. It gives you some time to really get the hang of things, and it also gives you time to dote on your babies. More than two might be a little overwhelming for a new keeper, especially with a tank that large.

Let us know how things go!



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Old 6th February 2014   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

Just to add to Embry's comment - it's also very exciting to get one and watching it explore the new tank. Then few months later getting another one and waiting.... Then another one... Etc etc. besides BAM! 4 axolotls. Go slow and steady! I love watching the newest members explore and interact with the others.

I hope someone knows what I'm talking about it I sound a little crazy..



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Old 6th February 2014   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: New to the Caudata life!

Welcome to the wonderful world of axolotls.


I have bought from Margie and Klaydogz, They are both reasonable with their prices and package them nicely for the trip.

Home Depot sell a good variety of river rocks online, clean them thoroughly and you will have no issues. My axie love them.

Wish you luck!!



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Old 6th February 2014   #17 (permalink)
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Nice to see another in my area on here!!!!!
Nice to meet ya!
Well since you are from Va beach, you know how hot it can get in the summer. Do you ever have any problems keeping your tank cool in the summer months?



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Old 6th February 2014   #18 (permalink)
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Congrats and welcome! It's always good to see someone who is getting their research done before they actually purchase an axolotl.

It seems all of your questions have been answered, but I'm going to offer a small bit of advice.

Don't start out with three or four axolotls. It can be tough when you're new at this, so I suggest just getting one, maaayyybbee two, and seeing how it goes. It gives you some time to really get the hang of things, and it also gives you time to dote on your babies. More than two might be a little overwhelming for a new keeper, especially with a tank that large.

Let us know how things go!
Understandable. I think when I get new pets I just get so excited about them that I just want a lot--kind of like a love frenzy type of thing. I'm glad my boy friend talked me down to 2 ferrets instead of the 3 or 4 I originally wanted.



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Old 6th February 2014   #19 (permalink)
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Just to add to Embry's comment - it's also very exciting to get one and watching it explore the new tank. Then few months later getting another one and waiting.... Then another one... Etc etc. besides BAM! 4 axolotls. Go slow and steady! I love watching the newest members explore and interact with the others.

I hope someone knows what I'm talking about it I sound a little crazy..
The only thing I was worried about is making sure they don't try to eat younger axolotls. So if I got new ones later, I would have to get bigger and older axies. :/ I'm not sure if they would get stressed from being removed from their environment where they have lived so long, and then be in a tank with new strange buddies.



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Old 6th February 2014   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pnkflyd669 View Post
Welcome to the wonderful world of axolotls.


I have bought from Margie and Klaydogz, They are both reasonable with their prices and package them nicely for the trip.

Home Depot sell a good variety of river rocks online, clean them thoroughly and you will have no issues. My axie love them.

Wish you luck!!
Oh okay!
That sounds good. Maybe I can get a few accent pieces.



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