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Help me start over please

This is a discussion on Help me start over please within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; After a much needed family holiday, we came home to find our axie tank is a horrible state after being ...

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

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Old 21st July 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help me start over please

After a much needed family holiday, we came home to find our axie tank is a horrible state after being grossly neglected by the sitter. It has been suggested that I clean it all out and start all over again. I can't find the thread about how to cycle your tank so was hoping someone could post a link for me or give me some pointers on how to cycle it and what to look for. Also can I do it with my axie in it? He is currently being fridged because of the stress caused by the terrible conditions he was living in but i would like to move him home shortly.
I did a 50% water change as soon as we got home but the water is still quite discolored. I'm not confident in the test stick i am using as they seem to have all gotten wet. They are reading GH 0, KH 0, pH 6.5, NO2 0, NO3 0, ammonia 3.0 but as I said I'm not confident in those readings.

Any help or suggestions at this stage would be greatly appreciated



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Old 6th August 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

i have/had the exact same problem! Mine was caused through bad advice. Long story short - i purchaced two axies and was told to throw them in the tank and not touch anything in there for a month! 8 days later, one axie didn't eat since i got him, and they both were covered in fungis! After a lot of reading and aquarium shop visits i finally got the advice i needed. So i'll tell you exactly what i was told.
Take the axies out (like you have). I kept mine in the fridge for about 3 days. doing a water change morning and night. Apparently you can do a change once every 24 hours, but because i have 2 in the one tub, it looked dirty before the 24 hour mark, so i just changed it twice a day. I use "Stress Coat" to dechlorinate the water and help the slime coat on their skins. They are still in the tub but no longer in the fridge (its winter here so its lovely and cool for them).
In the mean time i have started cycling my tank again. Dont wash your filter out! Even though the tank is toxic to the axolotl, the good bacteria will still be in the filter system. Plus, you need some ammonia in there to feed this good bacteria. What i did was a 50% water change with dechloronated water. I left the rest alone. And then i put a heater in there. And now i am "seeding" good bacteria from my fathers fish pond wich is absolute perfection in water quality and PH and ammonia readings. With the heater and the seeding, you can cycle a tank in as little as 2 weeks. My tank now looks stunning! :) The amonia is still there, so its not finished yet. I reckon you should do the same. Dont start again as you will lose any good bacteria you have built up in the filter.
Are the axolotls ok? The fridge works wonders! :)
I'll let you know how mine is going and if the seeding and heating works well or not.
Good luck with you pets and tank, and feel free to tell me all about your findings :)



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Old 11th August 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

Thanks for the reply. I'd actually given up on anyone answering.

I went to my local petstore that told me I would need to start over again but they gave me some of the rocks from their filters to help speed the process up. I put my axie back in and it was going great for the past 2 weeks. Then 2 days ago the tank seems to have gone crazy. Woke to find it quite discolored, almost cloudy, again. I did a partial water change but it still looks terrible. I'm so disappointed as it was looking gorgeous and clear. Is the discoloration part of the process?
I took the tank readings and they are
Ammonia 6
No2 80
No3 5-10 (the test strip colour is in-between)
Ph 6.5
KH 40
GH 60

Jones wasn't looking himself again so he's back in the fridge again. I hope this tank is going to sort itself out and this is part of the normal process



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Old 11th August 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

ok, it sounds like we have the exact same problem!! I went to my "axolotl expert" this afternoon and had some more help and advice. Get your axies out the the tank! dont put them back until your tank is cycled. end of story. I assume you have the same temps as we do in Perth, so after they de stress in the fridge, just keep them in a container some where safe with privacey. Do a water change morning and night with de chlorinated water. "Stress Coat" is awesome as it has an antibiotic affect to it. 1.05 mil per 8 litres is what i am using. And they look so much happier for it.
Back to the tank. I put 3 little gold fish in my tank today and a plant. I have the heater in there still and have seeded some bacteria in from dad's well established fish pond. I also bought (with the gold fish today) a bacteria additive to boost the good bacteria production. My tank is very cloudy too. Also a very normal part of cycling. its your bacteria doing its thing and slowly establishing.
The problem we both have is that we need "life" in our tank to make it cycle, but the axolotls are not happy being that "life". Hence the little gold fish.
But you are doing the right thing :) Its enough to do your head in!! But we need to be patient and keep our axies out until their home is perfect.
I am so glad i am not the only one going through this!!!! :)



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Old 11th August 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

hey guys, i was reading this trying to figure out if i should do that same thing (start over). I was given my axie as a birthday gift and knew nothing about them besides how adorable they are. When i was given Toothless, he was already in a tank that had a hard flowing filter, bare bottom, aerator, and a fake plant. The only treatment the water was given was "prime" solution, and im pretty sure he was thrown right in.

I was forced to turn the filter off for a couple days because i could tell the current from it was stressing him out. I have since purchased an ajustable powerfilter, which i have set to low flow. The water is starting to clear up (it got alittle gicky), and toothless is swimming around happily and eating regularly. His temp is around 72F. he now has some medium rocks in the corner and a cave, and his own beach chair.

The only method i was given to test is water is the little dip and match the color test strips. How accurate are these things? is "good" really "good" for toothless?

I just want whats best for toothless. He seems okay now, but i do not want to be slowly hurting him.
Should i let his tank go and the filter do its thing? or should i start over with all fresh water?

and what is this about fridging them? do you litterally mean sticking him in tupperware in my refridgerator with my food? for some reason this just seems wrong to do to my lil buddy! :)



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Old 11th August 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

Cycling with your axie in the tank is just fine, in fact that is how I would do it. I would get liquid ammonia nitrite and nitrate test kits. Do a waterchange whenever ammonia is over .5 ppms and your tank will cycle. You can take your axis out of the tank, but you will have to monitor the water they're in closely. If you do take your axies out keep ammonia in the tank they are not in at 4 ppms.
The discoloration is probably a bacteria bloom due to your tank becoming uncycled. Monitor your water every day



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Old 12th August 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

I beleive everyone has their own method and you do what works best for you (and your axie). I tried cycling the tank with my axies in, but they got very sick. But, like people, i guess some axies are more sensative to things in life and some can handle anything you throw at them.
I was very unsure about the "fridge" process too. Its not something i would luck to be shoved in, but after trying it with my axies, i can honestly say a couple of days in there made them look great. The looked relaxed and stress free, their little gills looked a lot better and their skin looked good too. As long as the water is changed with water the same temperate they are already in and its been treated for chlorine, they will be fine in there. They dont tend to eat whilst in there either. But after persoanlly trying this method, i can honestly say its safe to do and works really well.



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Old 12th August 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

keeping your axie in a tank will allow for more wiggle room with the water parameters. While daily waterchanges in a tupperware container will be easier, the ammonia will rise much quicker. In my 40 breeder tank, all I had to do to keep ammonia below .5 ppm's was a 20% waterchange once a day. So depending on the frequency of waterchanges, keeping your axie in a much larger body of water would lower the amount of ammonia they are introduced to. It has nothing to do with how sensitive an axolotl is.



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Old 13th August 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

uh, yeah it does. Some axolotls can handle a cycling tank - some can not.



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Old 14th August 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

lol, so you're telling me that keeping an axolotl in a larger body of water and doing daily waterchanges to keep ammonia below .5 ppm's is less ideal than changing 100% of the axolotls water on a daily basis because it will be in a smaller body of water that will accumulate ammonia much more quickly? Stability is usually the key in aquariums, and while changing out 100% of the water will work, keeping the axolotls in more stable parameters would create less stress than your method. Now if you failed to do daily waterchanges to keep ammonia in check then yes, keeping your axolotl in a tupperware container would be the way to go(unless you failed to do daily waterchanges in that, and in that case keeping it in the tank would still be the way to go). However if you take proper care of the water parameters the axolotls ability to handle cycling is not the concern.



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Old 14th August 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

i am saying when cycling a new tank, some people have success with the axolotl in there and some people dont. If you read blogs on this site there are people saying both. So i have no idea why you are trying to prove me wrong or call the hundreds of other axolotl owners on here liars.



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Old 14th August 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

I'm not, I'm just pointing out that keeping your axolotl in the tank while cycling is not subjecting it to excess ammonia, and will not harm it anymore than the method you are suggesting. If cycling correctly an axolotls ability to handle ammonia is not a concern, and you're making it sound like keeping an axolotl in the tank is the irresponsible thing to do. I happen to think that keeping an axolotl in the tank while cycling is just as effective.



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Old 15th August 2011   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

and i'm saying it didn't work for me. Therefore, they were removed.



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Old 15th August 2011   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

As a third person point of view (which seems to be needed), I think both cycling with axies in their tank, AND out of it are fine, IF done correctly.

As long as the correct method is used (waterchanges when needed), i think either are okay. Though just for peace of mind I think I'd prefer mine in the fridge, so that the ammonia in the tank would not stress them out (and of course I would do the daily 100% daily waterchanges in the tupperware).

Though either is fine. I am sure! :)

Hope I didn't tread on any toes, just trying to help. :)



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Old 15th August 2011   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

Adding my bit to the cycling with or without axies- with a tank that's got such a high level of ammonia I wouldn't put the axolotl anywhere near it. I can see how cycling a *new* tank with the axolotl in could be ok, with lots of water changes, with just the axolotl poop as the ammonia source- but an ammonia reading of 6 is bad bad news for the little one. Either start over, cleaning the tank out and changing ALL the water, or leave him in the tupperware box until the ammonia is at a sensible level- I'd say below 0.5 if you keep doing daily tank water changes, or nearer 0 if you'd rather wait a bit longer and not do daily tank water changes. But please don't cycle at 6ppm ammonia with a poor little axie in it! He'll get ammonia burns.



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Old 15th August 2011   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

Thats exactly what i was saying :) As my tank cycled, the amonia went up a little and my axies really did not like it. So out they came. But, i know people who cycled their tank with axies in it and they did well the whole time. Those people (i think) are lucky and they must have very healthy axies.
You're not treading on any toes :)
Carson, i am happy your tank cycled well with the axies in it - i wish i was that lucky. Unfortunately, i am not. The amonia was oh so slight, but still upset them. Which brings me back to first point - some axies seem to handle it, and some dont. And at the end of the day, you need to do whats best for the axie.



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Old 15th August 2011   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help me start over please

you guys are totally missing my point. I'm not arguing one method is better than another, i'm just pointing out that there is nothing wrong with cycling a tank with an axolotl inside of it. Keeping an axolotl in a cycling tank with elevated ammonia levels however is wrong. Tupperware containers are still uncycled, and will accumulate ammonia. This is solved by doing daily 100% waterchanges on the tupperware container, however the ammonia will still build up in the tupperware throughout the day.(regardless of being fridged).
If you are cycling in the tank, daily waterchanges are also required to make sure the ammonia does not go above .5 ppm's, which is a relatively safe level of ammonia.
Iray: you're still missing my point, your axolotl should never be exposed to so much ammonia that it is stressed out regardless of cycling in a tank or in tupperware. Therefore I still stand by my statement that an axolotl's ability to handle ammonia/nitrite should play no role in whether you cycle in a tank or a tupperware container.

If you did want to cycle quicker keeping your axolotl in a tupperware container would be faster as you can have elevated levels of ammonia in your tank, however I personally think keeping an axolotl in a tupperware container is inconvenient and would prefer to do the daily waterchanges on the tank so that i can observe my axolotls.



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