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Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate for help!!

This is a discussion on Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate for help!! within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Bare with me on this one, I'm going to give as much info as possible to try to get some ...

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

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Old 6th December 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Default Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate for help!!

Bare with me on this one, I'm going to give as much info as possible to try to get some feedback.

I went to a local pet store a few weeks ago to buy a rat for my snake and while I was there I saw a baby axolotl in a tank (maybe 2 inches long) and got to talking to the store owner about it. She assured me it is the most low maintenance pet out there; no filter, no tempurature restrictions, it could even have an empty tank. So she sent me home with this little guy in essentially a fish bowl and assured me it was all he'd ever need.

On arriving home I started reading about them and what I could put in his tank to make it more esthetically pleasing. In my reading I come to find out that tempurature is hugely important but I live in a cool enough environment (Seattle) that it shouldn't be an issue, atleast not for awhile. So I end up buying a bigger tank (I think it's about 5 gallons. I know he'll need a bigger one eventually but he's still tiny), he has a log, some fake plants, rocks and black sand as a substrate. I feed him axo food pellets and krill and he eats them no problem.

He seems totally happy with it but I was unhappy about the clarity of the water so I bought a filter. I've propped up some rocks under it to try to divert the flow but it still scares him and he won't come out of his hide as long as it's on. So I've only been turning it on for an hour or so a day.

A couple days ago he started coming up to the top of the water and it looked like he was taking breaths. That's when I found this forum and learned about cycling the tank and ammonia. This came as a real shock to me. I immediately went out and bought a test kit and the ph was fine but the ammonia was at 8ppm!! I was terrors and immediately took him out and changed 75% of the water. It's a miracle he's still alive. I've been doing 50% water changes every day since then and we are keeping it at about .25ppm. I also took some gravel from our fully cycled goldfish tank and put it in the filter as I read that can help the bacteria form quicker. I treat for chlorine with amquel plus- says it detoxifies ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, chlorine and chloramines.

So basically I'm completely new to the hobby and am having to cycle the tank with my little guy in it. I am already so attached to him and willing to do anything to make this the best home I can.

My questions are: how am I supposed to properly cycle the tank when he can't stand the filter? Will he just get used to it? I don't want to stress him.

I also am wanting feedback as to whether you guys think he looks healthy. I read about Gil flare but I think he looks pretty similar to a lot of baby axo pictures I see.

I am also just feeding him until he stops as I was given no instruction on how much to feed him.

Thank you for any info you might have!! Me and my little one appreciate it!!
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Old 6th December 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate dor help!!

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Old 6th December 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate dor help!!

Unfortunately most stores know next to nothing about axolotls and many stores do not advise people on the cycling process. Have you got liquid testing supplies for nitrite and nitrate as well? These will be important in the process.

You will need the filter going as this is where a lot of the beneficial bacteria will colonise. If the flow is too strong, you could baffle it by placing something in front of the outlet to disperse the flow a little like an ornament or even a sponge.

Here is a link on cycling

Scales Tails Wings and Things, What is Aquarium Cycling? How to Cycle your Tank

You do have options though. You can cycle the tank with your axolotl in the tank by monitoring parameters very closely and frequent water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite at a safe level (0.25ppm) or you could keep your axolotl in a tub with 100% water changes daily whilst you use a fishless cycling method in the meantime to get the cycle established. Here is a link in case you would prefer this option.

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community



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Old 8th December 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate dor help!!

Young properly fed axolotls can grow really fast. Speaking from experience I highly suggest getting the 20 gallon long now and only needing to go through the cycling process once. As an added bonus, if you can get it now you can keep a close eye on the little tank while the big one can do a faster "fishless" cycle. That should make it both safer and faster.

For the filter flow issues I'm assuming you have a hang over the back type? A couple methods for baffling the flow is to get a shower poof (loofa or whatever) with an attached cord. You can tie it to the inside of the filter with another piece of string and have it slowing the flow of the water as soon as it comes out of the filter. Blocking it from the top of the flow is easier than at the bottom with rocks.

Gill flare itself isn't too much to worry about. Its not a disease or anything. It is just a sign of slight stress (here probably due to the water current). If you are really worried keep an eye on the tip of his tail. If it starts to have a kink in it continually then you should worry a bit more.

Since they grow fast when young they eat a lot of food so I doubt you can over feed him right now. For reference, the rule for adults is to feed enough to keep their belly about as wide as their head.



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Old 10th December 2015   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate dor help!!

Look at sponge filters on amazon. I have a five gallon one that works perfectly for the 10 gallon tank I have. To help with the water quality in addition to doing the water changes, make sure to get the solids (left over food and feces) out of the bottom of the tank. As well as if that is gravel at the bottom of the first picture I would advise you to take it out and replace with sand after he is about 4-5 inches.

I would advise to at least cycle a 10 gallon tank, bigger if you plan on getting another. I only spend about 45 minutes a week caring for my axolotl, so overall they do take some maintenance, but its pretty enjoyable saying they are interactive compared to fish.

I was in the same boat with my first axolotl, very uneducated. Spend some time on here and you will become an expert.



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Old 13th December 2015   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate dor help!!

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Originally Posted by Charlotl View Post
Young properly fed axolotls can grow really fast. Speaking from experience I highly suggest getting the 20 gallon long now and only needing to go through the cycling process once. As an added bonus, if you can get it now you can keep a close eye on the little tank while the big one can do a faster "fishless" cycle. That should make it both safer and faster.
Yeah I can definitely attest to the fast growth rate. When I got mine a month and a half ago, it was 3 inches and today it's at 5 1/4th. You should definitely get the bigger tank to start cycling. And it's a good idea to be feeding him live food, fed mine black worms until it's head was as big as it's stomach and then I switched to chopped up earthworms. Now it slurps up whole worms no problem. It's a lot of work in the beginning, but it's worth it to have your little guy happy and healthy and reward you with it's quirky little mannerisms :)



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Old 14th December 2015   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate for help!!

Note on filter size, as you have probably noticed by now axies are rather filthy creatures. Suggest a filter rated for at least 4 times your tank size. Meaning, if you have a 10g, the filter needs to be rated for a 40g.

The folks on this site are very kind with the sharing of their wisdom and experiences. Keep logging in and read everything, there will be helpful tidbits in all the strings.

Enjoy your little one!



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Old 16th December 2015   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate for help!!

Something I use to help with water quality is live plants (I really like water sprite and java fern) but don't worry about that right away. As far as the filter goes what I do is I pull the tube that sucks the water into the filter up a little so it decreases the water flow, I also have a 10 gallon filter for my 29 gallon which houses one adult axie. You probably don't want a smaller filter while the tank is cycling but you could try this in the future.



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Old 17th December 2015   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Uninformed new axie owner. Desperate for help!!

Hey, I'm from Seattle and I was curious as to what this LFS was called?? I haven't run into any that sell these guys... So strange. Not that I'd be purchasing one from any, as I'm already full up lol. But I am curious. Best of luck to you and your new friend-- you're definitely in the right place for care advice.



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