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New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

This is a discussion on New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank! within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I just revamped my 30 gallon breeder (because of gravel size issues) by laying a new floor of slate tile ...

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Old 30th September 2009   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I just revamped my 30 gallon breeder (because of gravel size issues) by laying a new floor of slate tile on the bottom. I got three tiles from Lowes ($1.69 each) and they cut them to size for me for free. Then I got some silicone from Home Depot (GE Silicone I which is not mildew resistant aka it will not hurt the Axolotls $3.75 a tube) and then I laid them down on the bottom. It takes about 3 hours to dry and I let it cure for about 24 hours after. I figured I could share my new tank with everyone, especially if anyone has issues with gravel size and keeping their tank clean like I did. So here it is:

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Side View

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Front

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I think they like it.
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(Missing right gills)
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GFP vs. Shrimp



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Old 30th September 2009   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Hey i really like your tile idea. I am currently trying to decide what to do with my tank. I don't really like sand too much but plain bottom seems kinda boring. Thanks for sharing



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Old 30th September 2009   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I really like your idea. Just a suggestion, you might want some more hides.



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Old 30th September 2009   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Yeah I do need to work on the hides. And as far as sand goes I went from sand to an average large rock and sand I hated because its impossible to siphon as the large rocks I hate that the axolotls couldn't get to worms or food sometimes and they would simply rot. I love the slate bottom and it seems like they do too. I'm going to try to either make or find some suitable hides and also maybe some sot of pots for my plants. The water is so clear its amazing and I assume itll be easy to keep clean.



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Old 30th September 2009   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Very good idea. Practical, attractive and relatively economical and easy to achieve.



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Old 30th September 2009   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Thanks! If anyone has good hide ideas or for leveling or anything that would look nice since my tank does have some height to it let me know. I'm thinking about some fake wood or something.



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Old 30th September 2009   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I was thinking about using mosaic tiles on the bottom of my tank but i'm not sure if the mortar (under the tile) or the grout (between the tile) would be suitable for inside an axy's tank due to chemicals and such. I know when you put down tile say in a bathroom you are also supposed to seal it with a spray on chemical i dont know if i should follow through with this part or if its unnecessary. Mostly i'm concerned about the mortar and the grout. Any information would be helpful. I know the mortar is called thin set mortar or organic mastic mortar: Tile Mortar - Thin Set Mortar for Tiling - Mortar for Tile Not sure what grout to use. Thanks in advance



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Old 30th September 2009   #8 (permalink)
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Wink Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

That slate is amazing! I think that was really imaginative!
My roommate bought some nice wood online, the wood she got was quite a big piece of cypress. I think the site might have been .. aquariumplants.com It's an American company that sells live plants and real woods, if you don't want to use fake woods. Just as a warning...the pictures make the wood look a lot smaller than they really are...



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Old 30th September 2009   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I am actually not all too sure about mortar in the bottom of your fish tank. I also thought about using different tiles and materials as opposed to the slate and silicone. Theres a few things you must consider. First is whether or not it will change your water parameters significantly. As for grout I am not sure what it may do to the water parameters and whether or not it would affect the water chemistry. Also you need to think of any chemicals in the substances you are using and whether or not they will be harmful to you aquarium inhabitants. That's why I used the silicone I did. its cheaper than pet store aquarium silicone yet does the same job and doesn't have mildew resistant chemicals in it like other commercial silicone products do. All in all I think you could do the idea of a mosaic floor but you would want to rinse all of the tile/stone pieces off first and make sure they are not going to chage your water chemistry. As for the grout I would play it safe and simply use silicone sealant. Just make sure you get a SILICONE Caulk, not a vinyl or anything else like a vinyl-silicone mix. Also make sure it is not mildew resistant. Like I said, the GE Silicone I is a safe one to use. That one comes in White or Clear but others you can get in various colors. If you want to play it really safe, you can even just get it at your local pet shop. Usually in black or clear. I hope that helps.



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Old 30th September 2009   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I love the slate bottom! How heavy is each piece? I'd like to use this in my 55g without too much stress on the tank.
Thanks for the great photos.



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Old 30th September 2009   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Each piece I would say is about 5 pounds and they come in 12" by 12" tiles. A 55 gallon is 48" by 12" so you would need 4 tiles. I had them cut a half inch off a single side of each tile in order for them to fit with a slight gap on either side for silicone. I also had them trim an inch off of one tile (the center tile) on a second side. This allowed me to fit the three tiles side by side with slight room for silicone. So if you wanted to do this same thing I would say go to Lowes or Home Depot (The Lowes by me had more easily matched tiles and the ability to cut them while Home Depot had better pricing so I went to both). And get 4 tiles and have them cut about a half inch (more like 1cm) off of one side of each tile then have them cut another 1cm off of a second side of two tiles (which you would use as the center 2 tiles). The four tiles should fit together easily and you can use a thin bead of silicone caulk to hold them in place. An additional 20 pounds to your tank shouldn't be an issue or cause any stress to the tank especially since in a 55 gallon tank there would normally be about 100 pounds of gravel (which the 20 pounds of slate will replace) plus 400+ pounds of water (A gallon of water is 8.3 pounds and ideal amount of gravel is approximately 2 pounds per gallon of water).



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Old 7th October 2009   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

wow! i'm gonna do that too! looks really really nice! but.. how do u know if it's secure or if it's leaking?? @_@



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Old 7th October 2009   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Tank looks absoloutely amazing!!! LOVE IT...And definately easier to clean...thanks for the great idea :)



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Old 7th October 2009   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I think this is a great idea, something I would consider doing. One question though.... is slate a bit slippery as the only reason I dont use a barebottom tank is because I like to think they have a bit of grip which glass doesnt give, would this be the same for slate?



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Old 8th October 2009   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Wow. That tank is absolutely beautiful.
The background makes it seem so professional. :']



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Old 8th October 2009   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Nice pictures. Do you have any more pictures of old 1 gill?



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Old 14th October 2009   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

You first want to make sure the tank is clean and dried out and the surfaces are ready to accept silicone. I would suggest using some ethyl alcohol because it will clean the edges up and it evaporates readily. As far as knowing its sealed... I would say just give it plenty of time to cure over and make sure you got in between every crack.

As far as slippery-ness... I don't believe it is at all slippery. The main reason I did it was for the look and effectiveness (and of course the 0 risk of impaction). As opposed to glass, the axolotls can get their grip on it, it looks nice, and I can also clean it easily. So far its been win-win. Cost wise it isn't bad either.

For the background I used this stuff called Sea-View that i bought at Petco for about 5 bucks. Its like a kind of contact cement you rub on the tank and backing then smooth out any bubbles (it is very similar to applying tint to windows). It's great because besides being slightly messy (I did it outside) it really turns out nice and you can even peel it off easily.

As for old 1-gill... (Who I have thought of calling Harvey since hes kind of like 2-face)- I will post more pictures once I can get a few good shots and he cooperates with me. The GFP seems to like the spotlight a little more.



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Old 14th October 2009   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

Ooh, that looks great! I love the idea and I imagine it does make cleaning all that much easier. I have sand in the bottom of my tank right now but might consider doing this when I upgrade to a larger size aquarium. It certainly sounds cost-effective.

I thought about keeping my tank bare on the bottom but in retrospect I'm glad I didn't as one of my axies seems to love pacing back and forth on the sand (and I imagine this would be quite a bit more difficult in a tank with only glass on the bottom). It looks like this stuff would provide some "grip" as well -- is it slightly textured (not completely smooth), or are the pictures deceiving me?



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Old 15th October 2009   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

I have a tank where I did exactly the same thing. However, I had to let the silicone dry for several weeks. It took forever for the vinegar smell to go away.

For anyone doing this, I would recommend NOT putting any silicone UNDER the slate tiles. I think that this is why mine took forever to stop gassing out the vinegar smell.



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Old 15th October 2009   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Slate Bottom Axolotl Tank!

The pictures aren't deceiving you, it does have some texture to it- even the "smooth" spots have a bit of texture. And as far as the silicone- I made the same mistake at first (I also put silicone underneath of the tiles) but luckily I am OCD and it didn't turn out as well the first time around so I took a couple hours to pull up the already glued down tiles and scrape out semi-cured silicone. Talk about a headache,,,Literally and figuratively- I had a couple fans going and still nearly passed out from the fumes. A respirator is highly recommended (as well as not using mass amounts of silicone, especially underneath the tiles).

And here's another photo update of my tank with some Mopani Wood (it's a little dirty but bear with me)

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Somehow Harvey (one-gill) seems to elude me any time I take pictures. I'll get him eventually.



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