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Substrate help?

This is a discussion on Substrate help? within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I've been looking into getting my own Axie because, man, those things are cute. I've kept a bunch of other ...

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

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Old 28th November 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Question Substrate help?

I've been looking into getting my own Axie because, man, those things are cute. I've kept a bunch of other aquarium fish including minnows, gold fish, tetra, and others. So, by extension, I have a bunch of test kits/gravel/filters/what not for caring for these things
I've heard the many (many) horror stories of Axies swallowing gravel and course sand so, those are out.

How do I know how big a rock must be ? I have some sort of half-marbles from an old setup. my carp have never moved them or even tried to put them in their mouthes but I figure a larger rock would be best. Other than wading in a river and finding some stones to wash the **** out of, is there a way I should know what pet store rocks are safe? Same with sand, how fine is fine enough?

Sorry I'm over complicating this OTL if I kill an axolotl over substrate I'd probably cry because they're so cute



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Old 28th November 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate help?

EDIT: Also what low-light plants do they enjoy? Or should I just get soft plastic plants?



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Old 28th November 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate help?

For rock size they need to be pretty big. Axolotl have large mouths and anything that can fit in could be inhaled. Half marbles I know of would fit perfectly in my sub adults mouth so I would wouldn't include them. I personally wouldn't feel safe with anything less than golf ball size but that is probably a bit of over kill.

Most people get play sand from a hardware store. That stuff is very fine. I also have slightly larger aquarium sand from PetCo and it is working out well. I have also heard that very young axolotl should not have sand at all until they reach about 4 or so inches long.

If you are worried a bare bottom tank wont hurt. I have seen some cool pictures where people set the bottom on top of papers with plant print.

For plants you also need to consider some that will do well in cool temperatures. Anubias and mosses have been recommended to me but you could also look around in the for sale section and see what others have used and get some for cheap.



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Old 29th November 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate help?

Any large pebbles need to be larger than an axolotl's head to avoid them swallowing them. The downside with large stones is that they tend to collect detritus and debris and requires a bit more effort to maintain cleanliness.

Very fine silica based sand is the best. Many members here use play sand or pool filter sand and this option is usually cheaper than substrates at pet stores. Axolotls should be on sand until they are at least five inches long and it is best to feed them above the sand surface or on a feeding dish to prevent too much sand from being ingested. Here is a link you may find helpful

Caudata Culture Articles - Aquarium Substrates

Oh and there a few threads in this section on plants. Live plants are good to have and you can select some that do better in low light aquariums. Java fern, Java moss, anubias are a few popular options.



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Old 30th November 2015   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate help?

I have sand for my axolotl, PetSmart sells aquarium sand that I bought. I haven't quite had to feed her yet since i just got mine. She walks very easily on it. I heard that sand is okay for them to swallow because they won't choke on it and will spit out extra. Some people put a glass jar in with food so they can get it without the mess and substrate. I want a feeding bowl but I'm not sure what to use. I wonder how easy it would be for the axolotl to walk on those half marbles, will adults be able to swallow them? Large rocks seem hard to maintain but might be a good option if you are willing to regularly clean them. Anyone know where to get a feeding dish?



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Old 30th November 2015   #6 (permalink)
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Any large pebbles need to be larger than an axolotl's head to avoid them swallowing them. The downside with large stones is that they tend to collect detritus and debris and requires a bit more effort to maintain cleanliness.

Very fine silica based sand is the best. Many members here use play sand or pool filter sand and this option is usually cheaper than substrates at pet stores. Axolotls should be on sand until they are at least five inches long and it is best to feed them above the sand surface or on a feeding dish to prevent too much sand from being ingested. Here is a link you may find helpful

Caudata Culture Articles - Aquarium Substrates

Oh and there a few threads in this section on plants. Live plants are good to have and you can select some that do better in low light aquariums. Java fern, Java moss, anubias are a few popular options.
Argh! I just saw a huge typo.. Just to ensure everyone knows what I mean, axolotls should NOT be kept on sand until they are at least five inches long in size.



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Old 30th November 2015   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OKXSEE View Post
I have sand for my axolotl, PetSmart sells aquarium sand that I bought. I haven't quite had to feed her yet since i just got mine. She walks very easily on it. I heard that sand is okay for them to swallow because they won't choke on it and will spit out extra. Some people put a glass jar in with food so they can get it without the mess and substrate. I want a feeding bowl but I'm not sure what to use. I wonder how easy it would be for the axolotl to walk on those half marbles, will adults be able to swallow them? Large rocks seem hard to maintain but might be a good option if you are willing to regularly clean them. Anyone know where to get a feeding dish?
Sand has less risk if they do consume some (which does happen). However we should minimise how much they do consume by not feeding them directly on the sand. I usually hand feed mine but occasionally I give treats that are a bit hard to hand feed so when I give them these treats I use a couple of ceramic plates just from any supermarket or kitchenware store.



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Old 4th December 2015   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate help?

I started out with bare bottoms until my axolotls were about 5 inches long, it makes it easier to clean the tank. I then changed to sand and a bigger tank. The only problem that I have found with the sand is that they like to bury their poop and the sand can get dirty really fast and when you clean it it makes a mess. I use the heavier sand substrate from petsmart I think, since it is heavier it doesn't make the water as cloudy when I clean. Also on the subject of the rocks, you do not want something that will fit in their mouths. What I learned is that you want something larger then the space in between their eyes, but to be safe I wouldn't put in anything under an inch or 2.



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