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Questions About My First Axolotl!

This is a discussion on Questions About My First Axolotl! within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I'm getting my very first axolotl in about 1 week and I'm SO EXCITED!! He or she (not sure yet) ...

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

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Old 24th February 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Question Questions About My First Axolotl!

I'm getting my very first axolotl in about 1 week and I'm SO EXCITED!!
He or she (not sure yet) is about 5cm and gold in colour.
I've got the tank so far (65L) and some decorations, and I'm going to the pet store tomorrow to get the rest. I plan on getting sand as substrate, bloodworms as well as some flakes for food, a filter, and some plastic plants. Are there any more essential items I've missed??
As soon as I get all of the stuff I'm going to start cycling the tank - will one week be enough time to do this? If I need more time what should I do with my axolotl while I'm waiting for the tank to cycle? Are there any ways I can speed up the cycling process? How long until my axolotl will grow out of the tank - it's 600mm x 300mm x 390mm? Will I need a new one soon. Sorry I'm quite new to all of this!!
Thanks so much, any help would really be appreciated!
- Melissa



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Old 24th February 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

Hello there
I'm really new to axolotls too so was very recently in the same position as you. Good to see your doing your research before you get the little feller.
Well done for not falling into the gravel complex :) It all sounds good to me, though I'm curious about the 'flakes.' I don't think my axie would eat flakes and I've never heard of anyone feeding an axie flakes. Some trout/salmon pellets are good for axies though. Mine won't take them but I've spoiled them on live food.
Because he is so small, bloodworms are fine for now though if you could get hold of some small earthworms these are much better nutritionally and the best staple food for when he grows...and he will...quickly haha. I learnt from experience after my two outgrew their tank in little more than a few weeks. Got them a nice 4ft-er on the go though.
The other thing is that plastic plants are more than alright, but some axies don't really enjoy them as much as real plants or softer and more natural silk plants. I have endless fun watching mine play peek-a-boo in the foliage.
The other thing that I would reccoment as a must is a hide for him, especially because he'll be brand new to your tank and might appreciate somewhere to hide. Reptile hides work well and large fish tank decor (as long as it's not sharp) but I've seen people using old tea pots, flower pots and PVC pipe, as cheap alternatives.
It's very doubtful that you will be able to cycle your tank in a week, but you can do this with your axolotl in it. You have to be really attentive though and do very regular water checks and changes. I didn't take this route because I am just a newbie, but if you've had fish or anything then you probably have a better idea than I did.
But to cycle your tank quicker, stay away from the chemical conditioners that will help 'cycle' (allegedly) and instead just throw in a king prawn and leave it to decompose. Prawn is generally recomended.
For one axolotl that tank is decent for life, though if you get any more you will have to upgrade. The general rule is two feet of tank space for your first lotl and another foot on top per axie. Personally I would get it a bigger tank, but to all extents and purposes that is a fair size. So it's really just your decision if you want to upgrade or not, and when.
I wouldn't reccomend this normally, but because he's just a little guy, I think you could probably keep him in an alternative container until your tank is cycled, doing daily water changes. We have a large washing up bowl (big size ) in case we ever have to provide temporary accomadation or fridge our lotls. But like I say, I'm fairly new to this and I'm just waiting on someone more experienced to pull me up on that suggestion for reasons I haven't thought of yet
Where are you getting your lotl from? Is there anyway you can fight the temptation to get him next week and instead collect him when your tank is cycled? I know pet shops are generally happy to reserve an animal for you to collect later. So this is an option if it is practical to do so...
I hope I've helped a little.
I'm so excited for you...and your axie. I'm sure you'll figure everything out and be a great axie owner.




Last edited by iheartaxie; 24th February 2012 at 09:07.
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Old 24th February 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

I'm not sure about the flake food - you want to be feeding them carnivore pellets. :) They also love blackworms and earthworms if you have them locally. Earthworms are also really good for them and nutritious.

A tank will almost certainly not be cycled in one week. You can speed up the cycling process by adding live media from an established tank - however, make sure the source is trustworthy, you don't want to be taking in someone else's problems too.

Your tank sounds like a 20 high. This will suit one axolotl for a lifetime. A 20 long would be ideal, but for only one a 20 high is okay. :)



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Old 24th February 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

Hey there! Bloodworms are fine, but he probably won't touch the flake. If you're going to feed him processed foods, you need something that sinks, and something that's soft.

Try looking for axolotl pellets online. I know they sell them here, but I'm not so sure about NZ. If you find nothing, look for salmon feeder pellets as these are essentially the same thing! But just so you know, your axie probably won't touch them until he'd a little bigger. Mine were so picky at that size! They'd only eat frozen brine shrimp. But now they love their pellets.

Your tank may take a little more that a week to cycle. In the mean time, you can keep your axie in a shoebox sized tupperware, and do daily water changes! I'd suggest buying two containers. Keep them right next to each other. While you axie is in one, add water and dechlorinator to the other. Then, the next day, just move him to the other container and change the water in the old one. That way, you will always have fresh water ready that is the same temp as the old water (very important!).



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Old 24th February 2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

Hey there! Bloodworms are fine, but he probably won't touch the flake. If you're going to feed him processed foods, you need something that sinks, and something that's soft.

Try looking for axolotl pellets online. I know they sell them here, but I'm not so sure about NZ. If you find nothing, look for salmon feeder pellets as these are essentially the same thing! But just so you know, your axie probably won't touch them until he'd a little bigger. Mine were so picky at that size! They'd only eat frozen brine shrimp. But now they love their pellets.

Your tank may take a little more that a week to cycle. In the mean time, you can keep your axie in a shoebox sized tupperware, and do daily water changes! I'd suggest buying two containers. Keep them right next to each other. While you axie is in one, add water and dechlorinator to the other. Then, the next day, just move him to the other container and change the water in the old one. That way, you will always have fresh water ready that is the same temp as the old water (very important!).



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Old 25th February 2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

Thank you so much for all your replies! And sorry, when I said 'flakes' I actually meant the axolotl pellets which I bought from the pet store today
I'm just about to start setting up the tank and I have everything ready including the test kits etc. but I think I'm going to do what Hacelepues said with the two plastic containers when I get my axolotl and just change the water daily until the tank is cycled.
If I could, I would definitely wait longer for my little guy but he is being couriered from the South Island and I live on the North Island, and the lady who has him at the moment is posting him on overnight courier on Thursday.
I also have another question - I've heard you're meant to 'wash' or 'rinse' the sand? How exactly should I go about doing this?
Thanks so much again everyone!



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Old 25th February 2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

I just did mine in a big bucket, swirled it around a bit with lots of water and checked for any lumps etc, the put it into the tank and let the filter do it's job. I guess you could sieve it though if you want to do it properly? I'm new to all this too, so I'm sure someone else will probably have a better idea.



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Old 25th February 2012   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Questions About My First Axolotl!

Cool thanks
I did just that and it seems to be going well



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