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Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

This is a discussion on Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP. within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I've had my Axolotl in a 20 gallon tank for about 3 weeks now. The last week or so I've ...

Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate Discussions on tanks, temperature, filters, gravel, lights etc.

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  • 1 Post By ChristineB
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Old 15th August 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

I've had my Axolotl in a 20 gallon tank for about 3 weeks now. The last week or so I've been finding ammonia readings of 1.0 ppm and 0.50 ppm of Nitrites. I've been doing 50% water changes daily for the past 3 days, but the levels are not getting any better.

Visually I can see grey slightly transparent flakes floating everywhere in the tank. When it settles in the substrate it forms a grey pocket in the low points of the substrate. We have been suctioning once daily to try and remove as much as possible.

What I am using in my tank now is an Aquaclear power filter for a 30 gallon tank, and prime conditioner. I used National Geographic substrate to cover the bottom of my tank.

I am currently looking for anyone with experience with this issue, or anyone with suggestions to help out. I really don't want my little guy to get sick



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Old 17th August 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

I looked up that substrate and sounds like fine gravel/coarse sand. Can you provide a picture of the "flakes"? Not sure if you're describing food debris or some kind of fungus. Since the ammonia isn't going down, there must be an ongoing source; either excess food or too much poop for your water volume, or some kind of decay, maybe rotting plants or a rotting decoration. I bet more folks will reply if you can get a photo. Good luck!



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Old 18th August 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

You're in a similar situation to me right now, I have a 30 gal and a 10 gal that were set up within the past month. My 10 gal was full of particles last night, it looked like a snowstorm. I took the axie out and changed almost all of the water, and it looks a lot better today. By the way, these particles shouldn't be harmful to your axie, the ammonia and nitrites are the main problem. Here are a few things that have worked for me so far:

Your levels are likely caused by the fact that your tanks are still cycling (growing the bacteria that naturally remove toxins and waste). Because of this your levels will be unstable until the cycle is complete. It can take 4 weeks or more for the good bacteria to establish themselves and get the toxins under control.

There are a couple of things you can do to get rid of or reduce the particles floating in the water. First of all, next time you do a water change, take the filter inserts out and rinse them in TANK WATER (not tap water!) The filter is the main place where the good bacteria grow, tap water will kill those bacteria. The same applies if you decide to rinse other items in the tank, the bacteria grow on all surfaces. Don't clean the glass on the back and sides of the tank for now, this adds another surface for the bacteria.

Secondly, stir up your substrate thoroughly and let it settle before you vacuum the tank. This will get rid of more waste, including waste that can collect in substrates and foul the water. It's a good idea to stir up sandy substrates regularly.

Third, do a water change of at least 50%, up to 90% if the levels are very high or there's a lot of waste in the water. This will clear out more particles and lower the levels of toxins. You don't have to do this every time, just once for now, If you do a 50% water change this only removes 50% of the toxins, so if they're really high it's good to change more of the water.

I do partial water changes of up to 50% daily because my levels are still high and so is my pH. I just bought a water changer, it's my new best friend. It generally takes weeks for a tank to cycle, but check your toxin levels every day to decide if a water change is needed and how much water should be changed.

If your levels are high and you're concerned about your axie, you can also add a tablespoon of aquarium salt per 10 gallons, once a week. This helps to buffer the effects of ammonia and nitrites on your axie.

Personally I'm not a fan of adding too many chemicals to the water, but some people like to use stuff like API Stress Zyme or Ammo Carb, bacteria supplements or pH adjusters. My experience with these is that they have more effect on my wallet than my fish tank! Usually the bacteria supplements are the wrong species of bacteria. You can also get filter inserts that absorb ammonia. I'm using one but not noticing a lot of difference so far.

You can promote bacteria growth and clean the water with live plants. I have Marimo moss balls in my tanks and I'm planning to add more plants. You can increase the oxygen by adding a small air stone, you can get little $2 valves to regulate the air flow so your axolotl won't get stressed by water flow. in my 30 gal tank I have a "hang on back" power filter and a sponge filter driven by an air pump. The sponge filter is mainly for growing bacteria and it filters particles from the water.

I think your filter hangs on the back of the tank as well? If it's creating a lot of water flow you can get a suction cup soap dish at a dollar store and stick it to the glass right under the water outlet. I even put a little filter insert bag for ammonia on the soap dish so the water flows through it. It works great and has never fallen off.



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Old 18th August 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

I have been doing 50% water changes everyday, and as of yesterday I finally have my nitrites down to zero! The ammonia is lower, but still not perfect.

I actually have the soap dish hanging under my filter, filed with rocks and filter floss! It's worked awesome for my axie so far!

After reading this I went and picked up some moss balls as well as Java Moss, any advice on where to put the Java Moss? I was thinking of hanging it from the soap dish.

Also, this may be a silly question, but do you think there is such thing as moss balls that are too small? I know axies love to vacuum stuff up, but mine are about 1cm wide.

THANKS so much for all your advice!!



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Old 19th August 2015   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

I mostly tuck clumps of java moss under decorations so it doesn't get sucked up by the filter. It makes a nice little hiding and resting spot. Some people sew it onto plastic canvas with fishing line and in time it grows into a beautiful, thick mat.



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Old 20th August 2015   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

Angus is feeling happy and healthy (and a LOT more sociable) now that his water has cleared up.

Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.-20150819_222656_richtone-hdr-.jpg



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Old 20th August 2015   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl Water Quality Issue. HELP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saravriend View Post
Angus is feeling happy and healthy (and a LOT more sociable) now that his water has cleared up.

Attachment 43810
Angus - I love that name!! (Probably because I was raised by Scottish parents).

I'm glad a couple of my suggestions worked for you and Angus!



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