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This one's a novel

This is a discussion on This one's a novel within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hi guys, I feel like I need to apologize for posting so much on here since I joined....I feel like ...

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

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Old 10th March 2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default This one's a novel

Hi guys,

I feel like I need to apologize for posting so much on here since I joined....I feel like I've written more on here than I have on my dissertation in the past couple months! I really appreciate all of your responses so far...they have been extremely helpful and reassuring.

Okay, so lots to update you on and hopefully get some feedback about.

1. Water quality issues / cycling (continued...ugh)


I have two tanks set up now--a 20 long (that Mortimer was originally in), and a 10 gallon that I set up as a back-up in case the 20 long crashed again (or took forever fully stabilizing). The 20 long had yet another nitrite spike, and I took Mortimer out of there as recommended. I put him in the 10 gallon (temporarily), as it had not yet cycled and seemed to be a better situation for him. I thought he would be okay in there for a while (until the 20 long finished its thing, and I thought it was close with nitrates finally showing up in there), as the 20 long took FOREVER (over 2 months) to even show any trace of nitrite. (Do you have any ideas what could be taking it so long???)

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately...however you look at it), the 10 gallon has already cycled more than the 20 long (and it's only bet set up a couple weeks). When I noticed the ammonia spike so soon, I took Mortimer out of there (poor guy) and he is now in a 2 gallon bucket. I'm replacing his water a couple times a day...he is surprisingly messy).

Hopefully the two tanks will finish cycling SOON. Below are this morning's water parameters in both tanks. Please let me know if anything looks odd (or promising):

10 gallon--
Ammonia - 0.25ppm
Nitrite - somewhere between 0-0.25ppm (but closer to 0)
Nitrate - 80ppm (!)

20 gallon long--
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: somewhere between 1.0-5.0ppm (???--I couldn't really tell)
Nitrate: 10-20ppm (this won't increase....I don't know why the small tank's is
already shooting up)

Also, for what it's worth, both tanks have been staying at a steady 63-65 degrees.

What I'm finally figuring out that I'm doing wrong (at least part of it)...

1. Re: cleaning up after him

Since Mortimer has been in the bucket (this is day 2), I have realized that he is a messy little dude. While he was in his tank, I could only find a poop every 3-4 days (and I was seriously searching). I have never ONCE seen him poop. And I watch him a lot. I was really starting to wonder if something was wrong with him. Since he has been in the bucket, he has pooped at least twice. Do axolotls poop a lot when they are stressed (from being moved around) or do you think he poops that frequently and I just can't find it?!? Where would it go? I'm not even finding the dusty, disintegrated poop that I've read about. It's just not there. Is he eating it? I doubt it because he didn't eat it in the bucket.

2. Re: feeding him

I've been feeding him blackworms since I've had him. He loves them. But they are messy....even when they're in a feeding jar, they just seem to get everywhere and hide under things. I'm always surprised about how many I find when I'm cleaning up his tank. Do the blackworms significantly contribute to ammonia levels? (There aren't a TON of them in there when I clean, just more than I would expect.)

Yesterday, I started feeding him earthworms. It took me ages to figure out if what I bought at the bait store were earthworms or red wigglers or nightcrawlers or ??? I finally decided that they are nightcrawlers/earthworms. They are GIGANTIC (6 inches long and really fat). I didn't think I could feed them to him because I didn't want to drown/cut them....I almost cried/barfed when I did so. And I lost my appetite for the entire last part of the day. To make it less traumatic for me (yes, I know that sounds dramatic), I froze one of them to try and kill it more humanely. Then, I thawed it, cut it open, and cleaned it out. (GAG) Is this okay to do? Is it okay to freeze them first? Does it need to be cleaned out? Mortimer devoured about a third of it. I put the remaining part in the freezer because I was terrified it was going to somehow come back to life and be all cut up. I know...I can be ridiculous.

Hopefully feeding him earthworms will lead to better water quality. Is this what you have found?

3. Re: his tank's setup

Even though I spent a really long time getting his tank just the way I wanted it (and I love the way it looks), I've decided to take a good bit of the stuff out of there because it's just too hard for me to find his poop. So frustrating. (Some of you have emailed me about how to replicate my setup....I'm sorry I haven't responded to you yet. I just wanted to make sure this didn't happen before doing so.)

Okay. That's it for now.

I'm really glad (for the first time) that my boyfriend and I are long-distance and that he isn't here to see my apartment overflowing with buckets, tupperware, testing kits, etc. And I'm glad he isn't seeing how much time I've been putting into this! I would definitely be getting "the look." Hopefully, this stuff will rectify soon and will not suck up as much time.

The good news is that Mortimer and the two little ones are doing really well (don't worry...they aren't together). The babies FINALLY started eating...and they can't seem to get enough (blackworms). And they are much less skiddish than they were. I think they must have just been stressed from my moving them here.

I will post more pictures of them soon.

Thank you,

Sharon



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Old 11th March 2013   #2 (permalink)
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They are GIGANTIC (6 inches long and really fat). I didn't think I could feed them to him because I didn't want to drown/cut them....I almost cried/barfed when I did so. And I lost my appetite for the entire last part of the day. To make it less traumatic for me (yes, I know that sounds dramatic), I froze one of them to try and kill it more humanely. Then, I thawed it, cut it open, and cleaned it out. (GAG) Is this okay to do? Is it okay to freeze them first? Does it need to be cleaned out? Mortimer devoured about a third of it. I put the remaining part in the freezer because I was terrified it was going to somehow come back to life and be all cut up. I know...I can be ridiculous.

Hopefully feeding him earthworms will lead to better water quality. Is this what you have found?
Sorry I had to laugh at your struggles, I went through them too. Us animal lovers aren't the best worm cutters
Anyway, I spent a couple of hours working myself up to cutting a worm up. I freaked out when I did it. But now I do it all the time and I still don't like doing it, but it's bearable (maybe not for the worm though haha). You do get used to it! I managed to find a worm supplier who sell small worms. It's good for Wooper because he's only little and good for me because I don't have to cut them up as much as I was.

I found that earthworms are so much better. I was feeding bloodworms until I could source some earthworms. Compared to bloodworms the earthworms create no mess at all. I also noticed my axie seems to love earthworms, he goes crazy when I put them in the tank, they must be more tastier.



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Old 11th March 2013   #3 (permalink)
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Also, how were you cutting them? I found a quick snip with scissors does the trick. Cutting with a knife isn't pleasant at all!



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Old 11th March 2013   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Beks! Thanks for your response. I was cutting the worms with a knife. (And no...it was NOT pleasant.) I'll try using scissors next time. (I guess I need to buy another pair of scissors for that.)

Also...I've attached a report that I found that discusses whether or not worms feel pain (don't laugh at me...okay, you can laugh...). While it suggests that they do not, it still doesn't make it any easier for me! And, do you clean the worm out first before putting it in the water? I fed a part of one to Mortimer without cleaning it out and gross stuff got the water a little...um...gross. I'm guessing they prefer the worms when they're still alive, though....and I definitely cannot bring myself to squeezing its insides out. Wow....I never thought I would find myself doing this kind of stuff to worms! The things we do for our little babies.....

One more thing--if I post a picture of one of the worms, do you think you'd be able to tell me what kind it is? I tried feeding Mortimer pieces of one last night and this morning, and he was NOT interested. That makes me wonder if they might be red wigglers (I don't think they are) because I've read that they emit a nasty smell. (But it was dead, so I don't know how that could happen....)

So many questions! Thanks for your help! (And I'm glad my dramatic posting about my reaction to killing worms gave you a good laugh. I was laughing/cringing while writing it, too.)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Re. Question if Worms and Pain.pdf (442.3 KB, 219 views)



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Old 11th March 2013   #5 (permalink)
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I did read a bit into if worms feel pain. It seems people say they don't or if they do it's not the same pain as we feel. They do respond to being cut though, guess we won't know unless we turn into worms. They're good for your axie though

I just rinse the worms with cold tap water, cut them into bits and then drop them into his feeding jar. I tend to put them in a glass and rinse them until all the bits of dirt come off. This can also be done in a small net. I've been using my net in my fish tank though, so avoiding using it to feed the lotl.

Maybe your worms are red wrigglers if the lotl doesn't like them. Although it might be the movement that attracts Mortimer. Have you managed to feed him freshly cut worm? They still wriggle for a few minutes after they have been chopped up lol. - My Wooper finds this irresistible!

Sorry hope all that didn't turn your stomach more.



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Old 11th March 2013   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by snuggly time View Post
I did read a bit into if worms feel pain. It seems people say they don't or if they do it's not the same pain as we feel. They do respond to being cut though, guess we won't know unless we turn into worms. They're good for your axie though

I just rinse the worms with cold tap water, cut them into bits and then drop them into his feeding jar. I tend to put them in a glass and rinse them until all the bits of dirt come off. This can also be done in a small net. I've been using my net in my fish tank though, so avoiding using it to feed the lotl.

Maybe your worms are red wrigglers if the lotl doesn't like them. Although it might be the movement that attracts Mortimer. Have you managed to feed him freshly cut worm? They still wriggle for a few minutes after they have been chopped up lol. - My Wooper finds this irresistible!

Sorry hope all that didn't turn your stomach more.
I just got the worms out (and my scissors)......got SO close to doing it. And couldn't. So I stuck it in the freezer. Wow, I'm a wimp. I'm going to try again. We need to throw a party after I get enough courage to cut a live worm. Ugh.



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Old 11th March 2013   #7 (permalink)
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I did it. And I feel HORRIBLE. He ate the first section immediately....it was writhing/squirming like crazy. He's still staring at the other two pieces. I can't watch!



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Old 11th March 2013   #8 (permalink)
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Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! *claps*

They love the wriggly ones lol



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Old 12th March 2013   #9 (permalink)
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Lol
So enjoyed your exploits. My significant other doesn't live with me, thank goodness, because my place is full of buckets etc and there would be no end of moaning if we shared the place. I have fish, too and am currently at twenty something tanks, but cutting down, as they say.
I have developed A Technique with worm cutting (still got 5 axies to sell as well as Blip and Nameless so cutting up around 7 to 10 worms each day). I put the worms in 1/2 inch of water in an ice cream tub. I pick each one up with large tweezers and quickly snip it in half with small scissors, letting the two halves drop into water in the other tub. When they are all in the second tub I pick up the ones that have stopped writhing () and snip smaller until the pieces are all the right size. I find that they float a bit in the water so are easier to pick up with the tweezers. The trick is to be quick with each grab, snip and drop.
Then I empty the first tub and fill the second with water, swirling it and pour carefully into the first tub, keeping the worm bits in the second. I do this two or three times to get rid of bits of soil, liberated gut contents and blood. Euww! I just leave a bit of water and use a plastic fork to scoop up a small number of worm pieces for each tank.
All items used are dedicated to worm prep.
Can't believe I just wrote that.



Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2



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Old 12th March 2013   #10 (permalink)
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Lol aww u poor bugger! I am so glad my axie, aka hover.. eats the worms whole. Actually he has worked out if he terrorises them enough they ball up! He sucks up 4 to 5 large worms in a ball, wrestles them in his mouth. Job done, he goes about his business.



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Old 12th March 2013   #11 (permalink)
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Update. And not a good one.

I let the earthworms go underneath a tree outside. I just couldn't do it. Since I cut up that live earthworm, I've been queasy and have barely been able to eat. I know it sounds ridiculous, but somehow it's happened.

I'm also going to have to buy a little refrigerator to keep the blackworms in. I'm getting nauseated every time I open the refrigerator and see them in there. This is really weird....it typically takes a lot to make me feel this way. I think the ongoing problems with cycling my tanks and continuous water-testing, poop removing, worm-stuff has finally gotten to me. I'm hoping that when things get settled, this will go away. I'm really attached to my little guys (and I want the best for them).

And I hope it's all psychological.....it's either that or I have salmonella or something from having my hands in the nasty water so much lately (I've had nasty stomach symptoms for several days now). I wash my hands every time I change the water or do anything with the tanks, but I just realized that the soap I've been using isn't antibacterial. Gag.



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Old 12th March 2013   #12 (permalink)
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Poor you!

I struggled with the worms at first as have a thing about them my sister used to chase me with them as a young child and put them down my back! My OH cut them the first couple of days but then I started, first I grab them with some sausage turners in a firm grip, quick rinse then cut them with meat scissors. It took a week to get over it but now I don't give it a thought and now only have to cut them in half I'm hoping soon they will suck down a whole one. The trick is don't think about it and do it quick! Hope you feel better soon.



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Old 14th March 2013   #13 (permalink)
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So glad I am not the only one that had a hard time killing worms. the first night was a nightmare. I usually pray for them before I cut them cause it makes me sad. The way I think about it though is the store already is going to sell them to be eaten. I am an animal lover and can't even kill an ant. I have to cover the worm in toilet paper before I cut it. They def. make it a lot easier to keep the tank clean

Also I don't feed him worms everyday cause I can't handle it. Usually I just feed him worms four times a week half a worm that day and the other days I give him brine shrimp or bloodworms



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Old 14th March 2013   #14 (permalink)
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Well you you tried and that's the main thing! He'll be fine on blackworms, have you tried pellets too?
Also, have you got a feeding jar to keep the mess minimal? I use one for bloodworms and it's so much easier.

Hope you feel better soon x



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