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Axolotl n00b, help!

This is a discussion on Axolotl n00b, help! within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hi everyone! I bought a new aquarium last Saturday so that I could keep 2 axolotls. I was advised by ...

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

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Old 19th October 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Axolotl n00b, help!

Hi everyone!
I bought a new aquarium last Saturday so that I could keep 2 axolotls. I was advised by an aquatic shop to buy a Juwel Korall 60 tank with a heater, light and filter included. The shop told me that I should pop the filter on overnight and condition the water to remove chlorine and to come and pick up the axolotls on the next day. I thought the aquatic shop would be the best place to go and ask for advice as they were very helpful previously when I had a pond, however when I was asking them for axolotl advice, they said that they were super easy to look after and that there was little information about their upkeep. I was told to feed them half a cube of frozen bloodworm twice a week and to do a partial water change once a month.
Of course, since then, I've spent a lot of time reading around axolotls and I have now put 2 flowerpots in the tank for them to hide in (not in photo), put a plastic plant in front of the filter to lessen the strength of the water current, ordered a fan to cool the water and I know that I should be doing a 20% water change once a week. However, I've only just found out about cycling. I've done a 6 in 1 water test today and the levels for all chemicals are in the safe limits and the axolotls are showing no sign of curled gills or tails. How should I carry on from here? Should I start doing a 10% water change every other day? Also, is half a cube of frozen bloodworm between two of them twice a week enough? I really want my axies to be happy and I'm worried about new tank syndrome! This is my first aquarium and I'm annoyed at myself for trusting the rubbishy advice of the aquatic shop. I'll attach some photos of the tank, but as I said, there are now 2 flowerpot hidey holes in there. Any advice appreciated!

-Jen

ps. My albino is called Snork Maiden and the darker one (wild type?) is called Spook, nice to meet you all!
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Old 20th October 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Hi, welcome to the forum. Are the heater and filter still in there? You will want to get those out of there immediately, very bad for axies. They like cold water, I never have mine higher than 75 F. The colder the better. I find any water flow stresses them out, so filters are bad. Water changes are enough...I think the minimum water changing is 30% a week, though 100% a week is optimal.
I see you have gravel in there, it looks big for their head right now but as they grow they will be able to swallow it. That will impact and greatly harm the axolotl. Sand is the best substrate.
As for food, bloodworms are great, but earthworms are better. Hand-feeding cut earthworms is great, and very healthy. You can also feed trout pellets or anything like that. They'll accept many types of food.
I hope I helped, your axies look great by the way



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Old 20th October 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Thank you! The heater was never switched on. I've taken it out completely now and have ordered a fan as the temperature in there is about 20C and I'm living with all my windows open and trying to not use my lights which generate a lot of heat!
However, this is the first time I've heard not to use a filter with axies. I thought that they were quite messy creatures and that it was an essential part of cycling that bacteria establish themselves in the filter to change the ammonia waste? The water flow isn't too heavy in there because I've popped a plant infront of the filter. I also didn't realise I had to change 100% of the water. I've read that 20% a week is ideal. Maybe I've done my research wrong and I don't quite understand. I've been reading so much on the internet now that I have a bunch of contradictory information from a range of sources which is maybe why I'm panicking.
I will make sure to change the substrate as they grow
As for the earthworms, I work as a gardener so I was thinking about collecting earthworms for them from there but again, I did some reading around the topic and it said not to use earthworms unless you know that the soil they were in was organic and that they are carrying no parasites!
As I said, I'm very confused! Also, can anyone tell how old my axies might be? I can't tell what sex they are either. I thought my albino one might be female because she has a bigger head and the cloaca looks quite small but they might both be too young to sex just yet. Sorry for the essay!



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Old 20th October 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Oh you don't have to do 100% every week. That's just what I do, and I'm capable of doing that since I have natural well water and I don't have to de-chlorinate it.
That temperature is fine.
Yes, the earthworms can carry pesticides and whatever else may be in the soil. You can buy earthworms from bait shops or places like that, or start vermiculture bins.
As far as cycling is concerned, changing water a lot is acceptable, but any method of reducing ammonia and nitrates you prefer is fine.
I understand the new-axie confusion, it will quickly diminish. If you make mistakes along the way, they are highly forgiving and hardy animals
Sexing is impossible to tell until they are larger, about 7"+. Sexing is easy, males have a huge cloaca and are skinny, females have small cloacas and are plump.
As far as info on the internet..there is a lot of contradicting. But Axolotl.org has all the correct information. Trust that site.. have you visited it yet? That is where I learned everything.



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Old 20th October 2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Hi, your tank looks great by the way and your axolotls are really cute! :), yes i would take the heater out the tank as they love! cold water, and i would honestly leave the filtter in as it ill help keep the water crystal clear and yes i do a 20% water change per week on my axolotl`s tank, and yes earthworms are the best diet for the axolotls i normally get mine from the fishing shop and i also get maggots for them as a treat, and your white axolotl is actually could a leucistic as it has blue eyes, albinos have red eys and the brown/green one is a wild-type, they look around 5-6months old to me on the pictures you'll be able to sex them in a few months time the female will become quite fat due to the eggs inside her and her cloca area will be very small where as the male wont be as fat as the female and they develop a big bump on the cloca, really hope this helped .



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Old 20th October 2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

The filter will be fine in the tank as long as there is no strong current, might as well sell the heater as you'll never use it unless you decide to keep tropical fish, in my opinion They don't look very old from the pictures, less than a year. I've always kept three to a tank and share them a bloodworm cube daily until they're about 5-6 inches in length. Once they're adults they will only need to be fed 3-4 times a week. spot checks and 20% water changes weekly will be fine as cleaning goes. Pellets and earthworm (chopped if too large) are also great staples. Best of luck!



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Old 20th October 2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Your little lotls look like mine! I also have a luesistic and a green wild-type. You've got a great start, doing your research and checking the water.

If the filter doesn't provide too much water flow, it should be fine. The outtake on my filter is facing the wall of the tank to reduce flow (as opposed to pouring directly into the open water. A fan will be great to keep the water nice and cool. 16 or 17 degrees is really ideal, but as long as you aren't above 24, they should be ok.

Bloodworms, earthworms, amphibian pellets, guppies, beef heart on rare occasion, there are many things that they can eat, just avoid things like salt-water creatures and iodine.

I highly recommend changing your substrate to either rocks bigger than their bodies, sand or nothing at all. At present, it's probably fine, but they sure like seeing what they can fit in their little heads, sometimes. Mine are still pretty little juveniles too, but when I tried to give them a sand substrate, the luesistic decided it looks delicious, and I had to remove all the sand and fridge her for a week until she passed everything she'd swallowed. When they're older and wiser, I'll try sand again, but for now, the tank bottom is bare.



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Old 20th October 2012   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Thank you so much everyone, that's really set my mind at rest. I was worrying that I was a terrible mother! I will definitely get some huge pebbles then and also, Visi, facing the filter to the wall is a great idea! I'm hoping that the fan will bring the water temperature around to 18C. Thank you JodieBromilow for correcting me, the aquatic shop were selling them as melanoid and albino axolotls, I knew something wasn't quite right! I won't trust their advice from now on! I'll also start feeding them more often, perhaps every other day as well, they are looking a little on the skinny side. Again, the aquatic shop said a quarter of a block of bloodworm each twice a week would be enough. I will look into getting some safe earthworms asap and from now on I'll only trust advice from this site and axolotl.org. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone so much



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Old 20th October 2012   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Just like to add, those stones won't be suitable when your axies get a little bigger as they will swallow them :P



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Old 20th October 2012   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Thank you! I will get some chunky pebbles for when they grow



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Old 20th October 2012   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

TAKE OUT YOUR HEATER!!!!

you will kill you axolotl if you have a heat they are COLD water fish!
also go back and exchange ur over hang filter for a hydro sponge filter a hoverhang will create to much curret and stress them out

TAKE OUT YOUR SUBRATATE !!!!!!!

your rocks are death waiting to happen they will eat them and DIE because they will get stuck in the tummy go back and exchange them for sand or an instore cred. also check the teeth on that sculpture make sure they are not pointy or sharp



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Old 20th October 2012   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Although I appreciate your help Michael, I would rather not be told things like 'you will kill your axolotl, they will DIE'. If you read my original question, you would see that I said that the heater came with the aquarium, it has not once been switched on. I know that they are cold water amphibians. The temperature in the tank is currently 20C and I am waiting for a fan to arrive to cool it further. My filter is a sponge filter and the axies don't seem to be showing any signs of discomfort at all, but I'm going to face the filter to the tank wall tomorrow to reduce any current further. As for the rocks, they are currently bigger than my axies heads, but I've said above that I will be replacing them for large pebbles when they are a little older. I don't mean to be rude but I don't think writing that my beloved axies will die is a very helpful way of communicating advice effectively and sensitively.



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Old 21st October 2012   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Pet shops are useless! Sounds like your on board with what needs changing and what to do. So props to you :)


Filters are funny, although axolotls generally dislike water flow you will find many members who claim different.. Each axolotl is different im sure. I did a 1/2 3/4 water change every few days when cycling as the ammonia was high, but keep a good eye on your levels and guage from there. otherwise a 20% weekly works well :)



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Old 21st October 2012   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Thank you, Cheva! Feeding, water change, tank reshuffle and earthworm and large pebble hunt is happening today! Wish me luck!



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Old 21st October 2012   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Sand is a great alternative, 9$ for a 20 kg bag i think.,..



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Old 21st October 2012   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeg View Post
TAKE OUT YOUR HEATER!!!!

you will kill you axolotl if you have a heat they are COLD water fish!
also go back and exchange ur over hang filter for a hydro sponge filter a hoverhang will create to much curret and stress them out

TAKE OUT YOUR SUBRATATE !!!!!!!

your rocks are death waiting to happen they will eat them and DIE because they will get stuck in the tummy go back and exchange them for sand or an instore cred. also check the teeth on that sculpture make sure they are not pointy or sharp
Was being so brash entirely necessary? Although you make valid points, I don't feel scare mongering a new comer is a way to give advise. Everybody has to start somewhere and she did the right thing coming to the forum for the information she needed. There's no need to jump down her throat, so to speak, as she's not the first and most certainly won't be the last given wrong information from centers. Oh and by the way, they're NOT fish.

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Originally Posted by JLCoolJ View Post
Thank you so much everyone, that's really set my mind at rest. I was worrying that I was a terrible mother! I will definitely get some huge pebbles then and also, Visi, facing the filter to the wall is a great idea! I'm hoping that the fan will bring the water temperature around to 18C. Thank you JodieBromilow for correcting me, the aquatic shop were selling them as melanoid and albino axolotls, I knew something wasn't quite right! I won't trust their advice from now on! I'll also start feeding them more often, perhaps every other day as well, they are looking a little on the skinny side. Again, the aquatic shop said a quarter of a block of bloodworm each twice a week would be enough. I will look into getting some safe earthworms asap and from now on I'll only trust advice from this site and axolotl.org. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone so much
Couldn't agree more with pet shops and even aquatic centers being useless! The problem with them is they cater the needs of fish...which axolotls are obviously not! I think you're doing great though and taking everything on board - definitely came to the right place for valid information!



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Old 21st October 2012   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Thank you, NeekaLovesYou! I don't think I've done anything drastically wrong yet, just need to alter a few things. Obviously being told I'm going to kill my axies isn't particularly nice to hear and doesn't help my panic mode. I just wanted to say that I have done a lot of reading and I did research axolotls thoroughly before I bought them, it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. Coming here is reassurance for me and it's very helpful to hear more specific advice from experienced axolotl owners, especially people who are willing to take the time out of their day to have a look at my tank individually, so thank you everyone!
Re: substrate, I was wondering where the best place to get pebbles large enough might be. I was going to have a look in the garden centre today but am I right when I say that my substrate should be free of lime? Most garden gravel/pebbles probably aren't.



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Old 21st October 2012   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Dont worry you're doing fine! I was told complete **** by pet shops too and my poor baby was sick too, but hes now healthier than ever thanks to this site, WELCOME :)



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Old 21st October 2012   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

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Thank you, NeekaLovesYou! I don't think I've done anything drastically wrong yet, just need to alter a few things. Obviously being told I'm going to kill my axies isn't particularly nice to hear and doesn't help my panic mode. I just wanted to say that I have done a lot of reading and I did research axolotls thoroughly before I bought them, it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. Coming here is reassurance for me and it's very helpful to hear more specific advice from experienced axolotl owners, especially people who are willing to take the time out of their day to have a look at my tank individually, so thank you everyone!
Re: substrate, I was wondering where the best place to get pebbles large enough might be. I was going to have a look in the garden centre today but am I right when I say that my substrate should be free of lime? Most garden gravel/pebbles probably aren't.
Are you anywhere near a B&Q or Homebase? I get giant bags of rocks labeled "Beach pebbles" from them, they're only about 5-6 usually. I've always used them in my tanks with no problems. Just make sure you give them a good wash beforehand as they come out of the bag absolutely filthy and pick out any of the little ones that made their way in the bag!



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Old 21st October 2012   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Axolotl n00b, help!

Yesssssss B&Q! I totally forgot about them, there's one just down the road! I'll pop down there after lunch, thanks!



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